So I typically slow down a little with the family in late July and part of August. As part of that slow down – I usually take a break from blogging. So this post might be a little longer than usual – since I have so much to cover!
Dominick and I went camping with the scouts in July and had a great time! It was our first time camping with the scouts – so we really didn’t know what to expect.
Dominick did a good job with all the activities. We learned how to play ga-ga ball, went fishing, swimming, worked on fire making skills and many other things. Dominick even had to make the pack a meal (French toast & sausage for breakfast!)
I was really proud of him and very much enjoyed the experience with him! I look forward to camping with him more in the future!
However, when we returned home from camping, Melani noticed a really small tick on Dominick – on the back of his ear. Melani was able to remove it pretty easily. I put it in a small plastic bag and immediately called my mother to find out what to do. She directed me to the Southern Tier Lyme Support webpage. On there – I found a link to a company (Ticknology) that tests the tick for the bacteria that causes lyme disease in humans. For roughly $40 – it seemed like a prudent move to find out if the tick carried the bacteria that would cause the problem before doing anything else. So I packaged up the tick and prepared to mail it to the company.
We were heading up to the Adirondacks for a few days the next morning- so we actually mailed the tick out from Old Forge. By the end of the week we had the report from Ticknology – and were disappointed to find out that the tick tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. So it was off to the doctor the next morning, and later in the month Dominick was tested for Lyme disease – which was fortunately NEGATIVE!!
My Grandmother’s house is just a few blocks away from where we live. Lately we have been walking over there a lot to pick blueberries – from the very same bushes I have been picking them from for just about 50 years!
It has been fun to do this as a family activity and seeing every one contribute to the blueberry harvest. But it has also been great from an eating perspective – since I like the blueberries to be more purple and sour than blue and fully ripe! When we get blueberries from the grocery store I am lucky if 10% of them are how I prefer them. When we pick our own – it is more like 90%! The kids pretty much enjoy them the same way I do – Melani – not so much so….
I’ve been building some shelves for under the step going down the basement. I love utilizing every inch of space in the house – AND making things more organized. My inspiration comes from watching that tiny house show (Tiny House Nation) on Netflix. I think it is awesome to be so free of clutter and possessions! I really admire how they try to use every nook and cranny of the tiny house! (Oh – but I have no aspirations of moving to something smaller any time soon!)
Sometimes I am able to get one of the kids to help me – other times I am working solo. So far I only have 4 of 10 done. It will be a little easier to finish this up as the weather changes and I am not as tempted to be outside!
I spent a day up at Cayuga lake with a friend and client. Yes – a real “tough” day at the office for sure! I was very impressed with the lake. Although I am sure I have been there before – it has been a loooOoong time since my last visit!
It was a great day out in nature and to spend some time with a good friend. The lake was a very pleasant bluish-green and I was fascinated to learn about the salt mines about 2,200 feet below the lake! I guess it is a very big operation that supplies most of the northeast with the salt that is spread on the roads during the winter months.
I understand that they USED to give tours – but no longer do. That’s a shame – because it is something I would really like to do with the kids.
In July we went up into the Adirondacks to get a healthy dose of nature and scope out things we might be interested in doing on future trips to the Adirondacks after this coronavirus is just a distant memory. We knew it would be a very different vacation experience – because of the whole coronavirus thing – but we decided to try it anyways. We were also hoping to spot a large male moose too – since it one of the Williamson children’s favorite animal!
It was a fun, but slightly strange trip – since there were so many things we would typically do on vacation – but were unable to do this year. However, It was still a fun trip and we did get in some hiking and moose chasing! You can read more about our adventures in the Adirondacks here: Family Adirondack Adventure #3.
Lake Gaston, Virginia
We had a family wedding to attend for Melani’s side of the family in August. We had been planning on attending the event since last year – and then the coronavirus happened! The wedding was ultimately held, but the reception and everything else was moved to next year. So with all the confusion – we were still locked into a house we were renting on Lake Gaston in Virginia (Bracey area) with Melani’s sister’s family and her mother. So we went down and had a very enjoyable and relaxing week at a lake house! We figured if we were going to be isolated – at least it could be fun and comfortable!
Right before we left on our trip I decided to rotate the tires on the minivan myself – rather than playing the “you need an appointment – no, sir, we don’t make appointments” game with Sams Club. Yes – I bought my tires from there and they are supposed to rotate them for free. However, whenever I bring it in to have the tires rotated – they tell me they have no time for that day and suggest I make an appointment. Fine, OK – but then when I call they then tell me they don’t “do” appointments – and I will just have to take my chances and bring it in….. Very frustrating!
So when I got the rear passenger tire off the van I noticed that the coil spring was broken. Kind of explained that weird “boing” sound we would hear every so often! We have a neighbor that does this type of car maintenance work out of his garage – provided I line up the parts myself. I had a lot of trouble finding the parts I needed (2 coil springs and 2 shocks) – but finally did find the parts we needed out of Massachusetts. I paid $100 for overnight shipping on Monday morning – and by Wednesday evening at 5:00 pm the parts hadn’t even shipped out yet! I told them I still wanted the parts – but to NOT overnight them at this point. I had to scramble to find some other way of getting a family of 6 to a destination about 550 miles away. Fortunately, my mother agreed to loan us her vehicle.
While we VERY much appreciated my mother doing this for us – it was a tight squeeze for all of us and our luggage to fit into a Toyota Highlander – as opposed to a minivan! As we bounded down the highway and I would look through the rearview mirror – all I could think was that it looked like all the airbags (except maybe the one in the steering wheel) had deployed or that the kids had sunken into very deep bean bags. All I could see were pillows and faces!
