Category Archives: New Hampshire

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.

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    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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The Incredible Matt Nathanson’s Benefit Concert for Uganda

DSC_0925 The guitars sat quietly, waiting for the masters to start strumming their strings

DSC_0712When Matt and Aaron (childhood buddy and bandmate) take the stage, the storytelling begins. I’ve never seen anyone engage an audience the way Matt does.

DSC_0884Matt had just arrived from New York City. He was on campus to sing a benefit concert. All the proceeds from ticket sales are going to Uganda to help build a well, a project Gregor and his social entrepreneur class spearheaded after we met the inspirational Andrew Briggs, President of Freedom in Creation, and Peter Odoch last year. It’s really, really exciting to think of a village finally getting fresh drinking water – that we could rally and be a part of that.DSC_0716 In one night we raised over $18,000! DSC_0850 Matt and Aaron brought the house down!DSC_0835 DSC_0837 Raise your hands and get ready to clap for hit song, Faster!DSC_0889 The woman I sat by flew all the way from Houston by herself to see Matt up close! DSC_0907 The other very exciting part of this night was that I shot all of these photos in Manual mode (yes, I got off automatic!) It’s very difficult to shoot in the dark with a moving rockstar. Luckily, a camera pro (Taylor!), switched my settings and explained light and ISO (which is like speaking to me in Russian). Amy must take baby steps…DSC_0904 DSC_0917 DSC_0894 DSC_0922What a show! I’ve seen Matt perform many times, starting almost 20 years ago in college when my soon-to-be-fiance introduced me to his childhood buddy, a budding rockstar. It’s been amazing to watch Matt pursue his dream, to hear his voice, lyrics, and musical talent grow.

At commencement a few years ago, (he’s an alum) Matt “implored us to do the work it takes to achieve dreams. Our culture, he observed, celebrates mediocrity. We must not settle, however, for anything other than our personal best. Fear stifles the creativity and motivation needed to excel; we must learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable!”

Want to hear him singing last night? Hashtag Matt Nathanson or Proctor Academy on Instagram (including mine!) So fantastic!

After the concert Matt and Gregor had a near-midnight swim at Elbow Pond where the waters were so high it came through the floorboards of the dock. Of course they used Dr. Bronner’s pepperment soap!

I could not be convinced to take the plunge into a New Hampshire river in the middle of the night in October. Not even for a rock star.

Nelson gladly gave up his room for the man. The next morning Matt was mobbed at breakfast and lunch, from giggly girls wanting autographs, and a student who had his beautiful guitar signed with a sharpie 🙂 Yes, my friends, dreams were fulfilled this morning.

photo (1) My kids got into the spirit of things, asking for their own autographs…photoI found Paige tonight, taping hers onto the wall (she’s being a witch in a play.)

Matt is now off to London for a week “to write.” Dreamy. His new album with hit single “Headphones” (oh, I LOVE this song!) is being released in January and he’ll be going on tour next summer. If you get the chance – go. Matt Nathanson is a one-of-a-kind artist, a storyteller with a killer voice, some dance moves, and he knows how to strum a guitar!

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Sugar Season in a Small Town

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Every year, as February becomes March, our hearts begin to feel just a little bit giddy with anticipation. Down the road we wait for The Sign. When The Sign comes out it means that The Sugar Man is boiling!

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Yes, those are pet llamas.

Before I was swept from the west by a certain professorial boy, I thought syrup came from a factory. Maple and trees and sap happened in books, maybe. I don’t know. I was reading The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High.

I grew up happily eating Mrs. Butterworth or some other generic variety. When I came to live in the sticks I saw buckets attached to trees and it was explained to me that the trees were dripping sugar that we were going to eat. is this for real?

The real stuff is so superior to the fake stuff that it took me a few years to like it. Saying that kind of thing in these pahts will get you looks of shock, pity, and a gasp or too – “Oh No!” It’s simply not done! In New England we eat real syrup boiled down from real sap procured from real maple trees. THE END.

