Teenager Tuesday!

     As I indicated a few weeks ago, Kelly's Korner had a link up for moms of teens. So, I linked up with her for the first time ever... As you probably know, she has a huge following!! What an eye opener when the response was quite small.  I laughed when I realized the reason was probably that most of us were probably half dead by the time our kids reached the teen years!!!
      Although I am semi-new to the teen world (my oldest will be 15 in September), I can tell you it brings a whole new set of challenges and adventures to being a mom. Our once sweet innocent kids turn into mini adults with their own opinions, goals, and the ability to express them!!   One of the other moms,Tanya at Baksha Family, decided she would try to rally our troops and keep in touch about life as a mom with teen(s). I appreciated that!!
     As a side note, congrats to Tanya and her family as her "teen" son recently accepted a scholarship to Iowa State for baseball!!! 
     If you have a teen....please link up with Tanya!!  Teen moms can always use some extra support and ideas!!   

Grab My Button!


1.) Do you go all out for back to school shopping and get your teen(s) a whole new wardrobe or do you just get essentials such as gym shoes etc?  I try really hard not to go all out school shopping and stick to the essentials because I find that sometimes, once school starts, they see what their friends have or see something else they would rather have or change their mind about colors, etc... and that is just annoying to hear right after you just bought a buncha stuff.  Sure, it would be nice if they didn't care "what everyone else is has",but, they usually do.  Normally, we stick to jeans, a couple shirts and a pair of shoes...  I will gradually buy a few more things as we see them or when there is a good sale later on.   I should mentioned that we also get some pretty awesome (and current) hand me downs from friends.  (My teen's birthday is in September so she does ask for clothes for her birthday, too.)

2.) Does your teen go with you to buy their school supplies or is the hype of that over in your house?  Yes, she usually goes with me as she has distinct ideas on what she wants, i.e. certain colors, no not those pencils (she "needs: those expensive mechanical ones instead), no not that kind of binder they always rip when you put them in your locker, etc...  She also gets almost as excited to organize her new things as she did in elementary school!

3.) Brown bag it, cute..I mean cool designer lunch box (bag- cooler-I have no idea what to call them anymore) or hot lunch for your Teen(s)?  My daughter makes her own brown bag lunch (yay!) and did not buy a hot lunch her whole freshman year.  (ps...I was told her cute designer lunch bag thing was no longer appropriate as it was in middle school!?  ~insert eye roll~)

4.) Is your teen excited to go back to school or dreading it?  She is at the school for extra curriculars right now or I would ask her, but I  know she is excited for the extra activities and seeing friends more part, but not so much for the getting up early/homework part.

5.) Does your family have any special back to school rituals?  The only thing I can think of is that starting a week or two before school I try to gradually get them back into a better routine with their sleep, etc....   I have them go to bed earlier and get up earlier so it's not such a shock to the system on the first day of school.  Oh, and I always take their picture on the first day...  ~Oh, mom!~

Looking forward to hearing how others handle these things!!!


Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     So, if you've been following along, you know we just returned from a week's vacation in Maine visiting family.  This is something we could not have easily undertaken last summer as my mom was living with us.  While I am soooo glad we were able to sneak away this summer, it still was not worry free for me when it came to my mom.  Particularly in light of her recent fall and her just seeming a bit (extra) "off" lately.  Being that I was going to be traveling by car for a good 15 hours, I wondered...would my phone always have a signal and even if it did, how would I get back if something happened to my mom?  Couple that with the fact that my brother was going to be up north about 2 hours away, I was a little anxious, but trying to stay positive.  I, of course, reasoned that she was in good hands where she is living, but there is still a part of me that always thinks to myself "ya better not go". 
     Enough about that!  We went anyways!  By all accounts it appears my mom was just fine.  Of course, I checked in with her at least every other day.  One day, while we were in Acadia, she had not answered her phone in the morning or afternoon when I tried.  I decided to call the Med Team and they confirmed that she was fine and told me she was in the dining room.  (She keeps going to her meals waaay too early.  Oh well.)
     My sister-in-law (brother's wife) was in town, and I believe also visited my mom while we were gone.  I finally got over there yesterday to see her.  Kristin brought a friend and they went to "find" grandma when we saw she was not in her apartment.  She was due to eat lunch in a half hour, so she checked there and sure enough, as reported by Kristin, grandma and "the Don" were sitting and talking just outside the dining room.  Hmmmm....  The girls also said that "someone took all of their picture together" (probably staff from the facility).  The girls are hoping to be in the next monthly newsletter!!?? 
     While grandma and the girls were away, I did my "ten second tidy" in her apartment throwing away my mom's various "collections" of "stuff".  Some of it, I just leave like her "office" which appears to be the counter space between her kitchen sink and stove.  (No worries, the knobs are removed from stove so no paper fires should be starting.)   My mom remains in desperate need of feeling in control of her calendar, her addresses, phone numbers, her shopping needs, etc.  Sooo, I just leave a lot of it there.  Her scribbled handwriting is sad to see.  It looks like so much work and I can't read most of it to save my life and neither can she.
"The Office"

