[The girls (somewhat) helping at the airport]
We stayed at the home of Ryan's Aunt Mary and Uncle Guy, which was really nice to get some extra time in with some of Ryan's family, apart from the "official" events. The girls especially loved staying with them... once they got over their initial shyness :) Although Audra said (and I quote), "I'm tired, I want to go home" the first couple of days, after that she just kept asking "Go Mary's house? See Tango? See Meg?". Tango and Meg are dogs, and are otherwise known as the highlight of the trip for Josie and Audra :)
We got in to Burlington in the morning, and after dropping off our stuff at Mary and Guy's, we went out to lunch, where we sat near some folks who were earnestly and energetically talking about Bernie Sanders. I was expecting some Bernie talk over the weekend, but just not quite so soon ;) (and that was before we saw the house that had "Bernie Sanders" painted in giant letters across the side of it).
The next day, we met up with Ryan's parents and wandered around downtown Burlington, which was cool and pretty... and very chill. I think I'm usually pretty crunchy, but no. Not in comparison to some of the people we saw in Burlington ;) And I got to practice my vocal fry impressions, since that seemed to be prevalent as well. I did really like it though, and if it weren't for its latitudinal location (i.e., too far into the wintery north), it would go on my short list of places where I wouldn't mind living :)
Audra may also have been pouting because she was a bit hungry, but it was interesting to see that she apparently starts sucking her fingers when she's tired, hungry, and/or insecure. While vacation is fun, the girls both seem to rely on their normal routines and it seemed in particular to shake Audra up a bit. Audra seemed a little more sensitive emotionally (in a sad and clingy way instead of her more normal screamy way), while Josie seemed just fine until the last day, when she asked when she'd be able to get her vitamin in the morning again... which I interpreted as shorthand for Josie asking for her normal routine back (of eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and getting a vitamin, always in that order).
We went back for nap time after lunch, and Audra slept pretty well for being on vacation, given that her sleep tended to suffer a bit on previous trips. But she napped really well, and slept fine overnight, with the only problem being that she'd usually wake up in the wee hours of the morning to relocate herself. This is because she kept rolling off the bed, despite all of my attempts to block her. We were sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and I put pillows, a large storage container, and my suitcase around the mattress, and she still rolled off the mattress just about every night. It really wasn't that big of a deal, because it wasn't very far of a fall and she usually just kept sleeping... but she rolled onto the storage container a couple of nights too, and apparently sleeping crouched on her belly on top of the storage container wasn't that comfortable since it woke her up (but not before I woke up first and laughed at her).
[Helping Aunt Mary decorate cupcakes for the parties]
We then met up with the rest of the family for a party at Ryan's Aunt Cheryl's house, where Josie had apparently made fast friends with several of her cousins.... although I apparently didn't get any pictures of ANY of the cousins, only of Josie and Audra after just about everyone else had left.
[Poor Josie Red Nose - Audra had (accidentally, for once) kicked her in the nose]
[Ryan's grandma: the grande dame of the extended family]
The next day (Memorial Day) was already our last full day in Vermont. We headed out to The Skinny Pancake (which is apparently owned by a relative - he was introduced to me as "Skinny Pancake Guy", although I assume he has a regular name as well ;)), where we gorged ourselves on Nutella pancakes.
[Waiting in line to get in, even first thing in the morning on a holiday]
[She seems to have realized she was dirty]
[Josie and her fairy house]
And that was our trip to Vermont. We had a lovely time, and yet I still told Ryan on the way home that I didn't want to make the trip again for another couple of years. The drive is too long for our kids still, and I think we need a couple more years before Audra will be able to handle the plane trip again. This was her first trip with her own seat, and keeping her sitting relatively quietly with her seatbelt on was not for the faint of heart. She did mostly well for both flights, but especially on the way home, I felt like we were teetering on the edge of disaster as I tried to head off each tantrum (or collapse and slow slide down the seat) with new or different toys and activities. Let's just say I'm still recovering from that ;)
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