Parc Safari

BURRR!!!! It’s official – It’s fall in Vermont.  It was below freezing when I brought Avery to school this morning, and yet the calendar doesn’t consider it fall until this coming weekend.  Well, we closed out our summer with a CHILLY trip to Parc Safari!  We had been when my sister and I were little (20 years ago to be exact – Mom found a dated park map from our last visit).

We had wanted to go this summer, but all our weekends were booked, and we had to get Grampy and Avery’s passports done (that was a feat in itself!), so we fit it in a little too late this year… we’re going in the peak of summer next year!

We hit the road early Saturday morning: We met up with Nana, Papa, and Joseph (My cousin) and drove north, to Canada!

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It was Avery and Grampy’s first time using their new passports, so exciting!  Just over an hour of driving and we arrived.

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Although it was chilly and there were cyclists zooming past us (um, note to Parc Safari: Your Cycle program is NOT appreciated by us people just walking around.  

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Bikes zooming by and taking up so much space in the park, and having sections marked off for them is NOT appealing to the normal walking on two feet guests) we made the best of our visit.  We had wanted to do the drive thru part first, but it opened much later than advertised (because of the cyclists) so we went thru part of the park first…

On the way, Avery and Joseph found some animals to pose with…

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And onto the REAL animals…

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The lions were first.  They were HUGE.  We walked around, and UNDER them…

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And thanks to our tall Papa, Avery got to size up his paws to the big kitty:

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We even got to see and hear the lions roar!  Next we saw a Tiger!  Avery had been looking forward to this animal the most, so we snagged a picture to send to Joey.

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And oh the animals we saw… lions, tigers, bears, oh my!  And monkies too!

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After freezing our butts off, we stopped for a nice lunch inside…

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And then it was off for the best part… where we got to drive thru the park and feed the animals!  Avery was thrilled to see the animals, but what’s even better than that?  Hanging out the car window while doing it of course!

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First up… the elephant!

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We tried feeding it an orange, but MiMi’s throw wasn’t on par that day ;)  The boys were pretty excited to see the big guy.

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Next up.. camels!

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They were so big… and slobbery!  We had bought the park food to feed all the animals, and the camels walked up to the cars as we drove by and ate the food from our hands!

Avery was very hesitant at first and didn’t want to feed the animals, but he was popping around in the car from one window to the next to look at the animals… and Joseph followed behind us … both kiddos doing this most the ride!

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I think these were donkeys…

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And my favorite part… the ostrich!

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It was taller than the car and poked it’s beak for the food onto our hands pretty hard…

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We stopped and took a potty break halfwary thru (I know, I know, I owe a potty training post.. but just a hint, Avery is in big boy underpants all the time now!) and pet this guy…

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Back in the car, we saw these big fellas!

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And Avery warmed up and fed and pet some animals!

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These deer/antelope things were very calm and fun to feed and pet.

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They really get up close too…

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And to give an idea of just how cool this experience was, driving thru the park, this is what a Papa’s truck looked like behind us…

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Avery was full of giggles and smiles.. such a fun experience!

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Tip: bring lots of baby wipes!  We went thru a ton since these animals slobbered all over our hands, haha.

After the car ride, we walked a raised pathway and saw the Giraffes

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The baby giraffe was the first born at the park in 23 years, so it was fun to see her.  She was 1 1/2 months old.  Avery got to feed a carrot to the giraffe too (Tip: Bring bags of apples and carrots – the animals prefer them over the food the park sells, and the park is OK with it!)

We saw the elephant again…

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And Papa and I stood in Kenya!

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The platform was in the shape of Africa with all the countries mapped out.

Next up, a big Rhino…

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And these two animals…

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Avery had such a fun time with Joseph… these two goofballs…

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Running to see the next animal…

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Checking out some antelope…

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The Chetas woke up (they were sleeping when we drove by earlier) and we watched them for a while…

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With a couple hours left, we hit up the rides!  Avery rode a truck…

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Joseph took Avery on this flying ride!

