Monday, October 16, 2017

October 2017 Part A

We're only partly through October, but pictures tend to pile up and I'm trying to make these briefer and easier to skim, so here goes the first half:

Another hot pepper harvest

Went to a local high school football game

My enthusiastic date

Pumpkin sighting!

We went to a cranberry harvest festival on the Cape. The kids were thrilled to ride a school bus shuttle

Headed to the bogs!

Cranberries everywhere!!! This was an exceptionally well-run event and I finally got to see the cranberries up close and in the wild

So so many berries

There has to be a layer of sand on top of the soil for cranberries to spread out on, so they maintain a massive sandhill as reserve and the kids were encouraged to climb it. Obviously the highlight of the trip for them.

They got to plant their own cranberry bush and bring it home.

I'm moderately hopeful of success. It'd be really fun to have our own patch in three years!

There were pony rides, both kids first time on a horse I think

Did you know that cranberries straight from the bog are actually delicious??? One of the workers was scooping up cups of them and handing out a few. Most people just grimaced, but I thought they were amazing. Obviously a bit tart, but pleasantly so. Anyway, he gave me the cupful to munch, haha. 

Don't you just want to swim in that? I did.....until I saw all the giant spiders scooting around. Ugh.  

Oh. Oh, oh, oh. Ok, guys: I have wanted a VW camper van since I was a teen (who hasn't???). And I've checked the surrounding 5 states' craigslists almost daily for years. These things are ridiculously expensive and anything reasonable is gone within minutes it seems. But this. *small squeal* Ok, so obviously it's not one of the classics, it's a '93 Eurovan weekender (which means just the fridge and table, no stove or sink) and she's not the prettiest (at the moment) BUT BUT BUT she's ours!!! Thursday night was a long one, the negotiations did not proceed in a linear fashion, I'm still dubious of how exactly this woman had the van, ended up belonging to her son (named.....Atom) so much back and forth (literally; we put in at least 120 miles) but at 12:27am we roared in to our driveway and by noon the great state of MA declared, after we bribed paid registration and taxes, that she was ours. Esmeralda has a visit with our trusted mechanics tomorrow, so we'll see how truly foolish we were....

Then Saturday morning we were out bright and way too early to NH for family photos with Bethany. So early that breakfast wasn't happening and we stopped at McD's so everyone could get a breakfast sandwich. First time for everything and had to document it. 

We attempted a hike but it was hot and the blackflies vicious. 

Gorgeous day

Made Steve take a picture of us in our finery in front of the classic family-photo backdrop, haha. 

Mostly we hunted acorns on this walk

Esmee is much adored already. I've been spending every spare minute cleaning up her innards and there's still a ton to do. 3 hours today on the upholstery alone, still haven't touched the carpet and ran out of Folex before I did the passenger front, plus the loft bed needs cleaning. But she's going to be spectacular (at least, in our eyes) once she's been completely scrubbed and disinfected. The kids have been in her nonstop, and I'm making an Ikea trip soon to scope out some storage ideas and get bedding. If anyone wanders down the Boston way, we now have 5 extra sleeping spots!

September 2017

A very full and fast moving month, was September. We got in another trip to VT, school started (very quietly as compared to last year), and suddenly we're on the road a whole lot more. A few of the stand outs from those weeks:

First day of First Grade

She's loving school from what I can tell, really likes her teacher, and doesn't have a whole lot to tell me at the end of the day. Very different teaching style from last year, this teacher does not communicate with the parents at all, but I "volunteer" (it was mandatory) every week and I'm impressed with how she handles her class.

He's FINALLY interested in letters! And writing! And drawing!

Steve's first race this year was the Prospect Hill run and he beat last years time by a lot so he was pretty happy.

The blue Honda hit 200K.

Of the whole packet of tomato seeds, only one survived to reproduce and it did so with gusto. Sweet and adorable.

Helping to maintain literacy interest is our letter wall, although, can you spot the missing letter?

The pepper plants were also a success and HOT!!!!

