Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dock Day #2

Dear Weather System of the week, As much as I appreciate the credit I have taken today for watering the garden and as much as the corn and tomatoes appreciated the lovely water that fell down from the sky......did you not notice the immense spread of equipment and lumber and power tools that were spread out all over by the pond? The mid-day shower could not have been more inconvenient.  It takes over an hour to get everything loaded onto the trailer and hauled out to the pond.  Then it takes a while to get the sawhorses set up and get everything laid out for the day's work. Just about the time everything was ready.....down came the rain.  We had to put everything back onto the trailer and get it covered with tarps.  We spent the better part of the afternoon inside waiting for the rain to pass. Now I can't say that I suffered while I was inside as the girls and I got caught up on some super cheesy chick flicks - but it didn't really help much to get our dock finished.  We all headed back out to the pond this evening and got allllllll the stuff back out and Mr. Yesteryear Acres got a little bit more done on the dock.  I helped by making my NON-picnic dinner into a picnic dinner.  I have to say it was the most interesting picnic meal we have had as I would not consider our meal picnic worthy - but miraculously, it all worked. We had Beef Stroganoff and Noodles, Fresh peas and for dessert - cupcakes that were professionally decorated by my girls. We brought it all out to the picnic table by the pond and ate dinner as the sun set.  It was really nice.  Tomorrow - we are all on the same page as we attempt Day #3 of building the dock.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will have our dinner tomorrow night ON our dock!  Wish us luck!

Friday, July 30, 2010

20 Miles

I am SO tired!  I must have walked 20 miles today! Okay Okay - not 20 exactly - maybe like 18 miles. Alright - maybe not 18 miles but I walked back to our pond so many times I have lost count. Today was work on the dock project day.  We have been trying to build a dock out on the pond for YEARS and today was dedicated to try to finish this long awaited project. My older daughter and husband spent most of the day back there and will be working long into the night until it is just too dark to see. Tomorrow - more of the same.  I love my husband. He is the most optimistic person you will ever meet.  Yet somehow optimism does not equal realism.  He was convinced they could get the dock almost finished today - yet each time I make the long trek back there - it looks exactly the same. He is now convinced that they will get it done tomorrow.  Hmmmm. How many people think that will actually occur? You have to give him credit for trying though!  He has been working non-stop since mid-morning.  He had to redo all the baseboards as they have warped since the project was started WAY back when. So I am sure that was loads of fun for them.  Do you know that if you replace one board with another board that looks exactly the same as the first board- I cannot tell the difference?  You should see the look of delight on Mr. Yesteryear Acres' face when I say, "Hey this looks the same as when I came out here an hour ago."  Really.  The love just pours right out of him. My daughter too.  They just love my visits.  So I was errand girl today.  Every time they needed some tool or drink or snack or what have you - I brought it to them. Sometimes I would JUST get back IN THE DOOR when my phone would ring and guess what - they forgot something and could I please bring it to them RIGHT away.  I ended up bringing a different puppy and/or doggie with me for every trip and worked on leash training.  The dogs loved it and were glad for the walk.  The puppies - well they loved running between my legs and around back and in front and making my trip about 100 times longer as I stumbled and tripped my way to the pond carrying a load of whatever it was I was asked to bring.  I have to say I made good progress though and by this evening we had some very well behaved puppies walking properly with their leash on. We ended up having a picnic dinner by the pond and admired the dock work.  I decided to not say it looked just like it did yesterday but rather say something like "WOW, I can tell you worked hard today."  Of course I meant that because they were very dirty and sweaty - and well - that must have meant they worked very hard so I thought they would enjoy the compliment.  I also think that if either of them read this blog post, I might be in slight trouble. So dearest husband, if you are reading this post today - Your dock is fantastic!  It is the best dock I have ever seen.  I can't wait to see what it looks like when it is finished. Tomorrow I will still be your faithful errand girl and bring you snacks and drinks and whatever you need to get your project done. You are an awesome dock builder and I thank you for working so hard!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini

Our garden is really coming along nicely now.  Our corn is now in full tassels, our green beans look delightful, our romaine lettuce is almost ready to be picked and we have enough cucumbers to feed our city. It looks as though we will have at least 5 gigantic Jack O'Lanterns for the fall.  They are already bigger than large watermelons.  It is so much fun to watch everything grow.  My son is particularly proud as he has put tons of hours into caring for the garden.  Tonight I decided to make Zucchini Egg Foo Yong for dinner, so we went out to the garden to pick a few fresh zucchini.  We just picked the garden the day before yesterday and WHOA - we have been overrun with zucchini!  We have some so large that Mr. Yesteryear Acres has been fondly referring to them as "speed bumps".  We picked our trailer load of zucchini and hauled them back to the house.  My daughter grated the nice sized ones for our dinner tonight and of course the Egg Foo Yong was delicious.  Some of the bigger zucchinis will go to the big doggies tomorrow for a treat.  They love to carry them around outside and then eventually get down to the business of eating them.  We have several doggies that LOVE LOVE LOVE zucchini.  They are very happy doggies at harvest time.  It is hilarious to watch them trot around with the zucchini in their mouths with their tails wagging 100 miles an hour.  They are quite proud of themselves. The rest of the zucchini will be turned into zucchini bread and zucchini cake.  Tomorrow will be a busy baking day!  Now if I can only figure out what to do with our truck full of cucumbers. We have had cucumber salad and cucumber sandwiches every single day.  I am going to have to dig deep to come up with some clever ideas.  The doggies aren't big fans of cucumbers so it is up to me to find something delicious for humans. Cucumber cake doesn't quite sound as if it would fit the bill of things delightful to eat.  Cucumber bread? Nope. Cucumber sundaes? Um no. Oh well - guess tomorrow will be....Surprise! .....MORE CUCUMBER SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH!!!!! Gee my family is soooo lucky!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Roller Coaster Fun

