Monday, September 30, 2013

Foliage Monday

Today, E and I went over to the Percy Farm Corn Maze. I had no idea how warm it had gotten and was wearing a big sweater. E was still sporting long sleeves and pants from the cool morning, too. We walked down the rec path and over the foot bridge. I stopped to take a photo and got yelled at by a woman on a bike, "You're on the wrong side!!" she screamed as she rode past me and E. "And a fine day to you, milady!!" I called after.

Huh? I didn't even think she was talking to me at first. Then I realized that I was technically on the wrong side of the path, but I had clearly walked to that side to take a photo. It really made no difference. It particularly made no difference because there was no one else on the path, we weren't on a blind curve, and there was more than enough room to simply go around us, as we had stepped almost completely off the path. She was also with her (maybe 4-year-old) daughter who (take notes, lady) kindly rode by me with a friendly smile.

I tried not to let it, but it kind of put a damper on my happy fall moment. E and I continued to the Corn Maze. I could lead you to believe that we spent the day meandering through the winding rows of corn, but I will always be honest with you -- we took one look and thought, "Nah..." When I explained to E that we would just be walking through rows of corn, she didn't seem too excited about it. It's just her age. She was more into seeing the running water at the river. I also couldn't bring my street stroller through. The ground was too rough. I thought I might wait until she was a little older. We walked the rec path instead, along the river. It was nice and peaceful and just what we needed.

Outside the Corn Maze, you could pay $.25 to feed some goats. E was quite content with that experience, and it only cost me a quarter. All and all, it was a great day.

Stay tuned -- tomorrow we'll make fall leaves with some paint and paper towel. E will create her own war paint and fight me at the Battle of I Want to Eat Paint, where she will undoubtedly succeed in a temporary victory.

Here are some more pics from our day!

Fall Foliage Week!

I thought I'd do a foliage theme this week! There are so many great things to do in Central Vermont during peak foliage to really make the most out of the fall season!

This is right in our back yard, so expect to see us on the roads/trails this week: Check out GoStowe's Foliage Central page for fantastic foliage activities. The page includes everything from scenic driving routes to boat/canoe rentals, and biking/hiking trails... to fun foliage facts and a video.

Then, follow me and E as we try out a few of these activities and take on some fall-related craft projects!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Sophisticated Baby

Here's a quick "coffee" recipe for your sophisticated baby (toddler).

Little E loves to pretend to drink coffee with me in the morning. I didn't have any hot cocoa packets the other day, but they're filled with all kinds of unnecessary extras anyway, and I wanted to make her a baby version of a warm drink she could have with me!

This recipe contains cocoa powder, sugar, water, and milk. If you don't have cocoa powder, you can substitute it for any mini chocolate bar, some vanilla extract, or chocolate syrup. If you use the bar or syrup, you probably won't need sugar.

Also, feel free to substitute the sugar for honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup.

1 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp sugar (more or less to taste)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk (any kind)

Put the cocoa and sugar in a mug. Heat water in microwave (about 45 sec) or use 2nd smallest setting on Keurig. Add water to mug. Mix until cocoa and sugar have dissolved. Add milk. Make sure the milk cools the water enough. It should be just slightly warm after stirring.

E absolutely loves her "coffee," and it's a fun treat on the weekend!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chalk is Cheap

Chalk is one of the cheapest things you can buy at the craft store. I got one box for $.69. E has a plastic patio table that we use for meals, of course, and craft time! The surface of the table top was perfect for drawing on with chalk, and it wiped right off. Also, washable markers wash right off the table, too, so we can practically destroy it with color then wipe it clean!

Black construction paper for $1.99 wasn't a bad deal either!

After E spent yesterday on the town with Auntie Bee, I thought I could get away with keeping her in today. We did a quick grocery shopping in the afternoon. We threw together a play store when we got home, so E could do her own shopping. She loved pretending to use her own "bebit card."

Dinner time, bath time, play time, story time, bed time. Now, it's my time to rest a bit before the weekend hits!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How I Use My iPhone

This is how I use my iPhone as a mom on the go!

First, I move all of the apps that I don't use regularly to folders and put those folders on the second screen, so I can access them quickly by swiping to the right. This also clears up my home screen for a beautiful photo of my family!

