Fourth of July Weekend 2017

I sit typing this post early in the morning, while the kids are asleep, the sky is dark and rain is pouring down outside – it’s definitely back to reality for me.  But as I ease back into schedules, routines and to-do lists, I’ll be hanging onto the memories of a sun-drenched weekend with family and friends, up in upstate New York.

We arrived at my parents’ house outside of Albany on the Thursday before the Fourth.  The original plan had been to travel on Friday, but Steve had a work deadline that meant he would need to be at his computer all day on Friday and couldn’t spend seven hours driving.  So rather than miss out on plans we had already made, we pushed our travel day up and extended our trip.  Steve and I both fired up our computers and got to work on Thursday, while the kids settled right down to the business of vacation.


They discovered Nana’s garden hose and shenanigans obviously happened as a result.

Someone was still loving on his belly button…

Friday was more of the same – work for the parents; fun for the kids.  The grandparents took them to a small local amusement park and playground for the morning while Steve and I typed away at our computers.  Our weekend started in earnest at 5:00 on Friday afternoon, when we all headed over to the home of some family friends for a cookout.  It was my favorite group of “framily” – friends who are like family to us – my parents’ closest friends, who hosted, and my high school best friend and her family.  Love them all so much!  All the kids had a blast playing (in the super-not-babyproofed house!) and the adults ate delicious food, drank rosé, and got all caught up.  We heard all the details about upcoming weddings and trips to Disney, and shared what we’ve been up to in D.C.  I took plenty of pictures (of course!) but won’t share them here – they’re destined for my private family album.

Saturday and Sunday were set aside for hiking and we had fun and exciting hikes both days.  Both hikes deserve their own posts, so I’ll save those details for later this month and skip right to Monday.  For the Fourth of July, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than the lake!

I tell Steve I have one requirement, and only one requirement, for the Fourth – spend it near water.  I don’t need a cookout, fireworks, funny sunglasses or anything else, as long as there’s water.  In Buffalo we usually went to Canalside, which was fun, but never quite satisfying because we never actually got on the water – just stood and looked longingly at Buffalo Harbor Kayak.  The lake is a different story.

For those who don’t know, my parents, aunt and uncle all have adjoining lakefront properties on one of the Adirondack lakes.  I’ve been coming here since before I can remember, and it’s like a second home.  These days I try to make the trip at least once a year – it’s not easy to get here, living so far away as D.C. (or Buffalo, for that matter).  Last weekend was probably our only trip to the lake for the year.  Happy to be here!

My cousin Jocelyn came, too, and brought her dog Max – much to Peanut’s delight and Nugget’s concern.  My grandmother was there as well, and our family friends – what a reunion!

Peanut did some fishing for landsharks with her new fishing rod (note: she is wearing my hat).  Nugget has one too, which will be important later.

Obviously, if it’s at all possible to sail, we sail!  My dad made sure the boat was in the water in time for our visit, and we had a fabulously windy day on Monday, so a sail was clearly in order.  The crew included our friend Michael, my cousin Jocelyn, my dad, Steve and me and the kids.  Don’t worry – we’ve fit more than that on the boat.

Family boat selfie!  Only half of Mom’s face, but Peanut is actually looking at the camera and smiling.  IT’S AN INDEPENDENCE DAY MIRACLE.

The kids settled in and enjoyed a boat snack, which clearly had to be Pirate’s Booty.

Jocelyn sat in my favorite spot.

And the wind really picked up!  We sailed on the jib for a little while because it was actually a very breezy day and we didn’t want to keel too much with the littles on board.  Eventually we decided to raise the main, too, and we really started moving then.

I think certain people really enjoyed their first sail.  Of course, neither one of them can quite hang.  So this inevitably happened:


What a great sail, though.  I was so glad that I got out on the boat at least once this season.  When I was growing up, we sailed almost every weekend – summer doesn’t feel quite the same without that wind and water.


Back on shore, Nugget woke up (grouchy) and after he recovered from the shock of his boat nap ending, he had some fun waving a mini American flag around.

