A-Camping We Did Go!

When I told Mark it was possible to rent cabins at Allegany State Park in the winter, he simply thought I had “lost it”!  Who ever heard of renting cabins for camping in the winter?  Well, he did check it out and found out I was right!

To be very frank, I often miss the area where I grew up and lived earlier in my life.  I miss many things sometimes, but the one big thing I miss is real winters!  I remember as a kid being able to walk up high on snowbanks and even touching the roofs of garages!  Growing up in the snowbelt meant there was a fairly good chance of having some fun in the snow.  Where we live now, we really lack snow.

Mark had been in touch with Allegany State Park for a few days, inquiring about conditions for snowmobiling.  The park has miles and miles of fabulous trails to ride in the winter!  The area received a good snowfall and we were told conditions were great for riding.  That was all Mark needed to hear….

We packed up some things on Monday and left on Tuesday for our adventure! We had no idea what the cabin we were renting was like.  We brought along basics, but didn’t bother to take a lot of food.

We arrived at the park  on Tuesday afternoon and Mark, Ben, and I went out riding the trails while Michelle hung out at the cabin with the Scotties, setting everything up.  The trails were awesome!

I am not going to say anything more tonight, except that we had such a great time. I cannot think of many ways to spend time as a family that are this much fun!  Overall, I think we would all give this adventure a thumbs-up!

I will try to get some photos up tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it is tough to take photos while snowmobiling.  Stopping on a trail and fumbling with taking off gloves and fishing the camera from my coat pocket takes too long!  Everyone gets way ahead of me, then when they realize I am missing,  they either send someone back to find me, or just sit and wait…

Dashing Through a Winter Wonderland!

Yesterday, we (finally) were able to load up our three sleds on the trailer and head on out to snow country!  Mark had made several phone calls to officers of the various snowmobile clubs in our area, looking for the best trail conditions. It seemed like everyone was all on the same page as to where the best snowmobiling was, so off we went!

Since Mark is comfortable pulling our 25′ trailer in the summer, a 14′ trailer with three snowmobiles wasn’t much of a challenge….the roads were clear and conditions were fabulous! Here are a few photos I took.

As you can see by the lighting in the above photo, it was a “very” gray day! Mark sent the kids and I out on the sleds to see if we thought he would be able to ride comfortably.  Since riding trails is a new adventure for our family, we were unsure about what to expect!

New York State charges a somewhat hefty sum to register a snowmobile in the state.  If one wants to ride trails, the machines must be registered.  However, if a person or persons (as in the case of a family) join(s) a local snowmobile club,  then the registration fee is greatly reduced.  The price for joining a club is rather minimal and the benefits are nice.  Being in a club means there are events and rides throughout the season.  The local clubs maintain all the trails in their region, signing them and grooming them.  The state then administers monies to the clubs. This all boils down to some really great riding, not only for individuals, but for families as well. Talk about good clean fun!

When the kids and I came back, we were sure Mark could easily ride the trails, so we helped him get suited up and he was ready to go.  Now, we were uncertain about Michelle….she never enjoyed our ATV rides.  She always declined riding the trails with us.

After Mark got on his snowmobile and was ready to ride,  I thought I would ride with him and Ben. Michelle immediately proclaimed that she wanted to ride again!  I was shocked!  And happy! We found a fun sport we can all do together!

Mark’s sled is a “two-up” meaning it accommodates a driver and rider.  Since this was his first trip out with the sled on a trail, he soloed, so I remained behind in the truck.

Mark and the kids were gone for over an hour and they had a great time traveling the trails.

Since this is all new to us, we were wanting to load up before dark just to make sure we knew what we were doing.  Ben loaded the sleds on and he and I secured them and put on their covers.  Ben was fantastic!  He is a great worker and he did such a good job with little help from me.

We headed into the little town of Marion.  We were all starving, but not too sure where to go.  Mark suggested we head to Newark, where there was a WalMart Superstore.  He figured there would also be more stores there as well.  We began our trip, following the GPS.

We made turns onto little roads here and there, when…..

We came upon this.  Although you can barely see it, there was a train stopped….dead on the tracks!  We sat there for several minutes, wondering what to do!  Finally, I got out and directed Mark in the dark to get the truck and trailer turned around.  We had just turned when a car came up to the tracks.  Mark opened his window and the driver stopped.  Mark told him the train was dead and he told us he was heading to Newark as well!  He told us to follow him and he would lead us to the road where the WalMart was located.

