Balloon Party

Avery loves balloons.  So when my dear friend, Ayla (we were close friends in high school), invited us to join her and her daughter, Ava, to the Stoweflake Balloon Festival, we said YES!

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This festival has been going on for 28 years in my backyard, just 40 minutes away, and I had never been.  On the way there, I was trying to explain what the balloon festival was.  Then after talking about some other stuff, he says ‘balloon potty’… or so I thought it was, since we are in the middle of potty training, but while I was looking for somewhere to stop, I realized he was trying to say ‘balloon party!’  I have no idea where he made the connection between festival and party, but man do I have a smart kid!

We arrived an hour and a half before the balloons were set to take off.  There was tons of tents with food and crafts and activities going on.   First order of business… take a train ride!

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When Avery went to get on the train, he tried to get in the conductor’s seat because he wanted to drive – It was too cute!  He rode around the field all by himself and had his serious face on the whole time, but when he got off, he was talking a mile a minute and spotted the next activity…
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Avery went in a bouncy castle at a birthday party a month ago and he was thrilled to go in again.  He bounced for a couple minutes with another little girl.

Right next door was this fun game…

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Avery does really well at home with his t-ball set, so I wasn’t surprised at how well he hit the ball and had so much fun with it!

We got some lemonade, checked out a few tents, and setup on our blankets to watch the balloons go up.  Avery was soooo surprised and excited when they started rolling out the balloons and filling them up with hot air.
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Avery has never seen a hot air balloon up close, so man was he surprised!  He was so giddy, pointing and laughing and telling us they were going up and there were so many colors and so big!
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Before we knew it, They balloons were leaving and it was beautiful!  So many colors and designs.  We didn’t count them exactly but there were probably 25 of them!IMG_2251

When we left, the sky was scattered with dots of color…

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We had planned it so that we would leave around the time the kiddos needed to go to sleep.  I changed Avery into his PJs before we hit the road.  He passed out on the way home (Ayla told me Ava did too!)…. we had such a fun time and it tuckered them out for sure!

We live in such a beautiful state with fun events like this just around the corner…and childhood friends and their kids to share memories with… loving Vermont life!

<3 Meghan

S’mores & Stripes

We spent our Independence Day weekend camping at Grand Isle State Park Campground.  Our family used to camp here when we were kids, and it was Avery’s second time, since we went last year with the Conovers.   5 Days and 4 nights of living outdoors… Avery was in HEAVEN.

We setup camp on Wednesday afternoon.  It was humid and warm, so our first order of business… the beach!

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“Wow, So many water!” Avery told me when he saw the big lake.

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Avery brought his toys down, waded in the water with me and his second cousins.  Avery threw rocks into the water, made bird noises to the seagulls flying around, and just ran around squealing and laughing like a happy little kiddo.

We couldn’t make it back to the campsite without making a pit stop at the playground.
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Avery and his second cousin, Aiden, get along so well.  Aiden helps Avery, leads him around with his hand, and Avery is just in awe, watching and learning from a bigger kid. It was nice to sit back on the park bench and just watch them play together.

I shared some muchies with my little man and snagged a Mommy/Son selfie :)IMG_2128

Albeit blurry, but it totally shows Avery’s personality – always moving, food on his face, and smiling!

Back at camp, Avery discovered Grampy’s hammock…IMG_2131

Avery thought it was pretty cool.  Throughout the weekend, Avery and Grampy played in the hammock, had snacks, all sorts of fun.  And getting Avery to nap while all this fun camping was going on would have been much harder without that hammock…IMG_2162

Napping was a much easier feat than bedtime while camping.  Since my parents have a camper, it’s still light inside, so getting Avery to sleep at 8pm when kids are still running around and the suns still out, well, that was a challenge.  Avery showered in the bathrooms, had s’mores for desert, and I laid with him for an hour and he would finally fall asleep.  You would think that after such busy days camping, he would be pooped and pass out, but nooo.  I’m not surprised.  He’s fought sleep ever since he was born.  I’ll look back on this and laugh when he’s a teenage and sleeping until noon!

Breakfast while camping was easy peasy.
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We setup a table and Avery had his yummy cereal.
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Avery was wide awake and excited to see everyone each morning, especially Michael Eyes.

