A day at the fair

The Tunbridge World’s Fair comes every fall. It’s the talk of the town and everybody who’s anybody goes.  Schools take field trips there to learn about the animals and old-timey life. Adults go there in the evenings for late-night shenanigans, or something. Everyone talks about The Tunbridge World’s Fair as the greatest thing on Earth. After living in this area for so many years, we decided this year was the year we were going to experience this amazing event.  Guess what?  It’s much like any other fair. :) :)  A bit bigger than the Cornish Fair, about the same size as the Delaware County Fair, plus some Hannaford Mills old-fashioned activities and displays.  Same rides, same funnel cake and french fries, same games, same crowds.  We had fun. :)

Giant watermelons and squash

Even gianter pumpkins!

Cows sleeping in weird positions

and cows poking their heads through walls.

Pigs and piglets.

Eve started the trip really grumpy, but with enough animal and cotton candy she managed to turn that frown upside.  We had fun with her and her silly self.

Booping animal noses everywhere she went

Even when it took a little help from dad.

You don’t get many real smiles from Eve these days. I had to share this one. Also, Alan is a powerhouse!

We saw some cool new things, like painting on mirrors…

We bought one for our mudroom. You’ll have to come visit to see it.

And some cool old things.

Eve bought herself a wolf tail, because, why not?!

Walking along, wagging her tail.

No one was interested in rides this year, but that’s ok, we all had fun.  We left just as the rain was staring to fall.  We got sprinkled on an bit, but nothing too bad.  The skies opened up when we were in the car, driving home.

I’m glad we can now check that off the Upper Valley bucket list.  Maybe we’ll even go back again next year.  We’ll see.

Lex

There is a lot going on in Lex’s world these days. I thought I’d share a little of it. Last week he had another belt test and was promoted to second level brown belt, which means he now has a brown belt with a black stripe, worn on the inside. Next time he tests he’ll be able to switch the stripe to the outside, then the following time he’ll test for a full black belt. I said he’s dabbing his toes in black belt range now. :)

Brown belt, black stripe

Videos:

  • https://youtu.be/Ulj_wrK9_VQ
  • https://youtu.be/H9jxHBnoZWo
  • https://youtu.be/XVJ6TnDMGPo

He also auditioned for high school jazz band last week. Unfortunately there were four kids auditioning and the band director said two is ideal and three is a stretch. She called me Friday afternoon to tell me that she did not accept Lex, but that it was a super hard decision and he’s really good and please keep playing and he’ll surely get in next year when this year’s senior graduates. He was sad when I told him, but he admitted that he knew she wouldn’t take all four of them and he’s the youngest, so it made sense. He’s still doing band and pep band, so he’ll get a fair amount of drumming this year anyway, plus he’ll audition for district band and district jazz band, both of which are single weekend events later this fall and winter.

Lex has also joined the First Robotics Club, and will be doing tech crew for the high school musical AND the Trumbull Hall Troupe production of Newsies. He’s starting to wonder if he’s over-committing himself this fall. Not being in jazz band will give him an extra study hall, which is probably a good thing.

Last weekend, at family meeting, Lex brought up the topic of a cell phone. It’s the first time he’s asked for one! Alan and I both agree he’s ready, and that it would be helpful given all he’s doing these days, so we agreed to get him one. We agreed that he would buy the phone and we would pay for the service. Today Alan took him cell phone shopping. They ended up ordering one, which we’ll pick up later this week. I think they had fun shopping together. :)

This afternoon we went to the fair and Lex ran into two friends who invited him to hang out with them. He was eager to go with them. They wandered around, got food, watched the animals, and had fun. It was weird to see him go, but nice to see two friends who wanted him to go along with them. He’s definitely growing up!

<3

Weekend Update

Happy three day weekend! We made it through the first week of school and we were all ready for a break! Friday night we went to high school football game. I think my first ever! Lex has joined the pep band this year and they play at all the home football games. We were the family taking pictures of the band, not the field. :)

Do you see him there, way in the back? Nope? Me neither.

There he is!

Ok, maybe a few pictures of the field as well. :)

The t-shirt orders for pep band hadn’t come in yet, so Lex picked his most school-colors related shirt.  Apparently he needs some blue shirts. :)  At the game they had a concessions stand where we bought lots of junky food, and an apparel stand (for lack of the appropriate word) where we bought two Hurricane t-shirts for Lex.

