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Friday, July 14, 2017

Real Life while kids are gone....

This really has been something new in my life on Newark-Granville Road.  To be in this house without kids for a whole week.  Last year when all three were at camp it was wonky with travel and delays.  And when the girls went to camp and Peter stayed here it was different.  All good, and to be honest when all three are here it is GREAT- I miss them.  But I'll take this time and of course I'll share the why on the blog!

Why is it nice to have the break.  Believe it or not the house is clean, really clean. Even the dog went to camp for a few days. The cleaning team was in disbelief how tidy everything was and thanked me- so easier to do our job- they said with great enthusiasm.  Hmmmmm- cleaning for the cleaning people, we will return to that this year.

I've had a chance to focus on work and the timing was great.  In my work with have cycles and the cycle right now is gear-up, get ready, reach out.  I get to take my vacation having things organized, launched and in progress. This is happening because of amazing partnerships and fabulous colleagues and planning. It feels good.  I care a lot about my work and value the time to give it attention.  I also value the flexibility my role has to juggle being a working Mom of three.

Joe and Susan time and time for Susan has been great. As you read in our camping adventure we found our "us" time. Finding that balance can be hard during the year with work, kids and community commitments.  This week we've been a bit more individual time - very important too!  Joe had a work trip to Boston.  I made exercise a priority for me and even went shopping, for a bathing suit.  Being alone in my house- ahhhhhh- reset time.

We didn't get to do all the things we wanted or dreamt about- dinners in Columbus, meeting at the pub for a day end drink.  We did get two mini projects done- art is hanging and the Derby decor is away...restated- the Triple Crown Horse decor is away (that ended in June by the way.) We also missed our kids- really missed them.  Joe said this after a great catch-up call with him talking sports.  The girls letters make me want to know more, hear their voices. YES we missed them AND we can't wait to hear all about their time being off of Newark-Granville Road while our lives continued here.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Grown Up Camp Time in the Hocking Hills!

I didn't know how much I needed our Hocking Hills adventure until I was there.  Although many friends might disagree based on how much I talked about it- I was certainly looking forward to the plans we made!  And I'm pleased to report- nothing disappointed.  I'm also happy to say my desire for a camp fix was met thanks to our journey south to one of Ohio's treasures.

-The Hocking Hills region is so close- we need to go more often and will return with the kids for day hikes.  We left Granville later than anticipated with loaded car- amazing how much we took for two people for two days....and no tent required.
 Although we used a spread sheet to collect said supplies we didn't have an exact itinerary planned. We had options noted with addresses as we tried to go old school with maps and really put the phones away- I give us a B plus for this activity.  Reality is that GPS came in handy down there.  We had to stop and buy a map and it was not detailed enough.  Advice- stop at the Welcome to the Hocking Hills Visitor center and get detailed maps.  Service is spotty and it came in handy once we had the region's magazine with map.

We made the call to hike closer to our tipi site due to check-in timing.  We found the sign for Whispering Cave- Joe did, I was looking for the Restaurant sign.  The burned remains and stone foundation of the restaurant are interesting.  The new hike takes you into beautiful woods and descends offering easy to traverse steps.  We passed a ranger who shared Whispering Cave is special and make sure to take the spur there.  She was correct- peaceful, cool with modest effort- our perfect picnic stop.  Then we took the new trail further south to experience the new hickory bridge- again only seeing few people along the way.  Fun to cross we had time to keep going and made the call to join the multitudes and head to Old Man's Cave.  This turned into the most challenging part of the hike due to wear and tear and water- the uneven ground, exposed roots and rocks gave my ankle a workout.  I'm pleased for the opportunity to develop those muscles and increase my flexibility.  Total was 5 miles of activity in beautiful terrain.