  • I use the Clock app to wake up bright and early at 6:30!
  • The Calendar has my appointments for the day, and any morning Reminders pop up. I pull my calendar from my Gmail account. I love this, because it's separate from my work calendar, and I can add any new appointments via my Gmail calendar from my desktop computer (so, no typing in all my appts on my tiny iphone keyboard -- only when I absolutely have to)!
  • While I get ready, I check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messages, and my blog via BlogGo to approve any comments. I can work while I brush my teeth!
  • I check the Weather to see how we should dress for the day and take any cute pics of E's outfit with the amazing new 5S Camera! I tend to use my iPhone camera way more often than my digital SLR mainly for the convenience!
Off We Go
  • Once in the car, I can't live without Siri. If I've forgotten anything, I can use the voice commands for hands-free calling and texting.
  • E loves playing games on the way to day care. We have a 15-minute drive. Apps she loves:
    Tiny Monsters, Endless ABC, KidsDoodle, Trucks, Real Chalk, Drawing Carl, and Bug Builder.
  • Once I drop off E, I sometimes realize that I'm running late. I have my work Email on my phone (but no alerts set up, so I'm not bothered by work email unless I need to be!). I send off a quick message to my team letting them know I'll be 5 minutes behind schedule.
  • I answer any text messages from friends asking me to pick up some Dunkin' Donuts, and then I head to the office!
At the Office
  • Once settled, headphones go in, and I listen to Music, Pandora, Podcasts, and Netflix shows/movies. My day job involves a lot of email and data entry, so I love being able to zone out a bit!
  • Long bathroom visits warrant some games: DoubleDown Casino, Coin Dozer, Water?, Bingo, Yahtzee, and Doodle Fit are some faves!
  • Hootsuite is one of my all-time favorite social media sites/apps. It's discrete if you have to check quickly from work, it allows you to post to all your social media sites at once, and it has auto-scheduling. I can write a blog post the night before then auto-post it when the majority of my readers and followers are online. The only downside is that your friends spread rumors about you being a horrible parent for apparently being online all day. Ha!
After Work
  • I'm on part-time hours, so after work I go for a walk or run. I use my PRT - Personal Running Trainer app to keep me on task! Or I just listen to music/podcasts while I walk/run.
  • Home to pick up the apartment! I use my AppleTV Remote app to put on music or a TV show to clean to. Sometimes I just take 10 minutes to play a game or update my blog.
  • Then off to get E!
After Day Care
This is generally phone-free time!
  • Maps is handy for finding new parks, directions to new stores or other places we want to visit like museums, the airport, etc.!
  • I ask Siri what the forecast is in case there's a chance we may get rained out at the park.
  • Facetime lets us have the occasional afternoon visit with Grammie who is just getting home from work.
After E's Bed-Time
  • Most days, I can't resist posting at least some photos throughout the afternoon, but I usually reserve photo-editing time for after E's bed time. Here are all my favorite photo apps!
    Instagram -- for all it is! And I like that it shares to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously
    Camera+ -- for editing, sorting
    Afterlight -- for editing, filters
    Diptic -- for making collages
    Squareready -- for cropping, prepping for Instagram
  • For design, I like:
    Over (or Overgram) -- for adding text
    Adobe Kuler -- creates a color palette based on a photo
    Flipboard -- design news for inspiration
    I answer all my freelance email on my phone and can keep up with clients throughout the day, even though I work mornings at my day job! Once E is in bed, photos posted, it's time to tackle my freelance assignments!
  • Reading
    Kindle -- I use the app when I can't actually find my Kindle
    News -- I haven't really found a news app that I love, but NBC News is okay.
    BBC News -- nice, well-rounded, world-view news!
    TMZ -- shut up...
    The Onion -- news parody!
  • Shopping
    Amazon is really the only shopping app I use. I have E's entire Christmas wishlist done.
  • Intuitive Apps
    Psychic Tarot is my favorite, and I've had some great readings with it!
And, that's it! Or, at least those are the most important ones -- the ones I decided to bring over to my new phone. Thanks to those of you who asked about the photo apps I use. If you want any more information about which apps I use, help with using them, or advice for photographing your little ones, just leave a comment or shoot me an email at Happy Apping!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I don't know what to write, so how about just a little snippet of my day. The main reason I'm struggling with writing right now (not necessarily the act of writing but more the subject matter). 'Cause we all know that the day I run out of words is the day that... some incapable-of-flying animal takes flight... is that... I want to write more structured, more meaningful posts but in fewer words.