And we enjoyed drinks and happy hour, courtesy of our family friend Denise (who is an incredible cook).  I think I may have single-handedly eaten a third of the shrimp salad on endive leaves.  Oh, yeah, and Peanut took credit for the food.  She flung her arms wide and declared, “ENJOY this FEAST I have prepared!  I gardened the green parts myself!”  Ha!  A cookout followed, but I was too busy eating to snap pictures.

End of a beautiful day on the water.  What more could you ask for?

On the Fourth itself, we were obviously back at the lake.  I was trying to herd everyone out the door immediately after breakfast, but it actually ended up being closer to lunch.  Oh, well!  We got there eventually and immediately got down to the business of having fun.  Nugget stuck his feet in the lake.


And then he did some fishing of his own.  And by fishing, I mean attacking bubbles with his BB-8 fishing rod.  No shame, you guys.

The lake is still pretty chilly, so we inflated a baby pool and my mom and I took turns hauling buckets of water up from the lake to fill it.  Nugget was READY to go in that empty pool.

I made the kids promise to give me my annual Fourth of July gift: a cute picture of them looking at the camera and smiling.  They did promise, but then they tried to flake on me.  Oh, no…

Nugget, look over here.

Getting closer…

Called it good.  They both look kind of insane, but what can you do?  They are insane.

We had a much calmer day on the Fourth, so instead of sailing, I checked off the last thing on my Fourth of July to-do list: kayaking.

I am an avid kayaker, and I used to be out on the water paddling my little red kayak all the time.  Like with many other things, kids changed that for me and I haven’t been able to get out much recently.  My parents have had custody of my kayak for years and I am glad they’ve been enjoying it, but I sure do miss it.  When I saw how calm the water was, I immediately asked my dad to launch my kayak.

That’s what I’m talking about.

I paddled down to the end of our bay and then circled back to see about picking up a passenger.  Nugget had burst into tears when he saw me drifting off, so I thought he may like to join me for a little while.

(Note: I think that before taking young kids out in any boat, including a kayak, you need to know the kid and know yourself.  I am an experienced kayaker and Nugget is a good listener, and I felt comfortable with the idea of having him out on the water with me.  So did Steve, obviously.  I wouldn’t take either of the kids out in a canoe, where they’d have more room to roam and stand up, but with twenty years of paddling experience I felt that Nugget was perfectly safe on my lap.  But I actually did a ton of research about the appropriate age to introduce a kid to a kayak before letting him in there with me!)

Someone else wanted a turn, too!  Funnily enough, I was more nervous about having Peanut on the kayak than I was about Nugget.  Nugget at two is actually a better listener than Peanut at almost-five, and while I trust my own abilities, I wasn’t entirely sure I trusted her to follow my directions and not goof off.  We did have a talk about not leaning over the side (I don’t care if Moana does it) but after that, she was really good.  I ended up giving both kids two rides, and I’m so glad to know that they can go paddling with me now!  I don’t know if it will be an option in D.C. (the water on the Potomac can be a little rough, and I don’t know if I can take them out in a rental) but at least we’ve done it once and established that it’s possible.

Back on shore, Nugget wanted to play “Maui.”

He also asked to go SUPing.  (He was very particular about the paddles – only wanted to use the SUP paddle on the SUP, and insisted on holding the kayak paddle while sitting in the kayak.)

We finished the day with an early cookout and drove back to my parents’ house as the sun was setting, knowing we had an early day the next day – and by 4:30 the following morning, we were on the road back to D.C.  It was a warm, sunny, happy weekend and I know we’re all going to cherish the memories we made for a long time.

Happy (belated) Independence Day!  How did you spend your Fourth?


11 thoughts on “Fourth of July Weekend 2017

  1. It’s always fun to read the details describing the photos I’ve seen on Instagram. Now I know what was going on! And I love that the kids were both able to go out with you in the kayak.

    • Yes, I’m so glad that the kayak worked out! Now I want to take them out more often. It’s definitely one of the consolations to them no longer being tiny babies – there are so many more things we can do together now!

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