Maine Vacation: The Trip Up

Having already put a solid couple hundred miles on our car in the name of vacation, it was time to let the real fun begin.  Our destination in Maine is way way way past anything you may think of when you think of Maine.  From our house it is generally understood that Maine is about a 12 hour drive. That would be about right if you were going to any of the assorted tourist attractions in Maine. Clearly we didn't want to do anything touristy. 

Our destination claimed to be 16 hours, or 800+ miles from our house. Aka "Middle of Nowhere Maine" where the moose abound and you can easily go 20 miles between exits on the highway.  And remember, we decided to start the trip up to Maine 2-3 hours south of where we live.  18 hours in the car with two kids? sure! 

Off we go! 

I must confess, I was a little skeptical that this adventure would be enjoyable. Both kiddos are at an age that enjoys movement, which is obviously highly restricted on a 18 hour road trip.  But, I must say, they did AMAZING!   We took 2 days to go up and 2 days to come back.  Each day we needed to accomplish 8-9 hours of driving time, and I we averaged just 2 stops each day.  And in between (with the exception of 1 segment that was mildly painful in terms of weeping) they did fantastic!  Papillon read her books and doodled in her notebook.  Hibou chewed on toys and slept, and slept and slept.  We didn't even have to pull out the ipad which we had loaded up with some emergency-entertainment options. 

Our girls are such laid back kiddos. 

Despite being great travelers, it still felt really good to get to our stopping point each day and be able to get out and stretch. 

Chillin with dad and ordering some pizza

Making funny faces.

More funny faces.

Burning off some energy by running laps around the hotel

Learning how to "balance" on the curb.

A little side note for all of you who may be looking to road trip to Maine:  Rest stops in Maine are fantastic! They were all clean, convenient, and a great place to stretch for a bit before moving on.  

Many of them also come with moose statues! Bonus!

Grandma, Grandad, Hibou, Papillon and The Moose.

As the cherry on top of our smooth trip up, when we got close to our destination (45 mins close...its all relative) we saw a rainbow! 

Pre-Vacation, Vacation

Our most recent vacation involved a fair amount of pre-vacation. The primary part of the vacation was a trip to Maine.  Prior to that we did a little stay-cation, followed by a trip to see Mon Amour's parents.  (why did we drive 3 hours south before driving 18 hours north? It's hard to say, I am still trying to work that one out)

Anyway, a few fun adventures from our pre-road trip, destination. 

Papillon taking very good care of Hibou's doll "Dollie"  Tangent, we have 3 dolls (of significance) in this house, "Baby Doll", "Dollie" and "Molly".  They are hard to keep straight.

To complicate the doll situation, this little cutie pie is still often just referred to as "baby".... 

....or "Slobber Monkey" as they case may be.

Sisters, watchin' a little "'Tasha" together.

Just for kicks, in case we weren't already spending enough time in the car on this trip, we decided to drive an additional hour south of Mon Amour's parents' house to meet up with a good friend of Mon Amour.   We met his fiancee, had a little dinner, walked around a cool pedestrian road/market/place and had a lovely time.    They have a "free speech" chalk board in this town where you can just draw whatever you are thinking or whatever message you want to communicate to the world.  Papillon added a few "smiley faces" to the mix.

Papillon's soap box of choice: Smiles.

All good get-togethers end with ice cream. This outing was no exception. Eating ice cream was also a delightful time to play pass-the-baby.  Who can resist spending some time with little sweet natured Hibou!

Fast Friends

Sometimes it feels like life is destined to keep you from seeing certain people.   So it has been with these friends who live just far enough away to make visiting a significant ordeal, and who are just busy enough that our free weekends pretty much never align. 

But, as luck would have it, the stars (I mean, our schedules!) aligned. Briefly, and for an all-too-short visit. But It was fun nonetheless. 

And Papillon and their two kids quickly became good playmates.

It was sad when we had to leave and had to put and end to these girls' reading party!

Good Times!