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Avery cruised in the blue car… of coarse he picked the blue one!

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And took a ride on an elephant… the blue one!131_2217

And the boys went thru a fun ball pit obstacle course…

Then we went to the petting area… first, a camel.

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A pig…

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chickens and ducks…131_2223131_2222

And the last part… the deer path.131_2228131_2232

They came up and ate right out of our hands.131_2242131_2236

Joseph made a friend…131_2240

Avery sat down and waited for them to come to him and they ate out of his hand.

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We had so much fun!!!  Avery passed out a few minutes into the car ride home.. he was wiped out!  And he slept 11+ hours that night after such a busy day!

We’re excited to go back next summer… when it’s warm!!!

Happy Friday!  We had a busy weekend ahead of us: A football game tonight, a wedding tomorrow and sleepover with cousins, Joey’s half marathon Sunday, and two birthday parties Sunday afternoon!

<3 Meghan

Summer Races

I figure I owe an update on the running front…

I laid off the races for a couple months, so in August we watched two of Joey’s races, first was the Fairfax Egg Run:

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Avery and I had fun cheering on Joey, his Dad, and sister.  I’m sooo looking forward to running this one next year.  It was such a large turn out and the energy was great, oh and it helps that it’s just next door, a few miles from home.  Joey did well, and congrats to his sis, Sarah for her first ever 5K, and she rocked it, finishing in like 24 minutes, ummm amazing!  Joey did the 10k, a PR!  He’s been training for a half marathon, so yay Joey!

Next was the Run for Your Life in St. Albans.  Not as big of a turn out, but Avery and I had fun watching Joey and his Dad, and while they ran the 4.4 mile course, we watched construction on the railroad – Avery was sooo thrilled.  And after we hit up the playground :)
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Joey and his Dad did great, and they both won prizes!  It’s always a good race for Joey when he walks away with an award or prize.

And the most recent race… the COLOR RUN!  Last year I had registered for the color run in Boston, but I couldn’t go, scheduling conflict with the family reunion.  This year I did it in VT.  This Momma was up at 530am on a Saturday, psyched!
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Avery had a busy and fun filled morning with a friend and Mimi, so he was in good hands while I met up with my friend Ayla at 730 at the race.  We had both never done a color run before, so it was a fun experience to share.  We did an hour warm up of Jazzersize, which was perfect because it was freezing, so that warmed us up!

There were so many people, hundreds.  The most I’ve ever run a race with.  Here we are before and after the race, and the view from the start line:

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We ran thru four color stations, PINK, BLUE, GREEN, and Yellow.  We walk/ran because Ayla was getting over a bad cold, which worked for us because we got to chat the whole time, something us Mommas needed!

Here we are at the finish!TBTV14_11_03080_L

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After the race, we hit up the photo booth…

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…and threw our color packets in the crowd in front of the stage (which I can only describe as ‘like a G-rated Rave Mosh Pit in a cloud of rainbow smoke’)… and after that we were even more covered in colors!  We hit up a few photo ops and went thru the Shout station where they used leaf blowers to get the color dust off us.

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Green got the best of Ayla, she said she was still blowing green out her nose the next day.  Me, it was blue.  Three showers and two days later, it all was finally gone, haha.IMG_3084

So much fun, and we are so excited to do it again next year… and are talking about doing more fun runs and obstacle runs next year together!

It’s already getting cold here… it went from summer to winter in a couple weeks.  Below freezing here last night, and now I’m off to run, thankfully the sun is out so I’ll be lucky if it has hit 60 outside!

Races to come this fall… Joey’s Half Marathon, the Glow Run, and the Turkey Trot.

<3 Meghan

Summer Vacation!

Whoa, can’t believe it’s Friday already!  These short weeks and long weekends are nice, especially after we spent a week on vacation at the end of August!

We spent a week (Sun-Fri) camping in Lake George, New York.  “We” being Avery and I, MiMi and Grampy, Joey, and Aunt Sarah!
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We arrived and setup camp!

