We ventured to Vermont this weekend, to catch up with a part of my family I really haven't seen much in over twenty years. It was great! My happy memories of childhood trips up there are not delusions - the people and places are exactly as wonderful as I remember. Some of my cousins have married and have kids and it was great to learn that I'm as fond of the new family additions as I am of the old. The kids bonded instantly - you can't tell in this photo but they are actually wearing yellow hardhats and dangling from an I-beam.
We stayed with Awa (my grandmother), so the boys had a chance to be coddled in the morning with cups of her cocoa and to go exploring in the fields and woods, bringing back rock treasures and tales of secret trails to amaze her with. I loved falling asleep again to the sound of Awa's cuckoo clock and snuggling under the federdecke a few more minutes each morning until the clock would tell me the time.
My aunts took us on trips to the White River National Fish Hatchery, where the kids got to feed 4+ year old Atlantic Salmon (video), and to Neighborly Farms of Vermont, home of calves and lambs born this week - CUTE - and the first time Lars ever got to see a cow "manure" - NOT CUTE - which prompted him to declare, despite cute lambs and calves and the promise of fresh milk & cheese, that dairy farming is not for him.
We had something of a family reunion barbecue Sunday afternoon, with glorious weather and gorgeous views. Here's a group photo before anyone said, "Ross, put down the stick! Lars, stop sticking out your tongue!"
...and here's the same group, after:
All in all, a great time and we can't wait to go back!