Thursday, June 28, 2012

Annandale, Prince Edward Island

Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry's car gets some terrible, awful, funky smell from a parking attendant and can never be sold again because the smell permeates everything it contacts?  That was our rental car.  After Eden disgorged the entire contents of her stomach while we passed through Charolettetown.  (Dear Enterprise, if you're reading this, I mean that the smell existed when we picked the car up...er...forgive my poetic license...)  I'm talking eight ounces of milk, one fruitee squeeze, and several chunks of string cheese.  It turned out to be the only blight on Eden's otherwise spotless travel record, and it came during the tenth hour of our drive.  Still.  It was rugged.

Just thought I'd share that. 

Prince Edward Island is absolutely gorgeous!  For those who aren't familiar with it, it's just off the coast of New Brunswick.  It takes five hours to drive from one end to the other, and there are 120K people who live there. I would like to be one of them.

Until something like ten years ago you could only access the island by ferry.  The Confederation Bridge spans over 7 kilometers and is pretty spectacular in person.  Even more spectacular?  Deer are sometimes seen swiming the channel beneath it to get to the mainland.  Crazy deer!

This is the B&B we stayed at .  It's owned/ran by a couple of retirees and was rather like visiting aging relatives.  Who happen to be communists.  And have photo albums from travel to Cuba, Russia, and Argentina.  During the Cold War era.  And who wear their Che shirts proudly and host fundraising dinners for the NDP.  (Oh, fine the NDP is socialist, not communist, but I tell you what! I remain convinced that they are retired spies.)  If you're searching for local color (and I always am), it doesn't get much better.

The wharf is just a quick walk down from the B&B.  This picture, though, is all about the sign.  We don't know, but we're pretty sure it means something along the lines of "Halt!  Emergency!  Drop everything and play checkers!"

Do you like how I'm not in any pictures?  I swear I didn't even take this vacation.

Sheds where the fishermen store their lobster pots and other equipment.

So I was a little obsessed with the things we found on the beach.  This starfish was the size of a dime!

Another shot of the wharf.  The village of Annandale is seriously like six houses.  In fact, most of the island is really rural like that.  The B&B host would ask us every night if (during our time out on the town) we had seen so-and-so, who is kind of portly and has curly hair and speaks with a lisp, or some such thing.  The lady knows everyone.  Anyway, it was totally relaxing to shut off the cell phones, turn off the computers, and just get away for a few days.  This was the perfect spot for that. 

Stay tuned for a post about the three best things we did on the island. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Portland, ME

We started our trip with the red eye to Portland.  Or rather Atlanta, New York City, and then Portland.  It was a LONG day.  But Eden slept for nearly all of it, and hardly made a peep on the planes.  In fact, she acquitted herself nicely on all six of our flights, winning two sets of wings and borderline blasphemous adoration from every fellow passenger.  By our fourth flight, she assumed the duties of Greeter-in-Chief, passing out a huge grin and welcome to each passenger as they boarded.  Delta's lucky I don't sue them for violating child labor laws. 

At any rate, Portland is beautiful.  It reminded me a lot of Savannah, this port city of fabulous wealth turned into a haven of arts, run down around the edges when the money ran out but full of architectural gems and quirky byways.  I could live there.  Unfortunately it rained during most of our stay, so we don't have a lot of pictures. You'll just have to make do with these and find occasion to visit it yourself one day.  Well worth it! (P.S. If you click on a photo, it will open up a slideshow so you can see them in higher definition.)

We visited a lot of lighthouses (both in Portland and on the island), but this one was my favorite.  The light itself is obviously short and unassuming, but I LOVED the giant granite boulder walkway.

The rocky Maine coast, just as I imagined it.

One of Portland's quirky buildings.  It's not far from Longfellow (yes, Henry Wadsworth) Square, and it's just wedged so nicely into the corner between two oddly angled streets.  Reminds me of Matlock's office.  Yeah, you read that right: Matlock. 

