Posted by: thatjen | June 26, 2011

NOW it is summer.

Well, I got the blog up and running again at high speed, didn’t I?

Even though the posts weren’t exactly flying, we sure were, helter-skelter towards the end of the school year, and we have finally (mostly) made it. Natalie has been out of school for a week and will proudly tell you she’s a kindergartener now, Cait has pretty well wrapped things up in her classroom, and I have more hanging over my head than I’d hoped but am no longer going in to work daily, so I’ll take it. We celebrated the end of the year by heading off on an overnight trip to see the fabulous Corey Jo and the jet-setting Trista who’d flown in from far-off Utah. A cast of adoring fans flocked to them both, in fact.

Last week leading up to the trip, while very excited about seeing so many friends (and, um, Spudnuts), I was quite overwhelmed at the thought of a whirlwind trip involving at least 6 out of 24 hours in the car with our less-than-stellar traveling companions. Plus, we needed to cram in a trip to the zoo and perhaps a birthday party flyby before leaving town on Saturday. (We wisely skipped the birthday party in the end.) But it far, far exceeded my expectations, and then some.*

We had a delightful time in a very walkable city with tasty, tasty food, and sparkling conversation! Oh, all right, perhaps the conversation wasn’t always sparkling, but by Jove, the adults outnumbered the children. At all times. Who could ask for anything more?

Even the gluten-free traveling was manageable. Which is excellent, since this was kind of a dry run for the rest of our summer travels. Given the close confines of the car and the long and messy arms of the children, the wisest course of action for road trips seemed to be a gluten ban in the car. I packed a GF wonderland of snacks and lunchy stuff for the car, and everyone found something they were happy to eat. (In fact, my hopes that we’d eat more healthily on the road with the GF approach were only partially true. While we didn’t eat any fast food, we did have a lot of popcorn, peanuts, and ice cream. With a few grapes, cucumber sticks and pepper strips!)

Once we arrived, three of us returned to our gluteny ways, while Cait was able to find safe things everywhere we went. Cait even told the kids that she may have enjoyed her salad greens with rasperries more than the gelato. The kids have become quite used to being scrubbed down after coming near any dangerous food, so they cheerfully submitted to ablutions in Starbucks across from the Zoo, the pizza place in C-ville, the heavenly gelato shop, CJ’s house, and the fantastically named Moo-Thru on Rt. 29.

I’d always imagined Starr Hill to be a bucolic hippie paradise with daisies, free-roaming chickens, and perhaps a broken-down VW microbus. I was wrong. There ARE free roaming chickens. There are quite likely any number of broken down vehicles nearby. However, I didn’t see any daisies, and the bucolity? Bucoliciousness? Bucol? Whatever. It’s not there.

Starr Hill is very much an URBAN hippie paradise. And we loved it. Three hours from DC and the pace of life is totally different. Even the weather is different. What we thought was a marvelous lack of humidity turned out to be fairly muggy in the eyes of the locals (and nearly unbearable to the poor Utahn). It was the perfect transition from the madness of our year to what will be a lazy (for us) summer.

Thanks all!

*Except the Spudnut. I did not find it the doughnut to end all doughnuts, but I seem to have lost my taste for doughnuts of late. I didn’t *mind* it, but it was not nearly as transcendent as the gelato, or the company.

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