Gone to the Lake

by Abby on August 15, 2011

While I’m on vacation this week, please enjoy this post from my archives. Two years later, we’re back at the same place with 6 fewer adults and 1 more child. (No newborns, whew!) So far, so good — the kids are sleeping and no one’s fallen in the lake…yet.

Survivor: Deep Creek Lake

CanoeingThere was a moment during our vacation — specifically, when I was up at 4:30 a.m. with the baby for the third consecutive day — when I seriously considered taking off and checking into a motel by myself. We were staying in a house with a whole bunch of my relatives. Surely they would all come together to help my husband raise my abandoned children. Someone? Anyone?

But then I remembered that I had no idea where my car keys were, and next to no chance of finding them amidst 16 people’s stuff in the dark. Also, I can’t take out the kids’ car seats by myself. And I’m not THAT irresponsible!

The house we rented was amazing. A huge, new 6-bedroom, 7-bath place with a big backyard that looked out over an inlet. Imagine sunsets and swaying marsh grasses. Tranquil waters and cool breezes. A hot tub and fire pit. A sunny deck and a shady porch with rocking chairs. The very picture of relaxation, right?

Maybe, except for the 16 PEOPLE (!!) under one roof, ranging in age from 5 mos. to 74 years. Let me just say that while toddlers get a bad rap, they are certainly not the only ones who have trouble with whining, sharing, being flexible, and controlling their tempers. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

For the most part, it was a great week. Miles and his 2.5-year-old cousin loved running amok throughout the house and yard, playing outside, swimming, and going out in the canoe. The weather was often cool and rainy, but it was still preferable to the muggy, buggy inferno that is Baltimore in late summer. I loved seeing my California relatives, whom I don’t get to visit nearly enough, and it was great to have extra pairs of eyes and hands to help out with the kids. In particular, 13-year-old K. was an amazing mother’s helper all week. She got puked on and pooped on and had her hair pulled and still held out her arms for the baby each morning.

Speaking of mornings, they started very, very, VERY early. Our family of 4 stayed in one smallish room. Baby Riley took that to mean he had all-night access to the milk bar and willing playmates at 11 p.m., 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Since I was desperate for him not to wake his brother or the rest of the household, I’d dive to retrieve him from his Pack ‘n’ Play at the first whimper. And don’t think he didn’t take full advantage, people.

He was usually up for the day about 6 a.m. I guess no one told him you’re supposed to sleep late on vacation. He’d start exercising his lungs, yodeling so loudly he could be heard across the lake. The one bad thing about the house was the great room, a large open space in the center of the house with high ceilings that amplified his shrieks. I’m sure my 23-y.o. cousin sleeping on the couch upstairs loved that. Some mornings I handed off the baby to his grandparents downstairs. The second day my dad said, “How about we take him AFTER 6:30 tomorrow?” Sure, if you stop making HALF-DECAF coffee!!! (See? I was one of the complainers!)

So, no, we didn’t sleep much, but we did eat much. Each couple/family took turns making dinner and some breakfasts and the meals were fabulous. I also got in some yoga (outdoors!), a massage, some kayaking, and a couple turns in the hot tub, so the trip did have some vacation-like elements.

And as a mother of 2 age 3 and under, I’ll take what I can get. If you’re going to get woken up at all hours and spend the week doing laundry, preparing meals, and changing diapers anyway, might as well do it in a different location and with different people now and then, right?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer August 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Oh my goodness, I about gave myself an injury because I was nodding so hard at the part where you wrote, “Let me just say that while toddlers get a bad rap, they are certainly not the only ones who have trouble with whining, sharing, being flexible, and controlling their tempers. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

I will say that I’ve had a few vacations like that in recent years, where many of the most frustrating, ahem, issues were not the result of my children’s exuberance, and this year, I said, “NO.” And we didn’t go on such a trip this year. And it was glorious.


Shannon @ AnchorMommy August 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Boy, what a “vacation.” We’re going to our family lake cabin pretty soon, and I am desperately hoping that it’s not more exhausting than staying home. There’s probably about a 50/50 chance…


Malia Jacobson August 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm

We’ve also done the “crams lots of people in a huge house” thing on vacation. Definitely has its pros and cons. I do take a quiet joy in seeing my kid-less relatives discover just how exhausting toddlers really are. 🙂 Hope your vacation is more relaxing this time! Come back soon, we miss you on Twitter!


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