Monday, October 2, 2023

My Favorite Form of Exercise!

 Subtitle: August Walks in the Woods
(Just to clarify, walks in the woods are my favorite form of exercise. They don't have to be in August. 😄)

There's a path I really like that's a few minutes' drive down the road from my house. It's the one I used the most this summer. I really like it--it has a few different paths you can take and one of them goes by a large pretty pond. 

It has a cool path through a "fern forest" with boardwalk planks on parts of it. It feels like a magical place. 

And then it comes out on a main path that goes down by the above-mentioned pond. 

This is a pretty wooded path off the side of my new neighborhood. It ends not too far from the downtown area of my town and has some cool side paths off of it that are fun to explore.

This was back at the fern forest path. Get ready; I was in a selfie-taking mood on this walk! 😁


For some reason, this part of the path with this tree always gives me what I like to call "colonial feelings." Perhaps some part of my ancestry-embedded DNA responds to it? I don't know, but it makes me feel something from a simpler time in the past, a simpler time that I don't think I was alive on the earth for yet.

This is a path in my neighborhood that comes out by a big pond that people like to use for fishing.

Part of the pond is bordered by this pretty field.

And this is the nearby path in the woods. I was so happy to discover this path in August! I didn't know it was there. It has ancient stone walls, which I love...

And someone built this teepee! The prepper in me was especially impressed! 

I also discovered some delightful walking trails through the woods in another part of town that's near the farm where I pick up my CSA bag each week. This one has a little stream and waterfall. I love finding pretty things in nature like this. 

Happy forest selfie! The woods are good for my mind and my body--my very soul. 💚

Back to the path that I started this post with. It's the one that I used the most this summer.

Summer twilight is beautiful.

One of my favorite things will always be going for walks in the woods! 

Friday, September 29, 2023

Dropping John off at College + The Trip Home

 We got to Virginia on Sunday, August 20th in the early evening. John was moving into his dorm the next day. Virginia is such a pretty state, and, like Massachusetts, an especially historic one. I'm glad that John chose to go to school at Southern Virginia University. I think it's a great fit for him--LDS-based, so kind of like a mini East Coast BYU, with NCAA wrestling (which BYU doesn't have), and not all the way across the country (which he didn't really care about but I like). Perfect! 

On Sunday evening we had a delicious dinner at Ruby Tuesday, which was next door to our hotel. Our waitress had a Southern accent and was very friendly. We were pretty much in the South, after all!

There was a pretty sunset that evening.

I saw this on Facebook that evening from Conner's Facebook Story. 

Move-in the next day went well. We were there at the start of the time range for move-in so it wasn't too crowded yet. It literally didn't take more than a half-hour to get him moved in and set up!

His room is big and is on the first floor of an all-male dorm where a lot of the athletes live. His roommate didn't arrive for another week. Classes started two days after move-in. 

I wonder if his room is this nice and clean now, over a month later. 😉

His dorm

The campus is small and pretty with red-brick buildings, green grass, and lots of trees. It's in a small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Lexington, VA is the nearest city and is only about ten minutes away. That's where we had stayed the night before.

This building is so cool. Check out the multiple wrap-around porches! (A key feature of my dream house has always been a wrap-around porch 😊.)

The Knight statue is because they're the SVU Knights. 

My hope for John is that he'll become a knight in shining armor in various ways during his time here, most especially in the spiritual sense. He has so much potential as a son of God, disciple of Christ, Melchizedek priesthood holder, future husband and father, student, wrestler, and in his future career, whatever that turns out to be. 

After having an early lunch at a nearby Subway, John was eager for us to leave, so we did. I still can't quite believe that that was the last day I saw him. It felt weird to leave him there. It honestly felt like leaving a part of me behind. He, on the other hand, was totally fine with it! He may have been a little nervous, but not that much. I admire his confidence and how easygoing he is.

Mom, Sam, and I drove halfway home that day and stopped in Pennsylvania for the night. Our hotel room was nice. This was on the TV when we checked in, which was pretty cool.

There were pretty views from the back porch area of the hotel. {That's Mom there.}

I managed to get Sam off his phone for a nice picture. 😀

I took a few more pictures a couple of hours later when we came back after eating dinner at an Applebee's that was up the street. Pennsylvania is so pretty.

This was the nicest of the hotel rooms we stayed on during this trip, even nicer than Hershey Lodge, because it was all newly renovated.

The bathroom even had one of those trendy sliding barn doors.

We got home to Massachusetts the next afternoon. It was a successful five-day trip whose mission was accomplished. John is now a college student, and about forty days in, I can say that he seems to be doing very well. I think he was a little homesick at first--for his friends, not so much for us 😆--but he seemed to adjust quickly and has made some good friends already and is going to classes, doing his work, going to church, taking a mission prep and temple prep class, and working out with the wrestling team and getting ready for the season to start in a couple of weeks. I had a hard time without him for the first few weeks. I cried at dinner the first night home when it was just me and Sam. The house seemed emptier without him (because it was). It's really strange to have your kid with you for eighteen years and then they're just gone. But it's the natural order of things. John has moved on to the next stage of  life, and I'm excited for his present and his future, both of which have so much potential! 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Hershey Gardens

 Hershey Gardens is one of my favorite places in Hershey. It has the biggest rose garden I've ever been to (and you know how I love roses!), it has great views of the surrounding area, and it's on the grounds of the beautiful Hotel Hershey, where I've dined and been to the spa, but never stayed--but I will!

We stopped by the Gardens before we left Hershey to drive down to Virginia. It was sunny, hot, and humid out, so we didn't stay too long, but long enough to enjoy the views, the butterflies, and the roses.

See that white building in the middle of the picture? That's "Laff Trakk," the indoor rollercoaster that made me sick the day before and caused me to throw up a little while later when I went on the Ferris Wheel just behind it. 😆

On the other hand, I had successfully ridden this big coaster with the boys. It was Wildcat's Revenge, and it was really fun and much less terrifying than Candymonium!

They can both go on any ride and not get scared or sick. I don't know how they do it!

There's a nice butterfly garden you can go in before going into the rose garden.


The aptly named "bird poop frog." 😂 Poor things!

And finally, pictures from around the garden itself...

Typical John! This is one of the reasons why Sam probably doesn't miss him that much. 😄

I always do dorky funny faces (because I'm kind of a dork).


Same thing, different bench...

We had a fun time during our stay in Hershey, and we'll be back again!