Monday, June 25, 2007

Camping Trip-Father's Day

View from Cabin-Sunday Morning

It was chilly and raining when J and I got up on Sunday around 10am. I was not in a really good mood due to being extremely exhausted and I was trying to hide it but as J pointed out, I was not doing a good job at hiding it. I have to admit, I am addicted to coffee in the morning and I went without the day before and really needed that pick-me-up this particular morning. I would have to wait for that cup of coffee so I trudged through getting ready and packing to leave in a cloudy haze.

Today we were heading to J's parents to spend Father's Day with his dad but before we got there, J wanted to show me Plattsburgh ( where he went to school) and his family's cabin. The first stop, after we checked out, was Dunkin Donuts for some fresh coffee, of course. I felt normal after having a few sips and J turns to me jokingly and says " Man, we have to find out a way to get that right into your veins in the morning before you get out of bed" I just smiled and apologized for being edgy earlier. That is one of the great things about J, he doesn't get mad when I am being ridiculous, he just teases be about it later and we usually end up laughing about it. The drive to Plattsburgh was very green and smelled of pine, one of my favorite camping smells. The mountains and views were amazing and reminded why I love New York so much. We arrive at Plattsburgh a couple hours later, where J took me on a tour of all his apartments over the years and the places he hung out at. It is a really cute town, smaller than I imagined from the stories I have heard but J was from a tiny town and this place was big to him at that time. We had to stop at Zuke's Corner Store for J's favorite sub, the Zuke's special. It is made on warm homemade bread ( sort of like a french bread but softer) and piled high with turkey, ham, coleslaw, cheese and Russian dressing ( i think). I ordered a roast beef special and I have to admit, the subs there are the best I have ever had. J has tried to copy the Zuke's special at home and he comes close to the real thing but you can't beat the bread they use.

After our lunch, we left Plattsburgh and headed towards his family's cabin. His grandfather had built the cabin by hand when he bought the land many years ago. J's aunt and uncle now own the cabin and live there for the whole summer. As we pull into the driveway, J says "oh my grandma is here" and I get a little nervous. I was prepared to meet his aunt and uncle but not grandma, a cousin and another aunt and uncle. The first to greet us was Aunt Pam, she and her husband live next door, she said she recognized us because she reads Rel's blog ( J's dad) and he has a few pictures of us up. We come inside and I meet everyone else including the 2 dogs. Everyone is very friendly and excited to see J, it has been a while since he has visited. The cabin is gorgeous. His aunt and uncle has done some remodeling including adding an upstairs. The walls are pine ( I think) planks and the room off of the living room has big windows on all the walls, and a great view of the lake. We visited for about an hour, said our good byes and headed towards his parents cabin.

We arrived at the camp about 3 hours later and I am happy to be able to relax for the rest of the evening. J decided he wanted to take a dip in the river. I was going to join him but the water here was too chilly for me. I will have to wait until it warms up 5-10 degrees more before I go swimming. He stayed in just long enough to cool off. J's dad fired up the grill while J's mom prepared the chicken and vegetables for the grill. The chicken, veggies, potatoes and salad were delicious. I love the salad, greens, cranberries, almonds, cucumbers and crumbly cheese. Yummy yum. At dinner J's mom told me that grandma called her right after we left camp and that everyone liked me and said I was nice. Phew!! Usually families like me but you never know :) J started a fire in the fire pit after dinner and we made a few s'mores for everyone. The sunset was amazing, the view from the cabin is really beautiful, morning or night. We continued to relax by the fire and then retired to bed, we had another long day of driving in front of us.

Sunday Sunset

It was nice to be at camp with J's dad for father's day. I called my dad and he was at my sister's celebrating and enjoying his day with my siblings and his grand kids. I wanted to stay at camp and continue our vacation but all good things must come to an end. My weekend was prefect and really relaxing. I am very happy I got to meet more of J's family and to see the places he talks about. I may not get to spend a lot of time with J during the week but quality time together, just him and I, is worth it. I am glad that his early birthday gift ( this weekend) turned out as well as it did.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Camping Trip - Rafting

It was 6:30 am when I opened my eyes on Saturday morning. I was filled with excitement about the days events, exhausted but full of anticipation. We had to be at Wild Water Outdoor Center by 8:30 am to check in and it was about 20 minutes from where we were staying so we left camp at 8.

