Maine Memories & Musings

Meet Uncle Dan and Aunt Jerry. After the fast paced city life of Manhattan and careers in the publishing world, they have retired to a picturesque Maine village. They enjoy gardening, birdwatching, reading...you know, a fairly calm, quiet life. Then A. comes for a visit.

What's a retired couple to do? Well, let's see...

first, celebrate A.'s birthday with a scrumptious chocolate cake. A. had been smitten with them before we left the airport, but this extra attention just confirmed it for her! This cake was truly Dee-Lish. We enjoyed it for several nights, much to the dismay of my waistline, but not my choc-o-meter.

D & J have two cats, Nicky and Nora, whose little lives were turned upside down by an energetic four foot tall noisy girl. Her running refrain was, "Where's Nicky? Where's Nora?" followed by a quick search. They were excellent sports and very sweet to her.

A. loved to go outside with Aunt Jerry each morning to feed the chipmunks handfuls of peanuts. Rocky and Shorty were quite spoiled by A.'s attention!

Aunt Jerry also kept A. posted on the stages of a chrysalis that soon became this...

Since D & J enjoy birdwatching, there are binoculars in almost every room of their house. A. commandeered this small pair, because after all, she is an animal rescuer.

We spent one afternoon at an Organic Farmers Co-op Fair, or granola festival. I felt a tad out of place, not healthy enough I guess. A. enjoyed watching the sheepdogs work and visiting all the animals. She reached another milestone--using a Port-a-Potty. She decided it was pretty cool and wanted to visit them over regular facilities. Yes, that is the sound of my Purell bottle opening.

Uncle Dan showed her how to fish. She has the touch because, like 30 seconds after her line went in the water...

this was tugging on it! Uncle Dan helped her reel it in.

She displayed her catch proudly and talked about it the rest of the trip. She is a true fisher woman, because every time she told her story the fish grew!

Uncle Dan also showed her how to cook lobster.

Thankfully, she didn't really make the connection that those guys became this...

our tasty dinner!

Uncle Dan and Aunt Jerry took us to the Marshall Point Lighthouse in nearby Port Clyde. This is the lighthouse from the movie Forrest Gump. A. was just excited to see where Nellie the Lighthouse Dog lived (from one of her books).

A. enjoyed spending much of her time outdoors in the cooler weather (we all did, actually). She picked apples from D & J's apple tree to feed to neighboring horses.
A. fed some neighboring chickens too. The potato chip ratio was 1 for A. and 1 for the chickens. That's only fair, right?

Being outside was the BEST!

Did you eat your tomatoes today? Hurry, or A. will gobble them up!

The artist at work on Uncle Dan and Aunt Jerry's back deck...

while I did this. Bliss, I tell you, pure bliss.

We also visited nearby Drift-In Beach.

Where we dipped our toes (well a bit more for A.) in the Atlantic,

walked, er...ran on the beach,

played in the sand and had a few hermit crab races.

This is the life, huh?

I suppose many of the things we did could probably have been experienced anywhere, they just seemed better in Maine. Food looked and tasted better (much to the dismay of my, ahem, behind). Driving in the car was better because of the breathtaking views and absolutely no traffic.
Stopping beside the roadside produce stand was charming (A. was given the honor of choosing t D & J's Fall pumpkins). Spending time with Aunt Jerry and Uncle Dan and sharing a part of their lives was so special. We certainly were spoiled!
Stay tuned for a few more memories and a race report coming up sometime soon. Actually though, for me to call my part of it a race is something of an overstatement.


From Texas to Maine on a Plane

Sorry, I couldn't resist my cheesy title. We got back from our little getaway to Maine yesterday evening. I have just been itching to document our adventures! I will try to break up my posts into categories, instead of one insanely long yawn-y thing.

Thank you all for your travelling tips. All in all, A. vs. the airplane went very well. I packed her little Dora backpack with "surprises" for the trip up and then refreshed it for the return flight. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Polly Pocket creator. These strange little dolls with their stretchy clothes, microscopic shoes and accessories kept her busy for long segments of the flights. I am proud to report that we only lost a few shoes. I so don't care.