          After tidying up a bit, I went to leave my mom's apartment to catch up with her and the girls and was startled by my mom in the hallway!!??  It was 1 o'clock and she should have been eating.  I asked her about it and she said she already ate!!??  I wasn't so sure as there are assigned meal times.  The girls confirmed for me that they never saw my mom actually sitting at one of the dining tables.  I decided to wait until 1:15 pm to see if any of the staff would come and get my mom for lunch.  (I do these things to "test the system" to see what happens if I'm not there.  Will someone realize she is not at lunch?)  Nobody came.  So, I went down to the Med Team people and asked if my mom's meal time had changed.  They said it had not.  I told them that I didn't think my mom had eaten lunch, but rather had simply gone down to the dining room (they are supposed to escort her there), sat and chatted with "the Don" (who, remember, now eats before her) and then got back up and returned to her room when he left...thinking she had already eaten!!??  I was quite sure that's what happened, especially since my mom used to have the routine of eating with "the Don".  Ugh!?  Does this make sense?  In the end, I was by no means "blaming" the staff and I made sure they knew that.  I just know how sneaky and convincing my mom can be (i.e., I already ate), and wanted to call it to their attention.  They got a carry out lunch for my mom and I brought it back to her room.  (She ate it after picking out the asparagus - ha!?)
Even Though I Just Told You I Already Ate...Put a Meal Before Me and I Don't Question It!!!??
     Then, in other news, I was cleaning out the little basket my mom has attached to her walker where she transports numerous things back and forth such as her mail, photos, and even sometimes brings cups of juice from the dining room back to her room!!??  While throwing away many things in the basket, I came across this napkin....

     Ha!  I had to laugh!  I told you it is a land somewhere between elementary and middle school.  Apparently, "the Don" was inquiring as to what floor my mom's room is on.  His printing is commendably much better than my mom's.   Funny how he even knows to sign "the Don".  It appears that again....they have found each other!
     Am I romanticizing....or does my mom seem to have a bit of her "glow" back????
Stay tuned.............

My Mom and Her Longtime Pal, "Muffin"


East Coast 2012 - Lobsters & Lighthouses

     Probably my two favorite things about Maine are -- say it with me -- Lobsters and Lighthouses!!  Not necessarily in that order...but probably in that order!!
     Obviously, lobster is a big industry for Maine and it is evident pretty much everywhere you turn.  Even when we visited in November a few years ago, we were able to purchase fresh lobster along the coast.  This trip I had lobster every day we were there and so did my husband!!  Not doing so would be like going to Italy and not having pasta every day, right!?  My oldest, Megan, also liked the lobster rolls.  When you see lobster boats and lobster traps at the restaurant -- ya know it's gonna be fresh. 
     I was secretly fascinated by the whole industry and actually never knew that all those colorful little "buoy things" out in the ocean and in the harbor are actually where lobster traps have been set.  Each buoy has a different color and design on it which is registered and represents a particular lobsterman.  Apparently, it is highly illegal to make any contact with a trap that is not your own.  

Boothbay Harbor -- Colorful Lobster Traps
     As for the lighthouses, we have them in Michigan, too.  I found them to be really beautiful and photographed the three below in the Boothbay Harbor area while on our whale watch tour.  Yes, they all have names and history to go along with them, but you're not going to make me remember all that are you??  I believe most are now solar powered and automated...no more lighthouse keepers.
      Who likes lobster??  Who likes lighthouses??

Now that's fresh!

Boothbay Lobster Wharf

A Typical Lobster Shop, Boothbay Harbor, ME

Lobster Gear Floating in the Harbor
My Lobster Roll at Geddy's in Bar Harbor (my second favorite)

Geddy's, Bar Harbor

Lobstaah Megan!

Along the streets of Bar Harbor

Lobster Roll, Boothbay Lobster Wharf, my #1 favorite

Our Gas Stations Have Hot Dogs, They Have Lobster Rolls!

Silent Sunday - East Coast 2012

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
July 22, 2012


East Coast 2012 - Acadia & Bar Harbor

     Another place we wanted to check out during our visit was Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine.  I did not know much about it other than it was a scenic national park which overlooks the coast.  After being there, I can tell you it would be a dream for biking and hiking.  Our time was limited as we drove about 2.5 hours each way just to get to Acadia.  Once we entered the park, we concentrated on the Cadillac Mountain area and stopped at only about four "points" of interest.
     All of the views as well as the drive itself are incredibly scenic and likely a photographer's dream.  The only way I can describe it would be like the Grand Canyon of the East Coast.  You could probably make a week of it and stll not see all there is to see!!  Very worthwhile and the kids loved it, too!!
     I believe Martha Stewart still has a place in Bar Harbor -- and if I had my way -- we would have stayed until we found her place or her!!!!!!  Also great shopping and nightlife in Bar Harbor!!

