Field Trip!

This weekend we took a trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. The annual Fairy House Festival was taking place and we arranged to meet Tara, Josh and the boys for the afternoon. After encountering some horrendous traffic, we finally made it down to Boothbay. It was a drizzly, gray afternoon, but we embraced the weather and made the most of our day.

The fairy house portion of our day was wonderful, but the garden itself was even better. There were so many beautiful plants, flowers, structures and more.
Here Nora is with a statue of the bear cub from Blueberries for Sal.

Eli spent most of the time napping in the sling. It was much more comfortable carrying him around in this weather than it had been in the ninety-plus degree weather previously.

Soon the boys arrived!

This was a super cool rope bridge, though pretty high up. You'll see in the next picture.

A little scary!

The kids smile up to Shane in the bear cave.

We eventually made it over to the Fairy Village. The kids enjoyed working on a few of the fairy houses, but then it was back to the garden for more exploring and fun. We will definitely be putting the gardens on our list of great places to bring the family!

Eli- still asleep!

Smile, Wylie!

Pumping some water- this might have been a little more fun if it hadn't been raining all day. Everything was already soaked, but the kids had a great time watering everything anyway. (Please ignore how unprepared for the weather my child is. I completely forgot we were going to the gardens from my Mom's house and didn't even check the weather ahead of time. We borrowed that sweatshirt from Tara. Oops!)

For dinner we headed down to Boothbay Harbor which is just a few minutes down the road. I think we'll have to come back to the harbor when we have a full day to explore it. There are plenty of shops and restaurants tucked into this small space and it would be fun to check it out. We highly recommend this as a summer day trip for the family!


These last few weeks

Recently we took a trip down to New Hampshire to visit Hayley and Evan at their new place. It was a hot, hot day, but we spent part of it in the air conditioned comfort of Dover Saddlery. Mom was in horse heaven. Before we left that evening, we visited outside a bit and Nora had an impromptu music lesson. (Well, she actually just played around. I don't think Evan knows how to play the trumpet.) Hayley and Eli.
The next big event of our summer was the fourth of July. We enjoyed visiting and eating good food. We also played plenty of Crazy Taxi, our favorite old school video game that has become an annual tradition.

I don't have any shots of Kalen, but my guess is that when I got out the camera he was probably inside working on his Crazy Taxi skills.
We've stayed quite busy this summer, with plenty of visiting family and friends. I'll leave you with a few shots of the kids on those rare days we find ourselves at home. Hope everyone is having a wonderful, relaxing summer. Enjoy this weather and remember it when February rolls around!



Even though you can't really tell based on the weather, it is summer here. To celebrate, last night we went to a summer festival sponsored by the company I work for. Usually I'm consumed with a million things on the day of the festival, but this year, since I'm on maternity leave I wasn't involved in the planning/executing of the festival, so I got to enjoy it.
Nora visits the petting zoo.

Last year there wasn't a petting zoo, so it was great to see the kids enjoying one this year.

There was also a bouncy house- an instant hit, of course!

Nora made a cool sand art bottle to keep in her room. She was very proud of it.

Eli was great for a good portion of the day. He did throw quite a fit in the evening, but I think he was uncomfortable, because he proceeded to poop all over Shane right after.

Nora's super healthy dinner- a hot dog!

There was also a sock hop that evening, and Nora and Shane had a great time dancing. Thank goodness for Eli- he was my excuse to stay out of the dance tent.

Nora seemed to be having fun...

Until she decided her Dad was dancing a little too crazily.

By the end of the night both kids were totally exhausted and asleep within two minutes of leaving the festival. That's what I like to see!


Just a little tummy-time photo to brighten your day. Enjoy!


Birthday Girl!

This past weekend we celebrated Nora's fourth birthday. Initially we had planned to have the party at the beach, but with a 40% chance of thunderstorms, I moved the party to my aunt's house. Of course, Murphy's Law took effect and the day was absolutely beautiful- not a cloud in the sky until the evening. Once everyone had left the single thunderstorm moved in. Oh well, Nora had a great time and we loved getting to see all our close family and friends.

Shane picked up a pinata for the kids to take a whack at. They had a great time, but thank goodness my cousin's older twins were there, otherwise they never would have broken into it!

Once the candy dropped, it was a free for all.

Next we moved inside for the cake portion of the party. Nora had picked out a butterfly cake and I supplemented it with cupcakes.

I snapped a quick picture of Eli and I towards the end of the party.

These next pictures are from just last night. Shane is on summer vacation now and has started p90x again. Nora decided, as she usually does, to join him.

Eli took notes from the swing. It won't be long before he joins them!


A Graduation Celebration

Last week Nora's preschool had a graduation ceremony for those kids entering kindergarten in the fall. All the kids in the class participated and sang songs. Nora was quite excited to dress up in her 'special occasion' dress from Grampa John Gary and couldn't sit still through the entire thing. On the way to the school she said, 'I just can't believe I'm in a graduation!' It was too cute.

The weather has really warmed up (well, some days) which has allowed us to get out on the deck and enjoy the spring.

Eli was born in this tub (which has since been disinfected!) and it has become our summer swimming pool on the deck. Nora is a big fan.

Finally, a quick shot I grabbed of Eli in the swing the other day. He was just waking up and making lots of faces- I just happened to catch this one. Enjoy!


We're back- kind of!

I realize there is a very slim chance that anyone will read this after not posting for over a year, but I've recently discovered blog2print.com and realized it would be an easy way for me to document our lives without having to go buy a new baby book. Yes, there's a new little one in our lives, as anyone who reads this knows by now.Little Eli William Theodore Barker joined us on May 19, 2011. Big sister Nora baked cookies with her Aunt Tara while I labored away in the next room.

This pic was during a contraction. I was still able to speak between them at this point and just wanted to hide in a cave while they were going on. At one point Shane brought me his ear plugs and that helped a bit- I would just pop them in when I felt a contraction starting.
After an afternoon of increasing contractions followed by a couple hours of active labor, I got into the tub that we had set up in the front office. The water felt wonderful for about four seconds, then I immediately felt like pushing. Actually, I had already started feeling pushy a few contractions before that and likely should have gotten into the tub a lot earlier, but I had a serious fear of getting in too early and stalling my labor. That was not an issue- about twenty minutes later, sixteen of those minutes being pushing- Eli was born underwater, just like his big sister. We got out of the tub and woke Nora up (eventually- she didn't really want to get up!) and the two were introduced.

She was very excited to meet him!

Eli started nursing almost immediately which would imply that he is great at it. Unfortunately, that's not the case. It has taken us three weeks to get nursing, and we're still facing some challenges, but really hoping that they're on their way out!

The next morning the cousins came to visit. Here is Kalen holding Eli for the first time. What a great older cousin!

And a sweet pic of the little guy...

So far, things are going well. Eli just hit three weeks and I feel like we're just starting to hit a nice rhythm. Nora is an awesome big sister, always willing to help and always wanting to kiss or hug her little brother. She isn't so impressed with how much attention I have to give him, but overall is really enjoying her new role. Let's hope it continues for awhile before he reaches that special age and starts stealing all her toys!