suny tech reunion at lake taghkanic.

one of the best parts about road life is being able to connect with old friends who are scattered around the country. that happened last sunday when i was able to meet up with three friends from my college days at suny tech. to be exact, it was an old soccer and softball teammate and her husband bruce, who also attended suny tech. and dave and his wife, reena, who visited frequently and was an honorary wildcat. and their kiddos, of course.

we planned to meet for a little picnic and swimming on a beautiful day at lake taghkanic, about an hour away from our campsite.

my kiddos headed straight for the water.

hazel, planted herself in another sandy pit of water, as she usually does.

the park was PACKED. it was crazy.

during a break from the swimming, and when everyone was an acceptable level of hungry, dave cooked up hot dogs and brats for everyone and the picnic commenced.

action shot of picnicking.

after the eating, more swimming and sandcastling was in order.

theannababy. with the pretty scenery and delightful weather as a backdrop.

crazelnut. “all tied up”.

before we left, we were sure to get some selfies and group shots so we could hashtag them for social media.

here’s me, dave, his wife reena, and their daughter, trying to hide from the camera.

isaac attempted a shot of all of us.

then we recruited derek to take a better shot. it was so great to see these old friends and chat about the good old days.

hazel didn’t last long on the ride home, and fell asleep with her hand in a bag of chips, which i’m sure is the only thing she ate all day long, with the exception of picking out the chocolate chips from a cookie.

it was a fantastic day and i hope to see more friends soon.

the rambling road show , , , , , ,

accord new york, week one.

we have been extra lazy at our new spot. we are here for three weeks. it’s a nice campground. the kids are tired of having daily epic adventures. there’s not a TON to do in the immediate vicinity. so, lazy it is.

lots of legos.

our site is close to the pool. and it’s been warm. so, lots of swimming.


and sunbathing.

back at kelder’s farm, i made the older two kids stop to take some pics with the alleged “world’s largest garden gnome”…




ok. ok. so one day, we did have an adventure. we drove to the mohonk preserve to do some exploring. the kids LOVED the “children’s forest” where they could dig and break things and build forts.



i dragged them away from the children’s forest to go to a little waterfall natural swimming area. those never get old.




i was pleasantly surprised by isaac’s willingness to swim out to the waterfall. there were spots that he couldn’t touch, but he still went for it.


this crazel face.

more waterfall touching.

and jumping off this rock. he’s much more adventurous than he lets on.


after our swim time, we went to one more spot, to see the “million dollar view of the catskills”. it was a little misty, and the kids were definitely not impressed, so we stayed for about 9 seconds.

this was the best pic i could get with the three of them.

anna (and hazel) were happy to pick a bouquet of wildflowers.

and that was the end of our one adventure. that night. we ventured out for some wings and pizza. (because i promised it during our hike/swim/adventure).

crazel didn’t make it.

the next day. disaster struck. we were laying low, around the site, so i decided to get all of the kids bathed. during ike’s turn, while he was getting dressed, there was an “incident”. at first, he told me that he was naked dancing. but, he eventually revised his story to say that he was doing kung fu. also naked. either way, he whacked his hand on the door latch and ripped open his knuckle.

so, for the third time on our rambling road show, in the third different state, for the third kid, we got to visit a local medical establishment. first, we went to urgent care, but they sent us to the ER, because the cut was on the knuckle. he was a little anxious about getting stitches, but the ipad helped to distract him.

they got him fixed up, and thankfully there was no damage to the tendons. (side note: watching them dig around inside to see if he had cut through the “tendon sheath” was horrifying).

if we were lazy before, we upped our game to another level, thanks to isaac’s stitches. lots of ipad and screen time. and whining about his wrist wrap. 🙂

we also finally had a campfire. and s’mores. so good.

on saturday, we had big plans to go to poughkeepsie for the day, but derek hurt his back, so we were campsite bound. so, more pool time for the girls, while isaac happily stayed back at the camper playing the ipad.

bathing beauties.


snacking beauties.

and that ends our first week in lovely accord, new york. and ends my flurry of blog activity for the night. 🙂

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , , ,

travel day. ithaca to accord.

after our two nights in ithaca, we spent a very slow morning getting ready to head to our next spot in accord, ny. while we packed up, the kids colored the balloons from wegmans with crayola markers, with made for some super messy kiddos.

of course we left some stuff out to dry overnight and it poured rain and rained all morning as we packed up to leave. blah.

as usual, derek and isaac rode in the camper, and the girls and i were on our own. we stopped at a wendy’s, where i could fully assess the grubbiness of my kids.


seriously. people must have thought something was wrong with us.

