Tag Archives: family vacation

Pizza? Bedtimes? Whatevs, We’re on VACAY!!!

As you could tell from my latest posts, we’re on vacation. What started this 1,000+ mile tour de Midwest was my family reunion in Kansas City, Mo. I delegated to my husband to plan our trip. Next thing I know, a long weekend away turned into an eight-day adventure.

The boys outside Cracker Barrel.

But I’m not complaining, this escape from everyday is fun. I’ve spent much of the trip in the back seat between my boys. Not to mention all of the people who have seen my boobs by now. (Truckers along I-70, the old man at Cracker Barrel and Mizzou college students: You’re welcome.)

We left last Thursday and stayed the night at my best friend’s house in suburban St. Louis. Then we had lunch with my niece in Columbia, Mo. and moved on to Kansas City. After a few days there, we spent three days in Columbia. Hubby and I met at the University of Missouri, so we visited our old haunts, and bored Logan with stories of our youth.

Now we’re in St. Louis and will be here for a total of 3 days. The kids are totally off their schedules. We all go to bed around 11 p.m. (some nights as late as 1 a.m.!) and we have been getting up late in the morning. But we haven’t been stressing, just saying “hey, we’re on vacation!”

Same thing with eating. Pulled-pork sandwiches? Sure! We’re on vacation! Pizza? Yep! We’re on vacation! Dessert anyone? Uh-huh, we’re on vacation!

I’ll worry about getting the kids back on schedule and the excess calories later. I can’t think about it now, I’m still on vacation.

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Trying Not To Kill My Child On Our Family Road Trip

It was around mile 454 that I first had the urge to strangle my child. It was Day 2 of our weeklong family adventure on the open road. I was in the backseat, sandwiched between two car seats, my feet were perched on a carton of juice boxes and my eldest was tapping my arms.

I logged many miles sitting in this seat between my two boys.

Incessantly tapping.

On the surface, tapping someone on their upper arms doesn’t seem so bad. Then 30 tappity-tap-tap-filled minutes go by and I start to wonder if my husband would mind if I break our no-hitting policy. (We don’t spank.) Tap tap.

Then I wondered how much time I’d serve for wrapping my fingers around his scrawny neck. Tap. Tap. Tap.

I threatened to take away his iPod and put him in time out. As the words left my lips, I knew it was an empty threat. Tappy-tap-tap.

The whole reason I was back there was to keep my overtired 6 month old from shrieking. (T-t-t-t-taaaap.) Following through on either threat meant that we’d soon have two screaming banshees in the backseat as we torpedoed down Interstate 70. That, tap, also was not a sustainable option.

Yet there I sat trapped like a caged rat, in the back trying not to kill my son.

“I have an unwarranted amount of rage right now.” I told my husband. He laughed. His son tapped.

“C’mon. You pride yourself on creative parenting solutions. Come up with one!” A little voice in my head said.

“Why do you want to tap my arm when you know I don’t like it?” I asked in the fakest nice voice that I have. (It was either that or hissing through clenched teeth.)

“Because your armies are so softy and I love to touch them.” (He calls my arms “armies” and is always petting, kissing or, as in this case, tapping them.)

I sighed. Then asked him if he could rub my arms instead since I liked it when he did that. “If you don’t want to rub them, then I’ll go sit up by Dad where you won’t be able to touch them.”

The tap-tap-tapping stopped, he kissed my arm and slowly stroked my bicep. We both smiled. I was still cramped in the back seat and my feet remained atop the carton of juice boxes, but at least I was no longer plotting my child’s death.

Weekend Warriors: Pitching a Tent Instead of Pitching a Fit

It was 8 p.m. Friday and our family was headed to the sticks of Wisconsin. A hectic week meant we had to pack everything after work that day. My Jeep was so full it looked like we were moving to Afghanistan instead of camping in Wisconsin.

Logan was ecstatic about his camping trip.

After a two-hour drive, we rolled into the lakeside campsite. Hubby began the not-so-easy task of pitching his first tent in decades with only the Jeep’s headlights to help. But he assured me, he could do it. Thirty minutes later, the only progress made was the tarp had been laid and we’d attracted a Biblical-sized swarm of creepy crawlies.  

I decided to stop looking after Logan, who was over-the-moon happy, and help Hubby with the tent operation. He explained to me what he was doing, but I was lost, it didn’t make sense. I’ve never pitched a tent. Ever. However it quickly became clear why it was so slow going. Hubby kept stopping to spritz himself with bug spray and he was steadily dancing around.  

