Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer, Finally

Thank you so much: for the clam shack recs (Bob's in Kittery! Awesome, Kiki, thanks. And, Karen, the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, where we went on a kind of seafood-sandwich pilgrimage last week, having not been there since I was pregnant with Ben and hormonally transported by the lobster roll there. Turns out it wasn't just the hormones.) and the doll clothes enthusiasm (please write or link if you make some) and the wishes for sun and fun. We had such a wonderful two weeks of vacation--visiting friends in New Hampshire and Maine, and then camping on Cape Cod--it's a little hard to re-enter real life, and I find myself blinking the way you do when you come out of the cool dark of a movie theater into the brightness of an actual, unpretend afternoon. I hope you are enjoying everything there is to be enjoyed right now.

Meanwhile, over at family.com, I've posted a column about an incredible, bacon-y potato salad, and, also, about an incredible, un-bacon-y bowl of grains and vegetables, which you should try, even if you're revolted by or skeptical about the very idea of quinoa. If you're revolted *and* skeptical, maybe skip it.

I will post just a tiny few pictures here. Rest assured there was plenty of rain and emergency gas-station bathroom stops. Oh, but mostly, it was so lovely. The kids are such *kids*. These are summers they're going to remember.

New Hampshire was all about kayaking. Also, playing Bananagrams with our friends.


And Maine is for sailing. This is Biscuit, our friend Gordon's beautiful boat. We were right by Acadia National Park, and every second of every day was sky and water and blueberries.


Every second, that is, that the kids weren't playing the "picking game" indoors with a Playmobil catalogue. Do your kids do this? Sit for hours and hours deciding what they would get on every page, if they could get anything they wanted? All very dreamy and longing-filling, like they're little window-shopping Orphan Annies with their cheerful, deprived faces pressed to the glass? Beware if they ask you to play, though: they're very strict. "Oh, Mama, sorry--you can't get that whole set, only the animals from it." "But if it's just for imagining, can't I get anything I want?" "Oh, yeah, um, you'd think so, but no."

We spent one night in Ogunquit, since the beaches in Northern Maine somewhat elude the children, what with their wild and freezing pebblyness.


And then the Cape. I love this picture of Birdy and her friend Harry, like some kind of surfers 'wedding ceremony. Dude, I pledge to keep my board tied to yours *forever.* Or at least until we hear the clang of the ice cream truck.


The campfire always returns Birdy to my lap. I think she imagines that I can keep the smoke out of her eyes, and I have done nothing to dissuade her from this idea. Oh, Birdy. Stay right there.

40 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you've had a wonderful vacation! Loved the pictures and the comments! We haven't been able to do much around here because my husband has been out of work since last October, but we're going to try to do something for a few days next week. I so want the children to have some fun memories to look back on.

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  2. Counting down the days till our NH vacation....

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  3. My brother and I LOVED the picking game! We'd play it with the ENTIRE Sears catalog, even the pages with lamps or clocks or rugs or men's clothing. Oh, the rules are VERY strict.

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  4. They are such kids, aren't they? Ben looks just like Michael in the surfboard-carrying picture. Glad you had a great two weeks :) Off to comment on recipes...

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  5. Tina G2:14 PM

    We are headed to Ogunquit in two weeks! Yay! Drooling over that sailboat...Acadia is where we spent our honeymoon. Glad you had a wonderful vacation :^)

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  6. My sister and I played the picking game with the Sears catalogue and the Oriental Trading catalogue.

    I love the pictures. I can't believe your kids are so grown up now, as Birdy was just born when I started reading Bringing up Ben and Birdy.

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  7. The kids are such kids now. I know just what you mean, I'm feeling the same way about my two this year. I meant to post about my favorite little coastal place to eat and never did. The Ice House in Rye, NH is my favorite and it's right down the road from the best little beach. I'm loving all the recipes ... looking forward to trying the potato salad. Yum!

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  8. I STILL play the picking game but with clothing and Williams Sonoma catalogues. I call it 'picks' and, yes, the rules are a bit strict: can only pick one item per page (and in only one color - none of this, "Oh, I'll take that in lilac, oatmeal and loden"), take turns going first on each page, and you can't pick body parts or people ("Ooh, I'll take her thighs," or, "I pick background guy at the grill; he looks sort of cute.")

