Saturday, October 24, 2009

Musings

**This journal post is a collage of recent events and musings, and is quite long**

My parents recently visited us. It's always so nice when family comes. I've also come to appreciate the cleanliness of my mother in new ways. The day after she and my dad left I thought, "how did my house stay so clean while they were here, but is practically a disaster today." Of course I realized it's because my mom is always picking up, washing off and straightening up everything along side me. I mentioned this to Matt and he took it as me saying he doesn't do enough to help. But that's not it - it's more like, she's been a young mother and knows that there are constantly things to pick up and do. So thank you Mom, for working while you were supposed to be on vacation.

We rented a van and took many-a-trip around our area. One was the Joseph Smith Birthplace Visitor Center in Vermont. One of the many things we saw along the way were the beautiful colors. And we discovered that yet again, the reason for the beauty here is the quantity of the trees. It was really, really cold, but beautiful.
On the way home we took our annual stop at the Vermont Country Store. What a great store. We also had time to stop at Yankee Candle Village, a really cool store/campus. It closes at 6 p.m. so we only browsed for 15 minutes and knew that a return trip would be necessary.

It turned out to be a long day of travel, but well worth it. The next day we went back to Yankee, and combined it with a stop at a local auctioneer house, since we're in desperate need of a dining table. Our current one no longer has its original chairs and we use folding chairs to fill in the need. We met a friend of ours, who's an auction house pro, and she showed us the ropes. We didn't end up staying for the auction, since there was only one table going that night, and it wasn't quite what I wanted. She assured me that something I did like would come along. The table I really like is just not practical right now. So on goes the hunt!

On Saturday we went apple and pumpkin picking at an orchard and wowed my parents with its beauty. The apples are HUGE this year.
We also saw the coast, historical houses and Matt's campus. It was a lot of fun. The only sad part was my dad got sick a few days into the trip and was down and out for 3-4 days. He was a trooper though.

After my parents left we settled into our normal routine of life. We opened, prematurely, Aunt Amber's Halloween Treat Bags. She's one of the most thoughtful people I know. Here's Sophie and Kate with the hairbows from the bags.

*****

We've also discovered in the last 10 days that we've never had a 'climber' in our family ... until now. This is a frequent scene I'm greeted with when I enter a room looking for Sophie.
Completely proud of herself and her new-found abilities. Problem is, she can't get down, or at least doesn't dare. So needless to say, our computer monitor has pen all over it because I didn't fold the chair and put it away so she couldn't climb. And my recording equipment's settings have all been changed. If you look closely in the picture above too, you'll see Sophie's taken to peeling wallpaper up the walls. I explained to our landlord that peeling wallpaper is an absolute magnet for toddlers and he agreed. So a new project is coming our way.

*****

I returned from the store the other day feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to get done between now and Christmas. Then I realized that when that feeling comes, I've got too much going on and I need to simplify and not start too many projects (i.e. we've been married a decade and I still don't have a Christmas stocking for me, and I don't like Matt's now, so I decided to redo all of them.). Oh well, that's typically female, I guess. I look at all my friend's blogs and think, "how do they get it all done and remain sane?". Of course I'm not naive enough to think you all don't have challenges, and that the purpose of many blogs is to communicate milestones and computer-scrapbooking type things ... that's certainly what mine mainly is. But I have to share that I'm pretty excited about some of the Christmas projects I have going on, even if they're causing a bit of anxiety.

The main one is a dollhouse I found at Goodwill for Kate. Here's the background.

I was dropping off some clothes and items at their drive thru the other day and thought of my friend Marni, who is a Goodwill deal finder. So I thought, "I'll go inside to see what they have." On the way in, on the sidewalk, was a dollhouse (pictured below). The price tag said $5.99. I know it looks pretty roughly hewn and was probably a labor of love from some father years ago, but I see so many possibilities that I can't help but be excited. There was also a practically new barn I bought for Wes for $2.99. I've hidden them in our wine cellar - and I'm pretty sure that's exactly what it is, since there appears to be some sort of distillery equipment/barrels in the room (our landlord is from Italy and this was his mother's home). Wes, Kate, and Sophie don't dare enter the room because it is always dark and 'makes noises' (our dehumidier is in there). So it's a perfect hiding place. I've been hunting for wooden shingles and furniture - not an easy task, unless you want to spend $30 on a miniature chair and bedset. But last night I hit the jackpot and found exactly what I was looking for. It's puzzle furniture that you put together. Sounds kind of complicated but really isn't. So in went my order and I'm so excited to get it here. Maybe I can enlist Matt in that project:).
Well I think that about does it for a journal entry now. We're healthy and happy and are basking in the colors of New England.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

13 month project


I'm happy to post a project I finally finished. Last year I saw a great Halloween Advent Calendar on a cousin-in-law's blog and thought, "Oh what a fun idea", so before she posted the directions on how to make it, I plunged my energies into finding one on the internet. I found a really cute one from Pottery Barn that was re-created by someone. So I got all my supplies and got started.

Needless to say, it turned out to be a monster of a project, not necessarily hard, but time consuming (the decorative stitches around each pocket). But now it's finished!

So thanks Michelle, for the idea (last year;))!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New England Travel

We just got back from a fun first-half of the weekend traveling and site seeing.

Yesterday Matt came home early and we packed up the car to go on a short get-away. Our first stop was Salem, which is the perfect place to visit in October, but not really the best for young children since there are ghosts and ghouls in every shop window, and not the friendly kind. We kept saying it would be a really fun trip when everyone's older, or a trip for two (when we're 59:)). It kind of felt like Diagon Alley, but for some reason I picture that as more cool, rather than evil and creepy. We saw the Witch House which is the last standing building with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials.
We continued north through New Hampshire and into Southern Maine. We stayed in Scarborough at a hotel and have finally realized that this is always the best part of the trip for our little ones. They could stay in the hotel jumping from bed to bed, swimming in the pool, and eating the continental breakfasts, all weekend long. The most common question during the whole trip, and even when we got into our drive way was, "When are we going back to the hotel?"

This morning when we woke up it was raining. We knew that it was forecasted to be a rainy weekend, but we also knew that our Saturday ventures will come to a stop soon since Kate's taking swimming lessons on those days. So we figured it was now, or next Spring, but we have many other places we want to go, so we stuck with a rainy trip. It turned out to be beautiful (even in the rain), and a trip we'll remember.

Our first stop was Len Libby's Chocolates, and the life size moose, made of chocolate. It was a hit! Everyone loved the moose, and the sweet treats we bought (and subsequently ate for a morning snack).

We then went to the Portland Head Light, a beautiful lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. By this time it was pouring. There were probably 30 people crammed into the tiny 20'x15' gift shop. And to think, someone was having a wedding that day there. But it was so beautiful. We stood watching the waves and hearing the fog horn blow for a while and then ran back to the car and stripped our coats off, wrapped blankets around the kids and turned on the heater.
We made our way to some shopping areas and a fun town called Freeport, that kind of had a Park City, Utah/Steamboat Springs, CO feel to it. Freeport is home to L.L. Bean and seems to have the zoning laws where all the businesses have to look like they're homes or lodges - it looked really cool.

We stopped and had a famous Lobster Roll and the kids had pizza. It really turned out to be a fun, low-key, site-seeing adventure. So despite the rain, we call it a success. (too bad the camera sat on our shelf at home ... I took pictures with my cell phone but have no idea how to transfer them).

All in all we thought Maine was beautiful and a place where we'd definitely live, should the opportunity arise (for those of you who know Matt, know that's saying something). And as we've said about everything in the East, it's the trees that make the difference, especially in Autumn.