Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween! This is the first year Tennyson has understood the concept behind Halloween (as much as one can understand the concept of dressing up and walking around town taking candy from complete strangers), and he did his best to make up for lost time. He went to four Halloween parties, carved his first pumpkins.....

...and went trick-or-treating for the first time. This year he dressed up as a NASA astronaut (costume designed and sewn by grandma Julie -- Thanks!).

Even though it was his first attempt, Tennyson plundered candy from the neighbors like a pro,...

...only stopping to let his dorky dad take pictures, . . .

... and to inventory his bounty.

Who will help me eat my sucrose?

This is one happy kid. Our little astronaut did so well that we've decided to sign him up for this.

Ace Atlanta

Tennyson took a short trip to Atlanta last weekend to see grandma and grandpa Hurst at the Ace Hardware convention. He really likes the big rig grandpa got him. Thanks grandpa!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sweet Delivery

Thanks Grandma! I loved my Halloween surprise. I love you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Online Tunes

Like music? Online a lot? If so, we want to share our two new friends with you: Pandora and Both offer free, create-your-own online radio stations -- just type in a song, band, or artist that you feel like hearing, then sit back and enjoy. Our favorite "stations" right now are Yonder Mountain String Band and Maynard Ferguson -- you might give one of those a shot.

(Also, we're hoping these websites are new for somebody out there, since we don't like being the last to know. It's part of trying to convince ourselves that we're still young.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bucks County, PA

Over the Columbus Day weekend we drove up to Bucks County, PA to get a taste of autumn in the countryside and to get a look at the Terry family's old stomping grounds. It was a short trip but it was so beautiful and fun.

Our first stop was Bristol, PA on the banks of the Delaware River and birthplace of Thomas Sirls Terry Jr., Suzanne's great-great grandfather.

Tennyson loved playing in the river. We stopped back in Bristol on our way home and Tennyson literally started bawling when we told him it was time to go. He was covered in mud and told us "I want to stay here forever."

Mommy was looking very urban in this country setting.

We stayed the night in Doylestown at the Courthouse Inn. It was cheap and clean. Doylestown is cute-as-a-button and is home to the Fonthill Mansion which is now a museum. Doylestown is proof that you can live in a postcard.

From Doylestown we drove to Lahaska to Peddler's Village. Peddler's Village is one of the most delightful tourist traps you will ever experience. The outdoor garden is immaculately maintained and is complete with a working water wheel, a stream, a pond, luscious flowers and lots of green space. The collection of old stone cottages house the shops and restaurants.

Tennyson + Water = Pure Delight

It was much colder than expected but it was nothing some hot apple cider could not fix.

There was a scarecrow contest while we were there. The garden walk was lined with hand-made scarecrows. Though not very scarecrow-like, one of our favorites depicted the circle of life for a pumpkin. Notice that the final stage of the circle of life is pumpkin pie -- get excited, because the best holiday ever (Thanksgiving) is coming soon!
Here's Tennyson and me with my favorite scarecrow.

Mommy and Tennyson on the carousel.

We drove to the Washington Crossing Historical Park, where General Washington crossed the Delaware River on that fateful Christmas day. It was beautiful.

We also spent some time looking for ancestors' graves in the cemeteries. This is the Bristol Cemetery, which had some seriously old headstones, but none that we could find that belonged to relatives.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Olympic Beaches

Olympic National Park consists of two disconnected areas: (1) the large inland wilderness surrounding Mount Olympus; and (2) a long, skinny stretch of coast along the western edge of the Olympic Peninsula. The latter boasts some pretty spectacular beaches. Some are quite popular and crowded (like Rialto Beach and First Beach, on the Quileute Indian Reservation). But, if you're willing to get off the beaten path (and onto the hiking trail), you can have a gorgeous beach all to yourself. Here are some of our favorites:

Ruby Beach

It's only a 1/4-mile hike to Ruby Beach, so there may be a few other people around once you get to the beach. Still, the beach is beautiful (Tenny still thinks this beach is named after his darling cousin Ruby). Enormous sea stacks defy the encircling waves. Rocky cliffs topped with evergreens are ringed with bands of perfectly rounded stones, which then give way to the fine sand beach. Tenny especially liked the piles of contorted driftwood, which hid seashells, crabs, and other coastal treasures.

Spruce Burl Trail to Beach 1

Spruce Burl Trail is named for the "spruce burls" that disfigure the spruce trees in the area, making them look like they're pregnant. There must be something in the water. The sandy beach at the end of the 1/2-mile trail is also beautiful, with lots of possibilities for exploring and relaxing alone on the sand.

Beach 4

You only have to walk about 1/2 mile to get to Beach 4 (at Kalaloch), but once you get there you'll do a lot more walking to get closer to all of the beautiful features along the beach. Beautiful sea stacks litter the north end of the beach. Go at low tide to explore the tidal pools around the sea stacks. Tennyson went crazy running around pointing out "sea creatures" (as he called them) in the tidal pools, and he now begs us every day to take him back. For now, the pictures of some of our favorite sea creatures will have to suffice.

Four-legged starfish (thought to bring good luck -- we made that up)

Starfish Necklace


Movie Star(fish)

Beach 4 is also a great place to catch a sunset (though we recommend checking the tide tables to make sure the rising tide isn't going to trap you against the cliffs while you're gazing).

With a slower shutter speed, the waves seem like clouds around the sea stacks...

...and appear that they might pull you out to sea at any moment.

This shot was taken in the dark of night, with a 30 second shutter, and only the moon to light the frame. The red dot on the horizon is a flashing light from a distant ship.

Third Beach & Taylor Point

Third Beach was probably our favorite of all. It had the sandy beach, the cliffs, the sea stacks, and the sea creatures. In addition, there is a beautiful waterfall pouring over Taylor Point and falling into the ocean waves. It's spectacular. Just hike the 1.5 miles to the beach, then hang a left and walk another 1/2 mile and you'll get a close-up of the beautiful falls.

There are also backcountry campsites on this beach. We would love to return with our backpacking gear and spend a couple days exploring this area. Tennyson found a small shovel that a backpacker had left on the beach, and he spent about 2.7 hours testing it out. He did a lot of damage, but nothing a high tide can't fix.

Suzy got her peace on.

We arrived at Third Beach in the early afternoon, but it was so gorgeous we decided to stay until sunset. Mother nature intervened. In the late afternoon, the fog rolled in, and it felt like we were about to get pounded with rain. So, we turned back.

It didn't rain (unbelievable -- no rain on the whole trip to Washington?), but the fog did make for a dreamy hike through the rainforest back to the car.

We could probably keep blogging about this trip for a couple more months (trust me, we've got enough pictures), but we feel like it's about time to move on and try to like our real lives again. It really was the perfect trip from start to finish. And just to prove it, a final story: on the final leg of our return flight, we sat in the plane on the runway in Milwaukee and watched the beautiful sunset. Right after it set, we took off and we then got to watch the sun rise. At one point we could look out of the right side of the plane and see the sun setting again, and then look out of the left side of the plane and watch the huge moon rising. So cool. Perfect trip.