Archive for the ‘Poconos’ Category

I realize, of course, that there has been a lot of mention recently of snakes.  Twice in one week, in fact–one at each place.  And while I realize that our list of house guests is rapidly dwindling at the prospect of rat snakes in their room, I want to emphasize that this is not normal. In fact, the snake at the cabin–the itty, bitty snake we saw in the grass that lived outside our door–was the first snake we’ve seen up there.  Until our most recent trip, we had seen more bears roaming around the trash bins than we had seen snakes slithering through the rocks.  (That record is now tied, 1-1, though I know those bears are out there–my poor, destroyed trash cans speak to that loud and clear.)

But while you shouldn’t expect a snake encounter at the cabin necessarily, well, I’m sorry to say that we’ve had our share at the house.  The worst was the copperhead that bit Lucy square on the nose.  After ensuring it would not bite any of our other dogs, G brought up to me while I was cooking dinner just to confirm it was, in fact, copper.

Our screened porch has seen the most snakes.  The first was coiled in a massive loop around a plant that was just inches from me–I also happened to be home alone at the time.  I ran out screaming, as is usually the case when I see snakes, it seems, and we never found it again.  That episode is also subtitled, “The Time We Discovered that the Garage and the Screened Porch are Connected.”  Or, “The Snake is Now in our Garage.” 

The most recent episode of snakedom in the screened porch came about a year ago while I was cooking dinner and G was entertaining the dogs on the deck.  He spotted the copperhead slithering about near the door between the kitchen and porch, rushed in, and grabbed the knife with which I was doing dinner prep and took care of the snake.  My very best knife.  Really??

But the funniest episode — well, funniest to me, anyway — was our first snake episode at the house.  It is also the loudest I have ever heard G scream.  G was on the side patio raking up nature’s debris when he pushed the rake into the opening where we keep the hot tub hose and wires coiled up… and he pulled out a very, very, very angry snake.

That snake–a 7 foot, ginormous black rat snake–remains the largest snake I have EVER seen in real life that was not accompanied by a man in khakis on Snake Day at school.  That giant snake danced with G–one hissing, one screaming.  G eventually won, but they went many rounds.  When G finally got the snake on a garden tool, he flung the snake into the woods in one triumphant victory hurl.  And there, about a foot off our porch, it got caught in a tree.  A 7 foot, angry-as-all-hell snake, dangling a couple feet from our hot tub.

It’s been five years since that incident, and I am pretty sure G still approaches that space beside our hot tub with a 20 foot pole.  At the time, of course, it was TOTALLY NOT HILARIOUS.  But in hindsight–in my hindsight anyway–it was pretty damn funny.

Have I officially taken care of all future visitors to our house at this point?  No more snake stories today.  Instead, I will post the second half of my pictures of Nellie playing with Lucy.  Who doesn’t follow up stories about snakes with pictures of babies and puppies?  Tag this one adorable.


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Weekends Away

It isn’t easy to get to the chalet.  Weekends disappear so quickly these days, and we find ourselves looking months ahead just to find a time to take some time…

The longer we’re away, the easier it is to forget.

It’s only when we finally arrive, and we’ve unpacked the car and opened the windows (or started a fire), that we can finally exhale, shake off all the everyday things — work and bills and chores — that don’t have a place at the chalet, and relax.

Of course, there are always things we need to do up there, and some trips are less ‘fun’ than others.  But on certain visits, like this one, the to do list is short: new lockbox, new sheets, and a new bear-fighting trash bin.  We can just enjoy.

Like everything else in life, trips to the Poconos are different now.  Though we’ve been many times, it all seems new again as we watch Nellie take in each bit of the experience for the first time.

(checking out one of her souvenirs from K from Egypt)

We drive up to the mountains for her, though.  We always have.  Because even before there was Nellie, the house was for her.  It was a place where our family would be able to go time and time again.

She had so much fun this weekend —  exploring a new place, crawling around new floors, watching new birds and trees and animals on her walk.  (Like Snake, who hung out by our front door. Don’t worry — no babies made direct contact with snakes for the filming of this blog.)

It was a weekend of firsts that even included her first push in a real swing at the playground by the lake.

Sometimes we’re away so long that the good memories start to fade, and all that lingers are the hassles of renters or maintenance.  But when we finally go back, it’s really hard to leave.

It will never be easy to find space in our schedules for trips to the mountains — life will only get crazier as she gets older — but this year we’ve vowed to find the time to take time.

