Thursday, August 28, 2008

Higher Education Begins

I didn't cry. I didn't stress. But if some mean kid - girl or boy - lays a rough finger on him... there's going to be hell to pay.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

We knew this day would come. We just never expected it to be so soon or in the exact opposite direction from where we came.

Greg got a job offer last weekend. It was something we weren't looking for. The opportunity found us. And we were skeptical at first. Even after the interview we resolved to move forward acting as though it wouldn't happen.'s happening.

This is much harder than I thought it would be. Very bittersweet in so many ways. There is still so much to see, places to run and explore, apples to pick and crabs to watch. What's coming is more about Greg's career plans than location - even though the location does have it's benefits. It's just sad to leave this one behind.

We have a few weeks left before we leave for Utah - weeks we'll visit our family's favorite spots and enjoy those last evenings on our front porch soaking in the New England air.

What a treasured, wonderful experience to have lived here!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Doing the Tourist Thing

Saturday was gorgeous and cool. So we took off to lower Manhattan. We got there early - so the lines were small and the crowds were minimal.

The boat ride was the best thing for the kids. How can you beat a huge boat, crashing waves, giant statues and awesome scenery? The kids were so absorbed Greg and I were actually able to get a picture of just us. Imagine...

Ellis Island was very cool. We found the names I'd brought with me and our Big Guy was especially excited to find his great grandfather.

I guess you could say the day was "bull-ish" and powerful...

The kids loved the end at Battery Park.

I loved the lunch location...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two National Parks in Two Weeks

School starts soon. So we have been pushing to see those last minute places on our list before we lose my Big Guy and life becomes very scheduled.

Our first was the Weir Farm National Historic Site. Weir was a member of the prestigious "10" American impressionist artists at the turn of the century. I was never a fan of his work. HUGE fan of Frank Benson of the same group. But Weir...meh. That was until I learned Mahonri Young married Weir's daughter and subsequently lived on the farm for most of his life.

That sealed it for us!

This apple tree was great - right outside the studio. I could imagine Young, Weir or perhaps even Benson himself helping themselves to one or eating the results in a delicious pie.

Second on our list was the Putnman Memorial State Park - where General Putnam during the Revolutionary War held winter quarters for his men. I don't mean to inflate the bar with this comment, but the park was probably one of the coolest things we've been to since we moved here. SO AMAZING!!

There were over 116 cabins at the time of the winter break (you can still see the remains of 97 of them). Conditions deterioriated to the point of outright mutiny - apparently not as bad as Valley Forge, but pretty close. When he heard what was happening, General Putnam charged on his horse in front of his men and declared...

Whose cause have you been fighting and suffering so long in - is it not your own? Have you no property, no parents, wives, or children? You have behaved like men so far - all the world is full of your praises - and posterity will stand astonished at your deeds, but not if you spoil all at last. Don't you consider how much the country is distressed by the war, and that your officers have not been any better paid than youselves? But we all expect better times, and that the country will do us ample justice. Let us all stand by one another, then, and fight it out like brave soldiers. Think what a shame it would be for Connecticut men to run away from their officiers.

We are FULL of your praises. My two little boys running amongst the remains of your hardships - a small drop of the millions who now live free because of what was sacrificed here. Loved this place.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blackberries in Vermont

These berries grow wild in the upper green hills of Sharon, Vermont. But the plants stick to you with sharp thorns - which explains why we only got a small bag full.

You need to hike a good mile from the Joseph Smith Memorial to get there. Or if you happen to know the right people (wink, wink), you can get there in John Deer style.

Greg is not a fan of berries - of any kind - esp in dessert. But he was a good sport and helped us pick some anyway.

Mom took such good care of us. When we got there late Friday night she had made huge rounds of fresh bread, rice pudding and this amazing chowder. The kids loved the chocolate milk and the subsequent blackberry tarts.

We love being up there with Mom and Dad. Life is slow, relaxed and peaceful.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stratford and Southbury

Saturday was Stratford

I have serious issues over how this museum calls itself national. It was free, cute and the older docent was just desperate to tell us his vast knowledge of helicopters - but there was nothing national about it.

We also saw the Booth Memorial Park and Museum - an eclectic old estate on the Housantonic River with bizarre objects that were there because...we couldn't imagine why.

Sunday we hit Southbury for Southford Falls. We've been here before - a quick 40 minute drive from home. Lovely park with a beautiful falls cascading down the pathway towards a covered bridge.

This time we met the Davis family and chowed down on some authentic peach tart, salad that was made suddenly and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Unfortunately we made a few wrong turns and our small hike ended up being almost 2 hours. We were quite the messy, sweaty group when we got home.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our First Decade

Ten years ago it was a gorgeous July day! It was just the 2 of us - young, beautiful, energetic and so excited to be together at last.

Now 2 has turned into 5. We're not so young or beautiful anymore (though I still think Greg gets better looking by the day) and we're lucky if our energy lasts until the kids bedtime.

But we're still so, so excited to be together...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Clare and John's Quick Visit

We had a fabulous time this week with Clare and John visiting us from Maryland. They are expecting their first child in February and I think we gave them a serious crash course on what it will be like to be parents.

We ate dinner at our favorite tex-mex place and our kids were exceptionally well behaved the entire meal. I didn't have the heart to break it to them that it isn't always this good...

Aside from that, it was great to see Clare. We met as juniors at Charlottesville High School and we've been friends ever since. She's brilliant, an amazing swimmer, international traveler extraordinaire, compassionate and beautiful! (And John's not bad either...)

Cannot wait to come see you guys in DC next year.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Ties That Bind

Our 10-day jaunt to Utah was joyous! And it was all about the people - Greg's side, my side, our old ward friends, play-group friends, Super Friends...

This is the stuff that makes life beautiful.

Our nieces and nephews look so grown up, so mature - has it been that long? Are Greg and I that old now?

Spending cool afternoons away from the heat at my parent's cabin.

Celebrating new life.

Taking time to munch on a few greens in a lovely shade with close cousins.

Remembering those who were no longer there.

And holding our breath for that delicious, long-anticipated bite of clam chowder at Market Street Grill, followed by an I-Max showing of The Dark Knight. The only thing lacking was Boyd and Kandi...

And the food. The FOOD!

J-Dawgs, Maddox, Cafe Rio, La Dolca Vita, Legends Grill.... We'll make sure we hit Ruby River next time.

We took the red-eye back to JFK - touching down just as the foggy red was visible over the horizon. My kids were asleep in the seats next to me so I was able to contemplate in brief silence. I had been teary-eyed leaving SLC. But watching the sunrise was uplifting. Reminding me that even this far away from the people we love - the sun still rises.