Friday, February 20, 2015

Dinners and Getaways...

The first weekend in February found us helping host a dinner for all the couples in Rockville church who were married in February. Ed and Terry Mangold graciously offered to host, if I would do all the inviting/calling.  I think I got the better end of that deal, but she was happy with our arrangement. There was 16 of us in all, missing a few couples. We started with a delicious appetizer, then on to the yummy salad, then feasted on a main course of stuffed pork loin, smashed potatoes, green beans, corn, applesauce, and cinnamon rolls. We finished with a pudding puff chocolate caramel dessert and coffee.  During the meal, we all told where we went on our honeymoon and a funny story about our trip.  Imagine, we all went south on our honeymoons...I mean really, who plans a wedding in February, then vacations in the snow! We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of such a neat tradition, and the many laughs we shared! From just a few years of marriage to over 30, we all have been very blessed through the years.    
 
the table                                                    a few of the couples    
 
The next day just happened to be my birthday and I was feeling a little sad to be away from my family. Birthdays have always been special for me. It's the one day the you don't have to share with anyone else, and mom has always made our favorite meal for supper. Sharing cake and ice cream with my mom and dad would've been fabulous, but it just wasn't going to happen.  Instead, I got share the evening with my dear family here...they have loved us so very much this past year, and I am always amazed and so very thankful how they've opened their hearts for my family and love us so freely! We had a delicious supper and my favorite, angel food cake for dessert!
 first thru the line...I guess I was the guest of honor! ;)

 Collin and Halle

 My birthday cake while they sang to me!
 
The following weekend I had planned a little getaway for Lucas and me, for our anniversary.  We celebrated 12 years on February 16th, and while I planned to surprise him, I ended up telling him before we left, so he could look forward to it as well!  Ideally we could've gone somewhere south, that would be warm and cozy, but we settled for north, cold but cozy inside! With our little squirt as young and busy as he is, we just couldn't see how we could leave him with anyone for too many days. And to go south and enjoy ourselves in a few  days...we'd have spent more time traveling than staying, so we will save that for another year! Instead, we headed to northern Vermont.  Ronnie and Sheila Gerber have a condo they let us stay in, and snowmobiles we could use too!  Lucas was VERY excited, I was excited for the trip, but minimally excited about a snowmobile ride! I had never driven one, and if you know me well at all, you know that I am a scaredy cat!
 
After much planning and organizing, I had places for my kiddos to stay while we escaped reality for a few days! Last Friday morning with the older 3 shipped off to school, Lucas and I dropped Dylan off at Steve and Jan Moser's, then headed for the hills! We got to Newport Center, Vermont around 2 pm, unloaded our bags and snow gear, redressed for the cold and went to find the snowmobiles. The lake behind the condo is huge and we headed there first to give me some time/room to practice driving.  Then we hit the trails in search of supper and some gas.  I wasn't too thrilled about heading into town; I was nervous and not exactly warm.  The high while we were up in Vermont was low singles or negative, add in a 30-40 mph wind, makes for some cold sledding.  We did get smart and found some hand and foot warmers, but not before we were so cold we couldn't tell if we still had legs or fingers!!  After riding, what I called aimlessly, I begged Lucas to turn around, I was cold, getting hungry, and we weren't finding any place for supper.  Later Lucas talked to Ronnie and found out we had taken a wrong turn. We headed back, then drove into town to eat!  I drank 3 cups of coffee with my supper trying to warm up from the inside too! We spent our evenings playing games by the fire and enjoying the quiet, no kids allowed!

 
 Ready to go!
 The drive up

Beautiful scenery, with a funny looking couple photobombing!
 
Where we stayed
 
 Lucas out on the lake
 across the lake, we are about 1/3 of the way out...it was massive
 Me, first time on a snowmobile in my life!
Main street of the quaint town nearby!
In the morning Lucas had to all but beg me to get out of bed...I was enjoying just being lazy, no one needed me, no one was ransacking the kitchen, no one was eating my hearing aides, and I didn't have to get anyone else ready except me!  We had decided we would head to Canada for the day to see what trouble we could get into there. We had talked about going to Montreal, but decided Magog, Quebec. However, once we got to the border we settled on Sherbrooke.  The border patrol guy told us there was a shopping mall in Sherbrooke, and not much to do anywhere else...it was winter, and no one goes to Canada in the winter.  We can attest to that, we were the lone car on the highway! We spent part of the day shopping and trying to communicate with the Canadians, they speak French in the province of Quebec. Lucas did get instructed on how to say, in French, "I don't speak French," but he could never quite remember how it went, and I think we gave them a few chuckles. We looked for people younger than us at all the stores to help us, because most of the younger generation knew English.  It was quite a trip, and we had a few good laughs.
 The deserted border...heading in!
kph not mph...shucks!
 