The timing worked and we found our way to http://www.secludedsanctuaries.com  thanks to GPS even with no Internet service, but I had the address and an Okay map that helped.  We chose a Tipi- or I talked Joe into the tipi to get my platform tent fix.  Last year when researching places to stay around Estes Park I stumbled on tipis and yurts and regretted not making that happen for us.  Joe regrets not staying at the Stanley.  (Note all worked out for us last year and we loved being in that amazing part of the country. In fact the whole Hocking Hills trip was inspired by the western hiking and fresh air. Another part of our story and orgin goes back to when we were dating and a special weekend without reservation that took us to walk-in camping at the park.

I will admit I was worried- the price was right for our tipi, but it looked like a great fall overnight spot- it had a stove inside?  Were we headed to a sweat lodge if the weather was hot? Oh well, we could always return home if not satisfied.

Our tipi and camp site were simple and perfect.  Joe and I loaded the cart and walked the short distance to our home away from home.  It was warm and a bit muggy but once we unloaded and set up camp were able to relax.  Being completely surrounded by nature, in an off the beaten path local, within a forest is a great way to unwind.  The tipi was spacious and had a very comfortable air mattress.  I brought my usual camp roll - egg crate foam, sheets and comforter.  Three cheers for Joe added four pillows to complete our nest.   The wood floor and mattress gave me my Camp Alleghany platform tent feel and I was satisfied.  We also loved having fire pit with solid grate to execute the dinner plan. If needed we were prepared to scout a different dinner site. I'm so pleased stayed put.  Joe builds a fabulous fire and soon dinner was cooking and cocktail hour enjoyed.
The canopy of trees made for a cool setting- literally and figuratively.  The tipi's smoke flaps gave a beautiful view, to understand the beauty of our surroundings, you have to know the birds were  wonderful company.  As the sun set it was an orchestra of calls.  Once it was dark there was a deep quiet that isn't easy to find in our world. It was easy to wake up at our usual time but we had the luxury to roll over to sleep-in.  Day one of grown-up camp- success!
 

Once up on day two we high tailed it out anxious for running water and made way to a recommended diner for breakfast.  Part of our adventure is getting a sense of the local experience and time in Laurelville didn't disappoint.  Tuesday's dinner time activity South Bloomingville provided the same energy and input- sitting at the bar with locals proved quite interesting. We even were able to enjoy a dance and great music sitting outside at an extended 4th of July party.  To round out the camp experience we had booked time in a canoe on the river.  We opted for the longer journey so we could hike into see the Rock Bridge.  We could of been better prepared to blend in with the locals by packing a cooler and enjoying sandbar time.  Other's actions reminded me of the fun back in the day on the Niabra river in Nebraska!  But our trip worked for us- the scenery and modest exercise- made for a great way to spend the afternoon.  The dark cloud that lingered opened up as we unloaded so we could keep our towels dry.  The rain was refreshing and provided a wonderful shower.  Dancing in the rain has been part of many a date for Joe and me.  It almost seemed planned and the timing was perfect.    Bonus- we took a walk and found our dating time camp site!  It was number 6- not 4 or 7 or 9......good to have the known.  Another fire, another great night's sleep and time to linger in the woods wrapped up our hocking hills time. We didn't get to all the hikes we had planned, but happy to look forward to Rock House with the kids.

Life on Newark-Granville Road loves adventure, hiking, exploring and relaxing and camping in Hocking Hills.  Joe and I are pleased we can get lost- leave our phones, skip a shower and just be together.  It is what we give our kids when we send them to camp, we deserved it too!

Note- limited pictures due to cell phone put-a-way and to see the outside of the tipi- follow the link to Secluded Santuary!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Let Her Eat Cake! Happy Birthday 2017!

It has been another wonderful birthday and celebrating of my birthday!

