August 24, 2016

Canadian Postal Cheer

I went to Canada and fell in love with their mail boxes. Colorful and peppy, those cheerful depositories made me want to stuff them with encouraging letters and bills with pretty stamps. It's funny how traveling makes the mundane aspects of daily life so much more interesting in new places. Grocery stores in other countries are far more interesting to me than grocery stores at home. And now it turns out that mail boxes are, too.

And here's another thing those postal boxes made me think about. When I was a kid, sending postcards was a big part of our travel ritual. Selecting the perfect card for each recipient. Using scratchy motel pens to describe trip highlights to grandparents and cousins. Words and drawings spilling over the edges. A satisfying little stack of paper greetings ready to be mailed. I was actually pretty good about sending postcards all the way into my 20s and 30s. And I assumed that this travel ritual would continue with my own children. It seemed like a good way to push them to write while also maintaining contact with family many miles away. But as with most good intentions, it never really happens. Don't get me wrong. We keep trying. Or at least I keep trying. After careful deliberation, post cards always get purchased with specific recipients in mind and I always think that this will finally be the trip that kick starts a new desire to write personal notes and letters on a more regular basis. Sometimes they actually get written, but they rarely get sent and the reality is that I have a large box of postcards documenting most of our trips from the past sixteen years of marriage (any ideas on what to do with those?). And I can't even remember the last time we received one. To be honest, it is surprising that post cards are even still made and sold.  So here's to hoping that those cheerful Canadian boxes prompt a personal letter writing resurgence and may postcards continue to exist. 

August 23, 2016

Quebec City With Kids

Pack a soccer ball. Rent an apartment in the Old City. Eat poutine. Attend the Les Fetes de la Nouvelle France. Leave plenty of time for wandering and splashing in fountains. Eat crepes and chocolate croissants.Try to speak French. Get in line early for the spectacular (and free!) circus on Saturday nights. Stay for the fireworks over the St. Lawrence River. Stop to listen to street musicians. Fall asleep to the sound of horse drawn carriages tromping over cobblestone streets. Get up the next morning and repeat. 

August 8, 2016

Quebec City Charm

Quaint views, bursts of colorful flowers, and history oozing from her pores, Quebec City worked her magic on us and had me wishing we had several more days for wandering her cobblestone streets. We were lucky to be in town for the Les Fetes de la Nouvelle-France, but I also have to admit that some of our favorite moments were those that occurred away from the crowds. 

July 23, 2016

Figure Eight Island

Beach walks, summer storms, nightly viewings of America's Got Talent, Monopoly, good meals together, and lots of laughter.  We had such a good time visiting with Nana, Poohbah, Carol, Luca, and Yardley on Figure Eight Island in North Carolina. After spending our honeymoon here sixteen years ago, it is wonderful to return and share it with Camille.

July 19, 2016

Camp Bliss

This summer my kids weren't the only ones who went to sleep-away camp. Noah made the annual trek south to Mississippi for another memorable summer at Jacobs Camp. Camille wanted to give farm camp a try and that prompted me to start thinking about finding a camp experience of my own. 

So Camille and I packed our bags, loaded up the van, and drove north to the Hudson River Valley. The first stop was Sprout Creek Farm where Camille was all geared up to spend the week milking goats/cows, meeting new friends, and swimming in the creek. After helping her get settled, I headed thirty minutes up the road to Omega where I spent a blissful week doing yoga, taking fun classes (hula hooping! writing, drawing, etc), kayaking, and taking afternoon naps in hammocks by the lake. It was truly a week of deep renewal and rest. And so much better than my previous experience with summer camp which was a homesick and anxiety-ridden week with fellow 4-H members in rural Louisiana. 

Noah is still at camp and although his notes home are brief, they are filled with exclamation points and we can tell he is having fun. Camille can't stop telling us stories of her farm adventures and has been maintaining near daily contact with new camp buddies. And two weeks post-camp, I am still feeling the after effects of re-calibration and already day dreaming about a return next summer...

June 29, 2016

June List

For Listening: Hooray for the return of Invisibilia  
For Discussing: The Giver and Debatable
For Playing: Bring Your Own Book
For Summer Hiking: All Trails app
For Road Tripping: Are We There Yet? and Sisters
For Digesting: Finding Dory from an adoptee's perspective
For Planting: State Fair Zinnias 
For Considering: Letters of Recommendation 
For Exploring: Smithsonian Folklife Festival
For Repeating: Do The Right Thing