Time Flies

Time flies when you’re having fun!  We’ve had a busy week.  I can’t  believe it’s Friday already!  Last week I was super busy with work, followed by a weekend in Mass, and a fun week of nightly shenanigans. Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to…

Friday: First Snow!

On Friday we had our first snowfall!  It has snowed a couple times, but this was the first time it stuck, so Avery went running outside to play before school on Friday.  He was so excited and every morning since has been ddisappointed when there isn’t any new snow.

I was super thrilled the snow had held off until now because I had just got snow boots for Avery the weekend before (Thanks Joayn!).  But I was also a bad mommy and hadn’t got Avery snow pants yet this season, so I sent him to school with his from last year.  They fit, but barely.  So what did I do that weekend?  I found him new snow pants!

Weekend: Visiting friends in Mass

Avery spent the weekend with his Dad and Grandma in Mass, so I took advantage and made a weekend of it, crashing at my friends Erin & Andrew’s new house.  Steve came with me and we were put to work with a couple projects, did some Christmas shopping in NH (tax free!) and played some fun games Saturday night with yummy hot cider drinks in front of the fire.  After a nice breakfast out Saturday morning and more helping with the house, we headed off to pick Avery up.


We had such a fun weekend, and it went by too fast.  It’s nice to have those adults only weekends, especially since I can help Santa with his shopping without Avery seeing, but I was very happy to be home with this little guy Sunday night.

Monday: Tumble, Lowes, PIzza Putt

Monday night was a busy night!  MiMi had a meeting at the house so we made ourselves scarce.  Grampy got to see Avery in action at tumble class, then a quick stop at Lowes – these two had too much fun driving around!, dinner and games at Pizza Putt – a fun filled night for all!  (Side note, we haven’t been to Great Gram and Gramps for a couple weeks cuz they had a cold and didn’t want to pass it on to Avery)

Tuesday: Girls Night/Santa Shopping

Tuesday I met up with Michele (Mommy of THREE – no idea how she does it!?), and we had dinner and did some shopping.  We were so cute driving around our carts with our lists.  Avery spent the night with Mimi and Grampy… and all went well until Avery used his pliers on Grampy’s lip… oops.

Wednesday: Avery and Mommy Time

Wednesday nights Mimi and Grampy go to Gram and Gramps (to watch Survivor, so it’s a late night for them and we stay home), so after a yummy spaghetti dinner, Avery and I played toys and did the nighttime routine.  I would say it was a great night, until SOMEONE wouldn’t go to sleep.  Seriously… still battling bedtime at 3 years old.  I spent over an hour putting Avery back in his bed.

Thursday: Family Time

Last night we played and ate dinner with Mimi and Grampy.  Avery had fish sticks for the first time in a while and loved them.  Gotta put that on the menu more often.  We tried again to make it a smooth bedtime but Avery was up many many times.  I was busy in the office assembling thank you cards for Avery’s birthday (I know, I know, I’m months late – but I was waiting for the proofs from our photo shoot to send pics with the cards and they came over the weekend), so I kept busy in the 30 seconds between putting him back to bed over and over and over…

Friday: Pizza and a Movie

And today is Friday!  We’re not headed to Boston this weekend, so we’re having our usual Pizza and a Movie night at the house.  Ask Avery what he likes on his pizza… “Macaroni”  (aka, pepperoni)

Happy weekend!!!

<3 Meghan

My Lil Tumble Bear

When I was little, I remember taking a dance class in daycare.  Avery is finally at the age where he can start taking classes, so I thought we would try it out.  I also wanted to get him into swimming lessons, but none were available yet, so we went with a tumbling class to keep this little guy busy when it’s too cold/dark to play outside after school.

For the past two months, Avery has been enrolled in Tumble Class at Regal Gymnastics.  Thanks to his Aunt Shalini, who paid for the classes for his Third birthday present, Avery started classes and loves them so much that every day I pick him up from school, he asks if he’s going to tumble class.

So, every Monday I pick my little guy up early from school and we drive to our neighboring town to attend a 45 min Tumble Bears Class for 3-5 year olds.

They start in a circle with stretching…IMG_3535IMG_3395

Classes are usually 6-7 kids, and their instructor, Katie, is so very patient with the kids.


Next, Katie demonstrates an obstacle course of sorts – they have a new one setup every time.  Handstands, ladders, balance beams, bars to hang on, and mats to roll on.
On Avery’s first day, he did a log roll down a mat instead of a sommersault.  So cute… but Miss Katie corrected him and now he’s a tumbling machine!

