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.

Meacham Lake

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When I first ventured into the blogging world “Brunching with Babes” was a story of all the restaurants Dominique and I frequented with baby Flynn in tow. However, shortly after we moved to Philly and this space was sort of a round up of all the fun places in Philly with kids coupled with random nonsense.

Now that I am nearing almost 3 years up here (yea not sure how that happened) I figured I would share some fun kid places we end up and my kids take on the event.

Last summer when I was very very VERY pregnant with Navi and had a 1 year old Quince bulldozing his way through life, I knew that the next few months were going to be a bit of “hibernating”. And while I am not usually a fan of being trapped inside, I knew that it would be a bit of a challenge for the first few months. However, the hibernation has ended and getting out and about is a lot less stressful – or shall I say worth the stress.

Today the kids were off from school so we headed about 30 minutes from Saranac Lake towards Malone to a the Meacham Lake Campgrounds. While the day pass is $8, I am a fan of hitting up Meacham because the access to bathrooms, the really nice playground, easy parking/access to my car and of course the beautiful lake is worth it in the end. We have been here a number of times, especially back when we were living on campus, and my kids often fixate on the lake and beach or get wrapped up in some game in the playground. Either way we usually can last a really long time here and I never have to worry about taking all the kids off the beach to run another kid to the bathroom.

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In the Boone kiddo opinions, this place is worth the bit of the drive and we will continue to dream that Saranac Lake (or Brighton Park) add a Bears Playground to the area.

Couple of notes:

Cost: $8 per car

Playground: Listed as 2-12 – some parts are higher or require climbing, but this is where Nola learned to the lower monkey bars last summer. There are also swings, but they are off the side so never have to worry a kid is going to run into swings.

Lake Area is a fine size, nothing huge, but plenty of space.

Also, has covered pavilion and bathrooms near by.

Typical to up here in the spring/early summer, the bugs can be annoying, but not the worst I have seen (May 2018).

 

Five Favorites: Warm Winter Babies

In my imaginary blog world where I actually write consistently, Friday favorites was an idea. However, we all know I am about how consistent I am in keeping up with this blog. I like to keep people on their toes and just when they can breath a sigh of relief that this blog has died I pop back up with my nonsense.

Today schools are closed because the wind chill is a balmy -40 degrees. We may not close for 40 inches of snow, but apparently the Adirondacks draw the line at negative 40. Who knew?

Having now had two babies (one 4 months old and one 8 month old) during the frigid north country winter months I have rounded out my five favorite things for keeping babies warm in the winter. I would like to say it’s having 4 kids that makes me need quick and easy, but in reality when I had just Flynn I was not one for nonsense and needed to keep it simple. Pretty much like all of us because no one has time for nonsense.

So here you have it – my five favorite baby items for the winter.

  1. This Bunting. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.47 AMPatagonia is my all time fav just because they are awesome people and seriously I want to work there so my kid can go to their amazing employee childcare center. That said, their products are also magical. Nola still squeezes her 5T self into 2T vest. Sure it is a tad snug, but it gets the job done. Quince is typically a 2T, however, he still is rocking this bunting from last year in a 12 month. I recently snagged a 0-3 month bunting for well over half off on a kid’s resale site for Navi and while she probably could use the next size up – it works for her at the moment! {Note: I always like gender neutral when possible not just so I can share with my own kids, but also if I ever pass it on or resell it gets more use!}
  2. These woolies.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.06 AM I don’t know if you know this, but I love all things wool, especially Merino wool. My kids daily rock a pair of Merino wool base layers. They are the best for keeping kids warm and easily can layer to provide hours of outside play without the whining. Ella’s wool has a great pair for babies. I love the footie pants and how easily it is to wear alone or layer with another piece!
  3. Zutano fleece booties.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.21 AM These have been my go-to since Flynn was a baby. They are a favorite baby shower gift and a piece that we have passed on from kid to kid. Navi has so many color options because pairs from all my kids are still in play and my sister passed a bunch down from my soon to be 6 year old niece. They stay on great and keep kiddos feet warm with or without socks underneath!
  4. Stroller Footmuff. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.14.37 AMWhen we lived on campus and were a one car family, I bought a stroller that basically served as our “second car”. I found a deal and while it was still WAY expensive, the stroller has been amazing for what we do, especially having two babies less than 16 months apart. Even now that we are off campus, I try to get the kids outside daily despite the weather (perhaps not -40 wind chill, but most other weather). One thing that gives me peace of mind (and makes it not a nightmare with blankets falling off, etc) is a stroller bunting or foot muff. We currently only have one because Navi was still using the bassinet function of the stroller, but as she transitions to the big seat I am scowling the internets (and gilt.com) for a deal on a second stroller footmuff. I believe they make generic ones, but we use the one fitted for our stroller.
  5. An easy hat that does not strap under the chin. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.55 AMThis is a personal preference and really just because my babies always get annoyed with the chin strap. A good hat though is key. Navi rocks around the house and when I throw her in the carseat to pick the kids up we rock the bunting and a hat and go about our business without much fuss. Our favorite hat is one the hospital gave us when we left (a little knit cap), but this one also works now that Navi is larger and outgrowing Quince’s little knit hat.