Summer Bucket List

The 12 weeks of summer vacation were so sweet. With both boys excited for little adventures and outings, we started the summer by making a bucket list of activities and places we wanted to seek out and embrace. Afraid of getting into a routine of just slow mornings and lounging, I tried to tackle one item a week so there would be a good balance between “get out and be busy days” and “sip coffee and settle in days.” With only 24 hours left of my summer being a “stay-at-home-mom” with my kiddos, I am feeling nostalgic for the warm, long summer days we shared. It hurts so much to return to the rigid school day schedule after savoring this time together as family, but this summer there are no regrets or “I wish we hads.” We carpe diemed the Sh*t out of our summer together and I am happy to look over the memories we captured as our trio explored together. If only I could get paid to just have time home with my family, that would be the life! I know that once school starts on Monday, it will feel fresh, and good, and exciting to be back on campus, but tonight I want to halt time and stay in this summer sunset longer.

What was on the bucket list?

Wingearshaek Beach

Beach Days… yes, multiple!

Lunch with David

Davis Farmland

Eat oysters

Get a pottery wheel

California

Newport, RI

Hopkinton State Park

Ashland state park

Kayaking

SUPing

Salem

Gloucester

Beach Picnic

Summer Concert

Aquarium

Running in a Fountain

Eating outside

Roger Williams Zoo

Strawberry Picking

Riding bikes (my only picture of them on wheels)

Lobster rolls

Visit to Long Island

Have a kickass birthday party for Henry

Duck boat ride

Savor our family

Which items didn’t get crossed off this year?

Castle Island, SoWa, Provincetown, Mass MoCA, Portland Day Trip

Not bad! We almost did it all, but I am glad we stuck to picking from our list. The boys loved hearing about the different places we could visit and would fall in love with one location and then want to go back and visit over and over again. This might be a fun little tradition to embrace and to maximize our time together and our explorations of this beautiful region of the country we get to call home.

Autumnal Traditions

Fall memes get me every time. I can be scrolling along my social media and some silly meme about pumpkins comes up and the laughing is uncontrollable because gosh darn it those memes are SO TRUE. I think once you have lived in New England for 10+ years, Fall inevitably becomes the very best season of all time. The second that first leaf falls somewhere in Maine, I totally want to slip into a sweater, drink pumpkin lattes all day long, and prance around in a scarf and riding boots.

Every part of the states has their season. My brother and brother-in-law love to remind me of their beautiful weather in SoCal and Florida while we are being buried in snow in February BUT they have nothing on our Fall. It is super cliche but the changing leaves does something to my brain! When walking with David and the kiddos, we suddenly start saying things like, “wow look at those leaves!” Not once did we note the same leaves during their summer green lushness. People around us predict how stunning the foliage will be based on a slew of ridiculous indicators and we marvel at the reds, oranges, and yellows as though we have never before seen this happen.

We are just on the very very brink of this enchanting New England season and already I have stocked up on Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Almond Drink. I literally buy these in bunch because what if I get to November and they are all sold out? Seriously this happened last year. And to kick off the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year, we did our pilgrimage to the apple orchard. Yes, yes, one weekend a year all New Englanders must pack up their lunches and kids and descend upon a grossly over-priced apple orchard to climb into the trees and pick bushel upon bushel of apples. At any other time of the year, perhaps we consume 2-3 apples a week. But when you are going through those rows with dozens of other fall famished neighbors, you get apple crazed and pack as many of those little delicious globes into your “medium” bag which could carry about one’s pet dachshund.  In previous years, my New England stamina was not up to par and we never made it quite through all the apples we picked in time. This year though I was ready for our manic apple picking and had dough prepped for apple pie as soon as we got home! Not only was it super sweet to watch our boys run around the orchard, eat their weight in apples, and climb as high as they could into the trees, but it was sweeter eating that pie together as a family. So say what you will about those silly memes or about how obsessed we might be with this current season, but I will revel in Fall until my heart is truly content!

apple picking in new england

Saturday afternoon I went apple picking with my advisory. These nine students are pretty awesome. Funny, smart, and kind, I am incredibly lucky to work with this group of students and to watch them grow up during their high school years. We headed out to Belkind Family Farm in Natick for some bonding and to continue to build our friendships. It was fun watching them be goofy with one another but more importantly inclusive of one another. I am hoping that this “advisory bonding” can continue to occur this school year. As juniors, they are so close to their final year of high school and it is just amazing how fast time is going!

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Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.52.51 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-08 at 1.53.07 PMThat’s right, we got to ride a camel!

Costa Rica

For the next ten days, I will not be able to blog.  Sixteen students, two colleagues, and I will be going to volunteer in Costa Rica.  Half of our visit will be working on an organic coffee plantation and the other half will be working with sea turtles.  See you in a few days with updates on this global works trip!

Eastleigh

Yesterday, I started my summer volunteer work.  After dropping David off at the T for work, I went to have breakfast with my friend Skye.  While we sat over some pastries and lattes, we talked about my new plans for organic living. She was enthusiastic and supportive and when I asked her if she wanted to go with me to the dairy farm in Framingham for a day of volunteering she was on board.

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We arrived at the farm early at 10:30AM and were told to come back at 11AM as the volunteer coordinator would not arrive until then.  Needing to waste some time we explored the farm.

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We explored the farm store which sells not only the raw milk from the dairy cows but also cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.  The raw milk looked so delicious but with my trip to Costa Rica leaving on Wednesday, it would not have been wise to bring home a gallon of milk for 48 hours.  However, next time I might bring home that gallon to try.  The cheese samples were delicious.  Yet the cheese is pasteurized while the milk is not.

Whenever I share with friends and family that I might be trying the dairy farm’s milk which is unpasteurized the immediate reaction is one of fear. Supporters of raw milk cite many health benefits including the increased intake of probiotics, the end of eczema, and a variety of other benefits. Yet, the claims of raw milk supporters harken back to the oil snake salesmen.  On the other side, there is a risk to drinking raw milk (therefore, one must sign a waiver before consumption in the state of Massachusetts).  I have an urge to try it at least once to see what it tastes like.  Yet the literature out there treats the consumption of raw milk as though one was playing russia roulette or eating blowfish.  There seems to be no middle ground between farmers and food companies. Perhaps, before I consume it myself (even though the desire is there) I will continue to do some research.  The general sentiment that I have been able to parse out of numerous readings is: Raw milk consumption is risky. But, regardless of the debate on raw milk and whether or not I will try it, what I will do is continue to work with the dairy cows.

Visiting the farm and having the opportunity to pet the calves was truly unique.  My role would be to come to the farm at 8:30AM and pass out fresh water and milk bottles to each of the 40 calves.  Then, it would be time to head into the pens with the calves, give them a pet and a cuddle and clean up any messes.  My orientation to the farm was so exciting and the calves were so sweet and unafraid.  Maybe one day I will try their milk, but I will definitely come and volunteer and care for them each week this summer. My days of eating beef are probably numbered now though!

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