Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hooray for Labor Day! Now Please Pass the Advil...

We spent a beautiful Labor Day weekend up at Mohonk Mountain House with friends from our church in Manhattan. This was our 4th Labor Day spent here, and the boys absolutely LOVE it. Between miles and miles of hiking trails, and daily afternoon tea complete with all-your-parents-will-allow-you-to-eat cookies, it's a veritable kids' paradise.

We started out at the lake. The pedal boats were all checked out, so we tried a row boat. Jon and Jordan, who insisted on being the rowers, couldn't do anything but go in circles, so I took over. I am just barely more skilled at rowing, but let's face it--struggling to row in a straight line while 2 of your boys whine about not being able to row is not exactly fun holiday fare.

We abandoned the row boat and waited our turn for a pedal boat. And I didn't have to pedal at all. Nice.

While we boated, Josiah fed the fish.

...while Joanna ate the fish food.

Then we were off to The Labyrinth.

The Labyrinth is a rock scramble that is a big favorite of the bigger boys. Joseph, who had never been allowed to try it, got to go for the first time this year. And since I didn't want him falling off any cliffs without an adult present to call 911, I had the privilege of going along as well. Jeremy had already graciously offered to watch the littles, so off we went.

Yes, I stopped to take a photo of the entrance sign, but apparently didn't bother to heed it. Somehow or another I confused being no longer pregnant and miserable with "excellent physical condition." Ha! Well, at least I qualify for the "not afraid of heights" part.

Here are the boys at "Pancake Rock," after patiently waiting for me to hoist myself over, under, and through countless rock formations, which, by the way, were also very wet and slippery. The boys, of course, scrambled nimbly over all of them with hardly a pause, except when they had to stop and wait for the 40-year-old, 8 weeks postpartum lady who thought she was in "excellent physical condition" to gingerly pick out the safest route.

I wouldn't let Joey on Pancake Rock, since it's pretty cliff-like all the way around, and I really didn't want to have to make that 911 call.

Here's a snapshot of what he thought of that decision:

Towards the end of the hike we had to navigate "The Crevice," which is a tall, narrow fissure in the rock navigable by narrow wooden ladders. Here are some of the boys waiting to get on the bottom ladder. It's a one-at-a-time-type thing.

Courtesy of all the rain generously brought to us by Irene, the bottom of The Crevice was several inches deep in mud, and the rock walls were slick.

And the air was full of the lovely aroma of wet bat poo. I was, of course, at the back of the line. Those boys couldn't get up those ladders fast enough for me. And I spent the rest of the day and evening trying not to think about what was all over my clothes.

(Note to self: Next year, bring a change of clothing. And perhaps some soap.)

When we finally emerged on top, I tortured the poor boys by making them pose for photos.

By this point we were late for dinner, but fortunately the way back down the mountain is easier (and faster!) than the trip up.

Jeremy and the little guys were waiting for us at the playground further down the mountain. And since I happened to have my camera...

Sunday, it was Jeremy's turn to go boating. Unfortunately for him, the big boys were off on another hike, so HE had to do all the pedaling himself. Ha!

I think Josiah really wanted to go in for a swim--he couldn't keep his hands out of the water.

And I just relaxed in a rocking chair on the porch and visited with friends, while a content Jeremiah was passed around and doted on.

A good time was had by all...

Which is why I am currently sitting here so sore I can barely move.

In other extremely exciting news, Jeremiah has slept 7-8 hours at night for the past 5 nights now. Woo hoo!! Sleep for Mommy is a wonderful thing! I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoy it.

Since I'm all rested now (Ha!) I'm taking any extra time I have during the day to completely reorganize my kitchen. Stay tuned...the big reveal will be coming soon! Aren't you just completely overcome with anticipation?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fun After the Storm!

When we moved to New York 3 years ago, we knew it was going to be an adventure. I never dreamed, however, that our adventures here would include a major hurricane! We were extremely blessed not to have any damage on our property. I kept peering out into the darkness throughout the night to see if our travel trailer and chicken coop were still standing--they were. Even our garden, which I was sure would either be uprooted or drowned, survived! We lost power twice, once for about 7 hours and later for about 2 hours, but that was it.

