April 28, 2011

Swim lessons

Yesterday started out just fine; our lake looked inviting and there was a warmth to the air.  We skipped on down to the water's edge to imagine, explore and while away the afternoon.

Once Trot decided to take a swim, it took only a few seconds more before we were all wading around in the water.  The search was on to find the season's first crayfish, first tadpole.

Some of us waded in a bit deeper than others.  The optical illusion of water depth too difficult for a toddler to identify and too enticing a lesson for a Mama to deflect.

Some may think it cruel, but oh how Bear learned his lesson and I mean that in the proudest of ways.  I shall report back if I notice a difference in his lake entry next time.  As for a seemingly uncomfortable little boy?  All was forgotten once the wet clothes were peeled off 

and play continued.

This week had promised to be packed with obligations.  It has not disappointed, but that's o.k.- my weeks ebb and flow.  I used to think that children would just add chaos to any pressure-filled situation.  That's sometimes true, but more often than not Bear helps to calm and relax me when I need it most.

Maybe it was his swampy smelling skin or his delighted giggles as he ran down the trail; whatever it was that slowed my pace for those few moments, it was most certainly Bear induced.

I can't give you a whiff of our very organic smelling lake, but I offer up these pictures to give you a reprieve in your day if you need it.  I'm lucky it was offered to me. 

April 26, 2011

Scenes from an Easter

For us, Easter was everything it's cracked up to be (ha, ha) and I hope yours was just the same!  I am admittedly tired today and NOT looking forward to my dentist visit later this afternoon.  To brighten my outlook (and hopefully yours) here's a few classic pictures from the weekend.

                                              (Bear meets his newest "cousins")

                        (I promise you- there HAD BEEN items in his basket)

                                        (egg huntin' with pregnant friend #1, K!) 

                                (comparing bellies with pregnant friend #2, A!)

                  (surprising Great Grammy at her 80th birthday party)

                                                 (no chocolate left unturned)

                                                       (nor adventure passed up on)

An action packed, wonderfully family heavy, uplifting Easter for sure.  And for your information,  that is only a cross-section of all my currently pregnant friends: congratulations to all of you out there!!!

April 21, 2011

This chicky says Happy Easter

Hi all!  Flying in quick (you'll get my pun soon enough) with a sweet Easter activity.  I needed some kind of little something for Bear to make for Easter.  

It needed to be quick. fun. And simple.

I stumbled upon a cute chick craft posted by Becky over at Rub Some Dirt On It, and jumpin' jellybeans it was a perfect fit!

Bear and his little buddy happily created QUITE A FEW of these to pass out to all their beloved family members.  I tweaked the directions a bit because... honestly?  I love when toddlers paint (I don't even jest) and because we had some felt scraps hanging around.  

Some of the chicks were a little standoffish with each other

but for the most part the chicks were pleased and we achieved a -harmonious toddlers, happily made -Easter project.

Champ, Bear and I will be spending these Holy Days with our family and I will be taking a break from blogging until next week.  Enjoy your weekend and to those of you who observe Easter, have a blessed one!

April 20, 2011

Why did the turkey cross the road?

I have no idea, but it was entertaining to watch. 

Who won the maple syrup vlog giveaway?

According to Random.org it was In A Yellow House. YAY and Congratulations!  Please e-mail me so I can arrange to mail it to you. 

Thanks to everyone who participated!

April 18, 2011

Vlog giveaway!

****Giveaway now closed****

Can you handle this?...

(Why is blogger so weird at times?  The video I have on my computer does not have my face frozen crazy like that!  Also, I promise promise promise they will not always be this long.  6 minutes, what?!  But I needed one with a longer giveaway explanation that I could link back to later.)

Did you skip my vlog?  Ahh, that's ok, the deal is, leave me a comment, make sure you are following me and you will be entered in the giveaway to win a 1/2 pint of fresh maple syrup AND this blog award:

Links: Happy to Scrap for Life

Likes: my new haircut?

April 14, 2011

Maple Syrup Lessons and a G word

We've now been living in Vermont for 6 years.  We've had to stop the car for ruffed grouse, cows or moose crossing the road, we've happily discovered that school students still have recess when it snows and we've learned about the two additional weather cycles in this state: mud season and stick season.  I've traded in my sequined purse for a rucksack and our mailbox for a P.O. box.  I keep a well stocked pantry of hot cocoa and a snow shovel by the door- even in April.

But you know what rite of passage we had never experienced here?  Making our own Maple Syrup!  And to think we call ourselves Vermonters.   

Today my pantry has jars of maple syrup next to the cocoa because this was the year for usThe trees were tapped, the syrup flowed, our neighbors taught us some basics and before you knew it, we were maple sugaring.

The whole process reminded me of a cross between canning and what I imagine hunting to be like.  Long stretches of good times with friends while the sap boils and beverages are enjoyed (along with snacks-Bear and I preferred the food over drink)Quiet moments of reflection and busy moments of bucket collections all while day evaporates to night with barely any of us noticing.

Once the sap boiled down, it's color would change; the same process of making sugar water on the stove only on a much larger scale (you can see the difference in the first picture of this post).  When it was amber colored and the perfect temperature, the syrup was transferred to the stove where it was boiled some more, and some more and some more...

until eventually we achieved a finished product just in time to pour over pancakes.  While we did process some of it in bottles, we still held true to canning most of it in jars because- as I've already told you- mason jars are the way to go when storing Vermont maple syrup. 

2 disclaimers before the G word: Our awesome neighbors held our hands and taught us everything during this process.  A huge thank you to N and C for being patient mentors and sharing your sap with us!

Grandparents, don't be anxious; Bear was safe the whole time and we only let him hold the stir stick for a quick photo shoot. ;)

And now...  syrup is sweeter when shared with friends, so...

for my very first giveaway ever you will be able to enter to win a bottle of this amber gold!!  Yay!

