Family Day: Part 2

On our second day of camping for Family Day, we visited a beautiful state park in Ithaca, New York. It had lots of waterfalls to see and hike around, and then offered swimming at the bottom for those hot and tired afternoons! We took our time and arrived around 11, put a water bottle in a backpack and the sandwiches we packed for lunch. Then we went off on the hike, 2.5 miles up and 2.5 miles back. I don’t know why we thought that was a good idea with a 4 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old and 10 year old. But we didn’t really think twice. We also didn’t think about how long it would take, how many hills and stairs we’d have to do. It ended up just fine (other than carrying Madeline for half the time) but we could have been smarter. And packed more water. And more food.

Here they are, at the start of the day!

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At least 2 of the 4 seem excited!

state park12The start of the stairs!

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Couldn’t ask for a prettier day, although I bet it’s super beautiful in the fall!

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Some more of the stairs, on the way up!

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Someone needed a nap at the halfway point!

Then it was time to head back down.

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Scarlett was refusing to eat her ham sandwich, so she had to carry it along with her.

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Hubby bravely carrying Madeline down the stairs. I would go up with her but not down, too afraid of footing! Scarlett and her sandwich stuck by my side.

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The three amigos, getting along rather well at this point. Probably about 3 hours in…

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Hubby explaining something about the rock settling.

state parkFinally some swimming at the end!

As soon as we put our feet in the water, they turned numb. It was SO COLD! We were sweaty and salty from hiking for 4 hours but the kids had fun getting waist-deep in the water. Huck even jumped off the diving board near the falls! I wished I could get a picture but I was with the girls in the water.

We were so proud of the kids. Besides Madeline, there were no complaints of heat, exhaustion, sore feet, etc. On the way up we sang songs (minus Hubby), songs from church and school and nursery rhymes. This helped keep their minds off the walking! In general we were going at a slow pace so we could check out the nature around us. I still can’t believe we did it!

Then it was time for a nice dinner by the lake.

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I’m sure Madeline was crying about not being able to jump off the dock or running after a bird!

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We all slept well that night and returned home the next day. We had plans to swim/mini golf/jump more but the weather did no cooperate. We didn’t complain, it felt like an action-packed couple of days!

Family Day

We had an awesome time on Family Day. Enough that it was hard for all of us to come back and get into a routine again. We stayed up late, slept in late, got treats, and didn’t turn on a TV or tablet once! Hubby left his phone in the car often and I only had mine to take pictures. So we made some special memories!

We left on Sunday around lunch time for the Finger Lakes, which are about 2-3 hours from our home. We had great weather the whole trip, we couldn’t have asked for better!

I had wanted to stop and have a tasting at a local family-friendly winery that also provides tours/explanation of how wine is made, but GPS messed up and took us way out of our way. So we checked into our campground and got right down to business: mini golf! This picture is an accurate portrayal of how mini golf went:

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The bigger kids were attempting to annoy each other and Madeline was off in her own world as usual. We checked into our cabin (note: this is as “camping” as I get. We had running water, a small kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms with a loft. The living room had a small a/c unit.) and got ready to swim! The kids were so excited that there was a splash park at the pool:

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Huck loved the splash park!

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He was so excited!!

Once the kids were cold enough (we were nearly to Canada after all!), they checked out the large jumping pillow at the campground for some bouncing madness:

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When we got back we had a proper dinner over the campfire: hot dogs, nachos, beans and s’mores!

The night got nice and chilly, and it reminded me of being a camp counselor in Maine. The windows were open and the breeze came in. Kids slept wonderfully and were comforted that we were all in such close proximity. It was even our first trip where Madeline was brave enough to share a bed with another kid instead of me! So her and Huck shared a bed and the two other girls were on bunks. It was so nice!

Stay tuned for part 2 of our trip: the state park!

Family Day

Each adoption, each fostering, and each respite are so different even if the stories of the children are similar. As a family we’ve chosen to celebrate our Family Day rather than Adoption Day. We got through adoption day and are glad to have it past us. Adoption Day brought up a lot of mixed feelings and anxiety. The general idea of Adoption Day is not something we care to celebrate, as it comes with great loss. We are, however, going to celebrate Family Day, which is the day that our kids were placed in our home. Last year they came to live with us on July 14th. If you want to revisit my first blog post after placement, it is here:

https://fosteringourhope.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/phew/

I looked up a lot of things to do for Family Day. We considered going to a theme park or a water park. But our kids really enjoy something simpler, and those would not afford us real quality one on one time. So we looked up destinations that are closer to home, within a 2 to 3 hour driving distance. We realized that we are about 2 hours from the Finger Lakes region in NY, where I haven’t been and none of the kids have visited. So we booked a camping “resort,” so that we have a cabin with a full kitchen, bathroom and electricity (the only way you’re getting me camping!). They have pools, playgrounds and a splash park on site and nearby are such beautiful state parks as any you would ever see. So we will be there for a few nights and enjoy our time with the kids!