Oh Shandelee

We spent a delightful week upstate at our friend’s adorable lake house. Well, delightful isn’t actually the right word. More like crazy, exhausting, refreshing, blissful, insane, happy, and nature-y. This has been our third stay at the lake house. We went when Julian was 4 months old and then again when he was around 16 months. This was our first time with two kids, and most importantly our first time anywhere with Arthur since he’s learned how to walk. And lemme tell ya…

But let’s start at the beginning. Arthur woke up on Monday morning with a fever of 103, and we started debating whether it was a good idea to leave at all. But as our pediatrician had said the week prior (when Julian was sick with presumably the same virus): it doesn’t really matter if your kid is sick at home or on vacation. So Jeff decided to get the rental car, just as Arthur projectile vomited all over himself and me. Long story short, we cleaned up the vomit and left. Arthur slept for most of the car ride. We only stopped once to give him more cherry-flavored Ibuprofen…cherry-flavored. Red. Red. You haven’t lived until you see your kid gargling blood-colored liquid, screaming, and then vomiting everything back up. Why they make it red I have no idea.

Anyway. Arthur was fine a day later. But he was not quite himself all week; very clingy, wanting to nurse all the time, and fussy. But that didn’t stop him from running. He runs faster than his feet will carry him. Which means he falls. Constantly. He is currently sporting bruises on his forehead, above his eye, on both knees, his chin, and good god, pretty much everywhere. My goal was for him to not knock out a tooth, and I succeeded. I did, however, look up the nearest hospital as soon as we arrived in the Catskills. Just in case.

Our friend’s house is right by a beautiful lake on a huge piece of land. There are deer, foxes, grasshoppers, ants, and many, many spiders. Also: rocks to throw, sticks to poke people and things with, nature stuff to climb on and lots of room to run around. Pretty much a boy’s paradise. And our boys saw it as such.

As soon as we arrived it was determined that pants were optional. When we got down to the water, Julian stripped and declared that he wanted to be a “Nackedei” – and that was it. The boys spent hours on end running around with their naked bums, playing on the grass and in the water. We went on canoe rides, kicked the ball, had picnics by the lake, BBQed every night, ate our weight in popsicles (popsicles weigh next to nothing, so you do the math), and made s’mores.

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(Totally not wearing pants)
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We visited a farm where a lovely girl from New Zealand showed us the pigs, chickens, turkeys, and baby chicks. Julian got to feed the pigs, try to catch a chicken, find chicken eggs, and hold a baby chick. Wow, that’s a lot of chick. Later that day we went to another farm where the boys got to sit on a horse. Well, Arthur got to sit on a horse. Julian wasn’t into it. He led the horse by the reigns, brushed her down, gave her a sponge bath, and pretty much did all the labor without the joy of riding the damn thing. But whatever floats his boat.

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One of my favorite things about our stay upstate were the mornings. Jeff made delicious country coffee, the house smelled of bacon and pancakes, and we would step outside to say hi to all the critters and walk through the dewy grass. There was a chill in the air. The lake was perfect and peaceful. And so were we.


I loved being by the lake and seeing my boys so happy. I loved the extra cuddles I got from Arthur, my child who is usually too busy to sit with me for more than one second. I loved BBQing and drinking a beer guilt-free at 10:30am. Because, hey, vacation. I loved beating Jeff at playing darts and listening to old Barbra Streisand records. I loved being together. I didn’t love waking up at 3am thinking a spider just crawled into my ear. Or the fact that Arthur kept hurting himself. Or being too scared to go into the deep water of the lake. Because OMG. Fish. Lake-y underwater grass things. Slippery funny things under my feet. Gahh. I was weirded out by how quiet it was at night. The only thing I heard was a chipmunk that got lost between the walls of the house. Didn’t love the spiders. But they were kind of cool. Loved how delicious the corn tasted up there. Watching the boys eat their s’mores. Loved how the horses smelled and how beautiful the countryside is.

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And I love that we were all happy to come back home. I love that I am so content with our city life. A break like this is wonderful and so refreshing. But I came home thinking that we don’t deprive our children by living here in Brooklyn. This is exactly where I want to be.

Although I have to say I do already miss our mornings by the lake…



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