Family trip to Cayuga Lake

in , by Amanda @ Our Capital Life, 3:00 AM

As I mentioned in my coffee date post, we went to Cayuga Lake in NY a couple of weeks ago with my mom's side of the family. The last time we have all been together for something happy was our wedding in September.  Before that, I can't remember the last time we were all together except for funerals.

We rented out a property that had 3 houses.  There was a main house, where most of the "real adults" (what I call my parents, aunts and uncles) stayed. I was in the "guest house" in a room with Bill and the other people in our house were Abbie, my cousins Sarah, Mitch, baby Benton, Emily, Audrey and Uncle Tony.  There was also a clubhouse out back where the younger cousins stayed, plus a couple older ones. We gave that house a few unsavory nicknames because all of the boys were staying in there and it turned into a giant bachelor pad.

There are always ups and downs to every trip, so I'm just going to to ahead and get my complaints out of the way first, because as we all know, I'm a complainer from way back and I've also turned into a spoiled city girl as of late. I also like to be real on here. The lake was just a little lackluster compared to what I'm used to (the crystal clear waters with sparkling sand of Lake Jocassee!).  The water wasn't very clear, it was freezing, smelled a bit fishy, there was no beach but instead there were treacherous rocks covered in algae. There was a dead possum floating the first few days, and dead fish floating the second.  The dock was covered in spiders.  When we actually went out on the lake, it would go from 100 ft deep to 3 ft and weedy out of nowhere!  We had a lot of problems with the boat -- first a belt broke, then it beached onto the shore, then we had a storm and the holds all got full of water! The walk from the house to the dock was very long.  It made me winded and sweaty each and every time I made the trek.  There were gnats and mosquitoes galore.  Our room was really nice, but hot hot hot.  It didn't get much AC to start with, but we weren't able to set it to anything below 72 or the electricity would cut off for the whole house!  Eating with about 10 teenagers is difficult, because no matter how much food we made, there was never enough because they ate it all! I had migraines for half the days I was there and my final complaint is that I got ridiculously sunburnt on my feet and knees.  It was so painful, but luckily with the help of Maui Vera and Solarcaine Aloe, I cured without peeling.
Not sure if this picture does my burn justice, but ow.

Ok, complaints out of the way, on to the good!  It's always so fun getting to hang with my family.  We played lots of games including Boggle, Five Crowns, Dominoes, Settlers of Catan, Quiddler, Oh Hell, Catchphrase, Taboo and probably  more.  We (well, most of us) love games. Dad also brought croquet which we set up in the yard!
Boys playing croquet

We had some fun times down by the dock.  I brought a giant pegasus floatie toy to float around in near the dock.  It was a real hit, yet hard to navigate!  We had kayaks and the "relaxation station," which is a giant float that lots of people can be on and dip their feet in the water.  Uncle Ned brought his stand up paddleboard which was fun for everyone!
My favorite boys on the dock!

Hitching a ride on my own pegasus
SUP and kayak
Bill's first kayak experience!

The food was delicious -- we had mom's ham, potato soup and panzanella, Aunt Laurie's spaghetti (and homeade salsa and guac... not on the same night!), Aunt Sheri's chicken chalupa casserole and ramen noodle salad, Uncle Mike's pesto, Uncle Tony's fried chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers by Aunt Bonnie and we ordered pizza one night.

The lake is only about an hour away from Bill's parents' house, so they joined us for two days.  It was great for them to spend time with my family, since Bill's mom was sick during the wedding.  We played a lot of games and just hung out.
Bill's parents

We were there over the 4th of July, which also happened to be my cousin Sofi's 16th birthday.  We had a delicious cookout for dinner and spice cupcakes for dessert.  After dinner, we got a big family picture! We watched Sofi open all of her gifts and then we headed to the dock to watch all of the fireworks go off all around the lake.  Dad brought some glowsticks and I made a beautiful headdress.
Legit love my 4th of July dress!! 

Sofi blowing out her candles

Told you it was beautiful
The whole fam!

Every night we gathered around the fire pit to tell stories and eat smores!

