Beach Weekend

Just some photos from Bethany Beach a few weeks ago.  We rented a house to ourselves and it was breakfast, beach, lunch, beach, dinner, bed, repeat for 3 days.  A fun time and nice to get out of the house for a bit.

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Janes Island Camping

Last week we had our first summer vacation at Janes Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  It’s a barrier island on the Chesapeake bay side.  We camped at a beautiful state park in the tall pines just inland of the island and brought Grandpa Ray’s small motor boat to access some beaches.  Grandma and Grandpa met us with their camper in tow.  Our friend Chris who has a house nearby also met up with us and took everyone out in his boat.

We spent three days playing on beaches only inhabited by some horse flies (not bad as long as you had pants and sleeves) and one day Dad and I hired a friend’s fishing guide service to take us out on the bay.  We caught many striped bass and speckled trout and brought a few home for dinner.

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More Covid-tivities

Time flies when you’re self-isolating, teleworking, and homeschooling.  It’s been a while so I thought I should share some happenings.  Like many others we are trying to balance work and home stuff and getting out of the house enough to keep from going crazy.  Elli’s swim team and summer camps were cancelled, which she was sad about.  We’ve been visiting with grandparents, going on lots of bike rides, cooling off in the kiddie pool, and eating lots of popsicles.  We also completed our bathroom renovation project and then hired out installation of wood flooring in the master bedroom, upstairs hallway and staircase.  Turned out very nice!

Plans have been made for summer that we are looking forward to:  Weekend at the beach, camping, lake house, and visits from grandparents are all scheduled!

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Wasting no time enjoying their easter egg hunt spoils.

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In home pace painting.

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The day the playgrounds were reopened, we were there!

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Pedal harder Rory!

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Bathroom done!

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Family boat ride on Father’s Day.

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Pool Time!

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New water feature at the playground.

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We’re Alright

Just a quick post to say we are doing well in Coronavirus times.  Three weeks into full time teleworking and homeschooling/caring for the kids and I think we’re finding a groove.  Our employers are offering quite a bit of flexibility, which is essential.  We are keeping sane by playing outside as much a possible and scheduling adult socialization and card games via FaceTime after the kids are asleep.  We brought a friends teenage daughter into our bubble to watch the girls tuesday and thursday afternoons so we can keep up with work and chores.

Elli’s schooling situation is starting to come into focus, but it’s mostly ‘self guided’.  The district is struggling because did not have any kind of e-learning system in place when the schools closed, so they are trying to train teachers and are sort of making things up as they go.

We are thankful to be getting some extra time with the kids.  The other day I was thinking it’s nice not to have to do the frantic get dressed-eat breakfast-pack lunches-bus stop-drive Rory to daycare race every morning.

Hope everyone is doing well!

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Roadtrip to the Eastern Shore early in the lockdown

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Bike Ride

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Muddy Bike Ride

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Playing Graduation

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Portrait of a Christmas Bear

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Lots of Coloring!

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Cheri gave me a haircut!

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The Great Parental Escape

With immense help from G&G Withers, and the reluctant acceptance of two little girls, Cheri and I travelled to Yellowstone National Park this week for an adults only winter getaway.  

On Monday afternoon we flew to Salt Lake City, rented a Jeep, and drove 6 hours in a snowstorm to arrive in the town of West Yellowstone just before midnight.  It was a long day and there was no trouble falling asleep.

In the morning we met Mike, the driver of our 1978 vintage Bombardier snow coach who would shuttle us to the lodge at Old Faithful. It was -26 degrees and snow accumulation on the radiators was causing the coach to run hot.  Mike had to make frequent stops for the machine to cool down, but he was good at stopping where there were beautiful views and pictures to take.  We got stuck in a Bison jam that was not shown on Google Maps.

After arriving at the lodge we spent the afternoon getting acquainted with the area, watching Old Faithful erupt, and testing out our cross country ski equipment.  I should mention that, while it was cold, it was also sunny with blue skies above, which is quite rare (one of the guides said it was only the second sunny day he has seen this winter) so we felt lucky.

Besides all the amazing geothermal activity and wildlife, the main objective of our visit was to ski the trails around Geyser Basin.  On Wednesday morning we took the 8:15am ski shuttle to Divide Trail and skied 10.5 miles back to the lodge through a long canyon and stopping to have lunch at the Lone Star Geyser.  It was beautiful and we only saw 2 other skiers on the 6 hour trip.  The snow conditions and abundance of solitude were epic!  After all of that, we were happy to sit by the fire and have a nice dinner at the restaurant in the lodge.

Thursday we had to catch our snow coach out at noon but after studying the maps we thought that if we hurried we could ski the 8 miles out to see Mystic Falls and get back in time.  It was a very close call and we had to ski our butts off but we made it to the waterfall and got to see many cool geysers and also wolves feeding on a kill along the way!

