Archive for August, 2007

Sailing Days…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2007 by Hitty Jean

Last weekend was spent on the sailboat.  It is always nice to be on the boat, as we are all together in such a small space (two adults, three children, two dogs) that we simply must relate.  At home, we are often spread out, each person an island, doing our own thing.  Not an option on the boat.

The boating "culture" is so good for the girls.  Dassa quickly gained confidence and can climb from our boat to the dingy or launch without hesitation.  Tater and Pit~Pat discovered the thrill of "Captaining" the dingy.  Pit~Pat enjoys flitting about on deck. 

The girls also enjoy great naps on board:

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Below is a picture of Dan, Dassa and Pit~Pat on the launch.  We had just arrived, and note the FOG!  The water was a bit rough.  The look on Dan’s face says it all.  He LOVES boats.  Pit~Pat and Dassa are still acclimating.  I love how big sis has her arm around little sis:

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Tater is 11, and she discovered that she REALLY likes steering the dingy.  Girl Power!

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She had no trouble at all motoring us across the harbor to Dutch Island.  There, the family quickly scattered.  I was looking for interesting rocks and shells:

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Dassa was enjoying the terrain with Daddy following closely behind:

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And the big girls were "rescuing" starfish.  They are everywhere in this neck of the woods.  Here, they are holding some of the recipients of their charity, before  reuniting them with the sea:

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Dassa figured out pretty quickly that this was the game to play and joined up with her sisters.  Such excitement when a new herd of starfish was discovered!

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They were everywhere:

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Many treasures filled our pockets…Dassa was so proud of her discoveries:

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Dan was ready to head on over to the other side of the island, to the lighthouse, which was our original plan:

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I could have let the girls dawdle all day on that rocky shore, and allowed the day to organically unfurl.  I think that being in the business world may be the cause of his "Let’s Go!" attitude, where I never truly have deadlines at home, and am probably more relaxed because of this.  (I must stop now and thank you, Dan, for making it possible for me to stay at home.  I am so lucky.)

Anyway…

Hiking to the lighthouse involved some serious terrain.  Once again, sisters helped sisters.  I love that.

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Dassa loved the hiking.  She was determined to do it herself, even though there is only a very primitive path on the island, with lots of very tall  weeds and grasses.  She was quite cheerful, (until a rude thorn bush attacked her little wee ankle.)

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It was well past lunchtime at this point.  And, unfortunately, the Hungry~Crankies were setting in:

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And the dingy was pretty far away:

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We did make it to the lighthouse, which is being restored:

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Kind Dad decided it would be best if he went back solo and got the dingy.  Good plan.  In the meantime, Pit~Pat had withered:

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But not before finding a few treasures of her own:

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Tater, on the other hand, had become increasingly agitated at the amount of litter she was noticing.  So much so that she began a campaign to clean up the island.  "Seals and whales choke on these!" she exclaimed over plastic bags.  "Fish get caught in these!" she exclaimed over plastic netting.  By the time Dan returned with the dingy, she had amassed a garbage bag full of….well, garbage!  Here she is with her trash upon our return:

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Of course, that was after she motored us there, with a little help from Dassa.  Dassa rowed us along so that we would go "extra fast!"

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Pit~Pat tried steering for a bit, also, but quickly decided it wasn’t her thing:

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Later, Dan and Tater did a bit of kayaking in the harbor.  They had a ball!

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Basically, we swung around on the mooring for three days.  The plan had been to sail to Block Island, but life got in the way.  For one thing, Fanny~Mae had some sort of attack and couldn’t breathe.  Here she is moments before we rushed her to the vet:

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She spent the day at the clinic, and is fine now (phew!) but that ended our plans to leave for the boat.

Things like home renovations also happened instead of boating:

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Dan is pretty handy.

Had we not had a deadline, we probably would have made that voyage.  But we did have a deadline, so swinging on the mooring was our thing.

What deadline??

The first day of school!!!

Here they are…Tater’s first day of 6th Grade, and Pit~Pat’s first day of 4th Grade:

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Those Morning Glories sure do come through each year for the pictures! 

Oh-and their first days went well!  Even Pitter, who was not too happy that she was being bussed off to 4th Grade, has come home after the first two days of school in a very positive mood!

Phew!

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Pondology

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2007 by Hitty Jean

The Summer before Pit~Pat went to Kindergarten, and Tater was about to enter Second Grade, I was the mother of a newborn.  At the last minute, I frantically registered the two "big girls" for camp.  "Pondology" was the name of one of the classes they would be taking, and Pit~Pat couldn’t wait.  She told anyone that would listen that she was going to Camp, and that she was taking Pond-Ollergy.  She was psyched.  Not to mention, she was also doing Cooking – with MRS. G!!!  And everyone that knew Pit~Pat knew that she was hoping to have Mrs. G as her Kindergarten teacher, because Mrs. G was so funny!  Well, she did get the beloved Mrs. G and Pondology was great and she even cooked some fun foods that summer, along with Tater, while I tried desperately to get my act together and figure out how to parent three children.