The day at the amusement park was a major hit! We arrived right before the park opened, and I, being a roller coaster enthusiast - planned to head straight for one of the big attractions before the lines got too long. My children however were still not too convinced that this day was going to be fun as they don't have much experience with roller coasters. They decided they wanted to start out slow and easy. Okay - I can do that.  So instead of riding The Beast or the Racer or a big thriller of a roller coaster with NO lines.....we chose to start our day in Snoopy Land. We were pretty much the first ones to arrive and walked right on the Woodstock Express. It is a very small coaster with very small seats. You know - the kind designed for VERY SMALL people. Anyway as we started up the tracks with the infamous "click, click, click" I hear - "I don't like this, I don't like this, I don't like this" and as soon as we started down the first hill - along with the deafening screams I hear "HOW CAN THIS BE A RIDE FOR KIDS????  HOW IS THIS FOR KIDS? WHO does this to a little KID? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!"  I, of course, being the best mom in the whole world - was crying. Not out of sadness. Not out of worry because we just paid for the admission tickets and all 3 of my children were already done in SNOOPY LAND. Nope I was crying because I was laughing hysterically. It was worth the price of admission just to see all 3 of my kids screaming from the coaster in Snoopy Land.  Honestly it was priceless! We then moved onto a suspended coaster - still in Snoopy Land of course - and I pretty much got the same reaction. So I said, "Let's GO DO SOME MORE!"  We went from there to a log ride and I almost won them over at that point. I still heard "I HATE THIS PART, I HATE THIS PART, I HATE THIS PART" as we clicked up the track and then of course the deafening screams during the descent but the fact that out of the 4 of us, I got COMPLETELY soaked was a major plus. I looked as if someone threw buckets upon buckets of water on me - and I exited the ride DRIPPING wet. Well what is more fun than that? We kept on progressing in ride thrill factor and I kept asking them if they liked the rides.  My son let me know that he had mixed emotions about the rides.  At one point he said "I still don't know how I feel about roller coasters but for some reason, I still want to go ride another one."  As the day continued the screams of terror actually turned to screams of delight and by the end of the day I had 3 bonafide roller coaster enthusiasts with me.  We rode all of our favorite coasters several times and never stood in line for more than 15 minutes.  By the time evening hit, everyone voted the Beast as most AWESOME and we all wanted to ride it just one more time.  We didn't ride every ride as we saved some of the really over the top coasters for a future visit but we did ride some of the faster coasters and my kids even did the invertigo roller coaster that did flips and 360* inversions.  It wasn't their favorite ride - but they all wanted to ride it and see what it was like.  When it came down to choosing our very last ride of the day we decided to save the very biggest, tallest and "meanest" coaster for our next trip and thought it would be fun to end the day with the Woodstock Express back in Snoopy Land.  This time it was all laughter with no screaming and all our hands were in the air as we flew down the first hill. My son thanked me for kidnapping him and said he had the best time ever. We drove home totally exhausted as we had all spent every ounce of energy we had and left it back at the park.  Once we got home - I think we were all sound asleep before our heads hit the pillows. I am so glad we took the day off to do something that was so much fun. This is probably the very last summer that all 3 of my children will be home at the same time. I am pretty confident that they will remember their day at the amusement park forever.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We Are Actually Doing It!

I can’t believe it. All the stars have lined up and we are actually doing one of the fun things we talked about doing this summer!!! We are off to Kings Island for the day! Mr. Yesteryear Acres who once again is the best best best husband/father /puppy caretaker/ friend is staying home to care for all the animals so that my children and I can go to the amusement park for the day. Without Mr. Yesteryear Acres – there would be absolutely no way we could ever be gone for that long. THANK YOU Mr. Yesteryear Acres!!!!!! So we are off! We are off for the WHOLE DAY! My son is actually apprehensive because - One: He doesn’t like to take the day off of work. He is a very good worker and is very dedicated to caring for the puppies and doggies. He feels guilty leaving Mr. Yesteryear Acres home alone. Two: The last time he was at an amusement park he was in a stroller with the most adventurous ride being something like the choo choo train or the carousel. Not too exciting. Three: He has never been on a roller coaster and has NO idea how much fun they can be. So I am kidnapping him. I mean it is for his own good because I know once he gets on a roller coaster ride he will be grinning from ear to ear. I just know he will LOVE it! My daughters are excited about the day and are planning on spending a lot of time at the water park that is included in the admission. We are looking forward to the boogie board/wave rider action at the water park. It looks like TOO much fun!!! We are going to squeeze every ounce of fun we can out of the day. The weather looks great and the tickets are in my hand. We are off!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hair Be Gone!

So we totally walked on the wild side today. My older daughter decided that she wanted her hair shorter.  We just went to the salon last week so she didn't really want to spend more money on another haircut but she really wanted her hair about 3 inches shorter. So - what to do? We got out the scissors!  Now maybe this doesn't sound all that daring - but let me assure you that it was.  First - I am not a licensed beautician. Not even close. Second - I had a horrible experience as a child when I was trying to be helpful and gave my sister a trim. We had REALLY long hair when we were young and her hair was past her waist and she wanted it a little shorter. Evidently  (or so I have been told MANY times) I cut her hair crooked. As in a diagonal.  When my mom came home the only means of rectifying the situation was to give my sister just about the worst shortest most awful haircut ever.  My mom gave her a....BOWL cut.  Yep. My sister had to walk around with a super short hair cut when just that morning she had hair down to her waist line.  I still doubt that I had cut her hair QUITE that crooked - but the short haircut was the end result.  I actually felt bad about that day for years and years.  It took until I was a grown adult before I forgave myself.  So anyway - today my daughter asks ME to cut her hair.  You can imagine my slight apprehension!  But she said she trusted me and gave me her scissors and we started in on the new look.  I have to say - I am actually NOT BAD!  Her new hair cut is super cute and we all like it a lot better than how it looked when she came home from the salon. It is a better length and really flattering.  She loves it. I love that she loves it.  So we spent the day admiring her new do.  Loving the new look. And then....well I decided MY hair was way too long. So I turned over the scissors to my daughter who is NOT a licensed beautician but luckily has no emotional childhood scarring and felt confident she could work miracles.  I have naturally curly hair and it is tough to cut.  I have had many hairstylists look at my hair and pass me onto a different hairstylist.  Evidently thick very curly long hair isn't that much fun to cut.  My daughter however felt differently.  She said she loves my hair and wanted to cut it.  I said take off 5+ inches and go for it.  And so she did.  I sat on my stool as the hair fell away and wasn't nervous once.  I looked in the mirror when she was all done and I LOVE IT!  She did a fantastic job! It is actually one of the better haircuts I have had.  She listened to how it needed to be cut (where usually I have to argue with the stylist) and man it is great.  It is now about 2-3 inches below my shoulder and without all that weight, my hair is even curlier.  I really like it and am so glad I turned the scissors over. Mr. Yesteryear Acres said WOW when he saw it and he was all smiles and absolutely loves it. The whole family loved our new dos and we are both glad we took the risk.  Now my only question is.....I wonder if the Naval Academy will give my daughter leave when I need a trim?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Day for 3

Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my younger daughter have been busy getting their advanced scuba certifications and were gone today leaving my son, older daughter and I home for the day.  We had a super busy day full of puppy work, puppy visits, puppies going home and good ole regular farm chores.  We started the day with me working EXTRA hard to water our garden. I mean I put my heart and soul into getting the garden watered this morning. I did such an awesome job that our creek that has been dry for over a month is now full and the stream is running smoothly.  An entire inch of water was added to the rain gauge. The corn thanked me for my excellent drink of water by tasseling and we are that much closer to the corn being ready to eat. It honestly looked like the corn grew inches taller after the rain...I mean WATERING... this morning. The puppies were SOOOO much happier after the rainstorm passed.  The temperatures dropped by almost 10* and it was SO much nicer outside.  We all went for a walk and we couldn't stop talking about how much better it felt.  We all got a little spring in our step and were quite grateful for the break from the oppressive heat.  Tonight the three of us prepared the most delicious meal.  If I were to give it a rating - our dinner would totally receive 5 out of 5 stars.  I made homemade rolls. My daughter made roasted potatoes and onions.  She cut the potatoes into matchstick pieces and diced the onions really small.  We then added a little olive oil and seasonings and roasted them at *450 until crisp. OH they were GOOD!  I then made some artichoke hearts for a side dish and my son topped off the meal with the most perfect steaks ever.  He cooked them all by himself and they were beyond delicious.  We had absolutely no leftovers and practically licked our plates clean. We were very proud of ourselves and had the best time enjoying our feast.  Tonight we are anxious to hear about the Scuba Adventures and maybe we might even pop a little popcorn to complete our perfect day for 3.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Full house

