Archive | October 2013

Fall campout 2013!

Let the fall festivities continue! This past weekend consisted of a (very chilly) campout extravaganza. As she’s proven before, Lucy handles extreme temps way better than her mama. I was so worried about the temps that were forecast to be in the upper 30s at night, I made a quick trip to REI at 8:30 PM the night before we left! And that’s where I found this gem:

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A pink marshmallow suit stuffed with down with a full hood and cuffs for fully tucking in hands and feet? Yes, please! Oh, and did I mention it was on clearance?? It was a tiny miracle. Here are a few more pics, some including Lu’s buddy Everett, sporting his own flannel/fleece/knit multi-layered ensemble. No doubt about it, these kiddos stayed nice and toasty!

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We really had a lovely time, and major bonus points to Amy and Nate for (1) getting this camping weekend going and (2) getting a campsite super close to the playground! Lucy described it as her “new favorite.”

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She also enjoyed giving lots of snuggles to Everett. And who can blame her? He is one cute kid!

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Such a big girl! She enjoys having her own camp chair now, even if it’s next to impossible to get her to sit still in it for more than 5 minutes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And of course, no campout is complete without a good ol’ s’more, particularly when the friends you’re camping with (who have their own awesome outdoorsy blog here) know what they’re doing when it comes to s’more making! A little Gherardelli dark chocolate raspberry and marshmallow? Umm, ok. Lucy was in dessert heaven.

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Here are a few more candid shots from the weekend. If you’re a camping/outdoorsy family, take it from Everett and Lucy: start young. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Big Moose Day 5: Heading (partway) home

Today was our last day! Aunt Sara, Lucy, and I headed to Syracuse this evening where we are spending the night before a flight home tomorrow morning. We took one last hike today, to Windfall Pond. The pics never do it justice, but it was a beautiful autumn walk! It started with our noticing the 1 rule posted: “If you carry it in, carry it out.” Does that apply to children? ๐Ÿ™‚

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Here are some shots from the trail:

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Lucy had such a good time on the hike that she cried when we got to the parking lot, exclaiming, “more walk! no car!” Nothing melts my heart more than that kid in her little pink fleece coat and yellow crocs, and her “walking stick” wanting to spend more time in the woods. I love this chick!

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After our hike and before we said goodbye to Big Moose, Lucy and I took one last walk, just the two of us. We went down by the lake and listened to the water lapping calmly against the rocks. We listened to a loon somewhere far across the lake. So much changes around this place, but Big Moose stays the same magical place I remember. I hope it’s just as wondrous for Lucy. See you next year, Big Moose! You will always have a piece of my heart.

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Big Moose Day 4: Last full day

Day 4 is coming to a close with a final gorgeous sunset. We head to Syracuse tomorrow afternoon to head to the airport, then fly out early Sunday morning.

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Today was rainy so we didn’t get out and about as much, which gave me a chance to appreciate this beautiful house! My uncle Paul (my mom’s brother) designed it himself and made the whole thing out of a LOT of wood. I want this to be featured in some sort of modern architecture magazine. There is not a right angle in the entire place, and it’s all centered around a huge, gorgeous fireplace. It seems to kind of rise right out of the forest floor.

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We did a little shopping in Old Forge today (check out Lucy’s new yellow Crocs, thanks to Oma and Opa)!

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At one of the stores, we found a book of vintage postcards from the Big Moose area and there was a picture of the old cottage in it! There’s a big difference between then and now!

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Mr Sun “was taking a shower” (Lucy’s logic) but did peek out a bit in the afternoon. We took a brief walk down to the lake so Lucy could look for loons (her new favorite hobby). She calls them, “loon, loon, where are you?” We didn’t see any today but we got some great shots of the lake.

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Overall, it was a great day for relaxing by the fire and doing arts and crafts. Pipe cleaners and an almost 2-year-old are a perfect match. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Big Moose Day 3: Reliving the magic

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Before traveling here for the first time in 18 years, I was wondering if I had created in my head how magical and enchanting this place is. I thought maybe my memories had become more like dreams that took on an unrealistic quality. Now coming back, and bringing my own child here, I was happy to see that the magic was not just imagined! This place is something unexplainable. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement.

