Maine trip: Shrine of the Matyrs and Shrine of St. Kateri, NY

The last day of our trip we drove to the Shrine of Our Lady of Matyrs. The weather did not cooperate. It was chilly, cloudy and windy. I wasnt feeling so great so the first thing we did was look for a rest room. We walked through the circular church looking for another door to the outside. We found the door and walked back into the chilly outdoors. Thankfully the rest room was easy to spot. We werent sure where to start explore so we started outside. There are a few small shrines outside as well as prayer chapels. We quickly viewed Theresa’s Rosary, the Our Lady of Fatima monument, and a Memorial to the Unborn.Then we ran back into the Coliseum Church. We walked around looking at the different statues. There were several saints we have never heard of. I snapped a few pictures of them so that we could make sure to study them in the coming school year. As we were walking closer to the Altar we noticed there were people sitting in the pews. It was time for Mass. I thought after the day before I really needed Mass. The kids did their best to pay attention as did I. It’s hard to do in a new place. It was a short and sweet Mass. No music, only singing and a short homily. It’s nice to have a reminder that God does hear our prayers. The kids had started to bug me the night before.

After Mass we headed over to the Welcome Center and Museum. There were some interesting artifacts to look at. I didn’t have much of an opportunity to look as I was too paranoid the boys would break something. Then we wandered into the gift shop. I really do love any chance I have to buy lots of Catholic stuff. Jem spent some of her birthday money to buy each older sibling. She really is pretty charitable. Pippi has been known to do the same thing as well. I bought the kids a few books, George a St. Kateri prayer card and a few more window decals. Soon we prepared ourselves to walk back outside. Before we left we had to as least visit the Ravine. Again before heading into the Ravine it was chilly and very windy. We started walking down the path reading each plague as we headed done into the Ravine. If you have never heard of St. Rene Goupil he is a man worth learning about. His Faith is inspiring. He was a Jesuit missionary who was tortured and killed by the Iroquois for teaching the children the Sign of the Cross. Once we were in the Ravine it was so serene. It was my favorite part of our trip. Not only was it beautiful, no wind, warm and sunny but I realized the Ravine itself is in the shape of a heart. I sat on the Matyrs bridge and looked out on the Ravine to see the same of a heart. It made me feel so blessed to know Our Blessed Mother and Our Lord really are in that place. Every time I think about it I can’t help but feel at peace. Saint Rene Goupil, Pray for us! The grounds are massive and if you have the time you really should visit every bit of it. I wish I could go back and visit soon but that is very unlikely unless we move closer.

A few miles up the road was the Shrine of St. Kateri. We decided to make a quick stop since the 2 little ones were really ready for a nap. The Museum is a collection mostly put together by Father Thomas Grassmann. It includes alot of different Native American artifacts as well as some art work depicting St. Kateri. We did a quick walk-through of the museum before heading back to the car. I really wasn’t feeling well and neither was George so we decided to cut our trip short. Our last stop before home was a playground. The kids ran around for a bit before settling in for the long ride home. I am glad we had the opportunity to visit both Shrines as well as the rest of our trip but I was glad to get home. I think the kids were happy to sleep in their own beds and play with their own toys. Hopefully our trip to Disney World in the fall will go just as well.


Maine trip: Quechee Gorge, VT and Fort Ticonderoga, NY

We just happened to be driving through the right area to find ourselves at the Quechee State Park. It was another one of those pleasant unplanned things. It was another great opportunity to get out of the car and let them run around. We started at the small visitors center and walked/hiked from there. It was a little wet out and not too hot. I really do love any chance we get to be out in the woods. I appreciate it so much more now that we live in the city. I also think pictures taken in the woods are alot prettier than the ones taken in the city. The view of the Gorge was beautiful. I oddly enough have a fondness for bodies of water too. That I would have to attribute to my childhood in Florida. The kids oohed and aahhed. It’s always neat to hear there reactions and see their faces when they see something new.

From there we headed towards Fort Ticonderoga: America’s Fort. First we stopped for lunch at a super cute restaurant , The Wheel Inn Restaurant. Well it was that or the taco truck. We had the restaurant to ourselves. It wasn’t a bad thing as they had toys and coloring books for the kids. They staff was super nice. We all decided we would eat breakfast. I had the most delicious french toast I have ever had. I am not the biggest fan of french toast but this changed my mind. There wasn’t anything that I tasted that was delicious.The kids even made sure to finish their plates. It was one of the best meals of the trip. Make sure to stop by on your way to Fort Ticonderoga.

