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14 posts from June 2010

June 28, 2010

Dear Baby Nate,

IMG_4789  In a mere six months, you have wriggled, giggled and cooed your way into our hearts.  Just the knowledge of your impeding arrival set our hearts aflutter last spring.  Knowing your parents as we do, we could not wait to meet you, knowing that you as the combination of two such amazing people would be nothing short of absolutely wonderful.

We were not at all surprised to meet you and fall immediately in love!  The girls adore you and cherish their time feeding, holding and playing with you.  Your name is the first word out of Nicholas's mouth each morning, and he can't wait until you can truly play "firetrucks and peacey cars". We have been nothing less than amazed by you.

IMG_4794  Yesterday "Uncle" Pete and I received the ultimate honor of witnessing your baptism as your Godparents. We are so proud and excited to be a part of your life in such an integral way.  And while we may not always be close by physically, we will always be there for you in whatever way we can.  

We love you, Little Guy Talbott!

"Auntie" Jen, "Uncle" Pete, Caitlin, Kelsey, Nicholas, and, yes, Bailey, the toddler-proof cat

IMG_4787  P.S. You may not remember, but I was especially proud that Caitlin was able to sing during the ceremony, and a solo at that.  Though I have a feeling she will share her gift of song again with you in the near future....  

June 24, 2010

An e-card

of sorts for a certain birthday person.  Today is Grandpa a.k.a. Greempa a.k.a. Guy's birthday.  As you can probably imagine, since I am but a youngster myself, this could not be more than his 49th birthday....or something along those lines. 

Since we knew he would be traveling this week (traipsing around the Great Lakes and Mid-West and likely experiencing much cooler temps than we are), we gave him the official card a bit early.  However, since it is always a special treat to receive something on one's birthday, and we weren't entirely sure where he would be....the kids each created an 'e-card' for him.  Happy Birthday, Guy!

IMG_4778 IMG_4779 IMG_4780  

I'm fairly sure

IMG_4762  that a moving truck exploded inside our house.  I would say we are beyond the 'carefully opening and organizing the contents of one box at a time' stage, except that we are still trying to do that.  Looks are just a bit deceiving right now in the kitchen, living room, master bedroom... as we were completely caught off-guard by the Verizon Fios installation this morning.  Our scheduled appointment wasn't until tomorrow, however, at 8:31 a.m. Verizon called from our front stoop, and we instantly re-scheduled.

Never mind that Peter was headed to Main State to file an extremely important (read: we get money back) voucher or that I was both jammie-clad and non-coffeed...we needed internet and now!  Peter turned around, headed back and proceeded to tear apart the previously well-organized basement in order to locate all of the areas the tech might need to access, and soon the family room state matched that of the rest of the house...

IMG_4769 IMG_4771  Two hours later and we were up and running with (finally) true high-speed internet.  Now we have even more ways to ignore the unpacking!  However, we are not...in fact, if anyone out there is in need of boxes, I have over 25 ready and waiting for you (I'm completely serious and my living room would thank you).

It may not sound like a ton, but one has to consider  we really only moved into the house yesterday from our most recent extended-stay facility.  We are also still trying to de-clutter (what we didn't finish in CA), simplify and organize.  Given we will (fingers crossed) only be here for a year, and it could be stressful at times, I would like the house to be in the best shape possible.  Which also means that we already have a running list of items that need updating to include new floors on the mid-level (if I type it, it will be done...) and new windows before 2011 (hello, tax credit!).   Upgrades already, are we nuts?

No, we are thrilled to be homeowners again.  As crazy as it sounds, I do not want to rent again in the near future.  It's one thing if we are stationed overseas, but our CA rental experience was not nearly what it could have been.   We are so happy to finally be able to make changes without consulting anyone but ourselves (and the HOA if it involves an exterior change).  We can hang pictures where we like, paint at the drop of a cloth, and exchange the carpets for laminate flooring on the mid-level without explanation.

Are we going to up and redo the whole house?  Not a chance.  The kitchen is heavenly...laminate floors, relatively new cabinets with a Corian sink and countertops.  So much easier to clean than our old kitchen and the rolling shelves in the cabinets make organization a breeze.  Our bedroom is as big or bigger than the one in San Ramon, and Little Guy is already happily ensconced in the sitting area (our term for it) with his own window seat (I see a transportation theme for that cushion).  