After going thru the course a few times, the kiddos move over to the long trampoline.  They each take 3 turns jumping with arms up, on hips, legs open and closed, and even backwards!  They go to the end and then jump into the foam pit (obviously the best part!)

Then they head over to the big gym to do a bigger course with lots of bars and rings to swing on.  The kids are so cute sitting patiently watching Miss Katie demonstrate.

When they are done, the kids line up for stamps on their hands and feet and a fun print out to color/paint later.

Avery comes out smiling and showing off his stamps.
And since classes are so close to Great Grandma’s house, we go right over for dinner and to visit instead of making a second trip into town on Wednesdays when my parents typically visit.

Avery is enrolled in class until the end of November.  I know he loves it and wants to go every day, but it is pricey and the holidays will be busy, so I think we’ll end it and find a swimming lesson class to do Jan-Feb.  Then when spring comes, no more classes because there will be plenty to do outside!  But for now, tumble class is a great solution for the colder months to have Avery let out his energy!

Oh, and look what I found in a photo album… my dance class photos from when I was three.  Can you find me?IMG_4029IMG_4030IMG_4031

I’m in the dark pink leotard and white tights (farthest right in last photo).

Happy Wednesday!  This makes THREE blog posts so far this week!!!

<3 Meghan

Capturing Year Three

Two posts in two days, I’m on a roll!  Happy Veteran’s Day today to all the men and women who had served our country.  I know too many to give a list of shout outs, so -Thank you, all.

I splurged this year and got professional photos of Avery after he turned three.  I know, I know, I’m saving $ and I rarely splurge, but Avery is only three once, and I haven’t had professional photos taken of him since he turned 1, so I weighed the price with it’s worth, and I went for it.

Thanks to the amazing photography skills of Ariana Wammer of The Photo Foundry (and Vermont’s pretty foliage), she captured these special moments of me and my growing man in our town common.


And I HAVE to include this one… it’s like one you’ll see on those articles on worst family portraits:


Yep, that’s my kid.  LOVE him.

For those of you loved ones out there, we’ll be sending out prints for you!

<3 Meghan

Take a look back at Avery’s pictures: the bump, 3 month family photos, 1 year

Follow The Photo Foundry on FB

Me Time

I feel like I am soooo behind on blogging.  I take a ton of pics every day and we’re always out and about doing something, going somewhere.  I will never catch up!  So that my type A personality doesn’t get all stressed out, I’ll wrap up the Summer/Fall stuff I did for ME…. starting with SOFTBALL!

When I moved back to VT, my cousin asked me to join his softball team – I was essentially taking over for my sis, who had been on the team and was now moving away for grad school.  I was thrilled!  I played softball growing up and on our company team at work before Avery was born.  So, one night a week this summer, I was out on the field…


I had so much fun!  The team was really welcoming… and the league was very casual. Some people brought their dogs, family watched, and we called the shots – there were no refs, so the team fielding made the call.DSCF3084DSCF3077

Since it was co-ed, we had to have so many girls playing, which meant I got lots of time in – played second base and didn’t completely strike out allll the time ;)DSCF3075

The only bummer was the team played 45 min away, so it made for a long afternoon… and when we had rain cancellations, I was always on the road before they called the games.  Boo.


And special thanks to my cousin Amy, for these great pics :)


Next up… RUNNING!  Running is still one of my favorite ‘me time’ activities.  I try to get out 3 times a week.  Some weeks less, others more.  I have a great out and back 5K route that I just love. I can get in 2-3 miles after work and before picking Avery up.


Plus, running in this fall weather is soooo nice.  I even treated myself to some cool running gear via a gift card so I wouldn’t freeze my tush off in this chilly VT air.


I did the Glow run again this year, and dragged some friends along with me :)


It was horrible.  Seriously.  We spent weeks planning our glow gear and outfits (well, Michele and I did – her husband, Andy, invited himself along last minute… and was stylin’, haha) and it POURED.


It was not only dark, but raining…sheets!  The rain had stopped right before the race so as we stood in line, waiting for the ‘go’… it just started POURING.


We were miserable the whole run… and then after, what do we say? That was fun, let’s do it again next year… but let’s wait until the weather report before we register, haha.


Andy got 2nd in his age group, and won a prize… but because we were so hot, Michele and I got prizes too!  We finished 159/160 of 202… not bad.  Our pace was horrible to start, but we were flying the second half – probably cuz the rain let up.  Oh and of coarse the rain stopped just as we crossed the finish.


