Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas Everyone!!

We're at work today, but had yesterday off which was unexpected and fabulous to have a special day off.  We had such a nice day, catching up on chores, going on a moonlit hike through the snow and then making a special meal together.  With some of the tragedies that have occurred recently, I was extra happy & appreciative to be spending the day with my husband.

Getting our tree this year was a comedic event ... I'd had the grand idea that it would be nice to have a tree that was a little fuller which meant cutting down a larger tree and then just using the top of the tree.  We found a beautiful tree, lopped off the top (without measuring) and carried it 1/4 of a mile back to our barn.  It was surprisingly heavy and I had to stop multiple times to rest my arms :)

When we got back, I measured our indoor space and Jason measured off how much of the tree we could take inside.  It was hysterical!!!  It was less than half of what we'd lugged all the way back to our place and was so skinny once it was cut away from the rest of it.  It was truly pathetic looking.  Even though the sun had already set, we headed out on a short hike to see if we could find something better.  We were about to give up when I spied a perfect looking little tree across a "meadow."  Of course, the meadow was actually a huge beaver bog -- a swampy, grass covered area with small streams running through it.  Getting across to check out the tree was doable ... getting back across while trying to carry a Christmas tree just added even more humor to the day.  Picture trying to team-carry a large, awkward object while trying to leap over steams.  Yes ... quite the adventure :)

I was reminded today that this will be our last Christmas with just the two of us.  It's really hard to fully imagine how much our life will be changing this next year.  Since today I am officially six months pregnant, here is an updated belly shot.  (Thanks Mom for sending me some maternity shirts since there are literally no stores that sell maternity-wear here!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

{unintentionally} cruel comments

Today, I received my first really thoughtless comment with regard to my new pregnancy body ... I've known/expected to get some of these, but I have to admit when it came my way I was still stunned.

The comments was "... you know you're going to get really big, since you're already SO large ..."  

There was more, but this was the main idea.  Sigh.  I wanted to just respond that yes I knew I was large, but it wasn't really helpful to have it rubbed in.  But, I meekly just agreed.  What else am I supposed to do? 

Of course, I totally realize that it wasn't meant to be mean-spirited (at least I hope not!), but it still stings.  

On a much cheerier note ... this is our friend Edie, turning 89 years old.

Edie and her husband, Bud, are very dear friends who we met through church and she regularly reminds me how beautiful I am and that she loves me.  They still live in a house they built for themselves 30 years ago that sits on three acres of land with beautiful gardens that they tend themselves.  They love to play board games and this is where our connection began.  

I'd been looking for something "special" to take her to celebrate her big day and came across this recipe from Southern Living which turned out delightful.  One note, the recipe made way, way too much frosting -- I would cut the recipe in half if making again. Otherwise, I was really pleased how the experiment worked out.

So ... now that I've been informed that I'm large and going to get really large ... and I guess I'll have another cupcake! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What getting up early gets you

Aren't you glad that we aren't birds?  And that getting up early does not get us a worm???

This morning, I woke up much earlier than I'd hoped and decided to make these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.  I had to modify the recipe a bit as I didn't have a full cup of pumpkin or the millet -- I topped up my pumpkin with applesauce and used oatmeal in place of the millet.  I was a bit worried as sometimes my "creation" don't turn out all too well.  These turned out great!  A yummy treat that feels sort of healthy with the whole-wheat flour and oats/millet inside.

And, even though I dearly wanted to keep them all for myself, I actually brought a basket of them to work to share -- my good deed for the day :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Getting chubbier ... the road to a new adventure

Tonga - July 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous day; enjoying fine food and friends/family.  Jason & I celebrated yesterday as we're working today.  So, we're having leftovers before most people even get their first thanksgiving meal - yummy!

While on the topic of feasting .... I have to admit something ... I've put on about 15 pounds since July.

No, I'm not packing on weight because we're moving somewhere that has a scarcity of food.  I'm also not planning on hibernating through the winter (although sometimes that sounds pretty nice).  

A weight gain like this is something I would generally be freaking out about.  I'm comfortable with  five pounds ... I know with a little work, I can get it back off.  But, this ... 15 pounds.  Oh my!  And, I've been told to expect more, lots more ...

We're also expecting a completely new adventure to come our way, on or around March 25, 2013.  Although planned, I have to admit this new adventure freaks me out even more than the weight I'm putting on.

I'm sure by this point, you will have guessed!  Jason & I are expecting our first child!  

So this year we are thankful for a healthy report on this little guy (yes, it's a boy!) and thankful for the road that we've been on together since joining Peace Corps Tonga in 2006. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Poconos

When I hear anyone mention this place, all I can picture are heart-shaped bathtubs and honeymooning couples.  That's all I knew about the Poconos ... until this weekend.

