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Posts Tagged ‘kayak’

Day Sixteen: Against the Tide

30 Jun

The one thing I promised my boy about this trip is that we, he & I, would take to the kayaks and paddle to Cape Porpoise Harbor. It’s not too terribly far away from our enclave on Turbat’s Creek, but it added another level of difficulty to the single parent vacation. Because, while I am more than happy (and often very happy!) to leave the kiddos home alone while I have some “me time” – for example, filling the car up with gas, or buying ice cream sandwiches at Hannafords, leaving the girls alone while I was out on a kayak, pushed my personal boundaries of responsible parenting. If I’m just up the road and something occurs, I could get to them fast, I could contact other people to help, etc, etc. But if I’m out in a kayak, even though there is cell coverage throughout the course, I’m stuck. I could not get to them fast, I would be out of the loop. Not to mention the fact I would be out there with their brother, so even if I could paddle home just as fast as I could drive home from the grocery store, I couldn’t just abandon their brother out in a kayak. Anyway, it just didn’t feel right to me. Enter stage left: my lovely, generous friend, Mandy. Earlier in the week, we looked at tide charts and determined that if she picked the girls up after teaching her yoga class on Thursday morning, Beau and I could possibly make our journey in the morning. Tide wasn’t going to be low until 2:00pm, and Mandy could get them just after 11:00am. It was going to be tight, but should be doable.

So, Beau and I started to prepare, had the kayaks toted down to the creek, life jackets on (and fastened!), and we went to set off. Only to realize that these extreme tides we have been having this year, well, they are not just extremes in the highs and lows, but at least in the case of the lows, they are running faster. We pushed out into the rapidly diminishing creek and set off for the cut between Turbat’s and Cape Porpoise, only to discover that a full 3 hours before true low tide, the canal was already impassable. Exposed rocks blocking the path, and kayaks bottoming out. (Cue defeated Pac-Man sound bite here.) So we were flat out thwarted. Extremely disappointed, we paddled back to our beach, pulled the kayaks out of the water, and caught up with Mandy. Being the extremely generous friend that she is, she says with a shrug, I’m still taking the girls home to play with my kids for a few hours, and you’ll just do it later this afternoon when the tide is high. I wanted to cry. This kayak adventure was the one thing I definitively promised to make happen, and I could not have even dreamed of trying without Mandy’s help. So Beau and I carried the kayaks back up to the house, bummed around for a little bit, eating lunch, etc. A few hours later, Mandy returned with the girls, and her girls, and her sister-in-law and her girls, and one boy who happened to be a friend of her younger daughter. Three adults, eight kids (11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 8, 7, 1), and one dog. Time for the beach!

This afternoon proved again exactly how magical Turbat’s Creek really is. When we staked our place on the small beach with chairs and bags and coolers, the kids immediately set off for Vaughan’s Island, with the adults trailing close behind. They explored the tidal pools, and waded out into the icy Atlantic. Just being kids, while the dog scampered about, and Mandy & I talked. (Her sister-in-law was also quite lovely, but having a 1 year old in tow, especially one who was doing the car nap thing when they arrived, she was off being a hands-on mother for the first little bit, while Mandy & I were free to let our entire posse roam.) As the tide started coming back in, we headed back to the beach, and the food. (I would especially like the thank Mandy for introducing me to frozen Hershey’s kisses.) We sat and talked, occasionally throwing the ball for Remy, while the kids stayed in the water. Even my crazy Florida kids dunked their heads! Beau walked through chest deep water back over to Vaughan’s through the rising tide, and then had to swim back. It was lovely and relaxed. I enjoyed the company of other women, and the kids certainly enjoyed the company of other kids.Then it was time to pack up. Mandy graciously took my girls home with her, and Beau and I took another (high tide) run at Cape Porposise.

Once again we toted the kayaks down to the creek. They are sit inside ocean kayaks, and are very stable, but they are not light. Carrying them is not my favorite thing to do. But we got them down there for the second time today, and were happy to push out into the creek to set off. The weather could not have been more glorious. Shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt under our life jackets, pleasantly comfortable even with exertion. With little wind and no other boat traffic, we made the fairly quick, and exceedingly beautiful paddle over to the Cape Porpoise Harbor. It was fun to paddle among the anchored lobster boats. And have some fun with selfies (I’m really bad at it – I can never get the thing I want in the background.) We paddled up to the working docks, beached the kayaks on the shoreline, and walked over to the monuments to gaze at Goat Island Lighthouse, not so far in the distance (but farther than we wanted to, or had energy to, paddle out). Then it was back to the kayaks for the return trip home. Unfortunately for us, the wind had kicked up, and through the tide was almost slack, it was a battle to get back across the harbor to our cut through. But we made it, and certainly I am not the worse for wear for having a bit of a much-needed workout. The whole adventure makes me wish I had access and opportunity to kayak more often. There really is something delightfully primal about experiencing nature at water level.

