Mother's Day Recap


Mother's Day was perfect this year; my mom, Lew, Little Lewie, and I went to our favorite restaurant, the Hopkins Inn, and then went to visit Lew's mom (Ninny).  As I grow older, I realize that every Mother's Day that I have with my mom is a blessing.  How could I not be grateful!  In her seventies, my mom still works 20+ hours per week, helps me pick up Lewie from school, and is constantly outside watering our plants and taking care of the yard.  She's nothing short of amazing.

Since there were a few rain showers on Mother's Day, we couldn't bask in the sun on the patio, but we could at least eat in one of our favorite rooms inside the old inn.  We admired the old post and beam construction and, of course, the old plank floors.  The best part, of course, was the company and food. We enjoyed our meals so much that, at times, they became the focal point of our discussion. The funniest part of the afternoon is when Lewie looked at his dessert, a frozen chocolate eclair, in horror. "Why are you making that look?" I asked.  "Is the dessert too big for you?"

"No," he replied, "but why does it have salad on it?"  We inspected the dessert and noticed they garnished it with a mint leaf.  We burst out laughing.  Lewie still didn't appreciate the mint leaf.  (He's one of the few kids I know that doesn't like the taste of mint.)  Still, we made it into a learning lesson--right along with him having to put his napkin on his lap and keep his button-down shirt tucked in at all times.  "Oh Lewie," I sighed, "we're just trying to teach you a little culture.  One day, you'll be sitting at a fancy restaurant like this with a girl friend or on a job interview."  Of course, mentioning these ideas in no way means I'm wishing away his childhood.  On the contrary, on Mother's Day, I wish I could wave a magic wand and keep all of us the same age for a very long time, possibly forever.

On Friday, my son brought home a fill-in-the-blank sheet called "All About Mom."  I was surprised how in just one short year, Lewie's answers changed from cute to sophisticated.  He knows me inside and out, even my age.  I can't fool him into believing I'm twenty-something anymore.

 Let me tell you about my mom.
My mom is 41 years old.
She likes to walk.
The best thing she cooks is chicken nuggets.
Her favorite food is chocolate.

Her favorite thing to do to relax is walk.
We like to walk together.

She is really good at the Atari 2600.
As you can see, my mom is special because she's the best mom in the world and the best thing that's happened to my life
(Those were exactly his lucky am I?)

The History Hike


This weekend we welcomed a slower pace.  After three weeks of back-to-back events (Easter, the Massachusetts Cheer Competition, and then the annual egg hunt), we were excited to have a weekend with nothing planned.  On a whim, I went to the Ansonia Nature Center website to gather ideas for our next Cub Scout meeting when I saw they would be offering a free "history hike" this Sunday. Unfortunately, none of the other Cub Scouts could join us, but Lewie and I made a plan and luckily, the weather held out.

The hike, led by Ranger Dan, focused on historic sites like stone walls, old roads, and even places where arrowheads had been found.  We learned about Colonial times (dating back to the 1500s - 1800s) and the early American Indian Wars.  We also learned a lot about native Americans and how they lived.  We learned that they used bark and cattails to build their wigwams, and they often used fire to clear land to grow crops like corn, beans, and squash.  Clearing land also opened areas to plant more berry bushes and to assist with hunting, traveling, controlling pests, and warfare.  (There's an interesting article here:

On our hike, we also talked a lot about different plants and animals.  We learned about native species vs. invasive species, and we all learned how to spot and protect ourselves from poison ivy.  The best part was admiring the beauty and the wildlife.  We saw a couple of interesting birds, took pictures of a Box turtle chilling out in the woods, and saw some animal tracks and habitats.

Robins built this next right under a picnic table.

Can you see the Robin eggs when you look down the hole of the table?


Skunk Cabbage--it really does smell "stinky"

A "hidden" spring...the perfect place for Native American settlements.

Although the weather was overcast and cloudy, the rain, thankfully, held off.  The "one hour" hike lasted an hour and forty minutes, and even then, our little group still kept on asking questions.  The Ansonia Nature Center has many more themed hikes planned throughout the year.  With over 145 wooded acres, which connects to Naugatuck State Forest, which contains over 5,000 acres, there are plenty of hikes to take.  We look forward to our next visit!

The Annual Egg Hunt


Every year, I try to hold an Egg Hunt at the house for Lewie, his cousins, and his "extended cousins" (a.k.a. children of my childhood friends).  This year we had nine "littles" at the house searching for eggs--three eleven year-olds, one eight year-old (Lewie), one six year-old, two five year-olds, one four-year old, and one three year-old.  They all were given different egg colors that were hidden with varying complexity.  Obviously, the eldest children had to search in more places, and I did not make it easy.  In fact, some didn't find all their eggs, and forgetful me couldn't find them either.  Oh well, I suppose they will be left as treats for smaller critters...

Lily, the youngest, searching for pink eggs in our flower patch.
An Egg Hunt may sound a little redundant after we had Easter two weeks ago, but there's a method to my madness.  1) Having an egg hunt after Easter, allows me to buy leftover candy on sale--some marked down as much as 90%; 2) our egg hunt doesn't interfere with other Easter activities that take place before the holiday, and 3) having the egg hunt late in the season gives us a better opportunity for warmer weather.  Unfortunately, this year, the weather pattern shifted.  Easter was an 80 degree day; whereas, our weather this Sunday (exactly two weeks later), was in the high 40's/low 50's.  We all wore jackets and sweatshirts.  So much for my weather theory!

My grammar school friends with their husbands. (Notice the winter gear!)

I had a photo opp with my friends, too.
I tried taking pictures of all the little ones searching for eggs, but I learned a valuable lesson.  Candy is important business for all the kids, and they were not going to let pictures interfere with their valuable candy-finding time.  So, needless to say, I have random action photos of kids running around looking for eggs--no cute closeups or frame-worthy smiles.

The second valuable lesson I learned is that when kids have a chance to pick prizes, candy will always win out.  The cute Dr. Suess eraser set,the colorful package of rainbow pencils, and the pretty princess pencil sharpener went virtually unnoticed.  In fact, they are left-overs to be offered as prizes next year...
We've never had so many children on a trampoline at one time.  Luckily, they all decided to play tag
and exit before I had to start asking kids to get out and patiently wait their turn.
At the end of the get-together, we were pleasantly surprised to see how well all the kids played with each other.  All nine were on the trampoline until they decided to play tag and hide-and-go-seek.  They also helped each other find eggs by announcing, "Hey, I see an orange one over here."  Nothing could make me happier or prouder.  Honestly, I live for planning days like these.