A Day at Winslow Park, Freeport ME

Every year we camp up at the Winslow Park & Campground for Labor Day Weekend, but this year being 37 weeks pregnant made us think twice! Instead we just went up for the day to enjoy some time with friends and enjoy the scenery. We spent the day at the campground with our friends and did make a trip to Mainely Custard and Maine Beer Co. which are just down the street. Usually when we are there for the whole weekend, we go into the Freeport shopping area for a day and visit LLBean and such, BUT we didn’t want to deal with the crowds just being up there for a day.

We played with our new camera a little bit and tried to get some shots of scenery and of me and my beautifully large baby bump to have for posterity’s sake. I didn’t want a full maternity shoot, but these few photos that my husband took in one of our favorite places are so simple and I don’t know…quiet? I really like how they came out 🙂

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The dress I am wearing is the most comfortable maxi from Old Navy seen here for just $25.

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Jon caught me in sort of an emotional moment here, I cry at the drop of a hat right now ha, so the fact that I shed tears here, pretty typical.

The house on Pound of Tea Island is one of my favorite landmarks that you can see from the park. I go check it out every year. It was just one bedroom, has its own little dock, and its just so cute. Well, I went to check it out this year and it is getting some work down!! Looks like they redid the shingling on the outside (it used to be blue) and added a second floor! Now, why is it called Pound of Tea Island? Story goes that early settlers paid the American Indians a pound of tea in exchange for the island! In 2015, it was sold for around a half a million sooooo the value of this island has really increased over the years, ha!

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Cute little lobster boat coming into Harraseeket River from the bay
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This is just a shot of the dock into Casco Bay from the Harb Cottage, a house that you can rent through a lottery through the Winslow Park & Campground. We have talked about putting in for the lottery, it would be so fun to stay there!

When we were planning the day, I was holding out for a trip into town to go to Ben and Jerry’s but I was convinced to try Mainely Custard. What they serve is very similar to ice cream, but it does contain egg. It gives it more of a smooth/creamy texture and it was a little less sweet than ice cream. I loooooved it! They typically have chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, and then one or two special flavors that they make daily. When I went, the special flavor was butterscotch, so I got a scoop of butterscotch and a scoop of chocolate. It was delicious, I am a convert! I guess there is a location in Kennebunkport too! From there we met up with friends at the Maine Beer Co. which btw is undergoing a big expansion. Very exciting for a great brewery!

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By the time this posts, I might have a baby! He is really enjoying life on the inside, but we shall see what the next days bring. I have cleaned literally everything in the house, we have a month of freezer meals stored, I made cookies, hospital bags are packed, and the nursery is set up- all we need now is our little man!

Send me some of those good-breezy-easy going-sneezed and he popped out-makes all the other women jealous-healthy baby boy at the end-birth story vibes k? 🙂

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Dog Friendly Beach in Rye NH!!

Alright folks, one day past my due date..continuing to distract myself through writing 🙂

We found a beach in NH that Mizpah can be off leash on!!! Wooo!!! New Hampshire’s state beaches which include Hampton, North Hampton, Wallis Sands, Rye Harbor, and Jenness do not allow dogs EVER. These beaches do not allow dogs in the mornings, evenings, or in the off season. Now, we have of course seen violations of this rule in the off season, but we are rule followers. Rye NH has a stretch of beach that is considered to be a town beach though and before 9 AM, dogs are allowed under voice control! They even have the little dog poo bag stations for us responsible dog owners AND streetside parking is free! Its not the longest stretch of beach, and at high tide you definitely need to prepare to be in the surf with your pup BUT its still worth it for us. Changing up Mizpah’s scenery is great for her, and I love being at the beach. Alrighty, here are some pics of beautiful Rye Beach and our little pup romping through the surf!

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Hazy morning at the beach
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Mizpah looooves playing fetch with her ball in the surf. She will dunk her whole face and head in the water to get her ball, its so cute. 

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In the distance, you can see the building with the red roof which is Ray’s Seafood. We totally use that red roof as a landmark to know where our car is and climb back up the jetty back out to the road.
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My little water lovin pup!
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View from the jetty, you can see the white tent in the distance, not a bad spot out on the jetty for an event eh?
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The lovely Ray’s Seafood!

