Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer is officially here

This is the second day of sunny weather and though yesterday started out cloudy I actually got hot weeding the yard. Shane mowed and started work on the fence and I am so excited to be able to plan and make the yard cozy. We've been working on cleaning out the garage- I was able to park in it yesterday and it is still there today. I sort of started it by wanting to see if a pool table would fit and where it would go. Two trips to the dump and some organizing later we discovered a concrete floor. I keep wondering where all this stuff comes from and how I can stop it from multiplying. We still have some items to craigslist which at this point I am ready to give away just so I can have space. Or maybe trade for a pool table.

Pippin loves Curious George. It is fitting as he is very monkeyish himself. In looks and manner. We got him a stuffed one and he told me monkey had a poop and proceeded to get a diaper to fix it.

The kids are enjoying the weather and I am happy to be outside and grilling and not cold and wet every time I step out the door. I can see moving to a nicer climate and having weather like this all the time. It is great for the kids to not be cooped up for so many months. And if I ever missed cold and snow I could go somewhere for a break where I was sure to actually get some. Not just chance of mixed with rain. Shane took Cyril with him kiteboarding on Friday and Cyril had fun playing on the beach and finding crabs. Shane ordered a wetsuit for him and is going to start taking him body dragging in the water. I am thinking of trying it myself. I don't think I'll get hooked and somebody has to watch the kids, but at last I'd like to try. It is really good for Cyril to have special Papa time and I think it will be really good for his self confidence. I was surprised he wanted to go knowing he would be on the beach by himself. He cam home excited and eager to tell about how many crabs he'd found. It will also help give him somewhere else to focus his energies- besides teasing his sisters and hopefully he will find it more satisfying to be riding across the water than making the girls scream. One hopes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Pictures.....

Kateri and Jack had some pretty rough times getting along and every once in a while it was good to let them have some time away from each other. One day they we realized we had not heard from either of them in some time. Usually we just listened for the screams and knew where they were in the house and they were alive. N0ticing the silence we got worried and went to find them. Aaron discovered them in their bathroom. Upon being found Kateri hightailed it out of the room and Jack started crying. Aaron looked into the bathtub and found they had loaded all Tirzah and Aarons's clean laundry into the bathtub and then squirted toothpaste on top. After removing the clothes Tirzah discovered they had first dumped Jack's new bottle of shampoo all over the tub floor. It was good because we were nearing the end of the sick period and were running out of laundry. And something had to keep us from playing Scrabble. I am sure it was Kateri's idea. She is usually the instigator and gets Jack to go along with her brilliant schemes. At least they were getting along.
On one of our outings we went to Roanoke Island and the Queen Elizabeth Gardens. It was raining but Shane decided we should go ahead with the walk. Luckily, they had umbrellas. So we strolled down the soggy paths looking like giant mushrooms. But at least we were dry. Cameron opted to explore the fort from lost colony which turned out to be a big pile of dirt with a plaque reading "We don't actually know where the fort was so we made this pile of dirt in memoriam". I think ours was the better choice.
For lunch we found a restaurant called "Big Al's" which turned out to be a big mistake. The wait ended up being 45 min for a table and then another 30 min until we got some food. Cyprian was tired of being still and had to be walked until food came. Kateri at least was occupied with the disco ball and dance floor and entertained the rest of us by watching her spin around and around and trying to guess when and where she was going to fall. To top it all off the food was not worth the wait and not very suitable for recovering stomachs. We will put that one on our do not repeat list for sure.

More Pictures.....