The Sugar Man puts out the sign in March, after a long marathon of winter. All winter he and his crew have been checking buckets, sap lines, and taps. And every year is different than the rest. You need specific temperatures of cold and then a good thaw so the sap can run. It’s the life of a farmer: Some years are better than others with big bounty highs and disappointing lows that can kill a business. It’s part of the thrill.

When we see The Sign we travel down a gravel road that turns to dirt that turns to mud. Which is why March in this little town is also called “Mud Season,” a season to get your van stuck in the mud repeatedly with four children in the backseat shrieking, laughing, fighting, singing, and asking when we’ll get there. I love mud season. Because I love doing laundry.

Mud Season though, is better than Black Fly Season. A season which can make you go insane.

Mud Season you see, has amber waves of syrup.

DSC_0311This is Eric’s “The Sugar Man’s” Sugar Shack. Eric built it himself. It was a hobby that turned into an award-winning business. Why, his Tucker Mountain Maple, is a 1st place winner at the Sandwich Fair!

I just think it’s great that there is a town named Sandwich.

boards

Before we can get to the sugar house we have to traverse the mud by way of long boards, which is a rather exciting adventure for children and their Mama, too.

Public Service Announcement: You do not walk to the sugar shack in heels, flip flops, or anything white or adorable. Just believe me on this one.

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We know we’ve arrived by way of the giant maple leaf

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Walking into the sugar house, we are greeted by a warm mist mingled with the most divine smell…of sugar. Pure dark maple sugar that has been boiled down from sap that comes from trees – isn’t that remarkable?

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Here is Eric’s sugar record. The first year he put in 140 taps and got 24 gallons. Every year since he’s done better than the one before except for 2012 where we had the weirdest cold and warm spells and very little sap flowed.

So sad! Without sap there can be no syrup. We managed to procure a precious bottle and rationed it carefully for a whole year. Sometimes we have to hide the good stuff…

Boiling day is when we get to taste the fruits of The Sugar Man’s efforts. Eric and Heidi and their two girls, and volunteer sap collectors have long days collecting sap. Some seasons, especially when there is a record sap flow, there is very little sleep, just long days and nights of boiling and boiling and collecting and boiling.

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Of course, we have to do our part and drink those little sacrament cups of maple syrup samples. Preach!

There are different grades of sap and syrup. The lighter colored sap is the most desirable and will sell the best. The darker grade is rich and rustic and comes at the end as the tree is getting tired and running low, so it’s considered a lower grade.

When we take the little cup, the children look at their Mom – really? you’re letting us just drink sugar? Yes, darlings. Drink! Be filled! It’s plant based, right? It came from the trees!

It always reminds me of Buddy the Elf.

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And then we try the maple cream. Oh my goodness. On those cold, wet, dreary March days, standing in front of the wood burning stove drinking sugar and tasting maple cream dripped pretzels feels something like a Laura Ingalls storybook.

Eric, a former teacher and logger, and now an educator for NH Logger Association, used to chop all the wood himself and feed a wood fire evaporator and stove to boil the syrup. But now our Sugar Man uses pellets because it’s easier and he has ALS and needs it to be easier. We don’t worry of these things, or future sugar seasons.

A few months ago he said to me, “We’ll just go as long as we can go.”

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So that’s what we do too. We go as long as we can go. We enjoy the season we’re in, this glorious season of sugar.

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IMG_2903The Sugar Man and his Papa Sugar.

On the next warm weekend The Sugar Man and his troops will spray out all the sap buckets, a messy, wet, muddy process that marks the end of a glorious sugar season in a small New England town.

 

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The Dog Days of Winter

We are bundled up in the house today – It’s a snow day! It’s like Christmas, the children bouncing out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. snow

There was a dart fight, polly pockets, barbies, Pinterest browsing, a rowdy game of tag – all before 9 a.m. Then I made them feed the chickens, clean up the one million darts and polly pieces, and practice the piano because it’s not really Christmas and I’m mean like that.

