Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Robert and I got back home Saturday evening. And boy, traveling from East coast to West coast was somewhat difficult to transition back into. Today is the first day that I feel like myself. I didn't have any problems going out east with the 3 hour difference, but for some reason coming back home I just felt spacey Sunday and Monday.

The trip with Robert was great. He is now ready to go to college tomorrow, if he could. Unfortunately, he needs to finish his senior year in high school as well as get working on the college applications and essays...lots of work ahead of him.

Something that really made the trip extra special, was the fact that we were able to visit with family. As I mentioned in a previous post, my cousin David lives out in Middlebury. He and his girl friend had Robert and I over for dinner on Thursday evening. It was really nice of them to have us over, especially since Robert didn't get off the ice until 8:30...so it was a late dinner. Throughout the evening, over Oysters and Kansas City burnt ends, David and his girl friend answered many of Robert's questions about being a college student at Middlebury as well as got some insight into the applications process. The next afternoon, after Robert's hockey camp was over, David met us at the campus and gave us a behind the scenes tour.
From left to right: my son Robert, my cousin David and me. We are standing outside one of the buildings on the Middlebury College Campus
Now home...we are in the "get ready for school to start" mode. My boys don't start until Aug. 28. Yesterday was the "check-in" day at the school, where you drop off all the contact information and pay for all those PE clothes and donate to all parent-teacher groups. Now, with all of that completed and both the boys have their official schedule, I can officially say:

I am a mother of TWO high school boys -
Where did the time go!

They are looking forward to this year. It will be the first time in a long time that they both were in the same school.

Well...off to get everyone ready for hockey! Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

College visit out east - Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont

Hello from Middlebury, VT. Robert and I arrived in Middlebury Tuesday evening early enough to check into our hotel, grab a bite to eat and run to the grocery store to stock our room with water and snacks. As probably already mentioned in previous post, we will be here until Friday (tomorrow) for Robert is attending a college hockey camp here at Middlebury College. It has been very nice to unpack a little has stay in one place for a few days. Say that, here is what we were up to yesterday - Wednesday, August 14.

Since check in for the hockey camp didn't start until 10am, Robert decided to sleep in...but not me! I went out for a nice jog/walk to get a sense of the town and the campus. So off I went, in search of the college...
It didn't take too long to jog there, as the town of Middlebury is also the campus and the campus is basically the town (make sense?). Anyway, here are a few buildings around the campus. Many of these New England Division 3 schools tend to have the basic red brick buildings, with white columns and black shutters, but here are Middlebury there are more buildings build of a white stone as well as a few unique ones that I found.

All over the green grassy grounds of the campus, one will find hundreds of Adirondack chairs scattered throughout. Vermont is known for their handmade cedar Adirondack chairs, so I guess it makes sense that you would find them here. I can definitely see students sitting together in these chairs, deep in discussion, while overlooks some of the beautiful views the Middlebury campus offers.
One of the many Adirondack chairs scattered throughout the Middlebury Campus
One example of the beautiful view of the green mountains and the valley below.
Through the middle of the town of Middlebury, runs the Otter Creek...I ran across the bridge to the other side of the town and there was a farmer's market being set up yesterday morning in the parking lot of the Historic Marble Works Complex. 

And just a few other buildings and things that caught my eye as I was out yesterday on my jog/walk...I loved this old building with all the sunflowers growing around it...

 Ok...as I mentioned, aside from visiting Middlebury and learning about it's curriculum (which we still need to do), we did come here for the hockey camp. So, after getting back from my jog/walk, Robert and I headed over to the Middlebury Hockey Arena where we checked into the camp. His team started out with an on-ice practice, followed by conditioning and then later in the early evening his team scrimmaged with one of the other teams. The group of players attending the camp are divided up into 4 teams and they will scrimmage each other throughout the camp.

After Robert's game was over, we met up with my cousin - David - and his girlfriend who live here in Middlebury. Both of them are graduates from the college and decided to stay here in Middlebury. We enjoyed a late dinner at a place called American Flatbread. It was wonderful flatbread pizza, made with all things from Vermont.