“What’s wrong with you? You gotta pee or something?” He stopped girating: “No.” I then had an “A Ha Moment.” Hubby was so freaked out by the plague of insects he couldn’t focus. I don’t like bugs either, but that’s in my house. When I’m in their hood, I try to roll with the punches.  

I took over the tent operation, eventually asking him to step aside because it was just easier to fly solo with a backup dancer. Once I got all the poles in the right place, I called him in for the hoisting and the tent was pitched. We settled in for the night, only to be awakened at 3:30 a.m. by industrial strength fireworks from a house across the lake. At least Logan was thrilled.  

The next day was great. We got to explore the area, I read a book under a shade tree, Logan fed some chickens and ducks at a nearby chicken coop, we went for a hike in the pine woods, drank amazing water out of a glacier well, the boys played in a rowboat, real Huck Finn type stuff.  

That night though, around 2 a.m. Logan woke crying, complaining of a headache and demanding medicine. He seemed fine, and this is something usually fixed by the “medicine” of milk and honey or Vitamin D drops. (Hey, that placebo effect thing works wonders.) I scoured my sleepy brain to think of what “medicine” I could concoct. (Feel free to judge me now.) I mixed ketchup, apple jelly and ginger ale in a cup and told him to take a small sip because it was camping medicine so it worked great but tasted bad. Hubby and I watched with bug eyes as he sipped. I took the cup back. Logan asked for more. Gross, but I hesitantly agreed to one more swallow, then we’d have to go to bed. He drank, we slept.  

On Sunday we went to Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark, a huge complex of water slides, obstacle courses and fountains attached to a hotel. Hubby had rented a suite for the day so we could have a place to drop our stuff. I’d never been there and was expecting a glorified cabana, but when he said suite, he meant it. There was a full kitchen, a dining area, two-seater Jacuzzi bath, balcony… I walked in stunned and then groaned thinking of how we’d have to leave in a few hours to go back to our mosquitoes and four-man tent. Instead of dwelling, I seized the moment, took the world’s longest shower and we had a blast at the waterpark.  

When it was almost time to leave, hubby informed me that he didn’t have the heart to yank us out of the lap of luxury and wanted to give Logan another day at the park. We were staying the night. I jumped for joy and ordered room service.  

Overall it was a great weekend, and I’m not saying that because we got a rockin’ suite at the end. We got to camp on this beautiful private property at McIntyre’s Resort, met wonderful people along the way, but most of all we enjoyed creating new memories and spending time together as a family.

Surprise Honey! We’re Going Camping!!!

That was my Wednesday evening. My hubby was tearing into a big box that arrived in the mail like it was Christmas. Out came an unending sleeping bag. “It’ll fit the whole family!!!” He grins. We’re going camping in two days. Me, hubby and toddler. Oh boy.

Let me back up by saying hubby and I have been dying for just an easy family vacation. I had a lot on my plate so told him, hey you organize it. I don’t care where we go, as long as it’s less than two hours’ drive and I don’t want to be in a hotel or outside (meaning no camping) so he could find a cabin, a condo, a bed and breakfast… That was a month ago. It seems he forgot my “no outside” disclaimer because on Wednesday night, he did the “Big Reveal.” Camping.

I have to say I have wanted to go camping for awhile as a family, but we didn’t have a tent, a tarp, sleeping bags, flashlights, none of the equipment. And I grew up camping, so my confidence as a camper is high, my confidence as a mommy camper, not so much.

As soon as I found out about our three-day adventure, I turned to my sage computer to look for advice. There were Google searches and frantic e-mails to friends and posts to my boards on BabyCenter, all with the four letter word: help! Thankfully, I was flooded with great tips.

At least we’re at a campsite that has bathrooms. What they look like I know not, but really, has anyone ever been to a nice camping bathroom? Like a perfectly well behaved 2-year-old, they don’t exist. There’s also a beach, which will be great and apparently there’s nice trails.

The temperatures, though, will be sweltering in the mid-90s, the mosquitos will surely be feasting and I wonder, is Logan going to be afraid of the dark? He’s already asked me if there’s going to be monsters. Will we three be jammed into this massive sleeping bag with all the flashlights flaring throughout the night, causing the tent to be blanketed in moths, or worse, June bugs?

Time will tell. I’ll come back on Monday to report how it went. Hopefully we don’t get West Nile, and that the lake doesn’t have E. coli. Though I betcha it’ll work out fine, and who knows at the end of it all, I may even be a fan of the family sleeping bag.