On the ride to the Wild Waters, we were imagining what the trip, our guide and the other people are going to be like. It was the first time J and I have been whitewater rafting and we were not sure what to expect. The first thing you have to do after telling the lady in the store that you are there, you have to sigh a release of liability. The first sentence on the form states that you are aware and are liable for any bodily injury, including paralysis, decapitation etc.. this line made us laugh so hard because we were just talking about getting hurt on this trip. We walk around back to where the guides are in the middle of preparing the boats and equipment for the trip. We got fitted for vests, helmets, paddles and was offered a full wet suit or a wet suit top. J and I opted not to wear either wetsuit option since it did look like it was going to be a very nice day. Well I opted not to wear one because I wanted to get a tan while I was on the water and J opted not to wear one because our very skinny guide wasn't going to wear one so he figured he would be fine. The guides loaded the filly inflated boats on top of an old blue school bus while all of us waited for the ok to board the bus. The guides had to stall a little because this time of the year the Indian and Hudson rivers are a low and a dam releases water daily around 10am, which makes it easier to raft. We finally board the bus and are off to the "Put in" , about 15- 20 mins away.

All of us looked pretty silly riding on the bus with our helmets and vests on. About half way there, one of the guides, Mark ( which turns out to be our guide), gets our attention and explains to us the dos and dont's for the day. He mostly explained what to do if you fall out of the boat and other safety tips for the day. Most of the river we were going to raft, it not accessible by car so he advised getting out and walking was not a good idea and also reminded us if we get hurt, the only way out is to raft the rivers. If we were to fall out of the boat, we should not try and stand up because that increases the chance that your foot would get stuck on a rock, branch or other item and that will create a very dangerous situation. After his speech, my nervousness came back and I was determined not to fall out of the boat. We get to the "Put in" where all the boats are put in :) , and realize there are a lot of companies with multiple boats rafting today. Our company had 3 boats with 6 people per boat. Later we realize that there are about 40 boats with at least 6 people a boat rafting today. The guides unload the boats from the top of the bus, assign us to a guide and a boat and we gathered with our group. I was lucky to have the group I had, it was me, J and 4 other guys, which meant I didn't have to struggle carrying the boat from our bus to the riverbank or back out of the river at the end. Yeah me :) Our guide Mark goes over a few tips when rafting, #1 always listen to him, he will tell us when to paddle, how hard to paddle and if we have to get down. He also explained where to sit on the boat, how to hold the paddle at all times and what to do when we have to get down ( lean low into the center of the boat).

Our 3 groups carried the boats to the riverbank and one by one, where the boats are put in the water. I made sure I was sitting in the middle, in front of J, just in case I fell out, he would be closest to grab me. Mark explained we had to all paddle in unison to make the boat move smoothly, especially in the rapids so we practiced that and listening to his commands. After he felt we were ready, we headed down the Indian River. It was surprising when I got soaked by the first rapid but to my relief, the water was warm and refreshing. It was sunny and warm but will the equipment on and paddling, I was getting hot so the first splash was perfect. I believe this is also where the first person went in the water from our boat. Mark yelled "watch out" as we got into the rapid, which means you get low and lean in the middle of the boat, and the front guy didn't lean low enough and out of the boat he went. He grabbed the line on the outside of the boat quickly and the other guys grabbed his life vest and pulled him in. I know this is going to sound mean but I became relaxed, knowing I was not going to be the first person in the water. He didn't get hurt or anything but the look on his face was that of shock. He proceeds to fall out of the boat two more times during our trip. Mark starts to explain to us a few things about the water and rapids suck as eddys and how they hold you where you are and how to surf the rapids. We paddle on and off down the river hitting some fun warm up rapids here and there. There is a section of the trip that the water is calm so mostly everyone gets out of the boats and swims a little. Now I am not a fan of getting in water you can't see the bottom of but I am a good swimmer and I do have a life vest on so I decide to get in. J had already beat me into the water and was swimming right along. I was not that brave to go very far from the boat and for most the time held onto the boat so I knew I wouldn't swim anywhere I shouldn't. We were able to swim for about 15 minutes and I was so excited that we were swimming, I forgot to pee. Yes this does sound disgusting but there isn't a Johnny on the Spot or anything on the riverbank for the 6 hour trip and peeing in the river it a better option then peeing in the woods at our lunch brake. Needless to say, I held it for the rest of the trip. Somewhere in the middle of the trip, the boats stop on the riverbank and we are provided with lunch. They had sandwiches, apples, crackers w/peanut butter and water for our 3 boats. The break lasted about 20 minutes and we were back in the water headed down the Hudson.

