Sunday, August 21, 2005

NH '05

Here's a sampling of pictures from NH, as you can see the quality is not that great-- disposable camera, and all.

Ellie fishing from the dock

Noah playing in the sand (happy until he decides to suck his thumb) / Me and Ellie

The Hodges' two week old kitten

So we are back...

Some highlights from the week:

1. Blueberry picking with E- It is very clear that E is my daughter, and this is further evidence. As long as I can remember, picking blueberries has been one of my favorite things to do on the island. Going to my favorite spots on the island, standing in the solitude of the woods with the sounds of the waves lapping on the rocks nearby. Picking clumps of ripe berries off the bushes and watching my bucket slowly fill as the berries go from making a "plink, plank, plunk" sound to a soft "plop". It's a nice activity to do alone, as you can really just slow down and think, but it's also nice to have company, someone to chat with and pass the time together. The first thing that E did when we arrived was to race off to find blueberry bushes and pick and eat to her heart's delight (much as I remember doing). Later, when I had unpacked and settled in, I grabbed a container, and E and I set off together to find berries for the next morning's breakfast. It was a bit reminiscent of Blueberries for Sal (minus the bear), I picked and E sometimes gave helpful handfuls, but more often just ate the berries she picked. A couple of times she wandered off by herself to sit and pick and eat in a "special" spot that she had found. Throughout the week we enjoyed several picking times together, and it gave me joy to share something that is so special to me with my daughter.

2. Seeing a bald eagle- We spent many mornings sitting in the boat, as it was still tied to the dock, reading our various books, soaking in the sun. One such day Ed happened to look up, and spied what he thought was a bald eagle. Sure enough, it circled around again, and it was an eagle! We saw it a couple of other times, and it was always a thrill!

3. Campfires- Days on the island are usually warm and breezy, while nights are cool. This makes it the perfect place for campfires. The heat of the fire was welcome in the cool of the night, and there was enough breeze to blow the smoke away. Ed and I built a couple after the kids had gone to bed and spent some nights sitting by the lake watching the stars, and some fireworks shows (almost every night at 9), and the mesmerizing flames of the fire as the wood was slowly reduced to glowing red embers.

4. Ed and E time- Ed and E were able to spend some precious father-daughter time together while N napped. One of their activities was fishing. E had been looking forward to fishing for almost a year now. She "gave" Ed a small child-sized rod for father's day, and we bought worms when we arrived. Ed rowed her out in a small aluminum boat, and the two of them sat there for about an hour. E caught a large bass right away, they lost a couple of worms to some smart fish, and Ed caught a couple of smaller fish. E loved it, and was reluctant to return to shore. A couple of days later they fished off the dock and caught some sunnies until the worms ran out. The other activity was kayaking. Ed took E on 3 separate expeditions, to see other islands in the lake. They both really enjoyed this time together, even though we had to force E to go the first time (she was nervous about going in the kayak). They even saw a loon and watched it fishing and swimming in a cove by Stampact (the largest island on the lake). Near the end of the week E went up to Ed, gave him a big hug, and took his face in her hands and said, "I like being together, just our family, and having you with us. It's more fun when you're with us."

5. N- I would be remiss if I didn't write something about N here. He was working on standing all week, briefly rising and then falling forward onto his hands as we applauded his efforts. He didn't like the fast part of the boat rides when we raced across the lake, but he loved the quiet parts in the river when he could wave at all the other boats and people that we passed. He loved eating at the table because he stood on the long bench to eat (instead of strapped into a high chair), free to roam back and forth from his plate to mine, picking off whatever looked good to him. He also enjoyed playing the piano, much to E's frustration, "He always plays when I am playing, and he messes my song up". Aaah, the life of a big sister.

We definitely missed having other people to share the time with. I thought of our friends and family often as we did various activities through the week--- riding in the boat (E and Allison would have liked sitting together up front), fishing (picturing the Landis boys in the boat with E), exploring in the woods (Grayson leading E in make-believe games), campfires (remembering fires in years past that Andrew made), quiet nights (loud, rowdy game nights with my family around the coleman lantern at the kitchen table). But each year is different, and special in its own way, making memories for years to come. I am thankful for the time we had together, before the rush of the new school year carries us away in activities and busyness.

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