Last Vacation Post

Brad was tapping on the windows to wake everyone up way too early this morning. I vaguely remember peering through sleep blurred eyes out the window, the sun was barely up. I also barely remember him poking my shoulder, “Do you want eggs for breakfast?” I do remember hearing the kids clamber down from the two stories of bunk beds over top of me. Little feet and big feet coming down the ladders and padding outside onto the porch. Finally some peace and quiet and I rolled back over and buried my head under the blankets. It must not have lasted long because it seemed I just got back to sleep and then I heard Mallie giggling and Elsie screaming. Yep, she is taking her pacifier again. “I’m up. I’m up. I’m coming girls.” Let the day begin.

Breakfast is a blur of cups and paper plates. “Don’t forget to shut the cooler,” and “Did you brush your teeth?” Oh, and I can’t forget my favorite, “Quit leaving your clothes all over the floor!” The cabin is small, but manageable. It seems extra small with a playpen in the middle for the babies, but we do have a small walkway around it. It is hard when there are too many people in here up and around, we are bumping into each other like bumper cars and trying to get in and out of the door, with me reminding, “Hurry up and shut the door! I don’t want all the flies getting in!” The flies are horrible here, especially on our porch. I don’t know why. Maybe because of all the towels hanging on the front porch to dry. Maybe because of the smell of baby formula that must emit from the girls. Maybe because all of the other campers left and so they flew over here. They are bad. And they are biting today. It must be going to rain.

“So what are the plans today?” I ask Brad. If it were up to me, we would be going home. I am camped out. It is getting way too hot and the babies and I are mostly in the cabin because they can’t take the heat.  I would go home with the little ones, but we need both cars to fit everyone and everything. He doesn’t have any plans for the day. Not good. The kids have already ran around and played well together, now they are arguing over silly things and teasing each other. I’m getting cabin fever and need some peace.

“Why don’t you take the boys to the caves or go get fireworks? I know you had that planned for tomorrow, but if you do it today then we can head home at a decent time tomorrow and have more time to unpack,” I mentioned to Brad. “I will stay here with the girls.” Man, I come up with brilliant ideas. This will give me a little thinking time. A little quiet time. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the family time, but we are on day 4. I am getting tired of the close quarters, and like most families the end of vacation can be the most trying because everyone is getting tired (well, at least the adults…at least I am).

So now I am sitting here in the quiet cabin eating a Lunchable, everything but the meat – I think it is gross. I set the window air conditioner to 64 degrees, as low as it will go, and it is starting to feel like winter in here. The girls are bundled up and sleeping in their playpen. I am finally writing. It feels good.


I did alot of writing that day, most of which is on this blog. It was a great vacation. Lots of great memories. I will share some of my favorite pics and this will be my last vacation post. Then it will be back to the everyday…there is something to be said about routine. It can be nice, just like vacation get aways.

Thanks again for reading.





Beach Days

Our feet made prints in the thick coarse sand as we made our way down to the water’s edge. It felt like bath water. You had to swim around to find a cold spot, which would only last a minute. But there is nothing like plunging your head under the water on a hot and steamy day.

Bradley and Cedrik liked to go to the edge of the sand and run full blast into the water, the sand and water spraying like they were doing burn outs at top speed. I imagine this is why I had to spray Bradley off real good with the hose after we went swimming, he had sand everywhere, which I would imagine would be quite uncomfortable in the long run.

Collin waddled and waded into the water, following his brothers. He had no fear. He looked so cute with his big life jacket, pale spiky hair, and the bridge of his nose getting a little pink. My little swimmer baby. I really had to keep a hold of him, otherwise he ended up floating upside down with his life jacket. I’m sure he swallowed a little of that water, probably as much as he splashed and made a racket. He loved the water though.

Cedrik also entertained us with flips and cartwheels off the dock (the deep end, which I think was the only cold part of the lake), his long skinny limbs flying in every direction.

Crazy kids. They are so much fun.


Are We There Yet?

Day 1:  July 8, 2011

The bachelor buttons dotted the edge of the highway and the Queen Anne’s Lace lazily swayed in the wind, waving her good byes as we sped past on Highway 67. I followed the boys in the Intrepid and the girls and I were in my car, the back-end piled to the ceiling with camping gear, baby bouncers, and walkers, and just about everything else. The twins were fast asleep and the morning’s fresh air and solitude engulfed me as I pushed play to listen to Neil Gaiman tell me a story (I love audio books). The day couldn’t be more perfect, sunshine and clovers on an old highway and my favorite author reading to me.

The peacefulness only lasted about half way there. Mallie started crying, Elsie started screaming. There was nowhere to pull over. I called the boys on the cell phone, “Pull over when we get a chance. The babies are hungry.” It seemed to be an eternity before there was a spot to pull over. And just to let you know, it feels like torture having to hear my babies cry and there is nothing I can do about it for the moment. I talked and tried to soothe them, “Don’t worry baby girls. We’re almost there. Mommy make you a nice big bottle. It’s alright. Shhh…” and so on. It didn’t phase them, but it made me feel a little better. And man, I am one of the fastest bottle makers in the midwest. Brad said, “Hurry up, the train is coming,” and I mixed those bottles so fast and we beat the train. After 20 minutes of baby tears, I just wanted to get there. The scenery changed from farms to forests and we sped along the highway at 55 mph leaving a screaming wake behind us.

The trees seemed to be getting greener and the forest thicker, I could tell we were almost there. “Eight miles left,” I called back to the twins. “We’re going over Panther Creek,” and “I think we are almost there. I bet you it’s around this corner. I know I said that about the last curve, but I have a feeling about this one.” It was only a three-hour drive, but I like to talk. Soon enough they will start answering me.

As we pulled away from the park office a tall statue of Yogi Bear greeted us with sun gleaming off of him in every direction, he is the star of the park. Pansies, petunias, and geraniums lay at his feet and the shady green trees swayed their welcoming arms. Ferns and moss lined the little white bridge and ornamental rocks were tucked in by the hostas and Impatients. We finally made it and I couldn’t wait to get the crying babies out of the car. The first couple of hours weren’t bad for them, they slept and played. But that last hour was hell for me and them.

We followed the wooden signs along the dusty road looking for campsite 420, number 3. It was like stepping into another world after we entered the gate; RV’s, tents, cute wooden cabins that look like they should be on the front of a syrup bottle, a fish weighing station, and lots of playgrounds. I could tell we were going to have a great time.

“Amanda! Hey guys! Come here. You got to check this out,” Brad and Taigyn yelled from the cabin window. I was already impressed with the quaint cabin and nice little porch and cement patio, but the boys absolutely loved the bunk beds stacked three high. They were up the ladders like monkeys and claiming their sleeping spots, even though the older boys were sleeping in the tent part of the time.

The boys unloaded the cars in assembly line fashion and I organized the cabin as quick as they were bringing the bags and boxes to me. The girls were much happier to be in their bouncer and walker. They even welcomed the playpen, anything to get out of the car seats. I think Collin was in disbelief over all of the space and new wondering places to explore. He was off and running toward the lake first thing. “Get back here. You can’t go in without us!”

It took no time at all to get unloaded, organized, and the tent up. The older boys rented a paddle boat and checked out the lake. They already looked sun burnt as the peddled by me on the lake, waving and yelling.

Yogi even visited us at our cabin.

So much to do…I couldn’t wait to get to the beach and swim.

More to come. Bye for now.


***Note: not all the pictures are in order. They are just some of my favorites.***