Then it was back on the Bombardier through quite a blizzard to our Jeep in West Yellowstone.  On the way we spotted a coyote stalking some bison and our coach driver congratulated us on our “two dog day.”  All that was left was a 5 hour drive back to Salt Lake, and super yummy pizza (Tree Hugger for Cheri and The Italian Job for me) for dinner!

Our flight home departed at 2:20PM, but before that we spent the morning visiting Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake.  There we saw some nice mountainy views and more coyote and bison.

We’re nearly home now and can’t wait to give the girls a big hug.  Their love will be bought back with a viewing of Disney on Ice this weekend!

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Snowcoach to Old Faithful

 

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We had the coach all to ourselves!

 

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Bison Jam

 

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Otherworldly sights when driving across a volcano.

 

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Old Faithful Erupting

 

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Skiing through miles of pines.

 

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Warm water hosts green life while everything else is dormant.

 

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Departing Lone Star Geyser after Lunch

 

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Icicles on Castle Geyser

 

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Steamy, Foggy Winterscape

 

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Colorful Pool

 

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Skiing up to Mystic Falls

 

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                                                  Made it to the Falls!

 

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                                                          Bison Portrait

 

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Coyote Stalking Bison in a Snowstorm

 

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Overlooking the Salt Lake from Antelope Island

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                         Coyote on Frozen Salt Lake

 

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Christmas 2019

We packed away all the Christmas decorations yesterday, so it’s time to share the 2019 holiday report.

This year we stayed put in Maryland and played host to all the grandparents as well as my brother.  The advent calendar kept us busy and we were able to pack quite a bit into the kids 12 days off from school.  The highlights were ice skating, several hikes in the woods, visiting Longwood Gardens, skiing with Elli at Roundtop, baking cookies, getting new bunkbeds, and seeing Frozen 2!

We received lots of nice picture cards in the mail and it’s good to see everyone happy and healthy.

Happy New Year!

Visiting Santa at the Fire Station

First Snow Day of 1st Grade

Stamping Out Christmas Cookies

Enjoying Snowman Pancakes

New Bunkbeds made by Our Friend Chris!

Withers’ on Ice

Hiking with a Princess

Elliott’s Note to Santa

Christmas Morning

Elves and Uncle Brent

Christmas Day Hike at Susquahanna

More Gifts from G&G Stader

Train Garden at Longwood

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Thanksgiving in Ohio

This year we travelled to Grandma and Grandpa Stader’s house in Columbus for Thanksgiving.  We were joined by Cheri’s Aunt Tunie and Uncle Kevin who flew in from Omaha.

Thursday we had a nice hike in the woods followed by preparing and eating turkey, potatoes in many forms, broccoli, cranberry relish, beans, cauliflower, and apple pie.  Super yummy!  Then card games were played into the night.

We then spent the weekend with Cheri’s brother Chris’s family and the cousins all got along great.  We all went on a nice hike and enjoyed the company.  The kids baked Christmas cookies with Grandma.  I also got to meet up with some high school and college friends and watch the Buckeyes crush Michigan.

Big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for their hospitality!

Elliott’s Recipe

Baking Christmas Cookies

Sliding Sisters

Down the Fire Pole

Group Hike Minus the Over Achievers (Cheri, Rory, and Tunie)

Cousins/Grandpa Hike

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Rory takes the easy option.

Group shot with questionable child buy-in.

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Fall Time 2019

October has been busy.  We went to the Darlington Apple Festival, had a neighborhood Oktoberfest block party, and the kids ran a cross country race.   Cheri and I each spent a week out of town on business, Elliott had a Walk-a Thon fundraiser, and of course Halloween!

Elli was a witch, Rory was a princess, and we hosted a few friends for dinner and trick-or-treating.  Incriminating photo evidence below…

Elliott’s Horsey Ride

Goofy Kids at Oktoberfest

XC Race Start

Rory on the home stretch.

Astronaut Elliott

Mrs. Vernon’s 1st Grade Class after Walk-a-Thon

Pumpkin Truck

Windy and Warm Halloween

Kid Costumes

Pumpkin Carved

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Camping with G&G Withers

Last weekend we met Grandma and Grandpa Withers for a nice camp out at Elk Neck State Park on the Chesapeake Bay.  We spent two nights and enjoyed biking, fishing, and hiking during the days.  The campground was nice for the kids with a playground and swimming beach close by.

Waiting for Popcorn on a Stick

Sisters on a Bench

Walking to the Lighthouse

Wheeeeee!

Elliott’s First Bass

Camp Digs

Camp Selfie

Turkey Point Lighthouse

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Rory’s 3rd Birthday

Rory turned 3 last week!  We didn’t plan much, just brownies at home and a few gifts on her day, but there was a neighborhood gathering of friends on friday evening so I showed up with a cake and made it a birthday party.  Rory says thank you for all the happy wishes and she is enjoying bragging that she is an inch taller than Elli was when she turned three!

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Impromptu Party
Yummy
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