I was thinking about how much I enjoy the interactions of my full house. Dinner time seems to be just that much more interesting. Breakfasts are just a bit more eye-opening. And all the times in between - just a bit more richer.  The dynamics between older sister and younger sister are the same yet more respectful and meaningful.  Since my younger daughter has experienced the week at the Coast Guard Academy - she and my older daughter have so much more to talk about.  My older daughter is seeing my younger daughter with new eyes and my younger daughter sees her older sister with new eyes as well.  Each has come to appreciate the others strengths and goals and dreams. They feel connected and they are closer than they have ever been and yet the same underlying Big Sister/Little Sister dynamics still remain. My son who works harder than any other 14 year old I know has gained the respect from his older sister as she can see just how much work he does each and every day.  Their relationship has also become more connected yet once again - the constant teasing and relentless ribbing one another never stops. It is fun to step back and watch how mature and responsible each of my children have become and then in an instant have that interaction turn into a complete 100% full onslaught laugh fest. I am filled with happiness as each of my children are in one place, all together, being complete kids again. There is nothing that exemplifies being a child more than the moments you spend with your siblings. Siblings get one another. They hassle each other more than any other person ever will - but then love each other with the same intensity.  Siblings can band together and roll their eyes in unison at their parents and then one second later totally empty their frustrations and stress onto one another. They can fight amongst each other but at the same time will defend each other to the end. I know that my three children will be the best of friends, the closest of companions and each other's confidantes forever. I feel lucky that I am surrounded by such love. When my husband and I watch their silly moments at the dinner table and we are all laughing - I am smiling to the depths of my soul. I think how lucky my children have been to have grown up in a house full of love. I think how lucky I am that they are mine. I know that in these moments - all that I ever wished for in life - everything I have ever wanted ... is right beside me.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Thanks to my most awesome neighbors, we had delicious fresh picked sweet corn for dinner tonight. It was the kind of sweet corn you dream about. Sweet tender little kernels that just pop in your mouth. It was so delicious. Here at Yesteryear Acres, we take eating corn on the cob to a new level.  I know most people eat 1-2 ears of corn, but we consider that an appetizer.  We are professional corn on the cob connoisseurs. When the corn is picked at just the right time - so all the kernels have JUST THAT SECOND become ripe for eating - so that no kernel is too big or tough or old - well that is when corn on the cob consumption is at its finest.  The record for the number of ears consumed during dinner time stands at 19. Yes that is right -19 ears of corn eaten by one single individual.  My older daughter and Mr. Yesteryear Acres decided to go full out and see who could eat the most corn for dinner and Mr. Yesteryear Acres actually had his fill first and my daughter won.  She is still proud of that record.  This summer with our sweet corn looking ever so promising, the record once again might be tested.  We never cook less than 2 dozen ears for dinner - but with the record on the line - we might have to up our serving size to 3 dozen. We have some serious corn on the cob eating to get accomplished this month. Lucky us!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Looking Good

This morning we had an awesome time with my sister and her family.  We had a lovely breakfast and then Mr. Yesteryear Acres gave everyone a wagon ride out to the pond and garden.  My nephew was quite the excellent young farmer and really enjoyed pulling up some onions for tonight's dinner.  He also helped cut some cucumbers, peppers and zucchini.  We then walked over to the pond so we could feed the fish and I think the enthusiastic response from our fish surprised everyone.  Our fish swim from all directions and you can actually see the ripples in the water as they head towards the fish chow.  They really love fish chow!  My nephew made sure they were well fed.  We were going to head back to the house on the wagon ride when my neighbor drove up through the back field in his gator. Ooooh - I love his gator!  He was nice enough to give my nephew a ride around the fields and when he got back I told him that one day I wanted a ride.  He asked if I wanted to go right then - and I told him I was too busy - BUT then he asked me if I wanted to DRIVE the gator.  As I was shaking my head "NO" the words "YES YES YES!" came out of my mouth.  I got to take it for a nice spin and I have to admit - I LOVE THAT GATOR.  It was really a lot of fun.  I wonder if he will let me drive it again? It is FUN!  We then all headed back home and made fresh sliced cucumber sandwiches for lunch.  Even though my sister's family were slightly skeptical as to the deliciousness of fresh cucumber sandwiches, I quickly won them over.  They were YUMMY! After everyone was well fed, my sister and family loaded up and headed off for Tennessee.  I then took my girls for haircuts as they both have been really wanting shorter looks. Of course the new haircuts look smashing.  We took before and after photos and everyone was very happy with the new looks. I got home in time to head over to the arboretum with my son and doggie companion and we had a great time talking and walking together.  It was a lot of fun and we plan on doing that together more often.  We usually just walk around here as we like to take multiple dogs and puppies on our walk but he enjoyed working with just one doggie and got some good leash training work done. We stuck to the wooded trail and saw 6 bluebirds, 2 cardinals and a warbler. The doggie saw...SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL - so a good time was had by all.  Tonight I am making zucchini egg foo yong for dinner. Mmmmmm.  I love summer time!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Party of......10!

Guess who came for dinner tonight????? Well since I would not have been able to guess - I am sure you will not be able to guess, so I will just tell you - MY SISTER!  Yes - my sister, her husband and my nephew arrived at my door this evening in time for dinner. Now THAT is a surprise!  She lives in Vermont so as you can imagine, she doesn't just pop in for dinner.  She and her family are on a trip to Tennessee and they stopped by here on the way. It was an awesome surprise.  My parents came over to eat dinner with us as well so we had a very full table for dinner. It was especially nice since my older daughter just got home - so she had a lovely family reunion happening tonight at dinnertime. My nephew hasn't seen her in a while so they had a lot of fun catching up. And by catching up - my nephew was "Tickle Me Elmo" and my daughter was the "tickler" and yes - the laughter was non-stop.  My sister and her family are all staying the night tonight and hitting the road first thing tomorrow morning. Well not FIRST thing because I am making blueberry stuffed french toast for breakfast - so maybe SECOND thing in the morning. I don't remember the last time I had such a little one sleeping over in our house. My nephew looked so small on our guest roll out bed. Usually we have high schoolers or midshipman sacked out on the bed and they are of course hanging over the sides as our extra bed is a bit smaller than a cot. I forgot how well it served the purpose back when my kids were that small. I had fun tucking in my sweet nephew and he was OUT before the covers hit him. My sister was next.  She was too tired to even change into her pajamas. It took almost 13 hours for them to make it this far.  Having JUST made several long road trips - I knew just how they felt.  Hopefully tomorrow they will be well rested and ready for the final leg of their journey. I will be sure to send them on their way well fed with a cooler full of yummy treats to keep them going. I wonder if I make the treats EXTRA yummy....they might stay an extra day??? Hmmmm. One quick overnight stopover doesn't quite seem long enough. I wonder if they will notice if I hide their car keys? Hey! I know...maybe the DOGGIES will hide their keys! Who can be mad at cute doodle doggies? Certainly not me and certainly not my sister.  I believe I have stumbled upon a most awesome plan.  I will let you know how it turns out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Endless Tears at Dinner

SHE IS HOME! YEA!  My older daughter is home from the Naval Academy.  We picked her up late yesterday afternoon and made the drive back from Annapolis today. Although the music choice was a far cry from what I would have chosen....the trip home was a lot of fun. Having my two daughters in the car with me was perfect. The minute the car was in our driveway, my daughter ran out of the car and gave her daddy a gigantic bear hug. For a second I wondered if she would knock him off his feet! Next was her brother's turn and then she ran to see the puppies. She missed her home and the puppies so much and was very happy that we had puppies waiting to greet her. Juneau is now officially hers and she is really excited to raise her for the next few weeks. There was a lot of happiness in our yard! I have to tell you that this evening when I was setting the table for dinner, I grabbed FOUR bowls ...and then I remembered I needed FIVE bowls. I about jumped up and down for joy!  Our dinner tonight was HILARIOUS.  I mean really hilarious.  All five of us had tears rolling down our faces from laughing so hard.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres had the best time. My son had the best time. My younger daughter had the best time. My older daughter had the best time. And me - well - of course I had the best time. Along with the laughter and the joy - I felt that all was right in my world. My family is complete. We are once again a Party of Five. Life couldn't be better.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rushing out the Door!

