Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Friday at the Fair

The St. Mary's County Fair was this weekend, and we were so happy to find time to attend before we left on our vacation. We first took Amy to this fair when she was ten months old; last year she was almost two and enjoyed seeing the animals, and this year was the most fun yet, despite 95 degree heat. Ever seen a duck pant?

We visited the farm and garden building, and noted that this year's largest pumpkin weighed a full two hundred pounds less than last year's champion, yet more proof of our hot, dry summer.

I've been reading, re-reading, and generally drooling over this post from Soulemama, and was delighted to see this first-prize buff orpington. Someday we'll have chickens...

... and maybe rabbits...

... and definitely alpacas. Someday.

The lady running the pig and duck races gave Amy some pretty beads for being such a polite spectator.

We all shared a funnel cake (didn't think too hard about the milk in the batter - sorry, William).

And last but not least, Miss Amy's favorite moment of the day: riding the Carousel. The rides all cost a freakin' fortune, so we just did one. After barely clearing the 36" height marker, she adored the ride on the pony she named "Sweetie Pie."

It was indeed a sweet and wonderful day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Feeling Settled?

I write that with a question mark because in the last week or so I've had several opportunities to talk to new folks in the neighborhood and found myself sounding, much to my surprise, like the source of local wisdom. "We've been here for over two years now..." I always say, because in the military world that is quite a respectable chunk of time to spend in one place.

Don and I have been married for five years now, with one year together spent in civilian life and four in the Coast Guard. In that time we have lived in 3 states and 4 houses. The fact that we will easily be here longer than all the other places combined makes two years seem like a long time indeed.

In the last few months we've spent a good deal of time bemoaning the idea of spending another two years in this same tiny house in this same rural outpost of a community. It is not that we don't like it here, because we very much do, but we have gotten used to regular change and are ready to move on. Or, more accurately, ready to begin working towards finding the place where we will settle more permanently. It is difficult to ever feel truly at home in a location when you know you will only be there for 3-4 years.

However, as I've found myself sharing with newcomers about where the best playgrounds are, or the dates for the County Fair or consignment sale, or the best way to get to the city, I realize it does take time, much more time than simply the few weeks to get boxes unpacked and pictures hung, to even begin to feel settled in a community.

These pictures were taken yesterday at the "Amazing Park" (as Amy calls it). This is a HUGE, beautiful, shady, wonderfully well-designed playground that we recently discovered. It is a public park, right in the middle of the county seat, but it is one of those places so tucked away that it is only learned about from word of mouth. Somehow our three visits to this park have made me feel more settled in this area than anything else yet.

And with that in mind, we will be looking forward to our third annual visit to the County Fair this weekend, and are hoping to make our third annual trip to the National Aquarium for Amy's birthday (in six weeks my girl will be 3! oh my!). We have already cruised through our third summer, and have made (some) plans for our third round of holiday travels, and are shifting into our third "off" season at the station. Our dearest dear friends will be moving in the spring, and now is the time to allow our rolling stones to gather a little moss and enjoy this feeling of being settled while it lasts. Soon enough we will be off on our next adventure.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Time Flies...

"... like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

It took me the LONGEST time to get this pun, but it comes to mind tonight because of a literal fruit fly/banana problem in the kitchen, and because these days are truly flying by. I might have thought that as consumed as my time is with the kids, and how little time I find for much of anything else that I usually consider "productive", that I'd be stressed out and feeling cagey. But I'm really not; I so thoroughly enjoy the pattern of my days with Amy and William, and I'm actually quite content with simply doing my mommy job all day long. Eventually they will go to school, right?

Blogging is suffering a bit: Not many projects are being completed right now... I don't have a lot of energy in the evening to write anything witty... I am way behind on sorting through pictures, etc... I do have a lot of half-completed projects in the hopper that will be blog-worthy soon: Don repaired my stand mixer, we're reorganizing the garage, I'm reading a great book that has given me much inspiration, I bought my bread machine and have been experimenting with that, I have lots of ideas for Christmas gifts to make and sewing-in-progress to complete, and a lot of big-picture thoughts stewing in my head. Just need the time to do it all justice.

But all is well. I'm treating these few weeks as a limbo period between our (late) summer vacations; when we return again at the beginning of October I plan to devote my evenings to creating and not just computing. I'm hoping to wrap up some uninteresting paperwork and household-upkeep projects so that my evenings aren't as cluttered with "must-dos" that get me stuck in the internet vortex. And then surely I will have something fresh and interesting to share here. Till then!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day List

This actually has very little to do with Labor Day, but I am a sucker for alliteration, and today is as good a day as any to write a bit of a capstone piece on our recent two-week vacation. We've been home for a few days but are still clinging to the glow that came from lots of time away, TOGETHER, and with our dear families.

During this trip I (we):

:: celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary
:: unloaded the first round of baby paraphernalia on my brother- and sister-in-law, who are expecting a little girl in January
:: walked in the woods
:: stopped to smell the flowers... and the horses, cows, and sheep
:: went out for TWO dinners for two
:: reconnected
:: read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover
:: bought jeans and a fleece jacket when the weather surprised me
:: drank coffee twice a day thanks to unlimited Keurig access
:: visited the top of Horsebarn Hill, where Don proposed
:: watched both kids have a blast at Mystic Aquarium
:: got to know my in-laws better than ever before
:: picnicked in the park
:: watched Amy play for hours with a plastic deer named Daphne
:: found this set of Paula Deen cookware on clearance at Kohls for $50, AND found room in the car to bring it home
:: saw pure delight on the face of my girl as she and her daddy set out to camp in the backyard (yes, she made it the whole night in the tent!)
:: was, according to Don, annoyingly nonchalant about Hurricane Earl
:: witnessed how fast recovery from daVinci Robotic Surgery can be and praised God that my dad has a cancer-free prognosis
:: stayed in a hotel on the way home and shared a pint of coconut-milk ice cream with Don after the kids were asleep
:: took over 200 pictures that are currently trapped on the camera
:: put 1354 miles on the Subaru
:: wished that we could turn around and do it all again