Nice and burnt, just the way I like them

One day, most everyone went to Ithaca to see the town and shop, but I decided to stay behind and go out on the boat with Dad, Bill, Davey and Aiden. We had a blast boating and fishing, though we didn't catch a single thing.  We kept singing about "Old Greeny," the lake monster that supposedly lives in the lake.  Later the boys were diving off of the front of the boat so I laid down to read my book and I fell asleep.  I woke up to find that we were lost and turned out to be six miles away from our dock, haha!  What an adventure!


Another day, most everyone went to some wineries, but we decided to stay back with some others and I took the best nap of my life.  Bill napped in the hammocks.  I wanted to join him, but I was just so cozy in my bed that I couldn't make it down to the yard lol.

My sister brought a hilarious surprise for me.  She finally found a copy of the "movie" my friend Holly and I made in high school, "Doc's Angels," a horrific spin on Charlie's Angels.  It. Was.  Hilarious.  We were two agents seeking two criminals who eventually kidnap a little girl (my sister). It had a surprisingly decent plot, but was just so ridiculous.  I'm SO glad she finally found it and that my dad converted it to a DVD.


Speaking of my sister, I got to give her her birthday presents -- chocolates from my fave chocolate shop, Chocolate Chocolate, a book about Disney World, a Frozen piano book and a giant parrot floaty to accompany my pegasus.  I was also able to give my dad his birthday present!  I bought him a print of the night sky over our hometown on the night he was born from  He really enjoyed it!

All in all, it was a great time and when the trip came to an end, I was really sad to say goodbye to everyone, especially my mom & dad and siblings.  It felt nice to be back in my own apartment and own bed at the end of the week, though!  We also left early enough on Saturday that we were able to enjoy Saturday night and we had Sunday to recoup.  I think this might be our new preferred timing for coming home from trips!

Coffee Date

in , by Amanda @ Our Capital Life, 9:10 PM

If we were getting coffee, I would be embarrassed that it has been over 2 months since we last caught up and I'm sorry! I didn't mean to take such a long break, but life just has been kind of busy. I would order something hot and you'd call me crazy since its been near 100 degrees here this week, but I just don't like cold coffee drinks very much!  If it was really hot, I would consider a Pink Drink from Starbucks because as stupid as I feel ordering it, they are really tasty.

I would probably start by whining about the weather, because 90+ temps are not for me.  I hate almost everything about summer, but I've been trying to embrace it this year.  For example, we planted a garden in our rooftop plot and I've enjoyed trying to make it better.  It was struggling at first, but now I'm very attentive to it -- we have tomatoes, basil, peppers, cilantro and pumpkins!

I would tell you that we just got back from a family vacation to New York state.  We went to Lake Cayuga, one of the Finger Lakes.  It was so great to get to spend time with extended family that we don't get to see very often. Blog post on this to come later this week!

Speaking of family time, I'd tell you that Bill's dad has been in town a lot for work lately, so we've been able to meet up with him for dinner several times -- we've gone to Olive Garden, Outback and Busboys & Poets. It's so great to be able to just meet with a family member during a regular old week!!

I would tell you that I've made a few fun purchases lately.  I bought some new summer clothes at the beginning of summer.  I think my faves are are these shorts from the Gap (SO. Comfy.  I could live in them!), this shirt from Old Navy and this shirt from Banana Republic.  I bought my first one piece in ages, though I haven't worn it yet.  I love the beach bag I got for vacation.  I bought these Birkenstocks in the color "sand" and they are pretty comfortable! I hit the Bath & Body Works and Yankee semi-annual sales.  I didn't go wild, but did get some good candles.  I this new curling wand set for $50 off during Prime Day.  Most importantly, today, I bought a DSLR camera!  I have been wanting one for a long time, but I saw the one I wanted on sale today and bought it on a whim.  It's a Nikon d3300 and came with a lot of other things like lenses, bag, tripods, filters, and more.  I can't wait for it to arrive!  I plan to take some classes online on how to use it, but if you have any tips, let me know!

