Category Archives: fun

The Great New Hampshire, Vermont Food Tour

The idea of eating our way across New Hampshire was all Glenn’s fault, who knows the way to The Professors heart: food. More specifically, after reading an article about the best doughnuts in every single state, he decided we needed to do our duty and find out.

You know, some people visit every state to run marathons. Apparently, doughnut tasting is more up our ally. I’ll have you know, I’m still running! In fact, doughnut-tasting family reunions is why I HAVE to run!

While Glenn, Kim, and darling children were visiting from Saudi Arabia (yes, it’s true. they really live there) we decided to make a day of it: find the best doughnuts in New Hampshire AND taste test across state lines.

Of course we didn’t hit all the hot spots, but we did taste test at EIGHT establishments. For heavens sakes, is this what your family vacations look like?

Are you ready to visit New England yet? Here goes: the great New Hampshire, Vermont Food Tour of Summer 2016. Courtesy of us. The piggies.

  1. Muriel’s Donuts in Lebanon, NH. This was the establishment that started it all. Rated as “#1 donut of New Hampshire,” the donuts were only 40 minutes up the road. Muriel is a cute, elderly woman working out of a tiny, but tidy, hovel, serving up warm, buttery, fluffy, melt-in-your mouth donuts (how the heck do you really spell “donut”?) Recommendation: Cinnamon sugar donut. Were they good? They were pretty darn good.

    o

    Before the cinnamon sugar…

2. King Arthur Flour Company. After the donuts we were ready for lunch! Oh man, for the love of all things baking – this store and cafe is a DREAM. Due to the large amount of flour I already had, I limited myself to one purchase: Amy’s Recommendation: a bag of Crystalized Ginger Bits ($15) for scones. Can’t wait!

The Professor's Lunch: Brie and Apple Sandwich on Homemade King Arthur Flour Bread for $7-8.

The Professor’s Lunch: Brie and Apple Sandwich on Homemade King Arthur Flour Bread for $7-8.

3. Ben and Jerry’s! This is a serious operation that includes a tour of the facility, complete with holstein cows in the pasture and an earth conscious message. It’s like a tiny amusement park that hosts hundreds and hundreds of people a day. This is because, well, the ice-cream is fantastic and the tour is fun! And the gift center is full of earthy tie-die hats and shirts. Amy’s Recommendation: Chocolate Therapy! ahhhhh, prepare to get wrecked.

4. Chocolate made us want more chocolate. It was off to Lake Champlain Chocolates in Waterbury, VT.  Featuring a “full selection of chocolates, a hot chocolate café, award-winning house made ice cream, hand-whipped fudge, Vermont souvenirs, and plenty of factory seconds.” Amy’s Recommendation: Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate, 54% Cacao, topped with Whipped Cream.

5. Next door? The Cabot Cheese Company in Waterbury, VT. Here we sampled no less than thirty cheeses. Amy’s Cheese Recommendation: Lamberton. I have no idea what that is exactly, but it was gooooood. Satisfyingly stuffed, we drove up the road to…

6. Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury-Stowe, VT. Oh my goodness, what a charming country store and mill, complete with free cider samples, gallon jugs to purchase, 50 cent apple cider donuts, and more Vermont cheese. Here is where my heart truly melted. I have to say, these were the best donuts of the day! Amy’s Recommendation: Fresh Pressed Cider and Apple Cider Donuts.

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Cope: “This is like, low-key, the best cheese I’ve ever had”

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Arthur-approved cider so you know it’s good!

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7. Simon Pearce Glassblowing and Restaurant, in Queechee VT. Needing a reprieve from food, we stopped to see the glassblowing and drool over the handmade pieces we’ll never be able to afford 🙂 Also cool, is the water mill that provides the power for the entire Simon Pearce operation. The restaurant is upscale and pricey, but well worth a visit for special occasions.

8. Dinner? The Skinny Pancake in Hanover, NH. The Skinny Pancake specializes in a plethora of savory and sweet crepes priced between $9-$12. Atmosphere is intimate and family friendly. Amy’s Recommendation: for sweet, The Lovemaker, featuring strawberries, nutella, and whipped cream (do you like the name? :). Can’t go wrong. For savory, The Pizza Crepe. Huge kid hit. And guess what? Any crepe can be made with their gluten-free batter!

