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Finding Family in Maine

July 19, 2017

This is a reworking of a post from 2011 for the Family History Travel with Kids Blog Link Up at Family Locket.  Click the link to read more posts on incorporating family history
in your family travel plans.

The boys had been telling everyone for years that we were going to Maine in 2011.

People would say, “Oh, do you have family back there?”  And we would say, “No…..”

Not now, but we did.  Both of my parents have family lines that come through Maine and I think there’s just something about Maine that must be in my blood.  My husband also has ties to Maine.  His grandmother was a Goodwin and we can trace the Goodwins clear back to Maine in the 1750s.

His 6th-great-grandpa was one Samuel Goodwin, a major in the colonial militia and one of the Kennebec proprietors who settled the Kennebec River valley in the 1750s.  When the Pownalborough Courthouse was erected on the east bank of the river inside Fort Shirley, Major Goodwin and his family moved in as caretakers.  When the town of Pownalborough was split in the 1790s, the court itself moved to the town of Wiscasset, and the Goodwin family and its descendants remained as the inhabitants of the “Old Court House” until the 1950s when it was finally sold to the Lincoln County historical society which still maintains it.  Today the Pownalborough Courthouse is the only pre-Revolutionary courthouse still standing in the state of Maine.

DH and I decided to take kind of a dream trip for our 10th wedding anniversary and track down some of our roots in Maine and Nova Scotia.  We were able to have a personal tour of the Pownalborough Courthouse after we ran into the president of the historical society by happenstance and mentioned we were related to Major Samuel.  Both the tour and walking through the family cemetery on the grounds were an amazing experience for us both.  Our tour guide left us with these words, “Be sure and come back in 2011.  The courthouse will be 250 years old and we’re going to have a big birthday celebration.”

So we came home and told the boys we had to go back to Maine in 2011.  They started planning!  We were always hearing about “our trip to Maine.”  Then suddenly it was 2011 and we had to sit down and figure out if we really could pull off a trip to the East Coast that year.  Thanks to SkyMiles and a nice tax return, we worked it out.

And so in September 2011, we found ourselves on the banks of Kennebec for a day of fun and celebration and the opportunity to experience some of the life our ancestors must have lived.  The trip was not without its mishaps (as most of our family trips never are), but it was an incredible experience that I don’t think any of us will ever forget, and worth every penny!

Standing on the land of their forefathers:

The view in the opposite direction, overlooking the Kennebec River:

Visiting the cemetery on the grounds where many family members are buried:

Colonial games, this one is called Cat and Mouse:

Nine pins:

Rounders, the grandfather of baseball (and much more fun in my opinion):

There were a number of re-enactors there that day.  This guy was dressed as a French-Canadian settler and cooked some amazing salmon and sourdough bread over his fire.  He also gave me a hair clip made from a turtle shell that would have been used to repel bugs when rubbed with bear grease.  He said it will also work if sprayed with insect repellant and then worn (which is much more appealing than bear grease!)

Incidentally, in 2012, my father and I broke through one of our genealogy brick walls and discovered that our ancestor in Maine, a very English-sounding George King, was in fact of French Canadian descent, so this re-enactment was actually relevant to our family history as well, although we didn’t know it at the time!

Members of the Goodwin and White companies who provided us with musket and cannonfire, and military drills for the kids:

The current head of the historical society portraying Major Samuel Denny with the judge come to take  possession of the courthouse and declare court in session, 250 years and 1 day after the original anniversary of Sept. 9, 1761:

Following the judge in the procession into the courthouse:

The courtroom (photo from 2007):

The boys were still going strong with their muskets long into the evening while period music and dancing were happening on the courthouse lawn:

One last view over the river:


Scottish Festival

July 16, 2017

Looking through all my recent photos, there are two themes: babies and bagpipes.  I’m trying to catch up on posting about both.  I think I’ll start with the most recent.

In my new life as a bagpipe mom, I’ve committed myself to a lot of parades, summer sunshine, and pipe music at Scottish festivals!  Last week was a busy one with C’s pipe band playing in the Freedom Festival parade in Provo on the fourth of July, and then in another Scottish festival all day on Saturday.

We took everybody but A down on Saturday to support C.  E was not happy to be there, even after time spent on the playground, but after some kettle corn and frozen lemonade, and a short train ride around Main Street, everybody perked up for the parade and opening ceremonies at noon.

