Meet the Parent: Jennifer McCarty
Jennifer McCarty is one of those moms I see often, but with whom I rarely get to talk. So, I was thrilled when somebody nominated her for a “Meet the Parent” profile. I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit: a fellow buyer of ginger moose cookies, mediator of Anna/Elsa disputes, and lover of chocolate creemees. Minibury, meet Jennifer McCarty!
My family members are my husband, Bill Ford, and my daughters Morgan (age 6) and Gemma (age 6). The girls are in kindergarten at Mary Hogan School.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
HOW DID YOU END UP IN VERMONT?
We moved to Vermont in September of 2010 when Bill accepted a job at Goodrich (now UTC) in Vergennes. We rented for a couple of years in Middlebury before buying our home in the spring of 2012.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH CHILDREN?
Without a doubt, my favorite thing to do with the girls is to take them to the library. I am so happy that my girls have developed a love for books and are so eager to be able to read on their own. Ilsley has so many great activities for kids, too. We also enjoy going to some of the sporting events at Middlebury College – lacrosse, hockey, basketball. We have taken a few family hikes on the TAM and had a great time. If you asked my girls what they love to do, I think they would say, “Go to the Bakery!” They love to walk up to Otter Creek Bakery to get a ginger moose cookie.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE “FAR-FLUNG” ADVENTURES TO DO WITH CHILDREN?
We haven’t done too much of this type of adventure. One that I would recommend is Montshire Museum of Science. We had a great day there and ate in town before heading home.
WHERE WOULD WE BE MOST LIKELY TO FIND YOU AT 10 AM ON A SATURDAY?
I think you would find me either mediating a “discussion” between my girls over ponies, Elsa/Anna dolls or their wild animals or trying a new recipe. Since starting kindergarten, my girls inform me, on a very frequent basis, that they “never have time to play.” So, we tend not to make too many plans on a Saturday morning, so they can play as much as they want. I get to “play” with baking. I love to try out new gluten-free or grain-free recipes for snacks or sweets to see if it will go over well with everyone in the family. I am the only one that eats grain-free, but it is nice to be able to make things that everyone can eat.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT RAISING CHILDREN IN VERMONT?
For me, the most challenging part is being so far from my family. I am from Michigan and to visit is a major trip. You can’t just go visit Grandma for the afternoon.
WHAT ARE YOUR SUMMER PLANS?
Since moving to Vermont, we started a tradition of going to a concert at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA for the 4th of July. We get lawn tickets, take a picnic and enjoy the fireworks after the performance.
In the summer, we spend a lot of time going to the beach. We are looking forward to many great afternoons at Lake Dunmore for swimming lessons, playing and having picnics. Berry picking is always on the agenda! We go to Douglas Orchards for strawberries in summer and the apples in the fall. The Festival on the Green is something we love to go to, especially the “Brown Bag” performances like the No Strings Marionette Company. The MiddFest with the wine and beer tasting is going to be fun.
The painted pianos that the Town Hall Theater had around town last summer are going to be missed! The girls have already been asking about where they are.
FAVORITE ICE CREAM/CREEMEE FLAVOR?
Chocolate is always the answer.
WHAT BOOKS DOES YOUR FAMILY ENJOY READING TOGETHER THESE DAYS?
For the family, we are reading a lot of the Candy Fairy books. The girls love these. For my reading, I love any of Janet Evanovich books. Her Stephanie Plum series is my favorite.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER A PARENTING “MUST-HAVE”?
I cannot remember the exact name, but I absolutely loved these baby-to-toddler chairs by Fisher-Price. I had twins, so it was great to have a chair that I could have one of the girls in while feeding/changing/dressing the other child. It is not just a bouncy seat, but much more. It could be a still chair or a rocking chair. It easily packs for travel. You could give the baby/toddler a toy while you take care of the other child or do some other task. The weight limit was like 35 pounds, so they lasted for years. The girls loved their chairs and when they got a bit older, they used them during story time.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOURSELF AS A NEW, FIRST-TIME PARENT?
Try to relax and not obsess over everything.
WHAT’S YOUR NON-PARENT ALTER-EGO?
Prior to kids, I worked in IT for much of my career. My last alter-ego was as a program manager.
THE TWINS ARE WITH A SITTER! WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE “ADULT FUN” ACTIVITIES?
This doesn’t happen for us too often! Usually, Bill and I will just go for an adult dinner, maybe a movie or a walk around town. Sometimes, we get to check out things going on in town. Last fall, Bill and I went to a fantastic concert that was part of the “After Dark” series at Town Hall Theater. It was such a great evening of great food at the Bobcat and unbelievably talented musicians.
Thank you so much, Jennifer!! And if YOU, Reader, or someone you know would make a good “Meet the Parent” profile, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.