Monday, August 31, 2009

Ankle Woes

Last Monday (a week ago) I took a little fall. I was going down our basement stairs in the evening to do some laundry and I thought I was at the bottom. Really I missed the last stair. I landed really hard on my left foot, my ankle gave out, and I fell. My left arm is covered in bruises so apparently I hit that somewhere on the way down too (but I still have no idea how). The most important thing is that I didn't fall very far and that I landed on my backside (rather than my very pregnant belly). Because of the way I landed I was never concerned about the baby. I knew, however, that my ankle was in trouble. As I fell I heard something pop in my ankle and the pain was pretty intense. As I lay at the bottom of our basement stairs all I could think immediately was that I just broke my ankle at the worst possible time of the year for us (we were literally 12 hours away from our first Lifelines trip and the beginning of the busiest time of the year for us). I yelled up the basement stairs for Joe (since I couldn't move). He was really busy in our office trying to get details ready for the next day's trip so he was actually a little annoyed that I was calling him (he probably figured I neeed him to kill a spider). Of course he felt differently when he saw me lying on the ground!
Over the next few hours I was really amazed at how painful my ankle was. After about two hours it had started to feel a bit better so we decided to hold off on going to the hospital for the night. I did try to limp on it to the bathroom and we quickly realized that this was a bad idea. Thankfully Joe was able to get our friend Ryan to guide the raft trip for him the next day and we headed for the hospital in the morning.
After x-rays (during which they carefully shielded the baby with lead) we were thankful to find out that I didn't break my ankle. I did, however, tear some ligaments in my ankle (an ankle sprain). Thus I have spent the last week hobbling around, 7 months pregnant, in an air cast, on crutches. It's not pretty. It's been an exhausting week for all of us. For me it's been hard to just allow myself to rest and relax when I feel like there is so much that needs to be done. Not to mention that doing even the simplest of things (like taking a shower) is twice as much work. Unable to bear weight on my left foot means that Joe has also had an exhausting week, working hard in ministry, but also having to do the bulk of the work at home (getting up with Lily, bathing her, putting her to bed at night, playing with her, walking the dog, making meals, doing laundry, and even just taking care of me).
And yet, there have been some encouragements this week: Joe's mom came up on Wedn last week to take care of me and Lily (while Joe was guiding a rafting trip). I don't know how we would have made it through that day without her. Our staff team has also been really flexible with us (taking on added responsibilities) so that Joe could be home more frequently throughout the day to help me out. We have also had friends come to take Lily and I out (since I can't drive), and make us meals. And through it all I am most thankful that my ankle isn't broken and, most importantly, that the baby wasn't hurt.
And today marked some progress as I was able to go down to one crutch and bear a little bit more weight on my left ankle. This might seem small, but it means that I now have a free hand (and can get my own ice cream cones)!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lily's First Camping Trip!

Our Campsite

Steph getting ready to build a fire


Two weeks ago we took Lily on her first camping trip! We meant to take her many times before this, but somehow it just never worked out. So, on a Monday we headed out with our friends Steph and Ryan to have a two day/one night staff team camping trip.
Seven years ago (just before we got engaged) Joe and I visited this place (First Dedumpskaneg Lake) and I absolutly fell in love with it. Ever since I have wanted to go back and camp.
It was well worth the wait! You can only access the few camping sites by boat, so we loaded up our canoe (yes, we managed to fit all 3 of us, our dog, and our gear in one canoe) and headed out with our friends. It was really fun to canoe camp even if I wasn't able to bring my nice camera (we thought it was safer to only bring my old digital in the canoe). And despite the fact that we had to wait a bit for a site to become available we may have found one of the best camping sites ever! We had our own private sand beach looking out onto the lake. The lake itself had a gradual entry and Lily literally played in the water and sand for hours at a time. It is absolutly the perfect place for a toddler that loves water, sand, and the outdoors. We spent the first day just soaking it all in, enjoying the sun, water, and beach.
That is until dusk came. And with it thousands of mosquitos. It was so bad that we literally couldn't leave the beach. If you even started to walk into the woods you would be swarmed with mosquitos- and they would follow you in a little cloud all the way back to the beach (where they would proceed to attack everyone else too). Not even the fire and smoke seemed to slow them down. Thankfully we brought along our huge L.L Bean family tent- so while Lily was asleep inside the tent cabin Steph, Ryan, Joe, and I were still able to talk and enjoy each other's company in the comfort of our screened in tent porch!
Lily did great on this trip. She fell asleep in the tent (even though we were all right next to her talking) and slept great waking up at her normal time in the morning. She tolerated the bugs better than we did (the poor little thing was covered in mosquito bites- with at least 5 or 6 just on her face)! The mosquiots did clear out long enough in the morning for our staff team to get a little work done (while Lily played with her toy frogs in the sand). Even so we decided to pack it up a big early (we were pretty sick of the bugs) and head back. We've decided that this would be the perfect place to camp in September (after a patch of cold weather has killed the mosquitos, but while it's still warm enough to enjoy the water)! Overall though a pretty good first camping trip for out little girl.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Berry Picking