We wanted to have a last getaway before winter locks us into our home at Forest Echo and we also hoped to see some friends from Virginia at the same time.  The Poconos is exactly halfway between us, so we decided to meet up there.  As I started researching places to stay, I was amazed at what a large region of Pennsylvania "poconos" covers.  Picking the "right" place was sort of stressful!

We ended up along the banks of Lake Wallenpaupack and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  Although it isn't the prettiest time of year here (all the trees are naked), there are cute towns/villages around and lots of hiking opportunities.  It helped that it was 76 degrees on Saturday!!!  Probably our last day like that until April or May, so I was drinking it in!

Trying to get a picture of the four of us was not easy -- would have been nice without a branch going through  Megan's face :)

Ohhh ... where to sit??

On our drive back, Jason & I took the scenic route and ended up in Woodstock, NY -- we weren't sure what to expect since all we knew of the area was the famous/infamous concerts.  It actually has a very cute downtown.  Very hippy (obviously), but quirky and a lot of fun!

Cupcake shops are sorely lacking in Vermont, so I was really excited when I saw this sign.  Unfortunately, once inside the shop, it had a funky smell and the cupcakes were minuscule (they didn't even clear the top of the cupcake liner!).  So, out we went and I had a delicious Mexican hot chocolate instead.  Yum!  A rather perfect end to a lovely weekend!

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Snow!

We got our first snow for the season last night!  I'm feel like I'm still sort of a kid when it comes to snow - I get so excited by it!  I guess growing up in a place that only gets snow every 15 - 20 years kind of set me up for being thrilled by it.  I love how it makes everything look so pretty and like new!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

This is Vermont

Lately, I've been thinking about doing a little series on some of the randomness of Vermont ... and some of the things that we see here that are SO SO different than how I imagined (& how I would think you might imagine) Vermont to be like.

I had an appointment in Rutland on Friday and along the highway on my way home, I drove past this sign.  Stopped, turned around and tried my darnedest to snap a shot.  Deer hunting season begins soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Days like these ...

... I sure love living at Forest Echo Farm!

I love living here most of the time, but these gorgeous days make it even more worthwhile!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

East Corinth

On Tuesday Jason and I took a little road trip.  He had an appointment in a part of Vermont that is referred to as "the northeast kingdom" and I had the day off work, so we decided to do a little leaf-peeping (that's seriously what it's called!) on the way back.  We were really excited to see that the village of East Corinth was not too far off the path.  It's one of THE photo-perfect fall shots of Vermont ... white church with lovely steeple surrounded by a tiny village, farms and oodles of multi-colored trees.

The drive to East Corinth was lovely - we got lost on some of the country roads and had more time than expected to soak up this incredible beauty that God has created all around us in trees as they prepare for winter.  Some of the colors just seem completely unnatural! It's really breathtaking.

Photos of East Corinth usually look something like this - nice, isn't it?
Image taken from here.
Perhaps when most the photos were taken, there was no paved main street through town or perhaps they've just been re-touched? This is what it looked like for us:
There was no way that we could see to get up a hill and get an angle to anything remotely similar to the photos we've seen or even a place to snap a nice photo of the church.  A bit disappointing.  

By far the coolest thing in East Corinth was this awesome fire station.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hello Fall Colors!

Things here have been getting prettier by the day.  The trees are dazzling in their array of color.  I can hardly contain myself when we're out driving, it is just SO pretty!  Of course, it would be nice if it would stop raining for a day or two so that we could really enjoy them, but I guess I can't be too picky.

There are many days when the fact that we live up a 2.5 mile dirt road can be annoying.  It takes 7-10 minutes just to get to a paved road!  But, at times like this I LOVE driving to and from our house.

Even the view from our outhouse is pretty darn nice!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Goodbye to my cutie (for a few days)

This morning I dropped Jason off about 2 hours south of us, in Massachusetts. He was rigged out with a 45 pound pack and will spend the next 7 days hiking north, doing a section of the Appalachian Trail which happens to run concurrent with Vermont's Long Trail.

It's been a long-time wish of his to do the whole AT ... if he hadn't joined Peace Corps, that was his alternative plan. Doing the whole trail from Georgia to Maine takes about 5 months, and well ... you know the rest of the story post-Peace Corps. While I really do wish that I was the type of person who could do such a hike, I don't think that I am and I keep reminding myself to know my limits.
So, I'm home alone for a week. Luckily, I actually started working again last Sunday and will be kept very busy at Okemo while he's gone. Yay for work!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck ...

... if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I got to watch this woodchuck for quite a while yesterday afternoon.  He's pretty cute - 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The last stop

Our very last stop to our three month summer road trip was to a friend's family lake cabin in New Hampshire.  Yes, we overshot Vermont by a few miles, but felt it would be worth it and it absolutely was!

The Campbell Cottage was the perfect transitional spot from our crazy, busy road trip back to our peaceful, rustic life in Vermont.  Plus, we got to hang out with Phil, a very good friend from working at Okemo last winter.