Last night we drove up to Amarante’s Winter Wonderland in Dayville. We are new to this local attraction and just learned about it this year. In its 11th year, Amarante’s is a local house that has 160,000 lights, 43 inflatable holiday characters and 36 Christmas trees. They were nominated for “The Great Christmas Light Fight” show on ABC and won the competition. For our local friends, it’s a nice family outing (I recommend Sirius XM channel 70 as your tunes to/from the display).
In April 1996, 20 years ago, I met a very attractive blonde from Sweden at the Naval Academy’s International Ball. I had duties to attend to escorting women to the ball, so our introduction was brief. However, a couple of hours later, I was able to find her again and asked her to dance. 20 years later, we are still together and she is just as attractive at 40 as she was at 20.
There will be no big surprises, just some gardening time and saddle time as Anna requested. However, I wanted to share a few of the pictures from our early years that stand out in my mind. Click on the photos to see the details.
Happy Birthday Anna!
The last week of September, we took our travel trailer for a family vacation to Assateague National Park, an island in Maryland. Anna and I had been before in the late 90s, and we thought the kids would enjoy the wild ponies, bird watching, and beaches. We were right. As part of the home school curriculum, the kids did some bird watching lessons in preparation for the trip. My parents rented a Class C motor home and joined us and my brother and his family also came. We had 3 camping spots in a row for the week. The mosquitoes were brutal the first couple of days, but it got better through the week.
The kids LOVED playing on the beach. The water was definitely cool, and an hour was about the maximum they could handle. Through the week, the waves on the ocean side got stronger and only Alex was big enough to handle them. However, the bay side of the island was much more protected and the cousins were able to play there daily.
We had a campfire most evenings. The kids made some camp bread (that didn’t turn out too well – but they had fun) and smores. Mostly, they enjoyed hanging out and telling ghost stories.
We did a couple of walks to look at birds. And of course, the ponies who would walk right into camp.
I couldn’t pass an opportunity to take a look at the hooves of the wild ponies.
There were sleepovers in our trailer, and in Grandma and Grandpa’s camper. And there was just hanging out and playing together.
After a month of overlap, the move was finally finished with the final load last night at 8pm. Today we did our check out of the old house. There are still a few things to unpack, but at least the stress of moving is over. And we are still married! And we are both alive!
Too bad life doesn’t slow down and allow us to relax and enjoy the new place.
For the past few months, Anna and I have missed the opportunity to take the horses on a trail ride without the kids. This is because we have been without two horses for us to ride. While the lower feed bill has been nice, we really missed our time to ride as a couple and as a whole family.
On Monday, Calli (Calliope) came to join us. We have her on a free lease for now as we evaluate if she is right for us. Calli is a 5 year old, 16.1hh, thoroughbred mare. She has some arena experience, but is definitely more green than horses I have worked with in the past. So far, after 2 rides, we are getting along well.
Since it was raining this morning, we rearranged some plans and Anna and I went trail riding this afternoon. To my knowledge, this was only Calli’s second trail ride. We got her to do a small water crossing and did some canter work in a nice open field. She did very well and Anna and I were able to enjoy the afternoon out.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…
While I am not known for being a particularly sentimental person, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost has always been my favorite poem. To me, it is (and has been) a mantra to live by: make a decision and move on; don’t fret over the decisions in the past.
This week, I have been on travel in Washington DC for meetings. When I travel alone, I find myself contemplating all the other what could have been’s in life (contrary to the mantra). In the end, I arrive at the same conclusion: I probably could have taken many different turns along the way, but nothing tells me where I am is better or worse than where I could have been.
While I know there are many roads ahead, as I get to each divergence, I will hold the hand of my wife, look down each, and weigh the pros and cons. Eventually, we will choose together and move on. Maybe eventually, we will come back and see what was on the other path, but I doubt it.
How do you choose your road?