Today...Thursday, August 15...after dropping off Robert at the camp, I again went out to explore Middlebury a little more as I went out for an 11 mile jog/walk. Today I came across their covered bridge...
 This covered bridge also crosses over Otter Creek...

My morning jog took me around the town and I ended up back at the campus and the athletic field, where I found the Middlebury Panther looking over it's domain...kind of reminded me of the Lion King.

Middlebury Panther looking over the athletic field - football field below - Green Mountains in the background
 From there I wondered around on the campus again and through Main Street and down by Frog Hallow Alley where my cousin David lives. Below is the little apartment complex, which is a historic build built in 1869. It was a boarding house...and he lives on the bottom floor (the part which is made of stone). Pretty neat, huh?

Tonight, cousin David and his girlfriend are making us dinner. Nice to travel and meet up with family, don't you think?

Well, time to sign off. I got to jump in the shower and get a start on my day. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

College Visit Day - Amherst and Williams

Boy...when my head hit the pillow last night, I was out like a light...and slept through my early (exercise) alarm; so thank goodness Robert set his for a 7:30am wake up...otherwise I think that I still would have been zzzzzzz-ing!

Anyway, we got up and got around, getting all of our things packed back up and departed for our first campus of the day: Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
 First up was the information session, which was lead by one of the Deans of Admissions (who worked within the New York and DC region) and an Amherst student. Robert and I learned all about their academic program. It is interesting to go from one school to the next and hear how much they are the same and how much they differ. At Amherst they had an "open curriculum" - which basically mean that there weren't any core requirements. To graduate, each student must complete 32 credits - 10 of which are focused in the subject they declare to major in - and complete the Freshman seminar. We also learned during this information session that Amherst College is part of a "5 University Consortium". In this area there are 5 universities/colleges: Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, UMass, Hampshire. Students from these schools are free to take classes at the other schools. Definitely it is a very interesting thought. You can be a part of a small college like Amherst...but still get the same feel of being a part of a college community of 30,000 students if you choose.

Anyway, we did have to duck out of the information session a little early because Robert was able to get a meeting with the Head Coach of the Amherst hockey team. We had a great meeting with the coach. We learned all about the Amherst hockey program, how players are chosen to be part of the team and how important academics are as a Amherst hockey player. We definitely learned a lot.

After the meeting with the coach, we decided to grab an early lunch before taking a tour of the Amherst campus. We found the perfect place...

Inside it looked like a diner...
Counter seating...complete with the jukeboxes at the tables
With the grey rainy day, good ol' comfort food sounded good. And the Restaurant Route 9 had the perfect things...

Matzo Ball soup (definitely not my mothers...for the Matzo Balls were soft)
And homemade Challah with just a little cinnamon baked in the bread
Homemade chicken pot pie
With full, warm bellies, it was time to head back to Amherst for the campus tour...here are some of the buildings we saw...

Inside the science building, they have a Natural Science Museum - which we were able to step into for a few minutes.

Every campus tour give you a tour of one of the dormitories where freshman reside. Below is one of the freshman dorms on Amherst - this is the main common area. I thought that the wood work was fun looking and inviting. The rooms were really nice too.

After the tour was over, it was time to hit the road and drive up to Williams College which is in Williamstown, MA. The drive was beautiful - 2 line highway all the way...let's just say that Williamstown is in the middle of now where :)
Here are some sights of the Williams College Campus tour...
The house of the Williams' President

The Student Union

Inside of the Student Union

Freshman Dormitories

Well, that concludes the college tours for today. After we finished up at Williams, we - again - hit the road for a 2 hour drive north to Middlebury College. We arrived at our hotel around 7:30pm, which was perfect to totally unload the car, get unpacked, find a place to grab dinner and do a little grocery shopping to put some snacks and water in our room...for we will be staying here until Friday. At Middlebury, Robert will be attending a Hockey camp that will be run by the Middlebury hockey coaches. Not only with this give him an opportunity to meet the coaches, but it will also be a great opportunity to show the coaches what kind of hockey player he is. During this 3 day period, we will try to get in a tour of the campus as well.

