Door and Names

Well, this is it.  The end of an era.  I’m closing up shop here at RR – I’ve been here almost 4 years… but it’s time to move onto the next chapter.

They say, when one door closes, another opens.  And that is so true.  With my divorce, a door closed – a lot ended, and with that was using my married name.  It took months of deliberation, whether I wanted to keep my married name, or go back to my maiden name (I had to decide before the divorce was finalized).  It was mostly a tug of war between having the same last name as my son, and associating with a married name I wasn’t married to anymore.  In the end, I decided to go back to my roots, and use my maiden name.  It’s just a name right?  I don’t think it’ll affect Avery in any negative ways, having a different last name than me.  Plus, it’s sooo nice to be back where I grew up and have the name everyone here knew me as.

Speaking of which, that’s one door that opened right up – moving back to Vermont.  It’s been nothing short of amazing, moving back home and having friends and family here to support us, and spend time with.  Avery is growing into such a wonderful little boy, and I know much of it is because of all this fresh air, outdoor activity, and presence of family and friends.  And in just a few months, we’ll be able to move into our forever home, a place Avery will always call home and grow up in, creating so many memories – something I wouldn’t have been able to give Avery back in Boston.

So, it’s only fitting, we start this new life in Vermont with a new blog – I know we’ve been up here a year already, but we’ve been in ‘limbo’ for a while now, first living in an apartment in Boston during the divorce – not knowing if we could move to Vermont, and then we moved, but we’ve been living the past year with my parents so I could save money.  With buying the house, and finally having a direction and putting down roots, we’re finally moving out of this limbo state and getting a fresh start.

As you know, I always sign my posts ‘<3 Meghan’, so that’s where the idea came from… leaving the door open for me to write about everything and anything happening in our crazy little life here in Vermont.  No worries, all my old posts and pictures are there too.  We’re not erasing any memories in the past, just building on them under a new roof :)

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Our next chapter begins with our latest adventure….camping last weekend.  Check it out on the new blog.

<3 Meghan

We Moved!….kinda.

No no no… hold your horses.  We haven’t moved into the new house just yet.  We have, however, moved in this crazy world wide web… to a new blog!

It’s been my intention, and goal (cuz I don’t have enough of those floating around), to change the name of my blog for a while now.  After the divorce a year ago, and changing my name back to my maiden name (I’m a Valyou again!), I felt it only fitting to switch the blog to reflect my fresh new start.  Now, the problem with switching to a new blog means lots of work.  When you have a blog setup, it’s really easy to post – just click a button, type, and publish it.  Starting a whole new one took a little more time…

First, I had to think of a name for the blog.  This only took me, oh… say… a year!  I brainstormed and thought of a bunch of good ones, then a couple days later, I would look at them and re-think it again, not happy with the final ‘name.’  It’s really hard to come up with a blog name that encompasses everything I write about.  I don’t like claiming a stereotype either, like ‘BloggingMomRunner’, because I write about more than that, and those three words don’t define me.  I wear so many hats, as a Mom, a SINGLE Mom, a Divorced Mom, a daughter and friend and sister, a career woman, a runner, a country girl turned city girl turned country girl again, a soon-to-be homeowner, etc…

So, after much deliberation, and a light bulb (thanks to my dear friend, Kate), I chose a new blog name – a new identity that would encompass all I write about.  Now, that was just the start of this new adventure (aka challenge, aka another thing to cram into my already full day of working 8 hours and spending time with my son and family, but why not? because it’ll be worth it in the long run).  I had an idea and plan – I just had to make it happen.  This was the even harder part.  I enlisted the help of my go-to computer and website guru (Thanks, Phil), and with much help from him, and a few days of skipping workouts to find the time to (whoops, sorry Jarrod – I’ll get my 100 squats in today, I promise!), my new website was born!  I transferred everything from the old blog over, and still have lots of formatting glitches to fix and personalize it a bit more, but it’s live, and before I push the off button on this site, I’ll give everyone a bit of time to get used to going to the new site… maybe a couple weeks?


Let me know what you think…. and HAPPY FRIDAY!


Work Hard, Play Hard

Happy Tuesday!  Crazy that the weekend has already come and gone.  The summer months sure do fly by – especially when we have fun filled weekends like this past one.

Saturday morning we spent cutting, splitting, and stacking wood.  Like last year, my parents had wood delivered, and they split it with the neighbors.


My parents have a wood stove that heats the house in the winter, so getting wood ordered like this and cutting it themselves is kinda a part of country life up here.  The whole process requires cutting the logs into managable sized pieces, splitting them with the wood splitter (Dad borrowed it from his brother), and stacking it.


