Well, sadly, out time in Maine is over (although, we are considering a summer vacation just in Maine next year!). Today we head south to Massachussetts where we will be until around the 15th of July. We couldn’t go to Maine with out spending time on the coast. So, we took a five our drive south…(normally two hours)…and saw six light houses😀! Here are a few shots from today…
Chris and I talk all of the time about wanting to raise our boys in a place with history, seasons, and good people. Although it isn’t likely we can move to Maine any time soon, we would sure like to do so. We love the feel of Maine. We love the people, we love the food, and we LOVE the rocky coast, light houses, and waves crashing along the shore.
I remember spending wonderful times in Maine with family for holidays and over summer vacation. We would make the drive and spend time in the snow during the winter and outside at the beach or playing in my aunt and uncle’s pool in the summer. We would go bowling, to the Maine Mall, and eat at the Weathervane. Each Christmas we visited LL Bean. I miss those visits, and it was wonderful to be able to spend a few days of our journey visiting family and seeing the sights. The sight of the waves crashing along the rocky coast never gets old. The sounds fill me with a sense of calm.
We stayed in Old Orchard Beach with my aunt and uncle who welcomed us with a feast of Lobster and Steamers (YUM!!), it was by far the best Lobster I have eaten.
The boys have been hearing about their Uncle’s fabulous train collection for years! They were really excited to lay eyes on it!
After our extra yummy seafood dinner, we sat outside by the fire…the boys played in the yard, and we roasted marshmallows for Smores. There was also a yummy dessert with local strawberries and blueberries.
Our plan A for this part of our trip was to visit light houses and beaches on Sunday. But, heavy rains and wind made at 62 degree day way too cold to be out. So, instead, we went Candle Pin Bowling! Pretty good first for our boys, considering they have never experienced any kind of bowling, they also loved the arcade!
The best part of going to Maine is getting to be with family…for these special moments…
Well, we can officially say we have stayed in Times Square, and it was amazing. Our night in Times Square came after a very fun filled, adventurous, and long day in the city. We drove into the city from our hotel in Connecticut. Thank goodness for Groupon! Great parking rate and a wonderful double decker bus tour that allowed us to move around the city with ease!
The boys first ever time in Times Square! So much to see!!
Freedome Tower…amazing. This was an unplanned part of our trip, but so worth while. Thanks to a little extra “mad money”, we decided to take the 30 second ride up…and boy are we glad that we did. The movie in the elevator showed a great year by year respresentation of the city. Then, the breathtaking view of the city when you reach top.
FAo Schartz…a staple stop for all little guys who visit NYC!
Woo hoo! Not closing! Just moving😀!
On to Central Park!
Singing in the rain (it wasn’t raining…but they asked for pictures😀!)
And finally, our amazing hotel overlooking Times Square! The boys sat and stared out the window for hours.
Although we loved NYC, we were very excited to get back in the road to head to Maine!!!
As you drive into New York City with a five and seven year old Montessori student in the back seat, you should hear things like, “oh, look, the Empire State Building!”, “The Statue of Liberty”, “I see the New World Trade Center building”!!! And that exactly what our boys were saying!
The Montessori method has been great for our our family, for many reasons. But one of the things we love the most has been the cultural perspective provided to our kids. Through the methods of the Montessori teaching, our kids have learned their place in the great big work around them. In what some would think to be a backwards way. Backwards, because when the boys were three, they could tell you the continents and the oceans, but they couldn’t tell you their address. At four, they could tell you some countries on each continent, as well as many landmarks, species, and cultural differences. Finally, at five, they could tell you about the United States, Florida, and our town. You see, Maria Montessori believed that the most important thing for a child to learn in the early years was a sense of belonging. That they needed to feel as the even though the world is gigantic, everyone has a place and there is order.
For us, this world view also has helped to create a sense of passion, a feeling of understanding that the world around us matters. The boys have been talking for months about the iconic monuments they would see along the way.
Their first view of the Statue of Liberty was one of awe and excitement! The train yard and World Trade Center Memorial at Liberty Island State Park just added to their excitement!
After some fun at the statue we moved on to dinner with Brian in Hoboken! While we waited, and as we were driving around, we ended up at Carlo’s Bakery (for this family of boys any bakery with chocolate is a win)!
