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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Welcome Home Claire Bear - and - Halloween at High Cliff State Park

I am so pleased to be able to announce that our preemie granddaughter Claire is thriving! After 6 days being on CPAP machines to help with her immature lungs, and a feeding tube, they were finally removed and she was able to breathe on her own, and nurse as well.

Lookee at this little Claire Bear bundled up to go home! 

She was released on Monday, one week after being born. She is home and healthy and thriving. Thank you everyone for your kind words, thoughts and prayers for her surprise early birth.

She had a check-up today at the pediatrician and has gained two and a half more ounces and has grown half an inch. What a wonderful new addition to the Choate family!!!


Well she was basking in the care of the hospital NICU, her two older siblings were able to join us at High Cliff State Park.

For the last 4 years we have enjoyed our Halloween celebration at High Cliff. This year was going to be wonderful because we would have six of our seven grandchildren visiting us at the park. It is also my birthday (actually on Halloween itself) so it is a great time to celebrate everything together at once.

This event at High Cliff usually takes place the weekend before Halloween. This way the campground bathrooms are still open, water and dump station are still operational, and everyone is able to enjoy the holiday at home the following weekend. We reserved our camp site, as well as one across the road from us for our son and daughter-in-law with their children for their Salem camping trailer.

The entire Campground gets into decorating and handing out treats on Saturday. The headcount at the main gate was approximately 6,200 people coming through the park. This year I really stocked up on candy so we did not run out!

Here are some of the campsites and their crazy decorations!

and our October Camp Hosts, 
Rosie and Luke
who go all out....
 this is just a small part of their decorations on the host site

It was delightful fun and we had a great time. Our grandtots and our great nephews got all dressed up for the candy and festivities....

Great-nephew Matt took care of handing out the candy from our site

 Thousands of people descended on the campgrounds!  Crowds floated by and we watched all the delightful and creative costumes as they passed our site.  Someone was making balloon animals and swords and toys for the kids. It was like a three ring circus, but it was 6 roads long!  112 campsites full of festive fall fun.

After the trick or treating was all done, we put those kids to bed and they all zonked out toot sweet.  All of that fresh air, walking and playing wore them plum out. They did not get to eat too much candy, so the sugar high was kept to a minimum.  Then we adults sat out around the campfire till well after midnight. 

The BEST part of camping with grandtots is when they all pile into our bed in the morning for a snuggle fest! The dogs hop right in and take part too.  Good thing we have a king sized bed in our motorhome. 

Our tradition is to give them little boxes of cereal to tide them over
until we cook a bigger breakfast once all the other adults wake up.
Notice how early it is, still kinda dark out yet....
(I remember Gram Kafehl getting those boxes for us as kids)

Then my oldest grandson Jameson made me 
a very special birthday cheesecake to celebrate
my birthday! What a great chef!!!

 The younger kids gave me a spa day including a foot massage, a back massage, and brushed and styled my hair for the day. What a lucky Grandma I am!  The kids were busy playing on the long stone wall that runs along the southern edge of the campground, leftover from the farming days in this area.  This is my FAVORITE pic of the weekend....  taken by my daughterinlaw Heather.

We got in time to visit, cuddle grandkids and 
have a nice visit with everyone together. 
(except Erin and Waylen with baby Claire at the hospital) 

The weather was unusually delightful and warm and sunny and on Sunday it actually reached 71 degrees for a high. Imagine that! I remember some Halloween's where it was snowing and we had to wear snow suits under our costumes to stay warm.

Steve and I lazed around the park after everyone left and we took our time packing up. It might very well be our last day of camping until maybe a mid winter vacation somewhere to the South. Sometime this week Steve will winterize the water lines in our motorhome.  Today he also blew out and winterized all the water lines in the park too!


  1. Wonderful to see Claire going home. sweet little face.
    what fun at the camp ground all those great decorations.

  2. What a wonderful time you had. Good memories for everyone!

  3. Claire is such a precious little girl, and my congrats to the happy family. Also, a very happy birthday to you!

  4. So happy to hear Claire is home with her family! The pictures from Halloween at High Cliff are fantastic and the trees are beautiful on the cliff. It has been so warm here that the tree colors have been a bit blah this year. We typically have some of the prettiest trees in the area. The warm weather is nice but we sure miss those beautiful reds, yellows and oranges we usually see.

  5. Congratulations! And happy birthday! Someday I need to come to High Cliff and check it out.


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