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Leslie

A Week On Lake George, New York – A Visit to Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Defiance, A Lake George Steamboat Company Cruise, Our Favorite Breweries, Bonfires and More!

First of all, thank you to everyone who read and commented and messaged and supported me on my previous post about my miscarriage. It felt so good to be able to share my experience and it was sort of what I needed to complete the journey of it all, if that makes sense. I am happy and proud that my story is out there and I hope I am able to help others who go through similar situations or at least help make someone feel a little less alone. By all the messages I got from so many of you, there are WAY too many of us in this club, who have experienced a loss in this way – so I hope we can keep the conversations going. I plan to do another post on “the aftermath” of it all soon – so stay tuned.

But back to Lake George!

While all this mess was happening in my life leading up to the 4th of July, we also had plans for a family vacation with my parents and brother + sister in law for the following week. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time because I had something to be distracted with before the D&E – packing everything up for the trip before the procedure. And then after it was all over I had something to look forward to.

This was my first time in the Adirondacks – so it was a great distraction from everything.

Two years ago we did a similar family trip to Seneca Lake – full of hiking, bonfires, dips in the lake, wineries, breweries and more. It was an absolute blast that everyone enjoyed, so my parents planned a trip for this summer to celebrate my dad’s 70th.

Here’s a short recap of our Seneca Lake Trip:

Hiking Robert H. Treman State Park + Swimming the Lower Enfield Falls – Ithaca, NY

Hiking Buttermilk Falls State Park – Ithaca, NY

Hiking Taughannock Falls State Park, New York {It’s taller than Niagara Falls!}

Hiking Watkins Glen State Park

Our Favorite Spots Along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Our Favorite Breweries Along Seneca Lake, New York

After all of the fun we had in Seneca Lake – and with the boys being two years older, I knew Lake George was going to be special.

We stayed on Assembly Point, which is a little peninsula that sticks out into Lake George. We had water on two sides of the house we rented so it was a perfect location for us. Amazing water views, beautiful sunrises and sunsets – the works. And I couldn’t get over how crystal clear the water was, you can see straight to the bottom, even in this photo.

Being in the mountains and on the lake was seriously so good for my soul. It was the perfect refresh and reset that I didn’t know I needed but am so grateful that I was able to have it when I did.

All The Hiking

We went on some amazing hikes – which I think I am going to share in a more detailed post separately, but the boys were absolute champs up to 9 miles, and the views we got to enjoy were incredible.

We did 4 hikes in total the week we were there and I can’t wait to share them all with you – stay tuned for that post next.

Lake George Boat Ride

One day we went on a 2.5 hour boat ride all along Lake George – with the Lake George Steamboat Company. The tour we took was called The Islands of The Narrows Cruise and it was such a fabulous way to see the beautiful lake from a different viewpoint – a leisurely 14-mile afternoon trip through the many Islands of Lake George. The area called The Narrows, is easily the most scenic, peaceful, calming and beautiful spot on the entire lake. No roads line the water’s edge and it is easy to imagine life here hundreds of years ago.  The boys had a blast and it was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Fort Ticonderoga

Another day we made our way up to the top of Lake George to check out Fort Ticonderoga – which is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Champlain, in northern New York. The fort was of strategic importance during the 18th-century colonial conflicts between Great Britain and France, and again played an important role during the American Revolutionary War.

The boys, of course – were pretty into the whole ‘fort thing’ and enjoyed all the people dressed up in character, the firing of the cannons and the massive grounds to run around in!

My favorite part of the for was a little less violent – the Kings Gardens. They were impeccably kept, so beautiful to enjoy and even had some shaded areas for kids to stop and paint! I loved our time there.

Mount Defiance

You can’t go to Fort Ticonderoga and NOT go up Mount Defiance. You can drive to the top of it, which is included with your ticket fee to the fort and when you get up top you are rewarded with incredible views.

See the fort below?

Definitely don’t miss this if you find your way up in Lake George/Lake Champlain !

Breweries + Wineries Galore!

Again, one of our favorite things to do on any trip like this is stop along the way after hikes or day trips to enjoy the local brews and wines in any new spot we find ourselves. Wineries and Breweries are always so family friendly, I’ve found that most have great activities and games and space for kids to run around enjoy themselves.

Here were our favorite stops {in no particular order}:

Bolton Landing Brewing Company

Battle Hill Brewing Company

Adirondack Brewery / Adirondack Winery + Lake George Distilling Company

Paradox Brewery / Common Roots Brewing Company / Northway Brewing

We did some work during our visit – and we all love to enjoy the local beverages! Everything was delicious and we loved being able to take home some of our favorites! I highly recommend Lake George for any craft beer lover especially, lots of amazing spots!