After using our spaghetti arms to carry the kayaks back up to the house one more time, it was time for quick showers and change, to head over to the Nelson’s house. I got a little sidetracked taking care of our gear, and then melting into a lovely hot shower, but we eventually got our act together and joined the party. And a party it was, indeed. First of all, Mandy and Dan are some of the coolest people I know. Completely wacky and funny, and just all around fun. As you might expect, they foster this silliness and unabashed enjoyment of life in their children. To that end, as they are in the process of rebuilding their barn which was gutted in a fire last Fall, they have built a dance platform, complete with light-switch operated disco ball and strobe lights. Being voice artists, they also have a good sound system, complete with microphones. So, the girls had put together their ultimate dance party playlist. Mandy & I managed to avoid the fray for a little bit, enjoying a cocktail and some grown-up conversation – as if you could actually refer to us as grown-ups, or our conversation as mature! (I sure am craving a doughnut right about now!) But we made our way out to the barn, and I’m pretty sure today is the most exercise I’ve gotten in months – first the kayak trip, and then all the dancing? Good times! But after awhile the music was too loud (god, I’m old), and the strobe light was kind of messing with my head, so I gave the kids a 20 min warning, and we extricated ourselves once again. Beau spent most of the evening hanging outside with Dan, and their neighbor, Tim. And it was nice for him to have some “guy time”. Plus, Tim gave Beau a really cool dragon model, which was awesome and extremely generous of him.

I do love to see my kids so happy. And it made me feel good when Mandy, who had spent some time with the girls outside of my presence, told me, “You have really happy kids.” Because as much as I want people to notice their nice manners, noticing the image they project from their souls is even nicer.

Soon enough it was time to head back to the house and crash. Can’t believe tomorrow is our last full day in Maine. I can’t even think about it.

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Day Ten: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!

17 Jun

“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream…”

Everything *is* awesome when you’re living your dream. And that seems to be what I’m doing on this vacation. This morning I rolled out of bed late, had a piece of sourdough toast and a cup full of blueberries, then herded the children out of the house because my appearance downstairs coincided with low tide. Low tide means we can walk from our beach across the mud flat and about 10 feet of maybe ankle deep water to a nature preserve known as Vaughan’s Island. It was time for our Lobstah Hunt! Two years ago my kids met a local teenager who showed them how to find baby lobsters in the tidal pools on Vaughan’s Island. Nothing difficult, just flipping over rocks, but there is a bit of a science as to which rocks are most likely to yield lobster underneath. And these are tiny guys, most are fit in the palm of your hand size. But for kids who have only seen lobster in the tanks at our local grocery store, this is something amazing. Frankly, I find it amazing too. This morning it took us a bit of time to find one, but once we got into the deeper, colder tidal pools, the lobster abounded. The first one we found almost managed to take a chunk out of my toe. Luckily my lightning quick reflexes had my foot retracted from the water as soon as I felt him scampering near my toe. That and the fact that my high pitched shrieking like a little girl with her hair caught on fire probably scared him back into his hidey hole! We also spot lots of other great things on our tidal pool adventures – sea urchins, tons of hermit crabs, many other varieties of crabs, sponges, etc. And never fear, no lobster are ever injured in our great Lobstah Hunt. We flush them out, sometimes pick up one or two for a photo op, but always put them gently back into place so they can grow to become delicious, er, I mean, adults.

Another great part of Vaughan’s Island is the outcropping of rocks on the near side of the island. This morning after we had exhausted our tidal pool interest, the kids clambered up the rocks and proceeded to play a very detailed imaginative game. I was nearby, but not involved – in fact, made a quick trip up to the house to retrieve my book and a beverage – while they all three played together cooperatively. One time I looked back to see Avery and Harper scaling a rock wall that must have been 10 feet in height. It took my breath away to watch them, but kids need to be kids, and if there were pieces to pick up afterward, then that was just what I was going to have to do. So I turned back around. Put my back to the action. And irony of ironies, no one was hurt on the huge outcropping, by leaning over rock ledges or scaling rock faces that were directly above pointy boulders; instead it was literally the last step off the beach onto the tarmac road where Avery slipped and slammed her shin into a pointy rock. Sigh. Many tears and a bag of frozen vegetables later she was exclaiming with great joy that her damaged shin was purple and pink, some of her favorite colors! I think she’ll live.