The picnic area at Ray’s is dog friendly 🙂 These pics are from two different occasions in case you noticed that Mizpah has a harness on in some, and no harness in some ha. Going to the beach before 9AM means dealing with some haze, but it usually clears up a bit by the time we leave. Starting the day with a walk on the beach and a tired, happy pup is pretty great! We are so happy we found a close beach that is more dog friendly. The beaches in York ME are probably equally as close BUT pups have to be on leash. Hope you enjoyed the frolicking Mizpah pics!

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Fall Wardrobe Picks!

Good morning!!! Happy first day of fall!!!

I am sitting here 39 weeks pregnant, home from work with gestational high blood pressure (not preeclampsia thankfully) trying to stay busy! I will be on maternity leave and really trying to save money this fall/winter so I am committed to NOT shopping for a while, but I couldn’t help sharing my faves for new fall staples!

The two websites I always gravitate to are J Crew Factory and LLBean, so here are my picks!

J. Crew Factory

Cotton V-Neck Sweater in Light Mustard- $29.50 Its time for the sweaters to come back out!!! I love the v-neck because it looks great by itself, and then later in winter you can layer the button downs and flannels underneath. The light mustard color is great for fall.

Tweed Mini Skirt- $51.00 Every year J Crew Factory has a cute plaid mini or tweed mini that becomes such a classic, and I am really loving this one!

Cuffed Striped Boatneck Shirt- $29.50 So this shirt might not scream fall so much, but I love a long sleeve navy and white stripe shirt as it gets cooler and while I am not sure how nice the cuff looks in real life, I would be open to checking it out!

LLBean

Mountain Pile Fleece Jacket- $79.99-89 I am really loving this fleece zipup with the Katahdin LLBean logo tag. This is the sandstone color which is one of the ones that is on sale for the cheaper price point.

Tumbled-Leather LLBean Boots- Flannel Lined- $149 These Bean boots are a part of the small batch boot collection. They are being released in October but you can order them now and the website says they are backordered at the moment. I want these….real bad, but I know I should resist- we’ll see haha.

Scotch Plaid Shirt Slightly Fitted- $49.95 I can’t recommend the LLBean Scotch plaid flannel shirts enough. I want them in every color and want to live in them all fall and winter. The color I featured is ‘Princess Mary’ which I really like. These sell out pretty fast usually, so get em now while all the colors are still in stock!

Signature Cotton Fisherman Tunic Sweater- $99.00 I have a couple of the regular sweaters which I love, but I really like this longer tunic sweater too! I would definitely get the black cherry color because I think its such a nice fall color.

Signature Merino Textured Fair Isle Crewneck- $99.00 This is the one thing that I actually DID buy! I love bird sweaters, and am obsessed with loons. I have been looking for a loon sweater for a few years now. This is a reproduction of a sweater LLBean made back in the 80s I believe. I can’t wait to be able to wear this one 🙂

What are your fall favorites this year? I will admit, every year I look forward to all the fall bucket list/fall wardrobe staples blog posts. I love this season; its so fun that my little boy will be a fall baby! Enjoy the first weekend of fall!

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MS Mount Washington Cruise

One sort of touristy thing that I have wanted to do since we moved to New Hampshire is take a cruise on the MS Mount Washington around Lake Winnepesaukee. Their website with the schedule and event info is here. Since I have had to be careful out on friends’s smaller boats with the pregnancy, this summer seemed like the perfect time to head out on the nice large and stable MS Mount Washington!

We went out on a Sunday, so the boat left from Alton Bay and motored to Weirs Beach in Laconia, and then came back. They had a brunch buffet on board but we brought a picnic of our own to save some dollars! It was a beautiful day and we got to try out our new camera. We have been wanting to get a nice camera for a while now, but definitely the impending arrival of our son who will surely be our favorite subject made us finally get one. We got a Nikon D3300 and so far so good. These are some of my favorite snaps from the day!