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We got a site right on the river and next to a big field.  The campground was pretty quite most of our visit.  There were some kids on Sunday, but the rest of the week we felt like pretty much the only ones there.  No campers on either side of our site.

It wasn’t long before these two settled in and made themselves at home…

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We took walks around the park every day.  Avery loved stopping at the river and throwing rocks in.
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When Avery got tired from walking, he insisted Joey carry him… then Joey HAD to carry me too… sillyness!
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More fun…

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Avery on top of the world!IMG_2711

Look, we’re taller than Joey!IMG_2713

We enjoyed dinner outside…

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And we met our new friends…

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These ducks, who we named Donald and Daffy, came by a couple times a day.  We had fun feeding them!
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We ended the night, and every night, with a campfire.  Avery was so excited about eating marshmallows :)
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Everyone slept well and we started off the next day…

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Avery woke up and sat by the river with Mimi, eating breakfast.  Then when all our bellies were full, it was time for some basketball and bike riding!

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I treated Avery to a new bike, a big boy one with training wheels because he mastered his little trike last camping trip.  So, he and Grampy put together this little number:
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It’s hard to ride on gravel or dirt, so the basketball court was perfect!  We played basketball (well, I lost at horse over and over, haha) while Avery cruised around!

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And like I’ve said before, nap time while camping is a challenge… but not when you have a Grampy and a hammock…
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Joey brought his study materials for his Personal Training Certification Fantasy Football Draft ;)

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Ok, so I HAD to put this in… the boys are napping and the girls are playing cards and we notice a new camper near us, a couple sites over.  Then after a few glances we notice the guy is laying on the picnic table while the woman tweezes his nose hairs!  Ew!!!  I HAD to snag a picture, hehe.

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There was a nice wooden playground that Avery had a good time on every day.IMG_2731

And more marshmallows at night…IMG_2733

Aunt Sarah was with us for two days, since she’s off to grad school, and on one of those days, we all went together to Great Escape!!!!  It’s a Six Flags theme park.  We had been here when we were kiddos and since Avery was now tall enough to ride the kiddy rides, we went!
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We rode rides, had a picnic lunch back at the car, went to the water park, played games… a fun filled day!
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I’m not alone in the car… Avery’s driving but he’s too short to see!

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Riding the Train!

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Avery was so strong!!! He won a prize!IMG_2754IMG_2757
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Kiddie Roller Coaster with Aunt Sarah!

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Oh no, in jail!!!

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Waterpark fun!!!IMG_2826IMG_2827IMG_2828IMG_2829IMG_2830IMG_2831IMG_2832IMG_2833IMG_2834
We had such a fun day!!!!!!!

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Someone even got a prize when we left…

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More fun back at the campground the next day…
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Treasures, As Avery calls them.  (aka, rocks)IMG_2760

Cheese for breakfast!IMG_2761

A morning walk with Grampy

We spent a day in Lake George walking around visiting shops, stores, the waterfront, and arcades!!!
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We had some nice warm weather, so we cooled off in the campground pool…
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Avery did so well in his swimmies.  He was always with someone,  but he can float in the arm floaties by himself, and he’s learning to kick and paddle… he just isn’t quite going anywhere yet without someone giving him a little push :)

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Jump!!!

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Avery loved jumping in the pool… and we had some fun taking pictures of us jumping over each other…

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On our last full day camping, we woke up to a rainy day.

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But in between showers, we went mini golfing!  It was Avery’s first time…
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He did great and had so much fun!IMG_2785

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At times when he swang, Grampy said he played like Happy Gilmore with a hockey stick, haha! Like this swing I caught on camera…IMG_2790IMG_2792IMG_2793IMG_2794

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We built up an appetite golfing, so for lunch… we had ice cream!!IMG_2795

On the way home, the boys were pretty tired…

We got back to camp and their napping continued…. what else is there to do on a rainy day but nap???