9. It was a good thing Morano’s Gelato in Hanover, NH was closed, but I’ve got to include it here because it’s hands-down the best gelato I’ve ever eaten, including my samples in Europe – it’s THAT GOOD. Amy’s Recommendation: Dark Chocolate and Sweet Milk or Hazelnut. The combination is unbelievably swoon-worthy.

Dark Chocolate and Sweet Milk Gelato for $3.89

Dark Chocolate and Sweet Milk Gelato for $3.89

We rolled ourselves home and collapsed into bed after a full day of gluttony. If you need Boston recommendations, I could do that too 🙂 But this is a bit more off the beaten path and a way to experience authentic New England in New Hampshire and Vermont.

We’ve been swimming and running ever since – I swear! But I’m considering a change of profession to food critic.

Enjoy! Questions? I’ll attempt to answer. Hope your summer is as tasty as ours!

xoxo

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Our Little House on the Prairie Moment

I’ve missed you all; can’t seem to catch a breath and write down my blogging thoughts.

It’s late and time for sleep, but I’m savoring summer as I look at these pictures I found on my camera.
The other day.  The sun was just thinking about setting, and the earth looked magnificent in the late summer light.

Soon, this tall grass would be cut down and dried into hay.

“Go run through the field like Little House on the Prairie,” I told the girls. Before the grass is gone.  And the cows eat it.
So my fearless Brynne took off into the field, not knowing what lay beyond that blade of grass or the next.

My eldest is just shy of an inch as tall as me.  The grass was high.

Now hold hands and walk to me while I sing the music…du du du-du…du du du…you know the theme song… Look – It’s Laura, Mary, and Carrie!
It took, like, a million shots because every time they ran to me they fell down. Over. and over. and over.  And laughed a lot.  Then they did it on purpose because Mom was taking pictures and it was just fun to run and fall in really tall grass.
So I took pictures of the magnificent sky.
Ah!  I almost galloped into the sunset myself.

Setting, setting, almost gone…
Is that Carrie’s foot?

Du du du-du, du du du…

They were itchy and scratchy by the end.  It was a moment we laughed about all night.

Then, the very next week, the grass was cut, dried, fluffed, and baled.  I’m really glad we got our Little House moment in.  You can never have too many of those.

Making any good memories this week?  

It’s our last full week before school.  I cry.  

Listen up summer. If you have to leave us, can we at least make it long good-bye?

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How to Keep Daddy Young: Go Sledding

Miles Run:  3
How that feels on a treadmill: 6
Temp: -10 with windchill
Whine Factor:  Do you have to ask?

This arctic blast is killing me.  That is such hyperbole, but I’m suffering.  Suffering, I tell you.  I do not want to leave my house for any reason.  Not even for a free dinner at the dining hall.  We made fried fish for dinner.  It was gross.  I refused to bring Cope to a school event b/c it was too cold.  She is still mad at me.  I’m dreaming of cancun.  Or even 20 degrees.  How can we bear such trials?

Let’s think on happier times.  Like when Daddy turned into a 10-year-old.

It was Christmas break.  The cousins had arrived!  And it snowed!

Sledding was the only answer.
Someone wasn’t so sure this was going to be fun

But the boy was ready!

Cope carefully manuevered down the hill

And then Daddy hopped on his sled and went flyin’ like he was in the Grand Prix!

My mouth sometimes drops open at the pure glee…you know those times when husband says, “I’m 10 again!”  It sparks happiness inside me.
“I’m 11 for the first time and this is awesome!”
Now all it takes for Dad to get a little more wild is to add another dad or two

There were lots of collisions and crashing

And it’s all good!

Brynne brings out the daredevil in us all.
But I’m telling you now, the days of me flying down a hill face-first?  Over.

Those days aren’t over for Daddy!

Not for this guy either

Daddy?  I’m still not so sure about this

Wild woman

Let’s both be 10!

Are you talking to me?

Then pregnant mama gets into the action.  No, this is not me.

There was some questionable behavior

Hold on, small child!  It will soon be over.

And for the grand finale?  Daddy takes Paige down for the ride of her life.

Faster and faster they fly. Isn’t this fun, baby?  Yes, you can hold on to my leg for dear life.

We’ll go faster and faster and faster!  Maybe go over a some bumps.

Bail out, bail out!  Wasn’t that a blast, Paige?

Yep, you were right Daddy, that was the best!
You can make it up to me by burning the Christmas tree
And we all danced around the fire in our…coats and boots.  It may have been a little Lord of the Flyish.  But no one wore a loin cloth or put a pig on a stick.  That already happened this summer.  And come to think of it, that also involved Daddy.

