Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reasons I love the North Country

So you find out your going to be stationed at Fort Drum and you are less than excited.  You may be surprised to find out there are, in fact, lots of things to do around the area! 

Since I'm going to be at Fort Drum forever (dramatic, yes) I decided to make a list of the things I do love about the North Country (there are many) and things I want to do and haven't yet because, well...I've been busy making babies.  It's true what they say....don't drink the water.

I would start with Spring as today is the first day of Spring but outside right now looks like this:

...soo, I'll just begin with Winter.  :)

Snow - Yes, I actually do like the snow.  (Just not in late March.)  The snow here is light and fluffy.  Often times it looks like you are in a snow globe and the snow is just blowing around, never touching the ground.  It'll brush right off of your car and there's rarely ice to scrap. 
Snow tubing - There are a few snow tubing locations.  We've been to Dry Hill and Maple Ridge, which is right behind my house! 
Ice Skating - Lewis County Fairgrounds has free outdoor ice skating in the winter.  We haven't attempted yet as Landon is just two but that's one thing I'd like to tackle next Winter.

Real Christmas tree experience - There are lots of tree farms in the North Country.  We always end up going home for Christmas, but if we stayed up here I want to go ride in a sled or tractor on a tree farm and as a family pick a tree together.

Walk on frozen Lake Ontario -  This is on my bucket list before we leave.  I took this picture of my family out on the lake, but I was 40 weeks pregnant at the time and didn't want to risk falling on the ice.

Maple Syrup - Last year we visited 2-3 Sugar Shacks in Lewis County and saw the process of how sap is boiled down to create maple syrup.  This website has all of the information in one place.  I recommend a pancake breakfast at the American Maple Museum in Croghan.  You can still go this weekend!

Wine Tours - Oh how I love my North Country Wine!  Despite being here for nearly 3 years, though, I have only sampled at the local Farmer's Markets and purchased at the liquor store.  There is a full-day wine tour offered by Clarence Henry Coach although I can't find the link right now.  It's a full day, 8 hour wine tour, lunch included, for around $60 a person.  This Spring if I can find an all-day sitter I want to go!!

Black River Trail - With Spring, and the melting of snow, comes the opportunity to get outdoors!  In Watertown I love the Black River Trail for walking/running.  It's stroller safe, scenic, and a good distance.

Farmers Markets - Oh how I love the Farmers Market!  From wine, to produce, to meat, and crafts the markets up here are great.  When we first moved here I worked at the Watertown Daily Times and across the street every Wednesday was the Watertown Farmers Market.  I routinely came back to my desk with 3-4 grocery bags full of goodies!  I also love my local Lowville farmers market on the weekend.  Every local town/village has a farmers market so find the one closest to you!

Beach days on Lake Ontario - Wescott Beach & Southwick Beach are the places to be in the Summer.  Living in NY, it's nice to have somewhere nearby to get a sandy beach experience.  The water doesn't warm up until about August, but the kids playing in it don't seem to mind.  You can get an annual State Parks Pass here.

Riding on the lake in a boat - I love being on Smith Mountain Lake back home  in Virginia but I still haven't been on Lake Ontario.  Someone who has a boat...take me pretty please?!?

Drive-in Theatre - The Black River Drive-in opens soon!!  It's such a fun experience as a family or on a date night.  I always envisioned drive-in theatre's playing older movies, but this one plays new movies and often plays a double feature!  Just be sure to get your dinner and treats there as the majority of their income comes from concessions.

Tin Pan Galley - If you don't know, you don't know.


Leaf Peeping - The colors of the leaves changing here is absolutely magical!  I live in Lowville so I have about a 30 minutes drive to get anywhere and I can tell you driving up Rt 26, rt 12, or across 177 during fall is my favorite!
Cider donuts - The Burrville Cidermill is just outside of Watertown and open just before Labor Day through October/November.  Go there for the apples, cider, but most importantly the fresh made, and hot, apple cider donuts.  Yum!

