Every year for as long as I can remember my family has taken a trip to Piper Mountain Christmas Tree farm in Newburgh, Maine. It's only about 30 minutes from Bangor, and not only do we get to go out onto the tree farm and pick our own tree - we cut it ourselves too! (Not sure why this is a plus, but the guys do this part so I've never worried about it)
As soon as you drive in there's a little stand where someone gives you a bow-saw, and then you get to choose from several different lots and walk around to choose the perfect tree.
The first (and best, in my opinion...even as an adult) thing I remember about Piper Mountain, is they have wagon or sleigh rides! I've always loved horses, so any excuse to hang out with them is good for me. We don't really do much with the wagon/sleigh rides anymore, but I love to see the horses.
Most of the time we spend at the tree farm now is spent playing with the girls, and hunting through endless rows of trees for that "perfect" one.
The dogs who accompany us (believe me....there is always AT LEAST one dog with us) are always changing - this year Dad brought his dog, Havok, and Taylor brought one of her little ones, Crash.
Eden was pretty sure she could be as tall as the tree she wanted - almost!
Don't expect any of this family to be serious for longer than a minute or two!
Can you even stand that cuteness?! Esther rather dominates the photos at this point, but once her little brother shows up she'll have to relinquish her position as "cutest & littlest".
I'm pretty sure we paid more attention to the dogs and the little ones than we did to actually finding a tree!
Dave and I didn't get a Christmas tree this year (first time for me since I bought my first house almost 10 years ago) since we're moving soon - so we had a good excuse. Everyone else was just easily distracted ;)
And FINALLY Mike found a tree! At this point (we'd been here for at least a half hour..) Adam and Melissa still hadn't found their perfect tree, so we ventured up to a different lot.
My turn with Esther! I (gladly) handed my camera off to Dave for a little bit, so these next few photos are courtesy of him. :)
See Dad, attempting to take charge of the wandering group of tree hunters.
See tree hunters completely ignore Dad's charge attempt and be their silliest
Finally Dave (and baby) lead the group across the street and on to our next task....finding Adam and Melissa's tree!
We failed at finding a tree suitable (aka - good enough for Adam's standards...which means he ought to just buy a fake tree) ;-) in the other lots, so we just took some family photos instead.
In the end Dad & Mom got a tree, and Michael got a tree, Dave and I found a pretty wreath, and we had the chance to be fools with each other and run around a tree farm. Success!
We ended our whole trip with a cup of hot apple cider & a homemade doughnut in the store - best tradition ever.
It has been years since I've played much with photos - and I didn't realize how much I missed it! I just finally found a new camera for a good deal and took the plunge....and thankfully I had a couple of volunteers to help me test-drive my new toy. :)
The last DSLR camera I had was a Canon Rebel from 2005, so needless to say I'm a bit behind on where technology has gone in the last hmm....TEN YEARS. Holy crap. This time I went with a Nikon D7100 and so far I love it!
Two of my lovely sisters agreed to be my test subjects for my camera's first "outing". We giggled plenty, and they had some laughs at my lack of skill with the camera (I couldn't get the flash to shut off...see below)
Elysia is gorgeous - my camera was being defiant. I did finally figure the flash out....but about half of my photos from this try were washed out by the oops-flash. Oh well! These ones came out a little better.
Next time we have the opportunity to have a mini photoshoot hopefully we'll have warmer temperatures and actually be able to get through to some of my favorite spots.
Last time we drove to do David's northern inspections I promised that I would take pictures of the ghost town (Amity, ME). It's not ACTUALLY a ghost town, but from the road over half of the houses are abandoned - so it qualifies as one in my mind!
When we take this trip we fly right along, so needless to say he didn't stop for me to take photos - so please forgive the blurry-awful-we're-driving-70mph-quality of these:
Welcome to Amity, Maine:
I can't lie - the views up here are beautiful, but it is such a lonely feeling. I can't imagine living here for real
I didn't count the abandoned houses - I meant to, but my concentration attempting to not miss any with my camera distracted me a bit. Honestly I'm not quite sure I actually got them all...but considering the fact that we were going 70 down a road that is mostly woods I am pretty happy with my results.