We came to a few rapids and Mark talked us through surfing the rapids. The boat goes past the rapid, we try to find an eddy to hold us for a moment or two and then we paddle as hard as we can towards the rapid and once there, you try to get a lot of water in the boat so it holds you there and the rapids come crashing into the boat. Our attempts were successful and it was so much fun!! On some bigger rapids, other boats tried and failed at surfing but our boat was successful every time we tried. I am sure it was due to the men in the boat and our guide's instructions. On one of the larger rapids we were surfing, one of the guys (Steve), was leaning out over the water, trying to get water into the boat so it would hold us there, lost his grip and went into the water. The rapids pulled him under our boat and shot him right out the other side. I didn't laugh that time because I thought he was injured at first but he seemed to have liked it. I am so glad we got Mark for our guide, he was a lot of fun and had us surfing a lot of the rapids.

Along the Hudson, there was a large rock coming out of the water, where the guides stopped the boats so you could climb it and jump off into the water if you wanted to. This is something I was not interested in at all. I knew I would hurt myself if I attempted it but J and 3 of the guys wanted to so Mark stopped the boat there. The guide told us that the rope is just to hold the boat and not for climbing as he gets to the top of the rock. J starts to climb up the rock, grabs the rope and ends up falling back down the rock into the boat. Of course I starting laughing, well I knew he wasn't hurt. He got right back up, maybe a little embarrassed, climbed the rock and jumped off the other side. It looked like fun but I am not the graceful and have a tendency to make an ass of myself when in situations like that.

After rock jumping, we continued down the Hudson through the gorge. The scenery is absolutely breath taking at this point of the trip. All along, the scenery was amazing, rich green trees, in the middle of no where but the gorge was something else. You look up and see these huge tall rock type edges, with tree's roots exposed and you feel really small in comparison. It's here on the trip that I regretted not buying one of the waterproof disposable cameras they offered in the store where we had to check in. As J said " It's scenery just for your memories". This is also the part of the trip that i slightly started to regret not getting a wetsuit top. The sun had gone away, the air cooled off and it looked like a storm was heading our way. I asked Mark what so they do if it rains, which his reply was obvious after I heard it. He said since the only way out of this area is by car, you have to paddle to the end of the trip so you can get to a road, rain or shine. He also explained there isn't a lot of danger involved, since you are in a rubber boat, with plastic helmets and paddles and in the middle of huge trees. The likely hood of you getting struck by lighting is slim. It did sprinkle off and on for the rest if the trip and I was a tad chilly but I was not about to let any of the men in the boat know that :)

The last hour or so of the trip was a semi boring. We had missed or were in front of the bubble ( the water from the dam) and moving very slow. We could have paddled to speed it up but the water was very shallow and our boat kept getting stuck on rocks. That is the way the 3rd guy fell out of the boat. It stopped abruptly on a rock and doink, he fell right out over the side. Now that made me laugh a lot ( it wasn't just me laughing, don't think I mean) and I was exhausted by then, which makes me giggle at anything. I was wet, chilly, had a headache ( lack of water, due to having to pee for the last 6 hours) and we were moving so slow. I could tell J and the others were tired too, our boat became very quiet. We finally got to the riverbank( around 4:30) where we had to carry our boat up to the road where the bus was waiting for us. J and some other guys helped the guides load the boats back on top of the bus and then we were back on the road.

Once we were back, they had a BBQ dinner all ready for the boaters. Salad, veggie tray, chicken, potatoes, corn, cookies and refreshments. The food was delicious and much needed. During the last rapids we went through on the Hudson, a guy that works for Wild Waters, took pictures of the boats. He had the pictures showing a TV while we were eating. we had the option to buy single pictures, multiple pictures or a CD with your boats pictures on it. J and I opted to buy the CD. The picture posted on the blog are from that CD.

After eating dinner, we headed back to camp. We were so tired!! J attempted to start a fire but decided he would lay down and I went to the bathroom to freshen up but joined J after and we napped. It didn't seem that we did that much paddling etc on the water but our nap probably could have lasted all night but we deiced that would not be good. We got up, J started that fire and we relaxed for a couple of hours. The next day morning we were heading to up to Plattsburgh, to his family's cabin and then to his parents.

Just in case you are wondering.... my chapstick survived in J's pocket during the trip, thank goodness :)

What a Road Trip!