The game was good.  The home team won.  It was really a massacre, which meant no overtime and minimal delays, so I was happy. :)

On Saturday I was up bright and early for WW, exercise, and errands. I got home at noon, just in time to unload groceries, grab the family, and head out to the karate dojo’s 25th anniversary celebration at Storr’s Pond.  Lex was kind of on the fence about going, but decided at the last minute that he wanted to.  It ended up being a lot of fun.  My phone battery died (it sucks these days) so I didn’t get many pictures, just one of these cool cupcakes!

Cupcakes! I didn’t have one, but I think my kids had more than our families fair share. :)

Karate has been so amazing for Lex. They are kind and supportive and patient. It was wonderful being at this event with so many families (many I knew, many more I did not) all celebrating Sensei Ken and all the hard work he and everyone else there does for our kiddos.

We were all exhausted when we got home Saturday afternoon.  Actually, I was exhausted FRIDAY afternoon and just stayed that way until Sunday. :)  We got home from the picnic and Eve went right to bed. She slept from 4pm-8pm.  Alan went up to take a nap at 5:30 and ended up sleeping until 8:30.  It was a weird afternoon.  The landscape folks working next door worked until 8pm.  Lex and I were very disoriented!  Once Alan and Eve were both awake again we had a late dinner and watched some TV.  It was 10:15pm and I realized we were all up watching TV.  Crazy.  Lex and I went to bed shortly after and left the other two to fend for themselves.

I woke up Sunday and found the kids both reading. I  asked where Alan was and Lex said, “I think he went to the beach.”  NOT what I was expecting to hear!  He has a friend who has a beach house in Maine and there had been talking about going up there for the weekend, but it never worked out.  I guess Alan decided Sunday morning to head up on his own.  He had a great day there, while the kids and I had a relaxing day at home.  I made some healthy food, we played a few rounds of Clue, watched a cool documentary, and generally enjoyed our down time.

And now, thanks to Labor Day, we have another whole day to not labor!  Yay!  Elizabeth came up for a visit and Alan took Alistair and Lex out for some joyriding in the Tesla (the real reason for their visit!) while Elizabeth and I enjoyed some hot tea (it’s cold and rainy today!) and conversation. When they left, Eve and I went to pick up our CSA share and check out a new candy store in town. I figure the two balance each other out.  I also made super delicious zucchini bread yesterday, so we’ve been enjoying that with tea on this rainy Monday.

Tomorrow we are back to school.  I feel almost ready.  I have a handle on the to-do list, most of the tech stuff is done, and I even have proper lesson plans for the week!

Our plans this week include a contentious Select Board meeting (I’ll be watching from home!) and a visit to a new humane society to check out a dog Eve found online.  She’s really working this dog search!  I’m glad it’s her this time, not me. :)

Happy September!

Little Free Library

Guess what?!  I got a Little Free Library for DBS!  :)  I’m super excited.  I’ve wanted one for awhile and last spring I asked the boss if we could put one in front of school.  He loved the idea.  I was hoping to find a boy scout or someone to do it for free, but ended up asking a neighbor who has a crafty family and a good mid-western work ethic! :)  They are a pretty awesome family and like to do family activities.  They had a few kids go through DBS and were excited to make a lasting project.  I was thrilled!  I gave them free range on design and they ran with it.  The week before school started they were ready to install.

I love these people. They are amazing. As is the Little Free Library they created.

They even brought some books to get it started!

It has solar powered lights running along the inside of the roof. A very classy touch.

There is a website called LittleFreeLibrary.org that started the movement (as best I know) and maintains a map of locations. I went to registered our new addition and discovered that it’s a trademarked name!  Of course! In order to use the name (which we obviously and clearly did!) and be listed on the map you have to pay a small fee and get a plaque.  Guess what I did ASAP?! :)  The plaque should be arriving in the mail any day now.

During the first week of school I was talking to each of the classes about it and I was thrilled that so many kids had already found it and started getting books.  I love the expressions when I tell them that although it’s called a “library” they can actually KEEP the books if they want to!  And add some of their own that they are done with.  The kids love it!  I’ll check on it regularly and keep it stocked with books as well, just in case kiddos take books faster than they leave them.

 

Eve

Eve is looking so mature these days, and now she’s rocking a cool new pixie cut.  She’s wanted one for quite some time and finally got up the nerve to do it.

This weekend she added some purple hair dye to the long pieces in the front.  She won’t let me take a picture, but it looks pretty cool.  :)

First day of school

There is so much I want to blog about these days, but never seem to find the time. I can’t miss a first day of school post though! I started my 4th year (longest career I’ve ever had, not counting parenting), Eve started 7th, and Lex started 9th — in high school! Eeek!

Eve has been dreading school and asking regularly if she can be homeschooled. She was in tears several times this week just thinking about going back to school. Somehow she woke up with a positive attitude though, and even smiled for a picture!!