Let it snow!  And go sled.  Be young.  And make sure to laugh.  Doesn’t that fire look warm?
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A Soccer Season and Those Amazing Women

Miles run in fresh snow:  5.5

How you’ll feel running in fresh snow:  Like a freakin’ Amazon women 🙂  

Early in the morning, I texted…do you want to still go?  Buddy texts back…get your shoes on!  And this, dear friends, is why we absolutely need our women friends.  Need, not want.

I guess the snow marks the official end of the soccer season.  Green fields are covered this morning, leaves are wet with white, and my afternoons are spent editing instead of driving to practice everyday.  I must say, I don’t miss the rushing, but every few days I’ll feel a pang for the soccer field on a fall afternoon, a season that is always far too short.
I wonder if my kids think soccer is a choice?  We just play and we just love it!  Nelson is really getting the game, working on some fancy footwork with the occasional ninja move.

This was the first year Brynne was on a real team.  You know, where you’re supposed to actually pass the ball.  But they all want the ball so badly. The effect is a giant buzzing beehive that weaves all together around the field.  It cracks me up.  My feisty girl goes after it and my heart beats a little faster when I see that look on her face.  The best:  “Mom, oh my gosh, when’s my next game?  I LOVE soccer!!!”
This is my “get in the picture” moment with some of my soccer kids right before playing a tournament on a real turf field.  They were pretty psyched. That’s my Cope next to me on the right.  Good times with my 8th grader, friends, good times.  I have coached her since kindergarten.  It was a bittersweet ending.

One particular day, as we headed out to a field after a very long bus ride, I pulled out a piece of paper and started writing.  This works in my team’s favor as writing things down has a way of keeping me from going mad.  And I say that with the deepest affection for my soccer darlings.  

A typical five minutes:
Do you have an extra pair of socks?
Amy, your phone is ringing
Coach?  Um, I forgot what I was going to say
I lost my mouthguard
I feel so fat right now
My mouthguard was in my bra strap!
My knee brace is on the bus
This is the worst field ever
Do we seriously have to play on that?
This is the coolest water fountain ever
My knee hurts
Can I go in?
Can I go in?
Can I go in?
Me:  If you ask me that one more time…
Okay, okay!
Can I go in?
Can I take a nap?
Can we go play on the playground?
Can we go to McDonald’s after the game?
I love you, Amy!
Can I go in now?
You’re so mean, Coach!
I have to go to the bathroom
I forgot my cleats
My tooth hurts
Can we redo that one?
I left my jacket at school
Will you hold my rings?
Do you have scissors to cut my mouthguard?

This year Cope was asked to do some reffing for her little sister’s team.  Psyched.

And then.  There was the real highlight of my year:  The annual invite to play against the Proctor Academy varsity girl’s soccer team.

Us old girls get so ridiculously excited we start jumping up and down while clapping.  Or maybe that’s just me.  We rearrange schedules, grab that babysitter or drag the kids with us.  This is a game that must happen.

Yesterday I read that exercise is better than Prozac.  Endorphins cannot be imitated.  Just sayin’.
White vs. Green.  We had to take some Proctor players as there were only five of us old girls.  Here I am laughing at Mindy because she was stripping clothes off.  It was very, very cold.

Here’s the green team thinking they are going to kick our butts.  For the first time I can remember, they did.  boo hoo!  But just by 1 goal!

And now let me introduce you to some women you want to know:
This is Mindy.  That’s an athlete. Last year I went to her 50th birthday party.  I have a very clear memory of her taking me running right after I had Nelson.  As we ran up a hill in the woods, I was huffing and puffing behind her.  She yelled over her shoulder, are you walking????  No…no…no…just dying back here…not walking…We call Mindy the energizer bunny because she just. keeps. going.  A relentless soccer player, no one outworks her. Even when she’s having an asthema attack. We have played on many a soccer game together.

That’s Pinkie in white, about to take out Eva.  Look at that girl!  She’s such an athlete. Pinkie was one of my players when I coached at Proctor.  As an alum, she’s still a force and one formidable striker.  BOOM.

Here’s Lindsey, playing for two, while almost 5 months pregnant with her third child.  Don’t worry, she plays smart and doesn’t get hurt.  But she can’t not play!  As a Gordon College soccer star she was the leading scorer in the nation…is that right, Lindsey???  She even had a stint with the Boston Breakers women’s professional league.  You know what she does now?  She’s a mom.  Love.  But she’s still got moves and I watch her in awe.  She claps with me.