So another fun surprise this day was the Ferry boat. The kids got really excited when we pulled up to the little station. It was the Ferry or an extra hour in the car. The Ferry just seem the smart way to go. And again the kids were so excited to finally ride on the Ferry after hearing Grandpa and Grandma talk about them. Our trip was less than 10 mins and the kids loved every minute of it.

A short drive up the road we arrived at Fort Ticonderoga. The only other Fort the kids have been to before is Fort Washington in Maryland. They had no idea what they had in store for them. When we first walked into the fort, we walked up on a reenactor giving the history of the fort. The kids did their best to listen and not wander off but they are kids and were ready to explore. Pooh and Baby Kermit had the hardest time staying still and being quiet. It was around naptime and they didn’t want to miss anything. There were 3 key demonstrations the kids enjoyed. First being the best was the firing of a cannon. Then we stopped by a shoe makers shop. He was making a pair of shoes for one of the other reenactors. Then they stopped in the uniform shop. a reenactor was being fit for a new uniform. There were also plenty of rooms to explore and artifacts to look at. We didn’t make it to the King’s Garden as the kids and I were tired of walking and the little ones really did need a nap. We made a quick stop at the thrift shop before we left. I bought a few really neat postcards to send to our nieces and nephews. I also like to collect postcards to one day put in a book or frame on the wall.

Our last stop of the day was for ice cream. A nice cold ice cream on a hot day was what we all had been waiting for. George and I are big fans of soft serve twist. The older four choose mint chocolate chip or cookie dough. I wished we could have hung out because they had a very interesting looking putt-putt course. We were all just too exhausted to do anything else that day. It was a really long but good day.

Maine trip: The Maine Jump and The Wedding

After a not so great night with Baby Kermit deciding he didn’t want to sleep. I mean crying so much that no one else can sleep. We both tried to comfort him before switching beds with Pooh and pushing him into another room. Thankfully it didn’t take long before he fell back to sleep. We had planned to go to Mispah but after a night like that we couldn’t seem to get up early. We decided we would take a trip the local jump place. The Maine Jump isn’t all that different than other jump places. The thing that stands out to me has got to be the staff. They are really friendly and make you want to be there and come back. The kids had fun jumping for an hour or hour an a half. We didn’t stay long as we had a wedding to get to.

The boys were pretty easy as they wore jeans and matching Polo shirts. George wore another shade of green Polo shirt and jeans. For the girls I bought matching lacy fuchsia colored dresses and white leggings. The girls also wore cute hairbands that my friend,Katherine made just for this occasion. I wore a white floral dress that took me months to find and be happy with.  So here is fair warning you will see these outfits again as we have another wedding coming up soon.

We arrived at the venue a little early and had the opportunity to visit with some family. It was nice seeing everyone dressed up. The wedding was held in an elegant local hotel. They day before I joined my Mother-in-law and 2 Sister-in-laws to decorate for the wedding. We spent several hours getting things just right. It really turned out very classy. It was great to spend some time with them. Anyways, We found seats near the middle. That way the kids could see and if we needed to take anyone out. It was a wonderful and short ceremony. George’s sister was a very beautiful bride. We had the opportunity to take some group pics with the different members of the family. Then the DJ started to play music. The first song played was my pick. Everyday by Buddy Holly. I really do love that song. Anways, it was interesting trying to keep the kids entertained while they waited to eat.George’s mom bought sticker books and cars for the kiddos.  The boys drove toys cars around the room with a few of their cousins. While the girls played with their sticker books or talked to relatives. George was able to chat with several people. He knew most of them from his childhood. The kids were really itching to dance hearing music and waiting to eat so they had a blast dancing with each other. Jem even asked Great-Grandpa to dance with her.George and I danced a short time. There was a dance for anniversaries: George and I celebrated our 11th this year. The older 4 ate quite a bit of their food but the yournger two refused. After eating our meal the boys were inconsolable. Thankfully they quikly cut the cake and we were given permission to leave. We weren’t in the car 5 mins and they were out. We spent the next 30 mins to an hour driving by George’s old College and looking for a place to get some soft serve ice cream. The kiddos slept really well that night.