Which reminds me:  yes, Peter, the girls and LG love the house.  We visited a week ago Monday for the first time, and within minutes the girls were discussing patterns for their seat cushions and Peter was admiring the layout of the kitchen and the upstairs.  We were relieved that the girls were content with the paint in their rooms (though Wallies will be acquired soon), as just getting the house cleaned and prepped for the movers' arrival was plenty of work for us last week.  Then the unloading of the boxes, getting the furniture (mostly) in the right spots and getting it all put back together correctly began in earnest on Friday. How did it go?

IMG_4767  Overall, it has been the easiest move yet.  Though we were a bit stunned by a few treats that the CA movers chose to pack, not having to worry about the kids on Thursday or Friday helped immensely.  They had already decided that hanging out in Maryland would be far preferable to assisting us, so the crew hung out at the house on Thursday and headed over to Shoreham Beach for the afternoon on Friday.  Then again, since our kids are head over heels in love with "Baby Nate", they were thrilled to stay behind.  We then took a bit of a break over the weekend, and started back full force on Monday with continued unpacking and now...

DSC_1214 DSC_1216 DSC_1245  Now we are starting to feel somewhat settled.  We had our first real dinner in the house tonight at our new kitchen table (an excellent, sturdy Annapolis consignment shop find), and the girls are actually sleeping in their own beds (the cardboard box 'hotels' lost their allure around 6 this morning).  And only a few more days until we head to the beach for a few days of  surf, sand and sun before heading north to visit friends and family.

DSC_1221  While it's in the back of my mind, for now I am choosing to ignore that four letter word that will change our lives quite a bit on July 27.  We are just living in the moment, enjoying our new house, and reveling in some much-needed family time.  Who could ask for more?

Kudos for the great beach photographs (as usual) to Mark (of "ShannaMark", as coined by Little Guy).

June 23, 2010

Happy Housewarming....

to me.  Peter promised this to me as part of the move.  I didn't think it was necessary, but it will come in handy since the kids are using the PC on a fairly regular basis. 


The extra bonus?  The Verizon guy came a day early, so we actually have internet and phone in the house! We also TV now, too, I suppose, but we neglected to mention that to the kids.  Given how much fun they are having making playhouses out of boxes and rediscovering 'lost' treasures (read: unpacking), I doubt they will notice anytime soon.  

June 21, 2010

Ode to Spiky & Flexy

IMG_1975  Oh, I miss you so much, I hope you had good lives.  

Spiky, you ran away in the Grand Hotel, but you still live my heart.

Flexy, you traveled from ocean to ocean, through the desert, and visited the Grand Canyon (whether you knew it or not).

You were both born in a science classroom in San Ramon, and went from a mealworms to beetles while you saw the world from your cozy sawdust home.

I miss you...



 Spiky ran away during our Grand Canyon adventure, and Flexy passed away sometime today.  They may have been tiny creatures, but they were still nourished, nurtured and loved.  

June 13, 2010

48 hours later...

I would love to say that we are completely relaxed and refreshed, but having just finished another 11 hours in the car (including stops), I think that would be a stretch.  The driving has begun to wear on us all and I think we can all agree that we are glad tomorrow is our last day.  As interesting as it has been, I was correct in my assessment that next time we need to build in more stopping time.

Other than the Grand Canyon and Memphis, we have had to quickly pass by or ignore completely so many places of interest. We had a brief swing through Nashville today, and even that was apparently pushing it. Rather than dwell on what we didn't see, however, I should point out that we did have quality family time in Memphis.  The girls had a two night sleepover with the grandparents and cousin Lydia (for one night), Nicholas had fun playing with Walker and Emmitt (both of the preschool set) and also had a good chunk of time helping Guy (Grandpa) run errands.  


We also attempted to take a few family photos.  Dibby (Granny Gretchen) wanted to get a few shots of the kids in matching t-shirts.  She thought the yard at the family church might be the ideal location, but there were more distractions than she realized...sticks, dirt and mulch, oh my!  We finally managed to wrangle all of the kids onto the steps, but then came the issue of lining them up.

Cousin Emmitt (in black) wasn't quite so keen on the idea, but I still managed one shot with all of the them.  More of an action shot, but captured the moment very well.


A few photos later, I got one with most of them looking at the camera, another spectacular feat, since the Little Guy wanted to look everywhere but at me.


After the photos, it was time to head back to the house for a family gathering and an indulgence of sorts: an evening of Corky's BBQ and Ribs. The ribs were incredibly tasty as always (yes, finger licking good) and the accompaniments of slaw and beans rounded out the meal.  Not many pictures, as one can't very well eat ribs, lick fingers and take photos all at the same time.