Relaxing with Hannah in the shade
Lily trying to share her snack with Hannah

Gotta love that rosy, dirty little face!

One of the things I love to do in Maine in the summer is pick our own berries. I was so disappointed to miss strawberry picking this summer (we were already out west)- but thankfully Joe's mom and dad picked a ton of strawberries for us while we were gone (they are wonderful to us)- and now we have a whole freezer full of strawberries. Throughout the year we'll use them to make smoothies, desserts, for pancakes, and if I get ambitious enough I may even make some jam this fall.
We did get to go out once to do some wild blueberry picking. We only got a few cups worth, which was just enough for some good snacking and cereal toppings for a few days. We thought about going to a pick-your-own farm, but decided to go the easy way and bought 20 pounds of blueberries from our friends who's family owns a blueberry buisness. So our freezer is happily full of blueberries as well (these happen to be Lily's favorite).
We DID get out to do our own raspberry picking! The place where we usually pick raspberries every year was all picked out by the time we got settled back home (apparently they didn't have a very good season). So, Joe found another place an hour north of here that still had raspberries and we headed up one Saturday with our friends Brave & Jenny (and their kids Alex & Hannah). The raspberries were a bit sparse and they didn't have nearly as many rows of bushes as the place we usually pick, but we did manage (with some work) to get about 4 quarts of raspberries. Lily had a great time picking raspberries right along her friend Hannah for the first part of the morning, but then she started to melt down a bit in the heat. I have to admit that even I was suffering from the heat and spent the last part of our morning there relaxing in the shade with Lily. You can tell by her pink cheeks in the pictures that it was a hot day! None-the-less it was a fun way to get out with our friends and enjoy some fresh Maine berries!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lily's Waterland!

It may have rained almost nonstop during the two months that we were out of Maine this summer, but apparently we brought the sunshine and hot weather back with us because that's what it's been just about every day since we have been back! So as soon as we got back to our house and settled in we went straight to setting up a little personal waterland for Lily on our back porch. It's no secret that she is a total water bug. So we moved the patio furniture off the deck onto the lawn and pretty much devoted the whole porch to Lily's water adventures. We set up her pool, put her climber on the porch so that she could slide into the pool, set up her water table, and filled in the remaining areas with her various pool/water toys. We added an umbrella and camp chairs for us and presto we created a really fun water area for our little girl! Oh yeah, there's also a sprinkler in the yard and a slip n' slide (given to Lily for her birthday). And do you know what- it's been absolutly WONDERFUL! In fact for a week the first words out of her mouth upon waking in the morning and from her nap in the afternoon was always, "I want to play in my pool." We couldn't keep her out of it! And still, weeks later, she plays in it almost every day (if we are home)! And one of the best parts is that we didn't buy anything new- we just combined a bunch of things we already had to make this little area fun for her. Lily's own little waterland! I'm wondering what in the world we are going to do when it gets too cold to play in it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Random Camp Pictures & A Random Story

Our dog, Indy, enjoy the sun out on the deck

My niece Lacey

I thought this was a fun image that well represents our week at camp!