My next post will have all the details- in vlog form!!!-on how to enter. 

 And, as Chana, so eloquently put it, it's Easter time so I'm doing a bit of hopping...

All Week Blog Hop
Come join me?

April 12, 2011

And then there's this...

The final curve of this particular journey?

I am pregnant and Champ, Bear and I are over the moon about it!!!  My plan was to be pregnant months earlier: God's plan was to wait until the timing was perfect (perfect in His eyes- that wily, all-knowing God) and then bless us beyond belief

I don't think I'll soon forget these lessons of  listening, trusting, praying and waiting.  Amen.

The baby is due early October, I'm 14 weeks and I'm truly ecstatic to have you along for the ride!


April 08, 2011

One of the silver linings...

Now wait, before I go any further...

 Ok then.

As promised, I have a follow up to this post 

True to the "when one door closes another opens" mantra and my own personal little jingle of "God's got my back", I had a startling conversation with a good friend of mine, J,  just days after making the difficult decision that it was time to leave the bookstore. 

J owns a very interesting business in town and was looking for part time help.  She was mostly venting to me as a friend over our coffee (in her store while our 3 children played together, mind you), but with a serious look in her eye and without knowing the decision I had recently come to, she also hedged "you wouldn't happen to be interested, would you?". 

It seems my world had begun to spin way too fast for me and at the same time it was easing way too easily into the potential next path.  Is this what you had up your sleeve God or am I making a sign out of nothing?  Am I interested?  I said "maybe", asked for a little bit of time and went home to pray on it and talk to Champ.

It's Friday, who wants to read a long post?  No one! So here's the deal: I accepted the job.  I work a few days a week for both  J and her co-owner, L.  Bear comes to work with me sometimes and sometimes he goes to the babysitter- it's flexible like that.  I'm home in time for dinner because the store is minutes from our house, can still coach "Girls on the Run" and I don't work holidays.  I even am using the seven years experience I gained working at a dog academy a long, LONG time ago.

(Bear takes his naps on the third floor and there's a play space on the second floor.)

Where do I work?   Why at the local pet boutique and wine cellar in town.

Here in Vermont, lots of buildings house more than one business under one roof.  I'm just the lucky gal who's work day consists of  petting visiting puppies and kittens while recommending a good Cabernet.

God is good and his sense of humor makes me laugh.  I am blessed, so blessed in fact that after accepting this job I discovered he had yet another curve in the road planned for me.

Stay tuned and have a blessed weekend yourself!

April 06, 2011

I chopped my hair and other lies

No sooner did I get our silly April sidebar pictures up, then my photo went out of date!  Oh well, waddya gonna do?

I felt inspired to chop it off on one seemingly peaceful afternoon.  Champ came home that night to my new 'do and some rogue scarlet hairs in the bathroom sink.  Ahh, personal spring cleaning at it's best.

Another little thing I haven't mentioned: I no longer work at the bookstore.  That was a hard one to give up, but it was right.

I believe in the Holy Spirit.  I believe God places signs in my life as mile markers for roads that diverge and choices I must make.  In the end, I get to make the decision, but there are always hints and nudges along the way.  

I began working at the bookstore last Spring and had no idea that two weeks later my beloved college English professor, Joyce Hinnefeld, was scheduled to walk into my life and present her new novel to a gathering of the community.  Dr. Hinnefeld was THAT professor in college; the one I always turned to for advice both literary or not.  The encourager, challenger and open-armed Muse.  Over the course of 4 years with a culminating independent study, she was the one who taught me to confidently refer to myself as a poet.  I owe her much.  Ever so much.

The flyer announcing her visit was posted just days after I started my job and I knelt right down in that bookstore elevator and said a prayer of gratitude.  She was coming and I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

That day.  That day when Dr. Hinnefeld came up the children's floor steps-recognizing and encircling me in her embrace- is forever translated through all the languages of my mind.  I had the honor of introducing her to the crowd and the ever more selfish luxury of time spent discussing poetry, sharing our life stories and filling in the blanks of the past 13 years.  With that as a send off, my bookstore job continued to build magically upon itself.

Spring, summer.  Fall in to winter and suddenly the Spirit reappeared and whispered gently that my time was up.  Oh how I protested.  I could see the road laid out before me, the mile marker filled, but I tenaciously clung to those bookshelves.  In the end, I finally chose to believe and as difficult as it was, said my teary goodbyes and turned toward my newest path. 

Certainly there is a part two to this story and it's one that makes such sense in hindsight.  For now though, I leave it at this: there is no hindsight in the present tense, no true predicting of our futures.  It's a hard scramble, guessing game struggle, but it's laced with insurmountable joy.

                               (Trot decides to read my Bible)

This most recent season of my life I chose to believe.  I closed my eyes, held His hand and jumped.  The best part?  I lived to tell about it and now my voice is that much stronger.

April 04, 2011

Monday Moments (on a Tuesday)

Oooh-eee there's a lot of activity and updates going on this week!

                         (from the "way back when" photo archive)

Baseball season has opened, making me giddy and optimistic towards just about anything, ESPECIALLY since my team has declared "We won't rest until you run out of K-cards"Don't know how to score baseball cards?  Well, translated, the Red Sox's 2011 slogan means the pitching staff is coming to get ya!  Good luck to all of  baseball's fans out there!

My 3rd season of coaching "Girls on the Run", and now my 1st year of coaching "Girls on Track" (same concept, but for girls in 6th-8th grades), begins this week.

Ooh, Ooh and It's Champ's birthday week!!!

So lots of things to look forward to and I haven't even finished all the updates.  Guess that just means I'll have to come back later this week with more announcements.  What do you have going on this week?

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