Sunday, May 31, 2015

Watermelon & Chickens

A few weeks ago now, Jim's parents came to visit. We had a nice weekend of visiting the Floyd Jamboree for their first time, the farmer's market, and our natural foods store. When we weren't out at one of these locations, we were playing around our house.

Kim & John brought us some transplants from their garden. They also brought Ian his own gardening tools and a watering can. He participated in some of the planting and watering :)

 Everyone enjoyed watching the chickens, but specifically watching Ian with the chickens!!

 Jim made a clutch decision and purchased a watermelon on our way home one day. We ate it for days afterward, parceling off some for a treat each afternoon. Ian's hooked!! Since then, we've made a point to keep some around. Sweet (almost) summertime.

Thanks for the visit, Gramee & Grandpa!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


We normally have difficulty balancing relaxation with trying to fit as much as we can into a vacation. Even on our honeymoon, we tried to cram as many things as we could into our time on St. John. There's this added pressure to do and see, when we know that we have limited time to do so. But, after our most recent vacation I can say that we ARE getting better about this. 

And Ian's been a good lesson for us in picking and choosing activities for each day. We know his/our peak hours and are guaranteed a period of calm in the afternoon while he takes a nap.
Partly because we had just gone to Europe and partly because we just wanted to chill at home and enjoy our area, we decided to take our first, purposeful and declared "stay-cation." To us, the definition of a stay-cation means that you remain in your own home and surrounding area. It also means that you are, in fact, on vacation, and therefore are unable to attend the normal activities or meetings that arise because you are "gone." That, in itself, is freeing.

About one week before our stay-cation started, Jim and I were sitting in a coffee shop while Ian napped in the stroller. We decided to take advantage of the time we had to discuss his upcoming time off and what we both hoped to get out of the time. We drew up a list of activities we'd like to do and listed the days in which certain activities had to be done, but then left it open for changes. We agreed that we'd like to know our plans for the next day ahead of time, so we could be prepared/packed for what's to come. 

The most important thing about this vacation, for both of us, was that it was completely Ian-centered. While Ian did a phenomenal job in Germany & Switzerland, we didn't always tailor our days to things that would be enriching to him. We wanted this vacation to be different.

FRIDAY Evening: We started the vacation off by having one of our favorite couples and their daughter over for dinner. 

SATURDAY: Then they invited us over for breakfast (venison sausage & pancakes) and working in their garden the next day. This set a good tone to our week.

That evening we had a potluck to attend at another friends' home with a bunch of friends.

SUNDAY: We prepped for and got our chickens!!!

MONDAY: We took Jim to storytime with us!! There weren't as many people there, which was kind of nice. It was neat to show Jim one of Ian's favorite times of the week. He enjoys the books, songs, getting to shake the bells, and then the finale with the bubbles at the end!

After story time there is a play time. As you can see, Jim was Ian's main play mate that day!!

Next we went to Gillies for a delicious lunch and then on a walk to see the cows. Fortunately, Ian woke up from his nap just in time to see his one of his favorite animals.
Then we hit tractor supply, to get something for the chickens. We always stop and spend some time pretending to drive the gator!!
Finally we made it home and spent the rest of our day watching our chickens, who were hiding under the coop!!!

TUESDAY: Ian & I went to La Leche League in the morning, while Jim worked on things he needed to at home. That afternoon we headed to Pandapas Pond, which turned out to be an awesome place to take a toddler!! We hadn't been in forever, but we'll be going more often now.
WEDNESDAY: We went to The Cascades!! Our favorite family hike.
This dude was one happy hiker.
He hiked more than half of the steepest part of the trail, which is more than a mile. Proud parents.

That night Jim and I had a little date night out. Thanks, Kristy, for watching Ian for us!! We are so grateful :)
For the first time since Ian was born, I would spend the entire night without him for a whole week. Jim took over the night shift and got Ian sleeping mostly through the night!! Here's a well-rested mama and child. Thanks, Hon!
THURSDAY: We went to the aquatic center and played and played!! Then we went to our town's first farmer's market afternoon!!
While Jim worked on building rabbit hutches, Ian and I enjoyed time with the chickens and snacks outside.

FRIDAY: We headed to the best park in the area to play for a while in the morning. Then it was time for Ian's second music class!! It was really neat to bring Jim. Ian remembered a few things from the first class and surprised us.
That night we headed to Floyd for a cookout with friends. In the distance you can see Ian on Jim's shoulders in this picture. They are walking to the pond on the property.

SATURDAY: We had a potluck and invited a bunch of friends!! Christine came into town to stay for a few days.

SUNDAY: Mother's Day! I slept in, Jim made breakfast, we went to the vintage market at the farmer's market location in Blacksburg, ate lunch at Gillies, walked The Huckleberry and visited the cows, came home and watched our chickens, and ate a delicious dinner cooked over the fire.

This "stay-cation" was the best and only one we've ever had. Both of us kept commenting on how relaxing and pleasant it was. I'm glad we set the expectations ahead of time and kept to them. We all were the better for it.