Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hidden Gem


Thanks to another mom, I found out about the Vermont Veterans Militia Museum in Colchester (which is really just down the road from us - practically Essex.)  I thought, "Well, maybe Ethan will get a kick out of the planes and stuff!"

Little did I know that this place was such a hidden gem.  It is tucked up in the Camp Johnson area in a very non-descript looking building.  Right away though I got a sense of community.  There was an older gentleman painting one of the planes and as cars drove by they called out greetings (and jokes) to him.  The museum was also pretty busy (although it looked like mostly people that either worked or volunteered there not really visitors per se.)

We arrived super early as I've taken to leaving an hour early for all events after being late several times.  (I never wanted to be "that late mom" well I was HER several times - ARGH.)

So we walked around the outside for a while and Ethan marveled at the tanks, helicopters, planes and artillery guns.  He also found a beetle (are you surprised?)
Non-Descript-ish building with TONS O' AWESOMENESS inside :)
Look!  A happy cappy Ethan sized!  Also known as The Flying Egg.
Soon all of his pictures will be a colorful blur shaped like Toby so I'm fine with stroller photos for now.
Look Ma, supply vehicles!
Quad 50 mm anti-aircraft battery in front of a 105 (possibly a 90) mm field artillary gun.
F16 Fighting Falcon
M1 Abrams tankety tank tank
Shooting Stars!  Some of our first jet fighters!
M47 Tank Destroyer on left and can't remember on the right :)  A tank.  A big one.
Classic Huey
I only spent about 15 minutes on Google until I gave up and guessed this was some sort of Blister Beetle.  Who the frick knows but Ethan wanted to bring him home.  You know, because we don't have enough bugs at home.

But the real treat was when we went inside.  Of course my camera battery died halfway through (OF COURSE) so the lesser quality (no flash) shots are from the trusty iPad.  Seriously guys, this place was awesome, the pictures I took show probably a tenth of what is there.

The amount of information on top of the detail of the exhibits was insane.  Someone spent a lot of time and effort (and love) creating these exhibits.  I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the dudes and he walked us around in a "sort of" tour.  I say "sort of" because while I was entranced, my wild monkey of a child was running around with his similarly energized cohort and being chased by said cohort's mother.  Most of the exhibits are full of either donated or on loan memorabilia.  There were incredibly detailed replicas of bases and buildings and all sorts of stuff.  They covered everything from the wars of yore to present.

There was a box car (train car, whatever you like) that was donated by France (who gave one to each of the states in the U.S. I found out) that would hold either 40 people or 8 horses.  Although, until the aforementioned mom cleared it up, I went on thinking they stuffed 8 horses AND 40 people in the box car.  My Common Sense card was in danger for a little while.  Anyway, said box car was definitely the "place to be" amongst toddlers as Ethan's companions had a grand time stomping around in it.  There was also a large room with standing exhibits showing bunks and such and then there was an enormous mural on the far wall.  Although I was distracted, it was explained that the wall hanging was discovered (in a field?) and cleaned up!

To the left you see a library peeking.  I would not allow Ethan in there - but you can see part of the Iraq/Afghanistan exhibit.
I won't lie, I was happy to see women represented so well.
Holy awesome display.
Levitating Toddler running on excitementium.  (Just kidding, I made that up.  But he is levitating.)
Oh man, the uniforms!
U.S. Military Crests N' Badges
Each exhibit had incredible detail and information.
Little dioramas that were impeccably done (and with flashing lights!)
One of the first helicopters (eep!)
That HUGE wall hanging I mentioned earlier that was just "found and cleaned up!"  Also, pretty sure that Ethan wanted to bring the cannon home.
So. Much. Cool. Stuff!
The inside of the box car.  Sorry for the poor quality, I was chasing a wildling.

For anyone that is a history or military buff this museum is awesome.  Heck, I'm neither and I thought it was the bees knees.  It is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10-4.  Although I admit that at 3 years old Ethan's attention span wasn't *quite* up to snuff.  I know in a year it will be and I will be going back.  I feel like it is one of the hidden gems I've found so far in Vermont.  Here is their website although it hasn't been working recently due to upgrades and revamping: 

P.S.  Thank you to Matt for helping to identify the vehicles in the photos.  I could have gotten the M1 Abrams all on my own though.  I swear.  If he got any of them wrong it is due my inability to take a picture of an identifying sign that was attached to most of the vehicles (oops.)
Later that day . . .

Gypsy Moth Caterpillar.  A VERY Bad Guy Bug.
We went to a park afterward and Ethan found another bug (are you surprised.)  These guys were everywhere.  I was initially upset at how many I found intentionally killed on trees (squeeeshed.)  That is, until I went to identify them and found out they are frickin' Gypsy Moth caterpillars and are incredibly invasive and destructive!  RAWR!  They were accidentally introduced in 1869 and have been wrecking havoc defoliating and destroying hardwoods since that time.  Bad caterpillar bad!  Back to Europe with thee!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Trucks n' Dinos n' Dentists OH MY!

So our adventures in the past few months have taken us to some cool events.   Somehow, since starting this blog, I've gotten off track but I'm trying to catch up!

Big Truck Day was pretty awesome.  Would have been more awesome if we had arrived during the "horn and siren free" portion of the event.  Ouch.  Also, Ethan got to see a helicopter take off (I was pretty thrilled too . . . )

But mostly he climbed on every big truck he could find and pushed/pulled/tweaked any and all levers as well. 