Since Peter's birthday is Sunday, and Guy (Grandpa) will miss Father's Day at home, we had a small celebration. Cait spent the afternoon baking a cake for Peter and  later frosted and decorated the cake with Lydia and Kelsey's help.  The cake was delish and the perfect dessert for the evening.


After the gift opening and devouring of the cake, the kids romped outside and attempted to catch (and, yes, then let go) fireflies.  Up until now, this was a once a year activity, given that there were no fireflies in Iceland (to our knowledge).  If they were in our neck of the woods in the East Bay, they were not apparent to us.  

Our time in Memphis was over well too soon, and before we knew it, we were hefting the bags back in the car for today's trek.  We also loaded up the surprise gifts from Auntie Shannon.  They arrived in Memphis well in time for our departure and the hand-sewn bags contained several treats for each and kept them occupied for most, if not all of today's journey.  

Shannon also clearly knows the rest stops in Tennessee quite well:  there may not be play ares, but there is plenty of mulch.  Mulch + a bulldozer = bliss for Nicholas.  Thank you, Salty Dogs, and see you tomorrow!


June 11, 2010

Dancing Across the U.S.A.

IMG_2092  We have danced, sang, done yoga, watched Vacation twice, made everything from sunglasses to false nails out of Wikki Stix, and eaten massive amounts of bananas (inexplicably called mee-aws by Little Guy) and pretzels while traversing two-thirds of the country.  Now we are settled into decent hotel digs in Memphis for the next (drum roll) 36 hours!  Woot!  Almost worth unpacking for that length of time.

Due to massive internet disasters in Oklahoma City (high speed internet access, my *ahem*...), I not only screwed up our hotel reservations for tonight, but had no opportunity to write about our Grand experiences on Tuesday.  The Grand Canyon was, well, incredible.  I won't go on and on and on...just on and on, as I feel it is one of those places where one really has to go, explore and form their own opinion.

IMG_4716 IMG_4719 IMG_4723 IMG_4727


I will say that I had two disappointments: 

  • It was extremely crowded and I did not prepare myself for that.  I should have assumed that everyone and their brother (and his sister, tottering around in her high heels) would be there.  I should have guessed that few pictures could be taken without 5 other families ending up in the picture.  I should have realized that I should not be surprised by the family that has a picnic at the rim of the canyon that consists solely of food from McDonald's.  Somehow it just seemed sacrilegious* in a national park.

  • We didn't realize that it would be under construction.  Not the canyon (well, guess it is always changing a bit), but the upper rim areas.  Some observation points were closed off entirely, and Nicholas had to be carried away from the boullywassays (bulldozers).  Note to both of us: next time ensure Ergo is on top of luggage, not buried beneath.  While Nicholas enjoyed the walk, it really wasn't super-friendly for a running toddler.  The paths were fine, but what toddler enjoys the paths? Attempting to climb down the rocks on the rim, that's much more fun!

IMG_4715   IMG_4720  Other than the above?  It was everything one would imagine and more.  I am betting the other 276 miles that make up the rim are as fabulous as the mile we trekked.  Just looking down at the valley made us all want to plan week long camping trips.  Well, Little Guy did not vocalize this per se, but when he finally took a really good look at the canyon and shouted, "Oh, my GOSH!", we took it to mean he was suitably stunned and would consider visiting again.

The only difficult part was getting back in the car and gearing up to drive 8 plus hours to Albuquerque.  We ended up having lunch off the beaten path in Cameron, and this (and the time change) added more exhaustion than we originally planned.  The flip side?  Somehow, along the way, the kids became far more patient and while I can't say they enjoyed sitting in the car for hours on end, really impressed us with their abilities to occupy themselves.

We did have a tiny issue at the Grand Canyon.  I think Kelsey had her fill with the drive, and was less than excited at first.  I did my bad mother bit (which I regret, but please, after 3 days in the car...).  We ended our disagreement with a hug and we both managed to shake free of the stuck-in-the-car-for-days-on-end stress.  The kids still had their moments (who wouldn't) but still managed to amaze me.  By today, any remaining crankiness was all but gone, and now we have two days to recharge.  More importantly, Saturday begins the home stretch of the drive.

It's not over, I know, and more challenges may remain over the weekend.  However, all things considered, I would not hesitate to do the trip again, but I would build in more time.  While we have loved seeing the country, too much of it has flown by the window.  We have watched it pass, our noses pressed to the glass, knowing there is so much more to stop and explore along the way, but just not enough time to do it all.  Well, not now, but who knows what the future holds?

