Happy Birthday, Brennan!

Brennan is 7! We had his party on birthday eve here at home, opening presents, eating out at Koto's Japanese steakhouse (where he can eat twice his weight in fried rice and salmon), and eating chocolate Ganache cake back at home.


Since it's hard to have birthday parties with friends and family, we've taken to letting the boys pick somewhere special to go on their birthday. This also usually involves them getting whatever they want for a cake, and choosing where to eat out either the night before or the day of. Last year Brennan chose the Baltimore Aquarium, known for its dolphins exhibit. This year, he wanted to go to the New England Aquarium because of their large penguin exhibit. 

In front of the African Penguin exhibit

Petting the sting and manta rays, and bonnet head sharks

During the penguin feeding


We also took part in a member's program that lets the kids go behind the scenes with the Fur Seals to see how they are cared for, and interact with them as well. This is the oldest seal at the Aquarium, Bearnoff.

The boys both got to feed Bearnoff

This is the wand the caretakers use to show him where to turn his
head. He's an older seal and doesn't see very well.

They got to spend about 15 minutes on the deck with Bearnoff. He was really mellow and loved fish and squid, which Brennan informed us had his medicine in it. 

Afterwards, we had a nutritious meal at Cold Stone Creamery - everyone got the Oreo Creme flavor with various bits of chocolate mixed in. We were stuffed, so we headed for home, full, happy, and smelling of fish.


Portsmouth, New Hampshire/Maine

After some testing at Boston last weekend, we headed up the coast to Portsmouth. It's a very artsy little town with tons of art shops, coffee houses, pubs, and a beautiful view of the Atlantic through the port. Lots of cool bridges connecting the various islands between the two states. It was cold and rainy, but we still got out and explored quite a bit.

We happened upon the U.S.S. Albacore, the first dual-fin propelled submarine. It has it's own little park in downtown Portsmouth near the shipyards where it was built.

This little room is the sub's office, and a
good example of how tight the quarters are.

Periscope, HO!

The control room - the boys spent a LOT of
time in here twisting knobs and pushing buttons.

Brennan trying to figure out how in the world
you could cook for 50 men in this tiny kitchen.

We popped into a few novelty shops in town, then headed down the coast. It was bitterly cold and drizzly but Christie and the boys couldn't resist getting closer to the water. A truly overwhelming feeling of being so small when you stand in a place like this. We even saw a few guys out surfing at different spots. 

That's the three of them off in the distance.

Portugal, straight ahead!

We found a little crab-shack style restaurant called Petey's right off the main road - you can see the Atlantic from the front yard, and the lobster traps they used that morning in the back. VERY fresh seafood and lots of it. The shrimp was "frozen on the boat" since it's not shrimp season, but everything else was caught that morning. Lots of clam strips, crab cakes, scallops, fish chowder, and fried shrimp. Perfect ending to our little seaside exploration.


Simon Pierce

The Simon Pierce company makes glass and clay dinnerware. We went on a small field trip with the local homeschool group to their nearby factory to see the blown glass and clay techniques up close. As with all the homeschool group activities we've done so far, we've not really seen the same people twice yet. The group is so big there are very few who go to all the activities.

It was about 120 degrees on the observation deck so we
eventually moved down to the lower area where it was cooler

Everything made by hand

The Factory Floor

We watched for awhile, then headed over to the clay factory where most of the dinnerware is made. Pretty fascinating that everything is done by hand. 

There were hundreds of carts like this in the storage
area, filled with uncooked dinnerware for the kiln

We spent some time talking to the artists and watching them
carve the edges and swirls of various bowls and plates.