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Here’s our boat coming into Alton Bay!!
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Captain’s Office!
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35 weeks pregnant here!!
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This is Kimball Castle! Built in the 1890s by Benjamin Kimball, who was president of the Boston, Montreal, and Concord Railways. Interesting article of when it had fallen into disarray and was for sale for just 799,000 in 2013 can be seen here.
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Up on top of Brickyard Mountain in Weirs Beach is a structure that looks like a light house, but its actually fake! It’s actually a water tower and cell phone tower for the area.
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It was windy the day we were out, probably perfect for sailing!!
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One of the very large houses on luxurious Governor’s Island in Gilford. Looked like this one had a for sale sign out on the water, want to guess how many millions of dollars this beauty is going for?
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Pulling back into Alton Bay, this lovely home on this cute little island was just begging to be photographed.

Lake Winnepesaukee is beautiful, and a cruise on the MS Mount Washington is a great way to see it! On other days, the boat goes to Wolfeboro which is one of my favorite towns, and also Meredith & Center Harbor. All of the port towns on the lake where the boat stops have their own vibe and character. Center Harbor is probably the quietest with really just the Mug on the Bay, and Weirs Beach might be the liveliest with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Wolfeboro has a cute street of restaurants and shopping right off the boat. Meredith has the Town Docks restaurant which is popular, and Alton Bay has some food places like Shibley’s athe Pier and Pop’s Clam Shell too.  Another couple that we chatted with on the boat was celebrating their one year anniversary. They had their wedding on the Mount Washington and brought the top of the wedding cake to share while on the cruise- so sweet!

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Kayaking Adventures in New Hampshire

I am so grateful for this gloriously uneventful pregnancy. We are at 34 weeks this week and thankfully I am still able to take Mizpah for walks, kayak around while Jon fishes, and go to a couple spin classes a week. Now, my walks with Miz have gotten shorter. Jon is still able to run and mountain bike with her so she is still getting plenty of exercise. My kayak adventures are not very strenuous and when I go to spin classes, I am careful not to overdo it with the jumps- the stand up, sit down type stuff.

I have been really enjoying the kayaking a lot. I was a camp counselor in the summer for years and took my campers out to kayak around and find frogs and turtles. It was fun, but it was a part of the job meaning I was watching my campers and it was NOT always relaxing ha. Every year we camp up on Casco Bay in Freeport ME, and I would go out and kayak around which was awesome, but it was a once a year thing. This summer being a little limited in the activity I can do, my husband and I started going out with the kayak for me and the float tube for Jon to fly fish.

We have gone to Lucas Pond in Northwood NH, Stonehouse Pond in Barrington NH, and I paddled around Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham NH while Jon ran with Mizpah on the trails. Jon did catch a trout at Stonehouse which was exciting! Its getting a little late in the summer to catch trout in the ponds though, they hide out in the cool depths in the heat. I have seen some loons which was amazing, some herons, ducks, and some beavers. Kayaking has been great to have an upper body workout and get to be outside doing something. Here are some of my favorite pics from paddling out and about!

Lucas Pond

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There are some really cute houses on this pond as well as a summer camp! Cool thing about this pond is only non motorized craft are allowed. We saw lots of kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and swimmers…..and honestly my favorite little swimmer was the loon that let me get so close! It was great.

Stonehouse Pond

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Top pic is from an evening paddle and the bottom two are from a morning paddle. This was the smallest of the three bodies of water. People kayak, swim, float, and there is a trail that goes around the pond to the top of the stone. There is a serious beaver family living here, like a compound of lodges, but so fun to see them out swimming around!

Pawtuckaway Lake

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Great blue heron!
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Loony for loons!

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Top two pics are from one evening, bottom two are from another! Pawtuckaway Lake is the biggest body of water I kayaked this summer. Actually I only saw half of it, it would have taken me toooo long to get to the other side. This body of water has lots of trails, a campground, a beach which is sadly contaminated with cyanobacteria at the moment, some houses, and this one allows motorized craft. No trout in this lake, just bass, so this is where I kayak when Jon is running the trails with Miz.

Any other paddlers out there? I really wish I could get into standup paddleboarding, maybe in the next couple years! Hope you enjoy my amateur wildlife/nature kayak pics!

