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New Horizons

Now that summer is really here, we have a little more time to relax and enjoy our surroundings.  As always, we’re looking for new things to try.  Last year, a friend told me about a bike path in Brattleboro that was relatively flat and good for young riders.  We decided to give it a try a couple weeks ago.  The entrance to the path is located just behind one of our favorite Brattleboro spots, The Marina Restaurant.

It’s really a nice trail.  There are a two difficult hills, one up and one down, but most of the trail is a nice and flat, following the West River.  There are lots of different terrains – meadow, woods, rocky cliffs.

The trail also goes by the huge construction project on Interstate 91 – they are replacing the bridge over the West River.  It’s taking forever for them to do it, but it’s really cool to see it from below.


Here are Jake and Lydia biking through one of the most picturesque portions of the trail. Isn’t Vermont beautiful?


Miss Lydia exploring:


We followed up our ride with lunch at The Marina and frozen yogurt downtown… a lovely family day!


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We Made It To Summer!


I look forward to Spring every year.  Not just the warming temperatures and the return to green, but the renewal of family activity.  We go back outside, we get moving again, we work our way toward the end of June, when summer begins.  Even though I look forward to it, getting through the Spring season is hard.  Everything heats up, and I’m not just talking about the weather.  School, music, and sports all meet in a terrifying miasma and end in a crescendo of exams, concerts, recitals, and tournament games.

Aaron excelled at Farm League baseball this year.  His hitting and throwing have improved amazingly, and he’s starting to figure out what to do with the ball when he gets it.  His team was a bit of a challenge this year – he was one of the oldest, but he soldiered through, and I think the odds are good that he’ll go on to Little League next year.




Jacob is a trumpeting machine.  Despite a mouth full of braces, he works so hard.  He was second chair this year in his middle school band, and also played in the jazz band.  He moved on to the high school next year, and is excited to get the opportunity to play in the marching band.  These pictures are from their end-of-year concert:



Last but not least, Miss Lydia is a softball machine.  She loves the game, and takes it very seriously.  She recruited several friends from school to play this year, so they had a big team filled with friends old and new.  She hit, she fielded like a pro, she pitched!  I think there is a lot of softball in our future.  :-)





IMG_6533All in all, it was exhausting, and wonderful.  As they get older, I realize more and more that there will be a time when I’m not running around like a crazy woman and shoving frozen pizza down my gullet so that I can drop Jake at band and go to Aaron’s game for two innings before I dash across town for the end of Lydia’s game.  And that thought makes me slightly sad.  That being said, I’m so glad that summer is here!  Let the long days and warm nights begin!


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Chaos and Upheaval

So things have gone a little crazy around here.  What with job changes, and starting my own business, the blog has fallen through the cracks.  But I am determined to keep it up, though maybe a little sporadically…  While we’ve been having all this upheaval and uncertainty, we’ve also been trying to keep things “normal” for the kids.  I may feel like crawling into a ball under the covers and not coming out, but that would be bad.  Bad for me, bad for the family.  So we’ve been busy.  We had a great end to our summer, and have been chugging along this fall with school, music lessons, day trips, etc.  Here’s a summary of what we’ve been doing while I have been AWOL.

We went to California and saw this:


And hung out with these guys and their family:


And visited here:

IMG_5415And rode roller coasters:


We saw one of our favorite people perform at the Charlemont Reggae Fest:


And this happened to Aaron while we were there, compliments of Cousin Tony:


We took a surprise birthday bike ride to celebrate Nate’s birthday.  What happened to your knee, Nate?


It wasn’t all bad – because we saw this amazing Great Blue Heron just 15 feet away from us:

IMG_5635 Our annual trip to Maine was one of our best ever!IMG_5698 IMG_5704 IMG_5736 IMG_5746 IMG_5787 Look who got on a bike!IMG_5807 IMG_5818All in all, we had a nice end to our summer.  The fall was a bit of a wash – we did no apple picking, we barely got our pumpkins in time for Halloween!  But we’re making it.  Look for some more posts to come soon… if I can manage it.

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True Love

Having been married for almost 18 years, sometimes I feel that my life is lacking in romance – that spark that we had when we first fell in love.

And then comes an evening after a very, very long difficult day when the kids are all over the place and there are a million things to do, and my beloved walks in the door with a grocery bag, and I say, “The least you could have done was tell me you were going to stop at the store!  I would have asked you to pick me up some Ben and Jerry’s!”  And he reaches into the bag and pulls out a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

Now that’s true love.


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Summer Doings Part 1

This has been such an interesting summer.  We’ve done a lot of very fun things as a family that we haven’t ever done before, and we’ve done  a lot of the old favorites, too!  We’ve (well, OK, maybe just I’ve) been stressed out with my impending job change.  Braces have gone onto a certain 12 year old boy’s teeth, and somehow we all survived.  Over the next week I’ll post a mish-mash of summertime fun while we are away on our vacation.

First up – the Charlemont Reggae Fest.  This is our second year going to the Reggae Fest.  Last year there was a torrential down-pour and we spent the entire day huddled under a picnic structure while lightning crashed around us.  We still had a good time, though!  This year, the weather was PERFECT.  Not to hot, not too cloudy.  The music was fantastic, of course.  We had a lovely time, spending about 6 hours kicking back, eating good food, listening to great music.  Here are some pictures:


Lydia, Aaron, and a new friend all got little puppets from one of the vendors and spent a very long time making them dance!


Cousin Tony was there making balloon hats, swords, rifles, and pistols for Aaron. I’m not sure he can fit any more balloons on his body.


Aunt Betsy working hard to ensure a smooth day for the Reggae Fest.


Grandma Elizabeth came this year – and vows she will come again next year!


Grandma catching a little shade.

It was a great experience – there’s really nothing like listening to music in the outdoors.  A wonderful mix of people, young and old, hippie and button-down.  All smiling and happy.  Can’t wait for next year!

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Sugar Shack!

Another sign of impending Spring – the sap is running and the sugar shacks are open for business!  Each year we go to the North Hadley Sugar Shack to have a look at their maple syrup operation and explore their great playground  while waiting (sometimes for over an hour!) for a delicious breakfast smothering is fresh maple syrup!  This year, it was a little bit chilly – more snow on the ground than in years past, and a biting wind.  But we didn’t let it deter us!

We were told the wait would be 45 minutes, so we stopped in at the boiling room and saw their brand-new boiler.  It was shiny and computerized, and harder to see into, but still cool.  And they still had freshly poured maple syrup samples to taste.  Yum!  Here is the boiling house:


Then we headed outside into the chill to wait for our table.  Most of the playground was inaccessible due to snow, but we found ways to occupy ourselves anyway!



Lucky for us, that 45 minute wait ended up being only 15 minutes (the shortest we’ve ever had to wait).  Note to self – choose a cold, blustery morning next year.  We had a fantastic breakfast – buttermilk pancakes, maple smoked bacon, eggs over-easy.  All smothered in delicious maple syrup.  I think sugar shack season may be the only reason to visit New England in March.

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What is it about kids and rolling down hills?  I remember rolling as a kid.  There was a great hill for rolling at Codornices Park in Berkeley where I spent many a childhood afternoon.  Now that the weather is turning more spring-like, we’ve been out and about outdoors more often.  The kids all decided to have a good hill-roll on a recent walk.  They ended up rather muddy and a little dizzy, but we were told is was worth it!



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