Sunday, June 20, 2010

I've gone vegetarian again. Got any good recipes to share?

I was a vegetarian for 12 years before Noah was born and a few weeks ago decided I wanted to go vegetarian again. Back in the day I was quite passionate about animal rights, which was the reason I gave up eating meat in the first place, however, when I started having kids and my focuses started to change, it took a back seat for awhile.

Over the last several weeks as I was doing research for an argumentative essay on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian, it lit that fire I once had about the animal suffering caused by the meat industry. Not only that, I learned a great deal about how the practices of the meat industry are destroying the environment. And, then there are the health benefits of going vegetarian as well. Basically, this research paper convinced me that it is the right thing for me to do and I feel really good about it.

The last 3 weeks I have given up chicken, beef, and pork and am getting into the swing of things again. I don't plan to become a vegan and still plan to eat fish and dairy. I was looking up recipes today to find some new dishes to keep things interesting. I really want the eggplant Parmesan pasta dish my friend Luisa makes. It's so good you don't miss the meat.

My Mom passed this on to me....

Laugh when you can.
Apologize when you should,
and let go of what you can't change.
Kiss slowly,
forgive quickly,
play hard,
take chances,
give everything,
and have no regrets.
Life is too short to be anything but happy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

MA trip is over.... time to wrap up already!

We made it home from our trip yesterday and it feels like the day after Christmas to me. You know how it's kind of blah after all the excitement is over. We were happy to be home again after 11 days but not happy to be assaulted with 97 degree temperatures and high about unpleasant!

OK, wrapping up the trip...

The day after our little excursion to Maine we decided to take it easy and hang out around the house. We slept in and relaxed most of the day and it was nice to not be on the go. Besides it was rainy and chilly with temps in the upper 50's!!

Everyone kind of did their own things: Boyd went to Cambridge where he lives to take care of some things for school, Ben slept on the couch, and I worked on my final English paper, and blogged. Later in the day Travis decided to take the girls to see Marmaduke.

Carol took Tanner, Tate and Noah to Concord, MA to see the Louisa May Alcott house and some other historic sites. Carol is a huge fan of Louisa May Alcott and has read all of her books.
Since Tate is special needs and sometimes makes noises that disturb others, Carol said they got their own private tour. While touring the Alcott house if you could find an apple in each room you would get a book mark and Carol said Noah found 4 of them. Carol said Concord was her favorite place on the trip and she wished she could have spent more time there.

Since it was so rainy and chilly it was the perfect day to snuggle in bed and watch TV. Pepper is a snuggler and wants to be where ever there is snuggling going on. Actually, I'm surprised she's not under the covers.

Katy joined in the snugglefest too.

Another fun rainy day activity is stringing beads. Lily became obsessed with making necklaces and bracelets this trip and it would keep her busy for hours.

Carol and Tate on our last night together before we went to Lobsta Land for dinner.

This is my cute nephew Ben wearing a necklace Lily made for him.

Ben looks at his necklace while Boyd decides what to order for dinner.

They had the best clam chowda!

Boyd was so good with Lily and Katy and took lots of time with them. He is a lot of fun and the girls thought he was the best.

No, Katy doesn't have food on her face.... the poor baby tripped and fell and scraped her face a few days earlier. I'm happy to say now her face is all better now.

The cool cousins!

Carol and Tanner

The next day as we were getting ready to leave we all gathered outside to take some pictures. The weather was gorgeous and it was warming up into the low 70's. Man, I really love this weather!

I took a bout 10 pictures before I got this one. Not bad.

I wanted to get in a picture too but it looks like we lost Noah and Lily.

Boyd tickles Lily while Ben swings Katy.

Uh -oh, two against one!

Good-bye house on Rocky Neck...

... we had a lovely time!

After we left Gloucester we went back up to Rockport to get some fried clams at Top Dog because Tanner and Noah went earlier in the week and said they had the best.

I love this picture of the girls!

The fried clams, haddock sandwich, and clam chowder were all very good!

This is the beautiful view we had while we ate lunch at Top Dog.

