Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stand-Up (and Don't Fall In!) Paddleboarding

Last summer I got to cross an item off my list that I've been wanting to do for years--our family finally went stand-up paddleboarding! It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work--my body was so sore the next day! 

We went on a lake in Brewster with an instructor to help us. Sam was too little to do it so he sat on the instructor's board most of the time or hung onto mine (more on that later), which he was fine with.
The instructor took pictures which is why we have photo documentation of this momentous occasion. 

We started out kneeling and paddling before working our way up to standing. 
Note Peter in the background trying to stay on his board. His body weight made balancing on the board very difficult the whole time we were on the water, so he spent a lot more time in the water than on the board!
Good thing he likes lake swimming. 😄

 (That's not a fanny pack around my waist! It's a flotation-type of device that we had to have on us.)

John had been paddleboarding twice before with his camp group from the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. As with most things of an athletic nature, he was easily the best in our family at it.
There are Peter and I successfully kneeling and paddling in the background! 
Unfortunately for Peter, that's about as successful as he got!
But John makes it look so easy! 

And then I stood up! And I didn't fall in! I'm very happy to report that I didn't fall in the water once, even though it was pretty breezy and the water was choppy. We went across the lake and back. I was a little scared the whole time and it was hard work, but it was fun! 

The epitome of coastal chic! 😎

The instructor had to go and help Peter, who was struggling because he couldn't stay on his board. So Sam had to come hang onto my board, which made me go much slower because it created a lot of drag. Then the instructor called out to me to have Sam sit on the board (duh Donna), and then, apart from my protesting arm and ab muscles, I felt like we glided through the water with the greatest of ease! 

Other than Sam getting bonked on the head with one of the paddleboards when John was messing around, the boys did great. They really do well in the water. And on the water.

 A nice family which only one of us is wet. Not mentioning any names here! 😇

Like I said before, it was fun and it was a great workout. Stand-up paddleboarding appeals to me more than kayaking does (kayaking has always scared me--I'm afraid of the kayak flipping over and being trapped in it, which happened to a guy in my hometown who sadly drowned when that happened to him). I'd like to get a couple of our own stand-up paddleboards and start doing this every summer. I want to get good-quality inflatable ones so that we can easily transport them in the back of the car instead of having to mount them on top of the car, which would be a pain and a definite deterrent to me ever doing this on my own.

Stand-up paddleboarding gets a thumbs up from us--yes, even from Peter! 👍

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cruising Around the Bay

Our Cape house is down the street from Lewis Bay. It's kind of neat because when we first started staying at the Cape in 2005, the house we stayed at was also on Lewis Bay. Kind of a special full-circle thing kind of a deal.  

Anyway, back to the business of this blog can take an hour-long harbor cruise of Lewis Bay out of Hyannis. The boys and I did our second Lewis Bay cruise last summer, this time with my mom, my brother Nate, and his girlfriend Kat. It's a fun way to see "our beach" and the area around it from the water as well as to learn the history of the area (going back to the Native Americans) as well as see the famous Kennedy family compound and other houses that belong to some very successful peeps.

This picture doesn't really do it justice, but there were tons of sailboats out on the water that morning because there was a regatta or something going on. It was really pretty.

The big white house in the middle of this picture is the famous Kennedy compound. It's neat to think about JFK, RFK, Teddy Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, and the rest of the family being there.

The Kennedy compound is the house on the left and the big white house mansion on the right with the pillars once belonged (maybe still does belong?) to the COO of the Gap (or something like that).
Some of these boats belong to the Kennedy family today (according to the tour guide).
I think that dark blue boat is beautiful and if I remember correctly it belongs to one of the Kennedys. 
There's our wonderful Bayview Beach on the right!

$$$ Check out the mega-yachts! $$$

I've always thought this house is so pretty. I like the blue whale in the yard too.

This is a pretty house too.
The lighthouse is merely decorative and doesn't actually work.

I didn't take good pictures of our beach from the boat this time. but I will next time! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bayview Beach

One of our favorite beaches we've discovered since buying the Cape house four years ago is Bayview Beach in Hyannis. We didn't know about it before getting the house, and I feel like it's a nice little secret that mostly only the locals know about. It's this great little beach that's a quick drive down backroads to and from our house, and it's one of the few public beaches (with a parking lot) left that is completely free. It has a unique location near Hyannis harbor which makes it very picturesque and fun when the incoming and outgoing boats and ships sail by, making for some pretty fun waves. The water is somehow still clean and clear, and it's very kid-friendly. Just don't swim out too far! Ha ha. The parking lot is right nearby which is so convenient, there's a small playground, and the ice-cream truck comes to visit. We love this beach!

The first time I took the boys here last summer was in late June a few days after we got there when Peter was working from the house and needed some peace and quiet. As you can see, we practically had the beach to ourselves that afternoon.

I love the scenery around this beach.

An automobile ferry on its way to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket.

Diesel trucks on a ship coming back into port. 
And more importantly, Sam. See how cool this beach is?!
More trucks on a ship, headed out to the islands. 

John playing in the waves created by the ship.

Another day at Bayview.
Here's the Hy-Line ferry headed out to the Vineyard or Nantucket. This is the ferry we take when we go out there.