Mel, assistant coach of the girl’s team.  You don’t mess with Mel.  I don’t think you mess with any goalie, really. Nerves of steel.  She’ll kick your butt any day.  When she has the ball you start running far, far ahead ’cause she can get it to you!

#32 is Sarah, recruited to the field by her English students.  Sarah is in her late 50’s and here she is kicking, dribbling, and passing.  “You know,” she said after the game, “I guess it’s good we’re even out here.  We could be sitting.”

Not all my girls were there.  Some were missing.  Meredith, Lindsey B….we missed you…you’re my team too.  These women surrounding me don’t even know the power of their influence.  I’m sure I’ve never told them.  But I often thank God that I have them.  Just by watching them, they inspire, push, get me outside, get me moving when I don’t feel like it, when I don’t want to go, when I’m too tired, when my motivation is low.  

My mother didn’t have women around her like this and she often laments how she wishes more girls played sports when she was young.  

Yes, we are lucky to have each other.

And even as time passes and every year I feel my soccer game is getting less stellar with less practice, I reprimand myself.  Is it not a gift that one is even able to lace up shoes?  To run, to move, to jump and touch the sky…it’s all a gift. Today.  Maybe not tomorrow.
When my girls yell, “Go Mama!” as I run down the field, I smile the widest. I hope it’s a memory that stays sharp and focused, comes to mind when they think of their mother.  So that one day, when they’re mothers too, they’ll reach for their shoes and go outside, and play.

I used to get mad when I didn’t win, but even that competitive streak is waning. It is all coming full circle as I become more like a child who runs, simply because I love to play with you.

Thank you, freakin’ amazon warrior women.  All of ya!

Love, from me.
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Banned Book Week and a GIVE-AWAY!

Have I mentioned I have a book problem?
One of my favorites!  Found for a steal at a local second-hand bookstore.
Most of us will never go on an African safari, travel down the nile, or fly on a broom during a full moon.  And that is why we read; to go to those other, beautiful worlds.  We read books to go to brutal worlds too, where our brothers and sisters live.  They show us how truly lucky we are.  They show us beauty among ashes.  

Some books find their way onto Banned library lists.  Julia told me about a few and I was shocked – who could object to To Kill a Mockingbird? or Bridge to Terebithia?

Now, aren’t you glad we have educator who look out for our children?  I am.  I rarely say no to a book my child wants to read, but there are some my kids aren’t ready for yet; I’ve banned them – but just for a bit.

Aren’t you thankful to live in a country where expression is free?  Speech is largely uncensored, our children, male and female have the privilege of going to a free public school, where they are given books.  They learn to read and write.  We are the 99%.

Brynne is learning the art of words to get the things she has to have…

Paige is learning the letter A.  Here’s a great article on why reading by third grade is critical and what you can do to help children meet that deadline. 

Now, let us celebrate Banned book week by having a give-away!

Yippee!

Some of these books I absolutely love and a few I haven’t even read yet.  I want you to choose a book you want to win, read it, then tell me if you liked it, loved it, or want to ban it from your bookshelf.

The Rules:
In the comment section, tell me your 1st choice book and your 2nd choice.  If you want another book, leave another comment and tell me you shared info. via social media. That’s it!  Isn’t this fun?
The line-up:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salenger:  Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists.

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan (fave!) In memories that rise like wisps of ghosts, LuLing Young searches for the name of her mother, the daughter of the Famous Bonesetter from the Mouth of the Mountain….

How to Write a Thriller by Scott Mariani

The History of Love by Nicole Kruauss. A New York Times Bestseller

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  A New York Times Bestseller

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (fave) #1 New York Times Bestseller

The Color Purple by Alice Walker.  A best seller and frequently banned book

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie.  Mystery’s #1 Bestseller

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.  An old 1961 edition, bestseller and frequently banned book

The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan.  A middle grade, captivating fantasy.

And….the last book…

The 12 Powers of Deliberate Mothering. The foreward is by #1 New York Times best selling author, Linda Eyre.  The rest of the book is a collection of essays by different mothers.  And yours truly (that’s me 🙂 has six whole paragraphs of contribution!  I know you want this book.  Honestly, the essays are really, really good. I haven’t even seen it yet…but you can be one of the first.