I like snow, but I’m sorry, winter…it’s time we spend some time apart. Thankfully we have the Olympics. Shaun White, Nick!, Julia Mancuso, the Russians pairs last night! Heartbreak and Jubilation. I love it all, stay up way too late, and often fall asleep on the couch.

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I do have to say, it’s breathtakingly beautiful after a snowfall.

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Tenny does not think it’s too cold. He could frolic with his friend, Reubens, all day long.

hen

It’s so cold the hens don’t want to leave their coop. I don’t fault them for this as I try to never leave the house. They also stop laying as much unless they have light. Even a regular lightbulb will encourage laying. I find that fascinating!

hay

Cope took this picture of me. Hauling hay out of the barn for chicken and bunny warmth. I tell you, the roles we play in life…

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Here’s my girl getting her basketball on. This is really her first time playing on a team except one short stint in elementary. She is proud of the eight points she has scored this season! Sadly, she got a concussion two weeks ago and is out of play for a bit. This also means I haul the hay.

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Nelson is also a baller. My heart jumps and sinks with every swoosh in the net, and near-basket that only almost goes in. I watch his face light up when coach puts him in. I tell you, small moments mean so much. They can live for months on a game-changing play, when all their buddies slap them on the back. The reverse is true, too. Oh, the emotion of the game!

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Here Nellie boy tries out for a summer AAU team. My heart was pounding, both of us sweating with anticipation…please don’t cut my boy! Oh, it’s hard for a middle school boy who lives for sports. He’s small, but runs his guts out. He made the team 🙂 Thank you, Coach!

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When it’s too cold to go outside, we pay money to give our mother multiple heart attacks. Here Brynne flips at a local gym. I hate this. I just do. 

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Paige finds a quiet place to read. In the closet. Sometimes you just have to carve out your own space, don’t you?

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Valentine making for the big day tomorrow. However, another storm in coming, followed by freezing rain, followed by another winter storm. Pounding! The girls are very sad not to go for their valentine party 🙁 And I can’t make my fruit heart. Wah!

Knowing the storm was coming, I had to get my long run in this morning. Thankfully my running buddy is back! Our run went from cold to enjoyable to grueling as the storm began to chase us down the road.

The snow under our feet made the miles feel like we were running in sand, making our hamstrings and calves burn with lactic acid. At 15 degrees, it was so cold, that my left hand went numb by mile 11. I knew I was going to pay dearly for it. Even with a hat and a face warmer, our hair and faces were covered with frost. So grueling.dead

“Mother, are you alive?”

I wasn’t so sure, walking into the house and collapsing on a pile of polly pocket pieces and Lala Loopsies. My hand was hurting so badly I thought I had frostbite and it was going to fall off. Remember being a little kid and your hands were so cold they hurt? Cope has no memory of this ever happening to her. Gloves must be made better these days. The thawing out process produced many painful sounds and noises from my mouth as I rolled around on the carpet, finally finding solace parked in front of the fireplace until I could feel my fingers. The children stared at me, eyes wide, wondering what their mother had turned into. They scurried to procure chocolate milk and peanut butter.

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Rendered useless. Though it was hard, I’m grateful I have legs to run down winter roads. It seems like just yesterday that I was nursing babies or terribly sleep-deprived from changing wet beds in the middle of the night, and all I needed was a little break to walk down the road, some fresh air and sunshine. Now, my babes are old enough to take care of each other while I go traverse country roads in the snow. If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry. Enjoy your stage. Shawni reminds me that Life is Long. There is a season for everything. It does occur to me that perhaps you will never look forward to running in snow…

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I begged Cope to give me this wrist band. I wear it at all times, to remind me that spring will be here soon, and I will be glad for the miles run when I meet the Rocky Mountains in April. Sometimes, to feel inspired, I listen to Martin Luther King’s last speech, I Have Been to the Mountain Top. I have been to the mountaintop…and I have seen the promised land!