And here's another Hy-Line ferry, this one coming in, along with the Sea Gypsy pirate ship at its side.
(The boys and I did the Sea Gypsy pirate ship ride in 2015, which I never blogged about. Dry your eyes.)

 The playground is simple and fun.

Look out below!

I just think trucks on a ship are cool, especially when they're so close by.

And another day there with my sister's sons...

This beach is the best and I'm looking forward to going back again in just a couple of weeks!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five Things for Friday

1. Monday: I went to a doctor's appointment to figure out how to get rid of some ugly veins in my legs that cropped up during my pregnancy with Sam. I found out that I do indeed have a big "incompetent" vein in my right calf that can be removed, but first I'm supposed to wear compression stockings for three months before they can remove the nerve. Beige compression stockings in the summertime!? I don't think so!
(But like the compliant patient I am, I did go and pick them up today. I'm going to wear them on long car rides and a few other times during the the summer. Hopefully that will be...competent.)

2. Tuesday: I got a robo-call from Lara Trump (President Trump's daughter-in-law) informing me that his rally (the one that was scheduled for two weeks ago that I had tickets for that then got postponed) is going to be next Wednesday evening in Cedar Rapids. The location in Cedar Rapids is now different and I don't like it. It's going to be downtown in a much bigger venue, so I've decided not to go. I don't want to deal with the gridlock, the parking garages, the crowds, or the protesters. The hotel where it was previously scheduled to be held would have been so much easier to get into and out of. I'm kind of disappointed, but not enough to go. Maybe next time.

3. Wednesday: John got sick at his overnight summer camp and ended up having to come home early. It's disappointing because this is his third year at this camp and the previous two years he's had to leave a day early because of our annual trip to Massachusetts, but we scheduled things differently this year so that he could go for the whole week, and it still didn't work out! Plus, he always gets afflicted with something--the first two years he got really bad poison ivy and this year, some kind of a bug. Poor kid! We'll try again next year because it really is an excellent summer camp and he has so much fun there. Fourth time's the charm?

4. Thursday: Peter and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. 15 years on the 15th, our golden anniversary! (Sort of.) We're going out to dinner tonight and on a relaxing little vacation to Martha's Vineyard in a few weeks, but for now, in honor of my still-strong love for weddings and wedding dresses, here are a few of my picks for dresses that would be on my radar if I were getting married this summer: 

Satin and lace (my two favorite materials for wedding dresses) and longer sleeves ✔✔✔
This one's my favorite, at least from the back.

You know what they say...once a bride, always a bride!
Or at least, that's what I say.

5. Friday: This morning, like the good patient that I strive to be, I went out and got the compression stockings. :-( 
I also made a much more fun purchase, one that unlike the stockings I will gladly wear each day this summer. I've been looking for some comfortable cool house slippers for the summer because I don't like being barefoot in the house and we don't wear shoes inside so I always have slippers on. It's usually my Ugg slippers but they get too warm for the summer, and my padded Nike flip-flops don't stay on my feet well enough to be that comfortable. So I've been on the lookout for something else. I found the solution in a recent email from Famous Footwear, and it was these "Meditation Studio" sandals from Skechers.
I had a good feeling about these, so I went and got them this morning. They're on my feet now, and my hunch was right. These sandals are so comfortable and supportive and they're nice and snug on my feet and they're cute and I've found my summer house slippers! They'll be coming with me to the Cape house too. 
Woo-hoo! A shopping success story.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the abundance of fireflies if you're lucky enough to have them where you live! They've been lighting up the fields around our house at night and they're so pretty!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Visiting Grandma

Every summer when we're in Massachusetts we make sure to visit my grandma (my mom's mom). She's lived in a nursing home the last several years and she has dementia, so she doesn't really know who the boys and I are anymore, but we know who she is and we love her and we want her to feel loved and that's what matters. She's the only living great-grandmother the boys have so I think it's important for them to visit with her each year so that they'll know and remember her. It's also good to give them a look into what life is like for elderly people. 

Even though she's still here, defying her life expectancy given that she smoked most of her life and has age-related health problems, I miss my grandma. I miss her knowing who I am, I miss our conversations, I miss her soft, gentle voice and her laugh, I miss her funny sense of humor, I miss the furnishings and decorations that she had in her always neat and clean apartment when I was growing up. I miss her being her. I wish I could talk to her about some of the exciting family history discoveries we've recently made from one of her family lines, and about the kids, and about Iowa and Cape Cod and our vacations, and just about life. I wish I could ask her questions about her own life. I believe that she'll someday be herself again and that we'll be able to have those conversations and so many others then.  

The past few years she's thought Sam is just the cutest little thing. Well, he is!

Mother and daughter.

Three generations, with a fourth generation taking the picture. 

 My grandma used to like doing arts and crafts and she made some nice porcelain painted things when I was in high-school that I still have. Now she and her nursing home friends color pictures. It's very sweet but it makes me feel a little sad.  

It's hard to see people you love grow old and get sick. I know it's a part of life, but it's not a part that I enjoy. It's a little scary to me to think about the possibility of this happening to my mom in a few decades, and then to me a few decades after that. 
But if it does happen to me, well, I've always enjoyed coloring. :-)
I'm looking forward to seeing my Grandma again next month!