We have packed so much into this weekend and we still have the rest of Sunday.

Friday night we took Briar over to the Sano House. Trent and Tara welcomed their first baby into the world 7 weeks ago. Carter is a delicious mix of both parents. Briar and Carter had us in little puddles of delight as they interacted – he cocked his head to gaze at her with a smile on his face, she kicked her feet and reached a hand out to touch him. So sweet. The six of us had a wonderful time eating Mexican takeout, swapping baby stories and just enjoying the easy rapport of two sets of new parents content to be together regardless of the interruptions for nursing sessions, diaper changes or the demands of letting the babies take center stage. After we left we went and got frozen treats at the grocery store. It has been SO hot. We had the fan going upstairs in our bedroom and Briar slept in her crib again. Yeah!

Saturday we got up early – ok, Sean got up early, Briar and I kind of lazed about in bed. He left at 8:30 for the office. Briar and I puttered around the house until Paula showed up at the house with Ben and Julia. The five of us went yard selling. Remarkably, the thrill of the hunt I usually experience when I am out shopping and seeking out bargains was completely absent as we visited the various garage sales. There was just no part of it that I found the least bit enjoyable. I felt like a cross between an identities cow in a herd of cattle and a grave robber. We kept walking past the same people as we went from yard to yard, everyone picking through the same piles of unwanted things. The owners of these things either watch you in silence or abruptly call to a family member to marvel over just how incredible the thing you are holding or looking at is, some going as far as to lament the idea of losing the stuff. Yuck! I imagine that if you find some great deals, real one of a kind things that fit your home just right it could be worth it. I just don’t think I am willing to wait for that to happen.

After the yard saling (that shouldn’t be allowed to be used as a verb) we dropped the car back at the house and headed to Crandall Park. It was a gorgeous day not meant to be spent in the car. I was thrilled to be out walking and Briar was grateful to be out of the carseat. About 100 yards into the park we passed a body of water, pretty stagnant water and not really a pretty sight, but Paula spotted a couple of turtles. I can say without fear of contradiction that I was the most excited about the turtles. Eventually we moved along and made a stop at the playground. It was near noon so the sun was beating down on us and the kids were getting a bit antsy. So we slowly made our way back to the house, stopping to look at flowers and coo at Briar.

Once we got home Sean and Derek came and joined us. We sat and chatted for a bit and then the Slaytons went on their way. After some discussion – read: Amanda wanted to stay and play in the garden, Sean wanted to take a roadtrip for business and pleasure. After dangling the prospect of shopping at the Manchester outlets in front of me, I played nice and the Magees packed up and headed for the Berkshires. Sean needed to take a measurement at the Berkshire Museum for exhibit signage that Trampoline is doing. After the hour and a half drive we woke the dozing Briar and carried her sweet little sweaty, summer body into the museum. The security man was a bit gruff, but it wasn’t long before Briar had him eating out of the palm of her chubby little hands. After taking the measurements we headed over to WIlliamstown to try and pop in on our dear friend Deb Fehr.

After leaving a message, with Briar’s help of course, on the WTF machine we dashed over to Pownal to see if Deb might be at home. Struck out again, but we left a note and felt good for having tried to stop in. I have since had Deb email me all of her information so that hopefully I can be a bit more on the ball and plan ahead. We’ll see how that goes.

Then it was on to Manchester. Ah, Manchester. Outlets. Beautiful sidewalks, delicious shopping adventures. Briar snoozed as we made the trip north. She is such an amazing traveler. She babbles and sings. This trip we had her little Baby Einstein music box, which was positioned by her feet, so as she would get bored (usually right about the time Sean would decide she was asleep enough for him to listen to the radio) she would tap it with her foot, thus activating the symphonic wonders of the Baby Einstein box. It was pretty comical.

We arrived in Manchester at 5:20. Sean jogged over to a storefront to check the hours. My poor sweet husband! His shoulders slumped, he started walking slowly back to the car. “They close at six, don’t they?” I asked. He nodded his head glumly. This is the moment, the moment you make the choice to either rub your dear one’s face in poor planning or you live up to your end of the bargain and you turn it into a positive. We looked at each other and just said a silent, “Well then, let’s make the most of the 40 minutes we have.” It was perfect. Wouldn’t have been better if we’d had 40 hours. We slipped into JCrew, took turns holding Briar and each picked out just enough to infuse our wardrobes with a bit of fresh cotton in fun colors.

Our drive home was so peaceful. The backroads of Vermont are so beautiful. Old farmhouses, sweet B&Bs, endless fields of wildflowers and craggy trees. The scent of lilac and fresh cut grass colored our drive and the wind whizzed in our windows. We stopped along the road and took Briar over a little footbridge- we looked at the stream and pointed out the current. She really wanted to touch the water, but she settled for running her fingertips over some of the foliage growing alongside the bridge. Then it was back in the car and on to Washington County. More fields and charming old homes as we made our way home. A quick trip to the grocery store and we were home.

We let Briar roll around on the floor since she’d spent so much of the day in her car seat. She was delighted to be on the floor and lifting herself to a standing position. I think we must look slightly off as we just sit with huge grins on our faces. It’s all I can do to not just melt into a little puddle of sentimentality. She is just so amazing. I continue to be amazed by her determination. I set a block on the coffee table just out of her reach. She struggled and then managed to touch it, but pushed it further out of her reach. She looked at the block, looked at the ground, looked at the block again and then dropped back on to her bottom. I wondered what she would do. Hah. She crawled under the table and paused, I thought she might bump her head, but she started to crawl again. She went right under the table to the other side, stood up, grinned at the block that was now within her reach, and promptly took her arm and swiped the block right off the table and on to the floor where she would have no trouble grabbing it whenever she wanted.

I think the greatest lesson I have learned so far is that letting Briar learn to do things on her own is the best thing we can do for her. There have been times when I have ached to move something for her or to lift her up, but each time I have suppressed that urge I have quickly seen Briar celebrate and accomplishment. It feels incredible to know that I am able to put her need to do things on her own, before my need to feel like I can give her or do anything for her.

Sunday morning. Maybe another gift I can give Briar is to never cook breakfast for her. We’ll just let the photos do the talking.

After the breakfast failure, which I spun to be a diet aid- so much better to have shared a bagel then to have each had one, right? We spent the day in the yard. I was on a mission to destroy the army of grubs that have stubbornly taken up residence in our yard. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
More later.