Baby S was pretty happy until the very end of the day.  After the parade, we dropped off the other three at Grandma’s house with some hot dogs to make for lunch and movies to watch.  Then DH drove S and me back to the park so we could hear C’s band play in the pipe competition.  He was going to stay too, but between work and baby up at night, he’d had a rough week of sleep, so I sent him back to take a nap instead while S and I parked ourselves on the lawn for the afternoon.  It was so hot, but at least we were in the shade all day.  We went to another Scottish Festival at the state fairpark a month ago and it was incredibly hot with little to no shade.  This was much better.

C marching in the parade:

His band marching out, ready to perform:

I’m still learning the ins and outs of bagpipe competitions, but apparently you have to have a certain number of pipers to actually compete.  For the Salt Lake festival, some of the band was out of town, so they could only play for critique.  But this weekend they were able to compete and took third place with one of their medleys.

It’s only because C joined this band that they even have enough pipers to compete at all, but one kid graduated in May, so they’ll be too small again next year.  At least they always get to play with the massed bands.  Here are the closing ceremonies from Saturday:

I think I still have bagpipe drones ringing in my ears.

2 months already!

July 11, 2017

Baby S is two months old already!  We went back to the doctor yesterday for a checkup.  He now weighs 7 lbs. 13.8 oz.  and is 20 inches long.  He’s newborn size!

The doctor was impressed with his weight gain, but wants me to keep feeding him two supplemented (with super high calorie preemie formula) bottles of milk everyday until she sees some real catch-up growth.  (Last time she said she wanted me to supplement until she could see some real chunk on him.  I should have told her that we don’t do “chunk” at our house.  Not a single baby of mine has ever been remotely chunky.)

But I don’t know if I can keep pumping for another two months.  I am so sick of pumping milk!  I’ve slacked off a bit lately because it’s just such a pain! I’d love to just sit down and feed my baby with no worries about when to give him a bottle and if I’ll be able to pump enough for the next bottle.

Everything else looks healthy and normal.  The doctor was highly impressed with his neck strength.  She’d seen another 2-month-old earlier that day who was much more floppy-headed than S and he wasn’t even a preemie.  Like all of his siblings, S wants to hold his head up and look at the world, and has really good control of his neck muscles.

He is so very close to smiling.  A swears that at least he’s gotten a real smile from S.  He would; he always seems to get the first smiles.  I don’t what it is about him, but I’m still waiting for a real smile from S myself.  For now, I’ll have to be content with my pleasant-looking boy.

A math problem (and other thoughts)

June 19, 2017

Question: What time should we go to bed?  Factor in:

  1. the hours of sleep we need
  2. the amount of sleep deprivation we’re currently suffering from
  3. how many times in the night the baby will wake up
  4. how much time it will take to change, feed, burp, and possibly change him again
  5. the probability that he will go right back to sleep and not fuss and spit up everything he just ate during the next 90 minutes
  6. the time the alarm will go off signalling Daddy’s six weeks of paternity leave are over and he must go to work again…

Answer: about 5 hours before we actually did (and technically I’m not in bed yet, I’m typing this because I don’t have to go anywhere in the morning, and I needed to spend a few moments by myself, just to hear myself think, without a single child needing anything from me!)

Also factor in the fact that it’s June, and the sun never seems to set, and we have other children who think it can’t possibly be bedtime if it’s still light outside, whether Daddy needs sleep or not.

So DH goes back to work tomorrow and it’s definitely going to be an adjustment, although I’m incredibly grateful he’s had six weeks of paid leave this time around.  He’s only ever had two weeks off before and considering we spent the first nine days of S’s life driving back and forth to visit him in the hospital (blog post coming soon), I was really glad DH didn’t have to go back to work five short days after we were all finally home together.

Overall we’ve done ok, and I think this baby has been kinder to us during the nights than the last two were (as I remember it.)  He must know we’re old parents!  He’s actually slept almost 5 hours in one stretch several nights now.  DH has also been very kind to me.  He will take the first feeding of the night and give S a bottle so I can get a longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep.  Then he’s been able to sleep in if needed and I can get up and make it through the day (usually) without feeling utterly exhausted.

But DH has already had to be at his weekend job at 6 a.m. the past two days and I’ll admit, it’s been rough, especially after last night when he got a total of four hours of (interrupted) sleep.  His regular job is more flexible as to start times though, which I think will be a blessing this week, but we’ll have to see how it goes.  It’s a good thing babies are cute!  (DH says it’s a survival mechanism.)

I haven’t had S weighed in two weeks, but he feels like he’s getting heavier.  We’ve quit taking 101 pictures every day to compare, but I think his face is also filling out.

