Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Getaway: Oh, THIS Is That Thing They Call Relaxing

This weekend we had a welcome respite from the nonstop work and hurry of this summer*, with a whole four days together as a family at my mom and dad's cabin. It was the first time the kids have been with their dad for that long a stretch in I don't know when, and it was also the first time my brother's fiancee and her daughter visited the cabin.
So. Much. Fun.
And remarkably free of disasters for our little nuclear family, although the other two households involved did not get so lucky (one had car trouble and an ER visit, the other a sick kid, but everyone's OK now).
First, remembering how the last time Epu took Friday off for a summer weekend we didn't end up leaving our house until rush hour, I made the brilliant move of paying two teenagers on my block to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours in the morning so we could pack. (I would link to my post about that other weekend except, whoops, haven't posted all summer. Hello, my name is Carrie. This is a blog about my family. Obviously you never remember reading it before because it has been nearly a lifetime since I wrote on it.)
Last time around, one of our big delays was that after I got the girls all cleaned up and dressed for our car trip, I sent them out to the backyard to play, where they promptly soaked one another with the hose and had to be dressed all over again. But this time, paid child supervision! Nothing like that will happen, right?
Well, it wouldn't have if we'd told our sitters not to let the kids go in the fountain at the park. Or the fountain then the sandbox.
So, another last-minute wardrobe change, this time for all 3 kids, but we still did better than last time, and got on the road by 12:20 p.m., right after lunch.
After driving through the neverending outskirts of Chicago and the boring Illinoisness that follows, we finally crossed the state line and celebrated by stopping at the World's Largest Culver's for frozen custard.

We weren't at the cabin long before Toth took his first steps.
We were thrilled not only because our baby boy walked for the first time -- a trick he would repeat with as many as five steps throughout the weekend -- but also because it gave us something really good to write in the cabin log book. Otherwise our entry totally would have been about the World's Biggest Culvers, which wasn't even all that big if you ask me.
My parents were already at the cabin when we arrived, and later that night we were joined by my brother, his future wife and the kids' future cousin, a 6-year-old girl who has for the past year made going to Grammy and Grampy's house a whole new experience in fun. (Because to me, playing with my cousins was the whole point of going to grandma's house, and I'd been sad that this wasn't happening for my kids. Then, one day, instant cousin!)
But equally exciting as the arrival of their cousin -- I'll call her Addie -- was the arrival of her family's two big, sweet dogs.

All three of my kids just love these dogs, especially Toth, who liked to make little barking sounds every time he saw them, or even heard them panting outside the cabin window.

Bright and early their first morning there, the dogs took a stroll in the woods and rustled up some game -- a young bunny -- which they proudly brought up to the deck to present to their masters. Everyone ran shrieking into the cabin, leaving me to remove the victim from the deck. But here's where the story gets sad -- I realized that the little bunny wasn't completely dead and I had to put it out of its misery. Not only am I kind of haunted by this unpleasant event -- I like bunnies and never planned on killing one! -- I'm also glad we didn't have Facebook up there because nobody's first status update of a Saturday morning should read, "Bludgeoned a woodland animal this morning."

Then we packed up our coolers and grill and headed down to the lake at a county park nearby. Like most or all the lakes in this unglaciated part of Wisconsin, it's an artificial lake, and due to the fertilizer runoff from surrounding corn and dairy farms, it's pretty weedy. But still, it's our little lake that we've been going to all our lives, and it's beautiful.

Here's Addie and me in one of the kayaks my parents got for the family:

Soon Nutmeg and Addie tried piloting the kayaks theirselves and after that it was hard to get a turn in because the 6-year-olds loved it so much and were so adept at it. Yes, that's my baby, paddling her own boat!

Toth also enjoyed riding in his own boat.

Pebbles, who has already made it clear that she's not really into the boat thing, had a wonderful time playing in the sand and water. Which I plan to remind her of tomorrow when she refuses to get into the pool for her swimming lesson.

When Epu and I finally wrested the kayaks away fromt he kids for awhile, we paddled the entire length of the lake, taking us away from the noisy beach area to a peaceful, naturey area where we were able to see a bald eagle up close. Seriously, a real Uncle Sam eagle. That was a thrill. That bird was practically as big as my brother's dogs!
After getting the kids good and exhausted at the beach, we left them with my parents at the cabin and went to see our friend, Famous Actor Matt Schwader, perform in Alls Well That Ends Well at the American Players Theater in Spring Green. Did you know that play is totally dirty? I mean, lots of Shakespeare is full of innuendo if you get the slang of the day translated properly, but this play has sex -- and pretty unusual sexual behavior at that -- as an integral part of the plot. Wild.
The next day we pretty much chillaxed around the cabin, and Addie developed a fever which sort of hastened her family's departure. Later that afternoon I got my hammock time in when Grammy and Grampy took Nutmeg fishing and the rest of my family took naps. There is nothing that says vacation to me like lying in a hammock reading, the wind whispering through trees above, and NOBODY TALKING TO ME. Yes, I dream of being a hermit. All moms of little kids have this yearning, I believe.
That evening after dinner out a large buck with multipoint antlers crossed the road in front of us. Not so close that we were worried about hitting it, but close enough for us to admire the way it flew across the road in just two bounds, its red coat aglow in the evening light. I've never seen a buck like that before and it was a thrill.

Another thrill that lasted most of the weekend: Having six adults to care for four children instead of my normal one adult to care for three, since Epu is at work so much these days. The adults still spent plenty of time hustling out meals and cleaning up and such, but it's all so much more doable with more grownups around.
Today was mostly taken up by packing up, doing some jobs around the cabin, and more packing up. We won't make it up to the cabin again this summer, what with the 4-hour drive and all, which is a damn shame because that was one hell of a good time.

* Not that we haven't had a few fun times this summer; I owe you a post about Toth's recent first birthday and some of the other happy things that have been taking up my time lately.

1 comment:

Jeevita said...

Wait, Toth is one year old and walking? Already? But..but wasn't he born yesterday?
Time sure flies! Hope he had a very nice birthday!