Last week we wrapped up our last road trip of the summer: camping in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. The weather promised to be dreadful for camping and hiking: hot, humid, and rainy throughout, but somehow we ended up having a wonderful time. Just two days ahead of time we found ourselves scrambling to buy sandals that aren’t flip flops for the two of us who didn’t have them, and lightweight raincoats for the four of us who didn’t own one (in all the right colors for the kids, of course, which complicates the matter). It was surely the muddiest camping trip we’ve ever had. The hiking though? Breathtaking. I had no idea that Ohio had such beauty in it.Continue reading
I first heard about Getaway, a chain of properties scattered throughout the US (largely within a short drive from major cities) that offer the opportunity to unplug and get out into nature by renting a tiny house without wifi, when a friend sent me an article about an outpost opening about 40 minutes from here. This particular location is technically considered a Getaway from Chicago (significantly further away), but that’s kind of their market. They appear to be aimed at young urban professionals with a demanding, fast-paced lifestyle who are looking for a chance to escape and simplify for a bit. Since our location had yet to open there was a promotional rate of $129/night which felt more than reasonable, so we decided to book a two night stay for early July. As the date approached we began to worry that maybe we weren’t exactly the target market they had in mind and that getting away with three small children in a quiet tiny house community might be a terrible idea, but we went for it so I thought I’d write a quick review.Continue reading
Somehow it’s already mid-July. Time feels hazy and confusing, but even though our days and weeks don’t feel terribly different than they did in the spring, the march towards fall and the unpredictable school year that lies ahead is bringing a sort of dread. Somehow I’m simultaneously confident that we’ll be fine in the long run, while also expecting the logistics of managing online learning for three small children while working full time, possibly with no second adult at home (since they may send her back to the school building) to be a hellscape unlike anything I’ve juggled before.Continue reading
It really hasn’t been that long since we returned from our road trip up north, but it feels like an eternity of juggling work and kids and school year prep has passed, so trying to get back there in my head to write about it is a challenge.
We thought about changing things up this year (without any specific locations in mind) but the kids love our summer tradition so much that they wouldn’t have it. Jude in particular talks about the cabins and Mackinac Island all year long. They love this trip. Continue reading
If you’d asked me a number of years ago if I considered myself to be “outdoorsy” I probably would have said no. For years I told people that I didn’t especially like BBQs or picnics because eating outside with insects on a table that was very likely stained with bird poop held very little appeal. Somehow though, over the past few years I’ve developed a mild obsession with homestead-y outdoorsy things, following strangers on Instagram who share perfect images of spotless yet wild looking children in modern-hippie-prarie garb (I think that’s a thing), in breathtaking homeschool landscapes in the mountains of Montana, reading amidst goats and chickens or tending to succulents in a stunning backyard greenhouse.
I wanted in. Kind of. I have a tiny vegetable garden, we started composting, and now I wanted to become a camping family.
Did you know that Kristin and I fell in love while camping? True story. It was a required part of a class and to be honest we both kind of hated that trip at the time, but that’s beside the point. It feels full-circle somehow. Continue reading
When Kristin dropped off a large bunch of bananas to our next door neighbor just before we loaded up the car to to leave for Charleston, Colleen told Kristin that she recalled someone saying that we would never attempt that drive again after the first time. “I think that may have been the same person who bought way too many bananas before leaving for a road trip. I wouldn’t trust her.” Kristin replied with a wink.
We just wrapped up our final vacation of the summer and I pretty much hit rock bottom this afternoon. I’m never at my best post-vacation, but somehow today there was a perfect storm: the last-hurrah sadness, Kristin having left this morning for a wedding in North Dakota, feeling a little let down by friends, the start of kindergarten just two-weeks away, wishing that our kids were a little more grateful (despite the fact that I know it’s developmentally appropriate for them not to be), and a giant toy mess in the basement that has been setting me off for weeks each time I go down there to do laundry. I woke up with a to-do list in mind, determined to show this solo-parenting weekend who was boss, and ended up threatening to throw all of the toys away and basically sobbing in the basement while I cleaned after telling the kids that they should probably just find new families because I was done parenting. Given the circumstances, they did a remarkable job of caring for themselves for hours. At one point I came upstairs and found them all painting with watercolor at the art table (I have no idea who got a glass down from the cabinet for paint water), and they played with one another basically without incident all day long. When I’m at my worst as a mom, the thing that I’m most thankful for is that they really do love one another. I’d rather be the bad guy and have them band together than the other way around. Continue reading
We just returned last night from the road trip that we almost didn’t take, and I’m so very glad that we made the journey. As I mentioned before, I had all kinds of worries about the drive, the heat, what we would do while we were there, but none of those things posed a problem. The kids were absolute troopers on the drive. Sure, they watched a million movies, but they really were pretty amazing about the whole thing. Continue reading
We’ve reached that point in the summer when suddenly there seems to be some sort of time vacuum happening. We text with friends to set up casual get-togethers and find that there are virtually no days left before school starts when we’ll all be in town (and we’re in a city where back-to-school doesn’t happen until after Labor Day). Although we’re doing fairly well with our summer bucket list, I started to panic a little last night. Continue reading
Back in September, my parents offered to fly us down to Charleston for Thanksgiving as our Christmas gift. It was a lovely, generous offer but we waffled because travel with kids when there’s less than a week to work with always feels less than relaxing. Our kids are good travelers, mostly road-trippers, but in this case the thought of having to haul three car seats, luggage, and kids to a rental car lot after a long morning of air travel did not have any appeal. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between having two small children versus having three, it’s fitting in someone else’s car. We’ve made it work before with infant seats, but we just weren’t sure what was possible at this stage. Continue reading