Here we are before the plane took off. She was excited and not scared at all, thank goodness!

We flew

for the first time. Now, we are not experienced travelers AT ALL, so our opinion probably doesn't amount to much, but we enjoyed their service--as far as no frills, discount airfare carriers go.

A. was most happy with her bag of Munchie Mix, her headset, and NICK on the little TV on the back of the chair in front of her.

I had to document actually being in New York, even if it was just the airport. I'm such a dork, when I saw JFK airport from the runway I immediately started quoting Seinfeld in my head. I was also the geeky tourist craning my neck, squinting my eyes into the smoggy distance and asking Scott, "Is that Manhattan? Is that the Empire State Building?" Someday I'll see the real deal.
Stay tuned for the Maine details... (ha ha ha...I just crack myself up! To pieces, I'm telling you!)


My Dad, the Hipster...Sort Of

So, I was talking to my dad yesterday about his new project. Seems he is trying to get hip. Sort of. First, he's getting an MP3 player. Yes, that's right, he has progressed from vinyl, to 8-track, to cassette, to CD and now this:

I'm so proud. He's hip. He's planning on putting his 50s bebop and his classic country music on it. Okay, sort of hip. Then he's going to rig it up so that it plays through his speakers on his...

motorcycle. He's hip. Sort of.

We talked about CDs and iTunes, etc. He then wanted to know if his CDs would be okay after he "burned" them or "ripped" them. Yes, my dad said that. I suppressed a giggle and assured him that his bebop will survive. My dad, the hipster. Sort of.


T-Minus Whatever and Freaking Out

(from Flickr by i. richardson)

Here's the scoop: we are preparing to leave on a jet plane Thursday morning for a short vacation in Maine. We will be staying with Scott's aunt and uncle. It will be nice to spend some time with them and do some sightseeing. I really don't know what to expect. This worries me. I'm freaking out about flying with A.; about packing appropriate clothing/layers/shoes for a completely different climate; about what we will be doing while we're there; and mildly freaking out about the Maine Coast Half on Sunday.

Yes, I have control issues.

Here's the other thing: I am thinking about packing, thinking about shopping for last minute necessities, etc. But, I. HAVEN'T. ACTUALLY. DONE. ANYTHING (except blogging about these thoughts). See, I really do have a serious procrastination issue too.

So, friends...any advice? What do you pack to entertain a 4 year old on an airplane? What does a girl pack for a trip to Maine? Without bringing the whole closet, of course. Any and all travelling tips will be appreciated.


I try not to be a judgmental person. I do. Really. At times though, I have this voice in my head that can not be silenced. Somethings just set her off.

For example, the fellow runner from this weekend that felt very comfortable after our run. Or very hot, I don't know. Yes, in the running world it is perfectly acceptable for women to wear only a sport bra, if they feel like it. Typically, these sport bras look like you would expect. Black, grey or another color, usually with a racer back. Fellow runner chose to brave it all in a white bra that was a sport bra, but it really resembled an 18-hr Playtex. Hmmm. If I'm going to go all Brandi Chastain, I would want to be able to pull it off.

Another peeve is poor support for the girls. C'mon ladies, if you have bouncing issues, please...and I'm begging you, invest in a quality sport bra that WILL ACTUALLY support you. How can you not notice? How does that not drive you crazy?

Please refrain from wearing perfume, aftershave, heavily scented deodorant, etc. It's not pleasant to run through your cloud, trust me.

One last peeve involves men and their decision to run shirtless. Very few men actually look good doing this. Is a tank top just going to put you over the edge? Try it. Please.

What are some of your peeves when it comes to exercise attire or lack thereof?


Just In Case You Were Wondering

This photo is from Flickr. This is how I run in my dreams.

I realized that I haven't written much about my training lately. Don't worry, it's still happening. There just hasn't been anything exciting to report. Some parts of training are new challenges or personal milestones. I've worked my way up to 4 x 400-400s in speed (remember, it's relative) training. This basically involves running around the track for a longer interval at a faster pace. I'm trying to keep a positive perspective about these weekly sessions. Just ignore the sounds of my legs and lungs whimpering screaming. The majority of training though lies in your feet pounding the pavement four days a week. You just do it.