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These two are a riot… give them tomatoes and… Tomato Eyes!
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Michael Eyes brought his boat camping, so we went out fishing every day!
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Grampy made a mini fishing pole for Avery, and he caught his first fish!!!

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We caught 20+ fish every time we went out and Aiden caught the biggest one!IMG_2154

Avery and Aiden were the best fishing buddies…
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There’s Avery fishing like a big boy…

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Avery wasn’t sure what to think of the fish when we started catching them…

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He eventually warmed up and kept wanting to catch more and he touched them and helped throw them back.

One of the days we went out, it was very cloudy…

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Avery got to help drive the boat!
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On Saturday, my friend Steve took us out for a ride on his boat.
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We lounged around…Avery drove…
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And Avery shared his gold fish snack with the seagulls..IMG_2198
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The campground had lots of activities for the kids.  Avery and Aiden made hats and wands for the 4th of July.
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On July 4th, they had an hour of activities… a donut eating contest…
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A water balloon toss:

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And a bubble gum blowing contest.  The kids (and adults) had so much fun!  Every time Avery’s balloon popped he ran back to the bin and got one more all by himself.  It was too cute.

We did get rained on a bit and had to hunker  down in the campers for a while…
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But that didn’t stop the kiddos from having fun… pillow fights, play doh, and board games kept them occupied.

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When the rain finally stopped, everyone was in good spirits…
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Avery even found a little fort for himself where he made ‘coffee and food’ for everyone (we gave him water, cups, plates, and animal crackers and he used it as his kitchen and picnic table).

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We went to the beach a couple more times, played in the sandbox at the playground every morning, took a bike ride, took walks and saw a family of baby raccoons, played cards, participated in the bike parade, and the biggest adventure of the weekend was Avery learned how to ride his tricycle all by himself!  The weekend started out with people pushing him around.
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But after Avery took a ride down a little hill, and discovered he could peddle, we ended the weekend with Avery biking around all by himself!IMG_2192

Next we upgrade to a big big with training wheels!

We had such a fun weekend with family and friends that Avery did not want to leave on Sunday. Happy Independence Day!

<3 Meghan

Hello Halfway

It’s summer and we’re all out busy camping, swimming, taking boat rides on the lake, BBQing, and in the midst of all this sun and fun… I’m whipping my student loan debt’s butt!

19 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $20,769.63
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $21,098.90

I’ve officially paid off more debt than I started with!  Hello halfway.  It’s only downhill from here!!!! This past month I knocked it out of the park, sending in an extra $1500…

June Review

  • Starting Balance: $22,556.63
  • End Balance: $20,769.63
  • Paid Towards Loans: $1,879.24
  • Interest Paid: $89.08
  • Principle Paid: $1,790.63

My scrimping and saving is paying off. At this rate, I’ll reach my goal of paying off all my loans before my 30th birthday next year…
Student Loan Debt June

I’m actually ahead of the curve now and gaining momentum.  At this rate, and anticipating $ back at tax time next spring, I will pay off all my loans by May of next year – WAY before my birthday!!!  I’ve been chipping away at Loan 1-02 for months now, and it’s really dwindling down.  That’s the idea though – the highest interest first method… pay off the higher interest loans first and then move onto the next one, in turn putting a little more $ into the next one each month because I have less loans and interest to pay each time I knock off a loan.

Loan Pay Off Plan

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I’ll pay off Loan 1-02 in August, and start paying extra on Loan 1-01.  This is another big one, so it’ll take 4-5 months for me to close out on that one… but little by little… and soon they will all be gone!!!

Monthly Budget

I haven’t been keeping a budget… it’s too much work right now.  I do look at my finances every day or two and take a peak at where my money is going.

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Ignore that big yellow slice – it was pulled from my savings to pay for the last of the divorce bills.

I have so much extra every month now that I don’t have to worry about having enough $ in the bank when I buy something.  However, the less I spend, the more I put towards loans.  So I’m just going thru every day with the attitude that if I need it, I buy it, If it don’t NEED it, I don’t buy it.  I do treat myself and Avery here and there but nothing extravagant.  It’s working… so we’ll leave that be for now.

