Thursday, June 30, 2011


On this the celebration of my 34th trip around the sun, I spent a relaxing day with the family, trying to recuperate from all the traveling of the recent weeks, and counting all the blessings that my family heaped upon me during this day celebrating my birth.

orchids from Paul

funky new necklace

new cookbooks are always a blessing :)

St. Catherine, the patron saint of teachers to hang over our homeschooling bookshelf

relaxing with Finn in the yard

watching my children collaborate on a special treat for mama

an Elizabeth-made dessert

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

random beauty in Boston

The weather still felt more like spring in Boston, at least compared to the unbearable summer heat in NC. Flowers and greenery abounded. I hope you'll indulge me as I share some of the beautiful spots we found while in Boston.

Boston, day 4

Bright and early on day 4, Elizabeth, Finn and I hit the Museum of Science for a morning of science-y fun. We arrived a few minutes before the museum opened and were treated with a rock garden just outside the Museum entrance.

This piece of granite came from Denali National Park, where we will be visiting in a few short weeks.

Elizabeth was suitably impressed with a large chunk of petrified wood.

Finn thought the Columnal Basalt was made just for his climbing pleasure.

And this piece of the Rock of Gibraltar just amazed us to behold.

So many more incredible rocks, including Egyptian granite, massive rose quartz and lava from Death Valley, were in this garden. I think Elizabeth could come visit every day.

Once we were inside the museum, we were amazed with the scope and thoroughness of the museum's topics. We first examined a map of the greater Boston area which would light a red LED bulb as you pressed a button beside a notable location. The kids had fun seeing where we'd been and how much of Boston we covered in the previous days.

Leonardo's Water Pump:

Periodic Table with common everyday items (like toothpaste) that when pressed lit up the element of the periodic table to which the item belonged

colorful shadows

learning about different gears

a long narrow amethyst geode

In the afternoon, we finally made our way past Boston Common to the Granary Burial Ground. I've wanted to visit all week, but my family tends to protest graveyard visits. I finally convinced them to let me have a quick walk through this afternoon.

There isn't much to say about the burial ground except that I'm struck, as I always am when I visit old burial grounds at how many children lost their lives so early in the 1700s-1800s. I'm thankful that my children are here with me and that I can bring them to places like Boston to visit a piece of our nation's history.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boston, day 3

On day 3 in Boston, with daddy at work, we decided to make our way over to the Boston aquarium for a visit. One of the first exhibits as you enter the aquarium is the shark and ray touch tank. We definitely spent the most time in this area touching 2 different varieties of rays and even a couple of sharks!

Elizabeth was actually the only one who managed to touch a shark as they largely were hanging out under the rocks instead of swimming by the hands of children desperate to touch them.

Elizabeth's favorite exhibit at most aquariums are the jellyfish, and these jellyfish did not disappoint.

The penguins were so cute interacting together.

We especially had fun watching the Rockhopper penguins, which we read about recently in a National Geographic for Little Kids magazine.

Finn was thrilled to see these penguins, which he enjoyed reading about, in real life.

This ray may not look very large floating at the top of the huge ocean tank, but he was probably 4-5 feet across.

Elizabeth and Finn examining the beautiful tropical fish.

I loved this guy, so vibrant with his mane of fins. He's a lionfish.

The Atlantic Harbor Seals were great fun to watch for a while. One of them kept swimming over and barking loudly at us causing Finn to collapse in hysterical laughter.

This is a random photo of a Steinway shop that we've passed several times. I always have to pause and look through the window at the gorgeous pianos just for my mom. This photo is for her.

Following a break for lunch and naps, we decided to make it a low-key afternoon by buying small sketchpads and pencils and heading to the park to find some inspiration.

The first inspiration was nestled by a busy walkway so we had to be content with a few pictures instead of sketching.

Finn insisted that only marker would do for his sketching.

Elizabeth had to settle for a mechanical pencil. (Reminder to self to bring sketching supplies even if I think I won't need them!)

The scenery more than made up for our lack of supplies.

We sketched,

and sketched,

and watched the wildlife for more than an hour.

I think it might have been the best hour we've spent in Boston.