DH said the last six weeks have given him a taste of what retirement will be like.  Although when he can retire for good, who knows.  He can retire with a pension in 2 ½ years, but at that point we’ll have a 2-year-old, and probably the first of many missionaries out, so he’ll need another job, that’s for sure!  Actual retirement will be a long ways down the road!

Personally I hope retirement isn’t like the last 6 weeks.  We’ve had no routine at all other than feeding the baby approximately every three hours, night and day.  When not sleeping, DH has been trying to build garden boxes for me, fix the air conditioning in the suburban, and various other projects around the house and cars.  I think he was overly ambitious as to what could be accomplished in his time off, but we did finally get a garden planted and seeds are actually sprouting!  We only lost about a month of growing time, but we may reap a harvest yet!

The high priest’s group in our ward came over last Saturday and completely cleaned up the rest of our yard.  I don’t know if DH requested or suggested it as a project, or if our neighbors finally decided we needed help with our weeds, but it was incredible how much they accomplished in just 80 minutes–probably more than we could have done ourselves in a month!  Now we just have to maintain it, which is must less daunting than it was a week ago.

I was telling A how I used to spend just 10 minutes a day outside when he was little and C was a baby, trimming branches and pulling weeds.  Granted that yard was one third the size of this one, but with five of us working for 10 minutes a day, we could easily stay on top of it now if we’d just commit to it.

I also need to commit to spending just a few minutes a day on different projects inside the house as well.  With a new little one, I’ve realized again just how much time is eaten up sitting and nursing, and how much I don’t have a lot of long stretches of time to do the big projects in one go.  And the entire house needs to be decluttered.  Again.  But if I’d just commit to 15 minutes a day, it will add up in a hurry.  Several other projects could use just 15 minutes a day as well (like sharing those 101 pictures of the new baby!)  With DH back to work, I’m really hoping we can find some new routines that will get us through the summer in a good way.

A funny thing happened on the way to my due date

June 11, 2017

My due date which just happens to be today.  It’s June 10 and I should be 40 weeks along. Instead I have a 5-week-old baby!

Oh, hi there!


Instead of going to the grocery store, which was the only thing I had on my calendar on Monday, May 8, I found myself in labor at St. Mark’s Hospital.  I was staying true to form, I mean, I’ve only actually made it to 40 weeks pregnant once.  (With E, who still lives life adhering to his own very unique sense of timing.)  Now I can say my babies have come 1 week early, 2 weeks early, 7 weeks early!, 1 day late, 11 days early, and now 5 weeks early.

After D, I always check the 7-week-early mark on my calendar and whew, sigh of relief, we made it through that day without going into labor! 6 weeks early however, things . . . happened.

I don’t know if that’s exactly where this story begins, but it sure is a story!  So I’m telling it.

DH was in Las Vegas that weekend with C (in another, completely different, story) and I had my final symphony concert of the year.  I was slightly nervous about agreeing to play that one, because I had had a baby at that point once before.  But I really really wanted to play Shostakovich and Brahms and was feeling confident about it.

Usually DH drives me in to rehearsals and drops me off right at the door, but since he was out of town, I had to drive myself and walk.  I chose to park up the hill in the parking garage (annoyingly there is no parking close to Gardner Hall) so it would be a downhill walk to rehearsal and I could do the slow uphill climb and get all out of breath after the rehearsal was over instead of just in time for the downbeat if I had parked in my usual spot down the hill from the hall.

It had been rainy all afternoon and as I was walking down the hill, I stepped in a hole and fell flat on my face.  One minute I’m walking along, getting to know a violinist in my orchestra, and the next I’m falling and can’t do a thing about it.  I just kept falling.  The hole wasn’t that deep, but it was filled with really muddy rainwater and it didn’t even register in my brain that it was a hole. I’m sure it was quite the show for the two people walking behind me, who kindly helped me get up, and one even carried my cello all the way to the concert hall for me.

I skinned my knees pretty bad, wrenched my foot, cut my finger, and scraped my chin.  I’m sure it was only my belly that saved my nose and probably glasses.  But it was probably also my belly that helped me fall since my center of balance was more forward than usual.  My hands and arms weren’t hurt at all, save for a small cut, which was probably a miracle because I was perfectly able to play my cello for the next two hours and again the next night for the concert.  In fact by the next night, they were about the only part of my body that didn’t hurt!

I worried about the baby a bit, but he was kicking just like normal, and I wasn’t bleeding or leaking fluid or anything.  Everything sounded good at my doctor’s appointment on Monday, and I’d even gained enough weight!  That had been the worry of the previous two weeks when I’d been commanded to consume as many calories as possible and urge that baby to grow after having lost weight at the previous appointment.