So, in my last post I RAVED about our fun time exiting our unplanned stop at Fort Wadsworth. Now…its time to share the second part of the adventure…
Sometimes the unplanned stops tune out to be amazing…and then, there are the other times. The second part of our Staten Island adventure took us further into the Gateway Recreation Area. And this is what we found…
In case it doesn’t look to bad…zoom in…that beach is LINED with trash. NOT what you want to find when you have three sweet boys in tow…who have traveled 1500 miles and want to play on the beach and jump in the ocean.
The thing is, our kids don’t need the beach on vacation…they can have the beach back home. What they needed was to run…and play…a trash filled beach was not on the list. But in those moments, when it seems like disappointment is going to win, and frustration is growing, you just have to make the best of what you have around you. So, we walked down the beach, to a less dirty spot, we took off our shoes, and we put our feet in the water. And even though I would not ever normally swim (or even touch) water like that, it was needed, and it was good. After splashing for a few minutes, we grabbed our stuff and headed on our way.
One day, far away…when Tucker is older…we will explain why we lost it when he touched a piece of trash on the beach…(we don’t need to go in to details here…but believe me…it was a terrible piece of trash to touch)! For now, we will block out the memory of the not so great surprise stop, the dirty beach, and the gross trash touching with the laughter and smiles of our sweet boys as the waves crash against their little toes.
Well, we did it! We conquered NYC with three Bo’s under seven in tow! What a GREAT and fun adventure.
We started our journey with a fun off the grid stop on Staten Island. Knowing how much the boys looooved the battle field and the monuments in DC, we decided to throw in another visit to a national park. We went to the Gateway National Recreation area. They have a Junior Ranger Program at Fort Wadsworth, with was built to guard the narrows from incoming attacks/pirates during the early 1800s. Fortunately, the fort never had to defend anyone, but it is still standing and pretty amazing! The boys LOVED venturing around the fort (almost as much as their abandoned place, ghost loving daddy)!!
If I have learned ANYTHiNG about traveling this week it is that when you are with three boys (and their daddy), Bridges, wheels, boats, motors, and anything that has to do with any of the above becomes almost as important as the nearest national monument.
LOOK, Mommy! A boat!!! (Never mind the Spectacular view of NYC.
The fort is being restored. It has a fair amount of damage from both storms and vandalism. Maybe one day we can come back and see it completed.
Dandelions….Tucker had some trouble!
Love my adventurous guys!
And when at a fort…with giant guns…little boys must play war. We try really hard to avoid “playing” war, but it is a fort…and there are guns/cannons. It’s super hard to tell them no. Besides, even in their play, there were lessons. They went from opposite side, to medics, to veterans.
I know Chris said it the other day, but so far in this trip, some of the best places were the places we didn’t plan. Rather the places we just found along the way.
I know I have said this before…but I am in awe of our kids this week. We picked a really interesting week to visit some very important new places. As we drove through South Carolina there were billboards and signs regarding the Charleston shootings. Then we went to a battlefield, where we talked about the Civil War. B-Chilly and I talked about the civil rights movement when we were discussing the Martin Luther King Memorial. Today, as we did our capital tour, we learned that we were in DC at the start of the Warrior Games. We were honored to take our tour with 5 wheel chair bound veterans and their families. The capital building was filled with these warriors…with their varied injuries, guide/service dogs, and families. What an unbelievable honor to he surrounded by heroes. And tomorrow, we will head to New York City, at the start of NYC Pride Week.
After three wonderful and learning filled days in DC, we headed back on our venture north…we have now arrived in Philadelphia. But on our way here, we discovered that B-Chilly’s crayons had melted. Surprisingly, the melted crayons didn’t cause a melt down…or even the slightest tone of sadness. Instead, we heard the words, “oh my! How did that happen? My crayons melted together! Cool! Tucker, are your crayons melted together?” Isn’t that just the way of a child. I spent a lot of our 3 hour drive today trying to find the right words. The words that would say exactly what I mean…but I haven’t found the right word yet.
It’s not acceptance that I see and hear in our boys. Acceptance requires acknowledging a difference. By definition it means, “favorable reception; approval; favor”, but they aren’t approving, because in fact, they don’t need to approve, because they don’t know the differences as a problem or imperfection…they don’t see the color or disability around them as anything to draw attention.
And it isn’t tolerance, because in many cases they don’t know or understand the views of other people, they don’t need to. And again, there is nothing to tolerate if you don’t see the difference or change as something to draw attention.
