Apples, Trucks and No-No-No

We've just returned from our week of shopping and schmoozing in Hartford. It was great to see old friends and feel the familiar Fall crunch of orange and red leaves. Like all weeks, this one had its eye-openers.

First, we must admit that we are not nearly as mobile as we'd like to think. It's not just that it takes us a long time to get ready, out the door, into the carseats, etc, which it does. It's more that Delaney and Hayden's need to eat, sleep, or simply run up and down hotel hallways takes precedent over any other need. This coming from a girl who ordinarily wouldn't pass Go before stopping at a salon to cover the grey. But rested, fed and exercised children are much more pleasant than the opposite, which we've also discovered.

This means that even on vacation, we do not get much done. We send a heartfelt apology to all the friends we didn't see, because some of us had to be napping.

Our adventure began with a visit to Target, to buy fleece and turtlenecks for Delaney and Hayden. We stuffed their now sock-covered feet into their Crocs and rolled up the sleeves of new long-sleeved shirts, bought big enough to last through U.S. trips for the next few months. We were especially amazed at the double-wide shopping cart that accommodated both babies. Target's the best! We were also amazed that by the end of the morning, Mike and I both had awful blisters from our shoes. An unexpected consequence of wearing flip flops for a year.

Delaney and Hayden had a blast at the home of Charles and Emily Brydges, whose parents Amy and Andy hosted a welcome back party for us in Suffield. Charles and Emily had terrific toys, including this wildly popular Little Tikes car.

We ate at some memorable places, including a not-well-thought-out trip to the Rainforest Cafe at Westfarms Mall. In case these babies haven't gotten enough of the tropics, it seemed like a good idea at the time to take advantage of no lines and an extensive kids' menu. But alas, the thunderstorms, loud gorilla dances and swinging monkeys put Hayden over the edge. Not even a sippy cup with straw and a large bottle of ketchup could stop him from crying and pointing to the exit. The day was salvaged for Mom, at least, by the fact that I bought jeans TWO SIZES smaller than my current pair -- back in the single digits again!!!!!

We spent time at the Arts Council where the babies made themselves at home. Hayden took time out to make a few phone calls at Ken's desk, and Delaney crawled right up into his chair. I guess I'll consider that my vicarious brush with the CEO job. I wish everyone there luck with the challenge of raising money for the arts in these tough times.

We said a grateful "Hola Amiga" to Kelsey, one of the babies' first nannies and a junior at St. Joseph College. Kelsey came to our hotel in Farmington in time to give Delaney and Hayden dinner and put them to bed, allowing me and Mike to go out with friends like grown-ups. We haven't had nights out without babies in several months! Muchas gracias, Kelsey.

Our last morning was spent on a quintessential New England activity: apple picking. One of Mike's friends from prep school way-back-when is the third generation owner of Rogers Orchards, a major producer in Connecticut. John and his wife Nancy showed Delaney and Hayden how to pull -- and eat -- apple after apple off the trees, then took us to their pumpkin patch and store. The apple cider donuts were outrageously yummy!

We'll always associate this trip with Delaney and Hayden's growing vocabulary and enthusiasm for trying new words. Apple, Truck, and No-No-No were repeated with great frequency. We also learned Turtle, Purple, Up and Tank Ooo.
So, a big Tank Ooo from the entire Kintner Family to everyone who hung out with us, fed us amazing meals, shared chocolate-covered potato chips with us, played with us and gave us good gossip. It was lovely to be back.