Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dutch Wonderland Day

The kids all read like little bookworms over the summer, so they wound up with "FREE" tickets to Dutch Wonderland for the end of September. This sounds fantastic doesn't it? Yeah, we sure thought so, till we got to this "children's paradise of amusement parks" and found that mom & dad have to pay full price to take said bookworms into the park even though we could only attempt 2, maybe 3, of the rides if we dared. After serious discussions off to the side, Daddy came to the kids rescue & purchased the tickets, dragging penny pinching mom with the 5 of them into the park. I know, I know...but seriously 75.00 for two adults to take the kids to a "special readers day" put on by the park & the library??? Do you know what I could BUY that we NEED with $75.00???? Ok, so I shut up, Len gave me a hug and said "just keep looking at how excited they are" and I did what I was told & "let it go"

The kids had a blast. We had taken them there twice before, many many many moons before, and it was WAY too overwhelming. This time, they were all of a decent age, the older 3 almost TOO old. Being the nut cases Len & I are, we joined in the fun & rode on the rollar coaster (just as frightening this go round as the last time when we thought we would loose someone out the side of the car it jerks around so fast!), we did the log float & got drenched, and we did the space ship (that one WAS fun). We also took them on an "old paddle boat" ride and everyone enjoyed that as well.

Oh, and one that didn't go over so well with "the girls" was the bumper cars. I know, typically those would be a lot of fun, I mean how often do you get told as an adult to drive fast, and HIT as many cars as you can?? On a serious note, they allowed our twins to go solo because of their height, however, our daughter didn't understand how to work things and got turned around and head on hit many times, went wildly fast and out of control (to her) when she did get it turned back around, and just overall, freaked out. We didn't even get to the end of the building upon exciting before she burst into tears and sobbed for the next 5 minutes into my shoulder as I held her. I must admit, I wasn't a fan either, the "mom" in me must be a lot stronger then the "fun" anymore and I felt panicked at the speed as I tried to drive, NOT hit anyone, yet know that we would go faster & faster if we didn't hit someone, and keep my arm around Jazmine, keeping her from getting slammed into the side of the car when we did hit or get hit. I just kept screaming in my head "you can't HIT them, everyone will get hurt" like I was actually driving the truck! know you are old when...

All in all, the kids enjoyed the rides as a whole, all 4 went on everything and it was a great perk to having read so much all summer long. One really nice perk to those tickets was the "free kids meal at Applebees" just up the street for after we were done. Normally, we HATE Applebees...BUT we would HIGHLY recommend the Applebees just up the street from DW on Rt. 30. The manager that was in was gracious & understanding of having 4 kids and told our waiter to take all 4 stubs & let the kids eat free. Apparently, they will normally not take more then the number of adults purchasing meals. I made up for it with a fabulous sangria...apparently Len felt my nerves had been disturbed enough to warrent a little "calming" Like I would argue?!

Watkins Glen, New York

We took the kids on a short day trip from our camping spot in the PA's Little Grand Canyon (Wellsboro, PA) to Watkins Glen, NY at the southern end of Seneca Lake in mid October. It exceded our expectations and we had a fabulous time hiking the falls. It is a nice walk, despite the stairs. You go with the slow flow and with the fantastic structures of walkways, stairs, and bridges that are so natural and almost hidden along the walls, it is easy to enjoy the sounds of the water and relax!

There are two areas where falls flow OVER the pathway and you are able to reach out and touch the falling water. The kids really enjoyed this aspect and it kept the journey up and back down entertaining for even our most "bored". The walk is a straight shot, not a loop, so you go straight up to your stopping point, then back down the way you came. At first I was a little put off by this, but once we turned around to come back, it was obvious that the entire experience would be completely different. The way in you hike UP the falls, always looking up and around the bends to see what is next. On the way down, you get a completely different view as you are now heading down all those stairs & get a fantastic view out the canyon to the town at the base of Seneca Lake.

