A Vacation in Vermont

I had a great week in Vermont!! Here are the highlights {in no particular order ;)}....

* I ate a lot! I laughed when Pam and Drennan went over the list of restaurants that we had to eat at while I was there with them. I couldn't believe we could possibly get to them all in just one week....alas, we did! I think my favorite was this little cafe in the town Drennan lives in. It's run by this "cult" of sorts....think Amish hippies. They grow all the food they serve and everyone, including the children, help run their restaurants. I still dream about the food. Yum!

* I drank a lot of coffee! Yay for being able to just stop and get a cup of coffee whenever we wanted. It's the little things, people!

* I read a lot!! I actually started and finished three entire books during that week! Three!! Can you even imagine?! This is what life without cleaning, cooking and laundry looks like. It was divine!

* I took my sweet time in several different fabric stores and a book store! I didn't have to tell anyone to stop touching anything and no one whined that they were bored. :)

* I laughed...a lot! Just look at the picture below....

Yes, that is a toilet. A used toilet that we found in someone's driveway on our way home from Sunday lunch. It had a "Free" sign next to it...so how could we not pick it up, right? It has since become a planter in Drennan's garden. I really wanted to take a picture of Pam and Dren loading it into the car in their church clothes, but Dren said it would draw attention from the home owners {who happened to be standing in their garage}. Yes, the camera would be the attention grabber...not the three well dressed white ladies taking a toilet from their yard. ;) The headboard has also found a home in Dren's yard and is quite cute!

* I became addicted to Glee. Love it!

* I did miss Jake and the girls, but I was not a big inconsolable mess by the end of the week like I had thought I would be. Yes, I was ready to come home after 8 days of being away...but I wasn't ready to come home after 2 days, if that makes sense. I really had feared that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the trip at all because I would be so homesick. I was quite delighted to discover that was not the case! I think I needed the break more than I had realized and it ended up being the perfect way to close the school year and start the summer. And I came home so refreshed and ready to jump right into all of our summer activities.

This is the amazing view up river from the patio of one of the restaurant's where we had lunch.

Drennan. :) And the see the cute covered bridge in the background?

In the basement of this restaurant, they make hand blown drinking glasses {and dishes, but the ceramics studio wasn't operating the day we were there}! They serve all of the food and drinks in the restaurant on/in these handmade pieces and they have a shop where you can purchase their wares {if you have an extra $64 lying around and need a wine glass. choke.} It was really amazing to watch the glass blowing! And notice that they are wearing shorts and no gloves, goggles or other such safety equipment?? I must admit, the Californian in me sort of freaked out! I mean, don't you have 428 regulatory committees in charge of protecting glass makers in Vermont requiring they be covered head to toe in flame retardant gear? Huh.
I can't wait until the girls are old enough that we can make a trip back to stay with Auntie Dren and take them to Colonial Williamsburg and let them see first hand all that we learn about in our school books! :)


These last few months...

...we have been very busy around these parts. Busy living life, doing and building new things and painting....lots and lots and lots of painting. As a result, the computer has gone by the wayside and with it, blogging. I didn't want you to think I've given up on my "try one new thing every week" resolution, because I haven't. I just don't have the time or desire to blog about every little thing we've been up to. You're welcome. However, I've compiled a list with the main points of what's been going on with us over these last few months.

We've been:

*having a deck built in our backyard and painting it. And then putting a second coat of paint on. And then a third. And my husband keeps saying that it needs a fourth very soon. I pretend that I'm deaf when he says things like this.

*buying and putting together patio furniture for the new deck. This involved two different trips to my least favorite store in the entire world. K-mart in Wasco. You've never been, you say? Lucky you.

*becoming big hockey fans. During the last few months of our local team's season we went to at least one game per week.. Jake and Emma went to many more together, just the two of them. We had a blast! We even ventured to Stockton to see the final playoff game...and visit my aunt and uncle. They went to the game with us and my uncle, who had never been to game before, fell in love and called later in the month to tell us he had gone to more playoff games. :) Also, we happened to be the only fans for our team at that Stockton game and may or may not have had our cow bell confiscated because they feared their fans would do us bodily harm. lol

*celebrating our littlest girl turning six. I still don't want to talk about it.

*celebrating our first-born's ninth birthday. Hold me.