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It has been too long since our last trip, and this stay is far too short. But we were greeted by beautiful weather this morning, and we are making the most of our very limited time at the chalet.

A real post later with real pictures from a real camera, but here are just a few of late spring in bloom around the house.




Nellie was only a couple months old last time we came up here, so she hardly got to enjoy it (or notice it). But this time she is having a blast exploring the chalet. She even gets to play with Aunt Kristin, who flew in from Tokyo last night and came straight here to get some Nellie time.


Tonight we are cooking out, building a fire, having some drinks, and enjoying time away from life.


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Pokes and Pocs

It’s hard to catch up to everything we’ve done since my last post, but I’ll do my best.  First, of course, was Nellie’s two month appointment with the doctor.  She weighed in at 10lb 6oz — in the 40th percentile, but even more surprising was her length — 23 inches!  That puts her in the 60th percentile, and means that she has grown 6 inches since birth when she was a tiny little baby below the 5th percentile! I don’t have any illusions that she is going to be six feet tall, but it’s nice to see she’s off to a good start.  Her head circumference measured in the 10th percentile, which she got from her mother who can still wear kids caps.  This is also why newborn hats are still way too big for her.

Everything else checked out.  She was a champ for her immunizations and cried for only a second.  We gave her Tylenol beforehand, but she never ran a fever and never needed a second dose.  The little spot on her tongue is just a blood vessel, which we suspected, and she otherwise looks great.  Still has ten toes and ten fingers!  I mentioned the fact that she doesn’t take a bottle and doesn’t nap but apparently they don’t have prescriptions for things like that.  They just laughed at me.  Sniff.

After her appointment, we buckled her in for a long Tylenol-induced nap and headed to the Poconos.  She slept the entire way and woke up just in time to watch us unload the car.  G managed to fill his time, as he always does, with projects — this time building a grill, fixing a bed, and reframing the front door — and we also brought the canoe in and took care of a few other end-of-season chores.  Despite all that, however, we still had time to relax and enjoy ourselves.  We hit the outlets for some desperately-needed work clothes (G needed new suits, and I needed pants that fit so the Banana outlet was a big WIN), hit up our favorite dining spots in the Pocs, watched some movies by the fire, caught all the football games at our favorite brewery with Sunday Ticket, and enjoyed the Pocs during peak foliage.  As always, we could have stayed a few days longer, but then I think I might have had to pry G’s pressure washer out of his hands — he was itching to wash and stain the deck (or the entire chalet if I let him).

Nell was a champ the whole time.  She was really good for the entire trip, and slept almost the whole way home.  Sadly the pups stayed in CBeach this time.  3 dogs + 2 adults + 1 baby = 2 cars, and that seemed a little aggressive for our first road trip with baby, especially after her appointment when we weren’t sure how she’d react to her shots.

We’re back to normal today.  Nell and I ran our errands this morning.  I’m doing laundry.  Three relieved puppies are napping. One stubborn baby is not.  It’s good to be home, but G is back to work, so it’s definitely better to be on vacation.

Naptime near the warm fire:

Snuggling with Daddy:

Bathtime in the Pocs:

Sleeping off all that shopping during lunch at Barley Creek:

Sick of football but happy to be in Giants pajamas:

The El’s maiden voyage bringing the canoe in, and G who basically got the canoe on and off the El on his own:

G’s new framework on the front door:

Enjoying playtime but sorry that Mom forgot to pack the little hairbrush:

Two more:

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Pics and Pocs

It was a busy, busy weekend.  On Friday, G and I had our follow-up ultrasound to see babygirlK and her poorly-located pillowtop once again.  Bless the poor tech who tried and tried to get babygirlK to cooperate, but I could have told her from the get-go that it was a losing game.  BabygirlK HATES ultrasounds.  I don’t think there is any denying that.  She was wide awake and plenty active (heart beating at 148 for those who are keeping count), but the instant she felt the now-familiar push of the wand, she put her hands over her face and refused to budge.  So we have yet another roll of creepy, hands-over-face pictures.  (Actually I think these are worse than the last set.)  In other news, she’s still a girl, the placenta has moved (but we won’t find out until I talk to the doc if it’s enough to put the issue to rest), and she’s tiny — measuring more than a week behind all over.  I’m okay with that since I have no desire to push out a 10lb baby, but it did make G side-eye my stomach which, according to the doc last week, is measuring ahead.  Oops.  Not all baby, as it turns out; likely, I’ve just had a few too many cookies.

