Saturday, September 13, 2008

Indian Lake Vacation 08. Part 1: The trip

This is a big one, but here we go!

John got to ride Grandpa Brand's tractor and four-wheeler!

And he made a new friend...

Hanging out in the great outdoors with Grandpa...

And occasionally the great INdoors...

Another great attraction of Grandma and Grandpa's house was Grandma's nice big garden. This was a big hit...


Riding in the old wagon from when I was his age...

And of course some nice big Brand Breakfasts! John discovered a latent and genetically inevitible love for a new food: BACON!

A little trip to the beach at Blue Mountain Lake...

And some super-cool exhibits at the Adirondack Museum, including an awesome old train!

John and Mommy ride the bear...

And the old-fashioned seesaw...

Some photo-ops on the rocks in the river behind Grandma and Grandpa's house...

Beth made a new friend as well, a huge old tree...

Hey, is that Larry the Cucumber from VeggieTales?

A classic O'Malley tongue-shot.

John showed Mommy and Daddy that he could hike almost better than us. And he's not two yet.

Mommy and Boldt Castle from the St. Lawrence river.

Grandpa has a visitor to his office at school!

A big wooden chair.

Mommy takes a turn at the four-wheeler!

And gets to see the top of a mountain!

We went to Enchanted Forest and Mommy pretends to be Peter Pumpkin Eater's wife.

John and Beth take a ride in Cinderella's carriage.

John rings the bells.

John visits Great Grandma Thompson and plays her Organ.

The St. Lawrence river at sunset.

Taking a little walk.

Next up: The Wedding

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A long absence

I haven't updated this page in nearly six weeks, and it's been long enough that I've almost forgotten the first week or two worth of updates I wanted to put on it. We've been very busy this past month and John is getting through the difficult 18-24 month stretch and heading into a much more refined, agile, intelligent, thoughtful, and interactive young fellow. He now asks for exactly (or as exactly as he has the words for) what he wants. He knows specific foods, people, places, televisions shows, toys, and activities, and he can say things like "it's beautiful" when something is delicate or visually appealing. He loves Legos (and so does dad!), and he is starting to ask specifically for "swings" or "ice cream" or "go to the park".

We took a long trip to Northern New York for my cousin Kate's wedding that involved my parents' house in Indian Lake, my aunt's cottage in Clayton, four hotel rooms, four days in the car, eight complete packing and unpackings of our station wagon, a dozen or so cans of Rockstar Energy Drink, one wedding and ten days on the open road of freedom from our daily routines. I got to see my friend Sara LePine, who just graduated from veterinary school in Scotland, and many of my aunts and uncles from the Brand family that I hardly ever get to see.

I was able to visit both grandmothers and John got to go to Grandma Thompson's house for probably the last time before she moves out. There were a lot of memories for me in that house, so I surreptitiously took a bunch of pictures to remember it by since I didn't have any. Some of the furniture and things on the shelves and walls have been there since I was John's age and spent time there with my own Grandma and Grandpa (who passed away when I was three). A row of tiny pine saplings that my grandfather planted when I was a baby are now full size pine trees that obscure the view of the railroad tracks I used to watch trains on with him on their couch sometime circa 1980, and I feel like I may have had my first haircut in the "shop" (a small hair salon) attached to the back of my grandma Thompson's house. I took pictures of all of this for a later update.

Strangely, I've been sick twice in the past month. Once with an obnoxious snot-dripping sinus infection of some sort right before we left for vacation, and again the week after we returned with a gastrointestinal bug that had me chained to the toilet and passing out with a fever and dehydration later that same day. No idea if this is something I picked up from patients or from John through his daycare, but he has had some rocky sorts of sick-y stuff lately. A few days before the intestinal bug hit me, he had some sort of super-barf stomach thing that kept him vomiting for about 8-12 hours and left him weak and wobbly but still standing. Currently, he is caughing and sputtering with a lingering late-summer cold. All of this is very strange given is long-standing string of healthy months.

As if our lives weren't going to be tossed in turnmoil enough by all of this, I decided that this was the month I was going to return to calorie counting and cutting carbonated/caffinated drinks from my diet. As of this writing, I am thirteen days caffiene free, which is something of a mixed blessing. I love being free of having to down 1-2 high-calorie, slightly expensive caffinated drinks a day in order to keep my eyes open. On the other hand, I sorely miss the ability to have easy, on-demand energy and alertness.

The most important development, however, is the fact that Beth is returning to grad school to get her MSW in Substance Abuse Counselling. She had been admitted to the program almost three years ago, but deferred her enrollment due to John being so small and not being able to make it all work. Now, however, we're going to give it a shot. I've taken the Tuesday evening shift off of work every week now (and a pay cut) in order to be home to watch John and get him fed/put down before Beth gets home somewhere around 10:00 PM. Knowing what a huge thing it is to go to school and work simultaneously, I'm completely behind Beth on this one and trying to give her all the support I can give.

And we're going later this week to see the American Idol top 10 in a town called Evansville, Indiana.

More later as I have time to update.