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Mom and I played scrabble!!!
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Avery kept occupied making up games like making his own little hideaway under the table seats…

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We packed up in sprinkling rain on Friday and headed home.  The trip was fun and full of laughs and memories… :)

<3 Meghan

Another One Bites the Dust

Labor Day weekend starts now for me (Thanks to my office for closing early on long weekends!)… and with this weekend we say goodbye to August, and summer…

…. AND goodbye Stafford Loan 1-02 !!!
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That’s right, another loan, paid off (pause for happy dance) !!! Man, does that feel good!

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21 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $16,916.93
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $24,951.00

In less than 2 years, I’ve paid off almost $25,000 in debt!  And I made a nice dent in the next loan on my list to knock off… made for a pretty good month financially – check it out:

August Review

  • Starting Balance: $18,917.17
  • End Balance:  $16,916.93
  • Paid Towards Loans: $2,066.83
  • Interest Paid: $66.36
  • Principle Paid: $2,000.47

Yeah, that’s right, I put over TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS towards loans this month – woo hoo!  That’s the most I’ve ever put in during a normal month (no additional income like tax return).  And if you look at my monthly expense analysis from my bank account, I wasn’t super frugal either – we spent quite a bit on entertainment:  I got Avery a new bike and big boy underpants (oooo potty training!), we went on a couple dates, and ate out a few times.

Expense Analysis August

Next month, I’ll feel the repercussions from our vacation (pictures coming soon!) and have a few bills to pay from that, so I don’ expect to top this next month.  Plus, we’re taking a fall, adults only, vacation weekend in Salem, MA, which will need to be paid next month, so those expenses will show next month.

I’ll stay on my high for now though, because, look how close I am to my goal!!

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Red = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

If I keep it up (which I plan to!), I’m projected to get these all paid off by May of next year… 8 months to go!!!

Loan Pay Off Plan

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So, the plan is to chip away at Loan 1-01 (highest interest loan) for the next 4 months: $1500 a month extra to this and it’ll be gone in December!  Then like dominos, they will fall: in January I’ll knock off Loan C (next highest interest), February will be Loan B, March I’ll kick Loan A with my tax return (anticipated to be around $3,000, if not more), April Loan 1-04, and May Loan 1-03. Done!

I was never a patient person, and maybe I can thank Motherhood for the absurd amount I have now.  This has been a LONG process.  It’s taken hours of planning, budgeting, number crunching, and tons of patience. But I’ve kept my long term goals in mind to keep me motivated.  I know that when this is all said and done, It’ll feel soooo good to be debt free, and then I can start my journey to save and build a house for Avery and I – a house he can call home, forever.  We will finally have our roots, our friends and family nearby, and an amazing community to be a part of.  I’ll finally have the relief, as a mother, that I’ve set a good foundation for him to grow up safe, happy, and healthy.

Enjoy the long weekend – we will – We have a fun weekend planned: two parties, Avery’s first theater movie, fishing, and tonight… a double date, bowling!

<3 Meghan

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

The Great Pearly Whites

Avery had his FIRST dentist appointment today, and he was a model patient!

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After we moved to VT, among the paperwork involved in moving, I setup Avery’s doctor and dentist.  He’s almost 3, so he was due for his first dentist appointment.  As a parent, I was worried Avery would be scared and the receptionist on the phone warned me that it may take two visits to accomplish the cleaning because kids are antsy and scared.  So, I got all my ducks in a row, planned for the best, but prepared for the worst.

Avery has been brushing his teeth since he was able to, first just at night, and more recently in the morning too.  I don’t let him have juice during the week, and he is limited on sweets for just treats and deserts.  So, I was confident that his teeth would look good – I was just worried about how he would react to all the poking and proding and having to sit in a chair for a long period of time.

The day before and morning of, I told Avery about the dentist and talked it up, telling him how he’s going to show the dentist his big teeth and overall just making it sound like a fun experience.  No parent wants their kid to be scared of the dentist and seeing as even as adults we dread going, it was a strong possibility.