Pumpkin patch - From the small vendor on the side of the road to the big operations like Old Mcdonalds Farm, it's not hard to find a pumpkin patch and fun fall activities up here.

Festivals - My favorite is the Cream Cheese Festival!  Yes, an entire festival about cream cheese!  The NY State Fair is in August in Syracuse, just about an hour away.  We've also been to the Kite & Craft Fair, Bluegrass Festival, Pirate Days at Alex Bay just to name a few.

Whether you are a native, new to the area, or like me, been here a few years and need a reminder, hopefully you've found a few reasons to love the North Country!

Potty Training 2.0

A few weekends ago in the car Landon randomly said potty.  Chris asked if he wanted to go potty and he responded with an enthusiastic - 'Yes!'

That's not a word you hear often from a two year old. 

We had given potty training a rest after Emmilyn was born, Landon completely regressed, and I...well frankly I was too tired to fight with him over it for a while.  I was just getting to a place where I wanted to give it another go when he said yes!  So we start potty training again when my favorite word NO returns, except this time it's Nope! with an air of confidence as if to say, 'I know what you're doing, Mom!'

Then last week while I was on the phone Landon helps himself onto the little potty in the living room and goes!  Once I got off the phone we high-fived, cleaned up, and got a prize.  I had to make one more quick phone call.  When I got off I discovered Landon went potty again (#2) and then cleaned it up on his the kitchen sink.  Yay?  While logic would say I should move him to just the big potty, that just doesn't work for a strong-willed and stubborn little fella.  He has to be able to do it hisself soo...little potty it is for a while!

Fast foward a week or two and he seems to be doing great!  He's in pull-ups when we're out, underwear when we're home.  He's routinely dry when we're out (more-so then when we're home) and has gone a handful of times at daycare for someone else so I call that progress!  Whoever said you could fully potty train your kid in 3 days has lost they're ever-loving mind! 

Landon still has to be reminded most of the time but let's be honest...he has to be reminded about everything.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Operation Get Fit - one month check in

I realize I haven't checked in on Operation Get Fit in a month.  Sorry!  I had a girls weekend in Charleston, then I got sick AGAIN.  Once I recovered I hit the gym hard, especially last week.  I took a functional fitness class Monday followed by running a mile, and went to functional fitness again on Wednesday.  I woke up Friday morning sooo sore but was determined to keep the motivation and got on the treadmill.  Despite how tired and sore I was, that was the first day I ran 3 miles!  I felt a little nauseous afterwards but there was no looking back now!

Today?  I ran 3 miles in the time you see above!  I just need to knock 2 more minutes off and I'll have hit my goal of running 3 miles at a 10 minute pace!  I've really got to crank up the heat on my running as my husband pointed out we've got to start our training program for the September race soon.  Sheesh, already?  Yes.  It is an 18 mile race but we are going to use Hal Higdon's marathon training program.  I used his half-marathon training program when preparing for my first half a few years ago in Arizona.  I need to lay out each week's plan and figure what I'm going to do with the kids because I don't want to push them in the stroller more than 1-2 times per week...that is...whenever it stops snowing here in upstate NY.

I also signed up for a March Weight Loss challenge at the local YMCA!  I thought it would be a nice motivator for me.  Today was the one week weigh in and I lose 2 pounds!!  Too bad I realized I'll probably be in Virginia when they have the final weigh in.  Whoops!!

Here's an update on my goals for 2013:

Liz's 2013 Get Fit Goals:

- Run 3 miles without stopping. (I've gotta start somewhere!)
- Drink a glass of water BEFORE coffee in the morning. (This may sound silly and small, but it actually is a challenge for me and I feel it will start me on the right foot each morning.)
-Do some form of cardio at least 3x's per week - even if one of the kids are sick and I can't make it to the gym.
-Weight goal #1 - 150
-Drink 50oz of water per day.
-Run 3 miles at minimum 10 minute pace.
-Complete 100 pushups challenge
-Weight goal #2 - 140
-Run 5 miles
-Run 10 miles
-Train for this race in September. The 18 miler, not the 12.

How are YOU getting fit this month?