Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just a reminder

The new Briggs blog is officially up and if you haven't yet requested an invite to read it, do it soon!  This blog will be going private in the next few days.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Future blog plans

I think I've figured out how to make our blog private while avoiding the issue with signing in.  I will create one username and password to send to anyone interested in keeping up on the blog and to make it less annoying for people to remember one extra username and password, any time I update the blog, I will notify everyone by email and include the username and password.

THEREFORE, please let me know by either leaving your email in a comment or by emailing me ( if you would like to keep up with our blog.  I'm not going to assume that whoever has followed our blog in the past will continue to follow it, so if you want an invitation, you need to let me know.

Also, this blog will stay public for a couple weeks....please let me know by September 22...the first day of Autumn.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bringing back the privacy conversation

I really want my blog to be private, but every time I make it so, I have issues with people not being able to sign in.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Is there a solution?  Maybe I just have to accept the problems that come with a private blog?

If anyone has ideas/information/suggestion, I'd appreciate it.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Just what the doctor ordered.

A couple weeks ago, Dave and I made a last-minute executive decision for our family and booked a cottage in Lancaster, PA for the weekend.  It was just one of those times when an emergency get-away is truly needed, and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had as a family.

The cottage we booked was a pretty good deal, and one of few places that was actually available, so we weren't expecting it to be anything special.  We were happily surprised at how comfortable, charming, and cozy it was!  It sat by itself in the middle of a well-kept state park and though it was built in the 1800's, it was very well preserved and it was quaint enough to take us away from our current, hurried, every day life but had the modern conveniences to still keep us comfortable.
Being shown the cottage for the first time.

Leah and Dallin were so excited to be out of the car and free to explore.  These are the stairs leading from the kitchen/living area to the bedroom.

...and here's the bedroom.  Dallin slept in that little closet to the right.  We purchased a little peapod (so much more convenient than a pack and play!) and it worked out perfectly.

The door separating the downstairs from the upstairs.

We liked the old-style key.

The wooden stairs were fun, but a little scary with two little ones.  We kept Leah and Dallin off them for the most part.
As soon as we set up the pack and play downstairs, both kids were begging to get in.  They sat in there and looked at books/played together for at least 30 minutes.
The kitchen/eating area (as seen from the living room).  The television is inside those cabinets on the right side of the island.
View of the living area from the kitchen (you can see the doorway leading to the stairs on the far right).

Still playing!  (Yeah, half the time we're at home, Leah and Dallin are just running around in shirts.  It makes for much quicker diaper changes!)

Another view of the cottage.  Or, as we like to call it, "Home Sweet Home."
After resting for awhile in the house, we decided to explore the park.  Leah LOVES her pockets, and often rests her little hands in them when she can.

Another view of the cottage, this time with me and Leah there, too!

...aaaaand another view.  Is this overkill???  We were in love with this place, so we wanted to preserve as many images of it as we could.
This beautiful covered bridge ran over a small stream, all of which were a couple hundred feet from the cottage.  

For a little perspective, the bridge and stream are in the foreground, and our cottage is the little building on the right, straight back (you can also see another building just before the entrance to the bridge...we weren't quite sure if it was a park administrative building or what, but we never saw anyone go there).

It was only appropriate we hitch our buggy here!

During the short few days we stayed there, we saw many, many families come to get their pictures professionally taken on the park's beautiful grounds, including quite a few Amish families.

After exploring the park, we hopped in the car and drove to Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA.  Our first order of business - get Leah on a pony!

She had a serious look on her face most of the time, but we're pretty sure she liked it (because she usually doesn't hold anything back if she isn't in favor of something).

She kinda started to slip off to the side.  We had to point it out to the guide. 
Well she looks pretty happy to me!

Dallin was somewhat intrigued by the animals until one of the hens loudly ruffled her feathers.  It scared him to death and it pretty much ended our time in the little petting zoo. 

Strolling through Kitchen Kettle Village...always a favorite place.

We went into a Christmas shop to find a family Christmas ornament to commemorate our trip there, but having Leah in there was about the closest you could come to having a bull in a china shop (without literally having the bull in the china shop).  I got her out of there as fast as I could, so grateful that we never actually broke anything (she is quick and intent on picking up or handling EVERYTHING).
So I took her to this little sign and snapped this shot while Dave and Dallin paid for our ornament (we settled for a cute little Amish buggy).

Our last stop of the day was to this family style restaurant.  Both kids were free, and it was an all you can eat kind of situation where they have a set selection of things they bring out and your whole family shares the food and can ask for more of whatever you want.  It was the perfect situation for our hungry little family. Surprisingly, one of my favorite things there was the ham loaf (I don't like meat loaf, nor do I like ham, so the sound of ham loaf was not appetizing, but at that moment, it hit the spot).

That tasty meal put an end to a very full, but very wonderful first day of vacation.  On the way home we bought a few small groceries and then spent the evening eating popcorn and watching Disney Channel (a family favorite!).  Our kids never (really, never) sleep well when we're on vacation (read here and here for further information), so we were expecting a couple rough nights.  But, miracle of miracles, both kids slept awesome.  Leah chose to sleep in the pack and play downstairs (another surprise - I was sure she'd want to sleep with us in our room) and she handled it all really well (considering she hasn't been sleeping that great at home the last couple months either, she handled it perfectly, with just a couple of middle of the night wake-ups.  After a quick tuck-in and reassuring words, she went back to sleep both times).  And Dallin never woke up once until the next morning at 8 am.  We couldn't believe it...a full night's sleep?!?!  It was quickly turning into a dream vacation for us!!!