We followed and reached the store.  I told Mark I would survery their offerings and see if I might scrounge up a supper.  BINGO!  I came out a little later with a Lemon Pepper Rotisserie Chicken,  macaroni salad, a loaf of fresh Italian bread and salad!  Since the truck is quite roomy, we all rather enjoyed “dining in”!  It was so cozy as snowflakes flew outside and the winds blew!  We were so snug inside!

After our satisfying meal, we were off towards home!  We did have to stop for a brief photo op, though. Along the Erie Canal in Newark, there was a great display of animated Christmas figures!

These toy soldiers looked as though they were marching up the hill!

The rotor atop Santa’s helicopter looked like it was spinning!

These little elves looked like they were loading toys into a sleigh!

The animated displays were cute, but the Christmas lights on a bridge above the canal were so pretty!

It was incredible how warm we all were as we snowmobiled, but it was frigid outside!

We got home around 9 and I think everyone was sound asleep by 11! What an awesome day this turned out to be.  I am so looking forward to more fun with the kids this winter!  Oh, and yes, the Scotties were with us on our day out.  They are so happy to be in the truck and they think of it as their second home!

Merry Christmas 2010

I can hardly belief we are wishing one another Merry Christmas, but even more startling is the fact that we will soon be entering 2011!

From our family to yours,

                                                MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

It is nearly impossible to get a decent family shot with two crazy kids and two restless Scotties!

And speaking of Scotties…our Angus was in the Christmas spirit as he watched all the hullabaloo. He is so cute.

and accommodating….

We had a lovely celebration at home today. Michelle’s friend, Jacob, stopped by for a couple hours, but we had a very relaxing day.

And so, I pray that all my Dear Readers had a wonder-filled Christmas as well!


The Days Just Slip Away!

I cannot believe I have once again allowed this blog to get behind, but I have! It seems like each day brings on more tasks and we are always going upwards! (as in pushing a very large boulder uphill!)

Today, Mark had a dental cleaning appoinment late this morning.  After the appointment, we drove down to Hornell to get the snowmobiles registered.  It is always so much easier to go to the Hornell office, as Canandaigua requires one to go to three different clerks before getting out the door.  The system sounds good, but when going, it is wise to pack a lunch!  Okay, slight exaggeration, but I don’t like waiting in line for hours…and yes, it really is hours!

After visiting the DMV,  we were off to get a late lunch.  We had a tremendous lunch at a Chinese restaurant there and then we were off again…this time to the home of my Amish friend and her husband.  Mark has been trying to help them in negotiating with the hospital for their baby daughter’s care.

If I may rant for a bit…

We are asked to be *tolerant* as far as skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.  Why, then, are the Amish treated like second rate citizens?  Let me make note that an organization that works with Amish and Mennonites has tried to negotiate with the hospital to no avail.  It is a known fact that hospitals charge well above the actual cost of services and goods provided.  The company that tried to do the negotiating offered a higher amount than Medicaid would pay, and they were turned down.  The hospital  never even came back with a counter offer.

My heart aches for my friends. They don’t have a third of a million dollars for their bill.  Why is the hospital being so stubborn!  Well,  my friends have begun making small payments to the hospital and as long as they are paying something, I hope that will keep the wolves at bay.  Why would the hospital have turned down a large lump sum only to be given a small amount each month?  In all actuality, the amount will take probably more than a lifetime to pay off.

Well, sorry to rant, but I feel so helpless! 

Tis the night before the night before Christmas!  Is everyone ready?  I feel like I am behind, but I will leave it at that.  I am tired of feeling like Christmas has to be perfect.  After all, the perfect Christmas gift was offered to all mankind in the form of a precious baby, and He is the best gift of all!

Are You Planning to View the Lunar Eclipse?

While Ben enjoyed a dip in the hot tub earlier this evening, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the moon is in the sky!

I took that photo not too long ago, and now the skies are totally overcast with light snowfall.  We are due to see the eclipse here on the east coast at approximately 2:45 am,  according to what I read.  I hope the sky clears up before then!

In the meantime, here is a look at the wreath on our front door with the lights shining on it.  I love the bell wreath inside the green one….I wanted to capture the way the bells sparkle, but that is a pretty tough task!  The light plays off the glitter on the bells and it is so very, very pretty!

Totally defying the cold temperatures outside, the home fires keep burning, heating the house very snuggly!