S’Mores, Bonfires + Fireworks!

Our rental had a great little fire pit that we used every single night. It was right along the water, we had a great dock that we used our entire trip and everyone very much enjoyed our nightly s’mores. If you are thinking about visiting Lake George, make sure you have lake access and a fire pit – the best!

On Lake George in the summer there are also fireworks every Thursday night, which was really nice for the kids to enjoy, since we missed out on the 4th of July fireworks since I wasn’t feeling great. We also brought our own because sparklers are awesome, duh.

I’ll be back sharing more of our trip – including our hikes, a day trip to Lake Placid and Brooks on a ropes course – with possibly a bonus video or two. I took lots of great footage, hopefully I can get it together to share with you! But it was an incredible trip and for anyone thinking of visiting the Lake George and/or the Adirondacks area, I highly recommend it – we had a fabulous time, especially with our kiddos – and I hope we can be back again for another trip soon!

And Happy 70th to my dad – Thanks for an amazing trip!

If you have any other questions for me about our trip, please send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

In the meantime I’d love to know – who has been to Lake George/Adirondacks before? What was your favorite part of the area? Please share!

The One About the {Missed} Miscarriage at 11 Weeks

So you can tell from the title of this post, things are about to get really real up in here. It’s been an absolutely insane past few months – we’ve bought a house, sold a house, moved from the city in the suburbs, I was pregnant and now I’m not.

I want to document my experience here on the blog for a few reasons – because for me it feels like the last piece of the puzzle to complete the journey I’ve been on the past few weeks. This has been my online journal for over a decade – I want to be able to look back on this and always remember.

Also, in the midst of everything going wrong in my third pregnancy and first miscarriage, I turned towards others’ experiences online, and knowing there was someone out there who shared their story similar to mine or not, helped. I want to add my story to the mix in hopes that it will help others going through it feel not so alone.

Because that’s how it felt for me – emptiness and loneliness.

It’s been the roughest week in my life, ever since we got the news last Friday. But I will go back to the beginning a bit more before getting into all that.

I found out I was pregnant May 20th – the day before our 8 year wedding anniversary. Two days before we were scheduled to close on our new home in the ‘burbs. I initially planned to try to keep it a secret for at least a day until our anniversary but couldn’t wait to tell Charles. Since we had plans to move into a bigger home from the city, we also had hopes to grow our family – and this all seemed to fall into perfect timing.

New house, new baby.

I will say that getting pregnant a third time wasn’t quite as easy as #1 and certainly not as simple as #2 – it has taken us a while, much longer than I initially thought it would when we decided to go for #3 – and when I first saw those double lines on the pregnancy test I was over the moon.

Everything seemed to be coming along perfectly. I wasn’t really feeling any pregnancy symptoms – except extreme exhaustion – but I didn’t know if that was due to already having two young, energetic little boys and the fact that we were right in the middle of packing up and moving, or if it was pregnancy related. I was going to bed at 6:30 at night and waking up at 6:30 in the morning, I was exhausted and there wasn’t enough sleep in the world, but that was really my only complaint.

Since I have always had typically crazy cycles – some super long {54 days!} some super short {19 days!} It was a little bit difficult for the doctors to figure out my due date in the beginning – we had a little going back and forth with how many actual weeks pregnant I was, which looking back now should have been a red flag, maybe? But we saw a strong heartbeat at 6+ weeks so I was all in. I had never had any issues with any of my two previous pregnancies so I had no reason to think otherwise.

I went in for my 10 week appointment last Tuesday – since I had a 6 weeks ultrasound and we saw the heartbeat they didn’t do any further tests. Everything seemed great and I made my next appointments for the coming weeks. We were in what I had believed to be the ‘safe spot’ and we were excited and making plans!

That night we told my parents – it was my dad’s 70th birthday and it seemed like a great time to celebrate. We had plans to tell my in-laws and other family members that weekend. Everything seemed to be falling into place.

I was almost 11 weeks pregnant, had seen a strong heartbeat – what could go wrong?

Answer: Everything.

Warning: Things can get a little graphic from here on out.

I woke up last Friday morning, dropped the boys off at camp, came home to pack as I had plans to go away for the weekend – one of my best friends was having her Bachelorette at the beach. I was feeling totally normal but went to the bathroom and wiped and had the absolute slightest bit of pink come off on the toilet paper. Seriously, it was barely anything and I am very aware that spotting in pregnancy is normal. I had never had any spotting before with my first two pregnancies – It didn’t scare me at all and I didn’t think anything of it. It was never even enough for a panty liner, but for some reason I called my doctor.