Grampy and and our nephew, Chandler, doing a little fishing

Well, after two and a half weeks I am finally posting the last of my pictures from our camp vacation with Joe's family! These are just a random group of pictures that I really enjoyed- hope that you enjoy them too!
So now for the random story:
One afternoon Joe and I were sitting out on the dock enjoying the sun (while Lily was napping) and Joe spotted some sort of metal box floating in the lake not too far from where we were. Curiosity got the best of him and he decided to hop in the canoe and find out what was in the box. He came back after a few minutes with a very strange look on his face.
Can you guess what was in the box? Bet you can't.
Apparently it was the cremated remains of Mrs. E. Bliss.
That's right, Joe found the ashes of someone's grandmother floating in the lake! We continued to watch as the waves carried Mrs. Bliss across the lake (and likely into shore). In talking with Joe's sister later that day about our unusual find Marianne mentioned that the Bliss family lived just a few houses down (she had noticed the name on the mailbox). We figured that maybe this was an accident and that maybe they didn't intend for their grandmother to free float in the lake so Marianne tried to let them know. Unfortunately nobody was home.
Joe was just happy that he found the inscription on the box before he opened it! Odd, just odd.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hurricane Bill in Acadia

Most of you probably heard a little bit about Hurricane Bill as it moved up parts of the east coast this weekend. When we heard that the hurricane was going to skirt the Maine coast, but still produce up to 17 foot waves around Acadia National Park we decided that we wanted to see it. So on Sunday we headed up to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park to wittness the waves at Thunder Hole (a place in the park where waves crash into a cavern producing a thunder sound). I have to admit that as we drove across the bridge into Bar Harbor I was disappointed. The water was totally calm and I began to figure that we would just spend a relaxing day hiking in the park (versus watching giant waves at Thunder Hole). Little did I know. As we began driving through the park (where the coast stretches out into open ocean) it became obvious that the waves breaking were quite big. It was also quite obvious that lots of other people had the same idea as us. The park loop road leading up to Thunder Hole was packed. This is a one way road (with two lanes) and most of the right lane was filled with parked cars (which is allowed). So pretty early on we decided to just park our car and walk the trail along the coast to Thunder Hole (which is what most people were doing).

Here's Joe and Lily checking out the waves as we walked along the coastal trail. The waves were pretty big here, but we decided to walk a little further.

Here's us walking along the trail (the ocean is to the left and as you can see the packed road is to the right).

Long before Thunder Hole we found a great place (high up) where we could enjoy watching the giant waves.

Later Joe would say that the waves that afternoon were the biggest he's ever seen. Reports say that they were 10-20feet high. As they broke on the rocks we could see them spray close to 100 feet over Otter Cliffs (were we do a lot of rock climbing).

We were close enough to have some incredible views of the GIANT waves (and to feel a little spray a couple of times)- but still high enough to be safe (don't worry grandparents, we were very cautious with Lily).

Shortly after these pictures were taken we decided that it looked way too crowded at Thunder Hole (from what we could see) so we decided instead to head back to our car and to just drive further down the coast to get some different views. Right as we started walking we began hearing sirens and shortly after we began seeing the first waves of park rangers, police officers, and ambulances. We heard from people passing by that 3 people had been swept into the water. It was obvious with the crowds and the crazy traffic that the rescue vehicles were having a very difficult time getting through (due to all the parked cars there was only one lane of moving traffic and it was going very slow- with no room to pull over for the police to pass). By the time we got back to our car it was obvious that they had closed off the park loop road to incoming traffic and it had been a while since more rescue vehicles had come through. So we decided to do what many others were doing which was to get in our car and try to leave the area. We had only driven for a minute or two when we were directed by officials with walkie talkies that we needed to clear the road so that they could get more ambulances through.
The cars in front of us took the last few real places to park and we were instructed to park next to another parked car (and behind one of the park trollies). In the above picture our Saturn is the vehicle furthest to the right. You can clearly see how crazy it was with all of the cars and people.

Here's another view of us parked behind the trolly. As instructed we did the best we could to get out of the way and we were as far over as we could possibly get. But apparently not far enough. Shortly after parking our car (and turning it off) an ambulance came through (while we were still in our car) and side swiped the entire length of our car (and snapped our side mirror). I sat there in shock as it happened. And then initially I got quite angry. When the ambulance broke our mirror it shattered and pieces of it flew into our car through the open window. I can understand that the ambulance driver was quite frustrated, but I felt like we did everything we were told to do and that they just created and even worse situation (and a potentially dangerous one). We were fine and although there was damage done to our car it wasn't as bad as it initially sounded. I think that the people around us were as equally shocked as us. Shortly after they moved everyone off to the other side of the road which allowed further ambulances to get through without a problem (this is what they should have done in the first place).