Since I haven’t been upping my mileage, I’m backing out of the 10K Turkey Trot, and I’m gonna run the 3K with Avery in the jogger with some girl friends.

Reading!  All those years of mandatory reading for school, then college, grad school, and last year plumbing school.  So… I climb into bed early some nights and read for an hour plus.


Or, when I get some free time, like when the power goes out in the middle of the workday:)


Recent reads… Falt in our Stars and The Vow… both were okay.  They had rave reviews, but I wasn’t too impressed.

HIKING! I forgot how many outdoor things there are to do around here – we hiked growing up and there are moutains just 20 minutes away.  The foliage was gorgeous this fall, and I took advantage of it… hiked to Sterling Pond with Steve in Early October.


The drive up to the trail was so pretty!

The hike was wet from rain the night before, but it was worth the views.


The next weekend, Michele and I hitup sunset ridge and made it up to cantilever rock on a Sunday afternoon.


Sooo excited for next spring/summer and hiking more trails!

YA-YA! Yep, it’s the time of year again – went out with all the Valyou ladies… lunch and a movie.


We had most of the group… missing only 3 of us.  Gram seemed to have fun, so a success!


And more girl time last weekend… I spent the afternoon at Labelle Winery in NH with my grad school girls… such a fun afternoon.  Wine tasting, tour, and lunch.IMG_3920IMG_3919

My fave was the cranberry apple…. brought a bottle of that home as a gift :)IMG_3921IMG_3927

Avery was with his Dad for the weekend, so I took advantage – spent time with good friends, and had a great time.


That night, I also went to a Halloween party and dressed up with a friend:IMG_3934

And the next day, helped Andrew and Erin (remember them?!) move stuff around in their new house (yay, guys!)

Soooo busy lately.  But a good busy.  It’s nice to take time to spend with friends and by myself.  I love Avery, and spend time with him every day, but it’s nice to re-discover me while I’m alone or with friends because I’m not just a Mom…

Happy Monday!

<3 Meghan


Cookies, Pumpkins, & a Dinosaur

All the craziness from Halloween has settled… time to share our projects from the past couple weeks in celebration of the holiday…

We started on Sunday morning the 12th (eh, three weeks isn’t too early to start celebrating, right?!) with Halloween cookies


Avery, Mimi, and I rolled, cut, sprinkled, and baked… and flour got everywhere!

We made black cats, orange pumpkins, red and green apples, black bats, and spooky ghosts…IMG_3586

Avery went pretty crazy with the sprinkles… so darn cute!IMG_3587

Needless to say, after all our hard work, and sending a box of cookies to Great Grandmas, the cookies were gone 2 weeks before Halloween :)IMG_3588

Next up… pumpkin carving!!!IMG_3650

Avery carved TWO pumpkins this year!  Last year or the year before, we attempted a paper mache pumpkin but Avery was more concerned with poking the pumpkin than anything.  This year he got to help gut and cut it!  This was so exciting for me because growing up we would do this every year as a family… spread newspapers on the floor in the kitchen and go to town… so we did.

So, on a Wednesday night after dinner, with the help of our friend Steve, we carved ‘Spooky’

Avery surprisingly got his hands dirty and helped scoop the guts out.  Then we used a template to poke out the design…IMG_3643IMG_3644
No pics of us carving the design out becuase with little cutting knives, all hands were on deck to monitor ;)  Avery LOVED carving and was pretty good at keeping on the lines… except when he got excited and started just jabbing the pumpkin randomly, haha.

And the final product:


Pumpkin #2, Avery wanted a face, so with Grampy’s help, these two goofballs had fun and made a pretty nice looking jack o lantern:IMG_3752

So, weeks before halloween… I’d say almost a month, I started asking Avery what he wanted to be for Halloween.  I had our costumes from the family reunion that I could re-use, but Avery is old enough now to have an opinion (al-beit every changing most of the time) about what he wanted to dress up as, plus Avery got an Amazon gift card for his birthday that we could utilize.  So, after much discussion, Avery kept saying he wanted to be a dinosaur… so we picked one out online and it came in the mail…so we had to try it on!IMG_3699

He picked out an orange dinosaur from the show ‘Dinosaur Train’.  He was sooo excited to try it on and chomp on us with his fake teeth.


It took a VERY long time to get these pictures tho – he was running around like crazy for a while and we went thru a meltdown before I FINALLY got these shots haha.IMG_3770

I love the tail.  It reminds me of when my little sister was Barney for Halloween when she was 2 or so… with the tail moving when she walked, haha so cute.

