Salisbury Massachusetts

Before saying good-bye to the east coast, we wanted to get in one last trip to the Atlantic Ocean!  So we headed to a state park beach in Mass (Salisbury Beach State Recreation Area), that was also near Salem, MS (The Witch Trials).

The place was pretty packed!  Which meant LOTS OF KIDS for the girls to make friends with, and they did!  It was a great place to ride bikes, and play on the beach!  We did lots of both!   One day on the beach we found tons of clams, tiny crabs, shells, and a sand worm!

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We had a couple of fun days at the beach, where a major river meets the Atlantic. We could swim in fresh or salt water. Both were COLD!
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I discovered that if you picked up clumps of seaweed out of the water, there were dozens of tiny crabs attached to it! The kids are building an aquarium to keep all the crabs in with their new friend, Fabian.
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Those kids had me hunting 24/7, and I loved it.
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The littes were more interested in building a mound, that Jonah would then walk through.
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The tides coming in! NO!!!
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Um, how cute is Darby’s boyfriend, Sunny?!? Fabian had a Chug too!
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Here are a few more friends the girls made while there. Bikes and roller skates were the name of the game!

While the girls played outside with friends, Joe and I took a mini date one night and walked the baby around the campground in the stroller and checked out all the vintage RV’s that were parked here.  There were some really cool ones, and if the owners were outside, you better believe I told them how cool I thought their rig was!  It really was so much fun!  And it’s a nice reminder that you can eek out some couple time together even while living full time in 200sqft with your 3 kids.

This was also the week that I had to use my old, maximum storage filled phone while I waited for my new phone, so I didn’t get many pictures.

We also spent a day in Salem, MS, checking out the visitor center there, and seeing and doing the Jr Ranger program for The Friendship Sailboat, having lunch at a cafe, and exploring The Peabody Essex Museum.  The museum had a great room where the kids could build robots and other inventions without using any glue, tape or staples.  We stayed until they closed, before returning to our truck parked in a garage that we barely fit in.  It was a full day with me and just the kids, and we had a lot of fun!  I decided to save all the witch stuff until the kids were a little older, despite my intense interest!  But we did see and talk about a few statues as we walked.

It was a good week and by the end of it, I could even pronounce Massachusetts correctly!  Now don’t even talk to me about being able to properly spell it without the help of spell check!  Baby steps….

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We Made it to Maine!

IMG_20150613_195717228_HDRsmMaking it all the way up to Maine from Texas, is the equivalent of making it all the way up to Alaska…almost!  None of us had ever been before and we were excited just to be in the state!  Not to mention, we would have our personal tour guide, who’d been raised there, one of my besties, Niki!

We had rushed up the eastern coast to get to Maine in time to meet Nicole and her girls, Mabel and Effie.  And we had made it!  Don’t you just love it when a cross country plan comes together!

We spent just 2 weeks in Maine, but in 3 different locations.

Since Joe works during the week and we mostly can only travel on weekends, we got to the Portland area a few days before the girls and spent our time at a lovely rv park just 20 mins outside of the city.

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Our digs at Wassamki Spring Campground.
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Fairy’s in Wonderland
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Sisters!

IMG_20150608_121727321_HDRsm We spent our short stay there, watching community softball games on the grounds, swimming  and building sand castles at the lake, ridding bikes, getting the truck serviced, and seeing for ourselves what all the Duncan Donut craze was about.  To add to the campground excitement, there was a polygamy family parked near us in two matching rv’s, with two matching trucks.  “The Husband” spent one entire day in his suspenders washing both of the RV’s, and I spent all day watching him!  At night they would all take a walk together, and one of those nights, they said hello to me!  It was awesome!

One day I took the girls into Portland to check out the town and get my first lobster roll!

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During our day in Portland we visited this lighthouse.
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They loved rock hopping out to the lighthouse. It scared me to death!
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A boy and his stick

When we got the call that Niki had arrived, it was time to pack up and drive the hour to her sister, Poppy’s house, where we parked the RV for 4 days of uncut fun and freedom!

