Memorial Day Camping Weekend

We are back from a long (and FUN) camping weekend.  We spent last week getting geared up for it – MiMi and Grampy stocked up the camper while Avery and I made some goodies to pack.

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Avery was a big helper making apple chips.  Yes, he took a bite out of almost every one before putting them on the tray.
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That batch of apple chips barely lasted Friday afternoon – Avery devoured them as soon as we got to camp and shared them with his friends.  I’ll make two batches next trip. And if you noticed Avery’s face in the last picture…IMG_6491

He also helped me make cookies and since stirring is hard work, some flour escaped the bowl.

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Friday morning came and Avery was so excited…. that he just kept sleeping and sleeping.IMG_6499

I even tried my ‘mommy tactics on him – opened the window, turned on the lights… but he was still snoozing.  I guess he knew he had a big camping weekend ahead of him and he needed to stock up on sleep!  Friday at noon, we were off!  Grampy and I (Mimi had to work all day and joined us later Friday night) picked Avery up at daycare (which Avery thought was pretty cool since we had the camper with us!).IMG_6501

(Oh, Avery looks like a grump in this picture because he’s making a “Pokey Face”)

Just over an hour later, we pulled into the campground – and we were the first ones there! (first ones in our group – we had 6 sites reserved for my Papa’s side of the family – my Mom’s Dad).  After setting up the camper, we headed off to the railroad track.
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We stayed at River’s Bend, in New Haven VT.  It’s very secluded along a river, but there is a train track and bridge near the entrance.IMG_6506

We climbed up the hill and I snagged a couple good pictures of these two.

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I wouldn’t dare walk over the bridge part – eek too high.  But Grampy and Joseph did.

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Avery and I stayed on the tracks and I almost got a very poetic picture of Avery on the tracks, then the dogs photobombed it.

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We put down pennies and dimes for the train to flatten.  We went back on Saturday and we found them all – smushed.  Avery and Joseph (my cousin) thought it was pretty cool!
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To bring our first day camping to a close, we did popcorn over the fire…IMG_6518

Good thing we brought two bags of it because the first one exploded, haha.  Avery and Grampy enjoyed their usual nighttime snack.IMG_6520

The rest of the weekend was a blur of fun… lots of fishing, playing in the sand, kayaking, playing with family – cornhole and woffleball and some new game called KamnJam.  Avery skipped rocks in the water and rode his bike around with Joseph.  They played soccer and with this helicopter spinner Avery would let off and Joseph or Mia would catch.

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Grampy finally caught a couple fish.  Avery had so much fun playing with his second cousins – ‘my friends’ as he calls them.  He woke up Sunday morning and asked ‘where are my friends?’ since they only came for the day on Saturday and had left that night.  He really loves playing with them.

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Avery, Grampy, and I spent hours looking for fish.  I took this picture a split second before Avery fell in right there.  It was too funny.  He had a soaked pantleg (just one) and a shoe. We were all laughing.  The water wasn’t deep so he didn’t get far and his pants dried before we got back to camp.IMG_6536

The river was so low in places that we walked out to islands like this a couple times.  We found broken pottery, dug holes making rivers and floating sticks and leaves down – so much fun.IMG_6564

And Avery and I went out in the kayak 4 times I think… one time we even took Frasier along!

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I didn’t carry my phone around with me, so there aren’t pictures of every second of the weekend, but that’s what camping is all about – leaving work, and housework, and electronics at home and enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with – and we sure did that.

We closed the weekend with smores… oh and catching a frog – the second one of the weekend.IMG_6566

Thank you Johnson Family for such a fun camping weekend.  Sunday afternoon while I was baking up a storm for the week and Avery was playing play doh, he says ‘I want to go camping’.  I think he had fun 🙂

❤ Meghan

Surprises and Easter!

We started April off with a bunch of surprises – and not just any surprises… ones that had been in the works for MONTHS!

On just a typical Wednesday afternoon, Avery and I went out and instead of heading to a friend’s house (Kate, I used you as a cover!), we went to the airport to pick up MiMi’s birthday present.

Months ago, Grampy and I were talking about what to do for MiMi’s big 50th birthday and we decided on a dinner of close friends.  While we were running names, Mina’s name came up (she worked with MiMi as a teacher here in VT, had a baby last summer (Charlie), and moved back to Reno, Nevada), and we knew Mom would love to have her here, so I wung it and asked Mina if she would like to come (and Charlie too), and they accepted our invitation!!!