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Family history in Kennebunkport, ME

Growing up in New England, you just know that Kennebunkport ME is a magical place. After all, it’s where the Bush family has a home right? So it has to be good! I have great memories of going to a family cookout or two up there, and driving by the beautiful wedding cake house! My mother, grandmother, and aunt all love Kennebunkport too. Day trips to walk around the shops, look out at the boats, get a lobster roll and ice cream…I mean what’s better than that?

My family has always been into genealogy and family history. On my mother’s side, the family history that I grew to be most familiar with was for the Milligans. My great great grandfather was Rev. Herbert Freeman Milligan. He married Effie Robbins in 1898 in MA and had 9 children with Effie over 21 years.  Being a clergyman, the family moved a lot as Rev. Milligan got different appointments in different churches. From 1912 on, their travels took them through various towns in Maine. My great grandmother, Alice, was the third born child in 1902 and she graduated high school when the family was in Waldoboro Maine.  Sometime between the mid 1920s and 1930s, the family moved to Kennebunk. The last son, Jonathan, was born in 1920 and went to Kennebunk’s high school. Effie passed away in 1940, and Rev. Milligan remarried in 1941 believing that a church man ought to be married. His new wife, Florence “Foddie” Weeks and him retired and lived for 19 years on Cat Mousam Road in Kennebunk.

Jonathan Milligan is where my family’s continued link to the area and some fun history lies. He married his high school sweetheart, Liz Perkins, in 1940. If you know the area at all, the name Perkins should sound familiar- yes, Perkins as in Perkins Cove! Liz’s father, Silas Henry Perkins, is the namesake of a park in Kennebunk as well. He was a great poet known for a poem about Kennebunkport. Jon and Liz were very active in the goings on in the Kennebunkport area. The couple bought the Sagamore Inn at Gooch’s Beach and ran it as the Sea Spray Motor Inn, which was sadly torn down in the 80s to become a private home. They had many business and real estate ventures together, including the Lands End Cottage community.

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Postcard for Sea Spray Motor Inn
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Other side of the Sea Spray Inn post card- hotel decor has come a long way huh?
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One side of post card for the Lands End Cottages- can’t find the other side 😦
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Map of the Kennebunk Region with stamps for “Jon Milligan Company Kennebunk Maine” and “Lands End Cottages on Cape Porpoise Harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine for your Family Vacation”

Jon and Liz started to develop this community on Lands End Road, which goes out to Cape Porpoise Harbor, in the 1950s, in the wake of the devastating fire of 1947.  The community began as vacation cottages for rent, and now is a lovely residential neighborhood. In the 80s, plots of land were offered to the family- the price range was $15K to $25k. Some members of the family jumped on the opportunity, my parents did not 😦 They were just starting out then and didn’t want to risk the investment- can’t blame them there. Now of course, houses in that  neighborhood are listed for $450K and up!!

Liz Milligan passed away on Valentine’s Day this past year at the age of 96!! Two of her daughters, Judy and Debbie are currently realtors for Andrews Milligan Real Estate Company.  My mother was in town for my baby shower this past weekend and we spent a day visiting with one of my fabulous great aunts up at her house in the Lands End neighborhood. It is beautiful there- always a nice breeze from the ocean. They started with a cabin on their lot and have built it into a beautiful 3 bedroom home with an outdoor shower and a great screened in porch. She has watched Kennebunkport evolve over the years into really what some might call the Nantucket of the north. From Lands End, you can take a right down to the village of Cape Porpoise, which really just consists of Bradbury’s, Cape Porpoise Kitchen, a church, and a fire dept. You can keep driving to get to the pier on Bickford Island which is the home of Cape Pier Chowder House, Cape Porpoise Lobster Co., and Pier 77 Restaurant/The Ramp Bar & Grill. There are beautiful views of the harbor and you can see the light house on Goat Island from there too!

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Buoys! Stairs are part of the Pier 77/Ramp Restaurant/Bar complex
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30 Weeks Pregnant!! 10 to go!
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Fishing/Lobster Boats in Cape Porpoise Harbor
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Lobster operation, most likely for Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. right off the pier!
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Goat Island Lighthouse!
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A little nautical art in the parking area- good use of old boats right?