After returning from our island excursion, Harper and I once again played another game of Qwirkle. I tell you, I am flat out obsessed with this game. Luckily Harper is a puzzle enthusiast as well, and the game appeals to a visual learner, so I have a partner whenever I want to play. The funny thing is that it takes quite a long time to play a game when there are only two players, but she always stays engaged to the very end. Probably a bit because she enjoys it, but also because she’s so competitive. Wonder where she gets that?

After our game Harper wanted to be the one to make lunch. As you may know, patience is *not* my strong suit. I could have had those sandwiches made and distributed within 10 minutes. But, I need to let my kids do more things for themselves. I know that. I do. But it’s so damn hard. But I waited this one out. She took orders, Avery assisted as sous chef, and five sandwiches were prepared, chips and fruit put on plates, and distributed. It only took 45 minutes. And I did not rip out my hair. At least not all of it.

Beau’s dad had promised him that the boys would take an afternoon kayak adventure once the tide came in. Realizing how important this was to both father and child, I decided the best thing to do to keep the girls from arguing and demanding that they too wanted to go on a kayak adventure, was to get them out of the house. So we had a girls’ only excursion to – where else? – Target! But there was a very specific purpose for this trip. Today is June 17. And for anyone paying attention, you know that Tuesday, June 17th is when The Lego Movie was released on DVD! Yep. We got our copy, and I anticipate it will see a lot of use. I think I’d like to watch it at maybe half speed just to get a better look at all the details hidden in the background. Harper was also pleased about our outing because she scored the next book in the series she is currently reading. It’s another of Rick Riordan’s mythology based series (something of Olympus?), and the darn thing is like 800 pages. But a very reasonable price considering, and I’m a sucker for buying books, so….

Once we got back to the cottage it was time to head down to the creek for a bit. I just wanted to sit in the sun and read. And that’s what I did. Harper started out with her own book, just standing out on the rocks reading, but then she put her book away and played nicely with her sister for quite some time. Eventually the boys returned from their almost 2 hour kayaking excursion – I imagine Beau may have trouble lifting his arms tomorrow. We headed up to the house to get cleaned up, but not before asking some locals we had overhead talking about pizza where they recommended. They suggested a place called Lower Village Pizza just across the bridge in Kennebunk. And I am SO thankful they did. Wow. Some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Crust – Amazing! Flavors – Terrific! Truly some exceptional pizza. And the nicest people you ever want to do business with. A great experience, a wonderful dinner! We watched The Lego Movie while eating our pizza (but of course!) And after our long day, Avery was asleep on the couch with her dad before the movie was over, and the other two trooped dutifully off to bed without a single argument by 8:15pm. Ah, summer!

Tomorrow: Getting my windshield replaced! Just like two years ago when I had to have my windshield replaced in the driveway of this same house, but this time it’s a different Honda Odyssey. My only 14 month old one. Sigh. It’s supposed to be thunderstorms around here sometime after midnight, so here’s hoping those clear up in time to make this mobile windshield replacement a possibility. I don’t like driving around with a huge crack in my windshield.

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Just go be kids

20 Jun

I thought that today would be the day. The day I slept in. But alas, it was not to be. Here’s a fact. Or at least it feels like a fact. The sun sets later here. And oddly enough, it sure seems to rise earlier as well. This morning I was tucked snug into bed, the windows open to a delightfully cool morning, the shades pulled against the intense sunrise. But those darling children of mine had been up for some time, and when there are three siblings in a confined space, they are bound to eventually squabble. Unfortunately for me, the voices raised with indignation roused me from sleep sometime before the 7 o’clock hour. Oy. I was not a happy Mommy.

