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Best Friends, Girls-Only! Adirondack Memories

You guys. This trip was amazing.  It was crazy hard and not really a vacation for the Mommas, but man was it worth it! ;-) There's a really big difference between what you think a trip like this is going to be, and what it actually is. Because when you beg your bestie to ditch her husband for a week for a girls-only trip to Lake Placid with your four kids between the ages of 7-9, you better be ready for chaos hard work amazing adventures! And truly, vacation amnesia has set in and allows me to forget the fact that I was so dead tired by the end of each day I could barely sit by the fire long enough for a glass of wine. Vacation with kids is so much more work than real life with kids. But we had so so so much fun!  And I'm really proud of us all!     We hiked and got dirty and climbed on boulders and found cool creatures.     We had a campfire and smores every night. We

Travel Adventures | A Cautionary [Trail] Tale

Last summer, my sisters and I went on a camping and hiking adventure in Acadia National Park, Maine.   We hiked and canoed and looked at lighthouses and went tide-pooling and swam in lakes and roasted fresh clams over a campfire!  It was fabulous. Except this one thing...     So I may have mentioned a time or two that I'm the least experienced hiker of my siblings. I mean, two are accomplished 46ers, one is on her way to being a 46er, and the other is working through the Appalachian Trail. Heck, if I don't watch out, my siblings will probably end up turning my kids into more experienced hikers than I am!     But really, what I lack in experience and strength I make up for in enthusiasm and optimism!  Spoiler alert - this is where I ended up on the day in question:     Still smiling ;-) So it doesn't phase me at all when my sister tells me this trail she's considering taking us

Local Gems | Camp Cherith of Western New York

Shauna Neiquist talks about "thin places" in her absolutely-wonderful-you-should-own-it book Bittersweet. {affiliate link} She was traveling in Ireland and studying Irish literature and poetry and she learned about this Celtic mystical tradition: A thin place, according to the Celtic mystics, is a place where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one is more permeable - thinner, if you will. Sometimes they're physical places. There are places all over Ireland where people have said, if you stand here, if you face this direction, if you hike to the top of that ridge at just the right time of day, that's a thin place, a place where the passage between heaven and earth is a short one, a place where God's presence is almost palpable.     About an hour from Corning is a very special thin place. It's a place where I have memories from almost every year of my life. It's a place that's a deep part of me. You hear whispers here... I think you

National Trails Day | Sperr Memorial Park

Happy National Trails Day!  If you're looking for a great way to celebrate #NationalTrailsDay you should check out Sperr Memorial Park in Big Flats. It's just off 86 at exit 50.      As a part of the rails to trails network, it's also a beautiful memorial park to New York State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr.     We really like Catharine Valley Trail but it's a bit more of a commitment... Sperr Park is so nice because it's very manageable on a beautiful sunny evening after dinner.     So grab your bike (and helmet!) or your sneakers, and check out the peaceful trails around the pond.       There's easy parking and a playground. And in a pinch, there are... ahem... rustic restrooms for those with strong stomachs ;-)     Enjoy your lovely weekend! And I hope you get to enjoy a trail near you soon!     Like this

Pining for My Favorite Summer Spot

I have been daydreaming all week about this moment from last summer... my first time trying stand up paddle boarding.  The sun was shining on Mirror Lake and it was my first time viewing the town of Lake Placid from the water. I had bruised my sternum the week prior in an unfortunate hiking fight with a large piece of a granite boulder in Acadia National Park. So I wasn't able to mess around and try my hand at yoga balance postures like my siblings were doing. Besides laughing at their antics, the main memories from that evening are quite moments like in this picture... where I was just sitting down for a rest, enjoying the water and the warmth of the sun.      I've had a heart full of miss for Lake Placid this week. I want to go camping and feel my lungs burn as I haul my tush up a mountain. I want to get dirty and breathe fresh air and try stand up paddle boarding again. What about you? Sick of this crazy March weather, yet? What's

Easy Adirondack Hike | Mt. Jo

Today I want to share my experience(s) of a great hike in the Adirondacks that is totally accessible to newbies and kids.      We had a lot of fun taking Mom up Mt. Jo as her first Adirondack mountain during family vacation this summer, and it was such a great little hike with a wonderful summit, that I thought it would be a good intro for the girls this fall!     Mt. Jo takes about two and a half hours round trip (with kids) and is a really cool way to get a taste of a "true" ADK hike and summit view.     So pack up your water and your snacks and head to Adirondac Loj Rd. for parking at the High Peaks Information Center. It's $10/day and you get a last minute bathroom stop. Plus there's park staff to answer any last minute questions and a small store for any last minute supplies you forgot. The signs from this area are pretty clear, but to get to the trailhead of Mt. Jo you'll actually walk

Just Be Okay | The Tension Between Summer and Stillness

  Sarah Kay's poem The Paradox pretty aptly describes my feelings about how summer has gone... When I am inside writing, all I can think about is how I should be outside living. When I am outside living, all I can do is notice all there is to write about. Ohmygosh that has never been so true for me! There have been so many things I want to write about... so many pictures that have gone unedited... so many stories unshared. But that is the beauty of a busy summer, is it not? I've been at camp, I've done photos for a brand new baby and an excited senior and a mother in labor. I've gone on mini trips with Elsa and Anna. I've checked out museums and historic sites. I've gone hiking and camping with friends. Soon there will be a week with my sisters at Acadia National Park and then a week with the rest of the Rawleigh clan in the Adirondacks. WHEW! I struggle with that ironic guilt of how I'm not home and the house is a mess and I haven't been blogging or

Ponderings from Kid Books (and my trip to Yosemite)

{Alright you know how this works but I should say it anyways, any amazon links you see in this post are affiliate links. By clicking on them, you help me bring home some more bacon, at no extra cost to you! You don’t even have to buy what I’m blathering on about, but if you buy anything at all, you are helping support this blog and this business. THANK YOU!}   I try not to be disturbed by the fact that a lot of times the quotes that come most often to my mind are from children's books or movies. I guess that's just a Mom's lot in life! Anyways if you've never read Julia Donaldson's book The Snail and the Whale, you are totally missing out and you need to get yourself a copy. Even if you don't have kids, it's just fabulous. It's all about a snail who wants to travel and hitches a ride on the tail of a whale. And there's a surprise twist ending that I wouldn't dare spoil for you ;-) Read it to your kids and be inspired!    So I thought of