First the day-today was a very good day!  It started waking up in our Tipi in Hocking Hills- details to be shared on the blog soon, I promise.  We packed up and headed for breakfast taking the scenic route through Somerset.  We enjoyed our diner stop, soaking in the no phone get away and slow re-entry back to civilization.    After organizing and unpacking I gave myself the gift of exercise and rejoined Maximum Fitness.  I was happy to return to a favorite machine, easy access and weight training.  It is what I need.  My afternoon date was a pool and when option a didn't work at MCC I found option B- Trout Club.  I was so pleased to submerge my body in cool water (2 days remote camping will cause one to crave the water) and lounge with my book.  Bonus was friend sighting and quick catch-up.  Since I was so close to Utica I made the trek to Branstol and bought myself peaches.  Summer treat early and yes, a Velvet ice cream cone to say hello to my duck pals.  Home to read my mail....bonus- letter from Clare and card from Peter....and shower.  Another delight.....although the rain shower bonus was fun after canoeing yesterday.  Joe and I then made our way to dinner at the Inn, walking as we could with time on our hands, still in vacation/holiday mode.  We had a fantastic dinner in the Oak Room- our first- gourmet treat- impressed and delighted.  A lovely day for a birthday on Newark-Granville Road and one I will treasure.

The celebrating has included friend time, family time and some incredible meals that include dessert and candles on and off NG Road.  I love to make birthday wishes and count my blessings for all the wonderful message, cards, texts, honks, waves and Facebook posts.  Life on Newark-Granville is all the richer with good people who share these special milestones and I'm grateful.  A few pictures below help share the story and celebration.

 

 

*****And the fun continues- lucky me- birthday with colleagues at work, dear family that are friends, and drinks to toast the new years and time together!  I continue to be touched by the gifts, Facebook posts and deliveries that make their way. Life on Newark-Granville Road loves the chance to blow out the candle and make a wish...or more!

 
 
 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Favorite Child....today!

I posted on Facebook that Sally was my favorite child one day last week, because she sent me the first letter from camp.  A week had gone by and it was the only camp letter.  Those keeping track at home- know that there has been a second letter received from Sally and updates from friends and family that she has corresponded with them as well.  Note Nana isn't too pleased to have only received the fill in the blank form notes that I thought were cute.  Bonus points were given to Sally for making it into the photo gallery on the camp website with big smiles.  I know Clare is doing well as I've seen her in pictures and even a video showcasing the "Ghany Give" effort.  Of course that is close to my heart.

Today's favorite child is Peter.

I have not received mail from him...yet...I know it is coming though- yay Nana.  He hasn't called me proactively, but I have spoken with him on the phone a number of times. He is at my parents for three weeks and that is why he is my favorite.   My parents are amazing for taking on a 15 year old but they love the company and assistance.  I loved the call received late on evening..."Hey Mom- guess what we had for dinner, Nana says you are going to be jealous"  I guessed soft shell crabs, I was close- "Hard shell crabs, and they were so good, I picked 6!"  I was a bit green but more grateful to have Peter experiencing one of my favorite things with my favorite people.  He went to Antietam Battlefield for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's 4th of July concert. Classical music, rain, heat, schlepping, picnic blanket, no chairs- he said it was fun!  God love that boy!  Peter defended Clare's lack of letters- "she is busy hopping mom".....he is a good little brother.

Each of our children are special and delight me, frustrate me, challenge me and make me proud. Life on Newark-Granville Road is completed because of these three darlings. I miss them at this time of year. I embrace and love the change of pace, the quiet, the clean, the Joe/Susan time.  Most of all I love what this time gives them- new friends, renewed friends, appreciation and memories of special places that we now share.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

New Perspective for Fourth of July

Life is a bit more quiet on Newark-Granville Road with the kids at camp. We're calling Peter's camps in MD Nanapap camp.  Last year it was all different with the delayed camp delivery and our trip to Colorado.....so much fun.  So this year being here without the kids is different.  

All of our activities are a bit different without the kid and going back to the before kids mentality isn't easy.  I'm missing them yet embracing and enjoying the change in pace and perspective.  I was taken back by the new location for the Ferris wheel at the fair in town.  I love to ride that Ferris Wheel. I love the views, the slight thrill it provides and is fun to do with one of my kids.  But this year no kids and a different local.

