Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Update 8/1/23: Making the Days Count (Part 2)

Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

Our anniversary adventure has continued in Vermont. For the most part, we are maximizing rest during our stay. Wayne has continued to struggle with weakness and hand tremors, so our activities are limited. We have also discovered that he may have a decent day one day, and then be completely worn out the next. So, we make the best of each day and make memories that we can. 

Traveling on a budget can be fun. The easiest way to save money, when the hotel/resort you are staying at doesn't provide breakfast, is to bring easy breakfast items from home or go to the store. We only plan on eating out for breakfast one day out of our trip. For lunch we either split a meal, or eat leftovers from the day before. We try to keep our eating out to one meal a day, although some days it has been two. Overall, it has worked well for us. We also find free or inexpensive things to do on our trips. National Parks, state parks, and many tours, are affordable options that provide a ton of fun. We had discussed taking a gondola up the mountain at Stowe, but Wayne wasn't sure if he could handle it. Since I'm terrified of heights, we decided to skip that. Instead, we drove to Waterbury and did the Ben & Jerry ice cream tour. These are just some of the ways you can travel, save money, and still make amazing memories.

Day 6: We spent the day by the pool and read. We enjoyed some time in the hot tub as well before the rain came and sent us packing to our room. I laid down and passed out (I think all the driving had caught up to me). After a nice nap, we watched a movie. We finished off the day with dinner at Piecasso, a cute pizzeria. 

On our last day in Maine, we found a package of wild blueberries at the store. These little things had so much flavor! We opted for ice cream with blueberries for lunch one day.

Day 7: On Sunday, we decided to sleep in and just rest as much as possible. I did sneak off to the gym and sauna while Wayne slept longer. We then enjoyed watching church online. After lunch, we once again sat by the pool and read. We enjoyed a nice dinner out at Idletyme! They had an amazing blackberry salad. We finished the night off with a visit to the hot tub and watched a movie.  

The Bavarian pretzel we had as an appetizer!

Day 8: On Monday, we got up at 3:30am and left for Island Park. This is the area in Vermont where you are most likely to spot a moose. There are only about 2,000 moose in Vermont, so we knew today was like a needle in a haystack, but we tried anyway. We ended traveling on a bunch of back roads and finally found a decent place to try to spot moose. The trail was called Moose Bog Trail. Sounded hopeful! 

The first thing we noticed was all the mosquitoes when we got out of the car. Thankfully, we had long pants and long shirts in because of the cool morning. We doused ourselves in mosquito/deet spray. These mosquitoes were not easily deterred. We hiked our way to the bog and enjoyed the beautiful sites. Not long after we arrived, an older gentleman got there. He told us yesterday he saw a pair of moose across the bog/lake. We waited while he used his high end spotting scope. We learned a ton from him, but didn’t not see a moose. He told us of another area we could look. When we arrived, we saw where they had been walking, but once again, no moose. Really, I wanted to see a male moose since years ago at Yellowstone we had seen a female moose. But, no luck today. We did manage to see a black bear, a ruffed grouse (endangered), grey jays, a raccoon, numerous deer, and heard a black backed woodpecker. 

While we were out in the area, we visited Lake Willoughby, which was suggested to us on Friday night by our waiter. It is a glacier fed lake and was beautiful. It was too cool to even want to put my feet in the water. I was shocked to see people swimming (the air temperature was 63 and the water was freezing). 

We came back and rested before our date night. My sister made us reservations at a much sought after restaurant in town. We enjoyed a special early anniversary dinner. We shared the best crab cake either one of us has ever had! After an amazing dinner, we traveled up the road to Ben&Jerry for ice cream. It was kind of a no-brainer since it was only 3 miles up the road from the restaurant. Even though we had a tour scheduled for Tuesday, we decided we'd enjoy ice cream more than over priced dessert at the restaurant. 

We were up so early, we were able to enjoy the sunrise.

Lake Willoughby

These two are not my pictures, but I thought they captured the beauty of the lake in a way I couldn't.

Dressed up for our date.

View from our table at Michael's on the Hill

Day 9: This morning I “ran” state #40 (Vermont). I usually like doing my "runs" early in the morning to beat the crowd, but the gym at the resort doesn't open until 8. I finished around 11 and then we headed out to run some laundry. We grabbed sandwich from Edelweiss Mountain deli and split it for lunch. Once our laundry was done, we headed for Waterbury for our Ben&Jerry factory tour. The factory we visited is the only one that offers tours. They produce 200,000 pints of ice cream a day. Amazingly, there are only 3 Ben&Jerry factories...the one we visited in Waterbury, St. Albines (which can produce a million pints a day), and Hellendorn, Holland (which supplies all the European markets-they can produce a million pints a day as well). After our tour, we headed back to Stowe. Wayne requested eating at Piecasso again. Not only is it delicious, we could eat their relatively inexpensive. Note: Vermont does not have many fast food restaurants at all. I think we have maybe passed two during all our travels around Vermont! To conclude our evening, Wayne relaxed while I read by the pool. Then he joined me and we spent some time in the sauna and hot tub. 

Just finished #40th state!

Today I tried their cookie dough dairy free ice cream and it was delicious!

Wayne thought this shirt was hilarious. Did you know that Ben&Jerry employees get to take home 3 pints of ice cream a day? Our tour guide, who was a retired teacher, said that she is the most populate lady in her neighborhood. All the kids know her work schedule! 😂

We got to sample a new flavor Churray for Churros, which was really good.

The views from our resort are just stunning.

Prayer Requests:

- Please continue to pray for Wayne. He not only has been having weakness and tremors, but he also gets pain in his chest when he sleeps. When we were in Chicago, they ran tests and ruled out any blood clots, but they did discover a decent size nodule in his lung, that could be causing his pain. He has a follow up CT scan of his chest when we go back to Chicago in September. Just continue to remember him because he is going through so much.

- Please pray for me that I continue to soak in the rest and down time. It is hard though to see Wayne struggle so much. I think when I am at home, doing things with the kids, and being busy being a wife/mother, it is easy to overlook some of the hard. This slowing down has given me too much time to see just how difficult things are for Wayne. The hardest part about brain cancer is that to many people he appears to be just fine, but there is so much going on that others can't see and sometimes it is just tiring.

- Please pray for our kids as we are away. They are doing amazing and many have stepped in (we appreciate you), but it is hard being away from our kids. I have had to just trust God with them and not borrow trouble worrying about things I cannot control. 

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