Hatteras II

Another great thing about being home is the the grocery store. Produce there is a little limited and brands are limited. Last year everything we made came out slightly off and we ended up re-naming everything. Orange rolls were now "Hatteras Rolls". Steak fajitas were called "Hatteras Wraps". Anything with a Hatteras in the title was a warning- this does not taste right. I was the one who added extra milk to the orange rolls, but everything else just happened. The water is different and even the jugs of water from the store taste stale. I love being able to get tasty water from my fridge. The spices taste different, the meat was different. This year we did much better and Tirzah and Aaron stopped at the Costco in Norfolk so we had some familiar items. But even at Costco you can't get half and half without thickening agents. It just didn't taste the same. We had complaints from the boys that there were too many runs to the grocery store last year so we also prepared meal plans and were able to cut down on trips to the Food Lion. Our first trip took two very heavily loaded carts. Luckily the house had an elevator so we could just load it up downstairs and send it up to the fourth floor. It was slow and you could beat it by running the stairs but sometimes your legs would get tired. It makes the stairs at home a breeze- although after the lighthouse climb anything is.
The big kids were very brave this year and slept in their own room on the second floor. They are getting to a good age where they do things together and are a little more adventuresome. Last year they all slept on the floor in our room. Kateri on the other hand has never had any problems being miss independent. There is pretty much not a situation or person she can't handle, manage, or manipulate or sweet talk to her liking. And she loves telling people what to do. We think she'll end up being a CEO of a large corporation or go into espionage. Unfortunately, she also likes to torture anyone. " No Jack. You tant have my pants. You tant". She says it with so much attitude the recipient is certain they had actually desired her pants in the first place and are being denied their birthright. She was so cute at the airport and she charged ahead with her can-do stride, her hand on her hip, pulling her pink kitty suitcase. And no, she does not need help getting on and off the escalator or navigating a flight of steps. If you tell her she isn't capable of doing something she states very confidently "Yes, I tan". Her language skills need a little improving but right now they are pretty entertaining. Last year the phrase for Hatteras was "No pocket a mama/susah" (Tirzah). She would say it after every pool shot and then laugh hysterically. This year we were playing and she got a fit of the giggles and when Tirzah accused her of sneaking beer, she laughed and said " I neek a bee". I might miss it when she learns to talk but it does get difficult when she always needs a translator when communicating with non-family members.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hatteras Vacation 2007

Well, we made it home from vacation in one piece and after two weeks in Cape Hatteras really feel vacationed. Our journey there started off well. We had some time at the airport and decided to eat some dinner. I hadn't been in the new section they added but it was very nice with floor to ceiling windows and Cyprian was thrilled watching the planes and trucks outside while we sat at Anthony's and had clam chowder and maitais and creme brulee. And since it was a night flight the kids slept most of the way.

Shane says he could stay for a month but now that we are home I realize how much I missed being home. Especially my morning lattes. The house has no espresso maker- we are thinking of contributing one next time- and the nearest espresso was 45 min away and lets just say its not Starbucks. In the past we've only stayed one week but we decided once we've weathered the plane trip we might as well stay longer. It was very good we did. On day three Cyprian came down with the stomach flu and it slowly traveled through the rest of us over the next week. I had to change our or the kids sheets at least every other day. I don't know when I've done so much laundry. I was very thankful for the double washers and dryers. Fortunately we were all done by the time we had to head home so it was nice not having to worry about that on the plane trip.

We got a wide variety of weather over the two weeks and although we did get some strong winds I missed the near hurricane and lightning storms from before. I think the wind could have been better for kiteboarding but the guys got some good sessions in. The kids and I decided to go with Shane and Cameron one windy day so I could get some very shaky video. The wind was blowing so hard it gusted the camera this way and that and my hair was usually in my face so I had to point the camera in the general direction and hope to get something. The sand stung your face quite a bit and the kids huddled under towels and asked to go to the car. Finally the tape ran out so we sat cozy and safe in the car while Pippin napped until Shane gave a us a ride back home.

WE had some great sunny days and most of us got sunburns to prove it. We were there at the very beginning of the "in"season and often had the beach to ourselves. The only neighbor's house was empty the first week so we had a pretty private vacation. I don't think I'd like to be there later in the season. You'd get warmer days and the ocean would be swimmable- sans wetsuits- but we just cranked up the pool heat turned on Cameron's music list, which will forever be the "pool music" and got our good share of water time. The kids wanted to be swimming all the time and Cyprian was asking for the pool every day. The first morning home he opened his eyes at 6am and said "pool?" I preferred the hot tub myself, mostly. but I don't like being cold and even at 86 degrees if it was windy or the sun was not shining on it the pool was too cold for me.