J and I are back safe from our road trip this weekend. It was an absolute blast!! Even a little rain didn't stop me from having the best weekend to date.

After completing some errands on Friday morning, we were officially on the road to Schroon Valley Resort by noon. The day before, I printed driving directions from yahoo maps and they estimated that it would take us 4 hrs and 53 mins to get to our first destination. I knew, however, it would take longer than that. For one, I have to stop every couple of hours to use the ladies room and stretch my legs and I was also in charge of reading the directions which I am not so good at. We did get a little turned around because my interpretation of the directions were a little off but that only delayed us about 20 minutes, we arrived at the camp ground at 6pm, just like I predicted :) Most of the campers there were in RV's and seemed to plan on staying there for most of the summer. After checking in, we found our cabin and begun to unpack. I had bought most of the groceries we needed that morning back home but we needed to get hot dogs and such at the local store. The cabin was very cozy and cute. You walk into the front room where there is a futon, table, chairs, microwave and a dorm size fridge with a freezer compartment. In the back room, which was the bedroom, there was a full size "bed" to the right and bunk beds on the other side of the room along with an air conditioner. The "bed" was really a piece of ply wood with a thin mat on it. Thank goodness for the futon mat in the front room, that made a huge difference that night when we went to bed.

After unpacking, we asked at the front office where the closest grocery store was and headed in that direction to pick a few things up. We walked into the Grand Union and it was much smaller store than I was used to but had everything we needed including sticks to make S'Mores. I had never had one until this weekend and I even went camping a lot when I was younger. You could tell that most of the patrons in the store were out of towners looking for supplies for the week. We got back to camp and J started the grill and a fire in the fire pit right outside of our cabin. He is really good at making fire, which led me to call him my big strong man all weekend, which annoyed him by the end of the 3 days :) But honestly, when I am with him, I know that he will do all the manly things and I won't have to worry about it.. that's a good thing :) We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, which we had with the pasta salad and antipasto we picked up at the grocery store. We moved ourselves from the picnic table to the chairs around the camp fire. We drank some beers, met the "neighbors" and relaxed for the rest of the night by the fire. It was perfect.

More to come.. Whitewater rafting...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Camping Trip

This morning J and I are getting ready to go camping this weekend. It was his request for his birthday gift and this weekend was really the only weekend we had to go. I didn't realize it was father's day this Sunday until after I made the reservations but we are going to stop at his parents on Sunday to see his dad.

We are going to Schroon Valley Resort near Lake George until Sunday. We are not really roughing it, I reserved a cabin for us but it does not have a kitchen or a bathroom so I guess just sort of camping. I used to camp all the time when I was younger but I had a hard time thinking of all the things we would need this weekend, I didn't have to worry about that, my mom took care of all that stuff. Moms are great like that. Anyway, we are going white water rafting on Saturday while we are there. Wild Waters Outdoor Center is about 20 minutes from the camp site and we have to sign in at 8 am. It's an all day adventure so they will serve us lunch on the river and dinner when we get back. J and I have never been so we are really excited. I am nervous just because I am not sure what to expect but I am sure it is going to be so much fun. However, I am going to be lost without my chapstick, the lady at the place said that we should leave all of our personal items locked in the car. I know it sounds silly but I really am addicted to chapstick so it will be an experience. Wild Waters provides us with all the equipment we will need, helmet, life vest and a guide. To be honest, I am no excited/nervous about it, I haven't really slept all week, it's like waiting for Christmas day . :)

I have to finish getting packed so we can get on the road soon. We have about 5 hours in the car an probably a little longer since I have to stop every few hours. I love taking road trips with J so this should be a blast.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Alex


Today is Alex's 2nd birthday. How time flies, just yesterday I was at the hospital waiting to meet little Alex. He has an older brother Andrew who will be turning 4 next month.

J and I went to visit them this past Sunday since we won't be in town for Alex's b-day party this weekend. As always the boys were in good moods and very energetic. It would be nice if as adults we could have some of that energy to get us through day. I suppose if we got to take a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day we would. Andrew is really talkative and says the funniest things. I asked him what he wanted for his b-day next month and he said " a diaper". I thought that was odd since he is potty trained but then realized Alex was getting his diaper changed and he was being funny. So I ask " And what are you going to do with a diaper? You are not a baby anymore" Andrew said " put it on the fan" and looked up at the ceiling fan. All of us were laughing and he was grinning ear to ear knowing what he just said was silly. He loves to preform for a crowd. Alex is a little more shy than Andrew but still as cute and smiling. I think he doesn't get to talk as much because his older brother doesn't stop to give him a chance. I, of course, was the same... never shutting up so my little brother could talk. The poor kid hummed and pointed when he wanted something, my mom would get so frustrated... Anyway this was the first time J had met them and he seemed entertained by them. I love Linda's boys and I am glad I got to hang with them for a little bit, they get so big, so fast.

