A Grateful November Walk


On Friday, my husband and I took the day off from work to volunteer for Junior Achievement Day at our son's school.   (Junior Achievement is a national non-profit organization that teaches business, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy to children in grades K - 12.)  When I learned that our school's PTO was looking for volunteers  to come into the classroom, I immediately signed us up!  Fortunate for us, we were the only parents to sign up for my son's class, and so we had the pleasure to teach little Lewie and his classmates!

The first-grade Junior Achievement theme was "JA Our Families," and so we taught lessons about family, community, needs vs. wants, goods vs. services, and entrepreneurship.  During the final exercise, the children had to work in teams to design their own birthday cake store.  They had to answer questions such as, What will you name the store, and how much money will you charge for your birthday cakes?  It was interesting to hear their responses; Lewie's team called themselves "The Big Cake Shop" and they decided to charge $5 per cake.  Another team called themselves, "The Best Cake Shop Ever" and would charge $40 per cake.

After spending the morning in the classroom, all the JA volunteers were then treated to lunch and dismissed for the day.  My husband went off to work, but I promised Lewie I would sign him out early, so we could spend the rest of the day together.  It was a beautiful November afternoon, so we went for a hike.  For the first time ever, my son completed the hour-long hike without a single complaint of being tired, and we had an amazing time talking to each other about school, the upcoming holidays, and, of course, Minecraft!  (Here are a few pictures I snapped with my phone.)

On this particular day, I felt nothing but gratitude.  How could I not?  First, I had a chance to spend time in Little Lewie's classroom where I had the pleasure of getting to know his teacher and his little friends better.  (Two of his little friends gave me their own blue crayons after the presentation because they remembered blue was my favorite color.  One little boy, Brody, even gave my husband and me a very big hug before leaving for lunch.  It was heartwarming to see how sweet all of Little Lewie's classmates were; they are so precious and loving at this age.)  Second, I had a chance to take this amazing walk with my seven year-old and share my love of nature with him.  Our family is healthy, happy, and safe.  What more can I ask for?

I love this time of year because it reminds us to be thankful.  It reminds us to focus our attention on the incredible gifts we have instead of concentrating on what we don't have.  My cup is more than half full; it's overflowing. 

Scouting for Food


This fall, my son joined the Cub Scouts.  I was excited about sign-ups in September but then was a little worried when I learned that if Lewie were to be a Tiger Cub, we needed a Tiger Den Leader to get the ball rolling.  Me, a Den Mother?  Sure I was a Girl Scout back in the 80's, but what do I know about planning crafts and activities for boys?

Fast forward ten weeks later, and joining the Cub Scouts has been the best decision for our little family.  All three of us (Lewie, Hubby, and me) have gotten involved with the pack, and so far Lewie has enjoyed a hayride, a Cub Scout bon fire initiation, an evening of fun racing boats at the raingutter regatta, and two early mornings collecting food for a nearby food bank.  Our little Tiger Den of one has recently now grown to three members, and another mom is excited about hosting activities for the boys too.

This past weekend, Lewie had a chance to wear his new Cub Scout uniform, twice, at the raingutter regatta and scouting for food events.  It was so much fun to watch my little boy be part of a "larger family" so to speak.  Plus, I was especially proud to be teaching him about leadership and community service.  He wore his little uniform with pride as he went from house to house collecting bags of food.  Once we were done with the collection, the food was then taken to our local church who arranged to deliver it to a nearby food bank. 

          "Do you know where this food is going?" I asked my innocent seven-year old after the collection was done.
          "To the pilgrims?" my son asked naively.  (I did everything I could to keep from laughing.)
          "Well, not exactly Lewie.  The food is going to people who are less fortunate and don't have the money or the means to be able to buy their own food."

Later on, my mom asked my son the same question to make sure he understood the purpose of "scouting for food."  "Do you know that the food goes to people in need?" my mom asked.

          "Oh, yes Grammy.  I saved their lives."  (Once again, it took all my energy to keep myself from releasing a loud hysterical snort.)

On the one hand, I was surprised by my son's silly answers, but then I realized... how could I possibly expect him to provide a meaningful sophisticated answer if he's never had the experience of helping someone in need before?  Even the food collection, while being a noble cause, still doesn't introduce my son to the real world realities of poverty and homelessness.  Maybe he's still a little too young to grasp the entire concept of what it means to be cold and hungry, but I'm so happy, through organizations like the Cub Scouts, that he's at least getting a little more exposure to what it means to be a good person. 

