While we adjust to life as a family of 5, a few local bloggers kindly agreed to keep MiniBury readers entertained with tales and adventures from their own lives. Today Faith Gong introduces us to a new series called “Meet the Parent.” Faith writes the bi-weekly “Faith in Vermont” for the Addison Independent and keeps her own blog at The Pickle Patch.
Ruth Shattuck Bernstein
By sheer chance, the previous “Meet the Parent” profiles have featured people who are relatively recent transplants to Addison County. So I’m thrilled to introduce our first life-er: Ruth Shattuck Bernstein, born at Porter Hospital! I first met Ruth back when she helped run the Addison County Parent-Child Center’s weekly Tuesday playgroup, which my daughters and I attended almost religiously our first year in Vermont. As a life-long Vermont resident, she’s a great resource for all things local; as a newly minted school librarian, she’ll be a great resource for children’s books! Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ruth! (And anybody else remember Coffee Heath Bar Crunch?)
Brad, Joseph (7 years old; 1st Grade), Nora (just turned 1)
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Shoreham! I have lived in Shoreham for 8 years, and in Vermont my whole life.
WHAT’S YOUR NON-PARENT ALTER-EGO?
I’m just starting out as a part-time school librarian and very excited about it!
HOW DID YOU END UP IN VERMONT?
Born at Porter Hospital. Growing up I always planned on leaving—my dream was to move to New York City and be a waitress and aspiring singer (which is especially interesting given my lack of musical abilities—more of a lifestyle dream I guess….) Then in tenth grade I went to boarding school in Troy, NY for a year and decided I loved Vermont and never wanted to leave. So here we are.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH CHILDREN?
I LOVE getting out and enjoying the area. There are so many things to do and beautiful places to enjoy. This summer we enjoyed lots of time at state parks, such as Branbury and Button Bay. We spent some time exploring the New Haven River. We hit as many yard sales as possible. We attempted the State Park Challenge and had a lot of fun even though we didn’t quite complete it. Hopefully next year! Also: spent lots of time at our local library, exploring around our house (20 acres of woods and ledges), hanging at friends’ and family’s houses, attending awesome camps (for Joseph). And of course there are all the great events around the area—such as Addison County Fair and Field Days in the summer. I could go on and on.
Now we are transitioning to fall…apples and raspberries, soccer, garden harvesting, school events, hikes, library events, Apple Fest, Omya Open Quarry, bonfires are what come to mind first….
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE “FAR-FLUNG” ADVENTURES TO DO WITH CHILDREN?
We don’t often go too far; just to visit family in Maine and Pennsylvania. My son also adores Hampton Beach, which is certainly not my favorite, but every once in awhile we make the trek.
WHERE WOULD WE BE MOST LIKELY TO FIND YOU AT 10 AM ON A SATURDAY?
Some Saturdays I work at one of my very favorite places—Platt Memorial Library here in Shoreham. Other Saturdays we are hanging around the house, or headed to some local event or destination, or to spend time with family.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT RAISING CHILDREN IN VERMONT?
The distance between everything—too much time in the car. Luckily all our libraries have lots of awesome audio books!
FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?
Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar crunch. RIP.
WHAT BOOKS DOES YOUR FAMILY ENJOY READING TOGETHER THESE DAYS?
Right now my son and I are reading “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” We love it.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER A PARENTING “MUST-HAVE?”
As much support and help from family and friends as possible!
WHAT’S SOME OF THE BEST PARENTING ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
My grandmother suggested (strongly) early on that I establish and maintain early bedtimes. She was so right!
WHAT’S SOME OF THE WORST PARENTING ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Quote: “Well, I smoked throughout all my pregnancies, so my babies were a lot smaller.” I sure hope she didn’t really mean this as advice, but it kind of sounds like it…
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOURSELF AS A NEW, FIRST-TIME PARENT?
RELAX. Still need to tell myself this.