The night before Halloween, we had more pumpkins on our agenda… but this time we didn’t carve them.  We walked thru the Jericho Pumpkin Glow with my cousins Amy, Chad, and their son, Eric.  We saw so many pumpkins with such creative designs.  IMG_3891

Avery was thrilled and we even saw a Thomas the Train pumpkin!IMG_3892

There were HUGE pumpkins with their weight carved out on a smaller pumpkin.  Amy and Avery:IMG_3899


On Halloween, Avery was all dressed up to celebrate!IMG_3905

Halloween night we trick or treated in my old coworker’s neighborhood in Mass.  Avery was so excited in his costume.IMG_3912

He ‘rawr’ed’ at the people at the door, and did such a great job walking up to houses, pushing their doorbells and saying trick or treat.

After a few houses, I handed him off to his Dad who Avery spent the rest of the holiday weekend with.IMG_3915

It’s crazy to think… this is Avery’s FOURTH Halloween…. crazy!!!   He’s grown so much…
Baby's First Halloween Tiger IMG_2710IMG_1887 IMG_3914

Happy Halloween :)

<3 Meghan


WAY under $15K

Another month… another student loan update.  I’ve been excited to post this month because I’m finally under $15k!  And WAY under it… even under $14K!!! I feel like I just posted about being under $25k (only 6 months ago)… crazy how time flies and at this point each month I feel so much closer to the final goal!

25 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $13,725.94
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $28,142.59

I’ve officially paid off twice as much as I have left to pay off!  Crazy to think I’ve paid off almost $30k in two years.  This month’s numbers are pretty good – making up for last month‘s ‘meh’ numbers:

October Review

  • Starting Balance: $15,472.88
  • End Balance:  $13,725.94
  • Paid Towards Loans: $1,834.36
  • Interest Paid: $52.66
  • Principle Paid: $1,781.70

My little blue line of progress is inching closer and closer to that red goal line. I give it three more months before I pass it – which means I’ll be paying these off BEFORE my 30th birthday!

Red = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

I’m two months away from my next loan pay off…and it’s the last big one.  At 6.55%, it’s the last high interest loan… the next drops down to 4.73%.  I’ll be sooo happy when this one is gone because it weasels 20 bucks out of me a month, just for interest!

Loan Pay Off Plan

I have two months to pay off loan 1-01 ($3,057.66), which means I need to put at least $1530 towards it the next two months.  That’s going to be hard, since I have been averaging $1500 extra a month towards whatever loan I’m working on paying off for a while now.  More means cutting back on the VSAC loans – they don’t have a minimum, and have low interests (they only accrue $7-$10/month in interest), so instead of paying those every week, I can pay them every other week and use the extra $80 in Nov. & Dec. (I put $40/wk towards them) to loan 1-02.

As the loan amount keeps going down, it’s not as daunting… $13k seems so doable (unlike the $40k+ I started with!).  And if all goes as planned, in 7 months I will be student loan debt free!  At which point I will ride off into the sunset…

… and after I splurge on something fun (like another fun trip to Parc Safari or Jay Peak Water Park?!), It’ll be back to saving $$$… for our dream house!

I just have to keep telling myself… only 7 months to go.  Honestly, as perky as these monthly updates are, this is HARD.  I’ve had to be focused on a budget and saving money for over 2 years now.  Yeah, I splurge here and there on some things, but on a daily basis, I don’t spend money on anything.  I have this goal in the back of my mind every single day – and the goal of making a home for Avery and I is what’s really pushing me.  I want Avery to grow up in a home… somewhere with roots, where he can make memories, and always come home to the same place – So, I stay committed, motivated, and before I know it, these pesky loans will be GONE!

<3 Meghan

Check out my About Meghan page for more posts on finances and paying off my student loans.

Spooky & Silly Salem Weekend

We’re back from a weekend trip to Mass.  Avery spent the weekend with his Dad and Grandma while we (Mom, Dad, Uncle Mike, Aunt Denise, Joey and I) spent the weekend in Salem.  For the ten years I lived in Boston, Aunt Denise kept talking about taking a weekend trip to Salem (she loves spooky stuff), and of coarse, we never got around to it.  (We did however, have a couple trips exploring Boston (while I played tour guide) and one rainy day Brewery hopping (starting at 9am, hehe)  So, a few months ago I did the research and planned our trip to Salem!

We left at 11am, and made good time (minus the minor traffic jam in Lebanon NH because of construction), arriving at our hotel just outside Salem just before 3pm.  Avery played in the back seat, snoozed, and played some more.
We checked in at the hotel, and Joey and I hopped back in the car to bring Avery to his Dad’s while everyone else went into Salem.