meanwhile, derek full further behind us, when he found a spot to get our nasty camper cleaned.

thankfully, about a mile before our campsite, i found this cute little farm, where the girls could play while we waited for derek and isaac to catch up with us. kelder’s farm. and it had one of these nifty giant bouncy things.

anna LOVED it.

hazel had more of a love/hate relationship. there was a lot of crying.


some ice cream to cheer up the grumpy toddler who doesn’t love to be bounced around all willy nilly by big kids on the giant blobby bounce thing.


it was a beautiful day. this was before i knew that a LOT of the scenery in the part of the state is just as beautiful. and we have had a lot of very pretty days. i can’t complain.

after ice cream, the bouncy blob was less daunting for the crazel nut.

flying anna.

and more.

selfie with this grub.

before we left, we stopped to feed the rather sad and hot looking farm animals.



we killed enough time at the farm for derek to catch up with us. we met him at the site and set up camp at our home for the next three weeks. and hazel found a frog. or toad. whatever.

while derek finished setting us up, i took the kiddos all out to dinner at the kerhonkson diner. this was my burger. it was fantastic.

theannababy always orders spaghetti with meat balls. and then makes a COMPLETE disaster of everything in a three foot radius of her mouth trying to eat it. this day was no exception.

this concludes the tale of the travel day. the end.

the rambling road show , , , , ,


our stay in watkins glen state park ended on a friday morning and since we didn’t want to a) have derek use personal time to drive to our next spot and b) leave the finger lakes area, we hopped 45 minutes over to a campsite in ithaca for a couple of days.

derek went straight to the site.
i went straight to ithaca to waffle frolic for this delicious breakfast:

my longtime pal, mary casey, met up with us there and we made our way to buttermilk falls state park. i had planned on hiking and making a day of it, but when i realized the cool swimming hole area was right by the entrance, i was cool with just playing for a bit.

the water levels are low in all of new york pretty much, so the water fall was a little straggly. but it was still cooler than any old pool. 🙂


after a giant posse of kids showed up, the life guards cracked down on the rules, so my grumpy kids decided to sort rocks.

when everyone was done (clearly over it), we walked over to the playground area, where mary casey showcased her stretchy skills with hazel.

we went back to the campsite for the afternoon and tested out their pool for a bit. when derek was done with work, we went to trumansburg for dinner. our first few options were packed out and would take awhile, so we settled for ron don’s village pub. i think. the annababy is a bookworm and came prepared for the wait.

i obviously ordered a chicken finger sub. 🙂

from there, we headed up the lake to the boathouse beer garden, where mary’s band, the hilltoppers, were playing a gig.

the kids danced and played with other kids. i drank beers. derek took pictures.

when the music was over, and the band was packing up, we stopped to chat and mary and hazel took a little nap inside her bass case. nerds.

day two. we woke up and had an extra slow morning. finally, we got our act together and went to the ithaca farmer’s market, which was super cute and granola-y. it was packed and we mostly just took it all in, but stopped for cookies at the stand of one of mary’s bandmates. (the fiddler).


by the waterfront, this happy guy played music for all the hippie moms.

i meant to get some decent shots of the farmers market, but this was probably the best i got.

the walk back. along the river(?) (waterway?) that comes out of the bottom of cayuga lake.


we decided to go back to ithaca commons (where we had waffles the day before), so i could get my hands on a new used book and an “ithaca is gorges” t-shirt. outside of the parking garage, like most of ithaca, there was a mural, so we stopped for a photo shoot.

the weather wasn’t looking promising.

in the bookstore, anna read for a VERY long time. derek had other two kids at the playground. i found two books (one of which i read in like two days. and one that i have read about a page a day in and cannot get started). of all the books, of course anna picked out a vintage out of print book that sold for $20. i talked her out of it and into something else, but felt like the worst mom.

the playground. this shiny ball.

it caused about 12 separate meltdowns for hazel. and she pushed a boy. my first pusher.

i’m not sure what we were thinking, but on the way home, with meltdown-y kids all around us, we decided to go to wegmans, which is another entire adventure.

anna, the fisherman, face to face with the very creature she hunts for sport.

derek was overwhelmed with sushi options.


on the ride back to our campsite, we took a detour, so i could maybe get a good shot of the lake. we found a little parking area and wandered over. derek took these pics while i hightailed it back to the car, because we had inadvertently happened upon a yacht club, and we were clearly out of our league.


finally, back at the camper, derek busted out his sushi. and mary casey came over with some beers and we got to have one last hangout, before our road show pulled out in the morning.

and then, our brief time in ithaca was over. 🙁

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , ,

watkins glen gorge.