I went on a work trip to Minneapolis with my coworker Allison.  We staffed a conference for 2 days and visited some clients.  I stayed in the Loews hotel and it was fabulous -- there was a tv in my bathroom!  We had some good food, the best being Zen Box Izakaya.  The weather was lovely -- in the 40s most days!  It was a pleasant reprieve from the sweltering DC temps.  I enjoyed the "skyway," which is a series of above-ground tunnels that connects most of the city.  One evening I ventured out to the Mall of America by myself.  I took the light rail which took me straight from the hotel to the mall!  I went on a ride called FlyOver America, which was exactly like Soarin' in Epcot except it was just the US.  It was almost better because it felt like there were a lot more sights.  When we "flew" over Ohio, it smelled like harvest time in fall! They offered an unlimited rides ticket which I wish I would have bought!

The same night we returned from the trip, Allison, Hannah, and I went to an Eric Church concert at Verizon Center.  It was ok.  I can't believe that I'm saying this, but dare I say the concert was too long? It just kept going and going -- nearly 4 hours!  We actually left before it was over.  We also had horrible seats.  They convinced me to buy 400 level tickets and never again will I do that.  I'm too old for bad concert seats.  We were so far away, it felt like I might as well have been watching on tv.
See teeny tiny Eric Church on the stage?

I would tell you that Bill and I attended the Congressional Baseball Game.  I would have liked to do a full blog post on this, but you know how that goes.  I felt like it was a quintessential DC experience that we needed to do, since we live 5 minutes from the stadium!  We bought tickets oddly the day before the shooting.  I'm sure it was a different vibe than usual because of this.  The shooting made me really, really sad, but I'm glad we went to the game.  There were a lot of Congress members wearing "Team Scalise" shirts including Democrats which I thought was really cool.  One of the Capitol Police members who helped bring down the shooter threw the first pitch and then walked right by us.  I got to tell him thank you.  Our tickets were randomly amazing.  They only cost $5 more than the "unassigned seating" and they happened to be right next to the section where Congress members, their families, and other VIPs got to sit.  We saw Nancy Pelosi, Kirsten Gillibrand (my *favorite!* - I even got to say hi to her!), Maxine Waters, Steny Hoyer, Paul Ryan, Chuck Schumer, Ted Cruz, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and KellyAnne Conway, among others.  I was nerding out a bit of the time.  I had my eyes peeled for my other favorite, Cory Booker, but no luck.  The stadium was neat because it was a different crowd than Nats games.  Everyone was just very chill and in good spirits.  There were no lines for the concessions and I ate a marvelous hot dog.  It was a great way to spend a June evening and I recommend it to anyone who lives in DC.

All the players

I spotted Wolf from pretty far away!

I would tell you that we spent a lot of weekends house-hunting to no avail. It was fun in the beginning, but then got pretty old.  Everything that we can afford is either too small or too far out of the city and the prices here are astronomical.  We have taken a bit of a breather from house-hunting and may not end up buying in the area at all.

I would tell you that we booked our anniversary trip!  We are headed to Charleston for 4 days over Labor Day, which is our anniversary weekend.  I am looking forward to some good food, good sights and some relaxation.

I'd let you know, mainly so you can help me be accountable, that I've been attempting to eat both healthy and economically lately.  I've been making some good salads and packing them for lunch, rather than buying lunch every day.  I'm loving Amy's brand soups, too -- chunky tomato bisque is my absolutely fave so far.
Doesn't look like much, but it sure was tasty

I would tell you that there's been a lot of birthdays to celebrate since we last talked.  Amy joined me in the 31 club, our friend's baby turned 1, my mom and dad both turned 58, my "little" sister turned 25, both of my junior bridesmaids celebrated their sweet 16 and my little Pumpkin turned 10.  I felt like a terrible cat mom because I actually forgot his birthday, but then he got a full birthday week because I felt so guilty!

Finally, if we were really getting coffee IRL, I would probably tell you the life-changing news that we received in May.  It's good news, so don't worry, but I'm not quite ready to blog about it yet.  In due time, my friend!

I promise to be here more regularly from now on!  I know I've said this again and again, but I really want to focus on this space of mine.

If we were grabbing coffee, what would you tell me?