Happy 2nd Birthday little cutie.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Meet Baby Acosta


I see some fingers :) Not sure if it's a he or she but does that really matter as long as he/she is healthy? It's only the end of the 1st trimester and it is so big already. If you can't tell, I am very, very excited about my best friend having a baby!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Party Time

It was Madison's 2nd b-day on Friday and Marissa threw her party on Saturday. It was the perfect weather, sunny, warm ( 90 degrees), and breezy. J and I got to the house around 3 ( the party started at 2) and all of Eric's family was there along with Marissa's mom.
I was so excited to go shopping for a little 2 year old girl. There were so many options for me to choose from. I felt bad because J wanted to be there when I went shopping but our schedules just didn't allow that. I started in the little girl clothes section first ( of course). It was a sea of pinks, purples and frills. I picked up a really cute Dora ( that is the rave for 2 year olds) tank top with frills on the arms and on the bottom that was matched with really cute purple shorts. Unfortunately I couldn't find the right size for Madison so on to the toy section. This was my favorite part, I got to try out all the cool toys they have out for little ones. At first I was very confused on where to exactly look for the right age appropriate toys so I asked a lady standing in one of the toy aisles and she pointed me in the right direction. I know that toys have age labels on them such as 18m+ or infant, etc but I wasn't finding the perfect toy for Madison in her age group. I finally came across an aisle of Backyardagains( back-yard-agains) items and remembered that this is one of Madison's favorite shows to watch. I was standing in front of a plastic guitar, with the different characters on buttons and each one had a different song and a plastic radio with mic that had the 5 characters on buttons that played 10 different songs in 5 categories. I tested both items out and decided on the radio. I thought that Madison will love hearing her voice come out of the radio. The radio is interesting, it has 5 categories of music, rock, disco, zydeco, ska ( yep funny right?) and salsa. When you pressed the button, a song with the character singing would play. It's really funny when you actually listen to the words of each song, they sound like a toddler made them up but it is for entertaining them so I guess that makes sense. Off to the movie/music section for a Backyaragains DVD. Madison loves her DVDs and I wanted to get her another little something and Backyardagains Surf's up was the pick.

Marissa had the house and back porch all decorated in Dora colors, purple and orange with matching plates, napkins and silverware. She even got a huge Dora helium balloon for Madison (she just loved it). Everyone was outside enjoying the weather. Well, not everyone, there were some inside taking advantage of the air conditioning but I thought it was perfect weather. We found Madison at her new sand/water table playing with her toys, smiling and laughing. She was in heaven, everyone over, means more people to play with. Marissa had her dressed in white capri pants and a really cute brown top. That outfit only lasted a little bit and like a true girl, changed mid-way through the party into an adorable orange and white romper. J and I got introduced to the people we didn't know and than grabbed a beer to sit down and enjoy. It's such a great feeling to watch kids run around, play and have fun. Madison was loving having her cousins there to put her on the swings, play in her new pool and play with her new sand/water table. The food arrived shortly after we got there, pizza, wings, salads, all your normal party stuff. A short time after eating, it was present time but J and I missed it because we had to run to the store for a few things that were needed. I was a little disappointed but Madison was getting a little tired so they needed to do it when they did. She really didn't open them herself but loved seeing all the stuff for her. I was glad to hear that Marissa thought she would love what we got her and that she didn't already have that DVD. The party continued with Madison trying out some of her gifts and J and I just enjoying everyone's company. It was cake time and Madison had been practicing blowing out her candle for some time leading up to this moment. Everyone gathered around the table to look at the Dora cake and to sing happy birthday. The singing began and at first Madison was loving it and then she got shy and covered her face ( very cute). The song ended, we counted to 3 and she blew out her candle. It was so exciting that she actually blew it out herself. All of us clapped and cheered.

After most quests went home and the baby was in bed, Marissa and Eric got to sit down with us and Patty ( Marissa's mom) and relax. It was a really good birthday party and Madison seemed to have a ball. It was great to be there and I am glad we got to go and help celebrate her birthday.