Monday, August 20, 2018

My Little Marine Biologist

I grew up frightened to swim in ocean water over my head because of the movie Jaws.  Jaws was filmed on Martha's Vineyard off of the coast of Cape Cod and because the beaches in the movie looked like our beaches, it was very easy to assume that a rogue shark could appear in the same manner.  It's funny to look back and think about that fear considering there were never any shark sightings in the waters off of Massachusetts when I was growing up.  It wasn't until I was in my twenties that a great white shark made news by hanging around in the Falmouth area. (I believe it was Falmouth.)


Nowadays, great white sharks have made the Cape Cod waters a feeding ground due to the overabundance of seals.  The inevitable happened last week when a man was bitten by a shark in Truro.  He is expected to survive the attack.

The first time I visited Hawaii, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on for planning, absorbing all the information about sharks.  Learning why sharks attack and how to avoid becoming victim of a shark attack took some of that irrational childhood fear away.  With the girls, instead of instilling a fear of sharks, we've made sure to educate them on shark safety.  They have a lot of questions and, lately, with all the shark sightings, there has been quite a bit of discussion on sharks.


A few weeks ago at the library, Emily checked out a couple of books on sharks and other ocean creatures.  We're lucky in that our library has a decent selection of nonfiction books for kids.  When we visit the library, which is about every other week in the summer, I find a seat and let the girls browse through the titles.  This is how Emily found those books.  She spent Friday afternoon reading this book about sharks.

Emily shared different parts of the book she found interesting with me.  As I was making dinner, she told me she may want to be a marine biologist when she grows up.  (If you have kids who are 10-12 years old and curious and/or fascinated with sharks, check out that book.)

Last weekend, we visited Coast Guard Beach again.  It wasn't exactly beach weather, but sometimes those are the best times to visit the beach.  The girls and I went on an extended nature walk, heading off to the right side of the beach.  Not many beach-goers venture down that far so it was fairly deserted.  (I did not have to photoshop out any people this time.) We spotted so many seals in the water - at least 40.  And, of course, later that week, the beach was closed to swimming due to shark sightings.



A note on my camera lens:  I was using my 105mm lens for a different perspective.  I like to change up my lens usage for this reason.  I cropped the above photo so you can see the detail that's retained despite the crop.  (If curious, I had my f stop set at 4.5.)







Summer freckles.











Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  TGUH is a participant in the Amazon Services Associates Program LLC, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

MIA + Identicalness of Identicals

I didn't intend to be away from posting for so long.  I have lots to say and a slew of photos to share but I am currently in the last minute rush to finish the girls' Disney customs, which I plan to photograph before we leave.  I've learned my lesson on that one from previous trips.  Apparently, I did not learn that waiting for summer when the girls are out of school is not the best time to cram in huge sewing projects.


This is Emily's outfit for the new Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios.  She'll just wear a plain tank top with it.

And a close up of the fabric hair bow, my latest thing.


The only reason why I'm not sewing this very minute is because the girls have friends over and they are in the pool so I need to be outside watching them.

I probably won't be able to post much over the next couple of weeks as I wrap up sewing, and packing, and then we head to Disney and you all know that I don't vacation blog in real time.

So let's talk about identicals.  At the end of June and beginning of July, the girls all had ortho check-ups.  Somewhat frustrating is that the office won't book three back-to-back appointments for siblings.  The most they will do is two.  Okay, whatever.  Not the end of the world.  It's not too far away so it isn't that much of an inconvenience, especially during the summer.  As a result of those appointments, I was told that Allie needed to have four (more) baby teeth pulled and Emily needed two.

As your adult teeth come in, they dissolve the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to loosen up and fall out.  When you have little mouths and crowding, sometimes the adult teeth don't come up right under the baby teeth, so the recommendation is to have a dentist pull the baby teeth to make room for the adult teeth.  
Allie has already had several baby teeth pulled because of crowding.  Anna had teeth pulled a few years ago, but this was Emily's first time.  So far, we've had all teeth pulled via the dentist and novocaine (or whatever they use these days.)  Our dentist office won't pull four teeth (two top and two bottom, different sides of the mouth) at the same time because there would be too much numbness, the kids could accidentally bite their tongues.

So in July, Allie had two teeth pulled.  Last Wednesday, she had the other two pulled.  We had friends over on Tuesday and all the kids were swimming.  Emily got out of the pool complaining of water in her ear.  The water was still there on Wednesday.  She was scheduled to have her teeth pulled on Thursday so I told her that if the water was still in her ear on Friday morning, I would call the doctor.