I got a text from my older daughter very early this morning letting me know that she has been granted leave early!  As in TODAY!  As in ACK I am not ready and I need to rush out the door ASAP!  I am so excited. My younger daughter and I are running around like crazy trying to get everything done so we can hit the road.  The puppies could not have been any better this morning and everyone did their business OUTSIDE! YEA!  That was soooo nice of them. We got all the puppy chores done and cleaned up the kitchen as fast as we could. We just finished making our lunches and are now packing up a dinner for THREE and we should be out of here in less than 15 minutes if we are lucky.  Everyone is so happy and excited. Mr. Yesteryear Acres is making the essential JAVA for the road so we should be all set!!!! Travel Tunes - Check.  Popcorn - Check. Dinner - Check. Lunch - Check. Cheesy Book on Tape - Check. Endless Smiles....CHECK! Annapolis....Here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hitting the Road

I think perhaps I might have a career in long distance driving.  Seems like I have been on the road more than ever lately and honestly I don't even like to drive!  I have however found ways to make my driving more enjoyable.  Good music is essential.  Awesome tunes can make even the longest drives much more enjoyable.  I have created some really great playlists that keep the smiles going and the singing rocking. I also have a few cheesy books on tape which really make the time seem to go by much more quickly. Good company is a HUGE bonus.  I have been really lucky that on the last few long drives, I have had an awesome co-pilot. Tomorrow I will find myself once again hitting the road with my co-pilot. My younger daughter and I are off for the best long distance errand of the entire summer.  My older daughter has been granted leave for the next FOUR weeks and is coming home from the Naval Academy! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sooooooooooooo happy!  She will be home for much longer than we thought and I am so excited!  Four weeks with our table set for five.  Four weeks with a house full of laughter. Four weeks with an extra hand to help out. Four weeks with nothing but family family family!!!!!!!!!!!! My heart will be full. My heart will be complete. There is no greater happiness for me than to be surrounded by my children. My son is soooo excited to tell his sister everything he did at the Naval Academy.  My younger daughter is sooo excited to tell her sister everything she did at the Coast Guard Academy.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I are soooo excited to hear everything that our daughter did on her Protramid Rotation. I can hardly wait!  My younger daughter and I are hitting the road tomorrow afternoon and if all goes well, I will be picking up my midshipman early Tuesday morning. By Tuesday evening we should once again be a party of five. And for the record, yes, 5 is my favorite number.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Who doesn't love the State Fair?

It is almost State Fair time!  Man there are just some things I LOVE about the State Fair.  I know most people go for the rides and games.  We always see tons of people on the midway riding the Ferris wheel, trying to knock down milk bottles, spinning in circles in whirly-gigs, going through the fun house, or walking around with gigantic stuffed animals on their shoulders. It is a piece of Americana right there.  Our family never goes to the midway section of the fair.  I believe we might be the only ones.  We always start our day with the agricultural display buildings.  We love to see the prize winning roosters and chickens, the bunnies, llamas, horses, pigs and cows.  We usually sit and watch several final judgings for the blue ribbon livestock winners. I especially like the junior animal handlers.  You can see just how hard they worked and how much pride they have in their livestock. I also really love seeing all the baby calves at the fair.  The Brown Swiss Cattle babies are SO adorable.  I just love their big eyes.  My kids always go and take a turn at milking the cows.  It is a fair tradition.  After we see all the animals we spend a good portion of the day with all the agricultural displays.  I mean how can you not look at all the blue ribbon Tomato winners and not compare them to what is in your own garden.  You would be surprised at how much time we can spend looking at green beans, beets, corn, eggplant, pumpkins and tomatoes.  We always make sure to cast our vote for the best farm display. Once we have exhausted the entire agricultural section of the fair we head on over to the Natural Resources area in the fair.  We have never missed a lumberjack show and are always the first ones to the fishing hole. We finish off the fair by visiting the Youth Center where all the 4H, Scouting and FAA projects are displayed, the craft building where the quilt entries, homebaked goodies and canning displays are found and the fine arts building and miniature train exhibit. We are lucky because our kids have always enjoyed going to the fair and love to do the exact same things we do. We have never once been asked to buy a ride ticket or play a midway game - and I think the kids can spend more time watching the newborn piglets than we can! Now before you think that we forgo the MOST important enjoyment of the fair - let me assure you that the FAIR FOOD is DEEPLY enjoyed by every one of us.  Food requirements of the fair include:  shoestring french fries with tons of vinegar and salt, corn dogs, lemonade, more shoestring french fries, dumbo ears, sweet corn, more shoestring french fries, cotton candy and let's not forget the most important fair food - shoestring french fries with tons of vinegar and salt. Mmmmmm.  That is my favorite in case you couldn't tell.  I can eat a bucket full! I think it is time to put down FAIR day on our August calendar! I need my summer fill of fair food and fun!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Study Day

My daughter was busy studying all day today so I didn't get to spend much time with her.  I am used to hanging with her all day long so today was a bit different with her being occupied all day. She is going for her Advanced Scuba Open Water Certification next weekend so she has a lot of classwork to get done before then. The Advanced Certificate allows her to dive below 80ft which evidently is WAY cool.  She has to take a refresher course this week and then will be diving by next weekend.  Both she and Mr. Yesteryear Acres are quite busy trying to get all their schoolwork done.  I am super excited for them as this is a passion they both share and do together. As the timing gets closer, I can't tell which one is more excited. It is really nice to see! My son who is not much of a swimmer, has now begun to show interest in swimming more so that by next summer he can get certified as well. I think he is getting the point that he is missing out on some fun times. Both of my daughters are really awesome swimmers so I am glad my son will be getting on board with some pool time. I think once he starts swimming in earnest, he just might find out that he is particularly good at swimming and maybe just maybe he might even like it. We have a good swim team program at the high school and I would love for him to swim and maybe add another Yesteryear Acres swimmer to the record board. I suppose time will tell. While my sweet scuba students were busy studying, my son and I worked together for pretty much the entire afternoon and then spent some time playing with the dogs and puppies.  Despite it being ridiculously warm outside - we had a really good day together.  We got a lot done and made the most out of the day.  Tonight my son and daughter are going out for ice cream - just the two of them. Nothing like a delicious ice cream cone to celebrate a job well done. I just might have to put in an order to go. Hmmmm Chocolate/Vanilla Twist Cone or milkshake with candy bits?  These are definitely the kind of decisions to have!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Halfway Mark

