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Monday, September 01, 2014

Wilbur's of Maine

There's a chocolate factory in Freeport, and I've never even been to it before. I know, I'm a terrible Mainer.

But when Gail suggested taking the kids to Wilbur's of Maine, I was all over that. It's only $3.50 for the tour, and you get LOTS of samples. Especially when you went to High School with the event coordinator who gives the tours ;).

It was fun to go through the factory and learn more about this awesome company that is based in my home town. Also? Chocolate is delicious. Unfortunately, while inside, I only took photos with my phone... But enjoy them anyway:

We got to wear hairnets to go inside the actual production spaces. I cannot believe how much of the chocolate/candies is prepared by hand. Wilbur the Moose is hand-painted, and it takes several people to create him. 

We were there on caramel day and it smelled so delicious in the factory. I wanted to drink it. We also saw the chocolate-covered blueberries being panned, and Aspen got to create a handful of chocolate coins. Lemme tell ya, Wilbur's chocolate coins are SO MUCH BETTER than the cheap gold ones you buy around Christmas to stuff stockings.

The store sells more than just chocolate, too. There are all sorts of Maine-based products and Kev even dared to try Moxie. He said he wanted to buy some simply for the logo. He ended up not only with a can of the soda, but a tee we stripped right off the mannequin.

I wanted to buy so many Maine-related things, but then I kept picturing the mess that was my house after the flood. NO MORE STUFF. So that's my excuse for taking so many photos. They'll serve as my souvenirs. Plus all the chocolate I ate. Totally worth the stomach ache.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The cousins and the lobsters arrive

Aspen was really excited to see her cousin Leilani again after a couple years' absence, and she was also looking forward to meeting baby Vito for the first time. But she made sure to remind me she still loves her cousin Halle oh-so-very-much. I guess she needed to make sure no one felt left out!

The girls played really well together and it was fun to see. I was thrilled to meet Vito and see him and Aspen together. It was like looking back in time and seeing myself play with my younger brother Jeshua. Our mini-mes are almost freaky.

A rare moment of stillness for baby Vito

Later that night Bambi brought over fresh lobster and we let the kids get to know our dinner. Aspen named one "Aspen Princess." It tasted good.

Both girls were hesitant at first, but Bambi explained the lobsters had bands over their claws and couldn't hurt them. So Leilani went to town and started picking up lobsters and examining them. She has no fear! Aspen was brave enough to touch a lobster, but couldn't bring herself to pick one up.

Linc chilling with his Uncle Jeshua
A few weeks ago, I sent Seth a photo of Lincoln making a super-unflattering grumpy face. Seth said Linc looked exactly like our Grandma Bette (who passed away in 2002). After he pointed that out I could totally see it, and now I can't unsee it. She had cheeks a lot like Linc's.

While at my parents', my step-dad Marc whispered that sometimes he sees so much of Bette in Linc, and he didn't intend for that to sound rude. I laughed because apparently we're all secretly thinking the same thing! 

It was so wonderful to have all the little kids together in the same place. I was impressed at how well the girls got along, in spite of Aspen's bossy personality. I mean, she'd staked her claim on all the toys at Gail's, and she did pretty well sharing once Leilani arrived... but it was hard for her to share all the ponies and cars she'd brought. She's so used to playing by herself at home and creating all these little worlds and scenarios that she didn't like seeing Leilani using her own imagination and coming up with variables. My poor little OCD child.

Our lobstah dinner was delish and I'm so grateful we're friends with a lobster-man whose wife brings a fresh catch to our house. That's amazing service, right there.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Wolfe's Neck Farm

We had some ideas brewing for our vacation; places to go and things to do... but after we survived 13 hours of travel I didn't really want to do anything that involved long car rides. So we kept our itinerary local and made the most of what Freeport has to offer.

I suggested we take the short drive to Wolfe's Neck Farm with baby Vito and Aspen, so one afternoon we headed out. It was perfect for the kids to run around and enjoy the fresh air without needing vigilant observation.

This was my view from the air-conditioned car while I nursed Linc. It really made me want some corn on the cob.

Since I spent so much time in the car feeding the boy, I missed the animals and all that, but I caught up with the family as the kids ran in the garden.


As I walked around and took photos, I kept noticing this watering can in different places. Apparently, Aspen was hauling it around and leaving it all over the garden.

We read Benjamin Bunny's and Peter Rabbit's stories often in our house, so it was a treat to stumble upon Mr. McGregor's very own garden while at the farm! And we found one of those bunnies, too, as we walked back to the car. I suspect it was Peter becuase the bunny had no clothes, and we all know he loses his often when trying to escape the cat and Mr. McGregor himself.

Proof Linc was there, too.

I asked Kev if he'd take a picture of me with Sophia and Jeshua by the Queen Anne's Lace, and Aspen decided to check out the spot. Little did she know there was a ditch on the side of the road, and she soon found herself buried in flowers.

Later that night, we went across the street from my parents' house to the park so the last of the wiggles could be enjoyed.

Jeshua ran the kids around and around and around until the mosquitoes came out and tried to swallow us whole.

Grandpa Vito sat on the porch with Sophia and watched all the shenanigans as the sun set behind us. It was a great day being outdoors and spending time with family.

Also, Jeshua got a lesson in ponies at the park. Aspen informed him there are absolutely NO ninja ponies in Ponyville. She also told him he should do her preschool work to learn that "five" comes after "four," not "blueberry." For an accountant, Jeshua really needs to work on his numbers.

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Winslow Park, day 1

We hit up Winslow Park our second day in Maine, and I'm impressed we survived it with Linc. We may have stayed juuuuust a little too long, but it was still so nice to be there. It was probably the highlight of Aspen's vacation to spend time at the water, so it was totally worth having Linc lay on my lap and scream for five minutes while we tried to pack up and convince Aspen to leave.

She was so good at filling and hauling buckets of water that we should have had her helping us bail water at the house when it flooded! She just loved moving water.

This right here is the dock on which I smashed up my front teeth as a kid. I ended up having those two jacked up teeth pulled and then needed some serious braces for a few years as a teen. Awesome. Thanks, Winslow!

Sophia manned my baby sooooo much for me on this trip and I am SO GRATEFUL. She put him to sleep on the beach and at the house and she held him for eleventy-billion hours. So although I sometimes felt locked down at the house (in the event Linc awoke and needed to nurse), at least I didn't have to hold him nonstop.

We rigged up some umbrellas for Linc to avoid the sun, and even sprayed them with bug repellent to protect him even more. Man... those guys were nasty. But it was worth it to be at the beach for two days.

We spent some time combing the beach for shells and trinkets, and Aspen made lots of mud pies and a castle with Kev. She was in heaven.

And yes, Sophia photographed me nursing my baby on the beach. This is how I spent my vacation, people! Nursing in lots of different places.

After Linc napped I did subject him to the Atlantic Ocean. And he did not like it. But him crying just made it more hilarious. Whenever the water tickled his toes he squealed and tried to retract them into his body. Sorry, baby.

I gathered up all these treasures (and Sophia had even more) but I may just print and frame this photo so I don't have to keep track of/dust/rearrange shells every week. After the flood, I'm even more determined to declutter the house and make my life easier.

I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to Winslow Park!

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