My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's History

I was never much of a history lover in school. I took the courses, got good grades, and promptly forgot everything I learned. History was just a collection of names and dates, there was no continuity, no hands-on learning, no point. It was said by a foreign ambassador to the U.S. (I don't have the name or direct quote, I so wish I did!) that English is the only language in which "It's history" is synonymous with "It's irrelevant." 

Having been introduced to some fantastic history books since graduation, I have come to realize that I am absolutely a history lover! I was simply never given the tools that interested me along the way. As a homeschooling family we have the freedom to explore history however we choose. In preparation for our trip to Massachusetts, we read up on all things American Revolution, and by the time we left the boys were battling British soldiers in our backyard every day! They learned about Paul Revere, George Washington, the Boston Massacre. We looked at maps of Boston and found out where the tea was dumped into the harbor, followed Paul Revere's famous ride, and made a plan to visit as many historical sites on the Freedom Trail as we could manage. 

During the last week of our trip we picked a day to spend in downtown exploring the sites, beginning with the U.S.S. Constitution. We were able to climb aboard and explore a real ship... the kids were beside themselves with excitement! There were cannons, sails, riggings, hammocks, and they could touch them with their own hands. Talk about history coming alive!

We also visited Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church, Copp's Hill Burial Ground, Faneuil Hall, and the Old State House. By the end of it we were thoroughly exhausted, but we had learned so much! Since then, their interest in the American Revolution and American history hasn't even begun to wane. Lucian draws the U.S.S. Constitution every day, they still play Revolution and fire muskets at the British, and they always ask to check out library books about colonial times. It might not always be this easy to make history exciting, but I know that my kids won't soon forget what they learned about our country's early years.

Checking out our direction on the compass
Steep stairs to the lower deck

Each cannon had a name; my favorite was "Prudence".

Soldiers at attention!
U.S.S. Constitution

Inside the Old North Church
Paul Revere's House
The Old State House, and the site of the Boston Massacre

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lake Cabin Living

Kelley and Tim were able to take some time off from work, and Tim's generous friends let us use their lake cabin for a long weekend, so we decided to add a few more miles to our trip and head up to Maine! We stopped along the way for dinner, and Paul and I got to fulfill our goal of eating a whole lobster in Maine. It just seemed like an important thing to do. Let me tell you- it's not easy to eat a whole lobster! Maybe I'm not the most coordinated person, but it was hard work! Totally worth it though.

The area of Maine that we visited reminded me a lot of Northern Minnesota, with the addition of beautiful mountain scenery. It was wonderful and relaxing. The cabin was perfect with a screened back porch, a wood burning stove, a loft and several bedrooms. As was the case for much of our trip, we were threatened by rain almost every morning, but other than a few scattered showers the days all ended up gorgeous and sunny! The lake was freezing cold- it was May after all- but that didn't stop the boys from taking a dip. They also went canoeing, hiking, and fishing; what more could a couple of kids ask for? My only regret is that I didn't pack a single pair of shorts for the boys, I was expecting cold weather and rain for the whole trip! 

The two expectant mommies mostly got to relax on the dock in camp chairs while the men adventured with the kids, but we were right there for both hikes! Even thinking about those hikes now makes me break out into a sweat, but thankfully we timed the trip so that I was still able to walk more than 30 feet without feeling like falling over. 

We drove back to Kelley and Tim's on Sunday afternoon, and we got to continue the leisurely pace of our vacation while our hosts sadly had to go back to work. But thankfully we still had evenings to spend together... and our much-anticipated trip to downtown Boston to look forward to. Coming up next!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Destination Massachusetts

Kelley and Tim's house: a kid's dream come true! We had lots of plans for the time we spent with them, but even if we had simply stayed home every day, our kids would have been perfectly content. We arrived late at night on Tuesday and basically put the kids straight to bed. Both Kelley and Tim had to be up super early to work on Wednesday, so we tried to let them get to sleep at a decent hour.

In the morning, the boys went to explore the yard. And oh what a yard! Tim is a stonemason, so their property has lots of cool rocks to check out. Plus there is a river to throw rocks into, a path along the back of the property, dirt to dig in, and two awesome dogs to play with. Loki and Shay were a hit from the first moment the kids saw them. We were a little concerned about how Audrey would do around dogs bigger than she was, and it took a few days, but she fell madly in love with them!  She still talks about "Lookie-Say!" every time she sees another dog. Max loved to throw balls for them and run around in the yard with them, and Lucian just wanted to be near them. I think we have some animal lovers on our hands.

The kids all got the chance to ride a donkey named Tuxedo, and boy did they love it! They were led around a field in turns, then they got a chance to lead Tuxedo themselves. They pulled him along, attempting to lead him to fresh clover. But when he was done walking, he was done.

Another highlight included Hibachi Grill with the whole clan. Eating out with our three children is something we generally avoid, but with so many adults around it was pretty stress-free on this trip. The best dining experience for the kids was, by far, Hibachi. Flames, food flying, a hilarious chef, what's not to love? However, the chef's repeated refrain of "More Sake, more baby!" as he squirted sake into the mouths of the adults wasn't something I wanted to explain to my curious 6-year-old son.

Catching "Baby Sake" (water) in his mouth
The fire was big and close!

The time flew by full of ice cream, dogs, drawing, playing, and especially family. Megan even made the trip up from New York to spend some time with us! We visited downtown Boston (which deserves its own post) and spent a weekend in Maine (more on that later as well). I loved getting to know Tim better, as this was the first time we had spent with him and Kelley alone. Let's just say Paul and Tim have a lot in common in the whiskey department!

I am so excited to see Kelley as a mom, and I was glad to be able to be with her at least for a little part of our overlapping pregnancies. I can't wait until the time the two cousins get to meet!

Thank you for inviting us into your home, Kelley and Tim. We loved every minute of our visit!

Group picture the last night of our visit
Audrey gets rocked to sleep by Uncle Tim. He's a natural!
Loved spending time with Auntie Megan!
The boys found Kelley's Lord of the Rings cards and created their own game

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An Apology

Dear loyal readers,

Lest you think I have forgotten you, I assure you that is the farthest thing from the truth! In fact, I have tried to write a blog post nearly every day since the publishing of my last post, but it seems the fates are against me. I have so much to write about, and so little time before baby's arrival... but my computer and the weather have conspired to make posting nearly impossible. What with increasingly hot, humid weather, the thought of sitting in front of our computer upstairs in the sweltering guest room is more than I can bear, especially when our air conditioner unit is happily humming in the living room and Baby is only three weeks from due. (Read: swollen limbs, unnaturally high body temperature, extra pounds, etc). Plus there's the added annoyance of a photo file folder with a corrupted file, making my computer freeze nearly every time I try to upload pictures. Honestly, honestly, I have tried so many times! So for now you get a little teaser from a hike in Maine, and I promise I will keep trying to finish an actual post. But now it's time for me to go cool off... boy is it stifling in here!