After lunch we walked around and looked in a few shops. We got a yodeling pickle at R 3 Sons, this cool little novelty shop in Rockport.

I love reading about the history of the early settlers of our great country. Rockport is on a small peninsula called Bear Skin Neck and the sign says it was named from a bear caught in the tide and killed in 1700. I read somewhere else that legend has it the name comes from menacing bears the settlers routed onto the neck and hunted. A little different, but we get the idea.

I love Rockport and I definitely want to spend more time there. I told Travis I want him to take me back again one day, just the two of us, so we can take our time and not feel rushed. I feel like we just scratched the surface on what there is to see and do in this part of New England and am eager to plan another trip to go back and see more. But, it was time to get on the road and start the long journey back to GA again.

Here we are later that day crossing the Tappan Zee bridge from NY to NJ. Travis knows all sorts of transportation facts and said it is an older bridge in critical condition in need of major repairs. But, the cost would be about one billion dollars! It's scary to think about all of the traffic that crosses that bridge every day. Noah complained about feeling sick since we left Rockport and slept most of the afternoon in the car.

Not long after crossing the Tappan Zee bridge we stopped in Oakland, NJ to get gas and grab some dinner. Lily kept talking about how much she wanted noodles and since there is a pizzeria on every corner in NJ we ended up stopping at the Oakland Pizzeria for that and a slice of pizza. Right before we went in Noah said he thought he was going to throw up and luckily Travis found a bag just in time. I quickly took the girls inside to go ahead and get them dinner while Travis tended to Noah. They came in about 15 minutes later and Noah said he felt much better.

Turns out Oakland Pizzeria had excellent authentic Italian food. We all really enjoyed it except poor Noah could only take a bite of pizza and drink some water. We started thinking about it and figured it must have been something he ate at lunch. Most likely a bad clam... After we got on the road again we only planned to drive another hour or so to Easton, PA however, it wasn't long before Noah said he was going to be sick again. This time there was no bag to catch it! I won't go into any details, but it was a mess. So here we were pulled over on the side of the road in the dark, trying to be calm and reassuring for Noah, and not too grossed out by the situation. Luckily, the majority of the mess was contained on one floor mat and the rest we were able to wipe down. Oh, the joys of parenthood! We ended up stopping for the night about 10:00PM and were all more than ready for bed.

The next morning we took the kids to the Crayola store. We went a few years ago when we were moving to ME and Noah still talks about it.

The thing Noah looked forward to the most was being able to pick out his own crayons. We got a tin for each of the kids to fill with the crayons of their choice.

Noah collects smooshed pennies from all over and of course had to get one here for his penny passport.

Lily posing in front of the wall of colors.

Katy was not so willing to pose for me....

... so Lily was trying to get her in position.

After we left the Crayola store there was a festival in the town center so we stopped to take a look around. I asked the kids to sit down together and pose for a picture for me...

but it is not easy to get everyone to look at the same time.

Oh well, this is so sweet!

Turns out the festival was the Easton Farmer's Market Stawberry Fest and they had fresh strawberry everything. Travis saw an Amish baked goods stand and wanted to get something because to him everything must be better when it's homemade by the Amish. He picked up a loaf of delicious looking cinnamon raisin bread with thick white icing on top that came highly recommended. Well, later that night at the hotel we broke it out and dug in and had to laugh because it wasn't delicious at all. The bread was just OK and the white icing on top tasted like lard with sugar. Yuck. We left the rest of the loaf behind.

These guys sounded like the Dave Matthews Band. Again, it would have been nice to stick around and take our time, but it was time to get on the road again.

I just had to take a picture of the girls in front of this cool WV sign.... Noah didn't want to be in the picture. We will be back in a few weeks when we make WV our new home. Oh goody, another road trip!

Lily and Katy are burning some energy before it's back in the car again. To pass the time on the trip the kids watched movies, we played would you rather, and punch bug. We also listened to kids music, particularly Alvin and the Chipmunks.... Lily is the only one who loves to sing with the Alvin songs. She is so cute singing to "Henry the VIII" and "Hut the Magic Dragon."