Found a beach while we were there, but it was still not swimsuit weather! ;) 

 
Since Saturday was Valentine's Day we thought maybe we would go out for a nice dinner.  However, everyone else in the surrounding towns had the same idea, and there wasn't a seat to be found at the nicer restaurants.  We settled for a quick dinner at 'Hoagies', a very romantic setting, we ordered at the counter, they gave us a number, and they brought us our food on the finest china (aka thick white dishes) at least it wasn't paper plates.  The fluorescent lighting definitely added to the romance! After supper we browsed a little candy shop along the main street.  Found a few goodies to bring back for the kids, and a couple photo ops!
 
 
Our Valentine dinner selfie
 5 pound Hershey bar! Yum!
 and this one...World's largest gummy bear...uck!
 And of course we had to get a few selfies too!
 
Sunday, we had a fantabulous breakfast at the Brown Cow restaurant, then we were going to hit the trails.  We had decided the weather wasn't going to cooperate and warm up even the tiniest bit, so we stuffed our shoes and gloves with warmers, and I even stuck a few on my leg to see if they would help ward off the cold.  I had told Lucas I thought it would be much more fun if we rode the two-seater, then I wouldn't be left behind, and he wouldn't be held back having to wait for me.  That was the best idea ever, because I didn't have to worry about anything except hanging on, and he got to put the hammer down, well a little anyway...I was still a scaredy cat if he got going too fast! We saw a few deer, here and there on the trail, and the mountains were just gorgeous. We rode about 20 miles before I told him I needed the bathroom, or I was going to be frozen to the sled. It was definitely cold, but with our warmers, we stayed pretty comfortable.  After he dropped me off at the condo and warmed up a bit, he decided to head back out on the trails. I curled up with a book and a blanket and we were both happy!   
 
my dessert for breakfast
cream cheese stuffed French toast smothered with strawberries and cool whip!
 deer on the trail
 A few pics of our view

 Pictures won't do justice, but the view was so pretty!
 Road signs on the trail, telling us which way to go!
 Maple trees tapped and all tied together, I had never seen anything like that before.  

Sunday night we were successful in making a reservation, everyone had eaten out the night before so we were one of only about 10 couples in the whole restaurant. We decided to call it a late Valentine's date and early anniversary dinner. We were seated right by the fireplace and had another great meal!  Just the two of us, quiet and cozy!
 
Monday morning we cleaned up the condo, packed our bags, and headed south. We made a pit stop at Yankee Candle Company, and arrived home about 3. We were glad to see the kiddos and they were glad to see us! We had a wonderful time away, came home refreshed and relaxed, and ready to keep on keeping on! The whole time we were gone, we did think about the kids some, thinking about how certain ones would enjoy this or that, but we weren't gone long enough to miss them. They are a huge focus of our lives right now, but I do remind them occasionally, Mom and Dad had each other before we had them, and someday we will have just each other again. We need time to reconnect and they should be thankful they have a mom and dad who love each other and who love them to pieces!!
 
A huge shout out to the ones who made our getaway possible!  We are so thankful for your friendship, for loving us, and for your being willing to step up to help us!!! 

And I will leave you with a picture of our kiddos wearing the South Padre Island t-shirts from Grandpa and Grandma Gudeman! It was the funnest package we got in the mail Tuesday afternoon!
 
 
Lots of love and hugs from CT!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Snow piles!

The snow seems to never quit. We get a day or two reprieve, then it snows some more.  It is actually snowing as I type this! Today we are only supposed to get and inch or two, but more in the forecast for the weekend, and next week.  We have a good 3 feet of snow on the ground right now.  I don't think the kids have had school on a Monday for at least a few weeks.  They love the snow days, but forget that they must make up the missed days sometime...at this rate, we will be in school until July! UGH!
 
One nice thing about snow in Connecticut vs. Illinois, is the snow here doesn't blow.  Sure, we get a swift wind once in while, but for the most part, the snow stays where it lands, unless you shovel, plow, or blow it somewhere else.  The kids have been thoroughly enjoying the piles left behind by the snowplow.  This past weekend Lucas took the snowblower into the back yard to blow a huge pile just outside the patio door.  So, now Dylan has awesome entertainment from inside the house.  He can't go out, because the snow is deeper than he is tall, unless he stays on the driveway! Yeah right! The big kids have made ramps and slides and are enjoying the pile immensely.  I myself have never seen this much snow, and while I don't really like winter and cold, I am loving the snow.  If it is going to be winter, at least we can have snow!  It is so beautiful. Everywhere you go, the snow is covering, trees, roads, hills...makes a lovely winter wonderland.  Don't get me wrong, if I could live somewhere that never had snow, and my view included sand, sea, and sky, I'd be there in a heart beat.  But, here I am, and it is beautiful! 
 
 pile in the back yard
 who needs a ladder, we have a ramp right up to the door!
 Our firepit, chairs and picnic table...buried! 
 Our cul de sac has piles this big all the way around!
 From the road, a view of the house...we have two steps up to the porch, but the snow around them is deeper...our bushes are buried too!
The wall of snow along the driveway is up to Collin's waist!
 
I'm wondering if we will still have snow when the kids get out of school in June!  When I recently asked a friend what on earth we will do with all this snow, his reply was, "Make snow cones!" So, if you care to join me for a snow cone or two, come on out, we have plenty to go around! 

 
Love and hugs from Connecticut!