Joe and I rode bikes (yes I can ride a bike- ankle diary note) for lunch at the very start of the fair.  I though I'd take a spin then but delayed opening didn't give me the opportunity.  We returned home and retreated to the club for some lovely R and R, supporting planned activities there. Joe is on the board and we both appreciate all the staff and volunteers are doing to help one of our happy places in Licking County.  After a lovely day and evening I recognized the chance I had to scoot to town for my spin...and so off I went at 9:30 pm.

What a treat it was to find quick easy parking and join the town happy energy to end my day.  I bought my ticket, stood in line taking in the festivities and then went for a ride.  The new location is exciting- I was able to see the entrance to Denison, be on par with the steeples in town and look further west on the beautiful Broadway Boulevard.  The real treat is the sounds that accompany the sites.  The shrills and screams produced from the swings and swirls, the ooh and ahhs of winners in the bingo tent made it all the richer of a ride. Conversations from pre-teens in the cart behind me obvious that a Mom type is listening made me pause but smile.  Our sweet town in it's 4th of July glory is fun to see from the bird's eye perspective.  The perspective was also my comfort to pop in to town solo and wrap up my day reflecting on the nice emails, texts, photos, street chatter and quality time at the pool and on the patio.   I had a happy impromptu exchange with another camp Mom allowing me to think of my girls in WVA.

Life on Newark-Granville Road loves the start of this new month- welcome July!  The new fiscal year for work- woo hoo for all the amazing donors and volunteers in fiscal 2017!  The holiday celebration of our amazing country- it isn't perfect but it is ours and offers so much.  The kids special opportunity and comfort in being in new places and off of Newark-Granville Road.  All sorts of perspective for 2017's 4th of July.  Thanks for sharing, it is time to take a view of the golf course!


Can you hear the music, delighful screams and chatter?
Some see Methodist Church I see Denison entrance and Swasey!


My favorite view- when I herad the cheers I turned around to snap this picture.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

All According to Plan for 2017- Camp Drop Off Weekend's Lessons

Another special camp drop-off in the books in our lives on Newark-Granville Road.  I love what I am learning about my family within these annual events and our pilgrimage to West Virgina.  Camp drop off isn't just a quick trip to WVA and back.  Since this was my camp, it was also my parents camp.  Various family members ranging from Joe, my parents, my sister, my niece, my kids have accompanied me, often adding a stay somewhere fun.  Here are some take aways from this year....

First and foremost this year Clare's lessons for me.  Our 16 year old returned to Camp Alleghany today for her 5th year. It will be her final year as a camper and we're not sure the counselor path is hers. (She also didn't think she'd continue with orchestra but she is.)  The past two years water levels have impacted drop off.  Camp Alleghany did a phenomenal job with communication and care. Last year's horrific flooding did not impact our children's experiences, in fact Clare said it was the best term ever despite being cut short by a week and mud and dirt coated everything.   Also know that last year's drop off trip was to be extra special as Louisa, my niece, was attending mini-camp so Sarah and I created the plan to gather at The Greenbrier during the transition. I'd always wanted to have my parents and family dining and dancing together at this special resort.  Read the blog from last year at this time to get the scoop.  We found our plan and B and all went on to camp and travel well in July 2016.  However it impressed upon Clare as we looked forward to this year's special plans to preference it with "if all goes according to plan".... I would say to someone at the pool- "oh I can't wait to see my father at the Homestead".....Clare from across the table would add an "eh eh..if all goes according to plan Mom".  

I'm pleased to say all did go according to plan for 2017! With Louisa joining both girls as 1st Term Campers what fun it was to all be together for delivery today.  What a special treat it was to gather at The Homestead this year meeting my parents and my sister and family with my family.  Dreams come true- we danced, and explored, relaxed and took to the healing waters and mountain air to just be.  Clare did ask several times a day- did you hear from camp mom?  Any word from camp Mom?  Did you check email and your texts today Mom?  The answer was always no- the sun was shining, the river low. We all took the barge- Joe included- first time at drop-off- to share the joy of the first day.  Seeing our dear Clare happy and at home was something I shall not soon forget.