Amen.

Come back tomorrow – I have a cookie recipe that will get you through the winter. It has a special ingredient that will knock your Sorel boots right off your feet!

xoxo!

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For the Love of Fall. And Soccer.

With all six family members involved in soccer this fall, it was a bit.insane.and wonderful.  There is nothing like being out on the soccer field late afternoon with the sun hitting your face, leaves falling, balls hitting your face…no really, it’s grand.
This year I coached my son’s co-ed 7th and 8th grade team of 30 kids: 6 girls, 24 boys.  We practiced everyday after school.  And did a lot of push-ups.  I feel very badly that this is the only picture I took.  Not one picture of my boy playing soccer. And this isn’t even his shoe. Oh dear.  I was so busy on the sideline that I never pulled out the camera.  Now the memory of boy on field is lost forever…except in my mind. Which is you know, iffy. 
 
Next year I shall be better. They can handle their own substitutions.

 

We’ll get back to soccer.  But first let’s talk about apple pie.  Shall we?

 

And webs. I discovered Charlotte in her web one morning.  I had to stop the car and pull over and take pictures while the tractors drove around me.  Wow, huh? Actually, I couldn’t even find Charlotte, but didn’t she do good work?

 

Different editing for different looks.

 

Our spooky road in morning fog.  It brought the headless horseman to mind.

 

Back to the web.

 

Just one more. I was so impressed at such intricate detail.  Tell me, how does a spider do that? I’m fascinated.

 

More fog.

 

I love how the light hit the fog and this white birch tree.

 

And we interrupt spider webs and foggy Fall mornings for more soccer.  Here’s my girl playing high school soccer.  I might just weep after writing that.  Right away she pulled her hamstring (and mom said absolutely nothing about summer conditioning. ha.) and after two agonizing weeks of sitting the bench she was back in action.

 

Up for the ball and off it goes, four girls suspended in air…

 

See the goalie with the ball?  It’s best not to get in a goalie’s way. Run!

 

Then there was this girl.  My Braveheart. There were not enough girls to make a full team so it became co-ed.  In the end, I think it was very good for her.

 

I’m here! Pass!

 

Listen, Buster.  You’re not takin’ the ball from me!

 

Love this one.  Fly!

 

After an early Saturday morning run, before all the soccer began, I grabbed my camera, and went up the hill. I had to get these New England shots. The white houses and red barn doors.

 

The morning light was so gorgeous.

 

Country roads, take me home

 

To the place where I belong

 

Paige was the only one who would leave the warm house on an early Saturday morning and get in the cold car with her Mama. She said, “You love me most of all, don’t you, Mama?  Because I came with you.”

 

I follow Coach around like the paparazzi.  He sure does love it.  So does Jon.  Jon teaches Mandarin to my daughter.  Ni hao. 

 

Coach talks, boys flash thumbs-up sign. We got you, Coach!

 

This one played soccer, kind of.  But her favorite part was the water pump she could stick her tongue under during breaks.  And her socks.  She liked her stripes. She spent most of soccer being upset that people who were supposed to be her friend took the ball away or kicked the ball at her stomach.  How rude! Ah, it’s a hard way to live.

 

The last Fall harvest. I actually grew carrots and pumpkins!  And the chickens are laying eggs.  We have an overabundance of eggs.  Like, way too many.  I need recipes. Raise your hand if you want eggs.  I’m serious.

 

iphone pictures.  I love having a phone that captures the small and wonderful daily moments.  Instagram posting is just way too fun.

 

This is the only other picture I captured of my team.  We went on a lot of bus rides together.  Dare I say I miss it?  

 

My assistant and I talked strategy the whole way there and back.

 

Alas, soccer has ended except for the high school teams.  We are a bit sad. My afternoons are vastly different.

 

There she goes!  Into that pack of boys.  Girls, remember, we are all athletes.
 
Happy Fall!

 

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For the Love of Fall. And Soccer.