*Call me a food snob, after two years of living in locavore heaven in California, I will gladly lend you my Michael Pollan collector's set.  I wasn't going to comment when I noticed and at first brushed it off as snobbery on my part. After California,  I think any meal eaten when communing with nature should be a slow-cooked, carefully prepared selection of regional delights (or a PB&J, fine, just not fast food).  However, I kept my mouth shut.  Then Pete muttered under his breath, "Who on earth has a picnic of McDonald's in the Grand Canyon?!"  Case closed!

June 09, 2010

The Grand Canyon

And the drive to New Mexico left us completely tuckered out. More about our day at one of nature's finest works of art after a good night's sleep and a 'brief' drive to Oklahoma City. G'night all!

The Grand Canyon

June 08, 2010

Remember that balmy night?

It's just a tad bit warmer during the day.  When we finally loaded up (Pete let me oversleep again) and headed on our way at 11:45 in the a.m., it was a not so breezy or balmy 99.  Actually, I should add that I spent a good hour just getting the packages mailed, as the Barstow post office is the place to be on a Monday morning (so not entirely my sleeping past 9 a.m.).  Who knew?

It was supposed to be 106 F today, so I suppose we were cut a break.  I also have to add that this was a dry heat, which makes a huge difference.  Very different from those summers in Memphis with 100% humidity and 100 F!  Not that DC is much better, but with several pools available to us, and beaches not too far away, it's a bit easier to tolerate.

IMG_2077  IMG_4699 Barstow was only thIMG_4697e beginning of the heat wave, as we traveled a bit further south and then east, the heat stayed with us.  Granted, we were driving through miles and miles and miles of desert, but still amazing how the sun can just beat down, even later in the afternoon.  We stopped for lunch in Needles, CA, and it easily must have been, well, very, very hot.  So hot, in fact, that we are guessing this prevented the opening of the Latte' Cafe (note that I am merely copying the accent abuse in the sign). 

IMG_4702  IMG_4707IMG_4704We instead ended up at Jedro's Wagon  Wheel restaurant, the highest rated eatery on Yelp for Needles.  The iced tea wasn't bad, and while not gourmet, the food sufficed to fill our bellies and get us back on the road.  We made a brief stop in Seligman, AZ, home of the Road Kill cafe which earned a photo op, but not an actual stop to taste the 'kill.  The kids enjoyed hanging out in the jail next door, and then we crumpled ourselves back into the car and drove, drove, and drove to arrive in Tusayan at the ever so timely dinner hour. 

IMG_2083 Dinner at the hotel was longer than necessary, but did involve a banjo player and Indian dancers, so we forgave them the slow service.  They had a family dancing circle, which Nicholas loved, but I only managed a few iPhone shots and a very dark and grainy video not even You Tube worthy.  We followed up dinner with a trip to the pool to make up for the long hours in the car.

Now despite my worries that they might spend the entire time complaining about the trip, it really hasn't been quite that bad. I have been doling out one gift per day (wiki sticks, Brain Quest, books) and that has helped with the boredom. In Nicholas's case, I am not sure he needs much entertainment, as his entire day is spent looking for and discussing trucks and trains.  Thankfully, many of both in Southern CA and Arizona.  And, despite the heat, the desert is an amazing area to drive through.  The kids are getting a lot of interest out of the scenery and the trip itself spurs so many questions about geography and travel.  It's a long haul, and a lot of work, but I think it will definitely stand out as a unique and (mostly) fun family event.   And tomorrow?

The Grand Canyon, baby!  Stay tuned...

June 07, 2010

We have arrived...

IMG_2072  safe and sound, and are ensconced in our lovely "Inn & Suites" hotel of choice in Barstow, CA.  No, it doesn't appear to be much of a hot-spot, unless one is interested in the outlets (not so much), but a good stopping point for us, especially considering we got a bit of a late start.

IMG_2074  The emptying of the hotel room and loading of the car took a wee bit longer than we had expected.  I had several errands to run which made it hard to fill the car, and the loading itself nearly required an engineer.  Remember how Kelsey left for Camporee after the movers left, the  kids had school until Friday, and Cait had her final performance yesterday?  All of that translated into many more backpacks, outfits, sleeping bags and extra stuff that we had to squeeze in.  I didn't think about mailing any of the big items until it was too late to get boxes and make it to the post office in time (way too big for the APC, sadly).  