One evening , after the boys played volleyball on the beach-we made a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. There are these night crabs that roam the shore so we took flashlights and some of us went searching for them. They are pretty good size- not to eat but to step on. Cyril said he counted 39 of them. I stayed by the fire. On one of the treks Craig, Shane's friend from work, found a Portuguese Man o'war. He brought it back on a shovel so we could all see it before he threw it into the water. I always imagined they were really big, hearing how poisonous they are, but the body of it was only4-5 inches across. Craig says they have even smaller ones in S. Africa, where he is from. I think the bonfire night was my favorite. Kateri and Pippin both fell asleep in our laps. The big "boys" played with glowing sticks and took pictures and Cameron informed us- after we'd eaten 3/4 of the bag- that marshmallows contain TSP.

We made more day trips this year to some of the surrounding area attractions. We ventured up to the lighthouse in Duck- I think-where we all climbed to the top. I discovered I don't like climbing lighthouses with open, see-through staircases while holding a baby and after snapping a few quick pictures at the top was ready to get down. I was glad I found out my dis-like on one of the shorter lighthouses and I was impressed with the kids, who didn't complain a single time. Afterwards, we walked through the Whalehead Club house, which was built in the 20's or 30's as a hunting lodge for Mr. Knight's wife. Who liked to hunt. The wife that is. It was very nice for a lodge and even had a large elevator and beautiful library. We stopped for lunch on the way home and to pick up a few trinkets. It was was nice to get some time out of the house and see some different sights.On our way out we ran into some traffic. The first house in Rodanthe was surrounded by cranes and people -watching from across the street. It looked like some cameras were set up and some tents. When we got home we looked up on Google and discovered that Richard Gere and Diane Lane are shooting a movie there called "Nights in Rodanthe" or something like that. The movie plot and Richard Gere are not interesting, but we'll have to see it just to see local shots.

We had nice full house the first week. Craig , Jim, and Marshall, from work came out and Marshall's wife for a few days. Cameron came out a couple days after we got there and my sister Tirzah, her husband Aaron, and their son Jack stayed the two full weeks. One night Aaron's friend came out and the guys had a poker night while the girls played Scrabble. From downstairs it sounded like they were having a pretty good party, laughing uproariously the whole time. It was good to hear them enjoying themselves so thoroughly.

During the days we'd play on the beach. Cyprian loved chasing birds and would take off running in any direction he saw one. He also loved the water and had no fear of the big waves. As soon as he heard one he would head straight into the water at full throttle. It was a little scary at times and I'd try to get him to sit and look for crabs or just shoot the birds with his stick. We discovered his other love, fishies.We went to the aquarium where he was in fishie heaven. We'll have to take him to the aquarium here sometime. He can get his fill of birdies on the waterfront there too.

If the weather was not too great or the kids were napping we'd play pool. I'm terrible at it but I still enjoy playing and after two weeks I think I improved a bit. I do miss playing in the evenings and think it would be fun to have a pool table at home. Shane says we could fit one in the garage, some day. All my wood projects are done so now it is just residual unpacking stuff and we could fit my car in. And maybe a pool table too.

After getting home we were all feeling a little of the after vacation blues. It was so relaxing to not have schedules or work and just be able to focus on having fun together- when we weren't focusing on laundry and sickness. I had cleaned out the fridge before we left so we decided to go out to dinner and celebrate coming home. We came home and listened to our pool music and danced and all crashed by 10:00- which is very early for us. I am liking the east coast schedule and the kids waking up at 6am- which I thought I'd never say- but it makes bedtime better and earlier and for Shane who gets up at 5am its a good thing. ON Sunday we got up early enough to go out to breakfast, go home and change and get to Liturgy by 11:00. WE finally went grocery shopping afterwards and had a relaxing evening with some yummy dinner and good wine and just enjoyed being together. Shane and I were discussing how every day should be like vacation and it is silly to have to go across the country to feel like you can take a break from things and have fun. We've committed to keeping that Hatteras feeling and planning more fun stuff. And even without a plan to just enjoy the day and not wait for that break or vacation to take it easy and enjoy being together. Maybe we'll have mock "pool nights" plan some poker parties and I'll start looking on Craigslist for a pool table. I'm having a little trouble getting back into our routine- which is good and bad. I decided I'll wait a little before finishing up our schoolwork- not that school is ever finished. I think Audrey read four books on our trip.