kids

Surf and Sand

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Last weekend we returned from our annual pilgrimage to Martha’s Vineyard, and I’ll let these photos and captions sum up the highlights. (Stay tuned for a farm-related post tomorrow.)

 

Kids confined:

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Obama’s Vineyard vacation? Presidential presence was far less intrusive this time around.

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Maisie stowed away and joined us.

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With Crazy Maze and my cousins’ dog, Sally, our crew hiked every morning, exploring varying island terrain.

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Some trails were more inviting than others.

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Midweek Brynn decreed: manicures for everyone.

Everyone.

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In a blink, the trip was over. One final swim. Then goodbye, MV.

Til next year.

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Bugs Prompt Blog Break

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“Wow, I’ve never seen a grownup cry,” Hadley remarked, as I sat sobbing near a mystery leak that dripped with determination on the dining room floor and buckled the ceiling above.

An unidentified plumbing problem isn’t a cry-worthy crisis. But this incident was the final chapter in a series of cumulative, distressing events.

It kicked off last Tuesday when we discovered that the girls had lice. We learned this just as a strong summer storm knocked out the power. No electricity means no water, so we were powerless to wash sheets and treat the girls’ hair. Solution: armed with delousing products, we bunked in a hotel and attacked the problem. It was after midnight when we finally finished, but we’d made progress. Or so we’d thought.

The next day the power was restored but the washing machine broke, stalling efforts to sanitize bedding and clothes. The repairman estimated a seven-day wait for the replacement part. 

Next up? Both trucks broke down and with PigPen in the shop (amassing a $2,400 bill for deer damage repair) — we were squeezed with one vehicle.

And Friday afternoon — yet another day perched on the porch, sweating in the sun as I combed microscopic nits from the girls’ hair (making little progress) — Martin placed a cocktail in front of me. “Drink this,” he said.

I get it… I’ve been picking through their locks, strand by strand, for hours, I thought. And everything has gone wrong. “I’ll drink it when I’m done,” I said, swiping my sweaty bangs and hunching over Hadley’s bowed head.

“Really, take a few sips now,” he said, “because I need to tell you that there’s a leak in the dining room. And I’m going to have to cut open the ceiling to get at it.”

And there you have it: broken cars, broken washer, broken house, insect infested kids. Emotional breakdown.

Fortunately, unabated crying spurs family to action. On Saturday, my mother took the kids to be professionally deloused (yes, such services exist) and Martin secured a part to fix the washing machine and the Big Rig. All this while I played four straight softball games in league tournament. (We advanced to the quarterfinals, but were eliminated the next morning.)

No matter. After last week’s misery I can report today: the kids are fixed, ditto the washing machine and Pig Pen. It’s time to resume the blog and other elements of normalcy.

As for the accompanying tent photo: in an effort to limit lice spread, we booted the kids out of the house to sleep. But when we issued the go-ahead order to return to their room, they refused to vacate the campsite. They’ve slept in the tent for four nights running. The chair also pictured was employed for safety; Sunday evening Martin tethered the tent to the chair during a violent, gusty thunderstorm that threatened to send the camp structure airborne.

Remarkably, the kids opted to sleep in the tent, through the storm. The next morning I met a bed-headed Brynn, pawing through the cereal boxes in the kitchen and I asked her, “Weren’t you scared out there with all that thunder last night?” I asked.

“No,” she mumbled with a shrug. “It was loud but I  just went to sleep.”

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The Day After

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The day after the Potomac Hunt Races isn’t a functional Monday; it’s just a bunch of hours strung together… an interminable slog to the finish line: rest, recovery and Tuesday. After days of preparation leading up to the Races, all the grunt work, not to mention the pre-parties… and the pre-pre-parties, and then the actual event on Sunday–

–well, Monday’s pretty ugly.

If dinner’s any indication, I served the kids the following on Monday night:

  • 1 slice of pizza, divided three ways
  • 2 chicken nuggets per kid
  • snap peas — about 20 — divvied into 3 portions
  • 1 peeled carrot per person
  • a pint of wrinkled blueberries. 

Voila, dinner is served!

To their credit, the kids didn’t utter a word. I had that post-race glaze that said: tread lightly.

But enough about recovery, fatigue and hangovers. Were the Races worth it?

Um…. yea!

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A few of our friends host a tailgate that’s always theme based. Previous themes have included safari, pirate, Wild West, and horny (don’t ask).

This year’s theme: “War Horse.”

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Bubba, replenishing supplies

 

When we weren’t socializing, snacking or depleting the mojito supply, we were piloting the gator — sometimes ferrying equipment, sometimes shuttling elderly folks or heavily burdened families en-route to their parking spots. But more often than not, we were entertaining kids in joyride fashion. Every time we started the gator, children emerged from the woodwork.

 

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Amidst all of this, there were races and horses — the whole point of the day.

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Cayden, Hadley and Brynn managed to monopolize on the event… not by betting, but by taking advantage of bettors. Hadley made a bunch of rubber-band bracelets and the kids peddled them rail-side between races.

Asking $1-$2 each, they pocketed $50 total.

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A day’s end it was time to hang it up, break down the tailgates, pack up the leftovers…

…and distribute the kids to their rightful owners.

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