Friday, July 01, 2016

Summer has arrived!

Hurray for summer! We skipped school to go camping, but came back for the final week of school. The kids did a lot of playing - field day, fun run, etc - but also had some legitimate business to attend to. Bruce's school had a nice fifth grade graduation ceremony. It wasn't too overdone or stuffy - no caps and gowns, dressing up was optional, etc. But each of the 40 kids have a short speech, mostly thanking teachers and such. Then the teachers thanked each kid and handed them a certificate. Bruce loved being at the top of the school and is a little sad about moving on to middle school and being at the bottom of the totem pole again.
He is excited though too. We went to a middle school open house a few weeks ago and he met a few kids, saw the facility, and learned about the gazillions of programs available.
Phoebe is sad to leave kindergarten but happy to finally be a first grader. We will still see plenty of her kindergarten teachers: Val sometimes babysits the kids (she claims she loves it) and we are watching Justin's pet snake for the summer...
Domingo is a four-foot-long corn snake. I just hope he doesn't get out.
The day after school let out, we lazed about for a few hours and then went strawberry picking. Phoebe is an excellent berry picker. Bruce too. Oliver, not so much. I think he ate every one he picked and then moved on to the ones we had picked. Happy summer!


Back to our happy place: Acadia

The first day we drove back into Maine, it was raining. We were tired. Oliver was pooping everywhere. We almost gave up and went home.

But we didn't.

We went to Acadia National Park and camped for a few more days.
We played in tide pools. That is Phoebe's pile of snails.
We hiked to Bar Island. I loved all these beautiful purple flowers. It was a short hike and it is only passable at low tide.
This is the summit (it's not that big of a hike, so it seems silly to mark the top with a giant rock pile, but here it is); Oliver climbed to the top of the rocks and refused to get down, so after awhile I had to just pull him off and carry him down like a football while he threw a giant tantrum. 
I went for a few runs on the carriage trails with Bruce and Phoebe on bikes.
They loooove biking. There are some big uphills that they had trouble with, but Bruce powered up them and Phoebe got a little push on the bum from me.
We were back to tent camping and roughing it, but eating our daily s'more made it all better.
On our last full day in Acadia, we packed a lot in. Bruce and Phoebe and I went for a run/bike, then Scott and Bruce hiked Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on Mount Desert Island.
While they hiked, Phoebe and Oliver and I mailed postcards in Bar Harbor...
...went window shopping and got some chocolates...
...and went to a nature center to check out exhibits.
When the guys were done we headed to Sand Beach and stayed for hours. It was in the 60s and the water was so cold, but the kids didn't seem to mind.
Phoebe and Oliver got in the water. Bruce chose to build in the sand instead.
This place is so beautiful.
Oliver fell asleep as soon as we left the beach. We were going to stay one more night but decided to pack up right then and drive back late at night. We figured they'd sleep more and fight less, which turned out to be true. 


Fun in Fundy

The coolest thing about the Bay of Fundy is the tide. The bay gets narrower and shallower the farther north it goes, causing the biggest variation in its high and low tide in the world. 
So when the tide is out, it is waaaaaay out and leaves an exposed ocean floor to play on.
At high tide, this is a raging river.
This is the tide coming in later in the day.
Bruce made this lovely heart at Herring Cove Beach.
Each night we went to the beach and watched the tide and skipped rocks and hung out. Ahhhh.
While at Fundy National Park we stayed in a yurt-like structure. I was glad: it was chilly and this little yurt had a space heater in it. It was nice to not have to unpack all the bedding too: it had bunk beds and mattresses. Fancy!
We hiked to Triple Vault Falls. The hike was long and Phoebe and Oliver got tired. Oliver got carried a lot, although I got him to hike some while chasing me with a stick and shouting, "You'll never defeat me now!" (Pretending to be a Jedi or someone from Star Wars)

We made sure to have s'mores every night.
Oliver wore some pretty weird outfits. Potty training was going ok before we went camping. He was excited about peeing on trees, but then resisted going on any real toilet and definitely didn't want to go poop. He held it for days, then he would poop a dozen times in one day - destroying every pair of undies and pants we packed for him. So he wore Phoebe's clothes. We visited a laundromat.
After three days in New Brunswick, we drove back to Maine (that would be border control above). 


Oh Canada!

Phoebe enjoying a snack at Cobskook in Maine.
We hiked along the trails around the bay.
This is how Oliver hikes most of the time.
The tides are really cool to watch, but they got even better in Canada.
We packed up and drove across the border into Canada. We crossed into the Atlantic time zone and the kids were mind-blown that we lost an hour to our day. I think we still packed in plenty.
We drove up to Fundy National Park, 3 or 4 hours northeast along the coast. All the signs in New Brunswick, Canada, were in English and French. And we were constantly converting kilometers to miles and vice versa.
When we got to Fundy, we found the park playground. The kids loved the zip lines there and we went every day.
Everyone got in on the fun.
Our first hike was a short trail to a waterfall: Dickson Falls. 
Everything was lush and green. 
On every hike, Bruce always pointed out the cool lichen on the trees. Mushrooms, mold, etc is all awesome to him.


Downeast Maine up north

When Scott finished his board exams and my parents headed home, we packed up the car and drove north. Our first night we stayed in "Downeast" coastal Maine on Cobskook Bay. 
The campground allowed campers to dig a peck of clams, so we tried our hand at it. We waded out into the muddy bay and made a poor attempt at clam-digging, but got so muddy we gave up. Phoebe got so stuck we had to lift her out of her boots and then pull her boots out one by one. 
The campground was lovely and I think we could have spent more time there, but we headed for the border to Canada instead.