The nurse told me likely everything was fine – I could wait and see if it got worse, even though it was probably normal, or I could come in and get checked by the nurse practitioner – She could make sure my cervix was closed. Even though I was not concerned at all at this point, I decided to come in real quick to get checked – I wanted to make sure everything was good to go before going away that weekend.

And I’m so glad I did.

Since I was planning to leave that afternoon for a weekend away, I had already made plans with my parents for them to watch the boys. So I dropped them off and made my way to the appointment. She checked me out and said everything was closed and looked good. She was a sweet doctor and since she knew I was going away wanted to give me some peace of mind before going – so she wanted to do the doppler on my belly. She said it was a little early to get a good reading, but she was willing to try, and I was so excited to hear that heartbeat.

But nothing.

Either she couldn’t find it or the worst possible scenario.

But she was still very optimistic at this point and I really wasn’t worried. The doctor offered an ultrasound – she said they had a new machine, and she wasn’t an ultrasound tech, but she would give it a try – again, for peace of mind. I was excited to get to see the little babe.

She pulled up the screen, I immediately saw the sac and then, nothing.

I had seen enough ultrasounds in my life to know what was going on, and I knew right then and there. My heart sunk. I couldn’t believe it.

My doctor wasn’t convinced it wasn’t a user error at this point, since she said this wasn’t her normal job. So she offered to have another doctor come in and do a vaginal ultrasound.

Another doctor came in, and still, nothing.

At this point I had tears streaming down my face. Everything changed in an instant.

And it came out of nowhere.

The doctor said that she didn’t believe this was a viable pregnancy and she suggested I go to the hospital for a specific ultrasound to be 100% sure. At this point they left me alone to get changed and I remember sending a text to my husband with the 💔 {broken heart} emoji and he sent it right back to me. This blindsided him as well.

Charles met me at the hospital and at this point he was still holding on to hope that everything would be fine. I on the other hand, knew what I had seen and I knew it was over. The ultrasound tech did her thing and then called the doctor in. We looked at everything together – the sac was still growing as my body still believed itself to be pregnant – but the fetus inside the sac – which had a strong heartbeat and was measuring perfectly 6 weeks ago, was not.

Every doctor and nurse we met, everyone was so kind. Sadly, I believe they deal with this much more than they would like to. Everyone kept saying they were so sorry for our loss.

Our loss.

Hearing that, even typing that still hits me hard.

We were then given options from our doctor – we could wait and see if the miscarriage would start on its own. She believed if so, I would start bleeding heavily in the next 24-48 hours. If not, the following week I could take a pill – orally or vaginally – to start the process, or I could get a D&C.

We decided to wait and see what would happen.

I was obviously heartbroken and in a little bit of shock. Before going into the hospital I had sent the few that knew about the pregnancy texts for prayers, and then had to update everyone accordingly once we knew the official word. Re-telling everyone over and over the news of the loss might have been the worst part. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because at that point, I needed the extra love and support.

I actually still ended up going from the hospital to my friends bachelorette weekend away. No one that weekend knew about my pregnancy or my loss, and honestly it was nice to get away and just be. I was able to process everything a bit more by myself and it was the perfect distraction from current life at the moment.

I didn’t want to go home and be sad, I still wanted to be there for one of my best friends at this exciting time in her life. I’m glad I made the decision to go.

On Monday morning I got a call from the doctor – she wanted an update. I told her nothing had happened. I was expecting to start bleeding and it just never came. She said after talking it over with her colleagues she would suggest a D&C. She said taking the pill to evacuate isn’t 100% guaranteed everything would “come out” – the D&C would ensure they would “get everything.” And the worst part, my doctor reviewed the ultrasound from the past Friday and couldn’t be certain that the baby stopped being ‘alive’ weeks ago.

This was gut-wrenching in itself – I still can’t help but wonder, when did this happen? How did this happen? Is it something I did or didn’t do?

Officially, this is called a missed miscarriage.

The doctor believed it to be some sort of chromosomal imbalance and the ball of cells/fetus sort of ‘took care of itself” on its own – which I am grateful for. But it still doesn’t make it any less awful to live through. My body was still growing, thinking it was pregnant, the sac was measuring 11 weeks but there wasn’t anything inside. So she suggested a D&C.

We scheduled it for Wednesday, July 3rd.

The hardest part of this whole past week was being pregnant, but not – at the same time. Having a little belly {because, third kiddo} but knowing it was empty. The whole time the past two months thinking it was me and this little one together, when really – who knows when it happened, but it was just me.

I’m thankful we didn’t tell the boys yet, because THAT would have been awful to explain.

