We just got back from a truly wonderful week on the Maine coast. My parents own a cottage down the street from their house (and by “street” I mean a one-lane dirt road down the middle of a finger of land less than a quarter mile wide, with ocean on either side) which they normally rent out, but where they kindly reserved a week for us. It’s a great little house — and while we were there I was struck (as I always am on vacation) at how little *stuff* we really needed to eat, clothe and entertain ourselves. It made me want to go home and totally purge our house of clutter and crap. Then again, vacation life is a far cry from “real” life, for better or worse.
Anyway, girls spent their mornings at a day camp at a farm/nature center a couple of miles away, and we had our mornings free to relax, write, read, etc. One day, my parents took the girls for the afternoon, and Alastair and I drove up the coast to deliver my book to a few bookstores along the way, stopping to buy me an awesome hat (see slide show after the jump) and eat lobster rolls and waffle fries at a restaurant on the harbor in Camden.
We also had a couple of sets of friends (with kids) up, and took afternoon trips with them. One was to the strange and kitchy Desert of Maine (a big deposit of glacial silt discovered under a farm a couple hundred years ago). The girls found this exciting, although the incongruity of a desert in Maine was lost on them. (Clio: “We need to bring lots of water with us to go to the desert.”) We also hit beautiful Popham Beach State Park, where we were surprised at the enthusiasm with which the girls hit the chilly Maine water.
Throughout the week, we ate way too much delicious food, including Maine blueberries (and a few Jersey ones), fresh farm eggs (which, every time I eat them, make me increasingly scornful of grocery store eggs) and not a little ice cream. One upside of drinking next to nothing: Less guilt over dessert! Because before, I would have had 2+ glasses of wine and ice cream (and probably more ice cream, because I was a little buzzed). Now, seltzer and a little ice cream. Well, maybe a medium amount.
In addition to the setting, a major contributing factor to the awesomeness of the vacay was an emerging phenomenon we are thrilled to welcome into our midst: the fact that the girls are increasingly capable of playing independently with other kids! When our friends were up, there would be stretches of thirty, forty minutes when they were off playing by themselves, completely content.
Well, almost completely. There were some times when intervention was necessary for sharing disputes, inadvertent injuries and the like. But this was surprisingly infrequent. In fact, our last night in Maine, we had a lobster dinner over at my parents’ house and the girls ended up playing with some neighbor kids for upwards of an hour. At one point, they’d gone over to the neighbors’ yard and were playing there and we knew they were perfectly fine — so we sat and had adult conversations while they giggled a hundred yards away.
Oh, and my mood has (obviously) improved. It was pretty much all 8 – 10 last week. Thanks, as always, for your support. It really does make a difference knowing you’re out there, you get it, and you care.
And now — drumroll please — my first ever in-post slideshow! Enjoy.
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