Tag Archives: vacation


Caffeine has been my friend of late (see below).  I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I posted here.  We had a week with Mac working an on-site freelance job and my mom minding the kids (seriously households with two working parents, how the hell do you do it?).  We had weekends away to visit family.  Lots of stuff going on, but it’s mainly the science’s fault.

I’ve been swamped at work- not only with my actual research, mentoring a summer intern, helping a new post-doc get settled, but with a bunch of outreach activities.  The company has a summer volunteer initiative to promote STEM education, and I was tapped to be the ‘lead volunteer’- which means I have to do it all with only the help of a ‘communications’ intern.  We had off-site events, on-site events, exhausting events, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, I’m tired just thinking about it.

Thankfully, the last event was yesterday, a STEM camp with 140 kids grades 1 to 5.  I enjoy doing the outreach, but the prep and the execution of these events has left me soooo burned out and tired. My intern presents at lab meeting tomorrow and a company-wide meeting (of which he was chosen as just 5 out of 80) on Friday and then he’s finished for the summer. My Research Associate gets married on Saturday and jets off on her honeymoon for a few weeks.  I’m hoping a week in Maine will bring me back to my normal (exhausted, but not burned out) and I will return to work with no RA, no intern, no STEM outreach- at least for a few weeks.  Sounds relaxing.

In the meantime, here’s a really beautiful pseudocolored image of caffeine, my friend and constant companion.

Source, Wellcome Trust via IFLS

Source, Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy at Wellcome Collection via IFLS


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Weekend Getaway: Lewes, Delaware September 2012

A few weekend ago we went down to Delaware to stay with friends at their beach house.  It’s the same trip we made last summer, that I wrote about here.

It’s crazy to see how different Mabel is one year later.  We didn’t do much- another trip to the Farmer’s Market, a couple trips to the park, flying a kite on the beach, collecting shells and crab parts, board games, pulled pork, ferry rides, etc.  All around a good time (except for the motorcycle gang, see below).

It’s also crazy to think that the last time we went down to Delaware (in February to meet up with my in-laws over President’s Day Weekend) Nemo was still in utero.  This trip, he was able to enjoy the view from the ferry.

Nemo on his first trip on the Lewes-Cape May Ferry!

On the way down, there were about a dozen bikers (on motorcycles, not bicycles) headed down to some kind of rally.  As we were waiting to get off the ferry, in the enclosed space of the car park, the bikers started their bikes and revved their engines incessantly and unnecessarily.  Mabel complained about the noise (which was loud despite having the car windows closed).  I made the near fatal error of saying, “I know it’s loud.  There’s no need for them to do that.  Those guys are being jerks.”

I thought nothing of it, other than patting myself on the back for saying ‘jerks’ instead of ‘*ssholes” which would have been a more apt description.  (I mean if you have to rev your engine that much you are either showing off and being a jerk, you need a new carburetor, or you need to learn to drive.)

Fast forward to the return trip home.  The biker rally is over and now there are DOZENS of bikers lining up to get on the ferry with us.  We’re sitting in the car waiting for all of them to check in and proceed to their lanes and await the ferry when Mabel pipes up from the back seat, “That guy’s a jerk!”  I assured her that he was just driving his bike, which was loud, and not really being a jerk.  So, then, seeking clarification as another bike engine revved, “Is that guy a jerk?”

At that point Mac and I looked at each other and said, “Uh, oh.”  When a group of bikers pulled up Mabel stated, “Those are a lot of jerks!”  Mac and I then looked and each other and I said, “I really hope we don’t get in a fistfight on the ferry.”

As we boarded the ferry- bike engines roaring- I tried to explain to Mabel that just driving your loud bike doesn’t make you a jerk.  Only someone who is really inconsiderate is a jerk.  I shouldn’t have used that word, because it’s not a nice word.

Thankfully that seemed to satisfy her and she didn’t call anyone on the ferry a jerk.  No fisticuffs ensued, as Mabel did nothing but charm all the tattooed, beer drinking (the ferry opened the bar for the 11:15AM trip), wallet on a chain wearing bikers.

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Wordless-ish Wednesday: Mystic Aquarium

Been sitting on these photos for a long time!  So here they are as a Wordless-ish Wednesday.

Mabel REALLY enjoyed the aquarium and I was really impressed how willing she was to touch all the different creatures in the touch tanks.  She was a little scared by the Belugas that came right up to the glass, made eye contact, and “spoke” through the glass.