The school bus was . . . . interesting.  Somehow he made his way to the driver's seat and shut the doors, "trapping" a mother and at least 5 random children inside.  I should note that the mom panicked and started banging on the door and yelling . . . don't worry, I revoked her COMMON SENSE card.  Geez.  Then he pushed one of the 100 buttons and an alarm went off . . . and wouldn't stop.  It was delightful.  By the time we got to the police cruiser I actively warned the officer that he had already broken the school bus.  Thankfully Ethan didn't destroy the lap top or push too many buttons and we avoided jail *WHEW*

For me, the funniest moment of the day was when Ethan was in the cockpit of the helicopter just mauling the instrument panel.  After a few minutes of this the pilot comes over and gently reminds me not to let him touch ANYTHING.  Now, let's take a step back.  You are at an event for CHILDREN.  You park your helicopter and let said children play in it and you don't want them to touch anything?  Excuse me sir, while my 3 year old dismantles your entire helicopter, just give him 2 more minutes . . . I mean, really?
Look at his face!  I love this one . . .
Tiny boy on steamroller!
Workin' that combine.
"The School bus of Doom" that he broke.
The police cruiser he did not break.
The helicopter he *almost* broke.
Pushing/pulling/turning every dial possible.
Yea . . . no one touch anything!


Then we ventured to ECHO for the DINOSAUR EXHIBIT!!!  Honestly, it was an epic let-down but Ethan enjoyed it.

I seriously had high hopes for this exhibit - but it was one room - largely undecorated with piped in music from Jurassic Park (no lie.)  The dinosaurs were poorly made (the velociraptor just looked awful) and Ethan was done after 15 minutes.  But he loved the rest of ECHO, like he usually does and they have a rockin' water table and play area that allowed Toby to be released from his chains of strollerdom for a few minutes!
The "gigantosaurus" *cue eye roll*

A few more dinos
I forget what this one was supposed to be . . .
The skulls were pretty cool . . . the posters behind them . . . eh.
Showing brudder the ropes.
Clearly tired of me asking him to smile for the camera.

Selecting the perfect green bell pepper is an art.
*********************************************************************************** Last but not least we have *DRUM ROLL* Ethan's first visit to the dentist!

Now let's just stop for a moment and remind ourselves that my child is in no way calm or collected.  He can "calm his body" for about .06 seconds before he remembers that he is a wild monkey. 

There are times this attitude is a tad inconvenient.  So, walking into the dentist's office I was nervous.  We had read a few books about going to the dentist in preparation and Ethan has been with me to several recent doctor's appointments.  He knew they were going to look at his teeth and knew he wouldn't be getting any pokes (needles!)

But . . .

HE DID AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No cavities and he got a new toothbrush, toothpaste, some floss (the same kind we use on him!) and of course the "new toy" (a snake.) As a side note, these guys clearly have a way with kids.  I was highly pleased!

Reading for instructions!
This is how you brush your teef!
Doing awesome for the Doc!
That is, until we walked outside and he was staring at his "new toy" and not where he was walking and trundled right off the edge of concrete stairs.  OUCH.  Don't worry, he was just fine, this kid is made of rubber. 
First skinned chin :(

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today, rain or shine (actually a lot of rain) we went to Sam Mazza's Strawberry fest.

I knew, in my heart of hearts, that this might be a difficult venture.  Ethan is not adjusting to no school at all and his normal toddler bi-polar-ness is epic.  But still, I'm stubborn.  I knew that Ethan would love it and if I could keep it together all the better.

Long story short, we were all troopers.  Their greenhouses were GORGEOUS and the berry picking was well . . . let's just say that Ethan isn't quite old enough to enjoy the hunt and pick of berry picking (at least without a constant supervisor.)  Toby's stroller was too wide to go down the rows and I wouldn't let Ethan eat the strawberries until they were washed.  I know, I'm evil.

You can't really tell but this place was MOBBED!


Ethan's haul on the left and mine on the right after about 10 minutes of picking!
There were also Critters there which Ethan thoroughly enjoyed!  Probably the most tolerant and sweet pony I've ever seen before, a gigantic (very hot) Scottish Highland cow, a smattering of goats and THE SPIDER.  It was a very large black and white jumping spider with iridescent green fangs.  It was one of the largest jumping spiders I've seen since moving to the northeast.  I successfully kept 3 large men (all separate incidents) from squishing him.  I'm hoping that goes in my Karma bank.

Very sweet and tolerant pony.
Very hot cow with VERY large horns.
The goat and the spider :)
"The Spider."
Sweet Goat.

The STUNNING greenhouses!  Ethan was completely uninterested in this part of the trip but I needed some peace and beauty amidst the crowds and screechi-ness.

They had a pretty involved Pavilion with kid's activities and strawberry shortcake eating contests.  There was a bouncy house (thank goodness Ethan didn't see it) and a guy that did balloons (spent 15 min in the pouring rain for Ethan to get a balloon that he popped before we got to the car.  Yup.)  I think next year it will be ridiculously fun for both of the boys - they had a good spread of food options as well.  Ethan declared he wanted popcorn instead of ice cream.  I repeated the question several times but my ears did not deceive me!  Don't worry, he changed his mind later . . .

The Kettle Corn that trumped Ice Cream (at least for a lil' while.)
Toby NOMNOMing on sammich.

I did poke into the Gift Shop/Store briefly but it was packed.  I lamented not getting a fresh strawberry smoothie (Ethan was insistent upon Ice Cream NAO!) or getting to peruse their baked goods.  Seriously, wall to wall flesh.  *shivers*

All in all - I'm very glad we went despite the rain - next year it will be a great trip with the boys (and possibly no stroller to hinder my navigation!)