So, sneakily, Avery and I picked them up from the airport, and brought them home to surprise MiMi!  We had been planning for months, and the weekend before, I got to buy baby food and diapers for Charlie’s stay!
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Avery was very excited for our friends coming!  We picked up a couple things for Charlie’s Easter basket, and a few ‘baby’ animals for Avery and headed to the airport to watch the plane come in.IMG_5810

Avery took this picture! (see the BUSY airport behind me and the tiny animals?)IMG_5817

Burlington Airport is very small and not busy at all.  We only saw two big planes come in during an hour wait.  Avery had fun watching a small plane do touch and gos tho from the observation tower.IMG_5819

They arrived and we headed home! MiMi was so very happy when we arrived – there were tears 🙂IMG_5841
Mina and Charlie stayed with us for a week.  We converted half the finished basement into a room for them – and thanks to hoarding all of Avery’s baby stuff, we had everything they needed!

Charlie is 9 months, so he was sitting up, putting everything in his mouth – such a sweet age!
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I had the pleasure of making Charlie and Mina breakfast and lunch a couple days – he was so cute eating finger foods like hot dogs, scrambled eggs, and mac n cheese.IMG_5824

Oh and I got to fold his tiny baby clothes!!! So so so cute!IMG_5830

On Friday, Avery got a surprise – his 3 (second) cousins came over to play!  My cousins had a death in the family and asked me to watch their kiddos for the afternoon.  Avery had fun playing outside with them and later having pizza and a movie (our Friday night tradition).IMG_5838

We got snow Friday night, so Saturday we played outside with Charlie – it was his first real experience with snow!IMG_5843

Avery and Grampy had snowball fights and Charlie took a sled ride.IMG_5851

Saturday morning I took Avery to the town common for the Easter Egg Hunt – we met our friends Joayn and her son Caleb there.  After they gathered all the eggs and got bags of goodies, we went to their grandparents house so the boys could play and we had coffee and chatted – so fun.

Then it was back to surprise plotting because I had to pick up more supplies at the store (I got most of them the weekend before) for MiMi’s surprise party that night!

Mina made an excuse to get Mom out of the house with them, and then the party planning began!  Grampy made four different yummy meats,  Sarah and Jonathan and their friends Kelly and Amanda came with decorations and gifts and desert.  I made appetizers (I tried to keep it healthy with fruit and veggies and dips) and Charlie approved…

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The guests came with a dish each (thank you everyone!!!).  When MiMi got back home, we had a house full of people, and food!  MiMi was surprised and we all had a great time celebrating her big milestone with her.

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Avery helped her open presents… some socks, gift cards, lottery tickets, and lots of wine!IMG_5979
Sunday we celebrated Easter, and it was Charlie’s first!  Avery got a basket from the Easter Bunny filled with goodies.

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He got new underwear (The Easter Bunny must have known his current ones were getting tight!), chocolate eggs with characters inside, a ball set, and eggs that grow animals!IMG_5858

Avery was very excited about the chocolate eggs – he bit one and got the toy from inside and didn’t want the rest of the chocolate.  These eggs were months in the making – Avery always watches these youtube videos of eggs with tiny characters inside, but they don’t make them in the US, so we found them in China and had them shipped here a month ahead of time.  It was worth it, because so far Avery has opened two eggs, both cars from the Disney movie ‘Cars’ were inside and he loves playing with them.

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Charlie got shaker eggs and a bunny rabbit!  And two packages arrived with Easter books for the boys!IMG_5866

He seemed to enjoy them, just not the bunny ears – they barely lasted long enough to take this picture!

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MiMi and Grampy made a big Easter Linner (Lunch+Dinner, served early afternoon) and we got all dressed up for our family and friends to arrive.IMG_5880

I was so proud of Avery, he kept his tie on even though he complained ‘its hurting me!’… it was a clip on, and the shirt collar was big on his neck, so dramatic!

The kids at the kids table…

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And the big adults table…IMG_5882IMG_5883

The kiddos had a fun egg hunt downstairs…IMG_5888

And Avery worked very hard the two weeks before Easter making the Egg Piniata…

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He kept asking every time we put a layer on if he could smash it… well he finally got his chance to!