PS- We were able to get discounted admission!  A friend who lives in Connecticut was kind enough to borrow her local library’s admission discount pass.  Another option was showing a Big Y saver card, but we got a larger discount with the library pass.  We met friends at the aquarium and they are a military family (USAF) and their military ID qualified them for a generous reduction of the admission price.   So check your local library (always a good idea since they often have passes for a local museums, zoos, etc. in their area) and the aquarium’s site for info on discounts.

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Filed under Mabel, Mother, Scientist, travel, Wordless Wednesday

Weekend Getaway: Rehoboth Beach, DE

Over President’s Day Weekend, Mac, Mabel, and I headed down to Delaware for a weekend with Mac’s parents.  They live in North Carolina, so Delaware is a good halfway point.

While it was chilly, it was remarkably warm for February.  We were able to visit the Indian River Lifesaving Station, fly a kite on the beach, eat lots of seafood, do some outlet shopping, and generally enjoy spending time with my in laws.  Another perk- a friend of mine from high school and her husband drove up to their family’s beach house in Lewes for the weekend and both couples were able to leave kids with grandparents and go out to dinner!  A lovely restaurant, adult conversation, and an evening of board games.  What more could I ask for?!

Well, I could have asked that Mabel not get sick.  She started running a fever on Sunday morning.  So, we spent Sunday mostly in the hotel.  Thankfully Saturday had been a really full and fun outside day.  Sunday Mabel and I took a dip in the pool (a great fever reducer), then Mac and I wrestled some children’s Tylenol down Mabel’s throat, and while she was down for a nap, left her in the capable hands of Gramma and Grampa to hit the outlets for a little while.  We returned before she woke from the nap- so she was none the wiser and I was none the guiltier for leaving my sick toddler.  It wasn’t too bad, and as long as we kept her on the Tylenol, she was none the worse for wear, really.

In all honesty, a part of me was grateful that if she was going to get sick, it was on a day that I was around.  I miss so much- even comforting my sick kid- because of work.  Having Mac as the stay at home parent, as capable, kind, and loving as myself (and infinitely more patient than I am), means that there really isn’t a NEED for me to stay home when Mabel is sick.  Mac handles it all, takes it all in stride.  I’m left to go to work and save my PTO (paid time off) for better days.  A part of me feels guilty about never being the one taking her to the doctor.  Just last night, as she watched the goldfish screen saver on my computer she said, to the ‘baby’ goldfish, “Mommy’s at work.  It’s just you and daddy.”  (Cue knife to my heart).  So, on that chilly Sunday in February, in that hotel in Delaware, I was happy to stay in with my sick little girl.

While this wasn’t our first trip to Delaware, we went down back in August to stay with the aforementioned friends for the weekend (I wrote about it here), it was the first time we met my in laws there.  It worked out really well (even with Mabel’s fever), and we plan to do it again in the future- saving either party from having to make the 12 hour drive.

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Family Vacation: Lewes, DE

Happiness is… old friends and new beginnings.

Facebook is a wonderful thing.  It’s put me back in touch with my best friend from middle school.  As chance would have it, she’s also married with a baby.  There are other similarities- our husbands have the same first name, our babies are both January babies, her husband is a scientist, and a bunch of other things that make their family a great match for ours.

Anyway, she invited us down to their family’s beach house in Lewes, DE for a weekend.  It was a really long drive from NY, but so worth it.

Lewes is gorgeous!  I love the old houses, the architecture, the sidewalks, the little shops, all beautiful.

I wound up taking the day off from work the Friday we were heading down (I wrote about it here) which meant we arrived around 7:30pm.  We rather quickly got the little ones to bed and settled at the huge dining room table for some Wits And Wagers"".  It was a lot of fun.

The next morning we got an early start and headed over to the Historic Lewes Farmers Market for their Tomato Festival.  It was really lovely.  If we didn’t have such a long, unrefrigerated, drive back to NY, I definitely would have stocked up.  Instead we got a pint of cherry tomatoes, the variety I cannot recall, and a gorgeous bunch of flowers that I just could not pass up.

As usual, Mabel was a big hit.  Using her adorable looks and charm to get a free flower and a taste-test of a cherry tomato.

Seeing as we’re now boring parents with a toddler, the afternoon was rather low-key, with some splashing in the yard, followed by naps.

After naps, we had plans to head for the beach.  We’d packed our lawn chairs, umbrella, and other beach paraphernalia; however, the weather wasn’t cooperating.  It was quite overcast and threatening rain.  So, we decided to just walk down to the beach and enjoy what we could.  It was about 1 mile to the beach, and a pleasant walk through the quaint town.  Mabel loved the water, and it was hard to keep her out of it!  We made it back to the house just as the raindrops started to pour down.  Perfect timing!

