Archive for August, 2008

Jarring Experience

During the time it took a toddler and 5 year old to nap, I transformed 14lbs of cukes from this:

To this:

10 quarts of pickles (three of refrigerator garlic pickles, the rest of them sealed-in-jar kosher dills). The eleventh jar burst in the canner — I knew something was wrong when there were pickle slices floating all around the jars as they were processing.


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Our anniversary was this week. So many things have changed since the wonderful day when we married. We now have a family of three fun kids, we’ve moved away from city we met and lived in, we have raised and said goodbye to our dog, Calvin. We’ve learned how to fix up a house, grow a garden, raise chickens, and use power tools. Through all this change and growth, some things haven’t changed. We’re still in love. We’re still best friends and we still don’t like to clean our house.

Looking back on that perfect August day in 1994, I wish I knew then, what I do now. That my wedding day wasn’t going to be the best day of my life (and it really was!), but the start of a lifetime full of best days and fun adventures with my favorite man. Happy Anniversary, hub.

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Road Trip – Jamestown

Our day at Williamsburg was followed by a visit to Jamestown the next day. The drive down Colonial Highway was so pretty. For miles, there is nothing to see but trees and swampland and the river. When we arrived, the museum was large and air conditioned! We spent much time indoors, looking at the exhibits and viewing the film about Jamestown. Then we headed out into the heat.

The boats were amazing to us all.

I can’t imagine spending months on board one of these. Oh, how it must have tossed at sea! My boys discovered one way that the men amused themselves on board.

We walked up to the fort afterwards. I was captivated by the buildings — many had thatched roofs! My children, of course, were captivated by the armor.

As much as we liked Williamsburg, we had more fun at Jamestown — mainly because of the large, air-conditioned museum but also because of the diversity of things to explore — a powhatan village, ships, and a fort. It was a good history lesson for all of us.

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Yesterday was a big day on all fronts. Not only was it the first day of school, it was Mojo’s birthday.

She proudly wore her first gift of the day. The previous day, we had a family party for the August birthdays at my in-law’s house. Aunt Pretty gave her a cheese in the shape of a cow.

My child loves cheese. Her first word was “cheez.” For Christmas one year, when she was a toddler, I wrapped up a bag of shredded cheese and put it under the tree at her grandparents as a joke. When she unwrapped it, she was psyched! Toddling around, eyes ablaze, waving her bag of chedder and crowing “CHEEZ!!!” — all the other presents paled in comparison. Clearly, this is still the case.

Happy birthday, Mojo! As I watch you grow older and brighter each year, I realize that you are a very cool girl, indeed. You tackle every task with competence and determination. Your drawings, which are covered with hearts, rainbows, unicorns, and flowers, warm my heart. Your love and enthusiasm for the world is a wonder to behold. I am in awe of you each day and am very lucky to be your mom.

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First Day

Today is the day — back to school! This day is extra-special this year as my youngest starts kindergarten. This will also be the only year with all three of my children in the same school.

I picture many more mornings where they eagerly walk together to start their day. Welcome to the big world, little Oli. It’s a lot of fun out there.

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Road Trip – Williamsburg

Nancy joined us for our day at Colonial Williamsburg. I went there several years ago with Nancy but neither John nor the kids had ever been. I had considered costuming my group for this day but the reality of Virginia in August let me off the hook. No one would have worn long, hot clothes. Certainly not without complaint. And hot it was! Hot enough to die from the heat.

Or at least pretend to be dead while in the graveyard. Given that the day was in the high 90’s, some of the favorite activities involved water. Oli was captivated by the gourd dipper at the farmhouse.

And all my children helped water the vegetable garden.

I’m sure the gardener was pleased to see three eager children to water his rows for him. Can after can was dumped on carrots, peppers and beans. It gave me a new appreciation for how easy it is to just spray a hose on the garden instead of carrying heavy cans. Even so, my poor garden suffers from drought. Maybe I should pull out a rain barrel and some cans and let the kids have at it?

We all enjoyed looking into the different shops. Mojo got to try out a side saddle.

It seems to me that it would be much harder to ride than just straddling the horse.

They all practiced throwing hatchets.

By the end of the day everyone was wilting from the heat. After a quick time out in the gaol everyone was ready to call it a day.

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Road Trip – Richmond

After leaving the Shenandoah Valley, we headed across the state toward a suburb or Richmond, VA — home of our good friends, Wat and Nancy. Our visits with them are always fun. They live in a charming town north of the city. Train tracks run through the center with cute little shops on both sides of the tracks.

The kids love to visit because Wat & Nancy have an endless pool. While my children did not swim laps in it, they did like to hold onto the bar, let go, and be whisked across the pool.

They could have spent all day in the pool. I dare say that Wat found playing with the trio in the water even more of a workout than swimming laps.

Nancy set up an indoor campground in her den for the kids. This was to prepare them for our pending camp out in Virginia Beach.

Or maybe it was to spoil them. Nan’s campground had cozy mattresses, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, and no mosquitos or dirt. After sleeping in this posh tent for two nights, my kids had in inflated notion of what camping entails.

We spent an afternoon exploring some fun shops. The Galaxy Diner in Carytown was a hit. Fried pickles and their homemade chips rounded out our meal.

After eating, we had to go to a toy store and vintage clothes store and try on some hats:

One evening there was a concert on the town green. We walked there with chairs and blankets and stayed until dark.

Some of my other favorite highlights were walking to Ashland Coffee & Tea with just Nancy and Mojo and yummy Mexican food & margaritas at a local restaurant. DNA watched his first X-Files episode with us which was just perfect. Before we moved away from Boston, before I even had children, many, many Sunday evenings were spent watching the X-Files together in Wat & Nancy’s living room. It was our weekly tradition and I found it very fitting to introduce my boy to an old favorite with them.

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