That said, we spent yesterday exploring around our lakehouse and I showed Lu and Whit all of our old haunts. We walked down to the long dock to see some of the boats. All that is left this time of year are a few john boats. I told Lucy some stories about her mama driving one of those all over the lake!

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While we were there, we found what must be one of the last remaining phone booths in America! There is no cell service in Big Moose, so we have to call people the old-fashioned way. We took waaaay too many pictures of this thing, a relic!

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We also went to the old community center where Lucy explored some kayaks taken up for the season. The lake freezes solid soon so all the docks and boats are being pulled out of the water. We even got to watch some workers taking one of the docks apart. Lucy was fascinated!

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Our walk then took us down Craig Point Rd, a beautiful area near Punky Bay (ever heard of the book An American Tragedy? It’s where the murder took place! Yikes!). Now it’s just another piece of history. Lucy and I did a little hunting and found some beautiful step fungi on a dead tree! You can carve in this stuff – Whit wasn’t sold on how cool it is, but Lucy was!

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After a long afternoon nap, we went back for another hike. This time we took the Cascade Lake trail. Walking through the woods, dead leaves crunching under our feet – it’s quite meditative. The only thing interrupting the calm was our sweet girl, chattering away in her carrier and practicing the ABCs. I love it!

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She even got to “hike” the last bit of the trail. She was pumped.

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We finished the day with a delicious dinner at the Big Moose Inn, just before they closed up for the season! What a lovely, memorable, picturesque, sweet day.

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Big Moose Day 2: Family time in the great outdoors

Today was awesome! We started with a hike around Moss Lake. Actually, we tried hiking up Billy’s Bald Spot but it was literally straight up, covered with wet leaves on top of wet, slippery rocks. After about 100 feet of my trying to keep myself and Lucy (on my back in the hiking carrier) from plummeting to the bottom, we turned around and headed for a flatter trek. Here’s where some trekking poles would have really come in handy! Still, when you’re carrying the most precious of all cargo on your back, no mountain view is worth it. So, to Moss Lake we went! And it was gorgeous! Here are some shots:

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After the hike we all came back for a good nap! Then we headed to the town of Inlet late in the afternoon. It’s funny, being up here in the fall when many of the shops are closed down for the season. A thriving artsy street becomes a ghost-town from October-May! Luckily, Inlet has an absolutely great park. Lucy had a ball, and she had it all to herself!

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We did venture into one shop where Lucy fell in love with a stuffed kitty cat. After I made her put it back and we left the store, Lucy was so distraught she couldn’t think of anything else. She was so sad to say goodbye. Sooo, like any granddad would do, Opa went back and got it for her. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll have to get a picture of it tomorrow, for she hasn’t put it down since. She declared the kitty’s name is Bella. Bella has participated in all the events of the evening since she came home with us. Thank you, Opa! Tonight we had a quiet dinner and built a fire. Here’s Lucy and daddy sharing some ice cream by the warmth of the fire, along with a candid shot of Lucy and her “twin,” aunt Sara! What a great way to end a lovely day!

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Big Moose Day 1: toddler travel tips and GETTING THERE

Lucy, Whit, and I had a day of traveling yesterday to get up to Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks. It involved 2 flights then a 2.5-hour drive. Lucy handled it all like a pro! Here is a synopsis of things that worked:

1. Go light on gear. This time we decided to ditch the stroller and high chair. Lucy rode on my back through the airport and when we got to the gate she could run it out down those long airport hallways. I’ve never had an adult with me before while traveling, so it was nice that Whit could stay with the bags and Lu could go blow off some toddler energy. I’ll be solo again on the way home, so we’ll see how that goes! Here’s Lu exploring the Nashville airport.