So, they fit us in at 10am this morning, which meant I was up at 6am working in the office getting in some early hours so I could take a long break to take Avery to the dentist.  It didn’t make sense to bring Avery to school, and pick him up an hour later to bring him to the appointment, so after Avery got up and had breakfast, he hunkered down in the office with me while I worked for an hour more before the appointment.
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We got to the dentist’s office early, so we mozied in, watching the horse and cat in the field next door.  Avery found out later the cat’s name is Mike and he visits the dentists during the day although he lives next door.

I filled out a form while Avery watched the fish, read a book, and he started to get antsy so he watched a couple minutes of Thomas the Train before we got called in.  Avery kept asking where the doctor was, and I explained how they would come out and call his name and we would go in.

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The hygienist came out and Avery followed her in and sat himself up on the dentist chair, all by himself.  He was all smiles and looking around checking everything out.  The hygienist was so nice – she explained all the tools, the moving chair, the light, her mask and glasses.  Avery sat quietly, watching her intently with her eyes.  He got a purple bib and was ready to be checked out!

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I stood up in the corner of the room so Avery could see me.  The hygenist asked Avery to open his mouth… and nothing. (Mommy panic…. quick think of something!)  So, I opened my mouth, showing Avery what to do (We mimic eachother and practice making different emotion faces, so it was worth a try).  And it worked – Avery opened his mouth.  The hygenist counted his teeth – she had a pointy tool which Avery gave a worried look to, so to distract him I held up my fingers for him to see as she counted his teeth.  I almost ran out of fingers too… 10 teeth on the bottom, and 10 on top!

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She said he didn’t have any cavities, his teeth looked very clean, and he has good spacing for the big teeth to grow in when they come.  He has one decay spot on a tooth but she said the tooth was formed like that, probably from medication when he was really little (He had thrush and pneumonia when he was little, so maybe that).  Next, she cleaned his teeth.  She asked Avery to pick a flavor of tooth paste… cherry, bubble gum, grape….no response.  So, I put it in Avery terms… “would you like red, pink, or purple tooth paste?”  He picked purple and did great with the automatic brushing thing and the water and suction things too.  She even flossed his teeth, which she says we don’t have to do just yet, but sometimes we can try it to get him used to it.  Avery and I gave eachother thumbs up thru the whole thing – he was such a trooper!

The dentist came in after the cleaning and confirmed the same thing the hygienist had said, and after he left, Avery says “All done?” with a smile.  He pointed to his ears and said “My ears now?!’ and we all laughed and I explained that they check just teeth at the dentist and the doctor will check his ears when we go see his doctor.

He picked out a toy and a new toothbrush – Lightning McQueen… which is awesome because we have a Mater one that Avery keeps asking where Lighting is, now we have him too! Avery was one proud kiddo walking out with his bag of goodies waving bye to everyone.
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Avery is setup for another appointment in 6 months.  Until then, we’re told to just continue what we are doing.  As a Mom it was a big relief knowing I’ve taught him to brush his teeth well and not fed him too many treats, and he was such a model patient that just made me all warm and fuzzy inside, especially when he kept getting praised for how well he did.

One proud Momma today ;)

And I won’t spare the less glorious portion of the day when Avery threw a fit in the car just before we got to daycare because he wanted to go home and I had to leave him crying and the teacher practically had to pry him off me because he wouldn’t let go.  But I had Joey check on him 10 minutes later and he was settled in for his nap and doing just fine.  He’ll have a fun afternoon with his friends.  Overall, a success! Next stop is Avery’s 3 year checkup with the doctor in a month.

<3 Meghan

Family Reunion ’14: Disco

Valyou Family Reunion 2014 was Groovy, Baby!

For our 19th Annual (yea, seriously – next year is the big 20!) Family Reunion, the extended family met up for another fun-filled weekend at the Grange Center in Brookfield, VT.

We arrived Friday afternoon, setup the camper, and joined the usual crew by the fire.

