Nomads

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For anyone who follows along on instagram you can see we moved…again. Still in the Adirondacks, but into a new home. In 2015, we moved to the Adirondacks with anticipated housing. However, things have not gone as planned and here we are in our fourth house in less than three years. And even this placement is not exactly permanent. I am not going to lie – this is a major stress in our life, but when I am feeling my best self –  I breathe and accept this journey for what it is. Each move so far has provided a ton of stress, but also so many moments of fun and joy. I do not want to sugar coat this and act like we (I) do not have have moments of meltdown, moments where I am so overwhelmed with our lack of “structure” I cannot breath. Moments where I go down a deep rabbit hole wondering how all this moving will affect our kids in the future. Then there are moments (usually during the brief part of the day where everyone is happy and no one is whining/screaming/hurt/hungry/bored, etc) where I am so grateful for this season of our life.

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Prior to moving to the Adirondacks, I whole heartedly was a city person. I lived in NYC as a young, single teacher before moving to an awesome part of Nashville on a whim. I love walking places, new restaurants, an abundance of events and classes and people. I love the diversity of people and the hustle of life. Living a rural mountain life was never on my radar. I will be honest, it wasn’t even on my vacation list. However, I have to admit that pre-kids Dominique and I were playing a fun game in our old loft talking about 3/5/10 year goals. I can actually picture where we were sitting and the excitement of thinking about the “future”.  I told Dominique I would move to one “insane” place for a few years in order for him to pursue his goals. One. I suppose he has cashed in on that.

With all that said, I have taken and continue to learn so much from this adventure. My kids – while they think of houses as brief stopping points and talk about packing as if it is a normal occurrence – love their life. They are constantly outdoors riding bikes, making messes and being kids. It does not matter the temperature, if it is raining/snowing/sunny/hot/cold they will be outside. My kids (and me) love that every event we do go to – we are certain to run into people we know. People we love. Things that were “extra” before are now our normal – from going for a hike, to swimming in the lake, and taking out the canoes to snowshoeing or riding bikes on the trails.

All of this and more are things that make so much of this chaos – worth it. I do not know where we will land in the future (near or far), but for now we are back on campus, in a home (peace out dorm life) and making the most of this journey. Even if at times the journey is infused with stressed out meltdowns and anxiety about whats next.

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Navigating the Paul Smiths VIC

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Before moving to the Adirondacks, I always had my “go-to” activities to entertain Flynn and Nola. I knew how to navigate the situation with two under two from bathrooms, to length of time, to what to pack and when to eat. When we were first living in Lake Placid, Flynn, Nola and I created a few places to hang and set about a new rhythm that matched the (at times limited) offerings of our new town. (read about our new normal here) Fast forward two years and two more kids, we have a list of places that I know I can either navigate alone with all the kids or where we can get a good number of hours and keep everyone happy on the rare chance we are all together. I will admit winter is a hard one for us because the bulk of fun active activities often require a second adult to keep everyone engaged, but winter is when Dominique is least available. I have high hopes for this upcoming winter now that I am not pregnant and won’t have an infant in tow, plus the big two are getting a tad more self-sufficient. We shall see.

Today (the other day because never post on day I actually start writing) the whole crew headed out after Navi’s nap to the VIC. When we lived on campus, we often could just walk over there to kill a few hours on the weekend or before dinner. Having moved off campus this past year, I often forget about the VIC as an option and figured today we would head back to our old stomping grounds.

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The VIC is a place I can navigate on my own – even with all four kids. Parking is easy, there are clean bathrooms to use before/after we hit the trails, plus a small indoor area with books, coloring and a few hands-on activities that add a complete extra minutes of entertainment for my kiddos. Additionally, there is a small playground which often is where we start while we apply bug spray, use the bathroom and fill up any water bottles at the water fountain. Inside there are a couple of tables setup where you can enjoy lunch and take a break from the sun/bugs etc if needed.

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As for the trails themselves, there are a variety of trails to pick from ranging from an easy terrain mile and upwards. Today we hiked Heron Marsh trail, which was about 3 miles and while at points a tiny bit muddy, we were able to navigate with our Thule stroller with relative ease. Pre-Navi we often would just head out with Quince in the carrier and the big kids on their own, however, when I go alone or if I am uncertain of the kids stamina, the stroller was nice to have – even if a bit shaky at the muddy parts. We did someone walking with a non jogger style stroller and while I am sure they survived, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a few adults who want to lift the stroller at points.

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If you are looking for something to do the VIC is always a great, kid-friendly option to get outside for as long or as short as needed and with the bathrooms and added playground I can also adjust based on the kid’s moods.

Pros: Well-maintained kid friendly trails at a variety of lengths, clean bathrooms and indoor facility, small playground area and deck or indoor tables to eat lunch.

Cons: Kids on hikes are unpredictable :), if you don’t plan food/eating or time things wrong there really isn’t much around and so you could potentially endure a 15-20 minute drive of kids whining they are hungry. Not that has happened or anything.