Avery jumped right in this year and wanted to help.  He tried the wood splitter, but after a go at it, we fell into a routine.  Dad cut the wood with his chainsaw, we picked it up and carried it to the splitter…


Avery is all about being strong like Grampy, so he was in charge of getting the smaller pieces.


Mom and Dad split it and put it into the tractor trailer.  Avery filled his up himself.  And he was all equipped for the work day too, his Mickey Mouse work gloves, earmuffs, and sunglasses for eye protection.


When the tractor was full, Avery and Grampy would drive it over to the wood shed behind the house, dump it, and go back for another load.


In the meantime, I would stack the wood.  Avery helped for a while, but then he made a few runs himself with his tractor, getting wood and bringing it around to me.

Avery was loving it and after a while he took a break and started sweeping the garage – such a good little helper!  After three hours of this (and many water and popsicle breaks for Avery), we were whipped.


We cleaned up and headed out to the islands. (‘The Islands’ are the islands in Lake Champlain) to a birthday party for Avery’s second cousins.  On our way, we stopped to fish on the causeway bridge.IMG_6870

I caught two, Grampy one, and Avery struck out.  He had fun picking out worms and trying to snag the fish when the bit.

At the party, Avery had fun playing with his cousins.  They had a water balloon fight…IMG_6875

And they played with the new sprinkler we got as a gift.  Avery watched for a little, but then he jumped right in.  You can see the birthday girl in the pink tutu…IMG_6882I don’t know where it came from but at one point, Avery had a cute shield:


We had food and cake and the birthday girl opened lots of fun presents.  The kiddos had squirt guns out and played with balls and badminton for a while – then it was time to head home.  On our way, we stopped for ‘Green Chocolate Ice Cream’, as Avery calls it.  (aka Mint Chocolate Chip)


This was the small size!  Avery licked up all the sprinkles and then he was done with it… one minute he was eating…IMG_6889

Then he handed it off to me (more squats for me to do later!) and in a few minutes, he was OUT.


It was perfect timing too, because it was 7pm, and on weekends since Avery doesn’t nap, I try to get him to bed by 7pm, so he can sleep 12 hours straight.  He slept until 8am the next morning.

Sunday morning we geared up and Avery, Mimi, and I went kayaking on Arrowhead lake.  It was such a nice day out.  We paddled around for hours and spotted geese families with their babies swimming and eating, turtles sunning on logs, a red winged black bird pestering a blue heron, a fish jump, a male and female duck, and Avery picked some really big lily pads.

We took a jump in Uncle Michael eyes pool (burr!) and after dinner, Avery went thru the notch with Mimi and Grampy for some rock climbing… IMG_6898

And more ice cream…IMG_6899

Avery passed out on the way home again.  Such a fun filled weekend!!!

We’re off camping this coming weekend, so I’ll have lots more pictures and stories to share when we come back.  And this weekend it’s officially Summer!  Once this rain finally stops, maybe it’ll feel like it!

<3 Meghan

Fun Friday!!!

Happy Friday!

We are so done with rain up here.  Seems like we got one sunny day, and 6 rainy ones this week.  So how do I tame my rambunctious three year old, and have some fun!??  Chalk hats in the garage…

I did the crown first, and then Avery got the idea and started making hats for himself (the first one is bunny ears he made), and then he made some for me…IMG_6817

I don’t let Avery play with my phone very often, but he quickly figured out how to use the camera.  Fun times!  After a few days of this, the garage is now a giant mural of drawings.  I’m really amazed at how Avery’s ‘artwork’ is actually more than just scribbles now.  He made a fish, a spaceship, and a cloud recently at school for me, and they actually almost resemble something :)

When it is sunny, we take advantage and bring the fun outside!  Mimi was painting the front doors on the house, and Avery wanted to join in and paint too, so I had him paint something not attached to the house…IMG_6780

My parents gave me a canvas and artwork box full of paints, and I haven’t used it yet – I was so happy to have Avery break it in.IMG_6782

He concentrated so hard, and wanted to try every color in the box.IMG_6785

Towards the end of painting, he started mixing colors.IMG_6788

And he was so proud when he was done.IMG_6790

I hung it up with my artwork in our room.IMG_6792

And thankfully, Grampy took Avery and I fishing last Friday down at the falls before all this rain hit.


It was nice and sunny, and Avery worked on casting and slowly reeling in his line.


Avery loved picking out his worm and washing it off to see it.IMG_6747

Avery pulled in his line and we didn’t realize it had a fish on it!  He caught the only one that day.