Dinner that night was had after the littles were put to bed.  We dined on burgers and hot dogs, grilled veggies, and a delicious orzo salad that I should post the recipe for soon.  A meal with adults, and no kids was such a nice change of pace!  If only my friend and her hubby weren’t in DC!

We stayed up late playing more Wits And Wagers as well as Balderdash The Game"" (which is different and more fun than the old Balderdash that was just about bluffing word definitions).  Mac and I really enjoyed both games and put them on our wish lists for future purchase.  We laughed so much that our sides hurt.  If we hadn’t all been imagining waking up at the crack of dawn with our kids, we probably would have been up all night.

The next day was departure day, and we had a long drive.  So we took a quick stroll through town, did some window shopping, and said our goodbyes.  The drive back was hard- even taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry didn’t feel like much of break.

However, we had so much fun that it was completely worth it.  It was so nice to find a couple that we meshed with and be able to get away for a weekend.  They’ve invited us down again, and I can’t wait to take them up on the offer.  We hope to return the kindness and have my friend and her family up to our cabin in the Catskills.

I’m planning to print up a few of the photos to frame and send as a thank you.  I have to hurry up since it’s been almost a month since we were down there!

It’s so funny to remember back to the 5th grade girls we once were- now both moms and wives.  Thanks Facebook!


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Family vacation: Rangeley, ME 2011

Just like the previous 21 years, I spent the first week in August in Rangeley, Maine.  In 1990 my family rented a cottage on Rangeley Lake alongside two other families.  We had so much fun that first year, we’ve been back every year since.  They are like our aunts, uncles, and cousins that we only see once a year (except for big events like weddings).  Thankfully with e-mail and Facebook we keep in touch throughout the year, but we all look forward to that week together.  That week is sacred, some of us have missed a year here or there due to school, a new job, etc. but by and large, we’re all there every year.

We’ve added people over the years- girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, and now kids.  Two years ago was Mabel’s first trip to Rangeley.  It was fun, but at only 7 months old, she couldn’t really do much.  While the main occupation of the week is sitting on the porch looking out over the lake, see below, there’s lots of other fun to be had.

This year was different.  This year I had a walking, almost talking, adventurous toddler!

We stop in Gorham, NH on the way up to break up the trip (and avoid arriving exhausted on our first day) from New York to Maine.  We stay at a little motel with a gorgeous swimming pool.

From Gorham to Rangeley is a mere 2.5 hours, and with a toddler who wakes at 5am, that meant arriving in time for the Logging Festival Parade!

I’ve left out the photo of the septic truck in the parade towing a trailer with a portapotty on it, occupied by a ZZ Top-esque bearded man reading the newspaper.  However, you can see it here.

Once the parade was over, we could get on with the real vacationing!

We went out on the lake…

We splish-splashed in the water…

We admired the wildlife…

We spent an evening on Mooselookmeguntic Lake having a delicious dinner…

We had an all around fabulous time!

I’m already looking forward to next year!

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?


Filed under Mabel, Mother, travel, Wife

iPhone (Droid) Photo Friday- Vacation Edition

This past week I ventured with my family northward- to Maine, via New Hampshire.  Here are the photos I captured on my cell phone for iPhone Photo Friday.

First up, this odd find in a gift shop in Gorham, NH:

Moose Shish Kapoop

Who thought this (literal) crap up?  I’ve heard of Moose Poop earrings and key chains, but shellacked moose poop and bread on a shish kabob stick?  Why?!  You may also imagine my feeling of ironic surprise when I noted that said Moose Shish Kapoop was made in Wasilla, Alaska- home of an infamous former vice-presidential candidate.

After the stop-over in Gorham, we arrived at our final destination- Rangeley, Maine.  This was our view for the week:

The view from the porch.

Note the dog wasted no time jumping in the lake!

Mabel also wasted no time:

Ready for all manner of water sports!

I managed to resist the temptation to buy one of these:

Spinmallow, where have you been all my life?

I do think this is an ingenious idea.  What better way to ensure even toasting of a marshmallow than a motorized marshmallow stick?!  Where is the infomercial for this?

Mabel was pretty much the center of attention ALL THE TIME:

She'll grow into it.

Here she has even managed to coax Pop off his bicycle so she could take a ride.

We did have some rainy weather:

A rainy afternoon.

Thankfully the rain was short-lived and didn’t put too much of a damper on our vacation.

Bathing beauty.

All aboard!

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