Oh no!  Summer is already halfway over!  How in the heck did that happen?  Being the ever so devoted TYPE A person that I am - I went ahead and filled in plans for the rest of the summer....and then maybe a little bit into the fall...and maybe then again for next spring.....and then before I knew it, my daughter was graduating from high school and it was next summer again. I decided that might be just a bit TOO much planning so I backed up and re-focused just on the rest of this summer.  We have so many things we had wanted to do this summer and I haven't crossed any of them off my list.  So today I started actually writing down what we want to do on the calendar.  I hope that the plans actually stick. Raising puppies often means that plans change.  As in ALL the time.  Raising living breathing loving creatures means being devoted to them and their needs always come first.  We often have plans fall through and not happen. It makes me feel really awful because I know my kids never quite believe something is ACTUALLY going to happen until we are all the way out the door and on the way.  Even then, there is still a hesitancy as to whether the day will go as planned.  It is just the way it is when you devote your lives to doggies and puppies.  Birthday parties don't always happen, vacations sometimes get cancelled, movies have to be restarted or paused indefinitely.  It is our way of life.  My son spent a good 5-6 hours on his birthday working. He didn't even complain. It is just the way it is around here as everyday - even birthdays - are filled with tons of chores to do. Luckily, my son loves the doggies as much as we do so he is just awesome about getting the work done. So - what are some of the fun things we hope to do? Well we REALLY want to go to the zoo for the day.  Our zoo has POLAR BEARS!  It is a brand new exhibit and we all are dying to see them.  It would be the best day EVER if Mr. Yesteryear Acres could come but that would take a miracle.  The zoo is about an hour and a half away from our house. So that is 3 hours of driving time.  You can't go to the zoo and not stay for at LEAST 2 hours - so that would be 5 hours away from home.  We can't stay away that long as the doggies and puppies need to go outside for a bathroom break and 5 hours is WAY too long for a little puppies to be alone so I am sure Mr. Yesteryear Acres will once again draw the short straw. He is a good doggie person.  Other things we want to do are go to the pool for the day, go hiking at a State Park, have a picnic lunch, work on our dock, work on our bedroom, and go to a waterpark. I also want to work on a sewing project with my younger daughter before she goes back to school. We have a couple of awesome ideas and she is anxious to sew. With all our ideas and hopes and dreams for summer plans and fun activities - the one thing that is most important for us to do - is to enjoy each day and each other. That is one plan that never changes or gets cancelled no matter what crops up on our schedule.  We are all grateful to spend our days together and we always make sure that each day is filled with lots of love with a little fun sprinkled in between all that we have to do. Even though we tend to be the busiest family that I know - I wouldn't have it any other way.  We appreciate all that we have and know that with hard work comes great rewards.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One Month Later

This morning my son and I took a couple of puppies out for a lovely walk and then stopped to take pictures of the garden.  Wow! I am obviously an amazing gardener!  All that watering I have been doing this week has really paid off.  In case you were wondering, my son just gave me that look.  The look that says that he has been roto-tilling the garden and weeding the garden and spending hours of actual labor in the garden - but honestly - I did "water" the garden each and every time it rained.  That is a big commitment! In just one short month - look how terrific our garden looks:
Tomatoes! Mmmmmm! My favorite!
Cucumbers and more Cucumbers
New planting of green beans
Future Jack O'Lanterns
Everyone Loves Sweet Corn!
All the Hay has been cut
Next month's garden update should have visions of beautiful red ripe tomatoes filling the page (and my stomach). I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pictures, Errands and Tapioca

Early this morning, Mr. Yesteryear Acres greeted me with an exceptional cup of coffee so my day started off with a big smile. I then found out that my daughter already had all the morning chores done so my smile got even bigger. The rest of my day was just as nice! We had one of our sweet puppies go home and the new family was just awesome. I love it when our puppies have great new families to love! My daughter and I took all the puppies outside before the rain started and we got some really great pictures of the puppies.  They all had a blast. My daughter said that what she missed the most at the Coast Guard Academy were the puppies!  My older daughter says the same thing about being at the Naval Academy.  Missing the puppies is the hardest part.  We spent a good portion of the afternoon playing with the puppies and started leash training a few of the bigger pups. They did really well! Once all the puppies were inside for naptime, I ran a few errands and then worked really really hard and watered the entire garden.  I am getting really good at this!  The garden is really starting to take off now. It won't be long until we are swimming in vegetables! I can't wait!!!!  I think tomorrow I will get pictures of the garden so everyone can see how delicious it looks.  We did get a few zucchini already so tonight I made Mr. Yesteryear's favorite zucchini dish and he was super happy. Both he and my son were grinning from ear to ear when they found out I made them tapioca pudding for dessert.  They both LOVE tapioca and can eat an astonishing amount. I made a huge batch (ONE GALLON) and it took over an hour of constant stirring to make it. That is true love! Watering the garden AND making tapioca pudding. Tonight I am hoping that my daughter and I can squeeze in a few minutes of chick flick TV - but I think the odds are stacked against us.  I heard my son and husband talking about some John Wayne movie they recorded. Hmmmmm.  You would think with a belly full of tapioca they would get very very sleepy.....I think my daughter and I can most definitely win this one.  It shouldn't be toooo long until they are both "watching" TV with their eyes closed. Then all it takes is one quick press of the remote and chick TV rules!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching Up

Today was a busy one for sure!  I had over 10 days worth of mail and phone calls and puppy love to catch up on. I got up rather early and went full speed non-stop all day.  It was so nice to be home! The puppies have all gotten so big! They were so much fun to play with. I missed them all. It is funny because they really are quite similar in temperament to when I left.  They are just bigger versions of who they were. I was thinking that maybe they my have made some huge changes in demeanor - but the silly puppy is still the silly puppy and the landscape architect is still the landscape architect and the snuggle bunny is still the snuggle bunny.  Tomorrow I will be posting new updated photos of the puppies. They are the cutest bunch!!!  Cassie's goldendoodle puppies are really doing well.  They are loving their yogurt parfait topping on their puppy food and are just now starting to venture outside. They had a really fun recess time today!  I think my favorite thing of the whole day was spending time with my son.  He was glad I was home and we had so much fun hanging out together playing with the puppies today. This evening he asked if I would bake him a pie for dessert and of course I said yes so he went out to the woods and picked fresh blackberries. My daughter and I baked a fresh blackberry pie for him and I have to say it turned out great!  Blackberry pie is one of his favorites. Tonight I will work on my mountain of laundry to fold.  If you don't hear from me tomorrow - send someone to look for me.  I might be buried by the avalanche of clothes awaiting me!!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home is Where the Heart is

We made it back!!!!  Connecticut is soooooo far away but our drive back home was MUCH better than our drive to Connecticut.  On our way to Connecticut it took us 8 hours to drive from New Jersey to Connecticut. Today we did it in 3 hours.  Can I say - I love the Tappan Zee Bridge. It was wonderful to travel at the speed limit rather than coasting along at a whopping 4 miles an hour.  We saved a total of 5 hours by choosing the Tappan Zee over the George Washington Bridge.  Smart move!  Our entire trip home was filled of great conversation about the Coast Guard Academy. The entire AIM experience was just terrific and we talked non-stop all the way home.  I was SO excited to see my husband and son and house and dogs and puppies.  Today is my son's birthday so it was especially nice for me to have made it home in time to wish him Happy Birthday in person. I missed him and I missed Mr. Yesteryear Acres so much! I can tell they missed me too! They both worked so hard while I was gone and the puppies all look great. They really grew while I was gone!  I must take new pictures tomorrow so I can share how adorable they all are.  Juneau seems to have been spoiled a bit while I was away and it is clear she loves her puppy food.  She is a butterball of a puppy!!! I can't wait to play with all the puppies tomorrow.  I missed them. I am soooooooooo looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight!  Nothing can top the sweet feeling of coming home to the ones you love.  I am so glad to be back home!!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Smiley Faces Literally Filled the Sky

