Sunday, August 16, 2009

Home from Vacation

Oh, that was such a nice week! I had everything packed and ready, so we left by 11 am on Saturday (only an hour later than I'd planned). We hit waaay more traffic than I'd expected between here and Kittery, but after that it was smooth sailing.

We finally arrived at the cottage, on Orrs Island, around 3pm. The owner was just ready to leave, so it was good that I was able to meet up with her right away. The cottage was just lovely. Here is the link to the Vacation Rentals By Owner page.

We Unpacked the car - because we had the boys' bikes inside the minivan, we'd borrowed a roof pack for all the luggage. The area was a heck of a lot hillier than I'd expected, and I never even used my bike. The boys bikes a little, and David took one ride with Sam. And we kept Sofia's little trike on the porch for use close to home!

We went into Brunswick, the nearest "city", about a 20 minute drive, for dinner and grocery shopping that night. Sofia was a little wild, but we did find an Italian restaurant with a gluten-free menu, so she was able to have pizza.

Sam got his own room, and Sofia and Micah shared what was apparently the brightest room in the house - both of them were awake before 5:30 am EVERY DAY. Which means, of course, that so was I. But the couches in the living room were cozy, so I was usually able to doze while they played or watched DVDs on my laptop (a trick we've been doing since Italy in 2004 - always bring a laptop and a selection of kiddie DVDs). Sam mostly slept a bit later, but sometimes Sofia ran in to wake him up before I could stop her. I tried to let David sleep, since he generally falls asleep way later than I do. One morning, when he took the bike ride with Sam, I actually fell asleep on the porch swing while the two little ones watched a movie.

Sunday morning we walked up to the Orrs Island Fire House, where they were having an Auction and junk sale. It was very interesting. Orrs Island was very...white. Very goyishe. Very Maine-typical. David did a bit of reading on the history of the island - turns out there had been a large KKK presence at one point. OY!

But everyone was friendly enough. Our kids, of course, are wicked-cute! And I could not tell if many people noticed Sofia's extra chromosome. Once, in Freeport, I rather surprised a lady in a shoe store. She'd asked how old Sofia was, because her daughter was the same age but really tall. I explained that the growth curve with Down syndrome is much slower, and she seemed really surprised, as if she hadn't even noticed. It was so interesting (especially compared to my pre-vacation post about my mother). Throughout the week, I don't think I ever saw another person with DS, and only a handful of people with other noticeable differences.

Most afternoons, the boys went to the cove to "hunt" for hermit crabs and snails, and they usually came back with a couple of buckets full. And they left said buckets on the glass table on the porch, which meant that each evening, I was treated to a concert of snails dropping overboard as they climbed out of their buckets. The best thing was that, on each of these excursions to the cove (David usually went with them; I went once, but otherwise stayed home with Sofia), the boys got along fantastically well. It was great to see. This was exactly what I'd wanted from a Family Vacation.

We went up to Bath one day and explored the shops there, and spent another day (and a lot of money) in Freeport. I got a pair of knee-high leather fringed boots; I need some opinions from my "peeps" because I think I may look too silly in them, but I do like them. David got several pairs of shoes this week, including hiking boots which he then returned a few days later. (And an annoying note: although L.L.Bean guarantees their products, and David was told by the sales clerk that he could try out the boots on a hike, it turns out that, since there was then dirt on the boots, they just throw them away! They have no way to clean them up and donate them! It's horrible.)

I exchanged Micah's old broken backpack for a new one, but then in the outlet store we actually found another kid's backpack that had MICAH on it! He didn't like it as much, so he wants it to be his back-up bag - it was cheap enough that David said ok.

We also went to the Topsham Fair one morning. The kids fed the goats and bunnies, and the boys watched Ox Judging while Sofia and I wandered. When we stopped for a snack, we ended up having a great conversation with another mom - I noticed that her younger child had Coclear Implants. I asked, to be sure, and then explained to Sammy what they were - the mom was VERY impressed with my explanation. And we got onto a whole discussion about Sign Language, and Signing Times (I told her how our friend R got a visit from Rachel and Alex and Leah and Hopkins as part of his Make-a-Wish treat). And while we were talking, an older gentleman sat down with us and his young son, who he'd adopted in Cambodia, and he also had a lot of experience with sign language because he'd worked in an orphanage there! Very cool.

I'm drawing a blank on a couple of days, but we did relax a lot, and I actually finished one whoel book and started another. Thursday we went to Portland, wandered a bit, and wnet on a Windjammer Cruise for a few (not-so-windy) hours in the bay. It was a nice day, and we bought a few nifty things (I got a silk Indian skirt for $10).

We also took a hike, on Friday morning (which was the hottest day yet, but it was cool enough in the woods by the water). The boys loved it, but Sofia kept needing to be carried, so my hips were aching by the time we were done. We wandered around Brunswick some more (found a whole Gluten-Free bakery and market!) and had lunch there before going back ot the cottage to relax and pack.

Got out by 9am Saturday, stopped in Freeport to return David's boots, and then went to Ogonquit, where my friend J has a cottage. Her daughters are both friends with my boys (Sam and T were born 5 days apart, and we have photos of them together since they were very little babies), and T had just returned from 8 weeks at camp. We spent the day on the beach with them (and with another family we know from our shul, who also have a cottage there). The kids all had a blast, but watching Sofia on the beach is EXHAUSTING. She loves loves loves the water, and did not care how blue and shivery she was.

We stopped in Kittery to get some dinner (and Sofia promptly dumped half a bowl of soup on the bench), and got home by aout 8:30 pm. Today, we did manage to go out for breakfast and then a quick grocery run, but then we stayed home all day. I got a migraine, so I napped for a few hours, and I've spent most of the late afternoon and evening trying to post my photos. Stay tuned - the pages still have not published correctly. ARGH!

All three kids will be home this week, but I intend to spend a lot of time at the pool. David is going to Texas for a few days. Next week, Sammy goes to sleep-away camp for four days/three nights, so we also have to get him ready now. And then the boys start school on the 2nd of September!

Photo pages just failed to publish again. Keep checking back...