Tuesday, the day before the procedure came and I started bleeding a bit. I wasn’t sure if my body was starting to get the hint and actual begin the process of miscarriage, but it ended up not being much of anything, so we went decided to move forward with the procedure the next day.

I was doing the D&C in the doctors office. I was given the option to go to the hospital and be ‘put to sleep’ for it, but it didn’t seem to work out scheduling wise and I was ready to do it. I was prescribed a bunch of different anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-infection, anti-anxiety and painkillers before everything got started.

The plan was to have a Dilation and Curettage (D&C) but when I got all ready to go I learned the new plan was for a D&E – Dilation and Evacuation – because I was so close to the second trimester. Basically they wanted to make sure they were fully able to evacuate the uterus.

The procedure was awful.

You can google for how the D&E or D&C process takes place if you like. I am not familiar with all the proper terms of it all, so I’ll spare you the details, but I will say that it was worse than childbirth – and I’ve had two babies vaginally.

Maybe it was worse than childbirth because you don’t get anything at the end. You are left with an empty, freshly evacuated uterus, and a body in complete shock – because that morning, it thought you were pregnant, and now it’s slowly realizing it’s not.

But it hurt like a <insure bad word here> – and Charles has the marks on his hands to prove it. He was with me through the whole thing, distracting me, letting me squeeze his hands as hard as I could – I don’t think I would have been able to do it without him.

Coming home from it I was drugged up a bit {thankfully} so I didn’t have much to complain about. Doctor’s orders were: no climbing stairs, no driving, no making any important legal decisions and to take it easy for a few days, which I was more than ready to do.

I was able to sleep it off a bit the first day, and luckily we had my parents to help with the boys. But waking up the second day – July 4th – was a whole different story.

I’m still not sure if it was my body in complete shock from the whole thing – being pregnant and then suddenly not – or all the drugs and painkillers wearing off, but the next day was bad. I was vomiting, uncontrollably shaking, having horrible cramps, hot and cold flashes, nausea, the works. Again, worse than childbirth. I was in pain and I was sad and it was awful.

We didn’t do much celebrating on the 4th of July.

I woke up Friday and I felt a lot better. The bleeding essentially stopped after the first day, which was great – I’m still meant to take it easy, but I got out of bed this morning, not planning to write this – but felt overwhelmed with the need to do it. So much of my life is on this little corner of the internet and I wanted to make sure I documented it here, not to be forgotten.

There was no easy way to share this, but in writing our story down, I hope to help someone else going through this feel not so alone. I feel like miscarriage isn’t something that is talked about as often as it happens. Apparently the stats are 1 in 4 women have them – 1 in 4! And for everyone going through this, there is no right or wrong way to deal with it. For me, sharing my story felt like something I needed to do to process it all and come to terms with everything.

I hope we have more exciting news to share with you in the coming months. I am hopeful we are able to grow our family, but I would be lying if I say I’m not scared about the future of that. Having to go through another miscarriage or pregnancy loss of any kind terrifies me. This was an experience that has rocked me to the core and I won’t ever forget it. I have never gone through a loss like this, and I feel changed from it. But I know how thankful I am for my two beautiful boys, they are the light of my life. I am grateful for how easy my two pregnancies with them were because I truly know now how quickly it can all change.

Sending love out to all the mamas out there who have gone through this kind of heartbreak.

You aren’t alone.

Hiking with Kids this Summer: Skunk Hollow Park – Radnor Township

So we are definitely in the crazy phase of endless boxes BUT we managed to take some time this weekend to explore our new neighborhood and have some fun. Saturday we snuck out and took the boys to see Toy Story 4 – which was awesome. And today we decided to explore some of the local parks – specifically Skunk Hollow in Radnor Township.

Living in the city, we did love the occasional Wissahickon trail hike {or bike!} And it had been forever since we did a little hiking with the boys. I did a little research and stumbled upon Skunk Hollow – which is also part of The Willows trail – and maybe another one or two – it’s a massive park area with hiking along a great creek. I found out it can be a great little play area for kids, so I packed our bags and off we went.

I think the hike was about 2.5 miles or so – which can be a lot for a 3 and 5 year old, especially with some points straight up and down – but we took our time and enjoyed the walk. It took us about 2 hours round trip – with lots of stops for water play along the way.

If you have kiddos – I have to tell you that this little creek is a slice of heaven! It’s clear, flowing water that’s perfect for them to splash around in. We packed some boats along with us and B & G loved seeing them boat go through the rapids.

The hiking path follows the creek so we were able to stop and go many times along the way for the kiddos to play in the water. The trail was also nice and shady which was a great break from the sun.