The Kennebunkport area has been flooded lately with social media influencers. I have seen bloggers/instagrammers working with Cape Arundel Inn, the Cabot Cove Cottages, Hidden Pond Cottages, Kennebunkport Inn, The Tides Beach Club, and most recently the new glamp sites at the Sandy Pines Campground. Now, when this subject came up with my great aunt, Tim Harrington’s name came up. I didn’t know this, but all of the accommodations listed above besides the campground are a part of his resort collection, and the locals joke that every time a piece of land in the area goes up for sale, Tim can’t be far. See more about the Kennebunkport Resort Collection and Tim Harrington here. Abby Capalbo has a nice travel guide on her blog with reviews of many of KRC lodging and dining locations as well as others here.  Also following Jackie Greaney and PJ Havel will give you many images of the area to drool over 🙂

Anyways, I apologize, this post got a wee bit long. There are so many coastal vacation spots in New England, but definitely Kennebunkport is close to my heart. I hope that you all had a great weekend! Where are your family vacation spots?? Let me know in the comments!

Edit/Correction: While Sandy Pines is not listed on the KRC website as of now, it is actually a Tim Harrington property along with Debra Lennon!

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Seven Years with Mizpah the Dalmatian

This past May marked Mizpah’s seventh birthday! We have been through so much together. I held Mizpah on my lap from Fall River MA to my house in Lancaster MA when she was just 10 weeks old. My ex-husband was actually the driving force behind getting a dalmatian, something I will always be thankful for. She cried and screamed bloody murder the entire way. While she is an absolutely stunning dog, I’ll be honest, she was a very needy demanding puppy. She destroyed a beautiful pair of turquoise patent leather flats, ate a stick of body glide out of my triathlon bag, and even ate an entire aloe plant once- roots and all. She had deemadex mites on her adorable little paws once, then there was the ringworm on the top of her little head, and then we can’t forget all the numerous upset stomachs and scrapes.

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Puppy Mizpah!
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Sometimes I forget she was every this small.
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Short little legs!

Many people stop to say hi to her when we are out and about and make comments about how you never see dalmatians anymore, or how they had never actually seen a dalmatian. They marvel at her friendliness and talk about a mean dalmatian a neighbor or family member had or recant some story about a mean and vicious dalmatian. We have heard it all- that dalmatians don’t even growl before they bite, that dalmatians attack when you turn your back on them….I could go on and on. We do run into dalmatian fans who have had good experiences every once in a while.

Dalmatians were certainly overbred when they were a popular pet due to the 101Dalmatians movies. Overbreeding is bad for any breed. There is deafness in the dalmatian gene pool. All puppies should be BAER tested to determine their level of hearing. In Mizpah’s litter they were all bilateral except one unilateral. Dalmatians are high energy dogs, capable of running for hours without tiring. They were bred to be carriage dogs, running alongside horsedrawn carriages clearing crowds and protecting whatever what in the carriage. This is how they ended up as mascots for firehouses and for Budweiser. They are suitable only for families who do dog friendly activities. Dalmatians will destroy your house and not let you sleep if they don’t get attention and exercise.

Looking back, the two keys to happiness for Mizpah and her family have been socialization & exercise.

Socialization

We started taking Mizpah to puppy socials at the local Petco as soon as she finished her shots. It was $10 dollars for an hour in a big exercise pen with other puppies, toys, and a trainer. The trainer would act as referee, encourage play and sharing of toys/water.  Honestly this might have been the best investment I made for Mizpah. Mizpah had a little referee in her as well. When puppies started to play rough, she would get in between them and bark. I also noticed Mizpah’s flexibility with other dogs. If they were more dominant, she laid down and played the more submissive dog. If they were nervous and submissive, she approached slowly with a toy and let them take control.

As she grew, weekend mornings turned from Petco socials to time at off leash parks with lots of dogs to play with. I ventured away from my leashed walks/runs in my neighborhood to run on trails with her. One of the most important things I learned about Mizpah was her drive to move forward on a trail. Not every meeting between Mizpah and other dogs OR other people has gone well, but with Mizpah the quickest way to get her out of a scrape was not to get in the middle of it, but just enthusiastically move forward like nothing happened and call her along. She has always out run anything trying to get at her. Figuring this out has made it so we can always remove her from any situation on the trails….which has definitely been helpful MANY times.