With all six family members involved in soccer this fall, it was a bit.insane.and wonderful.  There is nothing like being out on the soccer field late afternoon with the sun hitting your face, leaves falling, balls hitting your face…no really, it’s grand.
This year I coached my son’s co-ed 7th and 8th grade team of 30 kids: 6 girls, 24 boys.  We practiced everyday after school.  And did a lot of push-ups.  I feel very badly that this is the only picture I took.  Not one picture of my boy playing soccer. And this isn’t even his shoe. Oh dear.  I was so busy on the sideline that I never pulled out the camera.  Now the memory of boy on field is lost forever…except in my mind. Which is you know, iffy. 

Next year I shall be better. They can handle their own substitutions.

We’ll get back to soccer.  But first let’s talk about apple pie.  Shall we?

And webs. I discovered Charlotte in her web one morning.  I had to stop the car and pull over and take pictures while the tractors drove around me.  Wow, huh? Actually, I couldn’t even find Charlotte, but didn’t she do good work?

Different editing for different looks.

Our spooky road in morning fog.  It brought the headless horseman to mind.

Back to the web.

Just one more. I was so impressed at such intricate detail.  Tell me, how does a spider do that? I’m fascinated.

More fog.

I love how the light hit the fog and this white birch tree.

And we interrupt spider webs and foggy Fall mornings for more soccer.  Here’s my girl playing high school soccer.  I might just weep after writing that.  Right away she pulled her hamstring (and mom said absolutely nothing about summer conditioning. ha.) and after two agonizing weeks of sitting the bench she was back in action.

Up for the ball and off it goes, four girls suspended in air…

See the goalie with the ball?  It’s best not to get in a goalie’s way. Run!

Then there was this girl.  My Braveheart. There were not enough girls to make a full team so it became co-ed.  In the end, I think it was very good for her.

I’m here! Pass!

Listen, Buster.  You’re not takin’ the ball from me!

Love this one.  Fly!

After an early Saturday morning run, before all the soccer began, I grabbed my camera, and went up the hill. I had to get these New England shots. The white houses and red barn doors.

The morning light was so gorgeous.

Country roads, take me home

To the place where I belong

Paige was the only one who would leave the warm house on an early Saturday morning and get in the cold car with her Mama. She said, “You love me most of all, don’t you, Mama?  Because I came with you.”

I follow Coach around like the paparazzi.  He sure does love it.  So does Jon.  Jon teaches Mandarin to my daughter.  Ni hao. 

Coach talks, boys flash thumbs-up sign. We got you, Coach!

This one played soccer, kind of.  But her favorite part was the water pump she could stick her tongue under during breaks.  And her socks.  She liked her stripes. She spent most of soccer being upset that people who were supposed to be her friend took the ball away or kicked the ball at her stomach.  How rude! Ah, it’s a hard way to live.

The last Fall harvest. I actually grew carrots and pumpkins!  And the chickens are laying eggs.  We have an overabundance of eggs.  Like, way too many.  I need recipes. Raise your hand if you want eggs.  I’m serious.

iphone pictures.  I love having a phone that captures the small and wonderful daily moments.  Instagram posting is just way too fun.

This is the only other picture I captured of my team.  We went on a lot of bus rides together.  Dare I say I miss it?  

My assistant and I talked strategy the whole way there and back.

Alas, soccer has ended except for the high school teams.  We are a bit sad. My afternoons are vastly different.

There she goes!  Into that pack of boys.  Girls, remember, we are all athletes.

Happy Fall!

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May Came

At least that’s what the calendar says…and now June is almost here. School activities are keeping us running and busy with field trips and end-of-year celebrations.  Mother nature is keeping us busy with planting, weeding, and tree climbing.  Make sure you get that last on in.  Life was meant to be enjoyed in a tree!

Last month was barren and cold and suddenly it’s blooming and beautiful.  

