Fourth of July

On the Fourth of July Katie organized a trip to Stockton Springs, on the Penobscot Bay. We biked around a state park, swam in the ocean, explored the impressive Fort Knox, and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, and had a gigantic amount of ice cream. We also had lunch at an adorable community church barbecue stand in Searsport, and finished off by watching the fireworks in Bangor from the Brewer side of the river. It was a great way to spend the fourth!

Mount Katahdin

We hiked Mount Katahdin for the first time as a family with Jenny and Isabel Shemwell and their friends, Sam, Lizzie and Chung. The hike starts out easy and we pass over a beautiful stream. As the hike started to get more rocky and steep Reid and Nathan and I went ahead together. Reid versus the mountain. it’s really a stunning mountain. The view from the top is like mountains in the west: The summit: Going down again: As you can see, it gets pretty steep and challenging: At the end we had the bitter pleasure of soaking our tired and bruised feet in the icy water of that perfect little stream:

Deer Isle trip

The trip to deer Isle included a number of highlights. One of them is hiking on Barred Island. Barred Island is covered in deep moss, and has a lovely beach of shell-sand, on which we were too busy to take any photos. Here is the moss: With the central roads of the island are very dangerous for bikers. Instead, we biked around a bit on the smaller roads: The kids helped a lot at the campsite. And up close view of the lichen and spruce cone fairy house we made on tea kettle island. The fairy house itself. Reid and I made this one. Reid is sitting on a ledge that oversees the low tide section between deer Isle and tea kettle island near the Crouse’s camp.The water was cold and refreshing. There were tide pools with crabs and there were jellyfish in the ocean. Being close to the ocean is always so special.

A derelict boat yard on Deer Isle

For Katie’s birthday celebration our family went biking and camping on Deer Isle. We stayed near an old granite quarry which was interesting enough, but nearby we also discovered this derelict shipyard. It contained a gigantic warehouse for building boats of many sizes. It was covered in graffiti. And there were trees growing inside. It was beautiful.I took all these pictures before I went back to get the family and show them, so there are no pictures of the family.

The Bangor Color Run

So a few weekends ago I ran the 5k Bangor Color Run with the boys. Two of Reid’s classmates were there and joined us, as other parents were not running. Here’s the team. Daddy, Liam, Reid, Jack, and Seamus.

Reid is first to hit the first color station: pink!

Kids “painted a cop car….

and groveled in the colored powder.

An important letter

Reid and his friend Jack sold their aforementioned comic, Bob and Bob, at school as a fundraiser for a bird sanctuary. After they made their donation (with a good deal of logistical assistance from their blessed teacher), they got a letter back from the sanctuary. Pretty cool! Here it is:

Happy Birthday!

Our favorite daddy, husband, wood stacker, science geek, kid wrestler, tree house builder, baseball coach, Tolkien reader, professor, Orono walk commuter, conversationalist, and fellow adventurer in this wild ride called life turns 41 tomorrow.

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We love you, T. Happy birthday!

March for Our Lives: the QW experience

As you can probably tell from our photos, Orono’s March for Our Lives event injected us with a good dose of hope. One of my recent publications is an essay about our family’s experience:

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Needless to say, the photo the editors used didn’t come from me, nor–I would like to emphasize–did the headline. Liam and Reid’s teachers wow me with their professionalism and generosity every day. The essay is about our family’s decision to take a headlong plunge into America’s gun-violence conversation and the many benefits we reaped from activism. You can read the whole commentary here.

Below is a picture of Liam and Reid, joined by an awesome group of mostly-older students, talking with Senator King’s staff about the group’s gun-control petition:

Photo Bangor area schools

A new update: A few days ago, I held up one of the kids’ cherished NERF guns and asked if their feelings on these toys had changed after our activism. “Ugh!” Reid said. “Disgusting. Get rid of them.” Liam immediately agreed. These guys don’t normally win prizes for their willingness to give away toys or really anything they’ve outgrown. Their categorical response was intriguing.