I also discovered about Louisa, my niece and goddaughter.  What a joy it was so see her in her tent and see the location across from Sally's. Watch her hold her mother's hand while longing to be with her big cousins and their friends.  Share two days of anticipation and excitement on her own and in mass with Clare and Sally.  This darling, fun, sweet, independence, devoted, entertaining child is ready for camp and we're all so proud of her.  Thank you Camp Alleghany for the fantastic care last year and preparation for this place for our girls.

Sally is our dear Sally.  Hearing her sigh as we approached the banks of camp and say so sincerely- camp is my home away from home was music to my ears.  She was indeed at home so quickly for being a third year camper. Of course this was my first time seeing her in-camp on move in day.  I've only seen her leaving, saying farewell. As I reflect it was the same but there is something about the transition between worlds. It was good for me to see her in such a happy place.

Camp is amazing and seeing it through the eyes of my chidren is pure joy.  This happiness is expanded as I experience with my niece and friends.  Such happy reunions for the girls and for us parents. The whole day was happy, positive, goodness- renewals and new meetings- but we all were connected through our campers and this place.

The Homestead was an extended version with happy homecomings- kids, families, weddings.   Being with my family is very important to me. I missed my brother and his family but we'll unite in three weeks for beach time. Another ritual of camp- pick up and unite and reconnect with family vacation.  I loved making bookends with two days of quality time in such a beautiful place.  I'll wrap up with one more lesson.  We determined again that Joe is the funniest in the family.  As we prepared to leave today, soaking in the sun on the porch, my husband appeared as a Sherpa.  Carrying bags, dresses on hangers, phone charger around his neck and declared, Bellhop, we don't need no bellhop.  I think it may be- HTBT- had to be there- but I want the image captured.

Peter we're learning a lot about Peter and having a 15 year old boy.  He's made some mistakes lately but oh how I adore him.  He resists and puts up with a lot being the only boy cousin on this side, only male grandchild for my parents.  He rolls with most things. He didn't want to dance, but he came around.  Lucky me- I danced with my son, my father and my husband this weekend. We sent Peter home with my parents and I'm so grateful they get this time. No doubt they'll be stories to share, stay tuned!

Life on Newark-Granville Road loves a good laugh and happy tears. The kids realized this about me a long time ago and often I get that look- they can just glance over and realize I'm tearing up with joy. They'll tilt their head or roll their eyes.  There were quite a few of these moments this weekend. I'm glad they know me and I hold closer the chance to get to know them all in new and renewed ways.  Here is the lesson I relearned- I'm so fortunate to have this beautiful family and we love being together and away from each other.

Bellhop, we don't need no stinkin bellhop!
 

Annual barge picture- Christophers with us!

Clare in happy place.
Sally and her counselor- home away from home


Louisa is ready!
Why the smiles- kids delivered to 3 weeks of camp!


Thanks for the dance Peter!
Sums up the weekend.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Favorite time of the year......2017 style!

The summer solstice is a favorite time of the year.  And this year we've embraced and gotten the most out of each minute of the longest days of the year!  Documenting for the virtual journal and Leithauser achieves of our lives Newark-Granville Road!

-Sunrise on June 21st at Moundbuilders!  5:30 arrival and a beautiful treat to see the sun's rays make their way down number 9. Ancient history embraced!

-Last swim meet for 2017 in the books and it was a long one.  Wrapped up with dear friends and pizza.

-Lilly Store in Columbus opened- woo hoo.  Didn't have time, should of been in many other places but this fun impromptu time in Columbus before the girls go away for three weeks was something I'll never forget!

Those are the highlights I wanted to get down...lots going on including a long over due get-away. A vacation day and the opportunity to gather the family.