The song we all sing together, hand in hand within the warm walls of the dining hall, ‘Beautiful Isle of Sandy’. A magical place that was instilled in me from birth, even before as my mother toted me to the island within her womb. Two weeks on a lake in the land where you are told to “live free or die” (NH) time stands still or speeds by depending on your age at the time or how you “vacation”. I remember it being fast paced and over before it began. Friends from all over the country, mostly New England who you typically only see once a year for a week or longer as we all descend upon the boat landing. Friends who are and become family for that one week and beyond. There is nothing fancy about this place but yet it remains magical. Dating back to the 19th century campers and staffers have been laying claim to this vacation spot. You reside in wood cabins, usually without restrooms or separate rooms. Folks read, walk, jog, tennis, bocce, kayak, canoe, sail, swim, frisbee golf, water ski, bird watch or relax at the beach. Evening activities include family dances, movies, talent shows and trivia. Its the place where you can be you and though people may judge in their own way it does not matter because it is yours whomever you are and wherever you are from.
This time almost 20 years later I made it back and never want to make the sabbatical near as long next time. I brought my lovely wife of 4+ years along for the journey, who is now carrying our first child. These are the lovely images which presented them self for me and all to see…I do as I usually do and capture things occurring, as they are and have been for many, many years at Sandy Island.
Soon after we got Heather’s new Pilot I jokingly said that was her “project” for the year. Less than a month later she is researching away at kitchen countertops, hardware, cabinet paint, etc…What is a guy to do but dive right in to another “project”. We did a lot of the hard work ourselves, only farming out the quartz countertop install and plumbing. Sanding down the cabinets, de-greasing them, building up the cabinets with boxes taking them all the way up to the ceiling, priming and painting, caulking, tile backsplash. It was fun and WELL worth the work!
We have been anticipating their visit for a good bit. In preparation we made a special and fun grocery trip, picking up all the fun kid snacks we could find. These girls can eat and talk and move and crawl, a constant sport of watching them. The human girls met our four-legged girls; interesting; tears at first. “Attack/tackle” hugs and kisses. By the last day of the visit they were all best friends and all very tired, parents, aunt and uncle included.
The girls got in some nail spa time, the boys a bit at the range, dogs playing all weekend, kids and the new SUV put to the test and feel everything passed. Ready to do it all again.
My mother is an amazing photographer and during a recent shoot she used an expression; “making memories”. If nothing else you are making memories. Those words were the first thing which sprung to mind while creating this post. Some amazing childhood memories and those we continue to create to this day.
This is my most recent session with some great friends who now have their second baby. More babies means more pictures and diapers I suppose. We had a fun time watching them come out of their shyness shell (I completely relate) and getting outside and having fun.
Thanks and Merry Christmas!
The cool down from summer to fall is a sad time for many. Kids back to school, parents back to work, everyone back on the road. I suppose I fall in that category, for a short time at least. Always disappointing to see summer go but ushered in are cooler night, changing leaves, fire-pits and football. In truth, I do love this season almost as much. Fog coated mornings, dressing up in halloween attire, scary movies star on the television…the wonderful circle of the seasons and life.
It is amazing what a week on the beach can do for you. If you are that type of person that can do nothing all day long and be relaxed; and that I am. Another great trip to our second home. The dogs tore up the beach, we tore down on some tasty food and soaked up the sun. One of the best things was an early morning kayak ride, some dolphins found us and watching them surface and play was a treasure. Blessed to be able to do this trip with my parents and wife!
Becoming more and more confident and comfortable with carpentry and building made us feel ready for a pretty big project; our master closet. We started with a smaller guest room closet. Made mistakes, learned from them and made more. I used an online closet designing company to help plan the spacing, measurements, and where to use hanging vs shelving. A very useful tool. Watched a lot of youtube and searching online for images of built-in closet design and style. One video, had a gentleman working only on the weekends, as we would be, doing a very elaborate and professional job for an “enthusiast/non-pro”. Took him several months which gave me a greater appreciation of how long this could take. We also started in the beginning of warm weather [April] and did not always want to be stuck indoors. It took us about five months, working nowhere near every weekend but putting in some long hours. We allocated $650 which we ended up going over but stayed under $1k. The online closet design site also priced out what you put together and the basic bones for what we used as our design for them to build (and install?) was about $2k. I am quite happy about with what we spent, not to mention the value added to our house.
We ripped out the wire shelving, pulled up the carpet, laid down a floating, hardwood, bamboo flooring, installed built-in material, caulked and painted, replaced light fixture with a chandelier, measured and fastened the hardware/hanging rods, brought all our clothes in and now enjoying with a few finishing touches to go.
Thank you and congratulations to my wonderful wife and tool girl Heather! Before we even lived together we put together our grill, the very first project. had no idea it would lead us to what we have been through and what we just accomplished. wow!
We got a call a while back from my sister, catching up on what was new with each other. I remember her talking over her shoulder in a muffled voice, “should we ask them now?”, Lou said. My thoughts ran wild and quick, “what is my sister talking about”. The mystery revealed itself when they came back over the phone and asked us to be God parents to their newest baby girl, Scarlett Antonia. This makes the second time my youngest sister and Dave have honored me significantly when it comes to her own family, one honor with each of their gorgeous babies. Her oldest was given my name as her middle name; Fiona Ryan. Love it, love them, love my sister…
We made it back home for the ceremony, took a long weekend and had a great visit. The new house was complete, the weather was agreeable and family and friends gathered around.