moments from the week

Lijah smiling in a leaf pile

fall fun

Moments from the past week.

Lijah concentrating on cooking in the playhouse

concentrating on cooking

the boys looking at a book with Grandpa David

enjoying a good read

Zion feeding goats at Chip-In Farm

a visit to the goats

lots of kids at our table

Friday is a party

the boys checking out a big rusty machine on a hike

fun find on our hike

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happy Halloween

sheep Lijah, ninja Zion and bat Harvey posing in front of the house

the latest look for 2018

Another Halloween has come and gone. This one was pretty succussful; the kids wore costumes and got candy, and after trick-or-treating our friends joined us for a lovely relaxed pot-luck dinner. The lead-up was a little stressful, since I'm not that good at sewing or organizing, but the costumes got made—today, except for Lijah's, which is a hand-me-down—the cookies got baked and packaged, and we even had time for one non-Halloween chore: finally planting the garlic, on what seems like the first almost dry day in weeks.

Leah asks if we'll get to relax a little now that Halloween is over. I don't think so... there's always something. Lijah (who had a hard time deciding on a costume and so picked out something for the next three Halloweens) asked, after supper, how long it was til Christmas. Wait, my son! We have to stress about Thanksgiving first!

Happy Halloween!

glowing jack-o-lanterns

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the weekend's seaside adventure

This past weekend we took... not a vacation, entirely, but a trip at least to Cape Cod. Like we've done in the past, our church ran a retreat at a hotel in Falmouth; as a staff member, it was my privilege to help run the child care. Which was complicated slightly by Saturday's nor'easter. Never mind, it's always fun to be at the seaside! With full knowledge of the forecast we made the best of Friday's sunny weather with a stop at our second-favorite beachside playground on the way down.

the boys on the merry-go-round at the beachside playground in Falmouth

feels like vacation already

Our next stop was Woods Hole, where we met our best homeschool buddies at the aquarium. Last year the kids dashed through the exhibits in record time, but this time everybody was in the mood to really take things in, and we lingered for a while at each tank.

looking at a fish tank at the aquarium

engrossing

While in Woods Hole we also took in the museum where you can play in the replica Alvin's cockpit, and played on the little beach in the center of town. The mamas got coffee.

Then we all went to the hotel to check in. While the freshly caffeinated mamas took care of that, the kids and I explored the beach. It wasn't too cold to put our feet in the water—it never is, for us—but it was very cold. Numbingly cold. Luckily there was a tropically warm indoor pool nearby where we could warm up.

Zion, fully dressed, wading in the indoor baby pool

wading pool

In past years the retreat has included dinner, but we cut that this year to save on costs. So we went out to eat instead. It was wonderful; besides the quantities of fried seafood and french fries the kids were delighted by the touch-screen drink dispenser, and took in a startling quantity of pink lemonade with lemon, cherry, and strawberry flavor shots. "Mixing is fun!" they said.

the boys eating at Seafood Sam's

mmm, fish dinners!

We woke up the next day to howling wind and spitting rain. Leah laughs at bad weather, and took off before dawn to run a half marathon. That left me to see to packing up, but the kids are big now: they did a fantastic job of loading backpacks with everything they would need for the day and cramming everything else in the duffels, all in plenty of time to get down to breakfast before almost everyone else. That meant we could get a prime seat by the window, for the first time in the three years we've been visiting this hotel. We enjoyed watching the wind and the light-ship on the horizon for a while; and also the buffet.

Zion pouring ketchup onto his plate of sausages, bacon, and danishes

elegant ketchup

I kind of wondered breakfast by the window would be the closest we'd get to the ocean that day, it was that stormy out. Plus I was in charge of 32 elementary school kids. But while we did spend about six hours playing (very happily) in a windowless conference room, I did take a few brave souls out into the tempest to explore the beach and the secret pond. The pictures don't do the wild weather justice: the wind was blowing something fierce, but it was blowing directly out to see so it flattened the waves right out. They were probably something to see by the time they reached Connecticut...

kids walking along the windblown beach

adventurous

Oh, and we swam in the pool too. But I was having too much fun to photograph that. All that, and we were still home by 7:00. Maybe not a vacation, but a delightful adventure.

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moments from the week

the boys wading in the calm ocean late afternoon

Old Silver ocean

Moments from the past week.

Harvey and Zion listening to a guitarist at the farmers market

farmers market music

Lijah and Zion working with clay at the kitchen table

clay

the boys and Kamilah reaching into the touch tank at the Woods Hole aquarium

touching sea creatures

Lijah painting a pumpkin

seasonal craft

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"Let me go, she said..."

Lately when Mama has been driving the boys in her car they've been listening to an album by the band Cake that was on heavy rotation in my life some time back in the '90s. I haven't heard any of the tracks myself this time around—when we all go somewhere together we take the van, and the CD isn't in it. And yet it feels like more than half the time now I have one of the songs stuck in my head, thanks to hearing the boys sing it. Their version aren't that good, but they're enough to trigger a pretty good recall of those tunes I last heard, oh, 20 years ago. So that's something I've been thinking about...