Anywhere Mizpah could go, she has gone. She has gone to many family member homes, she goes to many towns/cities just to walk around and socialize, she goes to Lowes with us, she runs in road races with us, she goes to dog friendly beaches, campgrounds, hotels, & cabins, and she goes to horse shows with me. Being with my husband and I is her greatest reward in life, so we take her everywhere we can. We drove down to Florida to spend a week with my parents with Mizpah in the back. When we do have to leave her behind for a night, she goes to a boarding place that doesn’t use kennels or crates. She is welcomed there as a part of a pack/family which only increases her social well being.

Exercise

Mizpah as a puppy needed multiple walks in order to have quiet nap times. Walks turned into runs, and runs on the road turned into off leash runs in the woods. My husband and I are both trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers. Mizpah will happily run alongside a mountain bike. She is a stellar trail dog and has climbed I think 39 of the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers.

I learned early on that there would be very few days off with Mizpah as my personal trainer. Hungover…sick….busy….depressed….none of that matters to Mizpah. Spring and fall are the worst- the whining and crying, pure desperation to go out and run. It can be a lot. I have never looked back and said oh man, I wish I hadn’t gone out with Miz though. I am always happy that I exercised with Mizpah. Being out on the trails with her makes me feel centered and calm, no matter what is going on in my life.

Things that don’t work with Mizpah? She is NOT a yard dog. Roaming around our fenced in yard is nice for hanging out with us or just going to the bathroom, but she does NOT consider that to be exercise. Now leash walks are only cool if its a recovery day. Long runs on leash are ok, but just a walk around the block will not do it. Girlfriend also loooooves swimming. If we can combine running with swimming, then we have really nailed the workout routine for Mizpah that day. Even now at six months pregnant, Jon and I have to work together to make sure Mizpah gets her exercise. I am so fortunate that I am still able to go out with her, no medical issues yet, knock on wood!

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Hiking Mt. Pierce, out first 4000 footer back in 2013. The Mizpah Spring Hut is on this mountain!
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Mt. Moosilauke, 2014
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Mt. Monroe/Mt. Eisenhower Hike, 2014
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Mt. Jefferson Hike, 2015

Our Next Chapter

Mizpah will soon have to share our attention with a newborn! Jon and I have already discussed the importance of still tending to Mizpah’s needs. We have found some nice off leash areas that are really close to the house. We plan on doing leash walks with the stroller, and we are getting a great jogging stroller to run with baby and Mizpah. We have a k’tan wrap & an ergo baby carrier coming too so that we will be able to do family walks on the trails. Thankfully Mizpah is 7 now, and less demanding about her exercise regimen. She spends more time lounging as she’s getting older. She even laid down while we were at Groton House Farm’s summer horse trials this past week!

The first breeder of dalmatians in America was actually George Washington! His coach dog was a dal named Madame Moose. He paid 12 shillings to import her in 1786, and the pup was quite a companion for George and his wife Martha. Washington imported a male to breed with her the following August and actually wrote in his diary: “A new coach dog [arrived] for the benefit of Madame Moose; her amorous fits should therefore be attended to.”  My husband and I fell in love with this quote because at the end of the day, Mizpah is extremely affectionate and just happy to be with her people. We joke about Mizpah’s amorous fits often.

Dalmatians are beautiful dogs, but they aren’t for everyone. I never sugar coat it with people that ask. She is beautiful and friendly, but very high energy and in need of exercise. As I write this, she is laying on the couch next to me but I know its in everyone’s best interest to take her to run somewhere today. Maintaining a happy Mizpah keeps everyone in the house happy.

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Snugglepup

Any other dog lovers out there? What do you do with your dog? What works and what doesn’t? Let me know in the comments!