We were told that it would be about 30-45minutes that we would have to wait before we could leave. Here's one of the waves that was breaking while we were waiting.

As frustrated as I was initially about our car our attention was quickly diverted as we realized that 3 people were in still in the water close to where we were. In fact, we could see two of the people in the water waving their arms. We watched as two coast guard ships (above) arrived in the area and we listened as rescue workers practically right next to us (with binoculars) directed the ship to the people in the water.

Along with the crowds we watched in anticipation as one of the ships rescued three people from the water. Clapping and cheers rose from everybody watching and I have to admit that I teared up a bit watching it all unfold.

Shortly after the rescue we were allowed to leave the park. Relieved we headed into Bar Harbor to grab some lunch and to report the accident to the Bar Harbor Police Department. As you can imagine they really had their hands full and there were no officers to help us. So we filled out a police report and headed home. All the way home Lily kept asking, "What happened to my car, daddy?" All we could say was that it was hit by an ambulance (not something most people can say).
As we drove home we were once again amazed at how calm the waters around us seemed (in such stark contrast to the waves crashing into Acadia National Park). We believed there had been a happy ending (and even Lily talked about how the boats rescued the people from the water). We didn't find out until much later that night, as our little girl was safely asleep in her bed, that one of the people pulled from the water (a 7 year old little girl) had died.
We would later find out that a large wave had crashed over a group of 20 people that gathered on some lower rocks near Thunder Hole. Seven people had been washed out into the water. Four of those people managed to get out of the water themselves and the three others were washed out into the ocean (including the little girl, her father, and a 12 year old girl). In addition to these three people eleven others were taken to the hospital for less serious injuries (mostly broken bones and cuts from being thrown into the rocks when the wave hit).
We are still waiting to get all of the insurance/accident information cleared up with the ambulance that hit us. But really that seems pretty minor. Joe and I are heartbroken for the family of the little girl that didn't survive. It sure made me hold my little girl a little tighter and kiss her a few more times yesterday.
A little more adventure than we bargained for.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Little Mushroom Gardens

The last full day of camp it was pretty cool in the morning so my sister-in-law, Mary, and I decided to do a little craft project with the girls. I found this idea in a Family Fun magazine (This magazine has fantastic ideas to have fun with little ones)! To be fair the girls were a little young to actually create the little mushroom gardens all on their own so Mary and I did most of the work creating the mushrooms (and a few other creatures) out of clay. Lily and Brenna did have a great time playing with the clay and after our mushrooms were created and baked the girls helped us fill their gardens with sand and rocks. And then they had so much FUN sticking the mushrooms in their gardens, taking them out, rearranging, and doing it over and over again! And since returning home Lily has decided, for some strange reason, that they also make great pool/water toys!

Water Lilies

I love water lilies- they are just so beautiful. The last full day at camp Joe, Lily and I took a canoe ride across part of the lake. Joe took us to this amazing little cove overflowing with lily pads and these beautiful white water lilies. We let Lily pluck a few from the water to take back to camp with us. I, however, think I enjoyed them much more- when Lily was napping I snuck away with my camera and caught these shots. I'm considering framing the first one as art for our bedroom.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mt. Pleasant

Uncle Mike climbing the tower

Off to hunt blueberries

Almost every year at camp with Joe's family some of us take a day to do a hike together. This year we hiked Mt. Pleasant- the 3 of us, Joe's sister and her husband, Joe's dad, and our nephew Chandler. It was a 5 mile hike (there and back)- and Lily did great hiking some (but doing most of the trip on Joe's back). I, on the other hand, struggled a bit. Thankfully Joe's sister stayed back a bit and kept me company. Let's just say I was a little out of breath. But to be fair I was trying to haul my pregnant body up a mountain- so I'll give myself some grace!:) It actually was a really great time for me to catch up with Marianne. The view from the top was a little hazy, but beautiful none-the-less. And the best part of reaching the top? Other than catching my breath the best part was the abundance of wild blueberries. It really was amazing- we ate handful after handful. I sort of wish we had brought a big container to take some home in- because the picking was so much better up there than anywhere else we tried! The hike down was significantly harder on me than I expected and my hips were screaming at me by the time we finished. Later that day Joe commented that I looked like a 90 year old woman hobbling around camp- and that's exactly how I felt. Apparently this almost 7 month pregnant mama should hang up her hiking boots for now!