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  9. So glad you had fun!!! Great pics, too. :)

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  10. Our version of the picking game was much more disturbing (or at least it is now that I look back on it). We used the Sears catalog and would pick the toys, but also, household stuff, and then clothing, and then HUSBANDS and the CHILDREN. And we were very specific of what the PEOPLE had to look like. And then we cut them OUT. And GAH GAH GAH I'm creeping myself out here.

    Also, love all of your recipies. Make your hummus among us, like, daily. Tahini free hummus! Not having tahini (or any available in a 100 mile radius) was keeping me from homemade hummus ALL THESE YEARS!!!!

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  11. Sweetness! I still do the picking game, with myself....but am teaching my daughter, too....

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  12. What a fun summer you are having! We play banangrams too, and my kids "buy" from the playmobile catalog and dream for hours. Even my 4 year old does it.
    Are you still coming to Utah for that cooking class? My BFF is coming with me, and I told her I'd let her know the date.

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  13. Sears catalogue Christmas edition FO SHO!

    Are those BEN'S long legs??!

    Sheesh. It looks like a beautiful holiday.

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  14. Oh yes the picking game. I still do that when I visit my grandmother's house. Even though there's nothing in Coldwater Creek that I want...

    That picture of you and Birdy is so great and lovely. What an incredible moment to capture, although I'm sure to her, when she remembers it, it will feel like the whole time was like that.

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  15. Kristin H9:54 AM

    Oh, what lovely pictures. Your vacation looks so nice. I can't believe how tall Ben is!

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  16. Both my girls play the picking game too! It doesn't matter what catalogue they find either. Toys, books, more toys, it doesn't matter to them.

    I cannot wait for our trip to Cape Cod. It sure looks like your family had a wonderful time!

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  17. My cousin's been trying to talk all of us into going to Maine for a vacation, but no extra money, so, not this year. Glad you guys had a great time.

    And, just so you know, I ADORE quinoa. I made a mexican salad version of it for the 4th, but didn't write down the recipe as I invented. I'll have to try yours. Also, true story... my sister called her pediatrician (holistic, mind you, they actually prescribe homeopathy) to ask if she could introduce quinoa to her little guy when he started eating solids and the nurse went, "Keeeeen-wah?", like she was speaking alien.

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  18. Anonymous12:41 AM

    Hahah! My kids wear out the sears catalog before Christmas. Before my son could even talk, he adored looking through glossy colorful pages of toys.
    Great pictures!
    Jennifer

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  19. I love Maine. Looks like you had a gorgeous, carefree vacation. Kids and water, what a perfect combination. We do the catalog wish thing too.

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  20. Catherine,
    I have been reading your blog since I stumbled on while I was pregnant with our first child ... he just turned 6 and I still look forward to reading about your family and your delicious & sometimes exotic recipes. Since I'm mostly just a reader, I just wanted to take a minute to say 1) thanks for writing & blogging; 2) glad y'all had a nice time out of time ...
    Summer is coming to an end much too quickly

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  21. My kids will pour over the Fisher Price catalogue for forever. I hate the commercialism of it, but I confess that sometimes I save it to entertain them during "difficult" times. It feels just like putting them in front of the tv - argh. We're off to Maine soon for a week on Drake's Island. Pray for sun!

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  22. Amazing. LOVE IT! I love vacations like that.
    I was trying to find some blog archives about when it was 'Bringing up Ben'. (**GASP**) Dare I say out loud that I've been following that long?

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  23. So I just stumbled across an article, written for O Magazine, currently #5 on cnn.com, with your name in the byline. Is it you? Because that would be super!

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  24. Oh, it's so nice when your schizoid recipes match up with my schizoid tastes! The potato salad sounds positively dreamy, but the quinoa sundaes are genius. My boys (3 and 5) adore pesto quinoa (yup, just pesto from anywhere, though usually Trader Joe's, on quinoa--easy peasy) and I've been looking for ideas to expand the use of quinoa in our dinners. I love the bowl idea and can't wait to use it.
    Enjoy August!

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  25. there you go again making me all unintentionally weepy...thinking of my potential future, shall go off and enjoy the present a little more now, thanks!

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  26. MY KIDS PLAY THAT PLAYMOBIL GAME, TOO. Have you ever noticed how much crime happens in Playmobil world? We call that "The Catalog Game", and it's especially awesome played with things like The Lillian Vernon Catalog of Odd Kitsch. You must pick something from each page, no skipping.