My daughter and I have just come back from the most incredible fireworks display we have ever seen in our entire lives. It was beyond spectacular!  We went to the SailFest 2010 Fireworks display in Connecticut. It was HUGE.  Fireworks were set off from 2 barges on the Thames River. Both barges lit their fireworks simultaneously and filled the entire sky with the largest and most beautiful fireworks presentation ever.  It was choreographed to music and when a patriotic song came on, the fireworks spelled out U S A.  And when a song from Glee came on, SMILEY FACE fireworks filled the sky.  My daughter and I both had goosebumps as the fireworks were that incredible.  I have to admit through the endless laughter and giggling over the wondrous display, at one point, I had tears fill my eyes.  I kept thinking how amazing it was to be standing next to my daughter right after she completed a week at the Coast Guard Academy, listening to the pride of America and witnessing the fireworks celebration and to have this moment between the two of us that will last a lifetime.  It is one of those memories we will never ever forget.  We had the very best seats - right up front and center overlooking the Thames River and the entire evening was breathtaking.
Once again, I am proud to be an American and was ever so grateful to be part of such a magnificent celebration.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coast Guard Academy - Exceptional Visit

I spent my day today touring the Coast Guard Academy.  The parents of the AIM participants were treated to an all day event that showcased all that the Coast Guard Academy has to offer.  They really did an excellent job with their presentations and I was duly impressed.  I even got to catch a couple of glimpses of my daughter here and there.  At the end of the day we were treated to a parade and the graduation ceremony for the AIM students.  The whole day was really lovely. I still haven't had a chance to talk to my daughter as she isn't released from the Academy until tomorrow. I spent the whole day wondering if she loves it, likes it, tolerated it, or can't wait to get home.  I think all the parents were thinking the same thing. The weather has been so hot this week that it has to make a significant impact on how the students felt about the week. I am so anxious to talk to my daughter tomorrow. I can't wait.  Tonight I am staying in my room at the hotel. I guess I am not much of a solo traveler.  There are a million things to do and see around this area, but I prefer sharing the experience with someone by my side. I am probably the only person who isn't out and about tonight. I think there is a lobster type festival of some sort downtown and other awesome happenings. The seashore is literally minutes away. I am hopeful that tomorrow my daughter won't be too tired so we can do a couple of things before we make the big drive home on Sunday. I am somewhat dreading the drive.  The memories of my hours spent on the George Washington Bridge are still too fresh in my memory.  I hope the way back is much quicker than the trip here. At least I know we will have lots to talk about on the way home!  I can't wait to hear every single detail of my daughter's week at the Academy. I am sure with so much to talk about, we will be home before we know it.  I miss Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my son and my home and the puppies and doggies.  I am eager to get back home and celebrate Mr. Yesteryear Acres 50th birthday AND my son's 14th birthday.  I definitely have some cakes to bake as soon as I get back home!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Appalachian Trail...I think not

Today I have made a definitive decision.....I am not going to add "Hike the Appalachian Trail" to my Bucket List. As cool as it sounds to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish, I have come to realize that it is just not for me.  I studied the Appalachian Trail map today prior to my hike of the day. It is really long. I mean REALLY long.  I talked to a park ranger about it and he said that you have to hike at least 10 miles a day carrying full gear in order to get through it. Today I hiked 2.4 miles carrying one water bottle and I just about expired right there on the spot. Therefore, I have substituted "Hike the Quechee Gorge Trail in Vermont during a blazing heatwave" for my Bucket List and can now check that off my list. As I was heading south out of Vermont, I came up with the brilliant idea to get a hike in before I left the state.  I chose the Quechee Gorge State Park as my destination. It was really a lovely place to hike.  The only problem was the oppressive heat. It was 93* in Quechee as I set out on my hike.  The trail mostly followed a beautiful pine covered path alongside the falls. There were so many pine needles on the ground that the ground was bouncy. Kind of like a kids' playground that has that extra spongy material to it.  It was fun to walk on.  There were lots of people hiking the trail to the lower gorge in order to go swimming for the day.  I seriously wished I had thought to put my swimsuit on before I started my hike. So sad.  I was boiling by the time I got to the bottom and almost jumped in the water fully clothed.  The only thing that stopped me was that I didn't want to hike back to my car and then drive for 4 hours in a soaking wet swimsuit.  Turns out that if you walk alllllllllllll the way down to the bottom of the gorge and then turn around and walk alllllllllllll the way up to the top of the gorge and it is 93* outside - your clothes will be SOAKING wet from the drenching sweat anyway!  I should have jumped in.  I did manage to get a few pictures with my cell phone so I could share them with you.
Here is the bottom of the gorge:
Doesn't it just say "SWIM HERE, SWIM HERE, SWIM HERE?!!!"
I wish I had just taken the plunge!!!
This is right at the end of the small rapids where the water made a deep trench through the rocks.  I had wanted to jump in here as well!
I walked past the bottom of the gorge and followed a beautiful trail that kind of reminded me of a Jurassic Park type setting. There was tons of green foliage and lots of birdlife. It was really pretty.  I then decided that I would go ahead and hike up to the top of the gorge so I could get the whole perspective. I had to do a lot of cheering. I kept silently saying "Come on can do it. You can DO it."  I needed the encouragement. It was that hot. I finally made it to the top. If you look past my left ear you might be able to see the falls:

Here is a closer look:

I did manage to make it back to my car and was quite happy that my car has nice cold air conditioning.  I had it on the coldest setting all the way to the Connecticut border.  Thanks dearest sister, brother-in-law and my sweet nephew! I had a great visit in your beautiful state!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Falsehoods of Vermont

So apparently I have been fed some pretty big falsehoods concerning Vermont and my time up here.  The first falsehood would be "It never gets hot in Vermont." Let me assure you that this is a blatant lie.  In my week here the daily temperature has hovered between 94-96*.  In my definition - that is not just hot but hot enough to remove the top layer of skin from every inch of your body.  Falsehood number 2, "We don't need air conditioning". Again WRONG!  Let me assure you that EVEN if it never gets hot in Vermont, I feel that if one's house is approximately 100* because not one single window in the entire house opens, air conditioning is surely needed. One might even say mandatory. Same could be said about the car.  Air conditioning - necessary. Along with the weather - I have been promised that my sister's meeting in court ( she is a lawyer) would take approximately 5 minutes and could I please please please go with her so we could be together all day. Hmmmmm. I ask you - if a court meeting starts at 9:00am and takes 5 minutes........which of the following statements are true? Statement A: My sister's meeting in court was over at 9:05am.  Statement B:  The meeting in court was over at 9:10am. or Statement C: The meeting in court was over at 10:00am AND a ticket for an expired meter was on my sister's car?  Here in Vermont - where time takes a new form, the answer is Statement C.  In that same vein - guess how long the 15 minute meeting that started at 2:30pm took? And just in case any of you dear blog readers are thinking of visiting Vermont when it is clearly NOT hot - if a restaurant hangs a sign that says "We have A/C!" please do not think that means they actually turn it on. Yes, my trip here has been somewhat sweltering but in all honesty spending time with my sister and her family is worth losing a few pounds in the sweatlodge.  She and her husband have gone out of their way to make sure I was entertained and well fed.  I have had delicious meals and many laughs. I have had lots of time with my nephew and had time to give him a few swimming lessons.  We started with total fear and have progressed to putting his face in the water and using both hands to paddle. I have met some of the friends I have only heard about and have had spectacular views of their mountains. I also found that if I sit outside to write my sister's doggies are sure to keep me company so I don't forget to write something about them. 
So here it is......even the doggies here think it is hot! Tomorrow I head back to Connecticut. We have half a day to spend together before I take off.  I think we should head back to the lake. For some reason, I keep thinking about a nice cool dip!
And one final and very important note:
Today is Mr. Yesteryear Acres birthday. I was so sad to miss the day when he turned the big 50! Dear Mr. Yesteryear Acres, you are the very best husband in the entire world and I am sooooooooo lucky you are mine.  I missed you so very much today.   When I get  back, we are definitely going to celebrate. Please think of something extra special for your birthday dinner - I will make you ANYTHING .....EVEN LIVER! (yuck).  Also you can have any cake you would like, even the homemade cheesecake that takes hours and hours to make.  I miss you.  I love you.  Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Endless Lap