But the squabble was mediated and breakfast was served (albeit in a somewhat surly manner). And since I was up, and had as yet abstained from eating my own breakfast, I decided that it was time to make good on a promise I had made myself last night as I sat on a bench in front of Ben & Jerry’s devouring a cup of butter pecan; I was going for a run. So, I got dressed and set off on my first run in many weeks. Here’s the thing, Kennebunkport is a rather hilly little town. So I wasn’t expecting much. Actually, that’s not true, I was expecting a lot. A lot of huffing and puffing. But strangely enough, from a cardiovascular standpoint, I felt great. Even my legs felt pretty good. But ’round about mile 4 my right knee started protesting this plan. This physical activity as opposed to yesterday’s sitting placidly on the beach. So I decided that 4 miles was far enough for today. As I was walking back the final mile to the house a car pulls over and rolls down the window. Inside are two couples and the first words out of the driver’s mouth are: “We’re tourists.” Um, yeah. I figured. But I was honest and told him I was too, but that I knew a few things, so what was he trying to find. Lucky for me, because I love being mistaken for a local wherever I go, but I hate having to admit that I can’t answer the question asked, he said they were looking for the section of coastline where the Bushes lived. Hee, hee. This one I knew. I tried to sound very authoritative as I told them, yes, you’re on the right path. Just keep going and Walker’s Point is approximately .30 mile on your left. They were very appreciative for the directions despite the fact they could have already been at the pull-out taking pictures if they had just kept going instead of stopping me for directions. Now I’m wishing I hadn’t bothered to tell them I was a tourist, too.

Once I got back to the house it was time to hit the beach. And since it was the lowest of low tide, there was a lot of beach. A wide expanse of mud flat leading out to the water that at low tide is so shallow you can walk across to an island nature preserve. After a bit of playing and exploring on the beach of the nature preserve it was time for a quick picnic lunch on the lawn of the house followed by a wiffle ball long ball tournament (I was robbed by the willow tree playing left field.) And then it was time to kayak. Everyone got loaded into the kayaks for a little exploring now that the tide was coming in. And let me tell you something, paddling a sea kayak with yourself and two 30-40lb kids makes the shoulders burn! Which felt unbelievably good, actually. Especially since, other than my run this morning, I haven’t exercised in over a week. Avery asked me yesterday, “Do you miss your Body Combat?” Um, yes, sweet 3 year old, I do indeed miss my Body Combat. Though today’s shoulder shredding was pretty hardcore, and you can’t argue with the scenery.

The rest of the afternoon was a fairly lazy one. Actually got a lot of my book read while the kids were climbing on the rocks and playing at the water’s edge. The really nice part about this frigid water is that the kids aren’t really swimming, so they can have a little more free rein. And my theory on them climbing on the rocks all along the coastline is, eh, if they fall and break an arm, so be it. They have hospitals here in Maine. Just go be kids. And by letting go of that kind of stress it has made the beach experience more pleasurable for all of us.

After showers and a few rounds of Go Fish, we were ready to head out for dinner. And believe it or not, Kennebunkport now has a Mexican restaurant called Pedro’s! I know, I know. Mexican is the first thing you think of when you think of Maine cuisine. But the truth is, I love Mexican food and I am not really a fan of seafood, no matter how fresh it is. And lobster, well, I can’t stand a whole steamed lobster (what is that nasty green stuff that comes out when you crack it open?) Now, give me a tail and drawn butter, and I’m there. But the fact is, I was far more excited about the potential for some good Mexican food than I am to visit the local lobster pound. And the food was good. It’s a rather upscale kind of place. I mean, my fajitas did not come out sizzling as I expected, but the flavor of everything was really good, so I would definitely recommend it. Also wonderful was our waitress, Aja. She was bright and friendly and fantastic with the kids. I’m guessing that maybe Beau was working on a little crush by the end of the meal.

Then we continued our quest to try all the ice cream shops in town. Now me,despite my admission of guilt regarding last night’s butter pecan, I don’t really care all that much for ice cream. So instead I wandered into a funky jewelry shop right next door and bought a super cute ring. But when we hit the candy store next, I couldn’t resist the wall of Jelly Belly jellybeans. I am stymied by the vast array of available flavors. I had to pick up a few of my favorites – toasted marshmallow – and a few of two new flavors that were just too good (bizarre?) to pass up – caramel corn and birthday cake. That had the kids circling my legs like seagulls around a fishing boat. Lucky for them I was willing to share.

So it was a pretty laid back day. Lots of beach time, fun out on the water in the kayak, just reveling in the amazingly beautiful weather. Followed by Mexican food and cocktails. Doesn’t get much better than that.

But now it is time to head off to bed. Once again up too late. Stupid History Channel.

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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim