Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Doodles

I'm not trying to sound boastful when I say that our family doesn't know how to be lazy. It's true we really don't. Part of that comes from just having a full schedule of activities but most of it comes by design since we like to do lots of things...have lots of hobbies, serve in many roles in our church and keep the kids plugged in with cool things to do.

I mean personally...I love a good day of TV watching and snack eating, but I live in a household of people who can't sit still so by default, neither can I.

Usually on Saturdays we sleep in a bit but Jeremy is often at the airport by 9am and Tessa at ballet by 10, then we fill our afternoon with assorted errands and chores. On Sundays it is very rare that one or both of the adults in our house isn't at church by 8am, rehearsing with the worship band or running the sound board.

But Sunday afternoons....ah Sunday afternoons. We nap, we watch movies, we rest. 

Sometimes we cook on Sunday, sometimes we don't. Today we enjoyed a rotisserie chicken courtesy of our local grocery store. And also the new super cool coloring book that Tessa and I picked up at the Children's Museum.

It's intricate and crazy and Tessa and I passed it back and forth while watching Hook.

Two interesting husband has never seen Hook and I have always held my writing utensil on the wrong finger, as evidenced by the picture. No use in changing that now, I'm an old dog. 

It took us a couple of hours to get just right and I actually really enjoyed it. It's kind of like art therapy. A coloring book for grownups!

Tomorrow we'll get back to the weekly grind of work, school, household duties, pilot lessons, hosting our small group, doctor appointments, exercise class, piano lessons, worship band rehearsal, chauffeuring, volunteering at school, gymnastics class and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning. Oh wait, I guess I'm just referring to myself now? But for today...we colored.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Memories and Ice Creams

Everyone has sense memories. Those tastes, smells and sounds that automatically take you to a memory or feeling. They say that smell is the most powerful of the senses related to memories. Like I was saying the other how the odd combination of diesel fuel and chapstick brand chapstick automatically make me think of my Papaw.

And there's a million other ones I can't even think of right now. Not until I smell something, then it hits me. It's like it's tucked in a little hiding spot and your senses can very quickly and acutely jar it loose.

The other day I bought some ice cream bars because they were on sale and the kids were mega excited. What I didn't realize until I tasted it, however...was that it automatically without question makes me remember my Grampaw Sargent.

Grampaw with Tessa at 9 months old.

He always had them in his freezer. We would take the 4 hour long ride from our home to theirs several times a year and when we arrived, my brother and I would go straight to the freezer as our first order of business. Never anything crazy or different, just plain old ice cream bars....sugar free ones as he got older. And they were always always there.

Just like there have been iced oatmeal cookies in Mamaw's cookie jar every day of my entire life.


Grampaw passed away when Charley was about 6 weeks old, and sadly they never got to meet. But I think they would have liked each other. They have a lot in common....big smiles, warm hugs, and great taste in frozen treats.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Better Late Than Never for Fantastic Wedding Dancing?

Sometimes my husband does things and doesn't tell me. Crazy I know, right? Like loading a ton of videos from Jessie's wedding onto my Vimeo account and then never telling me until I stumble upon them myself 2 months later.

Clearly I'm not taking enough videos to know what's on my account, for shame. 

So I just saw this for the first time of Tessa breaking it down at Jess and Mike's wedding in May.She danced like this for at LEAST two hours with very little stopping. And since I hear my own annoying voice telling Jer I'm taking Charley back to the hotel, that also tells me that this was past 10:30pm.

She clearly had more bottled energy than her Mom and brother.

Jess and Tessa dancing King May Wedding from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

Excuse the camera going in a out of focus just a bit. It was trying to negotiate the low lighting. It doesn't last long. 

If you follow the Vimeo link there are about a dozen other videos from the wedding too. Enjoy! Better late than never?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Charley's Self Video

I don't normally allow electronics in the car but Charley talked me into taking the iPad to carpool yesterday to pick up Tessa. Aside from playing a couple of games, his favorite thing to do is video himself. There's about 30 videos now on the iPad.

Maybe I should allow it in the car more often, if it means capturing this cuteness?

Charley's Self Video from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

If you need translation he say....I have 3 minutes. I don't know, I like my Mommy but I'm going to marry Lydia. I like my toys, here's Mickey. I don't know, etc. Clearly a narrative on his most important thoughts.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bennington Suburban Vineyard Opus 2- Harvest and Crush

Yesterday we harvested the Cabernet Franc grapes off of our vines in order to start this year's batch on wine. At the end of the day we drank a little from last year's batch and it was super good. Finally good enough to take out of hiding a share a bit.

I put Tessa in charge of picture taking this year and she did a pretty good job.

It was a nice cool day for being outside, although the vines were covered with bees looking for that sweet grape juice.
Unfortunately we probably should have harvested two weeks ago but Jeremy was hoping for just the right amount of sugar in the grapes. He felt like last year he harvested too early before there was enough sugar. Maybe eventually we will figure out when the perfect date is to pluck....third year will be the charm?
Because of this we had about four less gallons of grape clusters collected than last year, which didn't seem like that big of a deal until we crushed and there ended up being about half the juice. We had a LOT of squishy or raisined grapes that didn't make the cut. Wah wah.

Look, Tessa took a picture of our tomatoes too! 

In all, 22 gallons of grape clusters were brought into the house. 

Washed and plucked off the vine. 

Then mashed in small piles with a handy potato masher. 

And this is the end result, crushed up juice with skin and seeds still in there. After primary fermentation we will remove and the solid stuff (known as the must).

After the juice and must sat over night, Jeremy made some chemistry adjustments this morning with citric acid and sugar, and added a burgundy wine yeast. And now we wait for the house to get super smelly with the odor of fermentation, and continue to 'punch the cap' of floating skins to make sure it aerates. And then wait until it's time to strain.

Last year we had 26 gallons of healthy clusters which ended up in the end being 6 gallons of wine. Since we brought in less clusters and had less quality fruit, we expect a pretty small batch this year. Which makes me feel a little forlorned about my back ache following 9 hours of non stop standing and crushing in the kitchen, but I suppose we're only doing this for the purpose of fun, creativity and learning....just like an other kitchen experiment.

Then I take a drink of last year's wine and feel pretty proud of how delicious it is. Yup, pretty much worth it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just Being Six

There's something about Tessa's age right now that I really love. I really thought that a five year old Kindergartener was going to be the age I missed the most, until I met my spunky, toothless, clever, barely reading, optimistic six year old.

Her joy and rosie outlook are infectious to the whole house. She's clever and creative but with more self awareness than she had last year. All of the sudden she has a determination that she never had actually listen in dance class instead of picking her nose, to do her homework without giving me a hard time, to design her own one of a kind Halloween costume.

It's like the start of first grade flipped a switch that reminded her that the world is her oyster and she can do anything....but yet she's too young to be all anxious about it. She's just being six.

"Now We Are Six"

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
Author: A.A. Milne

This is Indiana

Jess and her new husband Mike came out from NYC to visit over Labor Day weekend. Jess hadn't been here in a while and Mike never had, and being that it's such a quick flight...why not! Jess had requested that we give Mike the full Indiana treatment.

You know, the farm, the country, the guns, the food.

The crazy kids.

We met Mom and Dad down in Hayden for chicken at their firehouse, an old car show and a tour of the Hayden historical museum. This is big time small town living.

Mom has been a teacher at Hayden Elem for like 70 years. Okay maybe more like 40. Either way, she's kind of a big deal. Between her and Dad I think Mike soon realized we weren't joking when we said they knew everyone in the whole town.

Firehouse chicken is the best kind of chicken. Charley agrees. If only it weren't 100 degrees that day.

Jess took this pic and posted it on Facebook. Apparently this scene screams 'we aren't in New York anymore!'. Actually it's a pretty good indication that we aren't in the suburbs of Indianapolis either. This is rural Indiana living, how I grew up. My 'boyfriend' from 5th grade was even driving one of the tractors.

Sadly the marksmen didn't have much time to shoot between waiting for it to cool down and the start of some rain showers. Just an excuse for them to come back again.

I was sick with a cold about half the weekend but our guests didn't seem to mind a slow pace which included napping, tv watching and playing Rockband.

 We had been down to the farm just the weekend before that to celebrate nephew Mark's 10th birthday, so here are a couple of bonus pictures.

This picture really makes me want to move out of the burbs. Oh to have a campfire pit in my backyard.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Papaw Charley

Both kids had Grandparent's Day in their classroom this past week, on two separate days. Mom and Dad were both busy and not able to take off work, so we found ourselves grandparent-less. And honestly a little more notice from the school would have been helpful but they didn't give us much...maybe most grandparents are just hanging around with no plans, crocheting scarves? Not ours.None of them!

I didn't want the kids to be left out so I volunteered to be a classroom helper for K4, and then on Friday Charley and I had the permission from Tessa's teacher to act as Mamaw and Papaw at her event. No one even batted an eye that Tessa's Papaw was younger than her.

The K4 class sang a few songs, did an art project and showed us the excitement of a four year old's recess break.

The older elementary had a little chapel program about the importance of grandparents, toured the classrooms, did some art and allowed us to take the kids off campus for lunch.

The kids had written little books about one of their grandparents and Tessa chose Mom. My favorite excerpt was.  "From you I learned....not to run by the campfire". Great words of wisdom. She also made it well known that Mamaw shops a lot, always buys her things and loves to go to the mall. Also true.

This is Tessa's future husband from what I hear. Charley has already accepted him as brother in law.

Instead of going to some awesome restaurant for our lunch break, we chose the Super Target food court where Tessa enjoyed a personal pan pizza and icee. She was honestly blown away by the idea that you can eat at Target and then go shopping directly after.

A little bit of junk food and Target shopping never hurt. Especially when a new Junie B. Jones book and fall outfit is involved. And I know shopping is what Mamaw would have wanted.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Captain Daddy

 Last week Jeremy celebrated his birthday and we showed him a good time, family style.

 For reference....carrot cake is slightly less delicious when you top it with this much sugar and marshmallows. But hey, the artistic value can't be beat.

We took presented him with his cake, a card and his present. Then we took him out for sushi and to see the movie "Planes."

Jeremy's been working on getting his private pilot's license all summer and requested his own pair of aviation headphones as a gift. Apparently the alternative is paying money to rent them and also share someone else's ear germs. Plus, now he's official.

A couple of days after this, he passed his FAA written exam and now only has to complete a certain number of solo hours in order to get his license.

That means he will soon be flying in a plane alone. For real.

Then he will be an actual pilot. For real.

 I should be used to his risky death defying hobbies. I mean, he eats uni after all.

But honestly, as much as I make fun of him for suddlenly being an aviation geek or worry about his safety....I think it's pretty cool that he decided to randomly do something he's always wanted to do. Not everyone has the guts to do that.

Speaking of random hobbies, it's almost time to make wine at the Bennington winery. And come to think of it, maybe our future dream vineyard should include an airplane hanger. You know, as soon as we win the lottery.