    Summer here has been a) cold (17c EVERY DAY!) and b) rainy. Bah.

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  27. We were just in Maine, too! We spent a long weekend in Kennebunkport and a day in Ogunquit. I still need more ocean in my summer, though.

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  28. "and I find myself blinking the way you do when you come out of the cool dark of a movie theater into the brightness of an actual, unpretend afternoon."

    And now I am all nostalgic for the summer when we read The Outsiders over and over and over and over: "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home..."

    hee hee.. thanks for the (only for me) memory!

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  29. I have wept, smiled, emitted a belly-laugh and felt comforted by your writing many times over the years. When you transitioned your focus to the kitchen, I even pushed through my usual fear of cooking and made some fantastic meals for my family (the corn chowder, the roast for Christmas Eve, the plum cake for any--and many--occassions...oh if you could see my then-baby's face when he ate and delighted in it). But, I have missed some of the good stuff I got from your more personal writing. So, I'd pop back to your own blog now and then, as I just did today. What a treat that was. I got a lump in my throat, a tear in my eye... You rock. Truly. You are a gift to your readers, and I sincerely hope that you take that to heart. Thank you, Catherine.

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  30. Catherine, your last comment, about wanting Birdy to stay in your lap, reminded me of something I read recently about parenting young children - "The days are long, but the years are short". It's so perfect and bittersweet.

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  31. Longtime reader and just loving all the recipes. We are in the final stages of moving from Ohio to New Hampshire - just drove by the highway exits for Amherst and thought of you today. Very happy to almost be a full-time resident of New England and share it with our kids.

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  32. Anonymous11:13 PM

    I, too, have been reading your blog for a long time. Was it even called a blog back then? I was just pregnant with my now 7 year old when I found "Bringing up Ben". Your writing means a lot to me, sometimes things you say are exactly what I think, only more poetic. Reading about your vacation makes me remember all the times you've written about the beach. I can't believe your kids are so grown up now, as are my 3 girls!!

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  33. Ah, summers they will remember. That's a goose-bumpy sort-of realization, don't you think? Soak up every minute of their kid-ness (and the fact that sometimes you now have a free lap, so Birdy climbing back into it is that much sweeter)!
    -K

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  34. AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! You wrote the camp food column!!! I can't believe it. That is SO COOL. It's like getting singled out at a rock concert and having your favorite band play your song request. Seriously, you made my whole week!

    I am taking my three kids, ages 6,4, and six months, on a twelve day camping trip through three states (well, there are seven states total, but we are only staying in three of them). We are excited. We are pumped. I feel like a total renegade just for attempting it. And as you waxed poetic about taking kids camping versus babies, I can't help but think back to a few weeks ago, on my son's first camping trip, how he snuggled so closely in the night, warm in my arms. It was magic to watch him stare in wonder at all nature had to offer. I feel like I'm giving him this gift of knowing the outside and feeling such a sense of adventure, pressed right into the core of his being. You did that for your kids too, you know.

    Best wishes and THANK YOU! Love ya, Catherine.

    Charlotte

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  35. Teafortwo9:42 PM

    That's funny. I just bought a box of Quinoa at Trader Joe's today. Glad you had great travels in Maine and New Hampshire. That's next June for us for my 20th college reunion (I didn't just write that). School started for us today. Finn started first grade with some trepidation (he's a day older than Birdy).

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  36. Erin K.3:10 AM

    I thought of you the other day as I made that 'glazed tofu' AGAIN - even though I usually end up eating most of it myself. The quinoa dish looks awesome - my first quinoa experience was actually in the Andes! before kids we were on a 4 day treck to machu picchu and for breakfast we would have coca tea and a clear broth with just a bit of quinoa - it was really wonderful and I've loved it ever since - though I did try unsucesfully to bake with quinoa flour - it seems all that yummy greeness to the flavor is somewhat tricky in baked goods....

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  38. Anonymous1:13 PM

    When exactly did Ben turn into Michael??? Glad you had such a fabulous time.

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  40. Hidayah3:53 PM

    My daughter is a little older than Birdy....can I tell you that the picture of Birdy on your lap just makes me cry every time I see it? And, I just say, yes (to my own daughter), just stay right here.

    They grow up too fast.

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