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Although we hadn’t seen most everyone for a year, Avery wasn’t one bit shy.  He made his rounds around the fire visiting with everyone, especially his buddy, Jim.

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He played a little cornhole…

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Oh, and hydrated!

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When the sun went down, Avery was sooo excited to sleep in his camper bed:

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Avery had his camo sleeping bag he got from Uncle Michael Eyes and Grampy thought to make him a cozy bed like this, and was Avery thrilled!

Saturday was a busy busy day!  We started the morning after breakfast… we took a walk down to the old floating bridge (it’s now under construction.  You can see it in its glory days in years past reunions here and here).  When we got back, the slip and slide was out, so we joined in!
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We had so much fun!  Avery was really into it.

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He had on his serious face every time we went down….

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But as soon as it ended, he jumped up and asked to do it again!

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After we were covered in bubbles and grass and mud, we took showers and enjoyed some games around the field…

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We played and watched cornhole.

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Then we joined the group at the campfire…

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Avery played peek-a-boo with my cousin Amy (she’s very animated, as you can see) – Avery was in stitches laughing at her.

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Then it was off to the duck race!  If you aren’t familiar, we put ducks in a river, they float down and the first to the finish, wins!  Everyone buys their ducks ahead of time, winner gets 50% of the pot and the rest goes to our reunion fund.

Avery was so excited for the duck race….

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He actually passed out in the car on the way there and missed the whole thing!

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This year, we added 100 more ducks, making 300 available to purchase.  I think 100 kids ducks and 250 adult ducks took the ride down the river this year.

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Joey and Grampy helped catch them as they came in.

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The rest of us watched from above.  The winner of the adult race gets to bring home a trophy too… I was lucky enough to win it two years ago and it sat atop a shelf in my living room for a year and since it was a gold spray painted wine bottle with a duck on top, it was a good conversation starter.

Back at the grange, Avery had some snacks while he was groggy from his nap and I played cards with my cousins.

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Avery, in the meantime, tried some badminton…

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And crocket…IMG_2432

Then it was time for the big Saturday Night Dinner…

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They had food that was popular in the 80s: SpaghettiOs, Doritos, Hamburger Helper, and Pudding Pops!

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We all changed and came back for the disco event!IMG_2438

I spent a couple nights the weeks prior making our costumes…

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I hadn’t touched a sewing machine since highschool.. so over 10 years!  I raided my Nana’s sewing room and found the perfect pattern for a shirt for Avery.  I just used one of his T shirts as a guideline.

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The hardest part was the vest, with fringe!

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I used a vest pattern from my Nana that was too big and sized it down a bit.  It took a while, but it was real suede, so it looked really nice when I was finished.

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I love dressing up for our reunion themes, but it can be pricy, so my goal was to make something cheap (it was actually free!), and something Avery would actually wear… and he did!

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I made my costume from the same material, so we looked kinda cute.

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We only spent $20 on Joey’s wig, $6 on his sun glasses, $5 on his retro shirt (a GoodWill find), and $5 on peace sign necklaces (that we shared with all the little kids).  Three costumes for under $40 total, score!

Here’s a group shot of all of us dressed up.

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Avery won a goodie bag of prizes and  candy for his costume!

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Then it was time for games… we played Hollywood Squares.IMG_2452IMG_2453IMG_2454IMG_2455

And the final event… the piniata!IMG_2457

As always, my mom made it…. a disco ball!IMG_2466

The kids each took 3 shots at it, and after going thru everyone 3 times, it finally broke.

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Avery had fun hitting the piniata (he was the youngest again this year) first, and scrambling for candy.

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We ended the busy day by the fire.  Avery and Jimwere real good buddies.  Well, you would expect that after Jim took him on a bug hunt that afternoon!IMG_2484

We had a great time, especially Avery.  He was all smiles and laughs all weekend.IMG_2487

Next year is our 20th reunion… and I’m on the committee – so excited to start planning it!

We’re off on vacation next week in Lake George, NY.  We’ll be camping, going to Great Escape, and Joey and Sarah are coming too!  Yay vacation!