David is an online deal shopper - or actually more of an online deal addict. We got home to a package he'd ordered from one of his frequented websites 13Deals.
Somehow, as part of his purchases he managed to get 6 pairs of sock-monkey mittens FOR FREE. I understand that sock-monkey mittens aren't exactly a staple to living well, or even a cold weather necessity, but look how cute they are!!
Tango was NOT impressed by the sock-monkey mittens, but she did have to come over and check them out at least. By the way, check out that pile of other loot on my lap! He also managed to get me some Fila socks (with glitter...we didn't know the glitter part until they arrived...), and a six-pound medicine ball from Reebok. By the way, if you're a Reebok fan, check out my ReebokOne personal training profile!
Here's to "Ghost" towns and sock-monkeys.
Cheers for now <3
Winter in Maine is.....difficult. This winter especially - it has been extremely cold, there have been some crazy snowstorms, and above all it is LONG! In order to keep from going a little crazy I like to make sure I'm always doing something, or at least always looking forward to some type of plans. (p.s. our Mexican wedding is in 96 days).
Last Saturday some girlfriends of mine and I had a "ladies" night. One of our fab friends made lots of amazing food, I brought a couple bottles of wine, and we proceeded to play with our wine markers (which are awesome rubber mustaches, fyi).
We also happened to be celebrating my lovely friend Lacey's birthday (she's the bombshell blonde on the left) so we had some delicious cupcakes, and probably a little too much wine. Celebrate!
Aside from falling down the stairs on the way out of the house (no, I wasn't drinking - yes, I have bruises) this was a fabulous night with some amazing ladies. Every little thing helps in trying to beat the winter blues. Especially the Maine winter blues.
My favorite way to cope with the gross winter depression that Maine winter brings on is to LEAVE! I had the opportunity to take a quick trip to San Diego, and aside from the long flights (p.s. I HATE flying) the trip was amazing. It was 80+ degrees and perfectly sunny while I was there, so of course I took the opportunity to hit the beach. La Jolla Beach, to be exact.
I've been to San Diego before, but I haven't spent much time at the beach - it's gorgeous, by the way. I sat on the rocks and read for a little while, of course enjoing a Jamba Juice. I might be slightly addicted.
Obviously the best way to beat winter blues is to avoid winter all together - so this little trip to the beautiful San Diego was perfect....especially in the middle of a sub-zero stretch of weather. They said it was unusually warm for the season, but I think I just timed it perfectly.
I drove from north of San Diego down through La Jolla, and took a quick stop at the beach on the way by.
I had lunch at the cutest little cafe called "Cody's" of La Jolla. There was construction on the street right behind the cafe (it was an open air cafe) so it wasn't exactly peaceful - but it was really nice anyway. I can't complain about 80+ degrees, regardless of construction noise.
I was in San Diego for way less time than I wanted, but any time in the beautiful sun is better than none! I flew back just a day after I got there, and went right back to normal life. I took a redeye into Philly, and then took a quick little jump up to Maine.
On Valentine's Day I rode along with Dave for some inspections - and went from 80 degrees and sunny to -18 and FRIGID! We took a ferry across the Portland bay to Peaks Island to do one inspection - and walked a mile one way in the FREEZING cold to do the inspection....and then had to walk back! ugh. I can't say it was fun, but the breakfast sandwiches at the end of the walk were delicious. We got to watch sunrise from the ferry, and then enjoy the rest of the day (although working and exhausted) together.
Being home in the frozen cold north was pretty awful, but the fact that my fiance is AMAZING at Valentine's day helped soften the blow of -18 degrees a little bit. He got me some gorgeous flowers (and had them on my dresser by 330 am) and also a great Reebok workout jacket. Sorry ladies, he's taken. :)
Happy Valentine's Day from the frozen north of Maine - will someone please show up to ship me back to San Diego? :)
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.