as previously mentioned in the last post, the kids, derek’s mom, and i hiked the gorge on our first full day in watkins glen. derek’s dad drove us to the top and we hiked down where he picked us up later, which made it so much easier, especially with my forty pounds of precious cargo. derek hiked up and back the next afternoon. so some of these pics are mine and some his. i won’t bore you with captions. just look at the pretty pictures.

































the rambling road show , , , , , , ,

watkins glen (everything but the gorge).

we finally pulled into our campsite at watkins glen state park around 7pm, so an executive decision was made to go straight to dinner. another executive decision was made to make it mexican.

after dinner, we took a quick drive down to the water, to see the last bit of daylight disappear over seneca lake.

a rare shot of derek and i. 🙂

derek and i took isaac and anna out on the sea wall. derek and ike ventured out further than us, but not without first taking a pic of anna and i taking a selfie.

the boy and the lake.

derek and the kids frolicking on the rocks.

derek took this panoramic shot from the sea wall.

somehow we managed to not take a picture of the iconic little red building at the end of the pier. oh well.

so, the next day, our big huge adventure was hiking the watkins glen gorge. i will write an entire post about it, full of amazing pictures, later. so, we now pick up with life after the hike….

in order to get the kids motivated to finish the hike without stopping for snacks every 50 feet, i promised them ice cream. we found a cute little place just down the road, called the glen dairy creamery. there were SOOO many flavors. and the prices were super reasonable.

isaac got FOUR scoops.

i got two. on the top was the caramel caribou and the bottom was blueberry pancake. which might just be my new favorite flavor of all time.

after hiking and a lunch of ice cream, we took the kids to the pool at the park. there was a little pool for smaller kiddos and my kids loved it. especially this non-swimmer.

anna practiced her “swimming” in the 18 inches of water. and played nicely with hazel.

isaac was wearing goggles that covered his nose in the regular section of the pool, until a lifeguard whistled and megaphoned that he couldn’t wear them. he was pretty mad, but recovered nicely to play with the girls for awhile.

later, during a routine grocery trip to walmart, derek ended up buying anna a new bike. she’s been riding a tiny little 16″ one gear bike and it is so hard for her to keep up. we got her a little 20″ mountain bike that seems a little too big for her, but she has adjusted quickly and is now racing all over the campsite whenever she has a moment.

on our second full day at watkins glen, we went to a little beach at a park nearby.

i was attacked by this menacing toddler wielding a squirt gun.

this one made pretend soups and castles the whole day.

the three. playing together. but separate.

not sure what is going on here.

one final lake pose.

the rest of our day was kind of lazy. derek’s mom had actually hurt her back the day before, so we were laying low. isaac played his ipad with grampa, hazel napped, and we took anna to check out some shopping. the shopping turned out to be a bust, but we recovered by having some ben and jerry’s. (there’s that iconic red building i was talking about).

on our final night, derek’s parents took us out to a delicious fancy pants restaurant. (to be clear, they took us out to almost all of the restaurants during their time here. we had to fight with them to pay every now and then). every was delicious.

outside of the restaurant, there was an old telephone booth. i had high hopes of taking a pic of all the kids shoved in there, but they were not interested in partcipating. so this pic would have to do.

back at our camp, we loaded up derek’s parents car with items that we have realized we don’t need or want, for them to take back and store in nc. we said our goodbyes. anna went back with them to have a sleepover. and that was that. derek picked her up in the morning (and said one more last goodbye) and we were on our way to ithaca!

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , , ,

genesee country museum, mostly.

on july 5th, we departed from my mom’s yard and slowly made our way to watkins glen state park in the finger lakes. i say slowly, because we stopped for a field trip and some sight seeing with derek’s parents.

first up. the field trip. we stopped off in mumford, new york to visit “genesee country museum and village” for a quick trip through the history of western-ish, new york. (side note: when i was growing up, my grampa schiavone used to take us there ALL THE TIME. he was all about getting us some culture and education. we just ran around like crazy people, but i’m sure we learned a thing or two. anyhow. lots of memories.)

there are something like 80 buildings, that have been relocated to the village from parts of western and central ny. some have active demonstrations. some are set up so you can just look in and see them set up as they would have been centuries ago. i have no idea what this building was. 🙂

the blacksmith was always a favorite of mine as a kid, but he admitted that he was working on something boring for the moment. still cool.


we stopped to talk about the rye field.

in the farmhouse, this lady was baking up something delicious.

also at the farm, we checked out all of the animals. it was a SCORCHING hot day, so most of them were hiding, lying around in the shade.

farm tools and wool.

and of course, we found the chickens.