<3 Meghan

P.S. I mailed out Avery’s birthday invitations this morning… you’ll see them in the mail soon!  More details here.

 

 

This and That

I can’t believe we’re already on the tail end of summer!!!  July was a busy month… I only posted once a week, so to make up for it, here are 13 random happenings from the past month… a little of this and that…

1. We made Kale Chips.
IMG_2278They weren’t too bad.  My Mom can eat them like potato chips, but Joey and I could only stomach one each.  They are just so dense!  Yes, they are very good for you, but I’d rather have kale in my smoothie.  They are very easy to make tho – we picked the kale from the garden, cleaned them, added some oil and seasoning, cooked um, and ta-da, chips!

2. We went on a Bug Hunt!

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Avery, Grampy, and I walked around the house for bugs.

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We found some crickets, a slug, a moth, a centipede thing… oh and a snake!IMG_2363

Grampy handled the catching (with a fish net, you know, the kind you use for a home fish tank), and Avery watched in wonder… pointing, giggling, laughing, smiling.IMG_2332

Avery was soooo intrigued by the snake!  It was a tiny garter snake.IMG_2340

We must have sat for an hour watching it, giving it sticks and grass to wind around.IMG_2348

When we let the snake go, it slithered away and Avery chased it, so cute!

3. We watched the Brain Freezer
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Our friend from high school and her husband (shout out to Izzy and Alex) put on their second annual 5K race in Burlington, and we went to watch.  Why didn’t we run?  Well, for this race, you run 1.5 miles, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, and run 1.5 miles back.  It was fun to watch but we couldn’t stomach doing it!  If you do, check out The Brain Freezer 5K Website! 

While we waited for the runners to come back, we took in the views (Lake Champlain)…
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And played at the park (Battery Park, Burlington).IMG_2262

After we watched the runners come in – Avery was cheering and clapping – he’s such a good sportsman!  Then it was off to the waterfront for a picnic.IMG_2265

4. Avery’s First Shave.

Avery’s gotta do everything Grampy does, so when he heard Grampy needed to shave one night… well, he just had to join in!
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First, they lathered up…IMG_2291

Grampy demonstrated…

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And Avery shaved too! (We had a fake razor in Avery’s Play-Doh set, which worked great)

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5. We got invited to TWO weddings!

You know how much I LOVE getting mail… so I was very excited seeing TWO wedding invites in the mail within a week!

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First was Kelly and Josh’s wedding invite.  We’ve had the date on the calendar for a while, but it was nice to finally get the official invites – they were soooo pretty!  Oh and note how it was addressed… Ms Meghan and MASTER AVERY Valyou… haha :)  Very cute, Kelly!  Kelly is my sister’s best friend from grade school… so it’ll be great seeing her tie the knot!

And our second invite was for Marcus!
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Our brother, as Sarah and I have dubbed him since we’re like family, is getting married in January!  So happy to see him tie the knot too, and both are in Vermont even though both couples live down south.

6. Joey and I Gave Blood.
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I’ve been meaning to get into giving blood on a regular basis, but never fit it into my schedule, so Joey and I made a date to give blood together, and neither of us passed out!  We’ll do it again in September :)

7. We visited Nana & Papa

Avery threw rocks in the creek out back, I raided Nana’s workshop for cloth for family reunion costumes, we had a yummy dinner of spaghetti, and angel food cake for desert!

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Avery and Papa sat on the porch and watched birds.  It was cute and sweet until Avery got comfortable and started smacking the window when birds came by, scaring them, and Avery laughed, thinking it was sooo hilarious.
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Then it got a little crazy when Avery and CoCo (Nana and Papa’s dog) started chasing eachother around the house!  Avery thought it was so fun, and CoCo kept barking and bouncing around taunting Avery to play.

8. We visit Gram & Gramp every Wednesday.

Most Wednesdays, Avery and I head over to the park near Gram and Gramp’s house and play there for an hour, have a picnic dinner.

