Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Remember the days when vacations were relaxing and you hadn't a care in the world? Yeah - not so much anymore! I learned very early on in my life that Mom always must check the bags before leaving on a trip. I am, of course, referencing an unforgettable family trip up north. We were about 4 hours from home when we started questioning my youngest sister on her packing. About a half hour later, she realized she hadn't packed a stitch of underwear. Watching my parents scour the racks of the convenience store for underwear was quite amusing. I think she ended up with designer underwear from one of the premium outlets. From then on, I have ALWAYS packed extra underwear when she travels with us. even if my shapely figure requires more fabric then her slim and toned one!

And so here we are, on the cusp of another vacation, gearing up to pack for a week at the family cottage. A wonderful place where there is limited solar power, and a gas-powered stove and fridge. The storage is limited, the space is small, and it is a boat ride and car ride to any "off-island" activities. And then there is my dad, who can somehow survive the week with one small duffle bag. He somehow forgets that somebody had to bring all the food we eat! But nonetheless, ever the pleaser - I am aiming for compact and consolidated.

I've had my years. There was the year where we brought Molly's dollhouse, all the accessories, multiple baby devices, enough snacks to be stranded for a month. I've definitely earned the scrutiny - but I try. It's so hard to not worry about forgetting something! Thank goodness dad wasn't around when we drove to Florida with a 4 year old and a 13 month old. I'm not even sure how we fit Jen in the back of the van to drop her off at the airport! And so here I am. I try to make a list, and then I add to the list, and then I subtract - it goes on and on.

What do you leave behind? What do you take? Am I making a big gamble by leaving the DVD player at home and only bringing the IPADs? They will both need blankets, sweatshirts, pants - just in case it (hopefully) gets cold. And then there is the changes of clothing - they don't need to be fashion models, but they don't need to be dirty. My kids can literally be within sight of a messy food or drink and be dirty from head to toe. I know, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree on that one! Ok... so then I need the daily meds, but I also need the in case meds. In case there is a seizure, in case there is a fever, and then the grown up meds... It's not so easy to run around the corner to the pharmacy. We'll need snacks, food for 3 meals a day for 8 days, sunscreen, bathing suits, water shoes, "going to town" clothes, batteries... Oh man - I'm up to a car full already and I haven't actually packed anything.

I'm thankful we are leaving on a Sunday this year, it leaves me all day Saturday to get stuff accomplished in between grocery shopping, cleaning up and out the house, entertaining two small children, and maybe putting my feet up?? Vacation used to be relaxing, when my mom took care of all this stuff. When I didn't have to worry about keeping my 2 year old quiet for a few hours every morning so the rest of cottage can sleep until a decent hour, like 7. At least I will have porch-Scrabble to look forward to every morning, I'm up against the beast of the 2-letter words!

Ah packing! You crazy beast - and then there is unpacking, putting everything away for a week and then re-packing. Sure, I'll get it all in bags and boxes and into the van, then out of the van and into the boat, then out of the boat and into the cottage.All the while, I need to make sure Molly and Kennedy stay in their life jackets and don't get buried under stuff, knocked off a boat, or tripped over in the process. So - happy vacation! Hopefully the 2 kids on the verge of sickness swing back to healthy instead of getting worse and we have a wonderful time at the cottage!

Seriously, what would he have done without the rain gear?

View from the boat on the way over

Dad and Molly on a garbage run.

Using the DVD player

There she is - our home by the sea!

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