IMG_4692   IMG_4690  Other than the delayed start and a bit of a squeeze into the car, the ride was, well, uneventful. We hopped on 680, waved good-bye to San Ramon and patted ourselves on the back for making it thus far.  The ride was smooth and I actually got a bit of work done (so grateful for the iPhone) while the kids watched a DVD or two (I caved...it's a looong drive), and we made great time all things considered.  The best part?  It's so warm here, even at night!  I had become so used to the cool (to frigid) Northern California nights, that I forgot that summer nights can be balmy...absolutely heavenly (for me, Peter is sweltering already).  

IMG_4689  We did manage one pit stop at Target in order to get boxes to ship some of the unnecessary items home (Salty Dogs, box alert!).  We hope to get an earlier start tomorrow (after hitting the post office in Barstow) in order to get to our hotel near the Grand Canyon before sunset.  We also need to try to get a good night's sleep for Tuesday's excursion, as we want to squeeze in as much time as we can at the Canyon before we get back on the road and head to New Mexico.  And, with that, it's time for some shut-eye...ciao!

Wondering what Kelsey is holding?  Ah, yes, those are her pet meal worms, Spiky (now a beetle) and Flexy.  Well, were meal worms. One has fully transformed into a beetle, and is almost black, whereas the other one is still in pupa stage.  She was allowed to take one home from school, and desperately wanted to bring them with us.  We nearly lost them today when Cait knocked their container over, but thankfully they didn't fall far.  The death of a meal worm is something I am just not sure I could handle at this point....

As an FYI, Nicholas is doing the "toes to nose" Yoga pose as part of the in-flight entertainment....

June 06, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood!

IMG_4685 IMG_2063 Yesterday  was the final performance of the Danville Girls Chorus for the 2009-2010 season. As usual, the girls performed their hearts out, Nicholas kept Peter busy not listening to the singing, and I cried my way through the show.  Seriously, at a Pops concert! 

I know, I need to buck up and find my stiff upper lip.  I'm trying, but it's ridiculously hard when we are saying so many good-byes and hasta luegos.  I've begun to wish that we had the ability to live in two places at once.  Silly, I suppose, but there is just so much we are going to miss when we head off tomorrow...


Caitlin Perhaps because I spent so much time bawling my eyes out (I didn't even really like Beaches, and that darn Bette Midler song just triggers something each time!), I missed out on a few photo-ops at the concert.  Or it could be due to Nicholas being antsy, the girls not wanting photos taken (shocking), Cait's choir director not being available for a shot, and, of course, the "no flash" rule during the concerts. I won't regale you with my lousy iPhone shots, so you will have to make do with Cait and her choir's photo display and a few photos from the last day of school in California for both girls. Nope, they aren't making me the slightest bit teary-eyed...oh, heck, where's that Kleenex, again?


I'm supposed to be packing...or asleep...and clearly neither is happening right now.  Instead, I am fretting and freaking about our upcoming trip.  What on earth was I thinking when I agreed to drive across the country?

I know, I know, it will be an awesome trip. The kids will have a great time, and I will see all of this stuff I have waited 29 (or so) years to see.  I can't help just feeling a teeny, tiny bit nervous about the journey itself...will Little Guy revolt after being stuck in his car seat for so many hours on end?  Will Caitlin hole up in the back seat and disappear under a pile* of books, not to be discovered until Flagstaff?  Will Kelsey make SOS messages out of Wiki-Sticks and decorate the windows with them so passers-by can see, but we cannot until the lights of a CHiPs notorcycle cop (Ponch? Jon?) flash ominously in the rear-view mirror?

These and many more questions will be answered over the next 8 days.  I hope to keep up with our adventures with many lousy, out-of-focus, frantic and touristy shots as well whatever prose I can manage to eke out after 8 -10 hours in the car each day.  Why on earth the daily driving minimum had to go from a perfectly reasonable 300 miles** to a rather high 440 miles per day is beyond me. Guessing whoever made that change never drove the whole tribe across the country, much less across town (for any reason!).  Well...here goes nothing!

*Mind you, this is after I shipped 12 plus books home today from her 'emergency' supply.  So much for our book lock-down last week.

**If you are PCS-ing (Permanent Change of Station) and opt to drive to your new post (if allowed), you must drive a minimum of 440 miles per day.  This was changed about two years ago, inexplicably, and I would love to see it reversed by 10 a.m. tomorrow!