It’s love, it’s kindness, it’s belief in the good, and it is trust. Sometimes, as a parent, that can be scary. Knowing that your child sees the good (or potential for good) in all people…because as an adult, we know that not all people are good. But, on the other hand, as a parent, We need to take a lesson. We need to see the world around us, as they do, finding the good, and not being distracted by the differences, what we as adults might call, “imperfections”.
As I talked with TT Magee at lunch, I asked him if he noticed anything about the people on our tour. He said, “Nope.” I asked him again in some other more probing way, if he had noticed anything. Again, he said, “Nope.” I rephrased my question and asked if he had any questions about the people in wheel chairs or the men and women with service dogs. And his response is what left me in awe, because it was so simple, and yet filled with so much of what we need as adults. He said, “No, mommy, the people in wheel chairs just walk differently.” Not, “they can’t walk”, not “what’s wrong with them”, just simply, “they walk differently.” I couldn’t be more proud of the way he sees his world. Not that something is wrong, not that something is imperfect…just that things are different.
I hope that as our sweet boys grow up, they will keep a little of their Melted Crayon world view. The view of the world that allows them to see that the world isn’t all about imperfections, it’s all about the differences, it’s all about knowing that we don’t all have to be the same to be useful. We don’t have to be perfect to be needed or to solve a problem. And we don’t all have to look the same. But more than that, a lot of the differences we notice, don’t even require explanation, because the differences aren’t what is important. What is important is that we are all people, and most people are good.
Keep coloring with those melted crayons sweet boys, your art, and your world, will be even more beautiful.
B-Chilly loved the Freedom Statue…rightfully so, it’s very impressive. I loved the capital tour, because I always want our boys to recognize and celebrate their many freedoms, but more, I want them to use their freedom and their melted crayon view to change the world.
Today was mostly spent indoors (thank God because the heat was really getting to everyone at this point).
We drove in to DC that day, parked, and walked. We stopped at the Air and Space Museum at the National Mall. The boys wanted, desperately, to go there and see what else they could discover about the history of flight.
The origins of actual flight! ‘Mercia!
From sticks and canvass to this…
Our time was cut short at Air and Space because we had a scheduled tour of the U.S. Capitol building. Anyone can go in and do a little exhibit/museum tour in the main lobby, but one needs to write to their Representative or Senator in order to get special access to the really cool parts of the building! (Note: do this months in advance!)
Walking up to the building was awe inspiring and being dwarfed by the magnitude of the structure was humbling. You’ll notice the dome was under repair. There were 1,300 cracks being repaired all over it, inside and out. You’ll see the inside soon…
The grounds of the Capitol were perfectly groomed (like the rest of DC). It was inviting and friendly, yet powerful and commanding all at the same time. The architecture is beautiful and old. It was like going back in time…
After going through some serious security and seeing U.S. Secret Service everywhere, we were inside and orienting ourselves to the scale of this beastly building.
We watched a 13 minute historical video on the U.S. Capitol building.
We met our tour guide, Annie Lennox, and were issued our super special headset communicator devices and off we went…
In the crypt, in the very center of the floor, was a simple design. A star.
If you think there wasn’t any forethought to the building of DC or the placement of certain monuments, you’re dead wrong. DC is very planned and intentional.
Right above the crypt is the most amazing room of all…
We were going to sit in on the House of Representatives session, but the lines were intense. Having little ones made this part of the journey quite difficult so we decided to bail and do this when they were much older.
It amazes me with what hidden gems we can find right under our noses if we can embrace the notion of ‘no plans vacations.’ Just going with the flow and picking a random direction and simply exploring what is before you is one of my favorite things to do. And, well, that’s exactly what we did when driving through Petersburg, VA on our way up to DC.
As I was driving, I began noticing some of the brown park service signs on the side of the road telling me about a battlefield. I had never been to one (at least from what I remembered) and told the wifey about that. At the very last second I decided that today was a good day to experience civil war history and expose my eldest child to the dark reality of our nation’s past. I turned from the highway and started us on a new adventure. Seeing how I LOVE history, I had no problem with this.
As we got there, I was pleasantly surprised by the upkeep of the grounds (mainly because of the condition of the city we just drove through to get there). It was immaculate! An open field surrounded by trees with a gnarly, abnormal, hill at one end is what we were presented with. We went into the visitor center and watched a movie on the fighting that took place not only here at this site, but in the nearby city of Petersburg, VA. By the way, the siege that General Grant laid on the city of Petersburg was impressive. Just think, Big Dig plus a really big boom at the end.