ending summer at the lake.

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so many photos from our lake trip! can’t believe this place is less than a two hour drive from the city. it was the perfect send off to summer, as we crossed a few last things off our family’s summer bucket list while there. first and foremost, josh’s only item he contributed to said bucket list… to “jump in a lake.” i sat on the little sand beach beside the lake with both babies one afternoon watching him swim out into the middle of the lake, and swim freely, occasionally diving off the diving board and jumping, cannon balling and diving into the lake so many times. that florida boy is sure happy surrounded by water. and it makes me happy seeing him happy like that. i swam and jumped into the lake a bunch as well during this trip and the water felt so warm and calm, i’m making sure a lake trip is on all family bucket lists from here on out if no one else pipes up and wants to add it.

we stayed at mohonk mountain house, which is right on the lake. it has so much charm and history, it really felt special wandering around the property. we took canoes and paddle boats out on the water, rode horses around the lake and mountain trail, swam our butts off, watched the prettiest sunsets each evening and the kids caught a handful of newts in the water.

the night before school started up this week for the kids, we chatted about our summer together. the things we did, experienced, learned, tried, ate…. it was a big summer for us with beatrice and madalena joining our family at the beginning of it, and besides their big arrival, it was very cute to hear all three of our big kids share that the lake was their favorite part of summer (as well as trapeze for eleanor and samson). i wondered if maybe it topped the list because it was the last thing we did together (and fresh in their memory), but considering how many times they’ve brought it back up this week, i have a feeling if we’d done it way back in june, it’d still have been their biggest summer highlight.

some photos we took during our time at the lake below!

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anyone else’s kids immediately pull silly straight faces when you say “look over here!” these days?! eleanor and her scrunched up noses!


only two allowed in a canoe, so josh took each of our bigger kids out onto the water for a little canoe ride one morning. he wins all the dad awards in my book the way he happily does things one-on-one with them. that was a lot of rowing around the lake and i appreciated his loving gesture as i sat on the dock with the rest of our kiddos (and the babies) while he had one out at a time.


take my breath away, why don’t you!!! (ps. see those little round rings of water at the bottom middle of this photo?! wish i could have captured that fish jump while he was in the air. so many fish jumping up out of the water randomly! it was amazing spotting them all.


i took eleanor, samson, and conrad out on a paddle boat one afternoon and learned steering a paddle boat is very hard. i lost my hat to the wind at one point, and after it landed on top of the water and we circled it 5 billion times trying to get close enough to rescue it until someone else kindly came over on their little boat and snagged it for us. my kids thought it was the funniest thing seeing my hat all alone on top of the water and kept laughing as i struggled. just glad me and my hat could contribute to funny summer memories for them. part of me wants to be like, “i meant to do that.” :)


see what i mean about the sunsets? really special.

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picture by eleanor. she’s not grossed out yet by our pda (public display of affection) and i read somewhere once that embarrassing pda by parents is a good thing and can contribute to a happy childhood so i mean…. not gonna say no to that!  ;)


me being afraid of heights didn’t sit very well with my head during this hike. the views were beautiful and we stayed safe but i have goosebumps just looking at these photos once again.


samson, eleanor and i did a little horseback ride around the lake through the most pretty mountain trail. conrad got to do a horse ride by the carriages before we left on our trail, since he isn’t big enough yet for the trail ride. my favorite part of this was riding behind eleanor and listening to her talk nonstop with her horse guide. i’d never heard her chat so much and it was adorable to sit back and just listen! i think she paused to catch her breath maybe twice. and our horse guide was the sweetest to turn around for much of the ride and engage with her and listen and be a friend. eleanor went on and on about everything from “guess my second favorite animal” to recapping an entire wild kratts episode to telling her about something that happened at recess once to why central park is better than riverside park (all opinions are her own on that one! not mine) and how she would be willing to give our horse guide piano lessons after she finishes learning how to play the piano herself over the next few years. :) anyway. one of my favorite memories from summer for sure.


i didn’t ride with the baby, fyi. photo took place before i handed her off to josh and got onto my horse!

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these sweet girls hanging out with mama on the lake beach one afternoon!


very carefully holding a newt before releasing him back into the water! they were everywhere and my kids loved spotting them.

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we jumped off this diving board so many times!

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a special end to a very special summer. summer of 2018, we’ll never forget you!!!

  1. Rachel Simmons


  2. michelle

    What a fun family vacation! Where are your red shoes from? I can’t find a link.

  3. Helen C

    What beautiful family memories, I enjoyed reading/viewing them! I love horse riding, I was pleased to see you had a good time with that. Summer seems to have flown by but glad to see you have ticked a few things off your bucket list. Happy Sunday! :-) xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  4. Ashley

    This looks like so much fun! Such cute pics, the kids are getting so big! What a great send off for summer thanks for sharing :)

  5. Karina

    Love these photos! I don’t know if you’re doing q&a’s anymore but I was wondering how you and josh handle the whole good parent bad parent dichotomy. This is not a criticism in any way, I’m more asking because you will be more involved with the twins at this point, and I’m wondering if that renewed responsibility affects that in any way? Regardless of my question, I love your blog and I love your approach to parenting! ❤️

  6. Kate

    I’ve been following this blog since 2010. It’s been amazing to see just how much your family has grown and changed and I’ve definitely told people to come check it our purely for ‘the kids and their freckles they’re honestly the cutest!’

    I’m heading to NYC in March next year for a couple of days so I’ll have to re-watch the guides you made to check out the hidden spots I haven’t seen there before. Any tips on what to wear for someone that is very much a summer person and has only ever seen snow fall once? I’ve already given up on keeping my nose warm hahaha.

    Much love from Australia!

  7. Rachel

    Where are the babies’ swimsuits from?!?! Those are adorable! So much and and such wonderful memories being made for all the kiddos. Inspirational!

  8. brittany

    i know your sweet family had the best time on this getaway!! the photos look so happy!! i love that the twins just hang in there with the rest of the gang soooo well. and precious eleanor is just your absolute mini-me these days!!

  9. Allison

    Such a beautiful spot! These pictures are beautiful and it looks like you all had a great time. Happy end of summer!


  10. Lauren

    What a gorgeous way to end the summer! My son is one month older than Eleanor and he just started pulling the EXACT same scrunch-nose face for photos! So glad to hear I’m not alone :)

  11. Katie

    It’s a toss up which is more precious – your big kiddos’ smiles or baby rolls!

  12. Fiona

    Your family is so beautiful! Mohonk is my favorite!