These photos really just don't do the town justice.  Dear Portland, I am sorry.

Yep.  We went to the coast without an umbrella.  Apparently the state of Georgia taught me nothing.

Eden doing what Eden does best in the princess stroller her daddy bought her.  Yep.  She's spoiled. Meanwhile, Kris and I were eagerly anticipating our first Maine lobster in Maine.

Scratch that off the bucket list!  The corn was excellent.  Unfortunately, we discovered that we are not lobster people.  What a let-down.

Eden, on the other hand, is a lobster person.  If it breathes, it's her friend.

The Portland waterfront is delightful.  And someday we will own The Edge.

We stayed at The Inn at St. John's, ate fresh seafood for every lunch and dinner, sprang for gelato (I had both the mango and hazelnut in one sitting...), wandered all around the streets, and recovered from our red-eye.  We missed the art museum, stumbled on an excellent fish market where Eden met her first lobster, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We were also nearly arrested for murder after Kris contemplated the act when three "youths" (Kris's word, not mine) elected to lay down a bunch of black cat fireworks in front of Eden's stroller so they would explode when she passed over them.  Yeah, real nice!  Crazy teens notwithstanding, it was a worthy stop on an epic tour.  Stay tuned for the first part of Prince Edward Island.

Vacation: Success!

Since we returned from our trip (to Maine and P.E.I., of which you will read much if you choose to later), we've been besieged with calls from family and friends wanting to know how it went.  Let me put it this way:

Yep.  I think that about sums it up. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This One's For Me

There will come a day, no matter what I do to prevent it, when I have to ask Eden what she wants for her birthday party theme and she will respond "Dora!" or "Thomas Train!" or "Elmo!" or some other equally age-appropriate and shudder-worthy stooge from multibillion dollar corporate marketing.  A dutiful mom, I'll purchase the plastic plates, streamers, party hats and sigh at Eden's delighted and duped grin.  But this day, my friends, is not that day. 

No, no.  This is the day I punch my ticket to Martha Stewart Heaven.  Or not.  But I gave it my best shot.  And it was enough work that I might just relish a future of parties by Walmart.  But now, without further ado, here are some shots from the food table:

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. It was a pretty small party, since I just about didn't go through with it.  We have been re-roofing our house for the past month (yes, "we" as in Kris and I and a few kind friends who are bad at excuse-making), and I was just feeling too overwhelmed to send out invitations and commit to a party.  But we were thankful to have my parents, sister and BIL, neighbors, and a couple of fantastic friends come on the shortest ever notice.  The highlight was definitely watching our fifteen month old friend take Eden for a stroll in her new dolly stroller.  But this post isn't about Eden, is it?  Nope.  Just like the party, it was all about me :)  Here's to next year...I promise to give that one to the birthday girl!   

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One Year

How much do you change in 365 days?  Do you grow mentally, spiritually, physically?  It's okay, your...our...secret is safe with me on that last count!  From birthday to birthday I suppose I get a little more learned, a smidgen wiser, but I definitely deal in fractions these days.  So I suppose that's why I'm completely awestruck by the tremendous worth of a year to a human being who's never had one before.

Like Eden.  Who on this very day last year (her first of surely thousands), could only take five milliliters of milk through a feeding tube.  

These days she feeds herself virtually anything, generously sharing with her friends the walls and floor. 

Eden.  The waif who couldn't even fill up the smallest corner of her baby tub.

Now the wild child who dances the jig and splashes her tub dry.

Once a palmful of quiet snuggles. 

Now a bipedal terror.

Then a jaundiced fake-baker in a luchador mask.

Now a little lady...young gents, beware!

Once a smiling sleeper.

 Now a grinning toddler.

Then a bookie.

Now a squirming crafter.

Once our tiniest friend.

Forever our beautiful daughter.

Happy Birthday, Eden Emerson Bell!