The next week was busy with a family wedding, cello lessons, the normal homeschool routine, a bagpipe performance for C, and DH working Friday night, most of Saturday, and all of Sunday to make up for being gone the previous weekend.  I was still so sore from falling; it just hurt to move. Then on Wednesday I started losing mucus and started having more contractions.  Now I have Braxton-Hicks contractions from about 20 weeks on, but these felt different.  They felt . . . productive and they hurt!  There were actually a few that took my breath away and that’s when I started worrying that I’d end up in the hospital that night, but finally they calmed down and I was able to go to bed.

For the next four days my thoughts alternated between, “I just have to get through the weekend until DH is not at work,” and “Wait a minute, I’m still more than a month away from my due date!”  We made it through the weekend.  Just barely.  DH came home at 12:45 a.m. after being gone all day Sunday and we went to bed.  A short time later I woke up when I felt a little “pop!” and realized my water had just broken.  It was 2:19.  I felt really bad about waking up DH after so little sleep, but really, what were my options?! He woke up and sprang into action, getting dressed, and getting everything I needed. I hadn’t even packed a bag yet or anything.  We made it out to the car around 2:50 a.m. and I was really thankful that we weren’t doing this in the dead of winter like the previous two times.  It was really quite balmy outside.

We hadn’t wanted to wake up the boys before we left, but two blocks from home we wondered what would happen if Little A woke up and came looking for us and we weren’t there. So we called C and told him to come upstairs just in case.  He then got to tell the rest of his brothers that we were at the hospital when they woke up in the morning.  A was especially glad DH had been home to drive me in to the hospital as A had not been relishing having to do it himself just in case. (He’s a very good driver and does not like to speed at all.)  (May it ever be so.)

DH on the other hand did speed.  He was not relishing the idea of delivering a baby on the side of the road and one of our concerns with this baby was that we now lived a good 45-minute drive from St. Mark’s.

We made it in quite a bit less than 45 minutes.  Hmmm.

Contractions were strong, but manageable.  We got checked in and of course had to fill out paperwork.  I always think, “Really?  I’m sitting here still leaking amniotic fluid everywhere and you want me to fill out all this paperwork?”  Because I had fallen in the past three weeks, I got the lovely yellow bracelet to add to all the others.  Little A kept wanting to know what they all were.  I don’t even know what the green one was for.  I told her it was a barcode–maybe I was for sale.

We all seem to think I have super fast labors, and I do, when they actually get going.  But this was like it was with Little A (and Big A too, come to think of it).  Labor starts, or my water breaks, and we head to the hospital, and then . . . everything slows down and goes nowhere fast.  But because, “She has fast labors,” the doctor won’t let me leave.  So I labored and labored.  And labored, though it wasn’t bad at all.  And the nurse was really sad when her shift ended at 7 a.m. that she didn’t get to meet this cute baby.  I thought for sure he’d have gotten here by then too.  When my water broke with E, he practically slid out of me with no warning a mere two hours later.  But this day?  No such luck.

Contractions continued to get stronger, but not close together enough to progress much.  But with each strong contraction, baby’s heartrate was dipping way down which was troublesome.  He seemed to be in distress.  I was also having a bit of an emotional time realizing that this baby really wasn’t due yet and we were looking at another NICU baby, just like D.  We knew what that was like and really didn’t want to repeat that experience, but had no choice.  If the baby was distressed, then I wanted to get him into this world as quickly as possible before anything else could go wrong.

My doctor had clinic hours that morning, so at 8:30 or 9:00 he said he was heading over to his office across the street with strict instructions to page him back if anything changed.  We did at one point.  The nurse thought I was dilated to 9.5 already.  Dr. N came back over in about 2 minutes, but then we decided I was only dilated 7 or so.  It was a good trial run.

At 9:30 he came back over to check on me and convinced me to take a teeny bit of Pitocin, which I hadn’t really wanted.  But he’s firmly in the camp of “Why labor along slowly all day wearing yourself out?  Why not get it over with?”  And at that point I was ready to agree with him.  And it really was just a whiff of Pitocin when my body said, “Oh, we remember how to do this.”

The details are already a little hazy, but I still had a bit of hard laboring to do (the kind where you’re thinking, “Tell me again why I’m doing this without drugs?) and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever feel the need to push. But finally it was time and once again, it really only took two contractions to push this baby out, although it seemed harder than that, probably because my body wasn’t quite ready to give birth.  (I still think that’s why E was my easiest delivery: at 40 weeks, my body was completely ready to expel a child.)