Maine Trip: The local Maine Wildlife Refuge

One morning George said lets go. I wasn’t sure where we were going but I trust him. So we put all the kids in the car as well as Grandpa and Great Grandpa. The first thing we encountered was what was left of the snow from a few weeks before. My husband insisted on climbing on top of the small mountain of snow for a photo op. I would have to say I think the kids kinda took over.
It was a nice walk that turned into a hike. The kids had a blast looking for birds and hoping to see a moose. The majority of the walk went great. Then it happened, Pooh fell and scraped his face on some freshly cut twigs. Not sure why he always ends up with the coolest scars.

The hike seemed to go on forever and the boys were getting a bit tired. I snapped some pretty great pics if I do say so myself. We didn’t see any Moose but the are not exactly people friendly animals anyways. It was a nice time in the wilderness while it lasted.

Maine trip:Old Sturbridge Village and St. Anne Shrine, MA

As a kid my husband went to a lot of really neat places. Our trip from DC to Maine gave us the opportunity to stop at a few of his favorites. One of which being Old Sturbridge Village. For the Military folks out there, it is a Blue Star Museum. When you first arrive it doesn’t look like much but once you take a look at the map you will be amazed. I sure was and the kids were even more excited. It’s a replica 19th century village. Long story short a rich guy bought a bunch of antiques and bought the land and started the village. If you take a the small boat ride you will get more details about how the village came to be. It really is an interesting story. There was so much to do and not nearly enough time. One of the kids favorites was the sheep. There are sheep not far from the entrance that will baa from time to time. This tickled my little guys and oh boy did they giggle. Another really neat thing was a musket demonstration. We happened to go on a day a couple school groups were there so to me it seemed that things were even more educational. We even missed the Homeschool Day by a day. Anyways, the musket demonstration was very informative and the costumed historian was great with the kids. I walked away with Baby Kermit as he doesn’t like to sit or stand still very long. Boy, did we get a share when the musket fired each time. Baby Kermit ran quickly back to be comforted before wandering off again. We continued our walk around for a little while before it was obvious the kids were hungry. We decided to check out what the Bullard Tavern Cafeteria had to offer. They served a New England staple: Clam Chowder as well as kid favorites Mac and cheese, pizza, and chicken tenders. George bought a little bit of everything as feeding 6 kiddos isn’t always the easiest. Anyone who has toddlers/preschoolers knows they don’t always eat much less eat the same things on any given day. I will have to say the Mac and Cheese was pretty delicious. After lunch we headed over to the boat ride and another great history lesson. Then we decided to walk a little farther to a playground with a huge cow and sheep for the kids to climb on. The kids had a blast. Soon the heat and need for a nap got to the little ones. Tips: The Public House has great rates for 2 room suites and is only a few miles from the village. Full priced admission at Old Sturbridge Village includes a free second visit. Consider visiting 2 days.

We decided to drive a few miles up the road to the St. Anne Shrine while the little ones napped in the van. (of course Dad stayed behind as well.) For anyone who doesn’t know St. Anne was Mary’s Mother and Jesus’s grandmother. First we took a look at the beautiful statue of St. Anne outside before stepping into the church. It looks very much like other Catholic churches with its beautiful stained glass and feeling of peace when you enter. Thankfully the kids were ok to sit and look around reverently. I was somewhat excited to see the relic of St. Anne. I prayed for my mom and read the prayer on the plaque to the kiddos. It’s something I was glad I was able to take in. It didn’t take long before the kids were ready to explore what else the Shrine had to offer. Then we went over to the icon exhibit. There are statues of some great saints around the room as well as the usual votive candles for prayers. The kiddos each wanted a pic with their favorite. Then we headed back outside. There was lots of other things to do but seeing as how we had been walking most of the day my feet couldn’t take much more so we decided to stop by the thrift shop before heading on our way. Being that we have but one Catholic store locally its always a big deal to shop in a store with all things Catholic. I don’t think I could work at one of the shops as I would probably want one of everything. I think the thing the kids appreciate the most are the Saint stained glass decals we picked up. They will be in our school window this fall. Tips: Make the time to explore the Shrine. There are Stations of the Cross, a St. Patrick Chapel, and lots more. Enjoy a day of peace.