So, all’s well and good now, right?  Totally on track to do this… unless there’s a curve ball… there’s always a curve ball.  Just when things get comfy, and are working smoothly, something changes.  Well, as I’m busily working to save this money and pay off these loans, I’m also looking into something I want to buy… and that something else has come along so I might have to switch gears where my money is going for a bit… more on that later ;)  While you scratch your head wondering what it is… we’ll be giving you a sneaky smile…
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<3 Meghan

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

Milton Freedom 5K

I have not been a fan of running for the past couple weeks.  Maybe it’s the heat?  After the long winter we had, I’m not complaining about it being hot… just sayin’… it’s hot.  The best run I had recently was 3.2 miles at 5:30 in the morning.

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Turns out, running down foggy dirt roads are totally my thing!  It certainly helped to have a little motivation at my side, too… Joey :)

On Saturday afternoon, a group of my family and friends came out to support a great cause: The Milton Freedom 5K.  Some ran, walked, volunteered, and cheered us on.  I was looking for a June race, and found this one that was close and they needed help on the committe, so I jumped right it.  I put up flyers, made cold calls for donations, and rallied up quite a big group to attend the event.

Here’s Joey, me, and his Dad all lined up at the start line.

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It was a hot day, to say the least.  Luckily we got to cool off earlier in the day at Aiden’s (Avery’s second cousin) birthday party…
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My highschool friend, Ayla also ran/walked with a stroller and her Mom.  My cousin Bobby, fresh off his 15K run last month, also ran.  My parents walked and pushed Avery in the stroller.

Joey was the first of us to finish… 2nd in his age group!  Yay Flash!

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Next came, Bobby (third in his age group!), and Richard…
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And about 10 minutes later, I strolled in, haha.  Not a good time, but it was better than not running!
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When the walkers started streaming in, Joey ran out to run with Avery to the finish line…
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Ayla, her Mom, and my Mom got the top three places for walkers, and my Dad got…. a cramp at the finish ;)
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I know I’ve already said it, but thanks again to everyone that came and a special thanks to my volunteers – Lorri and Aunt Cindy ran rocked the registration table.  My cousins Chris and Amber and their kiddos were a col sight at the water station halfway thru the race… they even had a garden hose and soaked me when I ran by!

We’re off to Grand Isle for camping trip number two of the year… back next week…

Happy Independence Day!

<3 Meghan

 

A Gorges Camping Weekend

Playground and Waterfalls – that pretty much sums up our camping weekend in Ithica, NY.  We set out on Friday morning to visit Sarah in Ithica, NY – she just moved there 2 months ago to attend grad school.  Well, Ithica is a 6 1/2 hour drive from where we live… roadtripmap And you know I’m queen of long road trips with a toddler, so I thought… we got this!  We left around 8:45am.  Logistics…we took my parents truck that seats 6, and it was full capacity: Grampy, MiMi, and Frasier up front (oh yeah, we took my parents dogs too!) IMG_1960 Backseat… Pokey, Me, & Mister Excited: IMG_1967 IMG_1958

Behind us was a truck bed full of Sarah’s furniture (she’s moving into an apartment so she needed it) and the camper.  The ride went pretty well.  I had my “bag of tricks” that kept Avery entertained… matchbox cars, a bag of amphibian animals, coloring and sticker books, snacks, and the iPad.  Avery was pretty entertained… we even passed a bunch of windturbines which made for a fun game of I-Spy. IMG_2061 Around 11, we took a pit stop for a diaper change and a treat at the store… IMG_1969 At noon we stopped for lunch.  We had the dogs so we brought the food outside with us on a blanket.  That was the only and only meltdown Avery had.  Eating outside, cars going by, helicopters in the sky, dogs trying to eat you food… and it was past his usual nap time.. so a little meltdown that passed and we ate, got back in the truck and he was quickly sound asleep for his usual mid-day nap. IMG_1970 We pulled into the campground around 4:30pm.  Avery had been up and was getting very antsy.  A 7 hour car ride is tough for a toddler, but we had fun and he was very excited when we pulled into our campsite and setup the camper.IMG_1974

We sat down for a little snack…
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Then…Aunt Sarah joined us, and these two were very excited to see each other! IMG_1971

Our first order of business?  Check out the playground, duh!IMG_1972

We stayed at the Robert H. Treman State Park.  It was only 10-15min from Ithica College, Sarah’s school.  It had playgrounds (2), a waterfall (Ithica has many of these!), and it was a State Campground, which we have preferred to stay at over the years of camping as a family – they are clean, updated, reasonably priced, and always have lots of outdoor stuff to do.
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We stayed at site #22 (or Two Two, as we taught Avery), it was near the playground and bathrooms and really big.  There was little traffic so it was nice for Avery to play and walk around without being worried.

