Monday, May 22, 2006

Final installment of vacation photos

I didn't discover how much I love the beach until my mid-20s, when Matthew & Gretchen moved to Sarasota, Fla. During our frequent visits, we would spend hours on the Gulf Coast, swimming, picnicking, eating, reading, napping. When I feel extraordinarily stressed, I visualize the beach and that feeling of peace that it brings.

So, a trip to the beach was a must during our Pennsylvania/Massachusetts adventure. I did a lot of reading and chose Good Harbor on Cape Ann. It apparently gets crowded in the summer, and I can see why: soft sand, room to run, clear water. Sigh. In early May, though, it's not a destination spot because the water is too cold (38 degrees the morning we were there).

Cooper loved wading into the water (even falling on his bottom a couple of times), running up and down the shore, trying to outrun the waves. Katie was amused by the wind and watching her big brother.

Later that morning we walked around Gloucester. We were interested in the town after reading and seeing The Perfect Storm. The folks were friendly, and the seafood was tasty.

I regret that I don't have better photos from Noel & Bonnie's wedding. Layne does, and I'll post those soon, I hope. The few I have are here, along with more from the beach and Gloucester.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


As Katie becomes more mobile, with more accuracy and speed, she's hearing "no-no" more often. Today, she said it back to me. She was trying to eat Roomba's home base, so I said, "no-no." She stopped, looked up at me and said it herself.

Today we set up Cooper's old play area -- or baby jail. She loves standing up and hanging on to the edges.

Vacation, Part IV

On the swan boat -- a beautiful spring day in Boston

Outside the Eric Carle museum

Before the first pitch

This next group of photos is from the middle of the trip -- Amherst and Boston. We spent a few hours at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. It is possibly my favorite U.S. museum.

There is a library of more than 3,000 children's books, with a comfy corner for reading and playing with toys and puppets. (Cooper and I used puppets to act out Where the Wild Things Are.) There is an art studio where children can create collages, drawings, mosaics, etc. In the auditorium, we watched short animated films based on children's books.

The two galleries that were open included original works by Carle, Leo Lionni, Dick Bruna and more. The Carle/Lionni works were organized similarly to the "Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry" exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum in 1999. We just missed the opening of another exhibit that includes work by Mo Willems, another favorite in the Damm house.

That evening we were in Boston for a Red Sox game. The weather didn't cooperate, at least not for us Texans -- 48 degrees and drizzly. We stayed as long as we could. I was particularly worried about Katie being outside for too long. We were mildly hazed by fans as we left early.

Cooper loved the whole Fenway experience -- walking to the park, buying a ball cap and T-shirt, playing catch with a woman in stilts on Yawkey Way, eating a hot dog, watching the game from our standing-room-only seats in right field. He also made lots of friends with the fans around us -- not surprising if you know Cooper. He'll start a conversation with anyone. (American Idol fans: Ayla Brown, the tall high school senior who was voted off early this season, sang the Canadian and American anthems. She had trouble with the high notes.)

The next morning we were back downtown for site-seeing, including the swan boat rides. Those photos and more are here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Katie has added another word to her vocabulary. I had just cleaned her up after lunch (pasta, black beans, peaches and Cheerios) and was carrying her to her room. As we were walking through the hall, she said, "Ni-ni," which I took to mean, "Night-night," which is what we say when we put her in bed for a nap.

Her list now, as far as we can interpret:
  • Hi
  • Bye
  • Daddy
  • Mama
  • Brother
  • Night-night

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Vacation photos, Part III

Katie modeling her new suit and cover-up
(Thanks, Aunt Mel!)

Cooper isn't stingy with the Grinch

The four of us on the restored rail car

This next round is from Strasburg, where we rode a steam locomotive to Paradise and back and where we toured an Amish village (as seen earlier); from Springfield, where Theodor Seuss Geisel was born; and from the hotel in Hadley, where Katie went swimming for the first time. Many more photos are here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Out-of-order vacation photos, Part II

Steve & Cooper in front of the bell
(It's a gap, really, not a crack)

On the grounds of an Amish farm

Katie on the baby swings at Seger Park

This next group of photos is from the first part of the trip. We spent a couple of hours at the Please Touch Museum -- a really creative, interactive children's museum. We also saw the Liberty Bell and toured Independence Hall. That afternoon we discovered a wonderful playground near our hotel. It reminded me of clips from Sesame Street -- swings, slides, jungle gyms, splash pond, all surrounded by charming rowhouses.

The next day we drove to Lancaster County to explore Amish country. Most of the Philly photos are here. Most of the Lancaster County photos are to come.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

An out-of-order glimpse of vacation

Katie on one of Mrs. Mallard's ducklings at the Public Garden

Cooper in Gloucester, Mass.

Cooper & Katie at the Public Garden

On the bridge overlooking the swan boat pond

Our vacation film is back, and we had fun this afternoon reliving moments from the trip. It will probably take me all week to get everything online. And you all don't really want to look at 125+ photos all at once, do you?

So, here are some photos from Boston and Gloucester. The tulips at the Public Garden were gorgeous -- colors I've never seen in nature before, laid out in huge swaths. It was a nice treat since the tulips here peaked in March.

Here's a link to more.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Classic TV

Cooper, like his mom, loves Little House on the Prairie. (He's watched a few episodes but hasn't read the books yet -- maybe we'll start reading them after Charlotte's Web.) Today we watched an episode from the first season: "School Mom." I don't remember it specifically, though the illiterate character Abel seems familiar.

I remember as a child being very angry with Nellie and Willie Oleson, but now I'm much more offended by Mrs. Oleson and her hateful, conniving ways. And why does her husband not speak up more often?
On an unrelated note, I'm soliciting digital camera advice. If you have time, drop me a line and let me know:
  1. What kind of camera you have?
  2. If you had it to do over, would you buy it again?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Monday, May 08, 2006

We're home!

We had a wonderful eight-day vacation in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. And we're so happy to be home.

Some highlights: Lights of Liberty show and Please Touch museum in Philly, train ride in Strasburg, the Eric Carle museum in Amherst, the beach in Gloucester, the swan boats in Boston and Noel & Bonnie's wedding.

I may be slow to post pictures. There was a camera accident the first night of vacation (4-year-olds, no matter how mature and tech savvy, shouldn't necessarily have access to expensive photography equipment), so all of our photos are still undeveloped, captured on disposable cameras.