Consider the little conversation I had with my brain this morning. Beep. Beep. Beep. Alarm said it was time to get up. Brain and body started their debate. Body wanted to lie there. Brain, though foggy, knew that I would be grumpy later, mad at myself, knew that Scott had softball tonight, and it would NOT be a good idea to run at night and then get up for speed training the next morning. Body realized brain was right. Body grumbled, but obeyed. Most of running is mind over matter I suppose. You just do it.


Sunday Snippets

I am so thankful that after a session of snippets during worship service, I can return to God's word to get the full story.

2 Peter 1:3-11 was the focus today. I was struck most by verses 5-8:

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess the qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Hmmm, "make every effort" and "in increasing measure", I guess that means you should never allow yourself to stop growing and improving.


Scenes from a Birthday

Good Morning! Today (Tuesday) I am 4 years old! I'm so excited! I talk with lots of exclamation points because I am 4 years old!

These are the presents the Birthday Fairy left for me. I wonder who the Birthday Fairy is, maybe it's Mama and Daddy? I can't wait to open my presents. Hold on. I need to run around the house a bit, I'll be right back.

Mama and Daddy let me open 2 presents before Daddy left for work. I. LOVE. POLLY. POCKETS. I think I will sit here for 3 hours straight and change their clothes over and over. Wow! These clothes are TINY, but I can do it. I bet my my mama is wondering why she didn't get me some Polly Pockets sooner.

Mama tried to take a family self-portrait outside Mamacita's. Did you know South Texas is extremely humid and can fog up your glasses and cameras? Did you know my mama is addicted to Tex-Mex? That's okay, I love it too.

Here I am with my Pappo. I love him soooo much!

I helped Mama make a Cookies N Cream cake for my birthday. I even put the candles in myself. Hold on, I need to run around the house again. I'll be right back. Whew! I blew those candles out on my first try. I'm 4 you know.

I think I am celebrating my birthday ALL WEEK. This is cool! Yesterday, my friend Kannon sent me a present in the mail! Did you know I LOVE Goodie Mail? Look, he sent me magnetic paper dolls and lacing cards. I am sooo excited!

Kannon sent me a birthday card too. Look at the nice picture he drew. Thank you Kannon! You are my best friend!!

This morning I took cookies to my class at school so I can celebrate my birthday again. What fun! Tomorrow, my friends are coming over for my Backyard Birthday Bash!! I can't wait. Doesn't everybody celebrate their birthday all week? No? Well, I did. Turning 4 is the best!


Back 2 School Swap

I am delighted to report that another swap has been completed! I participated in Marta's Back 2 School swap. I decided to share a few of my favorite craft tools. Here is what I sent...

my favorite adhesives, Terrific Tacky Tape and Mono Adhesive. These are great for all kinds of paper crafts. I also shared the best scissors ever, Cutter Bee. They are small, sharp and just a bit sassy. Even though there are gobs of cool embellishments out there, and I love to ooh and aah over them, I'm still a fan of the simple brad. My favorite type of pen is a precise gel, so I sent along some Pilot Precise Ultra Fine gel pens and a little notebook that I embellished. I can't work on crafts without a bit of chocolate, so I included a little treat too.

Here are the goodies I received from my swap partner, Anna. First of all, each of her items came with a special quote. How creative!! She shared fabulous double stick tape, which was to adhere. "Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice." by Tom Watson. Next was a set of Sharpie markers, to create, with this quote, "I think all of us create our own miracles." by Michael Landon. All of these quotes were printed so neatly on cards she had made and filed in a hot pink organizer. "The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious." by Marcus Aurelius.

Anna was so sweet to send a surprise for Annelise! She was thrilled to open a cute little package and then find these...

handmade crayons. In the shape of hearts. Seriously sweet!! The quote for these was from Anna herself, "Let the imagination of a child color your world." Let me just say, I love Anna's brain and I love all of the swap goodies. Thank you Anna!