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We had hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad for dinner… then it was time for a fire and s’mores for desert! IMG_1982
Avery doesn’t care for s’mores… he just eats the marshmellows. IMG_1984 IMG_1986

And thanks to the idea from Joey, we used peanut butter cups instead of chocolate in the s’mores… yum! IMG_1985

Like any trip, I think about Avery’s routine and how to keep it as close to normal as possible, even though we are away from home.  The car trip was great because he had his lunch and nap like usual.  But I knew bedtime would be a challenge.  At home, Avery is in bed at 8, and we all know the sun is still up then in the summer, so window shades help mask that every night.  When camping in a pop up, that’s not possible, especially when quiet hours aren’t until 10pm,and the rowdy group near us could be heard for a mile.  So, I tried to keep his routine, but knew going in that his bed time would be shifted a bit.  Avery took a shower in the bath house like a big boy – he did a great job but thought it was funny wearing his sandals in the shower!  We plopped down in bed around 9, when it was getting dark enough for him to realize it was bed time.  Oh, and we shared a bed, so I went to sleep with him, which was also different for him and me.  Avery finally fell asleep around 930-45.  But man is he a wiggle worm.  I work up 20 times that night because he moves ALOT in his sleep.  By morning, I was on the edge of the bed, Avery comfy in the middle, Pokey sleeping at my feet… oh good times!

Saturday was our one full day in Ithica.  First on our agenda… touring Sarah’s college!  Sarah is in a 2-year program at Ithica College for her Masters in Occupational Therapy.  She stayed on campus for the summer session and just found a great apartment that she moves into soon and will stay for the next year.  Oh yeah, before we toured her school, we spent a couple hours moving the furniture we brought into her new apartment.  That was quite interesting.. two dogs tied up outside (one of which got caught in the bushes) and Avery was all over Grampy to use his power tools… good times!  We setup her bed, dresser, table and chairs… she should be good for a while!

Back at her school, Sarah took us up to a football field/track that overlooked the lake.
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Avery had fun running on the big football field…

So are we thinking running back… or track star?

We walked around campus and found this setup for orientation… had to take a picture!

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Future student????

The campus was very pretty and Avery especially loved the water fountains.

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Until we found this hidden gem… a cute little garden, flowing water, and a turtle!!

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Next we were off to the local Farmer’s Market.  We couldn’t go in with the dogs, so we took turns.  Grampy, Avery and I walked around and scored some maple popcorn and strawberries.  Then we went outside to keep the dogs company while Mimi and Grampy went inside.  We sat by the water feeding ducks.  Avery was thrilled.

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Grampy and Mimi came out with flatbread pizza (which Avery ate 3 of the 4 slices!) and Sarah and I went back in for a yummy cookie!

We headed back to the campsite because it was nap time…
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While the boys were sleeping, us girls played a few hands of cards and ate way too many chips and salsa.  Avery woke up and did a puzzle with Mimi…

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And played a little hide and seek with Grampy…

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Our afternoon was very WET! We visited THREE waterfalls.  “Ithica is Gorges” is the city motto and they sure live up to it… first waterfall was Enfield Falls, just a walk away at the state park we were camping at.  Well, no walk to a waterfall is complete without this little dude tagging along…
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After a short walk thru the woods we were here!
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And as you can see, so were lots of other people.  These falls were natural but the pool/dam beneath it was all man made… steps and ladders into the water, even a diving board!  We chilled out in the kiddie zone and we went swimming…
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Next, we were off to a more local spot, all natural, and hidden off the road… we had to hike for a few minutes, even go thru a tunnel, to get there!
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Ithica Falls were much bigger, and all natural… not many tourists, but not really safe for swimming, so we just looked and hopped around on the rocks.
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Our third, and final waterfall was Buttermilk Falls… my favorite, by far!  Avery stopped on the way for a drink…
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These falls weren’t as steep as the others but they just kept going and going…
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Down below we walked on the water…
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Then we hiked above the falls.. so many stairs!  Pokey practically had to run up them because he is so long and has short legs and Fraiser was scared from the loud water crashing that Sarah had to pick him up and carry him because he refused to go any further!  But when we got to the top, it was worth it…
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The water was slow moving so we got to walk around on the flat rocks.  After the falls, we stopped and played at this biiiiig playground they had.  Avery had so much fun!!!  They had ropes and rock walls, slides, and it just makes we wish I designed playgrounds for a living!