Did I say snuggly?  A few times, I have propped open the window in temperatures that would kill a person were they left outside with no means of keeping warm!  I have been sleeping in my summer jammies, too!

Last week, while popping into Aldi for a couple things,  I caught one of their too-good-to-miss deals! (again!)  The store sells six long stem roses for $3.99 all the time.  But on the day I was there, the roses were marked 1/2 off!   I bought a DOZEN long-stemmed red roses for $4.99!  I went on over to WalMart and found a big bouquet of carnations for $10.00. I added some greenery for $5.00. The $18.99 result?

This bouquet is huge! I am enjoying it so much and Mark and the kids even mentioned how pretty it is and how nice the spicy carnations smell! I used a teapot the kids bought a couple of years ago for the vase.

Sorry about my long leaves lately.  There is just so very much happening and it seems the harder I run, the more behind I fall….kinda reminds me of the Amish saying,  “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get”…..

Here’s a Question for my Fellow Bloggers….

Lately, it seems I am getting more and more spam comments coming in.  I also am deleting several “users” each day. Does anyone have any idea how to end this waste of time editing?  I just went through 109 ridiculous comments as I didn’t want to delete any comment which might be bonafide.  Helpful comments would be immensely appreciated!

What a Strange Day this Was!

This morning, we awakened to a beautiful blanket of white!  It was so pretty and the Scottie boys were anxious to get outside!

I had an appointment for the dentist this morning at 10:40.  As I was getting ready for the appointment, the office called to say they were way behind and could I come in at 11:30 instead?  And so I did.

Today was the day I was supposed to have the little pin put into the empty space where my tooth was pulled. Instead, I was switched to getting some other work done.  It seems that the office is doing more mini-implants, so they purchased a special x-ray machine that measures bone density and gives the dentist an idea of what size pin to use and how deep.  As I was being worked on, the new machine was being delivered.  As I left the office,  the front doorway was literally being dismantled so the bulky piece could be carried on in!

This afternoon, I was reading emails and looking at different sites on the web.  As I looked at a blog I had started long, long ago,  I noticed an author had written a message for me today.  I won a book!  I love reading boks about the Amish and I had commented on her blog when she interviewed another author.  My name was randomly chosen! Hurrah!!!

It was funny that I won that book because it felt very much like my family was rejecting me today! There was no certain instance or circumstance that brought on such feelings of rejection…just a series of things that just made me feel like….well…I dunno…eating worms?

As I thought about it,  I was feeling a tad lonely, if not pitiful!  Suddenly, I came upon the notice and it was as though the Lord ws smiling down on me and showing me that it matters not how I feel, as in His Great Economy, I *am* loved. And favored, even!  After all, I won a  book!

I was so uplifted by this turn of events that I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Crepes like the ones I got when I met my blogger friend Jeanne last week for lunch.  The end result was that everyone gave me a big thumbs up! Yay! More favor.  I had made my own chicken wing sauce and (this one was pretty exciting when the family all liked it!) my own Bleu Cheese Dressing.  Everything turned out so picture perfect…darn! WHY did I not take a photo?

Here is a photo of the wreath on our front door.  I had loved the bell wreaths and when I spotted one at Big Lots over a month ago,  I bought it.  What was funny is that I had bought an artificial wreath for the door previously. Much to my joy, the bell wreath fit neatly inside the green one!  I love the look!

And, one more. The big wreath on the garage, beautifully “flocked”!

I Sound Like Such a Broken Record!

….but I cannot help it! It seems like I am finding life running me over lately. I just seem to be incapable of keeping up!

Yesterday, the kids had a mid-morning appointment with the doctor.  Since I have always gone in with them at their appointments, I was thrilled when Mark offered to do this.  I would (bravely) sit in the truck with the Scotties while Mark would sit inside (the nice warm) waiting room.

Oh glory. I never expected the appointment to last for two-and-a-half hours!  Wow! Let me tell you…the temperature was cold, but the winds were relentless!  Those Scotties were mighty convenient for warming!  I also used Mark’s computer for a little while and that offered a bit of warmth as well!

After the kids’ visit to the doctor, we headed on over to Henrietta.  Mark wanted to do some shopping at Sam’s Club.  It is always fun to browse through the store but I have no idea how the time managed to slip by so quickly!

