October 21, 2012

Dressing Up

During William's stay at Boy Scout camp, we unpacked from our long trip east and tried to play catch-up on a zillion fronts, not the least of which was to try to bring life to our scorched grass after weeks of 90-100 degree heat. Frassati Runners, our July running clinic, started for the season, and we prepared for the start of cross country practices. Meanwhile, the little girls did what they do best—played to their little hearts' content, with dress-up being a favorite.

A trip to the basement "dress-up bucket" produces this cute duo with big sis, Kathleen.
Lucia hits the dress-up bucket.
Lucia Rose 
Lucia as Robin Hood

One-Week Boy Scout Camp

Just a day after arriving home from Maine, we sent Kathleen off to her convent retreat at Mater Redemptoris in LaCrosse and the next day sent William off on his week-long camp-out with the Boy Scouts. It would be William's first time away from home for anything more than a night. Although we don't have photos of Kathleen headed off to her retreat, we do have some send-off and homecoming photos of Big Will.

William with his gear—the night before departure for camp.
William was one of only two boys in how troop who earned a badge for packing in and out,
meaning he carried all this on his back for the whole long trek from van to their camp site. 
Saying goodbye to William for a week was definitely not easy.
Here I am, fresh out of bed, no shower, all teary-eyed, saying goodbye to my little man for a week. Oh, how I missed him!
Note our dead grass in the background. Hottest summer on record, and William was headed out for a week of very warm camping!
(Note the swim trunks. They did a swim test immediately upon arrival.)
Waving goodbye to William, already loaded in the Boy Scout van.
William had second thoughts just before they left, but we encouraged him to go, and he had a fine time.
The van, loaded with boys and a trailer full of gear.
William is home!!!! Never, ever was I so happy to see William. What a long week.
William endured severe storms that brought down their tent, a bout of pink eye, and one of the hottest weeks on record—
and survived to tell the tale. Can you tell how happy Mom is in this photo? 
Before heading further into the house, William needed a round of foot and leg washing.
Filthy does not begin to describe this boy, fresh from a week at Boy Scout camp.

Leones Top Cadillac Mountain

On one of our last days in Maine, we wound our way up Cadillac Mountain (yes, in the van), the highest point on the eastern seaboard, and the first place to view the sunrise in the Unites States most of the year. The top of this "mountain" is flat rock, and the view is magnificent. No sudden drop-offs, which made this mom of squirrely kids very happy.

Elizabeth & Lucia
Cadillac Mountain

Leone Go Tide Pooling

We decided to head out very early one morning—earlier than we would normally arise on vacation—and catch low tide at one of the area's popular tide pooling spots. Se we began our hunt for the perfect spot to find intertidal creatures. 

We hiked and hiked and hiked. Having been told there were good tide pools along this path, we were a little discouraged when at first we couldn't find a thing. Then, we found a spot with good access down to the water where it looked like it had receded a bit. We headed down, only to find we were up to our ankles in mud. Not the best spot. 

It took a while, but at long last, we came upon a sand bar that obviously had been under water a short time previously. We headed down and ventured out, scoring some great tide pooling finds. All in all, the outing was a success, even if the tide was coming in by the time we found the favored spot.

Kathleen heads out on the trail, eager to find those tide pools. 
Elizabeth and crew scale a rock to get a view of the water and locate tide pools.
It's awfully early in the morning to be hiking already with my seven children!
The open Atlantic is just to the right of my face in this photo.

Joe, Dad in Charge, with Baby Lucia on his back. 
We finally make it down to a tide-pooling area, and Marguerite stakes her claim.
The open Atlantic is behind Marguerite.
The inlet area is dry during the lowest tide and under water up to the darkest rocks during high tide.

This is the inlet area that dries completely at low tide. It was very shallow, and the kids found all kinds of great creatures.
Joe (with Lucia) and Therese explore where the inlet meets the ocean.

Leones Do Jordan Pond

With a two-year-old and a one-year-old, this wasn't our year to do some of the more spectacular and challenging hikes that Acadia National Park has to offer. Rather, we opted for hikes that were do-able for everyone. Even so, some hikes proved their own bit of challenge, if only for the length of the journey with little girls on parents' backs.

The hike around Jordan Pond was idyllic. A path with woods and bluffs on one side and the Jordan Pond (which is a lake, not a pond) on the other made for some magnificent views. Following are some shots from our several-hour trek around Jordan Pond.