Allie slept over at my parents' house on Thursday night.  Thankfully, before I could call the doctor about Emily's ear, Allie text me from Grammy's phone to tell me her ear was hurting.  I get her and Grammy on the phone so I can find out exactly what's going on.  I didn't think it was related to her earrings but I wanted to confirm.  It was the inside of her ear, so I made an appointment for the Wonder Twins.

Interestingly enough, they were both diagnosed with swimmer's ear.  Emily in the right and Allie in the left.  Neither one has ever had swimmer's ear and I think there may have been one ear infection once with Allie years ago.  What are the odds of that?  Funny, because the week before Rich was talking about the high balance in our flex spending account.  We took care of that problem.

I'll try to pop on here and there, but I'll be back for sure at the end of the month!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Exploring Cape Cod

After my bike ride with Emily, we all drove over to Coast Guard Beach.  Rich and the A Team had picked us up at Arnold's in Eastham and this beach is nearby.  Just a quick note on Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar.  We've eaten here several times (seafood) and it's quite tasty.  If you're thinking of ordering a side of their famous onion rings, go for the small.  The large is huge and it seems like whenever we eat there, we see other guests walking back to their tables with enormous mounds of onion rings on their trays and a shocked look on their faces.

Okay back to the beach.  Coast Guard Beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Because of its location, the water temperature is cooler than beaches near our cottage.  The water also tends to be a bit rougher than what the girls would like for swimming.

We always read the board as it can contain important information.  See the drawing of the sandbar and rip currents?





The girls spent almost the entire visit in the water.  Anna has named it her favorite beach.  The water was nice and clear with no seaweed.



Emily attempting to outrun a wave.  Her expression tells it all.

This guy was flying over the ocean.  Death wish, perhaps?





Last weekend, we drove to Truro to visit Head of the Meadow Beach, which is also part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Unfortunately, it began raining shortly after our arrival so we packed up, drove around for a bit and then headed back towards the cottage.  Along the way, we stopped at the Salt Pond Visitors Center and watched a few of the short, educational films and walked around the museum.

We stopped at the Knack in Orleans for dinner.  This place has the best burgers!  I'm not a big red meat eater to begin with but I hardly ever order a burger when we eat out because I've been disappointed too many times. I went with the classic cheeseburger and it was fabulous.  I also asked for it to be cooked all the way through as I don't want to see any pink, and they did just as I requested.  A huge pet peeve of mine is ordering a burger well done and the middle is pink.  


I have to say that, sadly, the bathroom situation at this beach was no bueno.  Apparently, the original bathhouse burnt down so there are temporary bathrooms in place.





The girls are convinced that a few days after we visit a beach where sharks are more likely to be seen, there's a shark sighting.  And they seem to be correct.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Part of Anna's Story

Despite Anna's physical limitations, she believes she can do anything and everything.  For example, Rich was thinking of running a road race a couple of weekends ago.  There was a walk at the same time so he asked me if I wanted to do the walk with the girls while he ran.  While I would have run the race myself, someone needed to stay with the girls.

Me:  "Hey, do you guys want to walk 3 miles while Daddy is running that race next weekend?"
Anna:  "How far is the run?"

Me:  "5 miles."

Anna:  "I can run 5 miles.  Why don't we do the run?"

Now let's rewind to a few weeks before this when I took the girls out for a walk after dinner while Rich was mowing the lawn.  Or what's left of the lawn.  We're 2+ miles into the walk with less than a quarter of a mile to home and Anna is exhausted.  But she's still plugging along.  Then she tells me she's so tired she feels nauseous, so we stop and rest.  I ask her if she wants me to call Daddy to pick us up.  "No, I can do it."  And she does.  Without complaining.

So we decide to participate in the 3 mile walk while Rich takes on the 5 mile run.  We've had an extremely hot and humid summer here.  That morning was humid but there was cloud cover which was helping to keep the heat down.  As soon as the walk/run starts, the clouds blow away and we're in the sun.  Five minutes into the walk Anna's face is red.  A minute later someone asks if we've walked a mile yet.

This was a HUGE mistake, I think to myself.

At the first mile mark, there's a water station.  Cold water in cups.  I take mine and slowly pour it over Anna's head.  She's not a big water drinker but I force her to take in as much as possible.  We plug along.  There's more water, albeit warm, at the second mile mark.  I'm not even checking our time.  Other walkers have passed us when we've stopped at the water stations.  I don't even care if we come in last.  The goal is to simply finish.  Even I'm hot, but no one is complaining.  