Grampy got the hook out because the fish swallowed it, but once it was out, Avery held the fish and let it go back in the river.

After he caught his fish, he was over fishing – his short attention span is understandable for a three year old.  He did some ‘rock climbing’ as he called it and threw some rocks and sticks in the water.IMG_6756

Grampy kept fishing….IMG_6761

And when the container for the worms fell in the water, I tried to snag it with my fishing pole, but slipped in…  IMG_6762

I did save it though!  Grampy got a kick out of it and we called it a night.  Avery wanted to go check out the falls, so we did some more ‘rock climbing’ and my soggy camera snagged some photos.IMG_6767

We had fun climbing the rocks and seeing the rushing waters.IMG_6768

The past couple days, this area they are standing on has been under water because of all the rain.IMG_6776

Oh and we can’t forget the play date we had with Avery’s (second) cousins.  We tagged along with Grampy to my cousins house for a couple hours on Sunday.  Grampy was helping them finish the basement.  Avery and his cousins went to the park, shared some snacks, and played toys inside.  So nice being close to family we can have play dates with!


We had a busy week…we also went to a baby shower (congrats Jenn and Michael – my cousins –  They are having a little girl).  Mimi and I had fun shopping for a gift for them – it was practical tho!  Avery played with his cousins and I got to chat with ladies on that side of the family.  We also went to a graduation on Thursday night for Joseph, another cousin (I have so many cousins, lol – gotta love having a big family!) so proud of him and happy to celebrate with him.

Let’s hope some nice weather is ahead for the weekend.  We have have pizza and a movie tonight, grocery shopping and a birthday party tomorrow, and who knows what else!?

Happy Friday!

<3 Meghan

Tired, Sniffley, and Halfway

Ok, it’s been a crazy week.  I’m tired and sniffley and my head is pounding.  Why?  Lack of sleep caught up to me and a weekend with 12 year olds wore me out I guess.  And maybe the hotel and travel got me sick, who knows?  I just need a tissue every 15 minutes and I’m good to go.

After a down and back trip to Boston on Thursday (thanks to Mom for riding/driving along, and no thanks to Mother Nature – sheets of rain are not ideal for travelling 500 miles in a day), and 4 1/2 hours of sleep (would have been 5 1/2 but we were so focused on getting home we forgot to swing by and pick up Mom’s truck at her school where I had picked her up earlier that day – whoops! We got home and realized her truck wasn’t in the driveway – turned around and drove 20 min to go get it), I headed off to chaperone my cousin’s 6th grade class trip.

We had a weekend jam packed of touristy things to do from dusk to dawn for three days.  So much fun, but so exhausting!
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Came home on Monday to a rambunctious toddler and an annoyed boyfriend – just our luck that the one weekend I’m gone and don’t have cell service to communicate that the wood guy calls and has our load of wood (you know, for the wood stove in the house we don’t have yet) so he had to deal with all that without me.  Mom and Dad ordered wood last year and it came so late that some of it wasn’t dried yet.  So we wanted to make sure we didn’t get it too late this year – well, it’s here and Steve’s already cutting it up (best boyfriend ever) and that means a warm and cozy wood stove heated house this winter, yay!  Wood’s much cheaper than burning oil, so you can imagine this makes me very happy – you know, since we’ll have a nice big morgage to pay come this fall.

Speaking of the house, I’m halfway thru my 6 month saving period and I’ve saved 57% of the down payment…

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I have June, July, & August left to save up the rest – that’s $1417 each month.  Seems very doable since this is the savings breakdown for each of the past 3 months:

  • March $1800
  • April $1500
  • May $2450

I splurged on a new bathing suit for this summer (you know, since the 9 I already have aren’t enough), and I have a race to register for, but other than that (oh and some gifts for three birthday girls this month), it’s serious lock down on my wallet.  Essenials only!!  I was good in Montreal too, only spent $ on two drinks at dinner the last night we were there, oh and a souvenir for Mom and Dad.  I brought Avery back a plush Turtle from a carnival game we (my cousin, his friends, and I) played at La Ronde the last day of the trip, and Avery hasn’t parted with it.  He named it ‘Turdy’… yup, you read that right – bet you can’t say it without smiling, lol.  It’s green and goes everywhere with him.  He won’t leave his bed in the morning without it.

Crazy to think it’s already June!  Where did May go?!  These warm months always seem to zoom by while Jan-March felt like an eternity this year.  Hopefully with the house this winter it’ll be more bearable since I’ll have lots of projects to do inside.  So exciting!

Headed to get Avery and play outside tonight – maybe some soccer, bike riding, and check out the strawberry patch.

Happy Thursday – it’s almost the weekend!!!

