Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Da Bears

Black bears are one of the many types of wildlife that make their home in the Catskills.  And throughout my childhood, it was always a big deal if someone were to actually see one.  We knew that they were around, but they mostly stayed away from populated areas unless there was a drought.

In the last few years, there has apparently been a bear population explosion because now they are everywhere.  People send out memos on the best methods to prevent bears wreaking havoc on their property.  But still, we had never seen any signs of one near our house.

So... one night we were playing Scategories and being quite loud.  After the game wrapped up, I went to take out the trash, but thankfully looked out the window before going outside.  The big wooden box in which we place our trash cans in order to prevent animal intrusion was literally upended, and trash was everywhere.  We were a little freaked out but also excited.  O.k., Andy and I were excited.  Madeline was already high-tailing it upstairs so that the bear wouldn't get her.

We told Katie the next morning thinking that she would share in our excitement.  A real live bear at our house!  Cool!  She didn't really share in our enthusiasm.  Andy spent the rest of the trip telling her not to be afraid because the Bears are in Chicago.  Nice one, Dad.

We had heard that spraying the trash with Febreeze is a good deterrent, so I kept our trash bin as springtime fresh as possible for the remainder of our time there, and that seemed to do the trick.  (Apparently bears do not like floral-scented garbage.)  At least until our last night there.  The next morning the box was once again knocked over, and we had a cleanup job to do.  Andy volunteered to take care of things.  But when he walked out the door, he got more than he bargained for.  To add insult to injury, the bear had pooped on our back stoop.  We suspect that this must have been an adolescent bear.  Thank goodness he didn't have a paper bag and a lighter.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Twilight Park 2008

We just got back after two glorious weeks in Twilight Park.  For those of you who don't already know, Twilight is a summer community in the Catskill Mountains of New York.  It was founded over one hundred years ago by some of my (Ashley's) forbearers, and our home there has been in our family since that time.  Twilight is where we go to rest, unplug, enjoy God's beautiful creation, and reconnect with one another.

The first week we were there, we enjoyed the company of Dick and Madeline, Andy's dad and step-mom.  The kids had lots of fun with Grandpa and Grandma as did we.  Some high-lights include visiting on the porch, reading, doing a puzzle, splashing in the creek, going to the playground, shopping at a local farm, playing board games at night, a visit from a bear, eating at our favorite mountain-top restaurants, Andy going mountain biking, and Ashley attending a birthday party for some of her childhood friends.

Week two was all about rest.  We did a lot more reading, laid in the hammock, went to the pool, played more games, did another puzzle, went hiking, had another visit from the illusive bear, ate ice cream with sprinkles, went to story hour at the library, got together with old friends and watched our kids become friends, picked blueberries, soaked in the claw-foot bathtub, and enjoyed walking to nearby waterfalls and soaking in the scenery.  It was hard work, but someone had to do it.

There is so much to share, so look for more blog posts about Twilight soon!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Dr. Katie

For the most part, I have found the "terrible twos" to be a misnomer.  However, there are times when this "first adolescence" rears its ugly head, and it downright brings me to my knees.  The other day Katie was particularly trying my patience with her amazing ability to stall as I was trying to get her to bed.

Mommy:  (Big sigh)
Katie:  "Are you o.k., Mommy?"
Mommy:  "Yes.  Mommy is just frustrated right now."
Katie:  "That's o.k., Mommy.  We'll get you some apple juice, and that will help you poop.  Then you'll feel better."

And now you know how we treat Katie when she's gotta go but can't.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 5 Months on the 4th, Nate Dog!

I cannot believe that Nathaniel is five months old today!  Although he got a rough start in life with reflux, he has become the happiest, sweetest little guy.   He makes the cutest sounds and has a great laugh.  His favorite games include playing Tarzan with Mommy, laughing with Katie, and doing push-ups with Daddy.  Any day now he will be rolling over.  We are so proud of you, little guy!