On our way back to camp, we saw this little fellow… a baby fox!

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Sarah, Avery, and I played at the big playground back at the state park (the third playground of the weekend!)IMG_1981

Dinner, fire…

IMG_2046…..then out for ice cream!!! (Check out Purity Ice Cream… yum!!)  We did a lap around town so Avery would fall asleep and then we all turned in for the night.  We packed up and headed back on Sunday…

Although we spent 2 days driving and only 1 day enjoying Ithica (& Aunt Sarah), it was well worth the drive!  We all had a great time, especially Avery!  Now, if I don’t have to drive anywhere with Avery for a while, I would be very happy!  Man, this Momma and her bag of tricks need a rest!!!

This week is a normal week for us – school and work.  Plenty of time to rest up for another busy weekend… a 5K and a Birthday Party!  Next week is 4th of July and we’ll be… you guessed it… camping!

<3 Meghan

Celebrate!

Yet another busy weekend for us!

Thursday afternoon rain meant….garage shenanigans!
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Avery and I drew roads and garages for each car…even a forest and river for the safari truck!  Then Avery had me blow up all the inflatable beach balls… only for him to want to deflate them and squash them himself… goofball.
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There’s a beach ball somewhere under that silly kid.

Friday night we ended the work/school week with pizza, ice cream, and a movie!  A new pizza place opened in Fairfax (this is big news in our small town!), next to Avery’s daycare actually.  We wanted to try them out, so we got a couple small pizzas and mozzeralla sticks.  Avery had 2 1/2 slices and tried the mozz. sticks but didn’t like them.

And for desert…
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Ice Cream!  And when we’re done eating our ice cream… in this house, we share with the pets!
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Saturday morning, when it was still damp outside (too wet for Avery to play outside), Avery and I did painting project in the garage.
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We painted the spindles for the new deck… green!
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Avery was thrilled… and he had his ‘concentration’ face on.
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He was hard at work with the roller while I followed behind with the paint brush.
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We did one coat on two sides, we’ll do more this week!
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Avery snoozed in the car on the way to our first (of THREE) parties on Saturday.  First up, Danielle’s H.S. graduation party.

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Danielle is my cousin on my Dad’s side of the family, so we saw lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins at the party (Congrats, Danny!  She’s off to St Mikes in the fall.. where Aunt Sarah went).  Avery is missing shorts in his picture with Danny because Grampy and Uncle Mike (aka Michael Tomato Eyes, as Avery calls him) let mister Avery sit by the pool and spash.. which soaked his shorts.

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Avery’s second cousin, Aiden was there to play some ball with.
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Onto party number two… TJ’s H.S. Graduation Party.  We know TJ from camping with him years ago because my Nana used to babysit him.  Nana and Papa (MiMi’s parents) were there!
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It was very windy and chilly at first, but the sun came out and Avery play with my cousin Joseph… they ran around and played in a fort.

We took a quick stop at home before our last party and guess what we got in the mail?!
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Avery and Grampy got their passports!!!
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Getting the passports was a long process… but well worth it – This means we can go to Parc Safari (just over the border in Canada – 1.5 hours from us) later this summer, Yay!

Our third and final party of the day was Joey & Richard’s Birthday Party!  Quinn was there to play with Avery, with a bunch of other kiddos.  They had a blast playing with all the toys (Joey’s Mom runs a daycare so there are tons of toys to play with!)

Joey had a very fitting cake…
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When Avery saw the cake, he said ‘Joey Flash!’