We cross the finish line in under an hour.

The Fire Dept. has opened a hydrant and there's a fine mist of cold water spraying across the pavement.  Anna stands in it until she's completely soaked.  We need to stop at the grocery store on our way home, but I don't have the heart to tell her not to get too wet.

I don't know where this spirit comes from.  Her ability to continue on even when she's exhausted.  While I tell the girls they can do anything, I always try to be realistic.  So when Anna stated she could participate in the five mile run, I reminded her of our after-dinner walk.  Some day she may be able to run a race, possibly a five mile race, but not in the heat and humidity without any training.  That's not a good idea for anyone.  

I've always said that after sleep deprivation, the most difficult parenting aspect of triplets is seeing them as individuals and allowing that individuality to bloom.  (Yes, I used to dress them the same.  Because it was super convenient, and I didn't have anyone asking how I decided to dress each girl.  There was no false sense of favoritism from others.)  There are times and situations when they are automatically lumped together because sometimes all three are very much the same but with small variations.  When there's a big difference, like at school, it's a shock to my system even though it shouldn't be.

Perhaps not be singled out, perhaps being a triplet has benefited Anna in ways we'll never fully know.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Emily and I take on the Cape Cod Rail Trail

Ever since we bought the cottage, I've been slightly obsessed with biking the Rail Trail.  I don't really have a good explanation as to why, but it's been on my wish list of activities.  We did bike part of it last year as a family and, while fun, it was slow going.  Emily enjoys biking while Allie is afraid someone is going to run into her.  This fear applies to pathways, not open areas.  Anna, in theory, likes biking but it is physically demanding for her, especially as she still uses training wheels.  Not only would she need to be strong and have good balance to bike without training wheels, she would need awareness of her surroundings.  But that's a different subject.

A couple of weeks ago, on our way home from Provincetown, we stopped at Arnold's in Eastham for ice cream.  From our car's position in the back of the parking lot, I could see part of the Rail Trail.  Bike racks are available if bikers wish to stop for a break, food or otherwise.  We had just discussed visiting beaches along the National Seashore in that area so I devised a plan whereby Emily and I would bike the Rail Trail from the beginning in Dennis to Eastham.  The Arnold's parking lot provided the perfect location for Rich to pick us up.  I consulted a map and determined that we would have to cover a distance of about 17 miles.

Emily told me she could do it.

We are lucky to have several paved bike paths here on the Cape.  The Cape Cod Rail Trail is the longest, stretching 22 miles from Dennis to Wellfleet.  This bike path is considered "easy" and moderately flat.  We'll let Emily be the judge.

Mid-morning last Sunday, Rich and the A Team dropped us off at the beginning of the Rail Trail.  Last year, a bridge was built connecting the Rail Trail to a shorter (about 4 miles in length) bike path from Dennis into Yarmouth, but I'm considering the beginning to be the original "trailhead" in Dennis, where there's a large parking lot.  We had packed water and snacks and I brought my camera, of course.  I used this camera backpack, which is super comfortable.  I've talked about it before.  It's great for carrying your camera when you're walking, biking, hiking, etc. but not so good if you're going to be taking your camera in and out.  I have problems with my back and neck and I didn't really even notice that I was wearing this during our ride.  

The first 3 miles of the bike path are flat.  After that, there's a slight incline that lasts for about a mile.  Then there are several places with inclines which continue for at least half a mile.  The path does attract stereotypical bicyclists (male, + or - 50 years of age, sporting biking clothes) who bike at a faster pace and don't announce that they're passing you even though it's common courtesy and technically one of the rules of the path.  Because of this, Emily and I biked single file with her in the lead so she could set our pace.


We stopped for a longer break at Nickerson State Park and after that, the path did flatten out for awhile.  Thank goodness, because Emily needed a break.


The bike path does pass through some interesting areas.  I had thought I would take photos of everything but I didn't want to add extra time on to our ride.  In the photo below, we stopped at a pond, complete with a swimmable beach, right on the path.  

So, yes, we did about 17 miles.  The last marker I saw was 16.8 miles.  I'm super proud of Emily.  You never know what you can do unless you try it.  I didn't see any other kids her age biking that far and several adults called out word of encouragement to her.

Here we are in the parking lot of Arnold's getting picked up. Yay, we did it!!

Next challenge - I'd like to bike the Rail Trail from Dennis to either the end in Wellfleet or to Marconi Beach, which is at 21 miles.

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  TGUH is a participant in the Amazon Services Associates Program LLC, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.