Made 2 batches of hot pepper jelly (which is beyond delicious if I do say so myself) and had plenty of pepper for a third but Amazon has been failing me lately and the jars I ordered never arrived so the peppers went bad. But we still have enough to last the long cold winter. 

Apple picking at Happy Valley. The guy said to taste all the apples, and Hudson enthusiastically took him up on it. 

Steve and I went over to Warren for a quick date

Bet this is stunning with the folliage

Rides around the house

Mom's apple tree is finally producing, this was the second time to clean under the tree. We took the apples down to the field to fling off sticks.

School's back in session for Hudson! He wasn't impressed the first two weeks, but is back to loving it the last few. He has one same teacher and a different (more strict) one, and mostly new classmates. They learned about the pond habitat last week and it was the first time ever he made a craft in class. 

After years of just knotting her yarn, Henri let me show her how to knit and she's off and running. I've had to rip it back 3 times so far for dropped stitches, or changing direction midway through a row, or adding so many stitches it didn't fit on the needles anymore, but it doesn't bother her in the least. She genuinely enjoys just the act of sitting and knitting with no ambition to finish her scarf. She also made braided bracelets for all her classmates, I'm guessing at night while supposed to be sleeping, and I've seen them all wearing them in class. She's still hard at work on sewing costumes for a Thanksgiving play plus whatever Hudson wants her to make, so she's having to prioritize her time. I know she's hoping for a rainy weekend with no plans so she can hunker down and craft. I'm right there with her!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Camping Labor Day Weekend

So, back ages ago, friends insisted we join them in the White Mountains of NH at their favorite campground. I like hiking and backpacking. And I like camping at our usual campground because it's close to home and has lots of amenities. But I don't love this in-between version of camping that has toilets but no running water but you're still right next to all of your camping neighbors. Primitive or glamping, none of this middle stuff. But we went, and it wasn't great. Temps in the 30's and 40's for the duration plus a combination of 7 kids who always needed something so you never got a chance to just wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't a vacation. The best part by far was when we got home and showered and put on fuzzy pj's. Also the early mornings in the tent snuggled with my family. But here are the pictures to make it look magical so that I am deluded into trying it again next year:

Packing and unpacking to pack and unpack again

The leaves are changing!

There was a great river behind our site which would be fun to play in during normal temperatures

Not that the cold stopped the kids from getting drenched

To make the joy complete, after we had everything unloaded and set up, it poured for 5 minutes so everything would be nice and drenched.

The machete from Guam got lots of use

No naps, freezing cold, constant on the go meant both kids were asleep within minutes and slept hard all night.

Slacker version of bacon for the mornings. 

Pancakes bright and early

Also, coffee

Hike #1

It was a challenge for the littlests (we had 3 four year olds), and there were multiple injuries, but everyone made it to the second waterfall and back alive

Guessing it's really impressive with the spring run-off

Mandatory river-side yoga practice (that needs practice....)

Good ol' Dollar Tree came through again with the camping toys. Bath toys in this case, the kids had a great time with them

Mermaid on her rock

I had on 2 pairs of pants, a shirt, a zippered hoodie, a down vest, a winter coat, and a winter hat and was still cold. The older kids put on their suits and went swimming.

Saturday morning was especially rough. Temps were in the 30's and no one was in a great mood. I bundled the kids into the car so we could crank up the heat and drove a few miles to town to get Dunkin

The caffeine and heat helped a little bit

More river (it really was pretty. and the cold kept the bugs away)

All out of order, but back to Fridays hike

The whole gang

On top of the second waterfall

Our fires were pretty good, as was my marshmallow roasting

Kate toasting glazed donuts (very yum)

Hike on Saturday. This was shorter but much scarier as getting the little kids off the rock scramble was a bit intense. But they handled it ok

Also making the trip bearable was our wonderful neighbors who had a hot dinner ready for us when we got back (and hosted it at their house so I didn't have to do dishes). I'm almost finished with the 6 loads of laundry somehow generated by this outing, and then I think we can put the 2017 camping season safely behind us. :)