I tried to get a good mix to give, and it was really, really hard to choose. So.  Get your comments on and tell me what you want by Thursday, Oct. 4th.  I will announce the winners by Oct 6th, the last day of banned book week.

xoxo!

P.S.  These books are not brand new, but they are in excellent condition.  They have come right off my bookshelf.  And hey, if the pioneer woman can give away shirts from her closet and get 5,000 comments, I can give away my books, right???

P.P.S.  My race was great Saturday.  The write-up is coming!

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Beware of Being Nice?

My brother-in-law has a theory:  “For every nice thing you do for your child, they will punish you for it.”

At the time he said it, I was confused.  What do you mean?  That’s a little cynical, don’t you think?  But as time went by, I started paying attention to all the “wonderful and nice” things I do for my children.

When I pack their lunches they often say, “I hate that!”  When we take them on a fun trip they fight in the car.  When I buy them one thing at the store, they often get upset that they can’t have TWO things.  I seem to vacillate between being the recipient of two statments…”Oh, thank you Mommy, you’re the BEST Mommy in the world!” and “You’re so mean!”

It is often baffling to me how I can be a witch and Glenda the Good Fairy within the same ten minutes.

I’m really into chore charts, making kids weed, having children vacuum their own rooms because I believe this makes me less of a doormat and them more capable and thus, more confident.  And clean.  

Lately though, I decided that I wanted to work on having more “fun” with my kids.  My head swirled with wonderful activities we could do together.  I downloaded Kelle Hampton’s Petco Scavenger Hunt (FUN idea!).  For everything I’m trying to teach, I also want my children to remember their mother smiling and having fun with them.

This month on powerofmoms.com the author call-out theme is, “How Do You Have Fun With Your Kids?”  Perfect, I thought.  I’d do something fun and submit my story.

I picked Sunday, not traditionally a “fun” day in our house, more of a collapse after church day.  Every Sunday afternoon Gregor and I take a long afternoon nap.  When I’m not yelling down the stairs to “Be Quiet!” or “Paige, do not open my door to ask me about licorice,” Sunday naptime has to happen for us all to coexist.  

I also decided, that Sunday dinners would become more special.  “Yes!” Nelson shouted, “Does that mean no more spaghetti?”  I guess we have too much spaghetti.  So, with “fun” on my mind, I woke up from my Sunday nap and hopped downstairs.  Inspired by Shawni’s International Nights of food, I chose Chinese to cook for dinner.  The kids were super duper double dog decker excited about that one –  they love all things Chinese food.  Even the bad buffet lines.  They love it all.

Now, waking up from my Sunday naps is usually not a fun experience.  Leaving four children downstairs for two hours is a dangerous proposition, but there you have it.  I need the nap more than I need the house clean.

But instead of wallowing in the overwhelming sea of oh my gosh what have you done to this house…I swallowed and smiled.  Today was going to be fun.  Taking pictures always helps me see the lighter side.
This is only the kitchen.  The entire living room was a very impressive-looking fort.  The other side of the kitchen was a ship made out of the table and chairs.  Cope also decided she would make her first skirt with her brand new sewing machine.  She’s never made clothing of any sort before.  I did appreciate her go-getter attitude.

It didn’t quite turn out.  She didn’t know that the fabric was supposed to be doubled.  “I’m so bad at this domesticity!” she wailed.  I hear ya’ girl, I hear ya.  It takes a lifetime to master, honey.  And I never did master the sewing and that’s why I stay far, far away from sewing projects.  That is why I have my sister-in-law Kimmy.  The skirt barely fit Paige, but still, way to try, Cope.

Quick, quick, I said, clean up time so we can have Chinese! They actually hustled with excitement.

Time to move on to our very easy Chinese dinner. Yum.
I found this idea on Pinterest, I think.  Fortunes cooked in rolls!  I put Nelson in charge of writing the fortunes which he whole-heartedly embraced with great gusto and glee.  Yes, dangerous, but FUN nonetheless.  

Write the fortune on a little piece of paper and fold in a tiny square of tin foil.

In the mean time, Grandpa showed up for dinner with summer produce.  Hooray!  Making the evening that much more fun.

That Sunday morning, I took out a frozen loaf of bread (3 for $3.99 at grocery store) and let it rise during the day.  After my nap it was ready to be cut up into eight rolls.  Easy.  The kids always tell me how good my bread recipe is so you should feel very lucky that I shared it with you.