We decided to put the chicks out so they could get some fresh air.  But really, it was all about me; they are so smelly and stinky I needed them OUT.
Tenny, of course, was going crazy.  The sight of a bird makes him lose all rational thought.  He spots a robin and is off like a race car, speeding and careening until the robin cheeps with delight before flying away.  Such a tease.  We put a chicken fence around the chicks as a safe guard.  The natural dog inside Tenny has not yet been overcome.

“Mom, I think we should put Tenny inside,” Brynne said.

“He’s fine,” I said.  They can’t get out and he can’t get in.”

You already know this isn’t going to end well, don’t you?

Aren’t they cute?

I am not going to tell you the end of the story yet, because it’s a tragic one that will detract from the lovely blossom pictures I’m now going to focus on:  
Today I’m focusing on the happy things.

But in my mind I can still hear the screaming…

Let us now focus on the running in our lives.  There has been lots and lots of running this month – wahoo, it’s been so exciting.
This was Cope’s last year at her little elementary/middle school, and her last year running track (no track at her high school…so sad.)  She was a super star, running the mile run.  She won her first race (I may have been a little teary-eyed b/c watching my children run does something terribly wonderful to me), and here she came in third.  She gained A LOT of confidence this year, was well-coached, learned strategy, and how to find her pace.  There are so many great lessons learned from athletics.

She qualified for the state meet and ran her personal record of 6:09.  What a great season!
Nellie, also on the track team for the first time, bonded with his sister on long bus rides, and ran the mile, the 800 (2 laps), and threw javelin (the highlight of his life – a long spear he was actually encouraged to use.)  He missed qualifying for the state meet by .2 seconds (like the snap of your finger).  

This boy is so fast, he has a long running life ahead of him…he may have even beat his mother this weekend at a 5k.  Twice.  He ran a 21:50 5k today…I just couldn’t catch him!

I tend to be more…vocal at track meets.  Here, Daddy watches with that phone in his ear.

The girls were always super-excited to stay for long track meets.

Last month was blah and barren.  And now the world is lush and beautiful.

I found a turtle in the middle of the road.  Did you know that keeping a snapping turtle in NH carries a $10,000 fine?  I sent one to school and was promptly told this information.  Why does this make me laugh?

While older kids went to track practice, girls ran home to Mama.  One of my favorite parts of the day.

Apple blossoms bloomed

Dandelions bloomed and were picked in big bouquets

I can’t seem to do a million things at once, and lost my mind several times.  My dear mother-in-law had to turn off the oven after I was 40 minutes away and realized I was cooking English muffins.  Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Brynnie boo had a birthday!  Donuts on a string….

The black flies attacked Paige and her ear swelled three times its normal size

And the girls ate the donuts with gusto.  Happy Birthday, Brynnie!  This is kind of a lame birthday post, but I love ya, girl – you know I do!

I’m not sure why this is so fun, but it has been vastly entertaining.

Especially when it pops repeatedly in sister’s face

Waah!  My ear hurts.

In bloom

The climber of trees

I’ve been after the kids for running outside with their dirty feet and then coming inside with their dirty feet and then running up the cream carpet with their dirty feet…

Sometimes I think I just need to let it go.  But something inside of me just can’t do it.  My solution is…they WEAR shoes when they go outside.  Is that so wrong?
This is supposedly a weed

For one week out of the year, this crab apple tree blooms the most beautiful pink blossoms

And we must pick them and swing from tree’s branches.  And the tree is happy.
I like this quote:

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. 
-Rachel Carson

Why does the sight of Daddy mowing the lawn make me so happy?
I can’t stop loving them, either.

May came.
Happy May.
xo.

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When in New Hampshuh’

Miles Run:  5.3
Icicles hanging from eyelashes:  10
It was so so cold this morning.  My face hurt, my hands hurt.  Good thing my running buddy was back from Florida.  She had a tan.  
New Hampshuh’ is a place of extreme weather and frost heaves (the very bumpy roads in March due to freezing and thawing of roads) that prompt immediate labor.  It’s no wonder Nelson was born so quickly the Dr. still had shampoo in his hair and Paige was born in the triage room.  April and March babies!