She had a little fun with Lex’s picture too. Do you see her?

We all laughed, then told her to go away. :)

Alan brought them both to school. Eve at the middle school and Lex at the high school. Lex has a different start time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day, so he opted for the earlier start time, just in case. He ended up finding a friend and wandering the halls for 20 minutes. I think it was a really great way for him to start school.

My day was long and busy. As my job evolves to include more and more tech, I’m finding less and less time to do library work. I had a chat with my principal about it on Friday and we will make some changes to the start of school next year. For this year it will be what it will be. I spent the day doing tech support, cleaning the library (there was a conference over the weekend and they left a mess!!) and teaching a few classes. It was fun to see everyone again, smiling kids, a few crying kids, lots of new faces, all eager for a new year.

At the end of the day I headed home to find my kiddos having snack. Eve immediately broke down into tears and told me her day was awful, too many people, doesn’t like this, that is dumb, etc. I think middle school is tough for her. Lots of struggles to find her place. I know she’ll find it, eventually, but these past few years have been tough. After a good cry, a snack, and some alone time in her room, she rebounded and had a nice evening with us.

Lex had a great day. He was happy with all of his classes, gave me a play-by-play of his day (which classes he went to, anyway) then pulled out a huge packet of paperwork for me to sign! There’s always first day of school homework for the parents! Most of the paperwork was band related. I’m so happy that he has found band. It’s done wonders for him. His friends are all band friends, he joined jazz band last year, he joined Pep Band this year, which means he’ll be playing at all of the home football games, and he’s going to audition for two district events this year. Band has given him a level of confidence, a peer group, and an area to excel. It makes us all happy.

From the camera roll…

Pretty kitty

Pretty butterfly. I’ve been getting out and walking more often, trying to enjoy this beautiful area we live in.

Eve came to the farm with me this week to pick up our CSA share. She picked some beautiful flowers as well and put them all over the house.

Ummm…. We might be considering getting a dog again… 😬

My awesome hubby has been working hard to take care of all of the people in this town. He is amazing and we are lucky to have him. 💜

A Tesla!

Sooo…. this happened while I was away.

Not that I wasn’t expecting it. :)  Alan worked hard to find an all-electric car (his want) that can make it to my parents house in a single charge (my requirement).  He worked hard to find it and even harder to get it!  Lots of false starts, last minute plan changes, and even a few trips to the airport, but he made it happen!

One very happy man with two all electric cars. :)

Not only did he work hard to get this car…. but he’s letting me be the primary driver!!  How crazy is that?! :)  It is a pretty awesome car.  The kids and I have been having fun exploring the features (both functional and entertaining) while cruising around doing our errands.  We are pretty luck to have such an thoughtful, hardworking, loving man looking out for our safety and comfort, not to mention the survival of the planet!

The “gas guzzling” Prius has been relegated to the driveway.

Country living

Eve decided to go back to summer camp in NY, so we’re spending a week in the country.  We dropped her off on Friday and she even allowed me to take a picture! :)

Cabin 9, just like last time.

Camp starts with a swim test. I snuck a little picture. She passed the test with no trouble at all.

While she was away, Lex and I hung at in Franklin. We watched G’Tom and his friend repaint the house, we had a little mani/pedi session, we watched lots of TV and played lots of Minecraft … I say “we” but I think you can guess who did what! :)

Greg, hard at work painting. Mema was gardening and Tom was painting, but somehow neither of them ended up in my photo.

Just for fun.

We also took a trip to Target, saw Toy Story 4, watched the Tour de France, and took a few walks.  The heat steadily rose all week.

We picked up Eve on Friday. She had a great time at camp and is already planning her return.

A cheer tunnel for all the campers to run through. Camp is fun!

Closing ceremony. It’s hot and humid, and Eve is wearing her sweatshirt. At least it is unzipped!

Eve introduced us to all her new “friends,” that included a few animals she made at craft time, and a collection of rocks she drew faces on.

She made friends (of the human variety), collected email addresses, and is now enjoying a screen-filled day today.  :)  We are all spending the day doing as little as possible and riding out the record high temps.

Life in the country. <3

 

Vacation to the magical world of Harry Potter! – part 2

I ran out of time and energy last night.  Here’s the rest of the vacation story. :)

Days one and two.

Day Three: Islands of Adventure

After waking up early for the early park admission deal, then staying out very late the night before, we decided to not set an alarm this morning.  Alan decided he wanted to go to the gym for awhile, so I took the kids to Islands of Adventure, with a stop at Voodoo donuts first!