We also played my absolute favorite road trip game that we seem to play on nearly every road trip we take anymore. It’s called “Did You Bring….?” Maybe you’ve heard of it? It goes something like this: We are cruising down the highway in an overpacked minivan (or Toyota Highlander in this case) like a vacation seeking rocket anywhere from about 25 miles to a couple hundred miles away from our home. I turn to my lovely co-pilot and wife and ask her – “Did you bring my bathing suit? She usually gives some less-than-assuring answer – but tries to sell it to me like she is then 99% sure she did remember to pack it. I usually then respond that it’s not really a big deal – since we can just always buy a new one at the store.
For the second round we usually amp it up a bit and turn to more unique items that are not as easy to just re-purchase once we get to our destination. You know, like reading glasses, video cameras, gifts for family members, etc. Great fun!
The kids had a lot of fun fishing, swimming and playing games with their cousins! We also did a lot of canoeing and paddle boarding. We managed to have a couple of fires in the fire pit and even had s’mores with dark chocolate! Great to see the kids spending so much time with and in nature!
Aunt Jeni brought a large inflatable swan that proved to be the favorite toy of the week! She had found it on the discount rack at the end of the season last year. Best $2 Aunt Jeni ever spent! The kids – and even some of the adults – liked playing Mount the Swan.
Basically the swan would be positioned within jumping distance of the dock and the challenger would try to leap onto the swan and stay topside. Gracie was the first to successfully mount the swan, and Annie eventually did too – 2 times. All said and done, I think the final score was something like 111 wins for the swan (no successful mounting) and about 4 successful mountings for the humans. Dominick dealt the swan a near fatal blow at one point – detaching one wing. He, of course, felt really bad for hurting the swan 🙁 Uncle Peeps came to the rescue with a new and even larger inflatable unicorn.
Boat Rides with Aunt Michele & Uncle Glenn
On the way back from Lake Gaston we stopped @ my sister’s house (Michele) to visit with her and also my younger sister Megan – who is just about 6 miles away from her. We only had a couple of days with them. However, in this coronavirus era with limited contact with family and friends – we were very happy to have survived the brutal tribal council necessary to be deemed worthy for them to risk an in-person visit with us! It was great to see everyone and finally see Megan’s new house.
We also got to spend some time on the river taking boat rides on Uncle Glenn’s new boat! A lot of fun and a wonderful visit! We only wish our stay could have been longer!
Dominick Gets His Laptop
After many, many months of research, saving and thinking about what he wants – Dominick finally pulled the trigger and bought a new laptop! He went for a gamer laptop with a AMD Ryzen 9 processor. Yes – he really takes after his father – and really knew all the specifications of the machine he was getting. I’m glad to see him get this new computer and now be able to do some things that his old laptop simply couldn’t. He has spending some time editing video and using Blender to construct 2 and 3D models.
I think it is important to point out – Dominick bought this laptop with his own money. I did contribute something to the purchase – but the majority of the cost was covered by Dominick and the incentive money he earned for accomplishing tasks and achievements we feel are important and encourage the kids to complete. You can read more about the incentive system we use here: Kids’ Accomplishments & here: The Dollar Drop.
Dominick & Gracie have been posting a lot of videos to their respective YouTube channels lately. I have been very impressed with how they are progressing with their video editing and graphics! They are editing the videos all by themselves and even making custom thumbnails for the videos. Check out their channels please and consider subscribing! Our YouTube Channels
Happy Birthday Sophie!
Sophie turned 4 since I have last written an Adventure Update! You can see her birthday post here: Happy Birthday Sophie!
What a blessing she has been! I only wish we could keep her little for longer……
So I have basically been wearing the same shoes since I was in my early twenties and in law school. No – not the same exact pair of shoes – but rather the same shoe brand & “model”!
Sometime during my first year in law school I discovered the Timberland Classic Trekker Oxford! The shoes served me faithfully for my law school years up in Syracuse and well beyond. They were very comfortable, great for walking (which I did a LOT of) and wonderfully warm & dry in the winters (since they are lined with Gortex). Since then they have been my signature shoe – and I have always owned at least one pair of that shoe – with them usually lasting me for years.
Melani and I can usually recount where we have bought each pair over the years since then (at so and so’s wedding when we stopped at the outlets near….). Well, our trip to the Adirondacks this year will likely prove to be no different.
My current pair of shoes was getting a little worn – and it was time to at least THINK about replacing them! So when we saw that there was a Timberland outlet store up in Lake George – of course we had to stop and see if they had my favorite shoe in my size and for a reasonable price.
Well – they were running a sale – buy one and get the second half-off. Melani was waiting in the car with Sophie and I went in with all the older kids. After getting the Classic Trekker Oxfords we came for – we looked around for awhile to find the second pair I would get for half price. Well- I did not find anything I liked nearly as much Classic Trekker Oxford – so I walked out of there with TWO pairs of the same shoe! Imagine that!
Oh – how we men shop when our wives aren’t around to save us from ourselves!! I should be set now for a decade or so!
We have still been doing our own haircuts. Scary to admit – it is starting to feel normal! The other day I decided to have some fun with all the hair clippings on the floor – and piled them on the top of my head to compensate for my thinning hairline! The kids thought it was hilarious to see me with so much hair!
This post-coronavirus era has made us really examine some things – as I am sure it has for most people. We are consciously spending more time as a family on timeless & simple activities that were commonly engaged in 100 years ago – and still will be for another 100 years from now! Hiking, fishing, walking, blueberry picking, puzzles, board games, playing outside, camping, swimming, camp fires, sling shots and skipping stones…. Always trying to find the silver lining in whatever hand we are dealt.