We are expecting another monster storm tonight.  Aren’t you jealous?
I should not be excited, but I am so happy to sleep in, tucked away under covers while snow falls.  Early morning, freezing-cold runs make sleeping in delicious.   That’s Paige up there.  In the blizzard.

Even doggie has a hard time getting out.  That’s snow that drifted up to the door.

Isn’t it fun playing outside????

Nelson does his duty

Cope does her duty…wait a minute…
When the snow finally stops it’s mighty pretty

Though snow fall creates havoc with the gutters

When in New Hampshuh’, you look for New Hampshuh’ adventures.  Especially when Grandma is visiting.  We love putting stupid hats on Grandma.  It’s the New Hampshuh’ way.  We went exploring in Narnia and got lost and were scared by a herd of cattle and one angry bull.  It wouldn’t have been a bad way to go.

In New Hampshuh’ ice fishin’ is practically a religion.  This is on the lake we swim at all summer.  Isn’t that a cute little ice house?  No one seemed to be home.

What’s inside an ice house?  Coffee, of course.  When you’re getting up at 5 a.m. in the pitch black with freezing temps, to go fishin’, you might need that pick-me-up.  I wonder if they’ve heard of green smoothies?

Peek-a-boo…

This guy was out drilling holes so he could fish.

Inside the little ice houses are holes in the floor.  Then you can sit in your little house with your fishing pole submerged in water, chawin’ with your buddies.
Two children were good children and continued on with the adventure.  Hoping the ice really was frozen all the way across.  We trudged out to blueberry island, an island we swim to in the summer for a super work-out.  Trudging was a super work-out as well.

Fishin’ poles

This is my favorite ice house.

Which way does the wind blow?

I’m exhausted, mom!

Amazing what can still grow in freezing temperatures.

What were those other children doing during the adventure?  Don’t they look excited?

At least they were reading, right?
And then I walked home so I could check on the maple sugar taps.  They’re not really my taps. They’re Eric’s, the sugar man’s.  I just like to see them working.

Getting sophisticated with these lines.  When the temps go up, the sap will flow.  And we shall have our pure maple syrup.

Mother earth, can you please hurry up?  It’s pancake time!
Classic New Hampshuh’

Nice, friendly welcome sign.  

Just know if you ever want to come visit me, I won’t shoot.  I’ll say, “Welcome to New Hampshuh’.”

We’ll talk about the Red Sox.  And the pitchuh’ and the catchuh’.

If you’re a teachuh’, your students will ask if they can go get a drink at the bubbluh’.

And kids go to kindahgahwten, not kindergarten.

Our honeymoon was driving across the country so Gregor (Greguh’) could start his new job at Hogwarts.  I cried all the way from Des  Moines :).  He anxiously patted my hand and drove into our future at the same time.

My first time at church the Sunday school teachuh’ talked about manner from heaven.  “Manner?” I asked Gregor.  “Manna,” he said, pinching me.  I found it greatly disturbing.
I’ve been here (he’uh) almost 16(!) years (ye’uhs) and the phonetical occurrence still cracks me up.  Wicked bad.  Thank you, Greguh’ for explaining what “phonetical occurrence” is.  Love my English major boy.

Good night – hope you get to sleep in tomorrow, too!





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Fit Tip Monday: Quad Burner for the Stroller Mama

13 years ago I met my best friend:
Meet The Zipper.  Zipper has been with me through all four babies.  Ever faithful, Zipper is still going strong.  She may not be the envy of the new-fangled strollers, but baby after baby, I could never trade Zipper in for something newer or fancier. She’s been rained on, puked on, peed on.  Tipped over, pushed, and pulled.  Zipper has broken straps, pollen-stained fabric, and small holes where squirrels have chewed through when I left baby snacks.  The Zipper and I will be together to the end.