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Charlie even took a few swings – and after two rounds, there was candy everywhere!

The surprises ended when on MiMi’s actual birthday, Grampy gave her two handmade aderondak chairs with their names engraved.  I was sitting in them this afternoon actually… oh see all the snow is finally gone!!!
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Now that all the surprises are out, I’m back to the blog.  So much sneaking around took lots of time and effort!  Next up… the plan for saving for our house!!!  It’s already in the works, just gotta bring everyone up to speed and get back on my monthly updates for it 🙂

Oh and a big thanks for everyones congrats on paying off my loans – so exciting and glad to share it with everyone!

❤ Meghan

Sun and Fun

I love Vermont, and how we get to experience all 5 seasons (for you flatlanders, the 5th is mud season), but man, this winter has been tough!  It’s been below freezing for two months straight, which means we can’t go outside for too long and add in the fact that I work from home, so I rarely get out – well it has caused some serious cabin fever.  It’s March, a week away from the first day of spring and this is what it looks like outside…

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So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we left that snowy wonderland behind us for the warm west coast! So on a wintery wednesday, I spent the morning packing a bag with short sleeve shirts, capris, and sunglasses (later dubbed ‘Averyators’, thanks to Robin).

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So that afternoon, we spent our first hour (of many for this vaca) in an airport headed for warmer climates…

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Since we flew out of VT, it’s a small airport and we had to transfer, so two flights, and a couple zzz’s later…

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(we flew over Vegas on our way… a little foreshadowing…)IMG_5396

We were in the sunny OC!

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Avery stayed back with MiMi and Grampy while Steve and I (who have been planning this for mooooonths and talking about it since the summer, before we were dating) visited our friends from high school, Robin and Nate.  Now let’s preface this big reunion vacation with a little backstory…

Robin, Steve, and I went to elementary school together.  Robin and I were the bestest of friends – my family practically adopted her.  She went camping with us when we vacationed.  Her pet rabbit lived with my rabbit at my house.  She ‘taught’ me how to ski. She called my Dad ‘Chef Boyardee.” Good times.  (Oh and maybe this is a good time to mention Steve and I went to before/after school daycare together where he sneakily stole my first kiss!!! But he broke up with me on the school bus – a bunch of times, so needless to say, that didn’t last long)

When Robin went to a different high school than Steve and I, we kept in touch, but then I met Nate (he had gone to a elem school in another town)… why or how Nate and I became close friends is beyond me.  But when Robin transfered to our highschool, I introduced her to Nate.  They fell in love, and after graduation, moved to California.  So essentially, I lost both of my best friends.  We all lost touch over the years.

Fast forward ten years, Robin and Nate (finally) got married last summer – in Vermont.  So to my surprise, Steve was there too.  We hit it off and started Friday Night Wine Nights together – so all summer we caught up (and tried some good and bad wines), and what do you know, we eventually fell for each other(Awe).  It was only fitting that Robin and Nate repaid the favor I did them 10 years ago 😛

Soooo ever since their wedding, we had been playing around with the idea to visit them.  And so, we did.  We booked the flights and flew out there with no agenda… no plans whatsoever.

We stayed with Robin and Nate’s in their adorable house…

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We met their two pets, who Avery was more interested to see when I face timed with him than me.  Abby:

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And Kunta.

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We had four fun-filled days with them.  Some of the highlights…

Fried Pickles!  After hours and hours on planes and in airports, Nate and Robin picked us up late Wednesday night and we went to dinner and introduced them to our fave app.

Drag Racing Nate’s New Car! After meanduring around a mall for the afternoon, the men endulged in some racing fun.

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We look so happy in this pic… at this point we didn’t know we’d be stuck in the car for 6 hours days later.

Nate and Steve found this place with a drag strip where you can race your own cars.  They signed their life away and Robin and I watched from the stands as they tried to beat other cars.

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Laguna Beach!

We rode down to the beach in Nate’s fancy smancy Camero.IMG_5405

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We walked around and checked out a few stores (I got and sent two post cards to Avery and my Grandma), then walked the sandy beach.IMG_5406

We sooo lucked out with weather.  It was litterally 90 degrees warmer than in was in VT.  70s in Cali and -20 to -30 in VT.IMG_5413

To say we were happy was an understatement.