The point is, Pondology was really my thing.  I signed them up because I wanted to go, too.  And would have, if parents were allowed and I didn’t have a newborn to take care of.  I have always liked ponds.  I always wanted to live near a pond.  But our yard was pond-free.

Sweet guy that he is, Dan eventually built a pond in the back yard.  First, he had to research, plan, and procrastinate.  Then, he dug and dug.  I told the girls he was digging to China and I think they believed me.  He purchased a liner (after more meticulous research and procrastination) and finally there was a pond. 

No, not really.  The "pond" ended up spending the summer covered up by a tarp-thing that would keep it dark in the pond so that gunk didn’t grow.  We actually had some frogs move in, all on their own that summer.  (They must have been the not-so-very-smart ones.)  The "pond" was an eyesore.

Next Summer, despite the ugly tarp-thing, gunk was thriving in our "pond."  So Dan drained it and started over.  He wasn’t happy with the brick edging he had installed, and tried painting it black.  Still not happy.  While we were on the "Girls Only" trip that year, he edged it with stones.  It was a vast improvement.  Except the gunk.

Fast forward to the next summer…(which was last Summer.)  After the now-annual gunk cleaning, snails were purchased.  And some water lilys!  And they lived!  But it was still a murky looking mess.  And too late to do anything, as it was Autumn by then.

This Spring, Dassa and I caught some tadpoles and put them into our murky, lily padded pond.  We also brought home somekind of neato green pond plant that floats on top of the water and put that in.  In all, we ended up putting in ten tadpoles.  I was sure we had killed them, as I could never catch sight of them in the murky depths of our swamp pond.  It really was beginning to look like a pond now, however, and the snails were thriving, as were the lily pads and green floaty stuff.  So we held out hope. 

And, lo and behold, one day…FROGS!!!  Two frogs!  Yippee!!!

A week later, we realized we had at least TEN frogs!  Now, we are up to a peak of twelve.  They are sooooooo cool!  And our water is clear!  And, we have pink, yellow and white lily flowers!  Every day is a lesson in Pondology here.  It is just as wonderful as I had imagined.  It just took a while.  :o)

Here are our adorable frogs: 

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Rafting on a Lily:

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Rear View:

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I just love their cute little back legs:

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And the frogs love the Lily Pads:

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Buddies:

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Rib-bit!

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Dinner on a COOL Summer Night

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2007 by Hitty Jean

We have just had the most delightful, perfectly enjoyable bout of cool, Autumn-y weather here.  Being one that turns into a sweltered, melting mess at the first signs of overheating, I was in Heaven!  I could even bake things, and make yummy dinners that didn’t have the word "salad" in them.  (Or at least not as the main dish.)  Tater was thrilled, too, when I made Chicken Pot Pie for dinner the other night.  She told me it had to be photographed.  It was a pretty pie, after all:

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The heat is officially back today.  Possible record-breaking heat tomorrow.  Ugh.

Almost Picnic

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2007 by Hitty Jean

Pit~Pat wanted a picnic.  And when Pit~Pat wants something, she wants it…YESTERDAY!!!  So, since I was feeling lazy, she called her Pawbee.  (Grandma, in our language…)  Pawbee loves picnics, and immediately said, "YES!"

I envisioned a park picnic bench (Pawb’s can’t do the picnic blanket thing – bad knees) or some other outdoorsy spot for our venue.  Pawbee took us to a picnic table outside the Community Center.

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Okay, the view was nice, and the picnic table looked cute with all the picnic-y stuff on it, and the picnic lunch Pawbee had made us was clever and presented exceptionally well:

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But why does it appear that Pit~Pat is gritting her teeth?  And what is Dassa so worried about?

Ah, it turns out that Yellow Jackets like picnics, too!

The new venue turned out to be just perfect:

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A Month From Today…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2007 by Hitty Jean

…it will be the eve of my 40th Birthday.  So much has happened in the last four decades…ha, ha…

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I am surprised to find myself looking forward to my 40’s!

Now, to think of the ULTIMATE present and start hinting to Dan…

A Visit with Hitty…in Bermuda!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2007 by Hitty Jean

Hitty Apple had been planning for this trip all summer.  At the last minute, Miss VanDroo became overwhelmed with all the housework and Bittys to care for.  Hitty Apple suggested that she come along to Bermuda with her, if only for a bit of R&R.  Miss VanDroo was reluctant to leave Hitty Maple with so much to do on her own, but in the end the Hittys insisted, and she came along.

"Best decision…EVER," states Miss VanDroo.

