Autumn Catch Up

You may wonder where I’ve been since February.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe you don’t know where you’ve been since February.

i wonder

Since my February 2014, I’ve packed up 11 years worth of personal belongings, moved said personal belongings to a new house (which is actually an old, historic house), unpacked and organized said belongings into a cohesive, functioning, household – all while still working, mothering, wife-ing, social-life-ing, and generally being alive.

This does not include the unforeseen, and oft aggravating, projects that a new/old house blindsides you with – because, you know, old houses.

Lots of cool things have happened, as well as some not-so-cool, but one thing that is literally cool is the fact that it is now Autumn in New Jersey and that means things like this:

She's growing so fast, we had to capture some prints before she gets too big.

She’s growing so fast, we had to capture some prints before she gets too big.

We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

It's apple picking time!

It’s apple picking time!

So, it is also pie baking time!

So, it is also pie baking time!

I'm getting back to taking cool pictures again.

I’m getting back to taking cool pictures again.

And luckily, my backyard is a great place to get back to my photog hobby.

And luckily, my backyard is a great place to get back to my photog hobby.

Which is good, because I have several lovely trees that I just can't stop photographing.

Which is good, because I have several lovely trees that I just can’t stop photographing.


And MOPS started up again for the year!

And, most recently, we went pumpkin picking.  Which means that photos of pumpkins and other various gourds will be appearing soon.

And, most recently, we went pumpkin picking. Which means that photos of pumpkins and other various gourds will be appearing soon.

In addition to it being an awesome autumn, summer was full of all sorts of goodness, too.  Lots of trips to the beach, our annual family trip to New Hampshire, and the highlight of my summer:  my sweet little nephew, DJ, was born!  He looks just like my brother.  And my sister-in-law.  It’s funny how one person can look just like, well, two.

And I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but I get starting to feel all the feelings in Autumn and well – that gets me thinking – which then makes me want to blog.

So, I’m back!  Stay tuned… there’s over 800 photos on my phone right now, along with 22 different recipes I want to share, a zillion things to say about learning and education, and copious, gratuitous photos of my new digs that I’m pretty proud of.

My Escape to the Mountains

New Hampshire August 2012

Every summer for the majority of his life, my husband’s family visits the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  There is some family history up there, and when Chris and I met, he started taking me to NH also.  It’s a stunningly beautiful part of the world, and I am so thankful to be able to vacation there.  For many years, we talked about getting a place of our own in the White Mountains, which in 2008 finally became a reality.  But that’s another story for another day.

We returned from our 10 day summer adventure this year on August 14th with pictures, memories, and just a little exhaustion (at least for me).  Then, I turned around and hopped on a plane and went to Atlanta on the 18th to visit one of my bestest friends.  Yep – I’m trying to get all my traveling in until my little bean sprouts sometime in January.  We’ve got at least 2 more trips planned between now and December, so I’ll be thoroughly exhausted by the holidays.

In New Hampshire, life is pretty good when there is plenty of sunshine and very little humidity.

We spent a lot of time outside, working on landscape projects for the house, taking scenic drives, swimming at Big Eddy and Mountain Lakes, BBQing, and Bonfire-ing.

As the week progressed, other family members started to arrive and the eat-until-you-drop lunches and dinners began.  We’re a crew of serious eaters.

However, I’m proud to say that my pregosaurus self managed to only gain 2 little pounds on my 10 day excursion – pretty good, no?  (I swear I’m going to weigh less after this baby arrives than before I got pregnant!)

We also had dinner with some friends who are lucky enough to call NH home, as well as visit a few places we’d never been before, like the Cabot Creamery!

Here are a couple of highlights from the trip:

Visiting the Old Man

It was like paying respects at a cemetery.  We walked quietly to the site where the old stone profile used to be viewed.  We aligned our height with the new profilers to get a glimpse of what the old man used to be.  We sat on the memorial stones and read the sentiments.  There was even a makeshift cross at the mouth of Profile Lake.  It was as if everyone’s great grandfather died May 3, 2003. 

The Old Man of the Mountain stood for centuries at the top of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch.  The stone sentinel looked out over the mountains and valleys and kept watch over his dear New Hampshire.  As one of the state’s most recognizable icons, the Old Man was loved by everyone and when he slid down the side of Cannon Mountain in the fog of the morning of May 3, 2003, everyone – not just the people of New Hampshire – lost one of their most beloved national treasures.

The state has constructed a memorial site in Franconia Notch State Park where one can view a to-scale replica of the old profile.  This is what it looks like today:

He will be missed.

Hiking the Basin

An easy, short, but beautiful hike literally “across the street” from Cannon Mountain is The Basin, a naturally carved stone bowl with turquoise water rushing through it.  The sign says no swimming, but I ask you:  on a hot, sunny day, how hard would it be to not immerse yourself in this?

I tried climbing over the fence and diving in, but park rangers soon apprehended me and gave me a good talking to.

Just kidding.

On the other end of the trail for The Basin is the Baby Flume.  It’s a very scaled down version of the Flume Gorge (which takes about 2 hours to hike and enjoy, but totally worth it).  We wound our way down a green and mossy path through the woods along the edge of the Pemigewasset River to an opening where the rocks split, the water rushed through, and you could see a mini-gorge:

 Beautiful, no?

Of course, no two gorges are the same, so if you find your way to the White Mountains one day, be sure to visit both the Baby Flume and Flume Gorge.  They are Gorge-ous!


And then we wound our way back through the woods:


Another beautiful vacation in the mountains.  I cannot wait to share this little slice of heaven with my children one day.

Wild Rides

When I started this blog, I quietly promised myself that I’d update it at least once each week.  That’s a nice sentiment when I’m not traveling, adopting dogs, or attending teaching seminars.  So, I suppose I can make up for my lack of posting with a “fast forward” post.  Here goes:

So, after we adopted Rex & Maggie we took our annual summer trip to New Hampshire.  With the dogs.  The 7-hour ride up went pretty well.  There was some whining and crying, but then Chris and I had coffee and we were fine.  The dogs fared well. 

Upon arrival, there were still renters in our cabin, so Chris and I camped for a night at the Wildwood campsite in the White Mountain National Forest.

 And the dogs kept guard of the site. 

They didn’t care too much for being tied out and they made sure to let us know they weren’t staying quiet every time a person, dog, fly, mosquito, bird or leaf passed our campsite.  Once inside the tent for the night though, they were quiet and we made it through the night with nary a peep. 

The next day, the adventure at our house began and we hosted friends and family for the rest of the week.  There was hiking, swimming, boating, playing on the lawn, bbq’s, sightseeing, bonfires and everything else a “woodsy” vacation includes.  It was a good time and the dogs were acclamated to the house and all visitors in no time.

After New Hampshire, I had the pleasure of taking part in a 5 day teaching seminar that took place in Philadelphia.  For you educators: it was the 30-Hour Comprehensive Orton-Gillingham Reading Instruction Training.  For everyone else: I learned how to better teach my students how to read.  I will undoubtedly have a separate blog entry on this, but for now just know that I had a fantastic time!  I didn’t think that dedicating a week of my summer vacation to a teaching seminar would be something I’d enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did I not have to drive into the city (I never really even touched my car, thank you RiverLINE and PATCO) but I treated myself to lunch every day at Reading Terminal Market

After my week of intensive edumacatorin’, I returned to my regularly scheduled summer vacation with some serious house-keeping and weather-enjoying.  All to then be interrupted by an earthquake

As you can see the damage was, well, annoying.  And as my mom said yesterday, whether we like it or not, we’re on this earth for a wild ride.