The first part of the photo set shows Mason and Benjamin coloring eggs. It was Benjamin's first foray with colored Easter eggs, so a messy blast was had by all.
We spent part of the morning returning to our hiking ritual (more on that in the next paragraph), and then the afternoon at our friends' house in Duxbury, where Benjamin joined their children in an outdoor egg hunt, while Mason supervised from indoors (Sam was with his mother's family for the weekend).
Now, the hiking update: The weekly streak was broken three weeks ago. The weather was just too Cape Cod-damp and gnarly for outdoor adventure. But, we got back on track on Easter Sunday, with a jaunt through the Murkwood Conservation Area, which has a nice loop path along the marsh and through the woods.
(We interrupt this family-related post to have a total geek moment: I was just generating a Google Maps link to embed in this post, when Google prompted me to take matters into my own hands. "Can't find what you're looking for? Add a place to the map." Even better was as I was submitting the location of the conservation area entrance, it asked me for a category. While I was typing "recreation area" it asked me if I really meant "hiking trail." Why, yes, I did! After filling in the submission form, the confirmation message indicated it would be available to the world in a few moments. This is why Google rules the world: simple UI, and great results. So you'll have to let me know when you search for Murkwood Conservation Area in East Sandwich, MA, whether my plotted point is among your results.)
For this weekend's jaunt, we returned today to Ellisville. This was Sam's first walk there, and the seals were kind enough to be lounging on their sunning rocks at low tide to show Sam the full effect. Sam and Mason scaled the biggest boulder on the beach, while Ben and I went in search of smaller ones that he could actually climb and conquer. Brandy stayed with Sam and Mason, and camped out at the perfect wind-sheltered spot against a tree that had tumbled down the bluff after a storm. I joined her once Ben tired of rock climbing, and soaked in some sun beside her.
"No wonder the seals like this spot," she said. "This is perfect." I couldn't have agreed more. The fresh air did us all some good. Now if the temperatures would warm up just a little bit...!
Not that you were keeping score at home, but if you were, the streak of weekend hiking has been maintained, at least for the kids.
I was away the weekend of Feb. 23-24, attending the 2008 NAA Marketing Conference in Orlando, FL. While I was away, Brandy and the boys made a return trip to the East Sandwich Game Farm, exploring more of the trails than our first excursion.
The following weekend, Brandy, Mason, Benjamin and I tried out the Boyden Farm Conservation Area on the south side of town. The nice surprise here was the trail from the Cotuit Road entrance took us down to Oakcrest Cove, where there's a playground area as part of the town-owned facilities. Of course, Mason and Benjamin found that to be the best part of the day. The only challenge was the walk back to the car. We had to climb a steep hill as we walked from the Peters Pond beach back to the main trail. Both boys were craving a ride in parental arms by the time we were halfway back.
And last weekend, Benjamin and I made a return trip to that same trail and playground while Mason went shopping at Toys R Us with Brandy ('tis the season for his friends' spring birthdays) and Sam went to Destination Imagination practice. Benjamin didn't mind the high winds and wind chill, and would have spent hours on the slides had we stayed put. He was also hungry, though, but he fell asleep in the car before we could reach Sandwich Pizza. He was quite unhappy when he woke up on the couch a couple of hours later and realized he wasn't getting any pizza.
So there you have it. We've managed so far in 2008 to have at least one day per weekend that weather-wise has been worthy of a walk in the woods. And the boys seem to continue to enjoy it. We'll see if we can keep the streak alive this coming weekend.