*planting, weeding, watering and picking our vegetable garden. I have to say, we loved the mild June weather we experienced this year. Our garden, however, did not. It's just not producing quite like it has in years past. That's how it goes with "farming"...you have some good years and some not so good years. Or so I'm told by my husband and father-in-law. ;)

*raising chickens and building a coop! Phew! This has been one of the biggest projects we've taken on. Raising chickens from chicks is hard work and building a coop is even harder. Chicks are messy, prone to dying and just plain expensive {and when they're still inside in a crate because it's too cold outside at night, they like to get out and fly all over your kitchen leaving quite a mess in their wake! eew!!}. My husband keeps reminding me that by the time they start laying eggs {I'm guessing sometime this Fall}, we'll have about $100 sunk into each chicken. I'm pretty sure he's expecting an omelet every morning for breakfast, too! To date, we have 5 hens {2 white leghorns, 1 buff orpington, 1 silver laced wyandotte and 1 silkie [silkies are not prolific egg layers, but every time I look at that chicken I laugh...so I figure that's her contribution!]}.

*feeding out and butchering 3 lambs for meat. And consequently, searching the Internet for lamb recipes. I will admit I was less than thrilled {and by "less than thrilled", I mean "completely disgusted"} at the prospect of having a deep freeze full of meat that I didn't even like the few times that I had tried it. Of course, like all things "home-grown", our lamb tastes nothing like the lamb you buy in the store or are served in a restaurant. Trust me! I spent the first several meals willing myself to hate it, but it is actually really good. It has no weird after- taste that I had previously associated with lamb. I use the ground lamb for almost everything that I would have used ground beef for and I honestly cannot tell one bit of difference. I still buy chicken and beef on occasion, but it's really nice to have a freezer full of meat that we raised ourselves! We're talking about getting a pig and finding someone to go in halves with for a side of beef.

*listening in amazement as the girls play the piano! Emma has left me speechless! Who knew there was this little musician inside her just waiting to come out!? Three months into lessons and she has flown through the first piano and theory book and knows and can play almost every note by sight. Her teacher is amazing and wonderful and raves to me about how much she loves teaching Emma. At this point, Lauren is sort of suffering through and doing well, but not loving it. I'm not sure if it's her age or if she just really doesn't like it. I'm wondering if I should keep making her do it or avoid the battle and let it go until she's a bit older or more interested. Suggestions?

*enjoying one-on-one time with each of my girls while the other participated in a week-long sports camp. Emma chose basketball and loved every second that she spent flitting around the court, twirling in circles and generally avoiding the ball. Lauren chose soccer and particularly enjoyed playing goalie, even if it meant going fist-to-cuffs with a little boy who also wanted to play goalie. She was very proud of the fact that the other team did not score one goal during her stint in front of the net. To say Emma and Lauren are complete opposites in just about every way imaginable would be a major understatement. ;)

*trying and loving new classes at the gym! My favorite has become Straight Up Strength...a weights class. I love it. I don't love falling on the floor when I get up the following morning because of the pain. It's mornings like this that I'm exceedingly glad my husband leaves for work long before I rise or the mocking might never end. ;)

*buying a new fridge. It's not as exciting as it sounds. However, it is the first fridge we've ever actually purchased!

*researching and ordering curriculum for the coming school year. I either already have or am awaiting arrival of all of the books we need for Fall! This is a very good feeling!! Maybe I'll do another post showing what we chose after I have all of our books in my possession. And let me just take this opportunity to say that we absolutely love our charter school. Love, love, love! Our resource teacher, the enrichment classes, living history camp, amazing field trips and wonderful friends...all of it!! I can't imagine being anywhere else! And Lauren is ecstatic that one of her favorite little friends will be joining her there this next year!

*switching bedrooms. The girls are now in their own rooms! There is still some painting that needs to be done before I post pictures of the bedrooms {so you can expect those sometime next century!}, but Emma's walls are done and she is quite happy in her new blue room {she picked the color and I happily obliged even though I am so not a blue person!}! She was also very excited to learn from her National Geographic Kids magazine last night that people with blue bedrooms tend to be more creative. It's all starting to make sense now....

*reading and reading and reading! Emma is in love with the "Who Was..." series. She's read several of them {usually she gets through an entire book in one sitting} including, "Who Was Amelia Earhart?" and "Who was Ronald Reagan?"...and then she comes out spewing random facts about that person with such enthusiasm that I can't help but be interested! :) I've been reading a lot too and highly recommend "The Forgotten Garden" and "Water for Elephants" {more soon on why I originally chose this particular book to read}.

*continuing to bake almost all of our own bread! I heart my bread machine. I also heart fresh from the oven garlic & cheese bagels. And cinnamon rolls. And focaccia bread. And pretzels. And the gym. Fortunately.

*enjoying our laid-back summer with friends and being by the pool and taking the occasional trip to the beach. It may not be my favorite season, but I'm soaking up and loving every minute of it!

So, what have you been up to?

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