Today was not much of a vacation day.  My sister had to go into work and I had to catch up on work, so we both declared it a working day.  I spent about 3.5 hours updating the website early this morning. I have brand new individual puppy pictures of all our puppies.  I think they all turned out really well.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres let me know that they are all doing a super job with going outdoors despite the sweltering heat.  They are getting the hang of going to the bathroom OUTside - so that is always a good thing.  He did say they spend a good deal of time sleeping as the heat is just beyond kind at this point.  I am hoping for a cool down soon.  I find myself constantly thinking of both of my daughters as they endure the oppressive heat.  I suppose if my younger daughter decides she likes the Coast Guard Academy after melting in over 100* heat this week- she will love it when the weather isn't quite so miserable. I hope the heat wave doesn't affect her opinion too much.  I think it is hard to like anything when you are sticking to everything and are close to heat exhaustion.  I am trying to not to worry but unfortunately, it is something I am rather good at. I am sure my worries are in the front of my mind as I am REALLY hot here in Vermont. My sister doesn't have air conditioning and I am quite spoiled and used to living in a nice cool house.  It is 94* here and sooo hot.  I am sticking to everything. By 2:00 this afternoon I was too hot to work anymore so I went off in search of a swimming hole in the river.  My brother-in-law gave me typical Vermont directions to his favorite spot:  "You go down past the curve and then you will pass a corn field. Go past that corn field and then you will pass another corn field. Then before you get to the bridge look for 3-4 mailboxes and turn up that dirt road, then look for a break in the bushes and voila "the swimming hole".  Hmmmm. I followed his directions and miraculously found the swimming "hole".   I set up my chair in the shade and jumped in. Before jumping, I should have thought - my sister is 5'5" and my brother-in-law is equally vertically challenged - perhaps their definition of a swimming hole is different than mine. Yes, I stood in the water. On the murky bottom. With about 2.5 feet of "swimming" room in either direction. I decided that the swimming aka wading hole wasn't for me. I decided that instead I could read a book in the shade and that would be wonderful.  Well when I got out of the water - a thousand new friends were waiting for me.  A thousand new hungry friends.  I was swarmed by blood thirsty angry mosquitoes. As I swatted the bugs and tried to collect my chair and towel and run for my car as fast as I could, I desperately wished I could call my brother-in-law to tell him about my adventure BUT there is NO cell service ANYWHERE up here. As in none. I can't call or text or get my emails or anything. I wonder how they live without cell? Anyway after I got my bug bitten body into my car I was still baking hot so I decided to drive to the swimming hole I read about on the Internet.  This hole was actually quite deep and was surrounded by rock formations.  I climbed/slid/plummeted/tumbled/fell down the path until I reached the water and jumped in.  The water could have been a little cooler but the current was pretty swift and so I decided to do my workout right there and then.  I swam against the current for 30 straight minutes. It was a delightful endless lap of swimming.  I am a pretty good swimmer and with about 75% effort per stroke, I stayed exactly in the same place. I never moved at all.  While I swam, I watched all the people (that clearly were not blessed with a safety switch in their brain) leap off the tall sloping rock formations.  There were many really close calls. For some reason, rock jumpers who drink whilst rock diving, find close calls to be very hysterical.  Let's just say for my 30 minute workout - I had infinite entertainment. In turn, I am fairly certain that I became the entertainment as I tried to climb out of the swimming hole and up the rock trail.  Slippery wet shoes, wet swimsuit, and algae make for particularly trying adventure back up the hill.  I made it to the top in one piece and sadly the climb back out made me just as hot as before I began my journey.  I think I will do some research tonight to see what I shall do tomorrow.  My sister has to work again - so perhaps I will look for a hike on a mountain path or go for a swim in a mountain lake somewhere. Tomorrow is my last full day here so I want to make it something memorable. And by memorable - of course I mean in a good way - not a "Wow I almost got bitten by a snake and fell to my death off of a mountain cliff and nearly drowned in a raging mountain stream. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 5, 2010

My very own "pool" boy

My trip to Vermont has been awesome so far.  Last night my sister and nephew and I went to see the best fireworks display I have seen in years. The fireworks were HUGE and so beautiful.  We had the screamers and the twinkling stars and the big boomers and the sparkling stardust.  We had huge purple fireworks which are in my opinion the very best colored fireworks.  They just are so brilliant and I love them.  Three times I thought the finale was happening only to find out the show was still going on.  When the real finale started I found myself laughing nonstop like a little kid as it was that spectacular.  It really took my breath away. It was great. This morning I went with my sister and brother-in-law to go watch my 6 year old nephew play tennis.  I have to admit that although my nephew is beyond adorable - I was ready to go before the tennis camp was over.  It was hot - and I have been a spectator so many times at my own kids' sporting events that I was thinking about perhaps doing something else.  My sister and brother-in-law loved it - which is awesome - because that is what parents do.  They sit in the hot sun for hours just to catch the smallest glimpse of their child in action. Once the tennis camp was over we headed to the State Park for some fun in the sun.  It was a beautiful lake setting surrounded by mountains. The weather was hot and perfect for swimming.  I found just the right spot to put my chair - right up against a tree so I would be sure to be in the shade.

I then found out that my sister had NEVER gone swimming in the lake. So of course it was up to me to make sure she got all the way in.

The water was what some people call "refreshing".  I just called it REALLY REALLY COLD!!! After we got out we were completely spoiled by our very own "pool" boy.  My brother-in-law greeted us with towels and then proceeded to serve us the most delightful lunch.  He made fresh squeezed lemonade and then all sorts of delightful snacks that he served to us while we sat in our chairs.  We were spoiled all day long. It was AWESOME! 

