Vacation Redemption

On our drive home from North Carolina at the end of June, Bob and I reevaluated everything we ever thought we knew about vacationing with young kids. (Well, that sounds kind of dramatic but we had seven hours to kill in the car so…) The first thing we decided to do was cancel our second vacation we had scheduled for early August, to Acadia National Park. We had planned a big Northeast Road Trip with stops to visit Bob’s family in New York and Maine and then an additional drive to Bar Harbor to hike Acadia. It was a solid plan, because I love to plan and therefore had our hotel in Maine booked by early January. However, after North Carolina, we came to the conclusion that our plan was perhaps a bit too ambitious for this stage of the kids’ lives. Just because Bob and I want to hike Acadia doesn’t mean that our kids will be 1. capable or 2. of good spirit or 3. won’t have to go potty approximately four minutes into our hike. So, one of the first acts upon our return home at the end of June was to cancel our Maine hotel reservation. Bob and I were visibly relieved.

In scaling back our expectations of what our August vacation should look like, we decided to keep the New York, family-visiting portion of our road trip and just do things there that would be easy with the kids. Nothing too ambitious, with plenty of downtime and built-in opportunities for Bob to nap. And, last week was definitely easy. We had an amazing time up north which, is apparently what happens when your expectations about traveling with kids have gone as low as they can possibly go.

There was shopping, there was boating, there was ATV-riding, there was front-porch-sitting, there was A LOT of good-food-eating, there was definitely some wine drinking, there was tons of family-time-laughter and all of it was so easy and so fun. Everyone had a great time and no one wanted to leave early. We basically looked like this the entire trip:


Also, like this:


And, then there was, unsurprisingly, this:


The day we went boating, the weather was spectacular. I even got to wear a sweatshirt for a little bit – something I haven’t been able to do since MAY. (Suck it, summer humidity.) On our way back to harbor, we anchored at a little island in the middle of the lake. Henry decided to swim to the other little island close by since it had an enticing rope swing dangling over the water. Charlie, of course, decided he had to go along, as well. It didn’t look like a far swim but once they were actually about halfway there, Henry started to look a little fatigued while Charlie was just pacing himself nicely a ways back. Both of them had a life vest on but Henry isn’t used to swimming with one so I think it was more in his way than anything else. Just as it looked like they might be getting tired, another party pontoon pulled up near the islands, headed directly in their path to anchor near the rope swing. Both boys turned their heads, saw the big boat idling but looming, immediately panicked and then started swimming like their lives depended on it. Charlie, who has apparently mastered the doggie paddle, took off like that snail character from the movie Turbo. Since all of the action was taking place below the surface of the water, we couldn’t really see how fast Charlie’s legs were dog paddling but I can tell you he blew past Henry and was clambering up the side of that island in record time. I’m pretty sure he actually left a visible wake in the water. The paused party boat continued to wait for Henry to slowly make his way to shore and we could tell that he was super close and could probably touch the bottom if he would just stand up. So, there we were, two groups of people on two party boats yelling, “JUST STAND UP!” as loud as we could in Henry’s direction. He eventually stood up.


I told Bob that I’ve officially switched from my Camper Dream to my House in the Adirondacks Dream. (Obviously, I had to correctly call it a Camp in the Adirondacks Dream before he understood what I was talking about.) It’s just stunning in that part of New York so I’m currently budgeting for a second home somewhere on the water. With a jet ski. Also, a boat. Definitely a little guest cottage for my parents. Maybe room for a pony for Millie or something. Bob is dubious of my plan but I think it’s always good to have a goal.

Bob’s brother and sister-in-law were so gracious to host us and made the days we spent in New York really lovely and relaxing. Our kids adore them and hanging out with their older cousins is kind of endlessly cool when you are so little. Bob and I declared that we are only ever driving north in summertime from here on out. And, because I like to plan, we’re already organizing next summer’s New York adventure.

In conclusion, here’s a picture of Millie playing darts in a bar. Because, that’s how you do it in New York.

A Wedding in Three Pictures

We traveled to New York this past weekend for the wedding of Bob’s nephew. The weather was unbelievably beautiful for late July, the setting was absolutely charming and the couple themselves are just plain delightful.

Attending with three young children, we were relieved to know that the entire affair was designed to be casual, fun and, most importantly, that the ceremony was expected to only last about ten minutes.

Millie was restless while we waited for the wedding procession to make their way down the aisle. To capture her attention and encourage her to sit still, I told Millie that Elsa, her favorite character from the film Frozen, would be walking by in mere moments. It was a plan that provided temporary relief but backfired in the long term since she then spent the bulk of the reception trying to track down “that princess.”

At one point, late in the proceedings, when her confidence had kicked in, Millie placed her hands on her hips, furrowed her brow, stomped her foot and declared, “Imma gonna go talk to dat pwincess.” We found the bride on the dance floor so Millie grabbed my hands and asked quietly to dance with me. We began to swing and twirl with Millie creeping, ever so slowly, one step at a time, towards her princess. Her efforts were rewarded when we got a photograph of the two of them together.


Charlie, who has never met a stranger, who just flat out approaches random people now to introduce himself and chat for a bit, spent the bulk of the wedding hanging out with anyone that would listen to him.


I have absolutely no idea who those people are. What I do know is that Charlie’s cousin lent him her phone, on which she had downloaded a Civil War app. Charlie looked around for a place to sit while he played the game and when he couldn’t find an open seat, he approached the first person he spotted and asked to join them. They did not mind. No one ever minds with Charlie.

At one point, he had a small army of adults recruited for his wedding site Civil War reenactment. I’m actually not exaggerating. More than one family member and stranger approached me to say they were sorry but had to abandon the cause because dinner was being served.


This is the most I saw of Henry for the bulk of the reception; a glimpse of him on the deck off of the barn before he was gone again, running around with cousins and other kids in attendance. There were a few lawn games set up so he kept busy playing Cornhole and Giant Jenga.

At one point, an elaborate game of hide and go seek meant the kids were running full-steam laps around the property so, of course, he eventually got hurt doing this (someone ALWAYS gets hurt). After a few minutes of hugs, he was off again, wrestling in the grass in an impromptu tournament.

It was such a great afternoon and everyone had a fantastic time. It was also really nice to spend time with Bob at a social event. I’ve been pulling solo duty representing the family while he recovers so to be somewhere together as a whole unit was pretty special and something we haven’t done in months. Many thanks to our hosts for making that possible.

(Also, many apologies for the gas Millie passed right when the bride and groom were saying their vows. We’re praying that, even though it was audible a couple of rows away, the microphone on the video camera didn’t pick it up.)