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Piscassic Greenway with Mizpah

New England is truly beautiful this time of year. After many days of rain, the fields and forests in this area are so lush and green! The rainy days can be tough, but now on the nicer days we can see the beautiful scenery as a result. We entered the Piscassic Greenway trails from Bald Hill Road in Newfields, NH. The Mraz trail starts there through a beautiful field and then enters the wooded area. There is a community garden that might have a charitable purpose at that entrance as well. In these photos I am five months pregnant (eep!) and I managed these trails really well.

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Mizpah on the grassy path before we entered the woods
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Action shot! Happiest dog 🙂
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Shorts from J.Crew Factory // tshirt from J.Crew Factory // hat from Vineyard Vines // bracelet not available anymore at KJP, click link to see others!
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Love the lilly pads and how the sky/clouds reflected off the water

The greenway is a part of the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) and the rules in general (although you should check the site for each individual property) are that dogs should be on a leash OR under owner voice control. We went on a Sunday before lunch and had the place to ourselves. We kept Mizpah on a least until we passed the community garden and then let her go! We only ended up doing the Mraz Loop and we did the Byrne Trail/Spur to the scenic outlook. There is more Byrne Trail to see and the Otis Hill Trail.

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Part of the cellar hole for a large building out in the woods. I wish I knew exactly what was here!
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A little Americana here in the woods
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We saw so many pink/purple lady slippers! In New Hampshire, lady slippers, loons, and lupine are held sacred.
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I don’t know about you, but my baseball cap collection saves my skin in the summer! Sometimes its nice to see my back because I still look normal aka not pregnant from the back haha!
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One last shot on the way back to the car!

This property has an interesting history. We saw many cellar holes and rock walls indicating that it was most likely a few family farms long ago. In 2005, it almost became a 102 unit subdivision called “Mill Woods”, but thankfully SELT stepped in and made a deal with developers to protect this land. The property has fields, wooded areas, and wetlands that are important habitats for NH wildlife, so I am really happy they found a way to keep it undeveloped!!

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Off leash fun at Wagon Hill Farm

The end of the school year is fast approaching and I am looking forward to summer days! We have been in southeast NH for almost a year now, and we are still finding great new off leash places to take Mizpah. I have been missing hiking the 4000 footers something fierce lately, but finding new trails to walk on with Mizpah and my growing baby bump has been keeping me moving. As I write this I am just starting week 24 of my pregnancy…..crazy how time is flying. The exercise benefits for momma and baby are huge, so walking with Mizpah will be important this summer. I am also keeping up with spin classes at a gym in my town- trying to do 2–3 classes a week.

Wagon Hill Farm is a property owned by the town of Durham, NH, same town where UNH is located. The 139 acre property was acquired by the town back in 1989 to be preserved for many generations to enjoy. There are old orchards, picnic areas, a beachy area where Oyster River meets Little Bay, mowed trails through fields of grass and flowers, as well as wooded paths. Probably one of Mizpah’s favorite features is a point that juts out into the bay, perfect for puppy fetch and play in the water.

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Mizpah frolicking in the grass, I swear she’s part deer sometimes
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Leaving the meadows, entering the woods
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Swimming with some friends at the point! Saltwater pups 🙂
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Beautiful views where Oyster River meets Little Bay
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The time struck 10 AM and we were responsible dog owners and put baby girl back on the leash. Many dogs owners didn’t :/
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Perfect summer phone case! Find them under travel bags here (psst..affiliate link). Hat is from Harding Lane and bracelet is from Lemon & Line
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Views
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The wagon on wagon hill!! Not the original wagon, there have been a few!

The rules of the property are dogs allowed, but off leash only between the hours of 8 AM and 10 AM, on leash the rest of the time. Its a terrific compromise, as long as people follow the rules. Off leash properties are great, but I recognize that there are people out there that would like to enjoy being outdoors without running into off leash dogs. I wish more places would compromise like this. Many beaches in Maine allow dogs before 9 AM, after 5 PM, Gloucester beaches allow dogs off leash every other day in the offseason.

Wagon Hill Farm will definitely be added to the rotation of places to bring Mizpah. I love that it is right on Little Bay, so beautiful. Next up will be the Piscassic Greenway, a property in the Southeast Land Trust of NH.