June 02, 2010

Iron Horse Trail

I know what you are thinking...another park? Don't you leave soon? Please...it's only Wednesday.  We don't depart until Sunday, and I can guarantee you we still have plenty of time to explore.  What's that you say?  How can you do that while saying your good-byes, finishing out the school year, attending concerts, and the like?

IMG_4652 It's quite simple if the good-byes are centered around more adventures.  Today's was rather simple, and in an area which I haven't discussed much, but certainly deserves some attention:  the Iron Horse Trail.  As the name might imply, this used to be part of the Southern Pacific Railroad.  Instead of being abandoned and neglected, it was turned into a trail that is used by bikers, walkers, strollers, skaters, runners, and scooterers galore.

IMG_4654 Not long after I arrived in the East Bay, I joined a walking group that would meet several times a week.  At least one of those jaunts was to be a fast-paced walk (and possible jog) along the trail.  The trail markers guarantee an easy way to keep track of one's distance while it trips and traipses through downtown Danville and the backyards of those that live nearby, and kept us on track for our minimum 3 mile round-trip. 

I can only describe a few of the many facets of the trail, as I have not had the experience of doing more than bits and pieces in Danville and San Ramon.  Personally, I have favored the lengths in Danville, but only due to the massive amounts of shade that the trees in the area provide.  Other parts of the trail in San Ramon, especially those that back to our current* abode, tend to be treeless and blazing hot under the summer sun.  Still, it offers one a wide swath of walking space, and for some, possibly an easy commute to and from work or school.

IMG_4657 Since we have been doing more outings with the Nature Group and fewer with the walking group (both run by the same fantastic leader, Linda), we have not walked along the downtown Danville portion of the trail in some time.  Today as a final playdate of sorts, Linda, her son, Cy, and Nicholas and I walked, Skuuted and scootered down the trail from the entrance of the Peet's parking lot (for lack of a better name) to the train car that sits behind the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.

IMG_4659 The boys played on the 'train', peeked inside and pretended to drive the wagons out front.  We didn't have a chance to investigate the museum, as there were too many rocks, sticks and the like to examine around the entrance.  We also were not so much in a museum mood as we were in a 'digging and rolling in the dirt' kind of mood. 

It's not technically a park, but the trail has become a play area of sorts for Nicholas. He first met many of his current playgroup friends on the path, despite (at the time) still being such a wee one who spent most of his time in the peanut shell.  Later on, he graduated to the Ergo or the BOB, depending on his mood. I am sure if we were here even another few months, he could be found Skuuting and then biking along the trail. 

IMG_4671 I know we will have hiking trails and the like in Virginia, but we will be hard-pressed to find a similar trail so close to home.  However, I have to admit that I have been a bit jealous of those who merely need to look out the window to see the trail.   While we have enjoyed the location of our home, if we were to live in the area again, I can't say we wouldn't want to live closer to this amazing path.  

*Kelsey playing in our 'backyard' which backs up to part of the San Ramon section of the trail.

June 01, 2010


IMG_2053-1 Nicholas's expression says it all:  we are feeling a bit footloose and fancy-free.  Peter cleaned up the leftover dregs at the house last night..(you know, those little items that seem to escape the first five look-sees) and met with the property manager today.  The walk-through seemed to go well and there was a handshake, a return of keys and garage door openers and the final farewell.  We are now completely finished with the house and can truly relax for the next few days.

While I am sure we will be anxious to get settled once we arrive in Virginia, there is something...no...a lot... to be said for living with fewer items.  We have not finished our de-cluttering and reorganizing and those two items are still on my task list for next year.  Theoretically, we could be headed out again in 14 short months and I would love a move as stress-free as this one.  

After Peter returned home (definition: wherever we are living at the moment)  we headed back to the Art & Wind Festival to celebrate. Kelsey had arrived home from Camporee late this morning.  She was safe, sound and exhausted, but still had plenty of energy to look for snow cones and cotton candy.  The kids had fun on the bouncy rides, we enjoyed a bit of  very tasty fair fare, and Nicholas was able to watch (hold onto your hats) the ladder being put away on the really super-big and awesome Truck #34. 

IMG_1933 Speaking of "fair fare," kudos to Kristen of the McNabb Clan!  She correctly guessed that the items in question in my Santa Cruz post were none other than deep-fried Twinkies.  Nothing like that to make the funnel cake covered with goopy strawberry sauce seem high on the ol' ANDI scale.  Apparently she has not tried them either, so sadly, still not a clue as to what they might taste like...and perhaps that is a mystery best left unsolved?