Once we got back to my sister's house my brother-in-law continued his most excellent role as "pool" boy and proceeded to start cooking our dinner.  My sister and I took a hike up a mountain road and MAN it was hot and we were so tired when we got back home. We hiked 2.5 miles and survived the walk and the gigantic horsefly that was determined to get us. Our pool boy had a delicious appetizer waiting for us and for dinner made the best roasted vegetables.  Tomorrow I believe we are going to go swimming in a mountain stream/river.  The adventure continues!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Shopping, Mountains, and Fried Tomatoes

My daughter and I had a little time together this morning before she reported to the Coast Guard Academy and we enjoyed every last second. This morning felt somewhat heavy as I felt the weight of what next summer will be like if my daughter chooses the Coast Guard Academy as her college.  My heart will be full to the brim with the deepest sadness and emptiness. I will miss her so much that just the thought of her leaving paralyzes me. I simply cannot imagine my life at home without her.  Of course I felt the exact same way when my older daughter left for the Naval Academy and I did somehow manage to survive, so I know I can survive a second time. It is just so sad to think of her leaving.  As I dropped her at the door of the Coast Guard Academy and she turned around and gave me her very best smile, I was so proud.  She is following her dream and in that I find comfort.  In that I find a way to fill my heart with pride and joy and acceptance.  We all want our children to soar and as parents it is our job to give them very good wings.  Today was step one towards my younger daughter soaring to fulfill her destiny.  I wished her good luck, gave her a big hug and waved good-bye. I was then off towards the mountains of Vermont.  I was pretty sad in the beginning of my drive.  I had to fight back the tears that so desperately wanted to spill over.  I then remembered my own adage to not worry about something until it is necessary to worry about it.  It would be quite useless of me to wallow in overwhelming sadness over what may happen next summer. In doing so I would miss all that is happening this summer.  So I stopped myself and started concentrating on what was occurring at this moment. I looked around and noticed the changing landscape. The mountains of Vermont were looming in the distance and the sky was a most brilliant blue.  I saw beautiful streams and rivers and breathtaking vistas.  I listened to some great music and started to sing along.  In 4 short hours I arrived at my sister's house. She was happily awaiting my arrival and had my most favorite treat in the whole world waiting for me.....Fried Tomatoes! mmmmmm.  She cuts cherry tomatoes in half and makes the best batter for them and then deep fries the tomatoes. They come out piping hot and I can hardly wait to pop one in my mouth.  They are indescribably delicious!  It was so nice of her to greet me with such yumminess!  Tonight we are going out to see the local firework show.  Mountains and Fireworks --- sounds like a perfect evening!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Proof Positive

Today was just lovely.  My daughter and I had the most leisurely morning and then headed to Rhode Island to go to a State Beach. We picked one that has 7 miles of beachfront. Once we arrived we found proof that yes - massive amounts of people DID defect to the east coast yesterday!

The beach was filled solid.  We had trouble finding a place to put down 2 small towels! We carved out a small spot and then did what any one else would do when faced with thousands of people....we people watched. I mean with the diversity at that beach - the entertainment was endless. There were lots of cute kids - some were sand castle builders, some were sand castle destroyers and some just loved throwing sand. We watched people strolling in packs, couples strolling down the beach, sun worshippers, sun gods and goddesses. Pretty much representatives from all walks of life.  The sea gulls were really huge at this beach and particularly aggressive. We saw one man lose a sandwich right out of his hands! 
This one said....."Give me your Potato Chips and no one gets hurt"

Tomorrow we are off to the Coast Guard Academy bright and early and then after I say my good-byes, I am heading to Vermont to visit my sister and my sweet 6 year old nephew.  I am excited to see them. We have mountains to climb and lakes to swim in and lots of good food and fun to share with one another.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Eastern Seaboard must be Sinking

My daughter and I were on the road at precisely O' Dark-Thirty. It was a little bit of a challenge to let the 2 chocolate pups out at that hour and then find them in the darkness LOL.  All 3 puppies were SO good for the trip.  They were just the best puppy travelers.  Our trip was full of beautiful views.  We saw the sun rise.  We saw clouds linger heavily over the ponds and lakes in the early morning hours.  We saw beautiful mountains and gorgeous vistas.  We sang and laughed and listened to an awesome book tape and were in New Jersey in record time.  All the puppy families met us early and the morning could not have been more perfect.  I was so tickled to have such awesome prompt puppy families waiting for us and the puppies were excited to meet their new owners.  I got to meet the special needs child and he gave me the sign for "thank you" and I even got to hear him say his puppy's name, "Bo".  It was heartwarming and just made me feel so happy to see him love his new puppy.  My daughter and I quickly cleaned out our puppy mobile and were back on the road in no time.  We headed towards the George Washington Bridge...... yes - towards New York City on the beginning of the 4th of July weekend.  Now I am sure ALL of the people reading this who live ANYWHERE near NYC already know how horrible the rest of my story is - but I had NO idea what was in store for me. I didn't realize that the entire country was defecting and heading towards the eastern seaboard.  I didn't realize that freeway systems could hold six lanes of cars and trucks squeezed into 3 lanes.  I didn't realize that folding in my side mirrors would be necessary just to be able to fit in one of the new "lanes".  I also didn't realize that all the people defecting to the eastern seaboard took traveling at LESS than 15 mph as a standard way of life. OH MY GOODNESS!!!  It took us 2 hours to travel 25 miles.  It took longer for us to travel from New York City to Connecticut than it did for us to travel from Ohio to New Jersey! The most depressing thing was watching the GPS "time remaining" NEVER change.  At one point the GPS indicated that we had 65 minutes left of travel for over 90 minutes.  That is right. In 90 minutes of travel - our estimated time remaining didn't change by a single minute. Where did all these people come from?  Why were they all traveling Eastward?  How can the Eastern Seaboard support that many vehicles without sinking into the ocean? Almost 15 hours after we began our journey, we arrived at our hotel room. I did think that if I had traveled by plane, I could have made it to Europe or Australia or even China by the time I got to Connecticut.  The good news is that we suffered no fender benders as the multitudes of drivers we passed had encountered. We never ran out of gas, never ran out of food or water, or ran out of most excellent conversationsand laughter. We are happy to have arrived safely. I know we will both sleep soundly tonight!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Leaving at O'Dark Thirty

Tomorrow is the big day and I am heading east with my daughter to Connecticut.  We are taking 3 puppies with us and bringing them to their families along the way. That will save them at least a full day of driving.  The puppy mobile is back in business!!!!  Today has been a whirlwind of activity trying to get everything ready for our departure. I had to run tons of errands today and for some reason, I was always in the slow lane. I picked the wrong cashier at the pharmacy, I picked the shortest line at the grocery store only to be behind someone who needed to exchange her sugar for a different kind of sugar and question which 2 for $5.00 items she qualified for and which she didn't. She ended up asking to put things back and get different items. GRRR! I picked the slow lane at the bank too!  What gives?  Didn't everyone in line know I was in a super busy hurry?  I also had to drive out of town today to take my daughter to a swim meet.  She had an evening meet which really put the pressure on to get things done.  It is now almost 10:30 I just finished making S'more Bars for our car trip.  I have a few other things to whip up quickly before I go to bed. I also have a bit of packing left to do and I need to load the car tonight.  Tomorrow morning or rather tomorrow WAY before morning time, Mr. Yesteryear Acres is getting up with me to make me fresh coffee for the road. Awwwwww. He is the best!  He is also going to run the puppies around outside so they can all go to the bathroom before getting in the puppy mobile.  Our sweet little chocolate boy that we donated to the family with the special needs child gets to meet his new mommy tomorrow. She is so excited!  The other 2 families are excited too so that will definitely be a fun pit stop!  My daughter and I are ready with an awesome music playlist and a couple of cheesy summertime books on tape.  Let the road trip begin!!!! Coast Guard we come!