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And speaking of light on gear, Lucy had her own seat (thanks to Oma & Opa!) and we used the CARES harness instead of lugging the big ol’ carseat on the plane. We gate-checked that guy. This was one of Lucy’s birthday gifts from Oma & Opa, and it was awesome!! The whole thing fits in a little drawstring pouch, and Lu could safely be confined to her seat without much fuss. I highly recommend this product!

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2. Hype it up. Before we had our big traveling day, we talked about it a lot with Lu. She is at an age where she can actually participate in the convo, and she was pretty pumped about going on an airplane! Through 2 airports, we rode a shuttle, a gazillion escalators, a train, and then 2 planes. Lu was positively giddy about every little experience.

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3. Plane activities: make them last, people! I brought an arsenal of the following; travel magnadoodle, 2 new sticker books that Lucy hadn’t seen yet, an airport coloring book, a few small books, and the iPad. I knew I’d need to save some things for the way home, too, so I tried making things last as long as possible. Lu and I perused a People magazine (classy, I know) for a good 20 min. We played with an empty plastic cup by making it a hat, a boat for her beloved stuffed kitty cat, a balancing act (“how long can you balance this on your foot?”), etc. We had fun! The plus about traveling by air is that you get to sit with your child for a set amount of time, just playing. It’s not so bad. ๐Ÿ™‚ I even got to read some of my own adult book!

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4. Lighten up on the snack rules. We are not the parents who let our kid snack all day. I don’t consider a chocolate chip cookie a snack. Except when we’re traveling! On a plane, you really do need to make sure your kid is eating or drinking (or nursing, for little ones) during take-off and landing. I bought Lucy a yogurt parfait from Starbucks but hid it from her until we started taxiing. She was in heaven! I also stowed a chocolate chip cookie for us to share during landing of the second flight. I have no regrets! We also told Lucy to let her ragged “Raffe” help her ears if they start feeling funny. In this sense I’m glad she still uses a pacifier for sleeping.

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After our 2 flights, Aunt Sara met us at the airport with a rental car and the 3 of us plus Lu headed to the mountains! This is when Lu finally conked out for a good nap (along with her daddy)!

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And THIS was our reward when we got there. Could this place be more beautiful?

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We had a chill evening, walking down to the lake (which Sara and I haven’t seen in 18 years, but we feel like it was just last summer) and enjoying family time with Oma and Opa. Sweet times!

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Pumpkin Patch!

This weekend was awesome! We took Lu to the pumpkin patch. For weeks she has been wanting “a little baby pumpkin” so she finally got her chance! Lucy is in such a fun age right now. She still wants to hold my hand everywhere we go, but she is excited and curious and downright giddy about life in general. Here are a few shots from the day:

First stop was listening to a kick-ass banjo picker. Per usual, Lucy was getting down!

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Then we had to check out the toddler-friendly corn maze. Lucy was into this for about 100 feet. Then she was over it. Two-year-olds are like that.

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We went to Walden Farm in Smyrna. These people are geniuses when it comes to pleasing toddlers. A grain bin and sand toys? Sign that girl up! We seriously could have dropped her off and returned an hour later and she would have been in the same spot we left her, dumping grain from one container to another.

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Then, the big moment came. It was time to pick her pumpkin! Lucy spent a loooooooooong time deciding which one she wanted. She would pick one up and start walking toward the wagon to place her chosen gourd, only to drop it 10 or so feet away saying, “not this one.” After many rounds of this, we had a winner! A sweet, generic, nothing-special pumpkin. She was pumped!

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Next up, tractors!

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And the photo booth area! Lucy had a ball trying on props for photos. These oversized glasses are my favorite.

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How tall this fall?

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We had our final activity at the balloon stand, where Lucy took no time to decide she wanted a “yellow” (current favorite color) “raffe” (giraffe; current fave animal).

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We had a blast! Watching a 23-month-old enjoy the world is quite possibly one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. I love you, sweet, curious, bubbly Lucy. Happy fall, little one.

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