At 10:34 a.m. I delivered a healthy, but tiny, baby boy.  It was such a feeling of relief.

Dr. N had guesstimated baby would weigh about 4 lbs. 12 oz., so we were pleased to see him weigh 5 lbs. 1 oz.  He was 18 inches long, which wasn’t really preemie size.  He just hadn’t had a chance to put on any fat.

I remember being so surprised at how many people were in the delivery room.  There was a whole NICU team for baby, and I think three nurses and my doctor working with me.

DH got to cut the cord.

The nurse asked DH if I wanted to hold Little S before they took him into the NICU.  He said, “Yes!” rather emphatically, for which I was so grateful.  One of the most traumatic things about D’s premature birth was not being able to hold him at all in the delivery room before they whisked him away.  I was so happy that this time, we got to spend 10 or 15 minutes getting to know our new little son.

Later I found out that there were concerns about his breathing at first.  It was too rapid and too shallow, but they stabilized that.  His blood sugar was also extremely low, so he got an IV inserted.  A blood test ruled out an infection, and everything else looked perfect.  He was a healthy baby, simply undercooked!
We telephoned all of our parents to give them the good, but surprising news, and it was a bit of a shock.  Mom and Dad came up later that afternoon and took turns going into the NICU to hold S.  After dinner DH brought all the big brothers and now big sister to the hospital.  A and C were able to go in the NICU and meet their new little brother for the first time.

Finally, I got to see him with his eyes open.

The NICU was surprisingly not very full and there was an open space near one of the windows, so S’s nurse helped C carry him over with his IV cart trailing so D, E, and Little A could all see him through the window.  Little A wanted to climb right through the window and hold him and mother him.  She has fallen in love with “NewBaby” as she calls him more often than not.  We’ve had our moments of not such bliss, but I’ll save those for another post, as this is already novel length.  

We’re all so in love with this new little sweet soul who has joined our family, and already can’t imagine life without him!

First day; Last day

June 2, 2017

August 2016June 2017

Our student body has grown a bit, and increased in number!

Easter pictures 2017

April 17, 2017

One picture, that’s all I ask!But no,

I even told him he could sit on the bottom step and pout like he has done other years, but he wanted nothing to do with the camera!

Little A looked cute in her new dress, which was a steal at $8 at Kid to Kid on Friday when I realized Easter was in two days and I had nothing in the way of a new dress for her.  Going shopping for little girl clothes lately reminds me why I said I needed to start sewing more.  But now is not the time to start sewing more.  No new projects in the next two months!

Incidentally she was done with pictures after this one.  She’s learning from her older brother.

C originally came upstairs wearing his black suit and black tie.  I told him he should really change at least the tie so he’d look a little more like spring and less like an undertaker.  He went one better and put on his new gray suit and a fine purple striped tie.

Here’s a better shot of the boys’ suits.  A is trying to look taller than C here.  This is from General Conference weekend when they were headed off to the priesthood session.

A and C both got new suits last month.  A needed a new suit for prom at Liahona.  He has a very nice gray suit from last year, but his back surgery helped him grow just enough that he outgrew the jacket.  Granted, it was the “Super Slim” fit.  We went with slim fit this time around to give him a little more room.

I remembered from last year that the sales at J. C. Penney’s right before Easter were a fabulous time to go suit shopping.  Sure enough, they had many suits at half-price.  A picked out a nice blue one this year and when I went to pay for it, the clerk said it was even better because those particular suits had just gone on clearance, plus he gave me a coupon discount.  All things considered, A’s suit was $88 and change.  I saved $197!

It was such a good deal that DH said we should go back and get one for C as well.  They went together to a different Penney’s and bought the same suit in gray, but didn’t get quite such a good deal.  I don’t know why; maybe I got the pregnant lady discount!  But still, $117 for that suit is not a bad deal!

I remembered A’s old suit that was a size 14 that a friend had given us some years ago.  The last time I tried the pants on D, they were way too long, but he’s been eating like crazy lately (I think he’s finally having a growth spurt!) so I had him go try on the old suit.  It barely fits.  Hopefully he can get a few months’ wear out of the pants rather than a few weeks’!  His size 14 pants from Christmas are still too long, so at least he’ll have something to grow into.

For now, all three boys are looking very handsome at church these days!

And E . . . well, what can I say!  He has decided he likes wearing ties again and at least begins church with his shirt tucked in!

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