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We were in loooove.IMG_5416IMG_5419

We picked some seashells for Avery (he loved them and brought them to school to show off)

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The water was cold, but bearable.  I mean, common, we spent hours at the beach in February!!

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Awe.  Aren’t the newlyweds too cute! (Nate was actually trying to push her in…)IMG_5426

We loved it so much, we thought we would just stay and buy this fixer upper…

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We washed up and had some drinks and food right on the beach.IMG_5439IMG_5445

When we got back to their place, we were raring to go out to the Lakers game that night….IMG_5447

Lakers Game!

Before heading to the game, we visited my second cousin Kellee and her two kiddos and two dogs.  She’s the daughter-in law of my Uncle John, the one I’m buying the house from.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person!  Then it was off to fight traffic on the way to  LA.

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Robin and Nate had got us all tickets to the game that night, and not just any tickets…IMG_5458

Yep, we were THAT close.IMG_5460

mandatory ‘We’re Sitting THIS Close” photo to prove it.IMG_5461

We had drinks and prezels and smoozed with Denzel and Mark Walberg. (no, really, they were there!)

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And we even made it on the big screen!!!  I was waving and smiling and Steve was like what?

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The game was very close and exciting.  I’ve been to Celtics games, and even sat in box seats thanks to my company, but these seats… amazing!!!IMG_5466

Oh and on our long ride into LA for the game, we decided, hey, we don’t have plans for the weekend, so let’s go to Vegas.  And…. we did.

Vegas!

6am the next morning, we were on the road headed to Sin City!IMG_5468

Steve had never been, the rest of us had, so we were on a mission to show Steve what Vegas was all about.  The ride was just over 4 hours… lots of nothing to look at on the way….

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A random pitstop along the way…

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We arrived, and stayed at the Aria, one of the new hotels.  I wanted to stay at Treasure Island, but they had been booked – can’t blame them, we booked a hotel the day before going!

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So smansy, we walked into the hotel room and the window curtain opened up and music turned on… we weren’t in Kansas Vermont anymore!IMG_5483

We went exploring on the strip, and our first stop was the M&M store!

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I got Avery these M&Ms, personalized with his name (he was thrilled when I brought them home)

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“Oh hey, we’re in Vegas” selfie with New York New York behind us.IMG_5480

After lots of exploring, we sat down for some food on the strip.IMG_5482

After some napping and slot machine fun (not! we lost $11 and called it a night), we headed off to Fremont Street.IMG_5488

So many lights… and so many people!

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Nate and Steve did the Zip Line…

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Then it was back to the strip to visit the Bellagio fountains and atrium.IMG_5493IMG_5494

And then we did what any kid-free couple does late at night while in Vegas…. we grabbed some food, a six-pack, and headed back to our hotel room.IMG_5505

I think my fave part of the trip, other than all the laughing between all four of us all vaca, was relaxing in bed the next morning… ahh sleeping in is sooooo nice.

Before we headed out, we endulged in some more candy and chocolate….IMG_5506IMG_5507

Then began our 24 hour journey home.  We drove back to the OC, which took forever!  We were tired and sick of sitting before we even got to the airport.  Demonstration… Left, on the way TO Vegas.  Right, on the way BACK from Vegas.IMG_5511

Other than oodles of traffic, we saw a fun road sign.  IMG_5512

And it didn’t rain allll vacation, until we got in that car to drive back.  Good timing.

Our flight back to Newark was delayed a little bit, then 4 hours later in Newark (now morning on the east coast), we had a 6 hour layover thanks to a delayed plane.IMG_5514

When we were on the final plane ride home, we were a bit excited… and tired!IMG_5515

We finally got into VT 24 hours after we had left Vegas.  We only had a few hours of sleep while on the planes (I cannot sleep on planes) and it took us the next week to catch up on sleep I think.  I was excited to see Avery when we got in though.  MiMi had kept him home from preschool so he could meet us at the airport – he ran up to me and told me about the planes he was watching and he wouldn’t let me go.  Such a fun vacation, but we will be VERY happy if we don’t see an airport for a while… good thing our next visit with Robin and Nate will be here in Vermont after we buy the new house this fall!

❤ Meghan