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Boston Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

This spring I was fortunate enough to get to see Sleeping Beauty by the Boston Ballet twice! I had plans to go with my sister since back in February, but then a friend in the pit offered me her comp tickets for opening night and I got to have a little date night with my husband. In what seems like a past life, I played bassoon in youth and adult orchestras in Cambridge/Boston. My former section mate from when I was in a youth chamber orchestra at Longy School of Music is now a professional musician totally killing it. It was SO cool that I got her comp tickets. I look up to her now as much as I did back in the 8th grade, made me feel so important to get her comp tickets haha.

When we went to see it opening night, it was a Friday evening. The audience on Friday and Saturday evenings can be interesting, more adults…..often more intoxicated. My sister and I went on a Saturday afternoon there more of a family/children vibe. Traffic was crappy getting to Boston on the Friday night, but it was a beautiful night. We didn’t really have time to do a sit down dinner, so we grabbed some slices and cannolis from Sal’s Pizza. By a slice, I mean almost a quarter a pizza! We sat on a bench on the common and ate our dinner while doing some people watching. It was definitely 5 star dining as far as  I am concerned!

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Beautiful spring evening on the common
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This skirt from J. Crew Factory has an elastic waist band- nice for my growing baby bump! Looks like its sadly sold out though! 😦

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The ballet itself was amazing as usual. We sat in the mezzanine at the Boston Opera House and had a great view. The story is pretty similar to the Disney movie except the fairies aren’t plump little old ladies, they are majestic ballerinas. The prince doesn’t fight Carabosse (the evil fairy who curses Princess Aurora), the Lilac Fairy does, she is really the hero in the ballet. Finally, the last act in the ballet is a star studded wedding reception for Prince Desire and Princess Aurora featuring Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood with her Wolf, and Beauty with her Beast. The music for “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream” is actually from the Tchaikovsky score, so you will recognize that tune.

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The chandeliers and ceiling details at the Boston Opera House
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The reflection of the chandelier lights on my husband’s phone made the sparkle lights on my shirt, ha! I know its a little blurry, but man, it just shows the wattage of those chandeliers!!!
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So there is a little window by the men’s room on the second level that looks out over the lobby. Kind of a neat view of the beautiful chandelier there.

The Saturday I went to see the ballet with my sister we had more time before the ballet. We got breakfast from Sip Wine Bar and Kitchen, a restaurant close to the Boston Opera House.  They had a great breakfast menu. We both got the American breakfast and loved the crispy breakfast potatoes and the thick fluffy grilled english muffins. After breakfast we went to walk around the common for a bit. There was a protest going on! We grabbed a cookie at the Cookie Monstah food truck (so delicious) and went to check it out. From what we gathered, one side dressed mostly in camo was supporting free speech, the military, government, and some- Donald Trump. The other side dressed in black- some with helmets on, some with ninja face gear on, seemed to fighting against Donald Trump’s brand of free speech. There were Boston police officers and park rangers all over the place. Very exciting but sort of ruined the scenery of the common. People were on the freedom trail tour walking through that craziness, kinda rough on the tourists I think. Our seats were third row for the Saturday performance which was AMAZING. All the sparkle on all the tutus, so close, it was beautiful.

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Everyone else was photographing the protest….annnnd I snapped pictures of the mounted unit, cute pony huh? He looks sturdy, built like a table, short neck, but overall, I would take him!
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Ceiling painting in the center of the opera house
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Ceiling painting towards the stage of the opera house

Sleeping Beauty is a beautiful ballet. The costumes, scenery, and music are gorgeous. I mean, Aurora wears three different tutus- a pinkish one for her birthday party, a blue one for the dream sequence with the prince, and then a white stunner for the last scene. For this ballet they took some stunning promotional photos at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

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Gorgeous right? Follow @bostonballet on instagram to see more promo materials and behind the scenes pics/vids.

The next ballet I would go to is The Nutcracker, but who knows, I will have an infant then, so all bets are off. Next season is going to be HUGE. Boston Ballet is doing Romeo & Juliet AND La Sylphide next season, total ballet swoon.

Here are some other Boston Ballet posts from the past to check out!

Evening at The Nutcracker     Boston Ballet premieres Le Corsaire

Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker 2015

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