<3 Meghan

Memorial Day Camping Weekend

We are back from a long (and FUN) camping weekend.  We spent last week getting geared up for it – MiMi and Grampy stocked up the camper while Avery and I made some goodies to pack.


Avery was a big helper making apple chips.  Yes, he took a bite out of almost every one before putting them on the tray.

That batch of apple chips barely lasted Friday afternoon – Avery devoured them as soon as we got to camp and shared them with his friends.  I’ll make two batches next trip. And if you noticed Avery’s face in the last picture…IMG_6491

He also helped me make cookies and since stirring is hard work, some flour escaped the bowl.


Friday morning came and Avery was so excited…. that he just kept sleeping and sleeping.IMG_6499

I even tried my ‘mommy tactics on him – opened the window, turned on the lights… but he was still snoozing.  I guess he knew he had a big camping weekend ahead of him and he needed to stock up on sleep!  Friday at noon, we were off!  Grampy and I (Mimi had to work all day and joined us later Friday night) picked Avery up at daycare (which Avery thought was pretty cool since we had the camper with us!).IMG_6501

(Oh, Avery looks like a grump in this picture because he’s making a “Pokey Face”)

Just over an hour later, we pulled into the campground – and we were the first ones there! (first ones in our group – we had 6 sites reserved for my Papa’s side of the family – my Mom’s Dad).  After setting up the camper, we headed off to the railroad track.

We stayed at River’s Bend, in New Haven VT.  It’s very secluded along a river, but there is a train track and bridge near the entrance.IMG_6506

We climbed up the hill and I snagged a couple good pictures of these two.


I wouldn’t dare walk over the bridge part – eek too high.  But Grampy and Joseph did.


Avery and I stayed on the tracks and I almost got a very poetic picture of Avery on the tracks, then the dogs photobombed it.

We put down pennies and dimes for the train to flatten.  We went back on Saturday and we found them all – smushed.  Avery and Joseph (my cousin) thought it was pretty cool!

To bring our first day camping to a close, we did popcorn over the fire…IMG_6518

Good thing we brought two bags of it because the first one exploded, haha.  Avery and Grampy enjoyed their usual nighttime snack.IMG_6520

The rest of the weekend was a blur of fun… lots of fishing, playing in the sand, kayaking, playing with family – cornhole and woffleball and some new game called KamnJam.  Avery skipped rocks in the water and rode his bike around with Joseph.  They played soccer and with this helicopter spinner Avery would let off and Joseph or Mia would catch.


Grampy finally caught a couple fish.  Avery had so much fun playing with his second cousins – ‘my friends’ as he calls them.  He woke up Sunday morning and asked ‘where are my friends?’ since they only came for the day on Saturday and had left that night.  He really loves playing with them.


Avery, Grampy, and I spent hours looking for fish.  I took this picture a split second before Avery fell in right there.  It was too funny.  He had a soaked pantleg (just one) and a shoe. We were all laughing.  The water wasn’t deep so he didn’t get far and his pants dried before we got back to camp.IMG_6536

The river was so low in places that we walked out to islands like this a couple times.  We found broken pottery, dug holes making rivers and floating sticks and leaves down – so much fun.IMG_6564

And Avery and I went out in the kayak 4 times I think… one time we even took Frasier along!


I didn’t carry my phone around with me, so there aren’t pictures of every second of the weekend, but that’s what camping is all about – leaving work, and housework, and electronics at home and enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with – and we sure did that.

We closed the weekend with smores… oh and catching a frog – the second one of the weekend.IMG_6566

Thank you Johnson Family for such a fun camping weekend.  Sunday afternoon while I was baking up a storm for the week and Avery was playing play doh, he says ‘I want to go camping’.  I think he had fun :)

<3 Meghan

Money, Mother’s Day, and More!

I can’t lie, I am getting sooo excited for buying this house!  Probably because I drive by it twice a day and mostly because I got to visit and take measurements last weekend!
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Yep, I spent a couple hours one night with a tape measure and my laptop drawing out the first floor.  This way I can play around with furniture layouts before we even move in – so exciting!

On the financial side of things, I’m one month into saving for the down payment, and things are looking good…

April Goal Thermometer

I have saved 31% of my goal, and there are still 5 months to go! (I did start off with a nice chunk on day one of saving, so don’t expect another 31% jump next month!)  Just keeping expenses to a minimum, and saving every bit I have leftover every week seems to be working.  That plus I FINALLY got my VT tax return back.  It took weeks and it was complicated because I had to file in VT and Mass, since I lived there part of last year – but thankfully it’s all sorted out, I got my $ back, AND I don’t have to do it again next year! (Why?! Because I’m a Vermonter, and as much as my manager wants me to move back to Mass, I’m staying put!)