Where's the raft? And where's the Mississippi? Our Huck and Tom.
Early on our trek. Marguerite had not yet made her way onto anyone's back.

A moment with hubby—and only two kids hanging on. ;) 
Anna Marie was a lifesaver when Marguerite decided she wasn't going to walk.
The pause the refreshes. We were a tired crew by this time!
Look at our handsome Andrew 
William and Andrew scampered up every rock pile they could find. 
Lots of bridges on this hike. Will, Therese, and Kathleen take a breather.
Marguerite spent at least the last half of the hike on my back. Once there, she seemed happy!

Leones Do Bar Island at Low Tide

One of the best experiences of our Maine trip was trekking across the exposed bar at low tide to access uninhabited Bar Island—something that can only be done a few hours out of each day.

What a great time we had walking across the ocean bottom—that exposed bar of sand, filled with all manner of interesting creatures!

While walking across the bar, we found the largest starfish I have ever seen.

As indicated by the photos below, this warning went unheeded by many.

The view from Mt. Desert Island (Bar Harbor area) out across the exposed bar to Bar Island at the other end.

This bar is just amazingly expansive. It's amazing that the whole thing is underwater most of every day.
Andrew and William skip stones from the bar, out into the harbor. It was in this area where we found the giant starfish. 
We're pretty far across the bar here. This is looking back toward Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor where we started.
While hiking on Bar Island, you pack in and pack out, as there are no facilities of any kind. This is how Joe "packs out" dirty diapers. 
Andrew takes a rest on the bar as we head back toward the town of Bar Harbor after our hike on Bar Island.
The bar sprinkled everywhere with cairns, as can be seen behind Andrew's head.  
And on our way back to the "mainland" of Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor, we spotted this amazing starfish in the water, just off the edge of the exposed bar. It was easily as big in diameter as a large dinner plate. The stones surrounding it are huge.  This is one very big starfish! 

Leones Go Lobstering

So, have you ever gone lobstering on the Atlantic Ocean, adjacent to the Cranberry Islands (reminiscent of Blueberries for Sal)? Neither had we. Until our first full day in Maine when we decided we couldn't make it all the way out to a Maine island in the Atlantic without venturing onto the Ocean to haul in some lobsters.

Chartering a trapping vessel for the morning, we not only learned first-hand how the lobstermen do their thing, but we also got the grand tour of Southwest Harbor and the Cranberry Isles region of the Atlantic. Magnificent!

Here we are on the "Elizabeth T.," ready to shove off.
Kathleen and Marguerite.
Joe and Marguerite snuggle as we push off from Southwest Harbor.
Kathleen smiles as we haul in a lobster trap!
Anna Marie and William each took a turn holding a live lobster.
Nothing but the wide blue expanse of the Atlantic in ahead of us. 
Marguerite was a little unsure of the whole thing and spent time snuggling alternately with Mom and Dad.
Our captain dropped us on Great Cranberry Island, accessible only by boat or ferry, for a quiet lunch along the shore. Joe takes it all in, with Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park represented in the hills behind him. 

Andrew finds a friend on Great Cranberry Island, just before we jump back on our lobstering boat for our trip back to Mt. Desert Island.

October 20, 2012

A Cottage in Maine

So if you're going to stay in Maine, you should surely stay in a little white cottage with shutters. One with rose bushes creeping up the porch railing. One with the perfect climbing tree, a porch for morning coffee-sipping, and a master bedroom with a view of the ocean. Yes, that's the one. 

And so it was that we found this perfectly charming little cottage on the "quiet side" of Acadia National Park, owned by a lovely woman who splits her time between New York City, Paris, and Maine—ooh-la-la! And we made it our home for six enchanting days. We boiled lobster here, celebrated the 4th of July here, lost teeth here, and organized tide pooling adventures here. 


Joe and Marguerite look out on the Atlantic Ocean from our little cottage on the quiet side of Mt. Desert Island in Acadia National Park. 
The kids instantly made their home in the sprawling tree in the front yard.
Elizabeth found time to relax and enjoy the slow pace of life
in Southwest Harbor, Maine, on Mt. Desert Island. 
William and Lucia share giggles in our cute little kitchen.
A great kitchen, complete with lobster pot. 
Silliness reigns in our lil' kitchen on Mt. Desert Island.
Oh, and when Mom gets silly, toddlers take advantage and swipe at full cups of milk above their heads. Or something like that.

Too bad the Papa the Photographer is not in this cottage pic.
Check out the sky blue porch ceiling. Love...