The birthday boys and Avery…he tends to be in everyone’s lap at their birthday lately… first Sarah Tucker, then Thomas, now Joey!  He’ll have good practice come his 3rd birthday in 3 months!
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Avery helped Joey blow out the candles…
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I think the birthday boys enjoyed the cake…
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The cakes looked (and tasted) delicious!  Joey’s had lemon filling and Richards was chocolate and peanut butter..with peanut butter cups!  Avery and the other kids kept snatching the peanut butter cups off the top of the cake, haha.

Time for presents next…
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Matching candy machines from Mom and Dad.  Avery helped open his gift to Joey…
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Joey checking out his gift…
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A book of pictures from the past 8 months…
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I made it on shutterfly – used a groupon, so I got a deal… and I spent a lot of time gathering photos, even ones stolen from his Mom, hehe, and made each page unique and personalized.
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We’ve had some fun times… and I know Joey likes looking at photos of us on his phone, so this way, it’s all together for him to look at whenever he wants!
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We also made personalized book marks for Joey…
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This was quite a project… I’ll share later on how to make them!

Sunday was Father’s Day!  Avery made a project for his present…

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Sarah, Mom, and I got Grampy a new grill (the big box behind them).
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Then it was off to visit Nana and Papa… which meant…
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A tractor ride for Avery!  Avery was thrilled and had such a fun time riding around!!!
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Nana had some yummy drinks and treats too… a fun visit!  Avery snoozed on the way home and I stayed with him while Mom and Dad visited Gram and Gramp.

Joey came over and we played outside, because it was finally really nice out.

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The weatherman had predicted nice weather both days, but we got clouds and even rain Saturday night, such a bummer, but it didn’t sour our good weekend. Sunday night, Avery spent dinner and bedtime with Mimi and Grampy while I took Joey out for his birthday:  frozen yogurt and 22 Jump Street… such a good time!

…and such a good weekend!

<3 Meghan

Avery Update: 2 3/4 Years

When I write a post about Avery, I honestly don’t know where to start.  Every day there is something new he does that makes me surprised, smile, or laugh! He will count, or ramble off a paragraph of sentences that actually make sense, or he will squeal with delight with something as simple as throwing the dogs toy.  He does the funniest things too.. he never forgets anything, and when he’s doing something odd and you put two and two together, you realize what he’s doing and he’s so smart!
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So, what’s to report of Mister Avery?  Well, he’s 2-3/4 years old.  He weighs in at 30lbs on the dot.  He’s just over 3 feet tall (I’m holding off on measuring his height on his giant ruler chart until his birthday, so it’s a yearly thing).  He wears size 3T clothes and size 8 shoes.  He’s still in diapers, but in three months and he’ll be turning THREE – That means we have potty training coming up and preschool starts in September, (as long as potty training is a success).

Avery’s been doing great at school.  He does projects at school and loves to tell me about them and show them off.  He recently made a paper plate pig, a policeman badge and he is always picking out rocks at the playground and asking to bring them home.  When I pick him up from school, he’s always outside playing in the playground (unless it’s pouring) and he runs up to the fence yelling ‘Mommy, Mommy!’  When I get out he asks, ‘You have Fraisier? You have Mimi?’ because sometimes I bring a dog or one of my parents with me to pick him up.  The kids at the school love seeing the dogs.

Joey meets us every afternoon to pick Avery up, because he works next door.  Avery is always looking for him and his teachers say that Avery talks about Joey all the time.  That and camping – you know, that one night we slept in the camper, he KEEPS talking about it, telling them he’s going camping every weekend.  Too cute.

Avery’s been an eating and sleeping champ as of late.  He eats well at school, sits with us thru a whole dinner (but prefers to eat outside at the picnic table). He still completely avoids veggies but loves his dairy, fruits, and meats. His favorite snacks are gummies, craisins, clementines (but HE has to peel it), and pistachios.  His new favorite foods that he just recently tried are peanut butter – he likes to dip his animal crackers in it, and ice cream!  Avery has never been interested in ice cream, but recently we went to the Vermont Dairy Festival and he had a creemee and loved it!  Now it’s a nightly thing after dinner.
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Avery’s typical schedule goes a little something like this…

5am wake up and go back to bed with Mommy or Mimi (depending on who he asks for)

6am wakes up for the day, clutching his blanket and stumping to the living room.  He plops onto the couch and asks to ‘Pick a Cereal’… he likes to see his choices between fruit loops, cheerios, and whatever else we have on hand.  He then sips on some milk and eats dry cereal with his hands until he asks for sausage.  Then he gets a cute plate of sausage, craisins and cheese, all the while watching Chuggington or Thomas the Train.
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645am Avery is done breakfast, dressed and ready for school.  He gives Mimi 2 kisses and out the door we go, usually stopping to pick up some special car or rock that he insists to bring to school with him.

