16 April 2012

Spring has sprung.

The countdown to two is on, and with that comes new skills, new words, and new experiences.  This past weekend was one of those rare glorious ones spent most entirely outside, ending in sun-kissed cheeks, tired bodies, and hair that smelled of warmth and sunshine. Unfortunately, T had to work both days, leaving G and I to fend for ourselves and fill our time with endless fun.
Random doodle play

It started on Saturday morning, having breakfast with our besties.  There really is no better kid-friendly place than…Friendly’s.  Both G and his buddy opted for boosters, and both N’s mom and I opted to order them breakfasts that involved syrup.  They delight in the gooey mess, sticky fingers, and drippy chins.  There are not enough wipes to clean them up.  Fortunately, both had their dog siblings waiting in the car, ready to slurp up the spots we missed.  I think the waitstaff were entertained by these two blondies, conversing across the table to each other while chucking crayons, emptying out the napkin trays and threatening to spill salt and sugar shakers over the table and ourselves.  We fondly remembered the days when both would snooze in their car seats while we ate peacefully and unhurried.  Those days are lonnnng gone, but no less fun. 

After breakfast, we piled into our cars and headed to one of our most favorite spots and one I’m sure I’ve written about before.  The drive to this hike reminds me of just one of the 10,000 reasons I love living in Maine.  Located on Great Island in gorgeous Harpswell, the Cliff Trail is a 2.3 mile loop that crosses the highest point of Harpswell.  It’s dotted with fairy houses, views of muddy marshes and rivers, and offers a spectacular view from the 150 foot cliff that overlooks Long Reach.  Add the 30 lb child strapped to your back, and it makes for a very challenging workout.  The dogs love it because they can roam off leash, stop for the occasional mud bath or river dip, and run ahead to let us know where to follow the trail.  I’ve only been here one other time with G, last summer.  So this was the first time that he got to explore the trail on his own, touch the pine cones, wander into the evergreens, and maneuver those legs over the rooted branches.  He did so awesome.
The hike begins!

Buck and Gabs know the trail well.

Charging forward!

There comes a point however, where we have to stop, strap them in, and take charge of the hills ourselves.  It’s those times I wish I had Gabby’s four legs to pull me up the sides of the trail, while the little guy behind me plays with my ears or pulls my hair.  And who knew it would be so bloody hot in the middle of April deep in these darkened woods?  G was able to rest his head against mine at any time during this journey, while I plowed ahead, occasionally whistling for the dog to wait, while my friend and I kept up the chatter. 
The hike is made worthwhile by the top---sure, legs are burning, heart rate is pumping, but the view is one to behold.  On this day, the first I’ve seen here, the tide was out, and so down below the clammers waded through the muddy muck, dragging their sleds to capture the day’s haul. 

Digging clams somewhere down there

What does HE have to be tired about?
My absolute favorite moment from this day was on the way down, we finally had reached level ground, A and I were walking side by side, G had found the hood to my vest and was desperately trying to put it on my head, which caused N to burst into giggles.  The two of them were cracking up at their own antics.  The sounds of their laughter echoed through this forest, causing us to stop and want to just freeze this moment in time. I’ll never forget those laughs! The day was beautiful and exhausting, ending in a long nap for both my G’s.
Resting on the log

N is such a ham!

Hope I don't poke someone in the eye with this!


You’d think, after all that time spent outside, he’d be done with wanting to play later that day. Nope.  After nap and a snack, he was insistent about being outside to play some more.  Pushing his car, throwing balls, picking dandelions.   Suffice to say, by bedtime, he was ready.

Sunday was more of the same. The morning promised another lovely spring day, and I was determined to get some laundry out on the line.  Since G is an early riser, just like me, he joined me outside with Kitty, and frolicked around while I got his clothes to bask in the sunny breeze.  I had so many ideas for that days agenda, and finally settled on Freeport.  Scooping him up and plopping him into the car, we headed to my new favorite (yes, I realize that I have a lot of favorites) breakfast nook, The Fresh Batch.  Amazing menu.  Very kid friendly.  Sits below our favorite toy store.  Has a slide and climbing structure for adventurous toddlers.   What’s not to love? 

A giant blueberry (what was I thinking?) pancake for G, a delish breakfast sammich for myself.  He wouldn’t sit in the highchair OR the booster, so we made do with him in my lap. Not as much of a challenge as I thought.  Sustained by the pancake, and noticing that the other kids had now stopped playing, G was ready to tackle the slide.  Such a pro.

After breakfast, we did some birthday shopping at The Children’s Place, walking hand in hand, playing I-Spy (ok, I was playing, he was listening and pointing) and then, given that naptime was rapidly approaching and store shenanigans were fully underway, we made our last stop to Carter’s and then headed home.  He was asleep within minutes of his head hitting the mattress. 

Aprés nap, snacks were in order, and of course, more outside.  This time, he helped me take his laundry off the line, not caring so much about the folding as pushing everything deep into the basket to make room for the next item.  Next it was fetch time for Gabs. I have to say, this dog is so patient with him.  I love how she drops the ball at his feet, nudging with her snout to make sure he knows.  He’s still a little wary about taking it directly from her, but he delights in her chasing his very capable toss.  (Future red sox player, anyone? They could use the help.)

Such a good helper.

The progression of the chair.

Now I want down!

No, this way!

A boy and his dog.

More time spent with our buddy N.  We decide to take the boys for a late afternoon stroll down the Brunswick-Topsham bike path.  There are several things I love about this path (the paved walkway, the fact that it parallels the river, the big open green space to frolic or flop on) and those I don’t (the fact that it also parallels the very busy route 1, the annoying walkers who don’t move over when passed, the lack of trash cans for dog cleanup).  The boys did well, riding along in their strollers, pretzel snacks, water, and the constant chatter.  On the way back, we stop on the big green lawn to toss a ball…tho really the two were much more interested in running around, practicing somersaults and succumbing to the overall mischief that now takes over when the two are together.

Nearing 6pm, and watching the sinking sun turn to a dusky glow, I was starting to fill with my usual Sunday night before Monday dread.  Thinking about dinner, bath, bedtime routines for G, and what to have ready for T when he got home (turned out it was a good night for pizza). We packed it in, tucked the boys into the cars, and drove our separate ways. Another weekend, come and gone.

Would you believe, arriving home, the first thing out of G’s mouth when I opened his door was “Outside!”?  What?  We had just spent the past 2 hours outside. How is it possible he had energy left to run around more?  Alas, this mama was tired and it was time for supper. 

And so we rolled up the day and the weekend just like that.  During story time, we did our usual ‘recap’ of the day, and this one was no different, except our daily activity list keeps getting longer.  I told him how I loved our weekend together, what a good boy he was and of course how much I loved him.  I say all this as I have my nose buried in his still damp hair, inhaling his fresh and delicious warmth still lingering from his bath. Then he flung his little arms around my neck and gave me a kiss without my even asking.  Though he might not be able to say it yet, I’m thinking he’s telling me that he had a good time too.

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