A treasure hunt!

By Friday, everyone had arrived at Deep Creek. It was a big crew. Sean, NanaPapaAuntMaggieEvelyn, Aunt Ginger, Uncle Don, Aunt Joanne, Uncle Mark, and of course Wes, Madeline, and me. Aunt Joanne helped organize a treasure hunt for Wes and Evelyn. Which was so fun for both and kept them separate for a little bit of time. Something I think we all needed at this point of the trip.

What a “surprise” it was to find sparkly stones and seashells in the backyard of our house! How could they have possibly gotten there?!

After finding the “surprises” everyone was so excited to see what other treasures we could find! A feather, bird houses, a hornet’s nest, and countless rocks and leaves. Both bags of mostly countless rocks and leaves were promptly dumped on Maggie’s lap when she arrived. She was a good sport about it.

Right before Maggie arrived we built a fire for s’smores a little later. It was getting a little chilly and how hilarious is Evelyn turning just a summer chill into a whole Eskimo experience?

Friday turned out to be National S’mores Day! There was also a chance of rain but by great luck we got a s’more in right before the rain came!

I think this next picture happened the next day, but I want to mention our first annual cousin hammock picture. We used to take hammock pictures in the Adirondacks. So here’s the first one of this newest generation and one from the last (although not fully representative of all the cousins, just Maggie, Taylor, me, and Nikki.)

Guess I should add hammock picture taking to the lists of great things about both Adirondack trips and Deep Creek trips. I can’t wait to see how the faces in this new picture change over time!

47 weeks

47 weeksMadeline is starting to stand on her own! It’s so very exciting! I’ve been so excited for walking to start and we are getting so close! Here’s a quick video our neighbor took. I love love that she is also clapping for herself when she’s done. She does that even if no one else is clapping. Love that self encouragement.


Deep Creek State Park

While I obviously struggled during my first vacation with children, there were of course so many great times. Our day at Deep Creek Stare Park is the first of a few I’ll separate out.

Do remember that Wes had this wish list of places to visit for the summer? I never thought we’d accomplish his list because I didn’t think lakes had sand and we’re not really beach lovers, but it turns out the lake at Deep Creek State Park does and so we checked off everything! I’m so pleased! Anyway, we went to the lake beach just once. On our first full day. I wish we had gone back. The sand and water were so fun!

Hooray, beach, Madeline says! She loved the sand, but she didn’t eat it! Which was great but really surprised me.

Also, portrait mode on the iPhone! How amazing is this feature?! I think I had used it one time before and then this trip Maggie took all of these amazing pictures. I really never need a real camera again.

Wes, of course, loved the sand too. He had trouble getting into lake swimming. It really is a unique experience. I had a little trouble at first getting back into it. The bottom was super squishy at the house we rented and very rocky at the state park. Hopefully with time he’ll get the hang of it.

Red solo cups for the win! A trick I’ve learned from other moms. When you find yourself somewhere that you would care if a sand toy was lost but still want a sand toy, just buy a bunch of solo cups! Wes observed a few boys playing in the sand and he went up, introduced himself, and asked if he could play. I think they were unsure if him at first but were very interested in his solo cups, so they let him play. And he eventually got his hands on their big bucket! So that’s what happens when you introduce yourself and have solo cups!

Then Nana gave him dinosaur legs right before we left for the day. So happy we were able to check this one off of Wes’s summer bucket list!

Deep Creek Lake

Growing up, my Papa and Steppie had a house by a lake in the Adirondacks. A trip to upstate New York, with a stop at that lake house, was part of our summer vacation every year until I graduated from high school? Maybe just a few years before that?

It was pretty magical, these trips to the Adirondacks. I loved every lake swimming, motor boat riding, Jelly Belly and Half Moon cookies and popover eating, Saranac root beer drinking, deer feeding from my hand, Jeep riding into town moment of that experience. Magical.

When my parents told me they were going to rent a cabin in Deep Creek for 10 days, I said we will be there the whole time! I want to create some lake magic!

