After one week back home from a month away on vacation we are finally getting back into the groove of city life again. It is glorious to be back. I love vacation and being away at the cottage with the kids and my family but when did summer vacation become so much work?! A month at a cottage with my kids was supposed to be relaxing. My visions of sharing a bottle of wine with my sister watching the sun set and the kids running around playing by themselves was a pretty far cry from reality.
The adventure started with a solo drive from Chicago to Toronto with a 3 year old, an 18 month old and our dog. My husband had a “last minute meeting” on the west coast so couldn’t do the drive with us. Uh huh, right sweetie. Just kidding, he really did and I would have waited until he got back but that wasn’t going to be until Friday evening and we had to be at the cottage Saturday for my cousin’s engagement party that my mom was hosting, which didn’t give us enough time for the 9 hour drive. We needed a car because we were going for a month, so flying was not an option. So, I thought alright, how hard could it be to drive by myself? If I leave Wednesday then I MUST be able to make it there by SATURDAY?!
Well, the universe was working with me that day because it was the easiest drive I’ve ever done. Yes, there were screams of protest every once in a while (which I totally expected), our car looked like the pirate booty ship (cheese-puffs) had exploded in the backseat and my daughter looked like she had pooped on her shirt (remnants of chocolate covered pretzels), but all in all I was shockingly amazed at how well it went. We left at noon on Wednesday, had no traffic leaving Chicago, except for what looked like an APB put out for something that happened downtown. I have never seen so many cop cars turn on their lights at the same time and high tail to toward every nearest exit ramp, so I stepped on the gas a little harder and figured my drive was fairly cop-free for a little while. We made two stops in the US, both at McDonalds for a little ice cream. The rule was, we stop for 30 minutes, whatever amount of ice cream you can eat in that amount of time is good, whatever is left is gone. (Before you get mad that I’m trying to make my kids gorge themselves in short order, they are 3 and 1 ½, they can’t eat fast and they have no concept of time). So they both got through about 5 spoonfuls and we’d move on. We had a little picnic in a bank parking lot just short of the border (they had a really pretty lawn), and that was a highlight for my son, giving us something to talk about for the next 4 hours. I don’t think I have ever crossed the US/Canada border and not had to wait for at least 30 minutes, that day there was no one in line and my border agent was just waiting for us to show up. It was crazy, two minutes max and we were in Canada headed for Toronto, it was 7pm and the kids were fed, in their jammies and snuggling with their blankets. Neither one of them slept the whole time but we managed to get to my parents place (to their shock and disbelief) at 10:30pm – it was 9:30pm our time and I had totally forgotten about the time change so felt bad waking them up but they couldn’t have been happier.
My kids had a great time playing with their aunts and uncles, and my parents and meeting their new cousin. But whenever you go away somewhere keeping up the same routine as at home is tough and without a routine I find my kids go a little haywire. For the past month my son (3) who has always been awesome at staying in his bed has been getting out of bed multiple times if he doesn’t fall asleep right away. For a while he would jump in his sister’s crib and wake her up – we finally started locking her door so he can’t get in. But he is also not in diapers anymore so he needs to get up to go to the bathroom – next step is a lock for his door and we’ll put the potty in his room, is that a health code violation? It seems pretty gross, there has to be a better way. I’m concerned that he really doesn’t need his naps anymore, and I’m avoiding that truth because nap time is the best time of day!
Anyhow, as we adjust back to our non-vacation life, I like to think back to the days at the cottage and remember how fun it was sitting on the deck sharing a bottle of wine with my sister, watching the sunset because even if it wasn’t reality it was a really nice dream.