There is a $6.00 charge to enter in a car. We saw others walk on in or ride bike and not stop to pay, so if you go up and stay close, it appears to be free! They also have a larger (view from the map on the computer) campground with access to the gorge walk if you are into doing a weekend that way. We hiked it and even did bathroom stops before/after and a gift shop run in 2 1/2 hrs. with 4 elementary age kids on a busy sunday fall day.

Cold Weather Camping Anyone???

PA's Little Grand Canyon
October 10-12, 2009
Mission: survive 29 degree nights & enjoy spectacular fall folliage
Status: NEVER again will we camp in a TENT for 29 degree nights!!

I know you are just dying to know...I'll try to keep it brief but toss up some fun pictures for entertainment.

We took the kids for our first "cold weather camping" trip to the Little Grand Canyon in upstate Pennsylvania the second weekend of October. Why? This was when we were told by many that you just HAVE to go because it is always peak fall folliage and amazingly beautiful. Here is our first look at the little grand canyon:

We did come prepared for the very chilly, but dry, conditions w/numerous down comforters, air mattresses, more comforters to go between the ground & the matress, the matress & the sheets, flannel sheets, gloves, hats, 3 layers for each of us to wear at all times, heavy winter coats, and LOTS of hot chocolate & stew, hot cereal & marshmellows. Food wise, we were golden. The stew was amazing, the hot chocolate & coffee delicious & comforting...the down side?? No firewood. Yes, you read that correctly. We camped at the Leonard State Park right on the rim & being good little campers, we followed the rules & brought no wood, prepared instead to purchase their wood due to nasty bugs that would kill all their trees...upon arrival, we were told by the park ranger, that they were cleaned out, so we could scour the woods for anything that we could find to burn...catch to this fantastic had DOWNPOURED allllllll week & every blessed piece of wood was soaking wet. Meaning...lots of lighter fluid, little fire, light dinner & breakfast the next day! oi, not good w/4 hungry kids & a freezing cold mommy who NEEDS her coffee in the am!!!

we took a side trip to Watkins Glen, NY on the south end of Seneca Lake (one of the finger lakes) on Sunday. Look for the next post on that one...I will just say it was our saving grace for the whole weekend!!

We did stop later at the rim for one last look to "see if we could see"...

All in all, the area IS spectacularly beautiful. Maybe we will venture up at a warmer time of the year to explore. Camping will be out of the question at anything below 50 though. Sorry. I'm ALL for adventure, but I do draw the line at some things, and this folks, is one of them!

Fall Arrives at the Roth household

Fall is finally here in all its true & lovely was a long wait, but she arrived in all her colorful & rainy glory this past week. Our family is notoriously busier in the fall then any other time of the year...and this one has proved to be exceptional difficult for me. To add one item to the mix of camping, pumpkin picking, fall pictures, haircuts, start of school process, canning, etc...can be that final card that brings the house down. This year, we added not one, but two such items to the, Len is out of town working more then not, and two, Hunter is playing football which means tues-thurs 5:45pm - 8:20pm rain or shine.
Fun times, fun times.

It has only taken me 14 years, but I have finally made those purchases & decisions, and have the house decorated for FALL. Apparently having 4 little kids sucks the $$ out of the door before such items are even looked at...the only reason they are here this time is due to Stauffer's fabulous fall sale of 75% off all decorative items, giving me a grand savings of over $47.00 yesterday! Love you Stauffers!!!

We have had a second interesting change in plans around here...our youngest broke her wrist falling out of a hand stand! Did you know it can be broken with no swelling or bruising, and the child can still use their hand w/some pain?? Yeah, I didn't. We happened to be in the doctor's office for two others to get yearly check ups & mentioned it to him...Did you know younger children (she is almost 6) can get what are called "buckle fractures"??? Nope, I didn't know that either. Apparently a "buckle fracture" is when a bone overlaps the other, and it ripples as it bends without actually cracking or breaking. These particular fractures are supposed to heal fantastic and in 4 weeks. We shall this juncture, a week after the above mentioned fracture, she still isn't feeling well and requires tylenol through the night so she can sleep.

Ahhhh...the joys of fall...check back for some fun adventures as I finally get my butt in gear after being showed up in GRAND form by my little sister!! She can hold me to it...