In the mean time, I've been catching up on freelance work, which is taking up my blogging time, though I haven't really minded lately. I've also been doing more art (yay!). And while all that's going on, I haven't been doing dishes, though I did get my apartment picked up... once this week. If you missed my Twitter update with the pic of my disastrous apartment, you should check that out.

Anyway, life is good... On Sunday, we took E to the airport to watch the planes take off and land. She absolutely loved it! It cost $1 for parking, but if you park outside, near the runway, it's free! We let her get out of her car seat and crawl around the car while we waited for planes. Each one she saw prompted wide eyes, a huge grin, and "'Nother one!?" Finally, the air traffic slowed, and we went home.

Also, I got my new iPhone 5S over the weekend. The Apple Store gave me a $250 trade-in, so I got home new phone and have money to spare! II'll post one of those "What's on my iPhone" videos or blog posts soon, so you can see the apps I love and use on a daily basis!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bills and Apps

This was a fun, little game we came up with this afternoon that kept E busy for about a half hour: I took some of our junk mail and let E write on it, open envelopes, fill out "forms," and put stamps (stickers) on each envelope. I even let her use a real pen, as long as she was careful. That made her happy! We also wrote "letters," and played bank. She pretended to sign papers and punch in her pin number on my calculator. Free fun!

For even more fun, return all the scribbled-on, sticker-covered junk mail to sender.

We also downloaded a new app this week that she loves. It keeps her busy in the car, and it has just the right level of interactivity for her age. It's called "Trucks" by Duck, Duck, Moose. It includes a few different games. E's favorite is one that involves moving a car through a mud puddle then a car wash. Your child can move the car or simply tap the screen to trigger the car wash tools. Check it out in the Apple app store.

Friday, September 20, 2013

You've Got Mail!

Yesterday, E asked me if she could get mail. So, I thought it might be fun to make her a mailbox to check each day.

The Dollar Store is a great place to get craft supplies. I like to get stickers there for E, since she just loves sticking them everywhere. There's rarely a purpose to the placement, she just enjoys the simple act of sticking stickers. It's really a zen kind of crafting session.

So, today, I picked up 2 packs of teacher stickers (550+) for, you guessed it, $1.00 each!

Then, at T.J. Maxx, I found a little cardboard chest that was on sale. The handle was partially broken off, so I got an additional discount. When I got home, I just pulled the handle off, pressed down the raised cardboard where the handle had been, and covered the top with stickers. Voila! A mailbox! I filled it with a sheet of stickers, a glitter ball that she had forgotten she got at the store, and a little love note from Mommy. I can't wait until she checks her mail tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things I've Hit With My Car

I've hit a lot of things with my car. But, yesterday's road casualty was one of the more embarrassing.

I've made a diagram to prove to the jury that there really was nothing I could do to prevent this little mishap.

Almost every afternoon, E and I go to the elementary school park before school lets out. Guests are allowed, and I've been really impressed with how the teachers treated us when the kids did come out to play before we left. One male teacher in particular told the students that we were guests at their playground, and that they needed to show us respect -- to give E some room to play on the preschool structures.

The only problem is that there is limited parking. I finally found a spot right near the bus lane, as you'll see from the diagram above. When I found that spot, the bus lane cones hadn't yet been put out. When E and I left the park, the cones were in place. The teal cone was about 3 feet tall and visible from my rear-view mirror.

The yellow cone was approximately 2 inches tall and quite possibly a cone at a crosswalk, outside a school for ants. I couldn't see it in my rear view mirror.

I'd like to state for the jury that the time of departure was approximately 2:45pm. I remember this, because I had packed some snacks in the car and declared 2:45pm officially, "donut time." School lets out at 3, so no buses were in the parking lot.

I knew that, in order to back out of this parking spot, I would need to carefully avoid the teal cone and partially back into the bus lane. I thought this would be fine since, as I mentioned, no buses had arrived, and I could see no other obstruction in my rear-view mirror.

I slowly proceeded until I heard a loud crunch. Confused, I checked all my mirrors, and I happened to notice a flash of movement. A woman with gray hair, bifocals, and a neon-green striped sweater came flying out the side door of the school. She was waving her arms and screaming.