So, what’s been happening on the homefront?  I have a little catching up to do… two weekends ago, we had a busy shopping day, getting our weekly fix of groceries – Costco, then Hannafords.  I know, who choses to take their kid shopping with them – usually they have to.  But not me, I for one LOVE to get out of the house, since I work at home all week, and the weekends are my time with Avery so, he comes along and he has so much fun.


He was a big helper, going around finding things on our list.  And he LOVES to put items on the belt when we check out.

And if he behaves well and helps out, he gets doggy bones.  Yeah, the woman in line in front of us gave us a pretty odd look when he asked if he could have his doggy bones now.  Doggy bones are a candy in the little quarter machines when you leave the store.  They are one of his favorites, so it’s a nice treat and incentive for a hard morning’s work of shopping.


And as if that wasn’t enough work for a three year old… he helped me clean all three vehicles that afternoon.IMG_6266

We found out last summer how much Avery loved playing with the hose, so when I asked him if he wanted to help wash the cars, he jumped with joy, litterally!  And man was it a feat cleaning the vehicles – mine hadn’t gotten a thourough clean since last fall.  I did a quick vaccum a month or so ago, but finally it’s really clean.  All those stale cheerios and missing toys are no more.  I even found my missing set of car keys!  I had sucked up a dinosaur with the shop vac on accident, opened the cover and there was the little orange guy, and also my spare key!  I didn’t even know it was in there. Whew – good catch!

So, when we’re not outside soaking up the rays (it was in the 70s and 80s here for almost 2 weeks straight), I’m inside baking up something new.  I started in the winter when I made blueberry muffins for Steve, and since then, I make a batch of something once a week.  This past week was cupcakes.IMG_6327

I sent those four to my gram and gramps.  The rest Dad and Steve got.  And thanks to my Nana, I have a bunch of new (new to me, they are from really old cooking books) recipes to try out.

Ok, now we’re caught up to last weekend.  On Friday night, Steve and I had a picnic dinner on the tailgate of his truck on the lake.

The view was much better than our mediocre chinese food.  And Saturday morning it was nice and windy so, we flew kites…IMG_6359

That little green spec is Avery.  He’s flying our forever old send in your kool aid points kite.   He did pretty well, running to get it up, letting the line out, until he let go a few times and got it caught in a tree.IMG_6360

Steve was kind enough to climb the tree and get it down – all for the price of looking like he had a fight with a very mad cat :)
For Mother’s Day,  Avery made me a card and a gift at school and one at home.IMG_6378

Yeah, whatever you do, don’t tell this kid a secret.  We hid flowers for Mimi at Uncle Johns (I bought them on Tuesday, so we wouldn’t have a limited selection come the weekend when everyone was out buying flowers), but apparently Avery spilled the beans.  No biggie, we get hanging flower baskets for Mom every year, so she knew they were coming.

We spent the morning and early afternoon with Nana and Papa on their screened-in porch.  Avery had fun with the men, throwing rocks in the water and walking around outside.  He even sat on the porch with Papa for a while.IMG_6379

We shared some pictures and videos of Avery and he showed his math skills on the ipad.  Oh and we had a yummy lunch – I wasn’t hungry for dinner 6 hours later.IMG_6380

Then we were off to Gram and Gramps where Avery and MiMi got caught in the rain outside!  We played Go Fish with Grandma and saw some family too.IMG_6381

Oh, what are some other random misc things going on?  Oh, Mimi and Grampy celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary.  I made them a treat on the day, but they went out and celebrated with friends the weekend before.  IMG_6312This just means it’s getting closer to my 30th birthday… eeek!

Oh, and with all this nice weather, I put away winter clothes and got out summer clothes (yay for dresses and skirts again!!)  But that also meant going thru Avery’s clothes and putting away things he has outgrown.  I filled a box.IMG_6286

Thankfully, at his last birthday and the holidays, he was gifted lots of bigger clothes, perfect for this summer.  Oh and Mimi bought a few new outfits for him too – shorts and t-shirts perfect for playing outside in.IMG_6287

We got a little rain this week, but the weather is finally staying warm and we’re playing outside every day.  Avery scored a free blow up beach ball at the Pharmacy yesterday when we bought new sunscreen for him at school, and the nice lady gave it to him for free.  Score!  It’s perfect to kick around the front yard.  Little guy is all tuckered out and in bed now… I will soon be in there too.  I forgot how much the sun makes me tired, oh that and running :)

<3 Meghan