We took the water taxi to the donut shop while Alan went to the gym. We enjoyed it, but keep that in mind if I start complaining about how awful I look in all of these pictures!! #consequences

Voodoo Donuts. This place had soooooooo many options. We were pretty overwhelmed!

Voodoo Donuts had so many options.  There was a rotating display of all of the donuts (display ones, not the ones you actually buy) and even after watching that for awhile we couldn’t make up our minds! We ended up going with a cake donut, a jelly filled donut, a blueberry donut, and… a glazed donut. Then we split them all and shared.  :)

Off to find Spiderman!

First stop in Islands of Adventure was Super Hero Island.  Turns out it’s called Islands of Adventure, because each section of the theme park is considered its own “island.”  Not that they are actual islands in any way, you just walk from one themed area to the next, noting the signs in the pavement telling you when you’re entering a new island. :)

We went on the Spiderman 3D ride (Eve’s favorite!), bought some churros (it’s a Spiderman thing), ate a terrible lunch at the Comics cafe on Toon Island, explored Jurassic Park island, then met up with Alan. He and Eve did the Spiderman ride again then we all headed back to Hogsmeade to see what it looked like in the daytime.

Hogwarts

Danger: Book May Bite!

Notice the tongue is not coming out of the mouth. They did a good job on this “book.”

By this point we were all exhausted again and ready to head back to the hotel, but not without a visit to Seussville first!

We took a silly Sneeches ride which gave us a view of the whole of Seussville.

Circus McGurkus up ahead.

Sylvester McMonkey McBean and his money making machine. I was really hoping we get stars on our bellies, but sadly, we did not.

Then back to the hotel for some downtime. The kids grabbed devices, I grabbed a book, and Alan grabbed a towel and headed to the pool to sunbathe. :)  After awhile we met up again at the pool and had a little snack.  I’m not normally a foodie photographer, but I had to take a picture of this meal:

They had tofu available as a topping! I was not expecting that!

Eve got a smoothie that came with a gummy fish on top. She was thrilled! She decided to keep it for a pet… until we made her throw it away a few days later. :)

Then we decided to head back to the parks so we could try taking the Hogwarts Express in the opposite direction. We were told “they are two totally different experiences!”  I say, meh. Both stations looked different, but you still waited on line and rode the same train.

We saw a dance-off between the girls from Beauxbaton and the boys from Durmstrang.

Waiting for the train at Hogsmeade Station.

Back in Universal Studios we happened across a character parade. That was fun to watch as we walked past.

We did the Transformers 3D ride and later saw Bumblebee doing some dancing in the streets.

On the way back we did the Transformers 3D ride and the Simpsons 3D ride. Both were fun.  I think I’m getting all of this in the right order.  If not, oh well. This is where my photos for the day end, so I’m trying to remember what we did for dinner.  I think this was the night we went to the fancy Italian restaurant at City Walk (the area just outside the parks where there are lots of restaurants and shops). We marveled at the wide range of fashion at the restaurant. Some were clearly dressed to the nines for dates or celebrations, while others (like us) were clearly fresh out of the theme parks. It was a great meal though and the staff didn’t seem to care how we were dressed!  We also enjoyed seeing the family next to us all reading at the table! :)

Day Four: Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay is the third park that’s part of Universal Studios Orlando and Volcano Bay is purely a water park. We decided to spend the third full day of our visit there because it had the best forecast with the least likely chance of rain or tornado warnings. Unfortunately we did a lousy job prepping for this park and mostly ended up not enjoying it. Sadly. We woke up and got ready, no alarms or rushing out the door, then took the bus ride over. By the time we got there and got into the park it was already 10:30 am and super hot. (mistake one) We found some chairs in the sun (all the shaded ones were claimed – mistake two) and tried to apply sunscreen.  We should have done that back in the hotel because at this point it was hard to tell what was sunscreen and what was sweat!  Already we all felt kinda gross. (mistake three)  Because Volcano Bay is a wate rpark, they have these fancy wristbands that link to your ticket and credit card so you can stow your stuff in a locker and just wear the wristbands.  They also let you “check in” for rides and add your self to virtual wait lines. What they didn’t do was tell you the time of day (their mistake!), so although I looked at it a hundred times wondering what time it was, it never told me. It was also harder than it needed to be to get the tickets and CC info into the not-watch, so by the time we were actually read to go have fun it was probably 11:00 am. Here was my only picture at Volcano Bay.

My one picture before locking up my phone in a locker for the day.