After fighting glorious Boston traffic, we were finally all in Salem.  What did we do… took a candlelight ghost tour of course!
And it wasn’t but a minute after the tour guide warned us about catching our cups on fire when Dad caught his on fire!  The tour was OK.  The tour guide wasn’t dressed up and talked way too fast.


Our next stop (well, after the candy shoppe – yum!) was the House of the Seven Gables.  A book was wrote about this house by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  (Name familiar?  It was for me – he wrote The Scarlet Letter, I read it in highschool) The tour was amazing – my favorite of the weekend.  We stopped in each room of the house, and an actor would play out a character that lived in the house… a ghost, a butler, crazy girl, and a sweet old penny shop keeper.  The house was ‘wicked’ cool – low ceilings, steep winding staircases.  After the tour, we bought the two books :)

Day two began with a text to see how my little guy was doing (I missed him!).  He was having fun with his Dad and Grandma.  So, back to the adult only fun – first a workout in the fitness center and breakfast at the hotel, and off to Salem to see a baseball game played like it was back in the Civil War.IMG_3672

A nice guy from the team (his nickname was ‘Pigtail’) gave us a brochure and told us a little about the league.  The ball they used used to be handmade, and the stitching was done in a ‘x’, and the uniforms and bats were authentic.


They played 8 innings a game, and since they played barehanded (no gloves!!), they could catch a ball off a bounce and it would be an out.
The teams playing were from Providence and Brooklyn.  Providence whooped butt.

Next up, some walking around – the streets were full of vendors and very festive vistors.  We joined in and I found these two cute hats for Mom and Aunt Denise.  I needed free hands to eat fries before we met back up with them, so I just wore them both for a while…


And then started our day of musuems… first the Pirate Museum.  Mom and Aunt Denise wore the hats proudly!  (Apparently this is the IN thing down there… mini witch hats – cuz they were so expensive!  These little guys were $10 each.  The other larger ones on headbands were $20+ each, eek!  I need to get in that business!)


Oh and guess who we ran into… you know, the most famous pirate of all of history… Johnny Depp!


I’m pretty sure this was the museum that I got spooked.  See, all these museums have fake people, showing the witch trials and the last guy was a real guy… he moved and yep, I jumped and screamed like a little girl, haha!  Next up was the Witch history musuem, and then the witch dungeon.  Did you know they put over 150 people in these dungeons that had cells that were as small as a phone booth!  So sad.  We took some fun pictures when we got out of the dungeon tour.



In between the museums, we stopped in a few stores for souvineirs, oh and Mom and Aunt Denise and I found a sweet vintage shop.  I almost bought a dress for an upcoming wedding, but I was good.  Mom did however, find the cutest red boots!  Dinner at a fancy seafood restaurant was more silly than proper.  Aunt Denise made good friends with the waiter, which later earned us a free desert!


Our last musuem was the Salem Witch Musuem in this pretty building.IMG_3670

I was not impressed with the performance/show, but the second half was pretty cool, a history about ‘witches’ and the different versions throughout history.

Our last stop before leaving the spooky city… Salem’s haunted watering hole – The Bunghole!


We stocked up on some gifts and a few drinks for later that night while we played cards at the hotel.


Back at the hotel, we played a round of 31 while munching on leftovers.  Oh and we didn’t have a deck of cards so I hunted around and could only find some at this comic book store – so I picked the Walking Dead zombie ones… and man were those a good choice.  They threw everyone off – Aunt Denise was so disgusted and didn’t want to look at them and Uncle Mike was picking out the one Aunt Denise looked like in the morning – good times!

So, no ghost sightings, but we had a great time and I could probably write a book myself about Salem’s Witch Trial history!  If you ever visit, use this website.  It tells you all the events going on. Most tours/museums were under $10, and if you get combo tickets, it’s very reasonable.  And the city is very walkable.  We parked and walked around all day.  Weekend parking is $20 minimum for the day, but on weekdays the lots are only $1/hr for unlimited time.

We headed back home on Sunday.  I did a little shopping to kill time before picking Avery up from his Dad’s – scored some nice cold weather running gear – much needed because I’m doing the Glow Run tomorrow night!

We’ve had a busy week of tumble class, pumpkin carving, playing with Avery’s new toys from his birthday with his Dad, oh and Avery’s Halloween costume came in the mail, so he wore that for quite a while one night.  A busy weekend ahead of us – I’ll be back next week with more…

<3 Meghan