Our Spot!
Our Spot!

It was so so great to see Niki and her girls!  My kids were over the moon, as Mabel and Effie are some of their besties as well!  But to add to this, we got to piggyback onto Niki’s family reunion of sorts, with her mom and dad, and her 4 sisters and their kids and husbands.  There were kids, barefeet, and popcicles EVERYWHERE!

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They found the craft drawer!
They found the craft drawer!
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The yard. Want to swim? Dig? Play cars? Jump? Slide? Swing? Run?……..
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Bean just adored Ari!
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Jonah mastered his cheesy camera smile while here.
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Loooooobsta

IMG_20150613_185021322smIf you want to have a good time as a parent, you need to have happy and occupied kids!  Period.  That’s all it takes.  And it was 4 days of that!  Kids ran, and swam, and played, and fished all day!  And the grownups got to hangout, have converstations that lasted longer then 30 seconds, and play cards against humanity.  We also managed to squeeze in some fishing, swimming, and bridge jumping too.  And to top it all off, Joe and I (who’s birthdays are one day apart) managed to turn one year older here as well!

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Friends Forever!
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She caught a perch!
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Jonah mostly just played with the worm bait, and had a great time too, at the pond that Poppy’s property backed up to. Such a cool spot!
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Our trip to the beach, on my birthday!
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The sand looked like this
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The Gang
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The water was full of this red seaweed
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Play!

IMG_20150612_160303643_TOPsmReally, it was such a magical weekend.  The Hilarious Poppy and Super Dad, Jason were awesome hosts to this wild band of crazy, and I’d take every one of those kids with me, if I could fit them into my truck.  Sweet, sweet!  Thank you for the new friendships and Memories!

OUR swimming hole!  Frequently often!
OUR swimming hole! Frequented often!

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It was hard to leave Poppy’s, but contrary to the song, the party does end, and we headed down the road to Acadia National Park.  Not such a bad place to HAVE to go to, and that helped sooth our broken hearts.  Once again, we were pleased with the park we chose, which had well spaced spots, and was just 15 mins from Acadia Park and Bar Harbor.

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We just LOVE National Parks! They are always stunning and unique places, with so much to learn about and see! Acadia was no exception. The park boasted rocky coast lines, beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, and adorable towns! Every single day we were there, I drove us into the park. There was a park loop road that we drove and took us up to Cadillac Mountain with some amazing views from its barren top. I wanted to hike that mountain so bad! Just another reason to travel again with the kids when they are older. Or just maybe, we’ll never stop?!

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Push Baby!
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The Views

IMG_20150620_170801269sm IMG_20150620_170142138_HDRsm IMG_20150620_170000835smWe saw Thunder Hole and combed the beaches at low tide in the freezing cold water.

Thunder Hole
Thunder Hole

We hiked. We went to ranger programs where we laid out under the stars on a beach one night while learning about constellations (granted, the kids were jerks that night; I say it that way cause it’s the most accurate description), and another where we hunted down dragon fly larvae (as well as humongous tadpoles, leaches, frogs, and other creatures) to help assess the mercury levels in the lake. The kids had so much fun tromping around in the mud and finding these treasures! I don’t think they actually caught any dragonfly larvae, but that’s what us moms were there for.

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The research group
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We didn’t know tadpoles this BIG existed!
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She is holding the biggest leach I’ve ever seen and ever want to see! She was the first to volunteer!
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Our catch
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Always making new friends.
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Interviewing the ranger.
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Our hunting grounds. Except where we were on the lake, it was much marshier.
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Lou continues to scare us to death with her never ending sense of adventure and rock climbing feats!
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Light house!

We found a great put-putt golf course and played a game.  The place, with its pirate theme really blew us away.  And we Shaw’s LOVE putt-putt!

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Joe and I are pretty competitive when it comes to put-putt.

 

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IMG_20150617_193520192_HDRsmOne evening we walked to Bar Island, only accessible at low tide.