Now, onto explaining the historical significance of the Pilgrims...  (It turns out that most children in Lewie's first grade class believe they are alive and well!)

Halloween 2015 - The Avengers Edition


Little Lewie is officially a seven year-old boy in mind, body, and spirit.  I've been watching this transformation as his interests have changed.  He still loves going to train museums, and at one point, he even asked if we could download the Train Simulator game on his computer; however, gone are the days of watching Chuggington and Thomas the Train.  Gone are the days of playing with his wooden train and Trackmaster sets too.

Last year, Lewie requested that we dress up as a train for Halloween, so we did our best to create an engine (Lewie), coal tender (Mommy), and dining car (Daddy) out of cardboard boxes.  We looked at pictures on Pinterest and ultimately made our own "train"--partly inspired by other's ideas and partly inspired by our own ingenuity.  It was so much fun as my son loved pretending he was an engine and occasionally hollered out a "Choo Choo."

Now fast-forward a full 365 days later, and my son is fascinated by Iron Man.  He loves playing the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game on his Wii U and watching Youtube Videos about the Avengers--especially Iron Man.  As a mom that doesn't want to see her son grow up, I wasn't crazy about this shift in tastes, but ultimately, parenthood is all about acceptance--acceptance that my son is growing up and acceptance that pop-culture will most likely play a role in his new interests.

Since it's become a tradition that Mommy and Daddy join in the fun of Halloween too, we followed suit (no pun intended) and dressed up like Super Heroes too-- Thor for Daddy and Captain America for Mommy.  Daddy's store-bought costume was relatively easy, but I had to be a little creative in trying to turn a very skimpy costume into a more wholesome one.   Ultimately, here's how we looked:

My husband as Thor.

This picture is beyond words.

Lewie as Iron Man

Lewie and his first grade class

Lewie visiting my mom at work.  (My mom's supervisor dressed up as a Minion.)

There's my mom, Iron Man, and Thor (w/ the Minion).


(Okay, so maybe I enjoyed being a Super Hero too - just a little bit.)

Before trick-or-treating...

Okay, so dressing up as the Avengers was kind of fun--okay really fun.  Lewie had a special Iron Man glove that lights up and makes sound effects, and let's just say that he made sure to show it off at every house.  He might not have been yelling "Choo Choo," this year, but he was certainly showing off his Iron Man glove and moves--just as adorable.  Overall, I give this Halloween an A+.  I might not be in costume anymore, but I reminded Lewie that it takes super powers everyday for me to be a mom!

Fall Festivities


Over the past month, our family has been doing as much as we can to make every moment count.  We LOVE the fall, and we also know that the colder weather on its way is going to make for some very short brisk days when we're buried inside.  I'm still not happy about turning the clocks back this weekend!

This fall, we made sure to enjoy the great outdoors.  We made time for hikes, hayrides, pumpkin picking, a train ride, a bonfire, and a trip to Vermont to sample some cheese and wine.  Yum!  I must say that this season did not disappoint, and I'm still enjoying the glorious views around the state since it feels like we're just hitting "peak weekend" when it comes to the beautiful fall foliage.

Hiking at White Memorial Preserve.  Can you tell it's only the beginning of Sept. here?

A hayride w/ a best bud from last year's kindergarten.

Sitting on the hay is not as easy as it looks!

The pumpkin patch at the "upper level" of March Farm.

The "lower level" patch.

My boy is getting taller.  He's not growing like a weed.  He's growing like corn!

A fall train ride w/ besties.

Oh no!  Not enough faces for the kids!

Of course, Lewie wants to be Snoopy!

The kids couldn't get enough of this simple hay maze.  They were chasing each other pretending they were Pac-Man.

A night hayride w/ the Cub Scouts.

We made the Cub Scouts hayride into our own date (with 30 kids that is)!

A bonfire initiation.

The Grafton Village Cheese Co. in Vermont

Sampling the cheeses.

The cheese "factory."  The production is closed on Sundays.


A Vermont inn and ski lodge.

The pub at the inn.

Who would have expected the inn to have a camel?

The inn's restaurant area.
Views of the Honora Winery and Vineyard in Southern, VT.

My beautiful mom!


The Fall is going by quickly but at least I've captured the best of it in pictures.  This weekend, of course, will provide more memories--especially of Halloween.  We've got some cool costumes this year, and (hint) Lewie did not choose a train theme as he has in the past.