After all our preparing, it was almost anti-climatic. But I'm good with that. The boys, however, were extremely disappointed when the power came back on. I guess they were looking forward to "roughing it!"

We did have all sorts of fun playing in the wind Sunday afternoon, once the rain stopped and the sun came out. And of course I took pictures!

Jordan trying to make a sail out of a kite

The sun finally peeking through the storm clouds

Daddy swinging the little ones

Looking towards the northeast, the sky still looks pretty ominous!

Josiah is just happy to be outside!

Sweet brothers...

Walking with Daddy

Jordan gave up on the kite and used our Longhorns flag to make a sail.

I thought it was funny that the first thing the older 3 boys did when they got outside was to try to harness the wind to pull/push their scooters. I remember when I was a kid and hurricane Gilbert just missed us in Corpus Christi. We stood in our front yard in rain ponchos, holding the sides out to catch the wind. I think we were trying to see how far we could lean into the wind without falling over. Maybe we were trying to fly.

Joshua hypothesized that he could jump off the master bedroom balcony (basically 3 stories up) and the wind would help him "fly" down instead of just falling like a rock. He wanted to try it.

I vetoed that idea. I'm such a spoil-sport.


The boys soon moved from creating wind sails to an impromptu football game.

Joanna just ran around checking everything out.

Busy girl

Taking a break to lie in the grass

Joshua's broom/trash bag sail. He ended up successfully using this to "power" Josiah's Little Tykes car down the driveway.

Now we are back to business as usual--school, chores, the daily routine. The boys want to know when the next hurricane is coming. Ha!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preserving the Harvest

I am so proud of myself...I made my first actual canned pickles! We've been making refrigerator pickles for a few weeks now, but I was a bit intimidated to try canning. However, between running low on room in the fridge, as well as wanting to have pickles that will last beyond the next few weeks, I finally decided it was time to take the plunge!

Here they are...6 pint jars of home-canned pickles:

I have to give credit where credit is due and tell you that Jordan cut up all those cukes for me. He now considers all cucumber cutting HIS job...just so he can use the sharp knife!

Jordan and Joseph have been doing the harvesting this week. They really enjoy going out there and searching for veggies. And yes, I DO mean searching--the weeds really have about taken over. I'm conceding defeat this season and admitting that I just don't. have. the. time. to keep it weeded. Next year I will be on top of that.

Today's harvest:

We're doing our best, but we just can't eat this stuff fast enough! In addition to making pickles, I've been freezing tons of squash, making dozens of zucchini muffins, and filling bags with tomatoes and tomatillos and sticking them in the fridge. I need to buy some cilantro, then I can make salsa verde and tomato salsa. I'm thinking I'll just freeze the salsa verde in meal-sized quantities, but I'm hoping to be able to make enough regular salsa to be worth canning. The tomatoes are still only trickling in, so I'm peeling, bagging, and freezing them for now:

Same with the peppers:

When I have enough, I'll make stuff with them to can or freeze. With the peppers, I plan on keeping some in the freezer anyway, to pop into chili or spaghetti sauce this winter.

One of the reasons the boys enjoy harvesting is that there's no telling when you'll discover a missed giant:

Jordan is awfully proud of that giant cucumber! It'll probably be inedible at that size, but he has laid claim to it and wants to eat it all himself. Joseph, on the other hand, is just posing with the cool humongous "alien squashes." He thinks they're nasty and says he won't be eating them! :)

Silly boys!

I bought lots of seeds to try for fun this year, but the only unique variety that actually made it into the garden was the purple bush beans. I put some in a pan for dinner and told the boys to watch them...they're magic!!

Of course they got bored long before this happened (a whole 5 minutes later), but here's what they looked like cooked:

There were many oohs and aahs when they peeked back into the pan, and I have to admit that even I was quite impressed with the color change.

Who knew beans could be so fun?!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...