Flatten out the roll, put the tin foil fortune into the roll.  Fold dough up and put on greased pan.  Cook 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
Uncle Ian came over for games of chess in the backyard.  Love having their pictures taken.  Fun.

I admired the swiss chard that was sitting the sink, then froze it for the next day’s Vitamix concoction.

The stir fry came together quickly.  The rice was plucky and fluffy.

And was so delicious.  It really was a hit with the whole family.  Easy recipe:
Ginger (didn’t have fresh; used dry)

Garlic (minced…to taste)

stir fry in a little oil

Add chicken and saute to cook through

add chopped red pepper
sauce:

1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

red pepper flakes

Mix together and add to stir fry. Sauce will thicken after a minute or two

Then add some dry roasted peanuts and scallions.


Serve over rice.
Thanks, Shawni!

I also made frozen egg rolls.  They were fair.
Gregor cut up the squash and made this amazing spicy Chinese dish, but I really couldn’t tell you how.



The biggest hit of the night was…

Nelson’s fortunes.

Baked inside these beauties were small nuggets of a better life and future…

Mine said, “Good things are being said about you…somewhere.”

I’ll have to always remember how much fun it was to have Grandpa open the fortune roll that said, “It is a bad sign when someone says, ‘you’re ugly.'”

Grandpa is a very good sport.

With our Sunday dinner almost completed, I looked around the table and felt a swell of family love.  Everyone was laughing, talking, chowing down. The light was low, the table had been set and even had a tablecloth.  We used cloth napkins and matching cups.  Yes, a success.  It was decided that our Sunday meals would be a little more special from now on.

My eyes wandered around the table, resting on Gregor who gave me a smile.  We went around the room and asked, “What did you learn today?” and my favorite, “Who did you help today?”  Then my eyes came to rest on Nelson.  He had laughed like Shrek’s donkey and scarfed down so much food he was swaying back and forth with happy delirium.

“Oh…” he moaned, “Can I go lay down?”

“Sit,” I said.  “You’re not getting out of dishes.”  I’m convinced my children are masters at being sick at opportune times.

“I really don’t feel good,” he said, patting his stomach.

He got the look.

Minutes went by and when his mom wasn’t looking, the boy wandered into the living room and flopped on the couch.  I took note of his whereabouts and turned back to our dinner.  Until I heard this noise.  It was that noise.  I looked over to see Nelson leaning over the couch and hurling food out of his mouth.  His entire dinner, all the contents of his stomach came up.  It kept coming…and coming…and coming.

I have never seen so much food come out of a person.

I looked at Gregor.  “Oh…Nelson,” he lamented.  “Why didn’t you grab the bowl?”  (We have empathy issues.)

“You have to clean that up,” I said to Gregor, while yelling to Nelson, “So sorry buddy!”

Gregor went into the living room, turned around, and walked back in the kitchen gagging.  “Can’t. do. it,” he choked out.  This has been Gregor’s one annoying trait since we were engaged. (Yep!  He only has one 🙂 He really did come a long way in our marriage.  For instance, he managed to hold my hair when I threw up every morning pregnant with Cope.  He changed diapers, wiped up spit-up, and scrubbed poop off carpet.  I’ve been so proud of his progress.

But these skills have obviously been under-used and gotten rusty.

So I went into the living room and I’m not joking, I had to run right back out my gag reflex was so intense.  My eyes watered, my nose was so overpowered by the smell that I had to force myself to keep it in.

And so, dear 76-year-old Grandpa, asked for a bowl and a scraper and went to work cleaning up the vomit of his grandson.  I have had very few moments when I felt so ashamed.  But still, even that shame couldn’t get me back into the living room.  

Arthur, I’m so very sorry.

Well, Nelson stayed on the couch and fell sleep.  The rest of us ate brownies and ice-cream.

We did have fun.

We were punished.

No, I did not submit my “fun” story.  It was better here anyway, where I really live.

One thing I vow to continue:  We will continue to have better and higher-quality Sunday dinners where we sit around the table like a Norman Rockwell painting meeting an episode of Parenthood.

But at the back of my mind I am circling back to my brother-in-law’s comment.  “For every fun thing you do for your child, they will punish you for it.”

I’m sorry to say, Curt, that you just might be right.  I’m still holding out a teensy weensy bit of hope though…

This weekend I am running away to NYC with husband.  The children are not coming.  Uncle Ian is in charge…Good luck, honey.  

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