My first thought: "I've hit a child." My heart skipped a beat. "No, a dog... it was probably a dog." My breathing slowed only slightly. My next thought, I kid you not was, "That wasn't bumpy enough to have been a kid."

The woman frantically signaled for me to roll down my window... or churn butter. I couldn't tell. I rolled down my window anyway. "You, you..." she said, breathless.

She reached under my car and pulled out the smallest caution cone I've ever seen in my life. Huge sigh of relief on my part. "You hit this!" she screamed. I wish I had a magnifying glass to whip out at that very moment, or at least a monocle.

"Oh, that ol' thing? Sorry, I couldn't see it in my rear-view mirror."
"You can't just drive through the bus lane, you know!!"
(Because I was totally going all Grand Theft Auto through the bus lane, that had no buses in it, in reverse.)

Hold the snark, G... Hold the snark. I tried to be my own referee.

"Would you like to point out an alternate route for me to take?" I asked, through a fake smile.

She gave me a dismissive wave that was more like an air-slap -- the teacher version of flipping me 'the bird,' I presumed. "Yeah, screw you too," I thought.

I got home and told Mark that if a teacher ever treats my child like that, I'm going to lose it... in an all-out, Uncle-Buck kinda way. Heaven forbid someone makes a mistake that costs the school a $3.00 road cone.

Other things I've hit with my car: a poor little bunny rabbit, a red squirrel (Dad says the squirrel doesn't count, that I was doing the community a favor -- Agent G, squirrel assassin, at your service!), a tree branch, the usual curbs and snowbanks, a wooden plank, jumper cables, a large community of mating frogs.

One time, I took out the side porch steps at my parents' house with the riding lawnmower. Does that count?


I'm here! I'm here! (runs in catching my breath). I've just been running around like a maniac for about a week... E came down with a virus last weekend, and we spent an entire week trying to keep her fever under 103. We also wanted her better for my parents' visit this past
weekend. All worked out, and she was just coming around in time for their arrival. We kept our activities to a minimum, got her back to the park (finally!), and kept to her usual nap/sleep schedule. She did great.

Now I'm back to work, behind on "Blogtember" posts, and neck deep in a fun, new freelance project! Wahoo! Still, while working I managed to get out in the afternoon to take some new pics of E with my "big camera," the ol' Canon Rebel with the telephoto. They came out so nice, I think!

I also finished the second season of The Killing, finally! I'm so behind on my crime dramas too, but you'd be surprised how much TV you can watch while getting a crap-load of freelance work done!

So, my evenings are a bit busy right now. I've been working 'til midnight, up at 6am. Go, go, go, and I've found myself in a funk the last few days.


I even had my first big blow-up at E. Sure, I've gotten mad before, but never quite like this. I always thought I'd be a parent who was okay with spanking, but I'm just not. So, this blow-up only involved a lot of loud yelling. But she cried, seemed scared, and it was horrible. She's started scratching again. This time the scratch involved bleeding, me jumping, and my dinner and drink spilling everywhere. I had finally treated myself to some new clothes courtesy of some help from family and a crapload of coupons. My new outfit was now covered in taco meat and soda. So, I screamed. I roughly put her in time-out. I cried like a baby. So did she.

Then I blamed myself -- I shouldn't be wearing new clothes around her. I shouldn't have set my drink precariously against my leg. I shouldn't have eaten tacos. This is all my fault. You know, the usual guilt trip.

But anyway, we got over it. We talked about it, both apologized, and she told me, "Don't worry. I okay." Which promptly caused me to burst into tears and feel more guilty.

But. The important thing is that... I've finally pinpointed what I believe to be the main cause of her scratching -- boredom. Apparently, the most entertaining and immediately-gratifying activity is to dig her nails into my leg, hear me yelp, and watch me peel myself off the ceiling.

I had already gone through my tool-belt of light punishments (sit-down time and talking about it, taking privileges away -- always starting with the ones that don't work and ultimately settling on time-outs). Time-outs are good for inducing guilt-wrenching cries and making her focus, realizing what she did wrong, and trying not to do it again. But ultimately, the attention from the entire time-out experience is a win for her -- even if it's a negative one.