7am I drive Avery to school and we chat about cars, birds, and school buses.  At drop off, Avery runs inside but hunkers in his cubby as I get his stuff situated.  He is very shy in the mornings and the teacher usually has to pry him off me because he doesn’t want me to go, but they are very good at distracting him and I wave out the window as I leave.

At school, Avery has 5-6 classmates, and 1-2 teachers.  They’ve been playing outside, doing art projects, going for walks, and playing bubbles in the field.  Avery eats breakfast/snack at 830am, lunch at 11, naps 12-2/230, has snack at 3.

4pm I pick Avery up from school.

415pm We are back home and don’t step a foot inside.  Avery plays in his sandbox, or with the gardening hose, we take a bike ride, or go swimming in the kiddie pool.

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6pm We eat dinner outside on the new deck Avery helped Grampy build.
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After, we play some more… last night Avery helped Grampy paint a project, or take the dogs for a walk.
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7pm Shower time.  Yep, baths are no more.  Avery loves water and after a few tries (that he requested) he has now been showering every night, instead of taking a bath.  Such a big boy!
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720pm Popcorn and a movie with Grampy to settle down for the night.  Avery prefers the ‘Elephant movie’, ‘Cars’ or ‘Toy Story.’  Oh and my mom took out our old school popcorn maker, so we make healthy popcorn and Avery sees where popcorn comes from!

745pm Avery picks out books (2-3) for bed.  We read them together.  Some books he can ‘read’ himself.  Since we’ve read them so many times, he knows what each page says without actually reading it.. it’s too cute.  His favorite books lately are a Cars book with Mater, the Tickle Book, and Please Baby Please.

8pm Time for bed.  I sit with Avery for a few minutes, then leave and go back and check on him until he falls asleep.  He’s gotten much better about falling asleep lately without getting back up.  He’s usually fast asleep by 830 and rarely wakes up in the middle of the night.

Our weekdays are typically the same unless we have a play date with Owen and Hannah. On Wednesdays we go to a big playground for an hour and then to visit my grandparents.  Avery had so much fun last week chasing around another little girl.  It’s so cute to see him interact and actually play with other kids.

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Avery loves the toys grandma has, and we go on walks together.

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At last week’s visit, grandma had a new dog, Gracie.  Avery and Gracie followed each other around the yard – too cute!

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On weekends we play around the house, go to birthday or graduation parties, play dates or festivals… anything fun going on!  Last Saturday we had a play date with Quinn and his big sister.  They have baby chickens and played in the chicken coop their parents were building.
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Avery helped Grampy build a deck in his new shirt sent from his Aunti Shalini… it came all the way from Brazil!

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On Sunday, Joey ran the 10K Milk Run and we went to cheer him on and enjoy the festivities… and food!

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Avery’s speech has been amazing lately.  His teacher calls him her ‘parrot’ because he repeats everything she says, and I believe it.  He speaks in full and multiple sentences and and if has trouble remembering a word, he does this adorable studder… he says ‘Mimi go to… to… to… to.. grocery store’  He repeats a word a few times until he gets the word he’s missing… too cute.

As wonderful as all this sounds, we still do have our moments… Avery is two after all.  He is usually a good listener, but when he isn’t he does throw tantrums, screams, and doesn’t listen.  I count to three, give him options, ask him to use his words to talk to me (instead of screaming really loud), and if it comes to it, Avery gets a time out.  He only has one every week or so, but they are times like he steps on the dogs tail on purpose, laughs, and does it again after being asked not to.  Overall, he is a very good listener, polite, and shares with others.  It actually surprises me at how well he behaves most of the time… because we have way fewer meltdowns than in the past… he’s such a trooper when we have outings and he’s loving life up here in VT.  Avery can play in the dirt with cars or a water bottle squirting ants for hours and be completely happy.

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<3 Meghan