Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hey! Let's go to the cabin again!

Check out those red eyes.
Henry four days post surgery!

A few days after Henry's surgery, we were back on the road for a return trip to the cabin. Our departure was rough as Andrew was delayed tying up work related tasks. Dinner time rolled around and we were still at home. After much debate, we decided to get on the road despite the late hour. Traffic congestion and grumpy children inspired us to make a pit stop in Richfield where we cashed in on some of Andrew's hotel travel rewards. That was a good feeling.

Feeling bad that Eliza would be sleeping on the floor, Lottie and I invited her to sleep with us. I don't know why, but there's a feeling of sweetness that comes when we're sleeping all together in the same room (despite the cramped quarters). It's one of the reasons I like hotel stays; the other would be the daily housekeeping. How great would it be if on an average day you returned home from a trip to the grocery store and your bathrooms were suddenly spotless? This is what my day dreams are made of. Moving on. 

Having been to the cabin a hand full of times, this trip differed because it was the first time we had such a big group of cousins.
And most of them were little cousins! Our kids were greeted warmly. They could hardly wait to get out of our car. As we drove that last, most scenic stretch of road, they all began to giggle with anticipation. Either that or someone passed gas, but that's less poetic... so let's go with anticipation.

After talking with some of Andrew's siblings, it would seem that the level of cabin fandom varies between each of us. I bring this up because it caused me pause as I listened to their conversation. I wondered if I had over-sold an experience. Wanting to be fair, I acknowledge there are challenges. However, as I've thought more about it, the positives truly are abundant. This is why we go as often as we can.

In the spirit of keeping things real, I will outline both the challenges and highlights attached to this trip for no good reason other than I am distracting myself from what's really weighing on my mind. Packing, the laundry aspect especially, takes time (days). Food prep also takes time and careful thought when you consider the limitations when "camping." When you think of the bedding, towels, medicine, sunscreen and activities for the car, you can imagine the length of my to-do list. The drive to the cabin is five hours. Depending on the children's moods, it can feel like twenty hours.

Other challenges include nap time and bed time. It can be tricky when you're working around schedules of other families. It goes without saying that you feel bad when it's your child who wakes the crew up first or cries out at night for whatever reason. A lack of sleep or routine can spell disaster for small kids. Said disasters are both embarrassing and frustrating.

As for the positives: the cabin life requires time to slow down. Distractions in the form of technology diminish with the lack of internet connection and absent televisions. Instead, children connect with nature in the way you feel the Creator intended.
 Nature loving husbands are giddy as the surroundings prove breathtaking and fresh.With a soul filled with such joy, that goodness spreads into favors for the wifey. More specifically, Andrew is great to include Forrest when working on his self appointed cabin jobs.
Daddy and Forrest 
Cabin  pals

With cousins involved, playtime is plentiful and ongoing. The words "I am bored" are blissfully absent. Meals taste better as they are prepared in camp fires! Patience is employed as kids have meltdowns and service is rendered as we try to ease each others challenges.
 They hit the cousin jackpot. 

Four wheeler rides delight children of all ages: 
Exploring on foot also leads to adventure. Details to each of the forts are added upon with each visit. Bubba is thoughtful and kind as he spends time helping move their ideas along. There are mountains to climb and trails to forge.
Speaking of new trails, this past trip Andrew, Brent and the big blue tractor carved out a new trail that would outline the fence line.
I was nervous when it was my turn for him to show me what he'd been up too. Some of those trails were rough and steep but Andrew had all the confidence in the world as we blazed down steep slopes and back up again. The children were delighted. Andrew's sister Liz was much braver than me as I watched her tackle the rough terrain with confidence.

In conclusion, I feel happy that my kid's are continuing to collect memories of the cabin. It's a place they look forward to returning to each time. Naturally beautiful, it inspires imagination. The solitude brings feelings of safety and peace, allowing me, a most uptight and paranoid Mother, to give an increased amount of freedom to my children to explore. The effort that goes into preparing and recovering from each trip comes and goes. The laundry piles eventually dwindle to a place of normalcy, dirty fingernails are soon clean and we catch up on sleep. As cliche as it sounds, {I try my best to sound like a Hallmark card you know} it's the happy memories that remain (as well as the holes acquired in Henry's jeans).
Reading my book in that hammock
 was probably my favorite thing that happened on our last trip.
Thanks for letting us use this Brent!
Shooting guns caused me the most anxiety!
(Even though the situation was treated with great care and safety!)

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