When I thought about creating lake magic it was more of a recreation of lake magic for me that would spill over to my children. I got it wrong. Instead, I created lake magic for my children that maybe splashed over to me. Trickled maybe? I got a drop?

I was too busy being the mother this time.  Turns out being too busy being the mother can wreck a vacation if you’re not careful.  I was not careful.  Is that a lesson one is able to learn in time?  Is the answer no?  Is this one of those reasons all the mothers in elevators are telling me to enjoy this time?  Because we’re too busy being the mother to be careful and so all we can do is tell the next round of mothers to be careful?  Does that make anyone else want to cry?

I left our time at Deep Creek thinking never again! But that’s not true. Because looking at these pictures and remembering every lake swimming, Swan raft riding, s’mores and monkey bread and ice cream for dinner and kettle corn eating, chicken feeding, lavender farm and goat cheese store visiting moment of this trip, I realize it was pretty magical. I just hope I can remember next time that it’s going to be chaotic and wild but that’s part of how the magic is made so just relax.

I actually can’t wait to go back. Plus anyone else wishing they had purchased 97 more bags of kettle corn?!

46 Weeks

46 weeks.jpgMadeline is waving all the time and I love it.  I also love how we’ll be in a store and she sees a stranger and wants to wave or smile so she’ll coo to get that person’s attention.  So often they don’t look at her.  I vaguely remember this with Wes.  This love for my friendly child and this conflict that the entire world isn’t stopping what they are doing to appreciate this 10 month old trying to greet them.

Madeline also has a group of “girlfriends,” stuffed animals that are girls.  She screeches with delight when she sees them and gives them a great big hug.  It’s so cute!

A morning at the farm

Frying Pan Farm Park is a favorite of ours and I’ve written about it before. Wes and Madeline have been recently when Rich and Beth were watching them, but I hadn’t taken them in awhile. I really love this place!

We were meeting friends, if we got there a little before them. So we played on the tractors and when they arrived and we went back to the tractors! Amazing how much simple things really occupied the kids for a decent amount of time.

The sign coming in promised lots of baby animals. Baby pigs, cats, bunnies. We only saw baby goats.

Can you tell that there are two chickens back there swinging on a swing?! It really tickled me for some reason.

Their vegetable garden was open. We all had a fun time seeing the vegetables growing right there in the garden. I want a vegetable garden so bad. We have some plans for one but aren’t sure it will get enough sun. Having the kids care for their own vegetables, things that then end up on our dinner table, seems like a really rewarding experience. Hopefully someday!

We finished with a carousel ride! It was such a good morning! Fun to be with friends, and everyone did great! Madeline is not an on the go napper, but I thought I’d see how an outing would go even though she should have been taking a morning nap. It went great! I will probably continue to respect the morning nap for as long as she needs me to, but it was nice to know she can be more flexible than I thought. I’m still anxiously awaiting the days of just one nap!

45 weeks

45 weeks

We have been in Deep Creek, Maryland with my parents and some aunts and uncles for Madeline’s 45th week.  She has been so smiley and flirty (and a little bit clingy), and it’s so fun to watch!  It’s kind of how she is with Sean but just all the time here.  Well, mostly with my aunt Ginger, but much more smiley overall.

I have this idea, I think from her earliest days, that Madeline is not as flexible of a baby as Wes. And while I know she isn’t flexible enough to nap on the go (which really is okay with me), she has been great on this trip! I’m glad I can correct my thinking about her lack of flexibility.


When I explain to Wes that these four are coming for a visit, sometimes I will shorten it to Nana & Papa. Because the whole thing is a mouth full. Wes is always quick to correct that it’s “NanaPapaAuntMaggie&Evelyn” and it gets all mashed together like that. They are a unit and no name can be excluded. Those four came to visit us four a few weekends ago.

It was hot but still a nice enough day to get outside. This is the “Ant House,” one of Wes’s favorite digging places on our street. Wes could dig to the center of the Earth. Have I mentioned that before? I think I may have. It is named the “Ant House” because you can often find ants there, just like we did on this day.