Duck Pond

Prior to our most recent vacation, Mon Amour took a couple days off for a bit of a pre-vacation stay-cation.  And on one of these pleasant, relaxing days, we decided to wrap up the day with a visit to the duck ponds.

Hibou enjoyed the scenery.

Note the mohawk. That happens naturally.

Me and my girls.
Papillon was not super into this "get a picture with mom" the two pictures below happened before we persuaded her to stand close to mom, and smile at the same time.

Good times.

End of Summer Tradition

Once again, it's the end of the summer. And so, once again, it was time for a fancy date with my Sister and my Faux Sister. 

Tradidtional pre-food photo shoot.

I clearly missed the sunglasses memo.

Our traditional venue. This is our....6th? 7th? year running. And they never disappoint in the deliciousness-department.


Chocolate Cherry Maritni!

How delicious does this food look?!  Spinach Artichoke Dip, Firecracker Shrimp and a "Crab Stack"

But, the real reason we come here is for this...
Dessert! Mud Pie (above) and Hot Lava Cake (below)

This is a first...we actually managed to take a picture of the desserts before we dove in.

Every year we make predictions about the upcoming year. Some more ambitious than others (last year they predicted that this year I would be able to have a fun '09 I suspected I was pregnant, in '10 I had a tiny one to nurse, and in '11 I was pregnant again, so I had been a while.  They were right - Hibou is old enough that I wasn't worried about the effects of 1 drink.  Yay for predictions coming true!) A lot of times we are right. Some times we are not.  But its still a ton of fun!

Hibou: 6 Months, Addendum

In which I must eat my words. Remember how I said that Hibou was not at all interested in sitting up.  Well, I was mistaken. She was just waiting until she was confident that she could do it before even trying to sit. The day after I posted her 6 month post, she sat up. Just like that. I had her propped against my legs for a while, but after a minute, I pulled my legs away, so that just my toes were under her bottom, and she sat. And sat. And sat. While playing with her toy, looking around, and all around being very stable.

So, we've skipped the "monkey pose" stage (or the "tripod-ing stage" as our physical therapist calls it), and gone right to the sitting stage.

Something else that started just a little too late for the original post is that she is busting out the consonant sounds.  Lots of "baa baa baa" and "muh muh muh".  Also lots of sticking out her tongue like its a game. Fun stuff!

And lastly, her official stats:

Hibou, at her 6 month check up weighed 14lbs 4oz, and was 26.5 inches tall.   Almost exactly the same size as (and yet, oddly, technically, longer and skinnier than) her big sister at 6 months.

Zoo Trip

 Our most recent trip to the zoo was with quite a few fun mom-friends.  The picture below, I feel, rather accurately portrays how many of my mom-friend-get-togethers look.  Lots of kids needing to be held, lots of (empty) strollers to be pushed, lots of moms having fun, but counting down the moments until nap time.  It's good times.

I think they were all looking at the buzzards or some other, equally unattractive zoo bird. 

Just watching. 
 Hibou was a champion on this zoo visit - she slept, like this, pretty much the whole time.
 Papillon pushed the stroller for me much of the way.
 She's awake! Sort of...
 Eating lunch with a friend.
 It was a sleepy day at the zoo. Not only was the leopard sleeping in a tree, all of the apes were sound asleep - all of them!  Apparently napping is a communal thing.
Random story from this zoo visit: I almost ate a stink bug. Yick. As we were leaving the Monkey House, I was telling some kind of story, and when my mouth was open, a stink bug flew straight in. I reacted violetly, throwing my head forward to spit it out. I managed to spit it out onto Hibou (who was in the Ergo of course), but not without klonking her on the forehead with my teeth.  So now Hibou is screaming, I am freaking out cause I just had a bug in my mouth, and said bug is on Hibou's neck and I can't figure out how to get it out from between us with out much embarrassing jumping around.   Meanwhile, the other moms that I was walking with had no idea what just happened; how is it we went from a pleasant everyday anecdote to a screaming baby and a spastic mom so unexpectedly?  A stink bug. In the mouth. That's how.
With the exception of the bug-incident. It was a lovely, lovely visit to the zoo. The weather, the company and the animals could not have been any more pleasant.