We walked around, burned our feet on the pavement (no water shoes – mistake four) despite the park’s effort at keeping the walkways cool with water misters. We got in a virtual line for one ride, went on another that didn’t have a line, walked around some more, did the first ride, maybe did another one, it’s all kind of a blur. By this time it was clearly lunch time, I could tell because the sun was past it’s high point and starting to descend, how’s that for primitive time keeping!  They only had a few restaurants in the park and each were themed, which made it hard for this picky family to find something to eat. Alan wanted to eat at every restaurant, but we eventually found one that had stuff me and the kids would eat. Of course we weren’t the only ones with the lunch idea, so the lines were ridiculous!  We were all hot and hungry and having no fun at this point. The restaurants were all grab-and-go type places too, so after waiting in long lines, you then had to find a place to sit and eat.Alan went back to the lockers while I waited in the food line, and returned with water bottles and sunscreen. By this point we were well past sunscreen reapplication time as well, so we reapplied while standing in the sun, eating at a burning hot table and generally wishing we were back in the AC at the hotel! I also hated walking around in a bathing suit all day with nothing to carry. Sounds dumb, but I missed having my phone (clock!) and water and access to sunscreen, clothes, etc. It just wasn’t for me.

We were on a virtual ride line during lunch, so we did that ride and then decided to call it quits. This fair-skinned New England family knows when it’s had enough time in the sun! We headed back to the hotel for showers, water (oh, so much water!), and a few rounds of Spades.

Can you tell we’re feeling better by this point? :)

Lessons learned: Go early or late, bring food, wear water shoes, wear a waterproof watch, wear a coverup, or just skip the water park altogether! :)

After showers, cards, and dinner at the hotel we were all feeling much better.  Eve started talking about dessert so we decided to venture into Islands of Adventure again to check out a cafe we’d seen: The Croissant Moon Cafe. We had croissants and cheesecake!  Yum! Then we wandered into Seussville again to check out the bookstore and ride the carousel.

Another attempt at a family photo. :P

Challenge accepted!

Books, and some other stuff too.

Once again we closed the parks, walking out with the crowds after park hours.

Day Five: Parks, Friends, and a Tesla!

We had spent three full days in the parks, which was our plan, but since our tickets included a few free days as well, we decided to swing by one more time before checking out on Saturday morning. We’d heard a rumor that the guy at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes would do an adoption ceremony for pigmypuffs and that the Owl Post would mail postcards, so we made our way back to DIagon Alley.  Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron (more pancakes!)

The Leaky Cauldron was a pretty cool place.

Haha.. the adoption ceremony was a surprise! A story best told in person.

The Owl Post

 

Postmarked Diagon Alley. :)

Then, I took the kids to pick up our luggage while Alan went to pick our rental car — a Tesla! It was a pretty sweet ride!

One happy guy right here!

Next stop, Mike and Andrea’s house!  They were kind enough to host us for a few days while we detoxed from theme-park overload! :)

A little time in the pool.

Days Six and Seven: Fun with friends

We went to a science museum, did lots of swimming, watched movies, ate ice cream, and generally had relaxing fun with our Florida friends.

Alan was so impressed with my mad balancing skills. I told him years of practice, hanging out at science museums with young kids. You get pretty good at balancing disks and spinning pennies.

Video games everywhere! College flash-backs! :)

We had a lot of fun with the greenscreen and on-air weather reporting.

Day Eight: Traveling home

The day finally came to head home. We were sad to leave, but happy to be heading home as well.

I told Eve to make sure she had everything…. she tried to pack Max!

Florida gave us a pretty cool farewell sun at 6am.

After our last flight out of Orlando (2013 – many years ago) I learned my lesson to get there early, preprint tickets, and not check luggage!

These two are travelling pros! I gave up all hope of controlling screentime while traveling.

We had an easy flight to Raleigh, NC then a long layover.  During the layover it got even longer when bad weather over New England delayed flights in and out of all the airports. Our 3pm flight got pushed back to 4pm, then 6pm, then a ticketing agent rebooked us on 5pm flight and gave us $60 for dinner!

We did play a lot of Spades while we waited too.

The 5pm flight was delayed for awhile, but we eventually took off with a fun and funny flight staff and arrived safely in Boston with our luggage and senses of humor in tact.

This girl is a pretty good traveler too. :)

All the delays gave us lots of time for cards. And junk food. And more cards.

We arrived back in rainy Boston, picked up our dirty not-Tesla, and headed home. We were all hungry (funny enough) and so we stopped at a super yummy restaurant at 9:45pm for a late night dinner. We were home by midnight! Over 18hrs of travel, but we all kept our calm and had fun with each other.

Now we are enjoying a no-plans week at home!

If these selection of photos wasn’t enough for you, feel free to view the whole Google Album. There are some videos in there as well. Enjoy!