And...while here, I will also be able to catch up with one of my cousins who I haven't seen in several years.

Anyway...time to hit the pillow. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello from the East Coast - College Visit - Bowdoin and Colby

Hello from the East Coast...Hadley, Massachusetts to be exact which is really the 3rd city we have been to today.

To do a little catching up, Robert (my older son) and I left on Sunday morning from California at 7am, landed at JFK airport in New York around 3:18pm NY time and then FINALLY took off again...2 hours late...heading for Portland, Maine. This is our BIG Mother-Son trip out east to visit colleges.

After trying to get a good nights sleep at the Comfort Inn in Brunswick, Maine...

 I woke up early and got in a 8-mile jog walk around Maine Street (guess when you are in the State of Maine...it is Maine street with an "e" at the end) and these are the sights I saw:
Gotta love the Crabby Lobstah Wagon. Probably had great Lobstah rolls!

Joshua Chamberlain...a Civil War General and a professor of Rhetoric at Bowdoin College...above is his house and below is a statue of him.

After jogging around the Bowdoin College Campus, I got a feel for where we needed to go to park for the college tour and information session which Robert and I were going to attend a little later this morning. So I headed out back down Maine Street and here were a few other sights I ran by...


When I explore new places, I love to look at the houses. These seem to be ones that I would associate with New England Style Houses.


Once I got back to the hotel room, Robert was getting around for breakfast. He saw that he got an email from the Bowdoin Hockey Head Coach, which stated that he could meet with us at 9am...so we got ready a little quicker so that we be on time for this very important meeting. We had a great meeting with the coach. Learned about the Bowdoin hockey program and found out what Robert needed to do when applying to the school and "trying out" for a spot on the hockey team.

After that meeting, it was time to catch up to the campus tour. The campus is beautiful...
Bowdoin Art Gallery
The Chapel on Bowdoin

The Admissions Office

Robert standing by the Bowdoin Polar Bear
During the tour...we walked through the Student Union, the Science building, one of the student dorms and a few other buildings. After the tour, we went to the information session to learn more about the student life on campus, the academics and the admissions process. All good info.

Once the session was over, we made our way back to the student union for a little shopping...you can't leave a perspective college without purchasing a T-shirt and hoodie, right? Then it was time to find lunch.

Ok...when in Maine, do what the Mainers do...eat lobstah! We found this great small shake right on the side of the highway.

The small inside area, had the counter you order at and then the tanks which held the fresh crab, shrimp, lobster and clams.

Once we placed our order, Robert and I sat outside and waited until our little plastic lobster lit up and buzzed.

And here is lunch....
Top right = Fresh New England Clam Chowdar
Below the Chowdah = 1 pound of fresh steamed clams
Below the Clams = 1.5 pounds of fresh steamed lobster (with a side of slaw)
Below the Lobstah = a freshly lobstah roll and fries
After we polished off all that seafood, we were headed an hour north of Brunswick - to Colby College in Waterville, ME.


The large lawn in from of the Colby Library
Robert with the Colby White Mule
It took us a little longer to get to Colby than we thought it would (plus we took a few wrong turns) but we made it there for 1/2 of the information session and a full campus tour. Colby is, also, a very beautiful school with a strong focus in academics. The campus is a little more spread out and larger than Bowdoin. Unfortunately, because we added Colby to our college visit itinerary so late, Robert didn't get a reply to an email from the hockey coach as of late so we were not able to meet him or have a full tour of the hockey facilities. However, after the campus tour, Robert and I did walk over to the athletic area of the campus and we peeked into the hockey area, which is very nice. After the routine shopping trip at the college bookstore for a treasured T-Shirt, we were on our way...

A 5 hour drive from Maine, through a small part of New Hampshire and then west to where we are this evening...Hadley, MA. Tomorrow: Amherst and Williams.

Until then, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!