About to cross the sand bar to Bar Island
About to cross the sand bar to Bar Island
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Cool evening of building cairns with the rocks and finding sea creatures like crabs and tiny shrimp.

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We hike to a beach and the boy throws rocks.
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Low tide

And OF COURSE we left with a couple new Jr Ranger badges.

We really loved the park and the experiences we had there!

And that was our time in Maine.

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The Big Apple

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This kid LOVED the subways! So much, she scared the heck out of me! It’s like she’d been jumping trains her whole life.

New York City!  The City!  The Big Apple!

I had been to the city once before when I was 20, and it was January and the towers had just fallen less than 3 months before.  Needless to say a trip 15 years later, in summer, with my 3 kids, was very different!  Hubs had NEVER been!

With the RV parked in a dump of a campground (but cheap!) in the tri-state area, we drove the truck over the hills and through the woods, and over one very expensive toll bridge to Joe’s sisters house!  There we were, New York in June for 4 glorious days!

Are these kids New York or what with their street meat?!
Are these kids NY or what with their street meat?!

Usually we are not too keen on huge cities.  But I’ve seen NY in so many movies that I feel like I’ve lived there!  And I use those movies like my personal tour guide, that I’ve been studying since childhood.  So I’m totally prepared and just excited!  Of course I wanted to see and do everything I’d ever seen in “How I Met Your Mother”, “Big Business”, “Secret of My Success”, “You’ve Got Mail”,”Hackers”,  and “Big”.  And to my family’s credit, we just about did!

That poor bulls balls and horns were being pulled all day long!  So we just stood next to him.
That poor bulls balls and horns were being pulled all day long! So we just stood next to him. No line for that.
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Central Park Zoo This photo is being taken by a man telling us we are all brothers and sisters in this world and asking Amanda if she knew why flamingos were pink…she total did!
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Shakespeare Statue in Central Park
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Evidently FAO Shwarz  is OUT and ToysRus is IN! (No really, FAO is closing! Horrible, I know!) Since I had been to FAO before, we checked out ToyRus. WOOZA!!! Life sized moving T Rex, ferris wheel, 4 stories tall, and even I was impressed! Here’s us in front of Barbie’s mansion. I’ll admit that Lou and I dorked out a little over this……okay A LOT! Bean could not be woken up for our entire time here! She even missed the ferris ride.
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On Broadway Baby!
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I had real kids with me to take to play at Central Park this time! 3 Points for parenthood!
Real NY Pizza by the Slice!
Real NY Pizza by the Slice!

We also went to Times Square, had Korean food in Korea Town, visited the Native Indian Museum, visited the Twin Towers Memorial, Saw the Statue of Liberty from the ferry, and rode numerous subways, of which I actually liked the grittiness of, cause it was just like in the movies!  Just not the elevators though.  The elevators are not a part of NY that we ever want to visit again!

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We also reserved some time to just hang, and that included visiting Aunt Amanda’s neighborhood park. Which was just SO NY!
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And hang at their awesome Upper Manhattan apartment and play, play, play!

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It was priceless having Amanda and Nick and Little Evie there to navigate us through the city!  Our trip would not have been 1/16 as fun and productive as it was!  They spent 3 straight days with us, showing us the city they were probably sick of already, and we love them so much for it!  In between all the site-seeing, the kids just played non-stop!  It was intense and awesome!

But after 4 days, it was time to go and leave Amanda’s spa-retreat bathroom with its huge tub  and more products of awesomeness than I can list, and go back to my 1.5’x2.5′ tub and the tiny bath self I share with my husband.  Ah, I miss you so much……Amanda!  I miss you so much AMANDA!  ;)

So we picked up our little chug from the boarder’s and got our truck out of the garage (I know, we are SO New York!) and we’re on our way down the road again with menu item ideas bouncing in our heads for our joint venture idea.  “T&G”

Thanks for all the sites and laughs and fun y’all!!!  We Love NY!

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And if every family get together could be summed up by taking a picture on a ruby-velvet couch in front of your ubber, creepy condo foyer painting, well then the world would be a perfect place!

 

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