"It's okay if you scratch me. I don't feel pain."
Nope, we had to go back to the ol' tried and true "ignore it" rule. I grew up with a little sister who loved scratching, so, though I was a little rusty, I soon got the hang of ignoring again. But, instead of running off to play with my Barbies this time, I had to be a responsible mom and take the next step. Ugh (insert 'I don't wanna grow up' groan here). I ignored the scratch (which involved a little whimpering and fake smile on my part), then I introduced something else more fun to do. "Let's play dollhouse." I even suggested, "Will you play dollhouse, while I make dinner?"

Do you know what that child said to me?? She said, "Sure," sat down at her dollhouse, and actually played while I made dinner. Is it really that simple? Maybe it'll only be that easy today. Who cares? One happy day is enough for me, and I'm taking notes to try new things tomorrow.

I thought about the situation a lot over the weekend, and I realized that, in the mornings, at day care, it's completely structured. She knows what's happening when, and she loves the activities that are coming up -- morning snack, circle time, outside/sensory play, reading/free play, lunch, then nap.

The report from the day care teacher: "We are so glad to have E back. She is an absolute joy to have in the classroom. She helps pick up, helps clean the tables. We don't even have to ask her. She leads the other kids outside and is so kind to everyone."

So, why am I getting scratched, bitten, and yelled at?? Sure, I know moms take the majority of the abuse, that I get the after-a-short-nap E who isn't always at her best. But, really, our afternoons aren't that structured. We usually go the park or do something outside, but not always. It changes, she's unsure, and she wants me to provide the next activity -- even if it's something as boring as sweeping the floor. That's fun for her!

So, yesterday, I included her in everything. I kept to a better schedule. We spent a half hour at the park, stopped at the cider mill. As soon as I got her settled in at home, we painted. By then it was time to start dinner, and suggesting the dollhouse for her while I prepped food worked perfectly. When dinner was done, she ate. After dinner, I let her watch a half hour TV show, and then I played with her.

I got scratched 3 times. Once, she drew blood. But, on Monday, it was about 10 times, so that says something... We'll see how today goes.


Anyway, I'm determined to add a little more variety to the blog in the next few weeks -- shorter posts, I hope, and more interesting finds on the interwebs -- parenting stuff, photography, design, crafts, kids' projects, and E stories, of course. We'll mix it up! "Stick with me, kid(s), we'll go far!"

Speaking of which, check out what's new on the Pen & Paint blog. Love, love, love them!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

In the Garden

Lately, E has been obsessed with the book, Biscuit in the Garden. She loves seeing the little puppy get into the bird seed and dig in the dirt. So, this morning I took her to the Von Trapp gardens. She loved exploring, meeting the horses, and taking in the beautiful views!

I don't feel much like writing this weekend, so I'm expressing my creativity with photos! I got out my big camera and lugged it around with a toddler. My picture-taking had to be much faster with her running around, but my photos were a million times better with her in them. Check out my Instagram feed for more!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Second Proposal

The story of my husband's proposal is a funny one, and I'll try to write about it this week, but for my first September post, I want to share the second proposal -- the time I proposed to him.

It was a late night in Vermont, back in 2003. If I remember correctly, we had gone up to Joan's house to see new pug puppies. Joan is my sister-in-law's (Kim's) friend. (You can read about Kim's pug adventures and her life as a writer/photographer/all-around-amazing gal here:

The four of us were headed back down the mountain at about 9pm -- Mark, Mark's mom (Betsy), Kim, and me. We hadn't eaten dinner, so Kim suggested an old-fashioned diner in the center of an old town square that she drives through on her way home from Joan's. I've always been a fan of all things vintage, antique, and home-town-friendly, so I felt right at home wandering into the old diner, pulling up a rickety chair, and grabbing a sticky menu.

We visited for awhile, then a waitress came to our table. She could have walked right off the set of Fried Green Tomatoes -- plaid dress, apron, slightly disheveled hair, friendly face. The special was meatloaf, mashed potatoes (with gravy, of course), and maple-glazed carrots. To this day, this is still one of our favorite family meals and brings back fond memories for me, regardless of what happened after I ate it.

We didn't have to wait long. The waitress showed up at our table with hot plates. We all dug in and continued our conversation. The meal was outstanding -- meatloaf perfectly seasoned, mashed potatoes as fluffy as heaven's clouds, salty brown gravy, offset splendidly by the sweet maple glaze on the carrots. I devoured all of it then ordered a slice of homemade apple pie. Oooh-wee!