Cute Hats

 In preparation for a recent zoo trip, I pulled out a hat for Hibou. Papillon obviously also had to have a hat (which is on top of her pigtails and her headbands (2 headbands). 

The results were hilariously adorable.

Hibou: 6 Months

 My little Blondie turned 6 months old last week.  And she is still my little blonde-haired, blue-eyed wonder. (How providential that we picked a nice Scandinavian name for little Blondie)

Official stats to come later this week after her official appointment.

 At 6 months, Hibou....

....loves to do this:
Namely, grab her feet. Though generally they are all the way up in her mouth, or over her head and behind her ears or something. She is very flexible, and totally embraces her flexibility. Combine that with fact that she puts absolutely everything in her mouth, and she should really be nick named Slobber Toes.  

....rolls over both ways. Though only in one direction.  When she goes from her tummy to her back, she picks up her head, throws it to the left and rolls over on that side. She has never, even once, gone the other way (more on this later)  She also has a tendency to get frustrated when she rolls herself from back to tummy - she wants to roll back, but forgets that she can do that. And so gets frustrated. Silly kid.
... doesn't sit up yet. I thought Papillon was an unmotivated kid, but compared to Hibou, Papillon is an over-achiever.  Hibou doesn't even seem interested in sitting up.  I encourage her to do so, and she simply tries to dive for her feet.  None of that fists-to-the-ground-monkey-pose that kids get when they are learning to sit up.  She's decently strong, but it may be a little while be fore she is even remotely stable at sitting.
....sleeps great. Or, at least she did.  The week leading up to vacation she was actually sleeping 10-11 hours. It was awesome! Then we went on vacation...and while on vacation she went from bad to terrible in terms of sleep. The first couple nights I was up every 2 hours...not a huge deal, I slept soundly inbetween.  The last night of vacation, she went to bed at 9pm, got up at 10:30, Midnight, and every 30 minutes after that all the way till 6am. That would officially be the worse night of sleep I have gotten to date.   Now, post-vacation, we seem to be back on track for better sleeping: fingers crossed!

....generally takes a couple cat naps in the morning, and one good nap in the afternoon.  The only time she is truly fussy is when she is tired. A 2 hour nap fixes everything! still 100% nursing. Anywhere from every 1 to 4 hours throughout the day.  We'll start solid foods soon...eventually....sometime... lots of fun.  She smiles at everyone and it generally looks like she is flirting with you, or being really sure. It is very endearing. very laid back. She entertains herself quite well. Is generally quite when we are out running errands and such.  And, 95% of the time, her fussing is for some very apparent reason (i.e. "I'm Hungry" or "I'm tired" (most often) or "My sister just put a towel over my face and I am freaking out")

...doesn't suck her thumb yet (Papillon was a hard-core thumb-sucker at this point). But does munch on her shirt constantly. Its always quite damp. 

...still has a very flat head. The biggest news for our little Hibou Marron is that we are moving forward with getting her a "helmet" to encourage her head to grow straight. We consulted with a specialist and determined that she has congenital muscular torticollis ("CMT") which is why she is always (always always always!) looking to the right. The muscle on that side of her neck is tight, making it difficult for her to stretch it out (oddly enough, this is why she always rolls to her left...its confusing, but it makes sense if you see it).   We will be treating that with some Physical Therapy, and then getting her a helmet to get head rounded out again.  The helmet is officially a cosmetic thing, but almost in the way that braces are merely cosmetic. If we didn't get the helmet, it might straighten itself back out, or it may continue to elongate some more. This would make not only the back right side of her head flat, but also the front left side as well. Already our little girl's ears are off-center because of the shape of her head.  I will likely do a separate post on this at some point (probably after she has the helmet). But, in conclusion. We will hopefully get the helmet in a month or so. And she will wear it for about 3 months after that.  Oh the adventures.

So there you have it. Hibou, at 6 months.  A little bundle of love, with a sweet spirit, a cute smile, tasty toes...and a crooked head.
We love you muchly, Hibou!