When we left the house at about 9:15 yesterday morning, the fire in the woodstove was fading.  I thought I would let it go out and make a new one when we got home.  I was totally unprepared for what we arrived home to…okay…so fifty-seven degrees outside on a winter’s day would be delightful…even “balmy”.  But in the house?  Brrr!!!!

I immediately started a new fire and let it rip! We all retreated to warmer places in our beds, buried under piles of blankets! It took the house nearly three hours to warm up and I needed to keep the firewood coming! As the house was finally to the point of feeling nice and cozy, I stretched out on the bed and fell soundly asleep until 3:30 am.  I’ve no idea why I would awaken at such a crazy time, but I did.  And, I couldn’t go back to sleep.

Today when we got up to take Michelle to class, the temperature was reading zero. I asked Mark to take Michelle to school, as I am just not real confident driving the truck in cold.  I haven’t driven it enough to get a real feel for it.  Although the truck is four-wheel drive, that just doesn’t boost my confidence at all…we have seen innumerable four-by-fours off the road, buried in fields and ditches!

This afternoon, we had to take Ben to his (final) class at college.  The roads were pretty good by then. After dropping Ben off, we wound up parked at a plaza while Mark fiddled with the internet a little.  As we sat there,  I saw what I believe was a fox barreling along behind the stores across the road.  It was strange to see this in such a busy and populated place….particularly in the broad daylight!

So.  Now you are wondering….Just how cold could it be?

Answer! Take a look at this!

Yes, that is a man ice fishing.  He was sitting there on the huge pond behind several businesses on Eastern Boulevard. I was surprised to see someone even walking on that pond, as just last week, that pond was filled with thousands of Canada Geese on open water!  Although the cold doesn’t bother me that much,  I’m not entirely certain I could sit on a bucket on an unprotected (from the wind gusts) pond with wind like today’s!

Finding Peace in a Fast-Paced World!

It’s funny, but whenever life seems like it is about to swallow me alive,  Mark says, “Katya, why don’t you just go visit Eunice?”.  Eunice is my Amish friend and while I greatly admire the lifestyle of the Amish, I’m not so sure I could live that way myself!  One awesome attribute in an Amish home, however, it the peacefullness that seems to permeate throughout.

Although there are indeed some Amish who could talk your leg off, the Amish generally are pretty thrifty with their words….after all, there are warnings in the Bible about senseless talk and about the angels recording our words.  Do know, however, when Eunice and I get to talking, we do our share of giggling and having some good fun!

This morning,  I decided that I had figured out a big white building I had seen in my little “nearby”  adventures.  Upon thinking about it, I was pretty sure it was an Old Order Mennonite church.  In looking up information regarding Mennonites online, it seems the divisions are made based on how liberal or conservative a community lives.

In our area, the Old Order Mennonites, like the Old Order Amish, drive horse and buggy where they want to go. I am uncertain what their stance is on using modern conveniences such as electricity, but their appearance is certainly different than that of the Old Order Amish.  The men are clean-shaven and the women wear modest dresses, but the fabrics often have small prints as opposed to the mono-color dresses of the Amish.

As I decided to try to find the church this morning, I was a bit clueless exactly where it was located, although I had a general sense of where it is.  As I drove along the less-traveled roads, I became aware that the “road grunge” (left from gravel and salt) had buggy marks through it. Eureka!  All I needed to do was follow the narrow buggy trails.

And I did!

Now, I must say that I always am intimidated taking photos. It doesn’t matter where it is or the subject…if it isn’t nature, I always think someone is going to ome after me and yell!  I’m not sure where this comes from, as no one has ever made a comment.  Anyway, in order to respect the privacy of the church, I did not photograph it any closer than the above photo.

I did, however, have a bit of fun taking horsie photos!

Hmmmm…on second thought, perhaps that nearest horse in the above photo is telling me to move along Missy!..

My very favorite photo today is this one…

As I drove away,  I passed by some low-lying woodland that was flooded.  It looked like an ice-skating rink in the woods!

I also passed by a field of pumpkins that just didn’t make it for one reason or another. Poor things!

As I made my way back to my side of Canandaigua Lake, I passed along the south end of the lake.  This is another low-lying area and I could have reached up and touched the clouds!

Today was such a gray and dismal day. There was drizzle on and off thorughout the day, but the temperature climbed to the point that it almost felt balmy!  Most of our snow is now only a memory and in its place is ooey, gooey mud!  Our rain is supposed to switch to snow tonight and the temperature is going to drop once again.