Kristin and Duncan

The Grandkids (minus 4)

Makes me nervous!


Thunder Hole - Waiting for the Right Size Wave
(sometimes waves shoot 40 ft. into the air and cause the sound of "thunder")

The Jake

Acadia View


Bar Habor (Baah Haabah)

Bar Habor Shopping


East Coast 2012 - A Haabah (Harbor) & A Whale

     I know, yesterday's post was positively spine tingling, right!? 
     Almost five years ago, my mother-in-law had a house built in Maine, next to my husband's brother and family.  After formerly living in nearby Ohio and in Michigan, we were sad to see her move that far away as we knew we would not see her as much.  It is a good 15 hour drive and it is not always easy to find convenient affordable flights to the nearest airport in Maine.  Almost three years ago, we drove out in November for Thanksgiving.  It was quite cold and we were pressed for time as the kids only had a couple of days off of school.  I knew some day we should go back in the summertime and this was the summer!!*
     We arrived mid-afternoon last Friday at my mother-in-law's house.  Shortly after, she had a nice home cooked dinner for us where we were joined by my brother-in-law and his two sons, Cole (7) and Duncan (5). 

Nannie's House
Jacob, Duncan and Cole After Playing Soccer
     The next day we had our sights set on Boothbay Harbor.  We had been there once before eleven years ago for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's wedding.  It was beautiful, but the twins were then only 15 months old and Megan had just turned 4 years old.  Not the best time to be tourists.  (it was also shortly after 9-11 and those times were unsettling for travel).  We knew we wanted to go back there someday when we would have more time to appreciate it.  Before we left home, I had decided on the possibility of going on a whale watching boat trip as I thought it would make it more exciting for the kids.  We decided to take the 1:30 pm whale watch.  After getting our tickets, we just barely had time for a quick lunch.  We ended up at the Boothbay Lobster Wharf which ultimately ended up being my favorite of all places for lobster rolls!!  (If you like lobstah -- you must have a lobstah roll -- I will probably do a whole post about lobster!)
     We boarded the "Pink Lady" and found the whale watch to be extremely picturesque (whales or no whales.  We got lucky as the water was uncharacteristically calm that day and the temp was perfect - around 78-80 degrees.  The boats, the birds, the water, the lighthouses were all beautiful!  It is about a 3-hour trip and we did not see any whales, but never fear!!  Cap'n Fish's guarantees you will see whales!  So, we went back for a repeat (free) whale watch a couple days later.  Although the water was a little more rough the second time (which I found kind of fun), it was worth it because we found the whales!!  For me, it is hard to comprehend that after a lifetime of aquariums, some scuba diving and snorkeling, Sea World, etc...., this was the first time any of us had ever come across whales in their natural habitat!!  There are many types of whales that hang out along the coast of Maine.  Everyone on the boat is supposed to be on watch for them.  Once there is a siting, the Captain then slows the boat and we "watch".  If you spot anything, you are to shout out "Whale 3 o'clock" or whatever...  My kids got a much better look at the whales than I did.  (I chose not to knock people over to see them.)  I also think it is very difficult to get a picture, as they only come up briefly for air.  That said, somehow Kristin managed a shot on her iPod Touch (see last pic below).  She cropped in the whale, as it was a further distance from our boat than the picture shows.   
     In addition to many different types of harbor tours, Boothbay also offers great shopping and other attractions as well.  Unfortunately (with the possible exception of my daughters) we were not with a shopping kind of crowd.  However, we did manage to go to a few stores.  If you're ever in the area or just looking for somewhere to visit -- this is a great great place!! 
Living, Laughing, Loving

Buying our Whale Watch Tickets

My favorite place for fresh lobster rolls -- Y-U-M!!

Lunch Menu at Boothbay Lobster Wharf

Lobstahs (Lobsters) Fresh from the Haabah (Harbor)

One of Many Great Views From Boothbay Lobster Wharf Restaurant Deck

The "Pink Lady" Whale Watching Boat Tour
(Jacob and Kristin with their Nannie from Maine)

Kristin is a good whale watcher!!
(ps...the one to the right is just a flag!!)

Another View from Boothbay Lobster Wharf

Our Minke Whale sited July 23, 2012
Cap'n Fish Whale Watch, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

*  I took almost 500 pictures (waaaay more than I ever have on any vacation) so it is difficult to limit my posts!  The scenery along the coast is fabulouso!