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Fresh off the ship, Miss VanDroo and Hitty Apple paused for a quick photo next to a Statue of Admiral Sir George Somers (1554-1610).  Miss VanDroo explained the history to Hitty Apple:

"In 1609, Somers was made Admiral of the Virginia Company’s Supply Relief Fleet, which left Britain for the Virginia Colony of Jamestown. On July 25, 1609, battered by a huge storm, his ship the Sea Venture was wrecked off the reefs of Bermuda’s Discovery Bay.  Somers and the other survivors were presumed dead by those who continued on to Virginia.  Instead, Somers and others remained in Bermuda for 10 months.  They built a church and some housing there.  (Thus, the British came to occupy Bermuda.)  And, goodness, by the time Somers and his crew arrived in Jamestown, the settlers there were starving.  Their supplies saved Jamestown from being abandonned!  Still, George Somers loved Bermuda so much, he asked that, upon his death, his heart be buried here.  His body was returned to England."

Hitty Apple found this story to be so romantic.  A man in so love with his island.  And of course, any time a Hitty (or friend thereof) thinks of a shipwreck, she can’t help but be reminded of Ancestor Hitty, who was shipwrecked and lived as a castaway for a time as well.

Back to the trip…

Hitty Apple is ever the Naturalist.  She enjoyed the local flora: 

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The water in Bermuda is sooo blue. 

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See how blue?  Check below.  Yes, the color is the real deal:

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Hitty Apple explains why the water in Bermuda is so absolutely, incredibly blue:

"When sunlight (which is made up of the entire spectrum of colors) strikes water, blue is the color scattered most by the water molecules.  This causes more blue to be reflected back to the surface.  (The sky is blue for the same reason.) The brilliant blue of Bermuda’s surrounding waters is due to the purity of the waters – they contain little organic matter, few organic waste products – as well as the white, white sand on the sea-bottom.  The water here is mineral/nutrient deficient. "

Well, MissVanDroo appreciates all this Naturalist Stuff.  But she wanted to shop!  Earrings and charms were purchased at this store, an island favorite of their human chaperones:

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Then, off to the beach.  Why is Bermuda sand pink?  (Really, it is more white than pink.  But if you look closely, many of the grains of sand are pink.)

Again, Hitty Apple explains:

"The distinctive color of Bermuda’s sand is derived from a single-celled animal, called a foram, which grows in profusion on the underside of rocks. These animals have bright red skeletons, which, when the foram dies, are eroded by the waves and mixed with the other matter that makes up Bermuda’s sand (clam shells, snail shells, and coral — which are all white) to give the sand a slightly pinkish hue.  We Maxwell Hittys LOVE pink, so this is the place for us!"

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Hitty Apple found this sand conglomerate (below) and studied it while Miss VanDroo relaxed in her new, PINK beach chair (above).

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And then, Hitty Apple wandered off to explore the local wildlife.  She met this wild chicken.  Bermudians consider them to be a bit of a nuisance.  They destroy gardens, make noise, and have even caused several traffic accidents.  Hitty Apple disagrees.  To her they are quaint.  Just look at this dear, sweet momma-to-many.  Those chicks are so fluffy and sweet, and just perfectly Hitty-sized.  What a dear little pet one would make!  But maybe momma chicken read the Hitty’s mind and thought that she truly meant to take one of her chicks for a pet.

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Because, suddenly, Momma Chick becomes fluffy and neck-less.  And there isn’t a chick in sight:

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Well, after such excitement, Miss VanDroo and Hitty Apple retired to their cabin.  Night after night, such exotic creatures awaited their return.  Hitty Apple found it shocking that each evening, the littlest of their human chaperones would immediately devour the poor creature’s eyes.  Such horror!

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Eye-devouring aside, it was a lovely trip for all!

Girls Only!!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2007 by Hitty Jean

Ah, we are (sadly) home from our week long *girls-only* cruise to Bermuda.  We hadn’t been since Dassa was one, and Tater and Pit~Pat hadn’t been since 2003.  So it was a nice return visit.  Bermuda is BEAUTIFUL…the colorful houses with the white roofs and the gorgeous, unbelievable water, along with the pinkish sand…just the most beautiful place on Earth.  I do hope we return again someday, as it is never long enough!

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Here is the obligatory cannon photo…Dassa was a bit shy of being so high up:

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And while Dassa, Pit~Pat and Pawbee went for a carriage ride:

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Tater and I went here, to Grotto Bay:

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Where there was a cave:

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And a beautiful Grotto to swim in!  (We called it the "Grim Grotto", a la Lemony Snicket):

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Saint Catherine’s Beach was beautiful, as always:

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Pit~Pat was punished for bickering with her sister:

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We all enjoyed Bermuda’s wonderful aquarium:

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We even took a train ride:

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Hey, Dassa!  Let’s live HERE:

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Limestone everywhere:

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Picturesque Tobacco Bay:

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"Our" ship:

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Depending on which side of the ship our cabins are on, we either have a beautiful view of St. George’s, or the other side of the harbor.  Usually the latter is our view, and luckily, this was our fortune on this trip also.  Why do I care, when either view is incredible??  Well…me and houses…there is this adorable green/blue house across the harbor that I just LOVE.  I gaze longingly at it each and every time I can.  I was thrilled that my camera could capture such a clear shot from so far away, and through a salty cabin window…but it did!  Little house, I’ll see you again!

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