as you move through the suggested “path”, the time periods change. so from the “primitive” area, we moved to the later 1800s i think, and there were lots more cool things to check out. like the printing office.

and the weaver.

and a store!

old school checkers.


in the courtyard, a girl was teaching folks about old timey games. both of the big kids took a turn on the stilts. (i did too, but have no pics to prove it). isaac:

and anna:


then a little game called “graces” which was just two stick and a hoop that you tossed back and forth.


and a fishing game that isaac was hooked on.

hazel’s favorite was the roll the giant hoop and hit it with a stick game.

ike tried it too.

the kids all loved the games part the best. we walked around a bit more but they were mostly whiny and grumpy. it was hot. and there’s only so much “look at this old thing that we used before we had some other new thing” that they could handle. so we started to head out. but first. an old catholic church.

after a visit to the museum gift shop, we went to lunch in caledonia. then, we were off to letchworth state park. we happened to be driving right by, so i figured we could give derek’s parents a quick tour. only stopping off at the scenic overlooks. first, the dam.

and then, inspiration point.

we also went to the upper falls, but i apparently decided not to take any pictures of that.
then, tired. hot. sweaty. we rolled back out of the park and finished our trip to watkins glen!

the rambling road show , , , , , , , ,

back to blah-tavia.

as previously mentioned, we made one last visit to batavia, this time to meet up with derek’s parents who were going to stay with at my mom’s house for their first ever vacation to batavia.

we arrived a day early, to settle in and relax before the chaos began. a lovely breakfast at miss batavia diner to kick things off.

it was a beautiful day, so julie redband/varland brought her posse over for a beach day. my girls.

all seven of our kiddos. mine in the lake. hers on the beach.

the older kids dug a hole for some of the smaller kids to play in. then hazel got in and wouldn’t get out.

queen of the mud pit.

the next day was our big tourism adventure (previous post).

then, on saturday, derek’s parents arrived around lunchtime, so we obviously whisked them away to the pok-a-dot, for their first taste of batavia. before our food came:

and after:

my beef on wick and gravy fries. so good.

after we were stuffed and smelling completely like fry grease, we decided to go to adam miller toys, for our second stop on the tour of batavia. except that it was closed and the road was blocked off for the “ramble” — a day of local bands playing short sets of music all day long in jackson square. so, we wandered to that instead.

and this is where i should tell the part of the story about my dad being in town. he came up for a class reunion and i had actually had breakfast with him that morning, but he was at the ramble, so we hung with him for a bit.

later that night, i ate out for the third meal of the day, when derek’s dad took us all out for a delicious dinner at batavia’s finest establishment, alex’s grill. it was dark and this was the only decent pic of everyone i could manage.

i accidentally ordered the prime rib sandwich, which was literally a slab of prime rib slapped on a roll. no more. no less. after i disappointedly stuffed it all down my throat, i realized my mistake and that i should have ordered the “deluxe” version, and i would have had melty cheese and sauteed onions to brighten things up. oh well. next time.

the next day was july 3rd, which was when everyone was celebrating july 4th. ha. derek’s mom brought matchy dresses for the girls, so we started off the day with them in cute strawberry dresses. (it didn’t last long, thanks to some cherries and peanut butter).

another beautiful day called for some beach time.

isaac, fresh off his tour of the lockport locks and canal museum, built a series of locks in the sand. unschool for the win.

there was sooooo much food. and derek had secretly secured some saranac root beer (it’s the best root beer there is). salt potatoes. mmmmm. corn. yum. i ate too much. shocker.

then. fireworks. (the kids didn’t really care. and hazel had a love/hate relationship with them.)

the real july 4th was a pretty chill day. we tried to catch up laundry and derek packed up early and drove to the next place so that he wouldn’t have to take vacation time to drive.

hazel helped my mom water all of her plants.

anna went kayaking with both grandmas.

that night, jake and his girlfriend busted out some sparklers for some independence day celebrating.

and then. our time was done. the next morning, we were off to the finger lakes, thus concluding our western new york portion of the lidbom rambling road show.

the rambling road show , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

western new york tourism day

after our time with les-o-lie on the shire, we went back to batavia, to await the arrival of derek’s parents. they drove up from nc to niagara falls, where we met them for a day of doing super touristy stuff.

just as we got in line to ride the maid of the mist, it began to rain. i guess it’s not that big of a deal, since we would get drenched at the bottom of the falls a few minutes later. but, we still attempted to stay sort of dry…

it’s no secret that the american side of the falls is less beautiful. but, we weren’t super interested in crossing the border on canada day.

hazel wasn’t super excited about all the mistiness. but she did let me take a good selfie.