In one of our creepy pictures, when the hands parted just a bit, it sure looked to me like babygirlK has my nose and forehead.  Apologies in advance babygirl.

Because I am fully in support of sharing the weirdness of 3D pictures (can you request 2D only??), I present one of each. Actually, this was about all we got.

While we’re on the subject of babygirlK, I am going to interrupt this otherwise-chronologically-ordered post to show you the a-maz-ing outfit K got for babygirlK at Janie and Jack in CA.  Little dress, little bloomers, little sweater – swoon. I just want to take adorable summer pics of a little girl in a little blue dress sitting in bright green grass. (Or something like that.)

After our ultrasound, G and I packed the pups up in the El and headed to the Pocs for the annual get-the-Chalet-ready-for-summer trip.  It’s not my favorite trip in the world; lots to do, not a lot of time to do it.  And I seem to forget every year — despite this being the fifth year — that late April/early May means mayflies.  UGH.  Because we normally go up at the end of March or very early April, we have avoided the worst of them for the last couple years, but this year they were unbearable.  Even the beautiful sunshine and warm weather couldn’t keep us outside.  But it was a productive trip and hopefully everyone had a chance to relax as well.  If anything, the dogs are gonna be wiped out for at least another day.

G was an allstar.  Our old wooden deck furniture, which has lived through five years of rough weather and was already used to begin with, finally had to go (though G just moved it down to the grassy areas for additional seating, which I thought was a nice touch).  In came new furniture: a picnic table, which I love, and some new adirondack chairs.  G built and stained the picnic table himself, and it’s awesome. I can’t wait to go back up during non-mayfly season and enjoy it! 

Old furniture:

New furniture:

We also replaced the air hockey table that someone crushed with an air hockey/ foosball combo table I found on the Pocs craigslist site.  And, it was time for the canoe’s annual pilgrimmage back to the lake beach for the season. Here’s G rowing across the lake to meet me at the beach racks.  As it turns out, I think he goes straighter/faster when it’s just him rowing and not both of us.  Hmm.

A giant deer joined me while I waited for him at the beach.

And, of course, it was officially babygirlK’s first trip to the Pocs.  It’s a lot easier right now that she doesn’t require, yanno, a seat in the car.  We’re kind of short on those.

In other news, can you believe it’s May?!

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Fall 2010 in the Poconos

Every October we head to the Pocs.  The canoe has to be brought in by the end of the month, and it forces us up there during the peak of fall’s colorful foliage, in the midst of G’s crazy fall work schedule, and just when we both really need a vacation.  We owe a lot to the canoe, actually.

I have a lot to write — about the trip, about the puppies, about writing, about the El’s first doggy road trip (best.decision.ever) — but we didn’t get home until late Sunday evening, and last night was a late night at work, so I am a bit behind.  I need to do some major catch-up because I am only one week away from a long bout of travel — to Halifax for a week, then straight to Nashville for half a week.  But it is late again, and we’ve just finished dinner.  So tonight will be a picture post, and I will add the words later.  The photos we got this weekend are too gorgeous not to share.

As always, we were very sad to leave.

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Spring in the Poconos

Easter weekend (four nights and nearly four glorious days) was spent in the Poconos this year with all three doggies playing nature weekend.  Kj and Liz joined for part of the weekend which was full of unseasonable sunshine and warm weather.  Walks around the lake (swims in the lake), reading outside, grilling, and even sunburns!  It was almost like July 4th.  Except better because it always rains in the Poconos on July 4th.  We enjoyed Himalayan yak steaks, sirloin burgers, wild boar bacon (and G says he doesn’t get any meat), sangria, sweet white wine, hot chocolate, and a heavy dose of relaxation.

Ignoring the fact that we spent Easter evening buying a new oven/cooktop, and that the drive home took six hours (but we were so fortunate to get to stop at the farm, see Michael, Wayne, and Grandma, check out the new barn and garage, and let the puppies run wild), it was a fabulous Easter holiday.

Some pics from the trip!

Greg’s multimedia corner:

Lucy and Linus enjoying the sunshine inside and out:

The view out to the lake — still no leaves on the trees in the Pocs:

Lucy bored waiting for something to fall off the grill:

Sally wondering why she’s outside and not inside with her toys:

Party of 5:

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