Thursday, September 05, 2013

Get thee to the hills! Blissful Poconos, PA.

Lucky us - a whole summer off island! Destination - U.S.A.

Where should we begin? What should we do? How do we budget for this? How much time could Jeff take off from work? Who would care for our dog, Oscar?

After much discussion and flurries of emails, Jeff and I decided the best way to manage expenses would be to spend time with family at various destinations, and save a few days for hotels using Marriot rewards points. The kids could see family and friends, reconnect with favorite activities, and we'd have the luxury that comes with having a home base. Although Jeff couldn't take an entire month off of work, the weeks he allocated gave us a chance to enjoy the experience together.

Our first stop was Albrightsville, PA - a lovely hillside town located in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.

We've had the pleasure of vacationing here several times, thanks to the generous hospitality of Grandma H and Grandpa Michael. Over the years, we've worked out a lovely system I call - "What happens at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's."

In other words, I butt out completely and let the Grands take over all childcare responsibilites while I curl up on the couch with a good book, hit the outlets for shopping, or go for a run on their conveniently spaced three mile gated community road.

Yes, I pinched myself sometimes. Reading for pleasure in the middle of the day?! Running easy, flat miles while the kids were splurging on "Pocono pancakes?" Why, yes, please!

Jordan and the fish! Some trout fishing at the local fish pond. Best part - Grandma rule #1, "Whatever you catch, we eat!" And they did!

Nature abounds! Mina and Jordan spent a morning at the Butterfly Sanctuary Museum admiring the monarchs and moths. This one shares Mina's love of glitter.

In between organized activities like museums, fishing trips and water parks (we revisited the H20 water park at Split Rock resort - a blast!) we also had down time to just hang out in the front yard, ride scooters, and make up games using that funny thing called "imagination."

One afternoon, I parked myself on the driveway, armed with with my book a desire to understand what was keeping the kids occupied for so many hours. I watched them zip by on scooters between sites on the driveway and yards. Occasionaly, I looked up to take some pictures and try to decipher the rules of this game called "restaurant."

It didn't matter. No helicopter parenting necessary. They were happy, and there wasn't an electronic device to be found between them.

Me either!

I rediscovered the textile joys of a paperback! Grandma had plenty of them stocking the shelves of the rec room library. Don't you just love taking a peek at other people's book collections?

I do.

Revisiting the Carbon County Fair. Jordan is secretly thrilled that he is too tall for the children's ferris wheel!

What's she doing?? This girl loves the camera.

And she loves a good slide too. Once upon a time, I used to climb up these tall slides behind them, dragging the burlap carpet bags over my shoulder.

No longer. I have big kids now. Sniff.

The flora and fauna about in Pennsylvania. Meet "Dog," a bunny at the 4H exhibit. Mina was in Heaven. Bunnies continue to be her thing.

Closer to home, these babies rested contentedly on Grandma H's yard as their mother scavenged amongst the nearby tree leaves. She would periodically come back and check on them, then wander off again.

Testing their independence, I suppose. Good strategy, mama. I'm starting to understand it myself.

Books read: "And the Sea will Tell," Vincent Bugliosi - a true crime story of a murder on an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Food Eaten: Pocono pancakes, Grandma's famous sugar cookies, trout, salads, wraps, outdoor grilling, vats of ice cream.

miles run: 7

miles on the scooter: marathon worthy
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