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Then we meet MiMi and Grampy at Gram and Gramps to visit for an hour before heading home for bed.  Avery loves playing with the puzzles and legos they have.

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We go for a walk, and Avery bikes circles around us on his tricycle.

9. We had fun OUTSIDE!

It’s amazing having a huge yard, garden, and garage to play in this summer.  We’ve been outside all weekend long and every weekday afternoon.  Avery’s been swimming in his big pool…

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Our favorite games in the pool are chasing each other around in circles and catching his babies (baby/tiny animals/dinosaurs) with his fish net.

Avery loves mowing the lawn in his skivvies…IMG_2324

When it’s raining, we can still be outside and play in the garage – Avery rides his bike or we play with chalk and cars.  Or we sit on buckets and shuck corn…IMG_2315

Avery moves his toys around the yard with his wagon from Easter.
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Avery loves playing in Grampy’s garden too.. we’ve picked lettuce, rhubarb, peas, and wild strawberries and raspberries…IMG_2298

They’re the perfect summer afternoon snack! Avery LOVES them.  He won’t eat the big ones from the grocery store though, haha.

10. Visits at Michael Eyes

This is Michael Eyes.

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(He’s not naked! He’s on the deck without a shirt on because he had been swimming and he had blackberries smeared on his face from Avery, haha)

He’s my uncle (my Dad’s brother), and Avery’s great uncle, but that’s not his name.  He is officially ‘Michael Eyes’.  He was originally Uncle Micheal (not Mike), as Avery called him, but then he became ‘Tomato Eyes’ one silly afternoon playing with cherry tomatoes, and the two have mashed together, so Avery calls him, “Michael Eyes.”  Well, we’ve visited with them a few times this past month – we visited the playground next door…IMG_2266IMG_2271

Enjoyed their pool….IMG_2532

And their nice garden and bridge over the creek running through their property.IMG_2273

On our most recent visit, we played in the pool, had a yummy dinner and desert, and sat by the campfire… while Avery played in a box with two nerf balls… he was sooo entertaining… and man was he having fun.  Avery would sit in the box, throw the nerf balls to us sitting around the fire, and he would hide in the box.  Two of us would toss the balls into the box.  Avery would come up, point to each person and ask ‘Was it you?’ until two people said yes, he would laugh, throw the balls to those two people and we would do it again.  This went on for an hour!  Then one time we all hid when he was in the box and when he came up, it was pretty funny!

11. We celebrated Lorri’s Bday
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Avery and I joined Joey and his family at Joey’s MiMi’s house and had a nice evening celebrating Lorli’s (That’s how Avery says it) birthday.  Avery helped blow out the candles and he ate some yummy cake!

12. We went to a Wedding

Wedding number two of the year.  One more to go to this fall.

Wait, lemme take a selfie…
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Joey’s friend, Matt, from grade school tied the knot.  Church wedding, reception under a tent – it was really a nice setup.  They had horse shoes, cornhole, a bonfire, seating areas all over.
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Joey was an usher. Here he is with the other ushers and the newlyweds:

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And here’s Joey with his friends that went through grade school up to high school graduation together.IMG_2492

Joey and his Mom dancing during the mother/son, father/daugher dance – they asked other child/parents to join them… nice face, Joey.
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13. Photo Op!

Joey’s Mom snagged some nice pictures of us at the wedding, so here’s our cutesy photo op :)
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And that’s a wrap!  But ofcoarse after 3 days of working on this post (yeah it takes me that long, lol), we’ve had some more happenings…so that just means more posts coming soon: Valyou Family Reunion (Disco Theme!), the Fairfax Egg Run, and my 10 Year High School Reunion. Oh and guess who’s birthday is coming… AVERY’S! He’ll be turning 3 at the end of September, so I’m working on party planning… I’ve started a page with the party info here, but it’s pretty empty right now.  More coming soon!

Until then.. we’ll be off enjoying the summer :)

<3 Meghan