There are lots of swaps swirling around Blogville. If you haven't participated in one yet, go ahead and try it! Not only do you get to exchange fun goodies, but you meet a fellow blogger and expand your bloggy horizons a bit. Serious fun, folks.


Thank You

Sometime during this day, in 2003, a young woman went into labor, in a maternity hospital in Moscow, Russia. Months before she had made an incredible decision. She would carry this baby to term and place it up for adoption. We do not know her circumstances, but we know her heart. Her heart was full of love for this precious child. She took care of herself and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She made a wonderful gift for her baby, an opportunity, a future. Her heart was strong. She followed through. Thank you.

What was her story? I wish I knew. I thank her for her sacrifice. I thank her for loving her baby. I thank her for helping us become parents. I thank her for allowing us to give A. a home, a family and a story. Thank you.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


This is Where I Am

So, I got The Question this morning during my run. I get it from time to time. It's harmless, but it always makes me pause.

"Are you going to have any more children?"

I have a pat answer, usually with a laugh, "Oh...I don't know...we'll see what happens."

When I take the time to really think about it, I have deeper thoughts and plenty of questions. I am an only child. This is what I know. I have always wondered what having a brother or sister would have been like, but being an only has its own perks too. I remember my mom considering being a foster parent. I was so excited to possibly have a "sister". Then my mom mentioned sharing or not having any more Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (this was the late 70s early 80s folks) and I was kinda over the sister thing.

I would like for A. to have a brother or sister. She asks about it occasionally. She's too young for us to explain that it's just not that easy, at least for us. Here is where I am...

If it happens, that will be wonderful!! I know I am not up for more fertility treatments and everything that goes along with that. I'm kinda over that. That leaves another adoption. I'm just not up for that either. There are many reasons, from financial to arranging care for A. while we jet across the continents again. This leads up to some of my questions. "Why are some people able to have children, while others can't?" "Why do people who do not want to become pregnant, do so and then have to make difficult choices?" "Am I selfish for not actively pursuing another child?"

I know that my experiences have caused me to stretch and grow. If I can help others with their journey through fertility treatments or adoption, I would love to do so. I am a different person from going through both, and believe it or not, thankful for that.

This is where I am right now, but who knows what God has in store for us, right?


Sunday Snippets

Honestly, I'm scrambling for a snippet. My brain had a hard time focusing this morning. The sermon was again on prayer, taken from Isaiah 38-40.

I could try to share some snippets about Hezekiah's illness, his prayer and the Lord adding 15 years to his life, but I'd probably jumble it up.

I'll just share one of my favorite verses, because God's word never gets jumbled.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:29-31

What were some of your snippets?

Down to the Wire

I don't like things hanging over my head. Even though I know this about myself, I still tend to procrastinate until right before the deadline. Just as there are plenty of early birds that turn their assignment before the teacher finishes talking and mail their handmade Christmas cards out the day after Thanksgiving, I know I have plenty of company too. That's a comfort.

I did not get A.'s birthday party invitations made and mailed as early as I intended, but they did make it to the post office Friday afternoon. Yippee!! We are planning a backyard birthday bash next Saturday.

In order to find the surface of my craft table, I piled a bunch of stuff (to be dealt with later) into an empty storage tub, and got busy making her invitations. I enjoy making cards for all occasions. Many people appreciate a handmade card, which is one of the reasons I enjoy making them. I have also come to terms with the fact that the cards I make may end up in Wednesday's trash. That's okay. This year, because of my time crunch procrastination, I had to keep her invitations pretty simple. I also tried to remind myself that her social circle ranges from 2-5 year olds.

Later Friday evening I got to play with some more crafty stuff finishing up my swap items. I'll post pictures as soon as I know Anna receives her package. It was sent on its merry way yesterday. Yes, the day OF the deadline.

One of my new goals is to make a sincere effort to carve out some craft/creative time on a more regular basis. I tend to go crazy with it and then stop--but then I miss it. So, friends, I promise to work on this and post about future creative projects.

How do you carve out creative/craft time? What is your favorite creative pursuit? Are you an Ellie Early Bird or Polly Procrastinator?
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