Those of you who are regular readers know that I've had a recent run-in with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, to the layperson). What you may not know is that I've had random bouts of it my entire life. So, why on earth I would decide to eat all that food on a late night road trip, in a back-woods diner, is still a mystery to me. The meatloaf simply beckoned, and... I answered the call.

Halfway through my apple pie, I felt that familiar gurgle and warm dread pass through my intestines. I knew I was about to be extremely and violently ill. Gulp. I didn't know Mark's mom and sister very well at that point in our relationship. And, though Mark and I had known each other for 2 years, I still hadn't reached that comfort level where there was complete disclosure about all of my stomach issues.

I daintily excused myself.

A hand-painted, wooden sign directed me to the restrooms. I stepped down a few stairs and into a long corridor. I can only assume that the building was so old that it originally didn't have an indoor bathroom. It appeared that, sometime in the 1920s, someone had slapped up some uninsulated walls and attempted to make a hallway that led to one closet-sized "washroom." In the corridor, the air was cold. I suppressed a chill that tried to creep up my spine. The floor was crooked, and I walked drunkenly to the very end of the hallway.

The doorknob was ice cold too. I grabbed it, swung the door open and gasped. The horror! The bathroom wasn't exactly clean. The toilet leaned to one side, or maybe it was the floor. I felt disoriented and grabbed for the wall. I tried to focus but was distracted by a grinding noise above my head. I looked up to see a yellowed ventilation fan. I think it was coughing. But, worse than all that, stuck to the side of the fan was a wasps' nest about the size of a softball. Wasps were swarming everywhere.

I can't blame them for being angry. I imagined that there was some kind of wasp uprising when they found out where Willy Wasp had decided to construct their nest. It looked like they were trying to make the most of it, but they were not thrilled to see me enter their domain.

Also, I'm terrified of wasps. I've never been stung, and my ever-expanding list of anxieties includes dying from bee stings. I never should have watched My Girl that one time my parents weren't home.

Before me was the golden throne, my buried treasure, fame and glory, and the only thing standing between me and that was... wasps. The dirty toilet seat didn't matter any more. I fought back tears then ran out, back to the table where Mark was.

"Hey Mark?" I said, pleadingly.
"Um, the bathroom is..."

Kim and Betsy looked up at me expectantly. "It's just, um... there are wasps, and... Mark, I need you."

Once we got away from the table and into the corridor leading to the bathroom, I grabbed him by the shoulders. "Listen. It's bad in there." I prepped him for battle, "I'm not sure there's anything you can do, but I have to... use the bathroom, quite badly, and I just don't know what to do." Tears filled my eyes.

He said calmly, "It's okay. I'll go in with you."
"It's the WOMEN'S restroom!! You can't do that... that's... not allowed."
"It's fine... it's 10pm on a Sunday. No one's coming in here."
"You can't... what if you get in trouble?"
"Let me just check it out."

He disappeared inside the bathroom. I waited outside, expecting to have to explain the situation to the next woman who ventured down the hall to use the restroom. No one came. I stepped inside.

Mark was investigating. "Yep, wasp nest."
"I'm really afraid of them."
"Well, just go pee, and I'll swat them."
"That's just it... I'm... not feeling well."
"Oh, well ok. Just go."
"Seriously??! I don't think I can."
"Well, this is your only option."

I quickly put down some protective toilet paper on the not-so-clean seat and proceeded to get violently ill while apologizing to Mark over and over... and over again. He swatted wasps as they flew in my direction.

Finally, I just broke down and sobbed.

"Hey... hey, what's wrong?" he said softly, swatting away.

And I bawled a long soliloquy that went something like this... "I'm just embarrassed... and happy. No one would do this for me. No one. Ok, maybe a select few family members, but you have to understand, I don't think I could do this with anyone else. I don't think I could go through life with anyone else. Because this is life, you know? (sob, hiccup) Will you marry me?"

We laughed. He said, "Yes, of course."

We went back to the table, where I finished my apple pie. Then we headed home, back down the winding mountain roads from where we came, and into an 8-year marriage and parenthood together.

If you enjoy my writing and want to continue to follow our family adventures, please "Like" YMIS on Facebook, here or follow us on Twitter @UrMomIsStrange.