Another favorite digging place. I think in the fall it was called “The Castle” but may be nameless now.

It was very cute to watch them trace each other and then spot the random arms or other body parts in the middle of those tracings.

As close to an on the ground cousin picture as we will probably get these days. (Past cousin pictures here and here and here.)

Nana’s turn!

I had been hearing great things about an ice cream shop in Clifton, VA. So I thought it would be fun to take everyone there. We had a nice dinner followed by a visit to a train car.

Wes and Evelyn really wanted to find a way in!

My mom asked Wes where he was driving. “Kansas City!” Luckily for him we are headed there later this month! Although not by train, even though he keeps making that request.

We had started to leave the train car when lucky us! A real train rolled on by!

Clifton is a very cute little town. The Main Street here is very small, but it’s so cute! I can’t wait to go back!

Totally missed that the train was not for climbing! Sean saved us on that one.

We finished our night with really great ice cream! Such a great visit and a fun little night out in Clifton. I had wanted to get a group picture but that did not happen. Another time, hopefully.

44 weeks

44 weeks.jpg

Madeline has no patience for non-interactive books.  She wants “Dear Zoo,” “Pat the Bunny,” and “Peek-a-Who?”  If the book doesn’t not have some kind of flap she’s rushing through the pages.  Can we get to the fun stuff already?  Wait, there’s no fun stuff, why are we reading this?!  I’m still trying to sneak in non-interactive books when I can, but it’s definitely not her favorite.

The struggle is real trying to figure out how to get Wes to play nicely with Madeline.  I wonder if she’s keeping a tally in her head of all the pushes and pinches and will come back for her revenge as soon as she can figure out how.  I know this won’t change, but I’m a little surprised by how early it’s started that they’ll play with each other and mostly nicely and then all of a sudden it’s such a crisis!  I had a friend tell me her son and daughter with a similar age difference don’t fight…do you think that was really true?

Lunch with Dad

A few Fridays ago the three of us took a trip into DC to have lunch with Sean. What a big time! The last time Wes and I did this, I was still pregnant with Madeline. And the time before that was our first time when Wes was Madeline’s age! Oh my gosh!

Between construction and tow trucks and being with Dad and hotels and people everything the city has to offer, there was such excitement from Wes. He’s in this phase where he refers to Sean as “my dad.” “Is my dad home?” “Where is my dad?” “Is my dad having lunch?” I don’t know if he’s trying to distinguish that I have a different dad or take ownership of the dad in our house away from Madeline or what, but I think it’s sweet.

I got sushi! Helped satisfy that craving from way back on my birthday!

We walked Sean to his office (that building in the background, if you’re curious) and then back to the car. Wes was so sad about leaving Sean. So sad that “my dad” couldn’t come home and not fully grasping that the next day was Saturday and he’d be home with us anyway. When do kids have a better understanding of time? It’s so funny to me how at dinner we might talk about what’s happening the next day and he’ll ask “today?” and I’ll explain that I was talking about tomorrow and he’ll again ask “today?” Maybe it’s just Wes.

As we drove out of the city I knew that I could get myself home, except I know it better by sight than street names and when we pulled out of the garage I had a hard time thinking through the streets so I used my phone to map it. It took me a way I didn’t want to go and so I said, mostly to myself but out loud, “I don’t want to go this way but I don’t want to make a bad decision.” And from the back seat I hear “don’t make a bad decision, Mom.” So I followed the phone. It was fine. Right before getting on the highway I didn’t like how a few cars cut me off and if I said something I don’t remember what. Then I hear from the back seat ” relax, Mom. They can turn. It’s their chance.” I laughed both times, especially that second time. Because when you are the car cutting someone off but not meaning to so you can avoid taking the wrong turn, it really does feel like your chance. Sometimes I’m so surprised by how grown up his comments can sound. And sometimes we go back and forth 10 times about “today?”