We crossed a few bridges and really enjoyed following along the stream. I was blown away by how nice of a hike and how great of a path it was. Now anyone who comes to visit, I’m totally going to be taking them + their kiddos on this adventure!

Hiking necessities:

Teva Universal Slides / New Shades – G Star Raw GS661S

I am obsessed with my leather slides, they are so comfortable and amazing to just wash off any mud or muck. And my new sunglasses were so fun to bring along on this trip – so comfortable to wear and I love the look of them!

It was a beautiful day to be outside like this and it was the perfect break from unpacking and all the boxes. We are loving our new neighborhood and suburb life so much – I can’t wait to explore more in the coming weeks!

Now if you are a Philadelphia suburb reader – I’d love to know – What other hiking trails should we hit up? I’m making a list, so let me know!

Friday Favorites: Our Last Week in the City, Celebrating My Birthday and Father’s Day Picks

It’s been a week over here! I celebrated my 35th birthday AND we are all very busy enjoying our FINAL week in the city! It’s crazy that after living here for almost a decade, we are turning in our resident pass for a big backyard, a garage and all.the.space.

People keep asking me if I’m sad about it – but honestly, I’ve been packing up the house since January – decluttering, organizing, minimizing, staging – and since we closed on the new house over a month ago, I’ve been slowly moving things over each week. We really only have a few necessities and furniture left to take over. I’m not sad about leaving the city at all – I will miss my friends and the kids friends that we get to walk around the corner or next door and see all the time – and the ease, along with the hustle and bustle of it all – but I’m ready to move. I’m ready for the space and the next chapter. I’ll be doing another post on all that next week, so stay tuned.

So yes, this week I celebrated my 35th birthday. I think it was the first time in almost 15 years we didn’t celebrate it down the beach – but it was so nice to be able to be in the city with friends! I was treated to my favorite meals, a mani/pedi date, flowers and other treats from my favorite – including my cupcake in a cone birthday treat from my mom.

Also as a birthday treat, Charles and I enjoyed our last night out in the city {while we live here} – he took me to my favorite little spot – Talula’s Garden. Here’s a throwback post from my first visit there back in 2013 – it’s still my favorite because it’s in such a great location, tucked away and the food is always incredible. It was nice to be able to get away just us two – especially since we’ve got a crazy week of moving and packing ahead of us.

I mentioned earlier this week on the blog – we’ve got a fun trip to Hershey planned for this weekend. It was sort of perfect how it fell right in between my birthday and also Father’s Day. It’s going to be fun to celebrate there – even though we have so much to do at home – it’s always nice to getaway.

For Father’s Day this year, I’ve partnered with American Greetings – so if you are still in need of a card for good ‘ol dad – head on over to my Instagram for a coupon!

And if you haven’t entered my Hersheypark 8 TICKET GIVEAWAY yet, enter the Rafflecopter link in this post!

Now I’ve got two fun little Father’s Day Gift ideas, for anyone who is still shopping today. Dads {and guys in general} can be so hard to shop for – so I was so excited when I was able to try out the new KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart location.

This is a compact key organizer that can let you track your missing keys on a map – with the free Tile app on your phone. Its so awesome because it can make your keys ring if you are searching for them! It also works the opposite way and can help your find your phone if you’ve misplaced it! I think its a great gift for guys because it can hold up to 10 keys, a flashlight and a bottle opener. I think its an awesome + useful gift for anyone!

Another great gift idea for dad {or anyone really!} are these incredible PaMu wireless slides. These things are incredible for so many reasons – The charging case charges your headphones AND your iPhone – which is amazing and

And my last little Friday Find of the day, not really Father’s Day or Birthday related, but still equally as awesome – TealTrunk – a Silicone Sponge and Scrubber Multipurpose Household Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaning. It’s Eco-Friendly, Heat Resistant, Odor and Mildew Free!

Sort of a little random in this week’s Friday Favorites – but since I’m in the middle of moving and cleaning I’m super into anything that makes any of that a little easier! This sponge is great because it’s super easy to hold, has the fish scale pattern for better scrubbing grip and a mix of scrubbers for a gentle scrub with no risk of scratching your kitchen tools. It’a also SUPER FLEXIBLE to get into all those dirty and hard to reach places!

I’ve been using this thing on everything – for washing dishes, cups, pots, pans, plates and all other kitchen tools. It’s also great to wash fruit and veggies and can even be used to CLEAN your MAKEUP BRUSHES and PAINT BRUSHES since silicone Doesn’t absorb it WON’T STAIN! Another great thing for our home renovations!

Can’t say enough good things about this little scrubber brush! Definitely a fabulous find !

Now I’d love to know what you are loving this week! Please share !

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