Zipper kept me sane through the looooong days when I had small children at home and HAD to get out, even if it was just to walk to the post office.  She was great in summer, spring, fall and winter.  Rain, sun, or snow, she kept going.  Sometimes there was a baby on my back, a baby strapped in front, and a baby in the Zipper.  We got up hill and down, around town and back again.

Even now, with a 40lb “baby,” Zipper can help a mama get a great work-out in.  Today’s special:  the quad burner.  

First, make sure to acknowledge the sun.  Good morning, sunshine.  Ah….

Then, whether she likes it or not, get that babe in her seat!

Take pictures for proof…

That you really did walk a mile up hill and back again (uphill both ways) in snow…stop every now and then to take deep gasping breaths while telling Rumpelstiltskin for the 100th time.  Walking up a hill, even with the fanciest of jogging strollers, pushing a large child will guarantee a quality quadricep burn.

Throw a carrot at Bob.  But maybe take a bit first for sustenance. 

At some point while walking up the never-ending hill, make large child walk so she can feel that satisfying quad burn, too.

Hello sunshine, trying to walk here…

For variety, walk in deep snow.  Make sure to sink in real deep.  Forge your own trail!  Feel the burn!

Continue to walk in the deep snowbanks, or follow along pushing stroller.  If you bend your knees while walking downhill, the burn will kick in extra-quick.

Just for fun, do a couple of summersaults down the snowbanks.

For an extra quad work-out, run in deep snowbanks.  Oh, make sure you’re wearing your bundle pajamas.  That way, no snow can get down your socks or disappear in your boots.

This was where I was really going…the lunge.  While pushing large child in stroller, do 10 walking lunges, each leg.  Repeat.  Go slow.  Never let the knee go past the toe or there is major knee ligament strain.  Get DOWN, nice and LOW, but don’t let that back leg touch the ground.  Are you feeling it?  

I have often wondered what my neighbors think of me when I’m taking walks and lunging.  The cows moo and the buffalo snort.  Whatevs.  Don’t you care a lick about what anyone thinks when you’re lunging down the road.  You’re getting your quad work-out in! 

Females especially need to keep that knee joint in place by have strong quads and hamstrings.  The lunge is one of the best lower-body exercises – with ONE exercise, you are strengthening your BUTT, your QUADS, and your HAMSTRINGS.  
Lunge.

When you’re out of breath and can’t do no more, give a little more effort and have a snowball fight with giant snowballs.
Best work-out ever.
And like I used to ask all my students…how many muscles make up the quadricep?  You wouldn’t believe the great answers I’ve gotten!

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Monday Fit Tip: Inexpensive Running Gloves

I know it’s cold, but you still gotta get out there. Before we know it, spring will be here and you will be happy your were faithful! 
As much as I love running gear, here’s a little secret:  You can get away with just a little.
This is a 2-pack from Old Navy for $2.50.  

When I run in the winter, my hands start out tucked into little balls underneath the arm sleeve of my thumbed running shirt.

Eventually my hands begin to emerge until they are all the way out of my thumb tabs.  Sometimes the gloves get peeled half-way off, sometimes all the way off.

You sweat when you run.  Your body warms you up.  Gloves are necessary for a winter run, but cheap, cotton gloves usually work just fine unless it’s super-duper cold.  Like in Alaska.  Then I’d opt for a running mitten with a removable top.

But don’t wait until you have the perfect glove.  Your body knows what to do.  

I know it’s cold.  Block that thought out.  That winter run is going to release happy endorphins for a cold and dreary winter’s day.  I’m writing this to psych myself up for tomorrow when the cold Canada wind is swooping down.  Down.  Down.  Which reminds me, Downton Abby anyone?  We taped it to watch for tonight!  Wahoo…hey, that can be your run reward.  Deal.

p.s.  I suggest polka-dot.  If the run doesn’t make you happy, the dots will.

p.p.s.  Cope says that I never write about her.  Honey, this one’s for you:  The $100 Dollar Allowance.

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