it was hard to get pics, between holding hazel, wearing rain ponchos, and keeping my phone dry. but it was amazing.

isaac and derek and grampa stayed on the deck below, while the girls all went up top, where it’s much more wet. girl selfie:

more falls.

hazel selfie. she’s pretty grumpy at this point.

anna thought it was all pretty fun, even if her attempts to stay dry were futile.


gramma, always the educator.

one last hazel and mom selfie.

hazel was slow to recover from the trauma. and slow to forgive.

on the deck below, these two provided a brief moment of not fighting, or whining, or pouting.

we walked along the american side on the way out.

this kid has no fear.

all the other tourists.

after our visit, we went to donatello’s pizzeria, for WAY too much pizza and wings.

the grandlidboms had plans to stay in lockport to ride the erie canal the next day, so we rode out to lockport with them, and then decided to check out some sites there. we found the erie canal exploration museum (i think that was the name), and it was really pretty cool, considering it’s a museum about a canal. the kids loved this giant screen where you moved your boat through a series of locks.


anna played dressup. and even posed for a picture in front of this painting of the opening of the five locks in lockport.

after our museum stop, we wandered out to the canal, where we found this photobooth.

and quite possibly the MOST delicious ice cream shop i’ve ever been to.
it was called lake effect ice cream and everything was homemade and they had a TON of interesting flavors. in the end, i went with the “el guapo” artisan sundae, size large, and it did NOT disappoint.

everyone was a fan.

the shop was very cute too and i loved these three paintings (not to mention the wall color!).

from there, the locks were just a staircase away, so we had to check them out. it was mostly terrifying, trying to keep a busy, crazy toddler from dying.

she could safely view from behind bars in some spots.

after our wanderings, derek’s parents went to their hotel, while we made our way back to batavia to await their arrival the next day.

the rambling road show , , , , , , ,

our stay at the shire.

after ohio, we went back to my sister’s house for a few days of mooch-docking on her property in angola. she has all sorts of animals and ponds and creeks and dune buggies and four wheelers and a trampoline and a giant bath tub and a million legos. basically, it’s heaven for any kid.

we arrived late saturday afternoon, and anna picked up where she left off, capturing sea creatures.

leslie took her on several creek hikes, to find minnows and tiny crayfish and tadpoles.


hazel went on one of the journeys. she’s not as much a fan of slimy animals.

there were baby chicks and peacocks being born everyday, so there was much fuzzy chick holding going on.

on sunday, it was SCORCHING hot, so we took the kiddos to the beach. leslie’s house is about a half mile from lake erie and she knows all the less populated spots.

leslie’s husband eric is the biggest kid of all, and gladly played with all the kiddos while leslie and i looked for sea glass.


he buried eliot and then gave her an assortment of toys to enjoy from her pit.

anna was next, but she didn’t last as long.

after he went to church, derek surprised us with nice cold slush puppies.


back at the shire, jake and his girlfriend cherub came out to hang out, and went swimming in the pond with the kiddos. and yes, the pond is very green. leslie dyed it to help with reflecting the sun or some such thing.

leslie is also an accomplished hair stylist, so we begged for some haircuts. ike’s was pretty shaggy, so she touched him up. and she gave hazel her first cut ever. i didn’t get any pics of her actual cut, because she was playing games on my phone to occupy her. it was sad to see her little curls go, and now she looks so grown up, but its glorious to only take seconds to brush her hair.

so, then this happened. anna rode a donkey. who was so chill. until leslie’s crazy great dane charged after it. so, the donkey obviously bolted away, flipping anna onto her head. and probably ruining her future as a professional donkey rider.

hazel. the singer songwriter. we were just sitting outside, when she emerged from the house with this new look.

eric insisted on taking us to amish country to get the kiddos out of the house and maybe a little educated about some folks who live a decidedly different life than they do. the kids kind of didn’t care. and we mostly just drove around and took pictures of the laundry hanging and pictures of horse/buggy crossing signs.


we did stop for some goat milk fudge and other candies and cheese curds. so it wasn’t all for naught.

back at the shire again, we finally just let the kids play their stupid tablets. (it’s all they ever want to do ever. seriously. so annoying.)

and hazel passed out from her busy day.

for our last night at leslie’s, the big kids got to have a sleepover in the living room. isaac wound up wandering back out to the camper, but anna and eliot and leslie had a pleasant little slumber party.

and thus concludes our time at leslie’s. on wednesday evening, we came to my mom’s house at the lake, to await the arrival of derek’s parents to western new york. and i’ll blog about that laterzzzz.

the rambling road show , , , , , , ,