I spent last week at a cottage with my family, my sister her kids, my 3 little ones, my parents and aunt and uncle, oh and daisey my parents dog.
We took the scenic route because, well whats more fun than driving a dodge challeneger through the country side.
We like our road trips. One of my oldest daughters favorite things to do is stick her hand out the window then try and pull it back in when I stomp the gas. She can’t, too much power, insert (Tim Allen Grunt), and she always looks at me with a big old grin saying it feels like her arm is going to get pulled off. It won’t, but it’s fun to try.
Another of my favorite things to do is, when we stop at a stop sign or stop light, the little ones in the back scooch up on to the edge of their seats and I give a little extra gas on take off. They get scouped up or flung back into their seats. Full of giggles they yell from the back, “the car made me sit back dad”… “do it again”. It’s a good time.
Any time we take a trip I try to find ways to make the car ride as exciting as possible. They bring their tablets, phones and electronics to keep them side tracked if boredom sets in, but for the most part I try to spend the time talking with them, getting them to tell me whats going on in their lives. It’s slow at first, but inevitably they start opening up and letting me know how they’re doing.
It’s a big test of patience but it’s worth it. I’ve tried in the past to push issues and force the conversation, but I have found that, with kids it’s best to plant the seed and let them come to you. A good time to do that is when we are all in a confined space for a prolonged period of time. Inevitably they start mulling the questions over in their heads, which leads to them having more questions for you, eventually your discussing the original inquiry and they don’t even realize it, until it’s done.
We get to the cottage, it’s got a nice open living room and kitchen area with bedrooms and bathrooms down each hall way to the right and left.
A long back yard with a few birtch trees marking the way down to the lake, a play area for the kids, a couple Kayaks, canoes, and a paddle boat to take out for a spin.
I hopped in a Kayak the second or third day because the kids wanted to swim and I didn’t, so out I went, paddled around while they swam.
The seaweed or Lakeweeds were so thick it was like they filled a forrest with water. The paddle boat’s rudder got stuck in the seaweed and couldn’t make it more than 10 ft. It was a bit easier in the Kayak if you didn’t mind slopping seaweed on your head with every stroke. Also you could stop paddling and sit still in the flow of the water because, yup you guessed it, the seaweed held you in place.
It was a blast though. I tried dragging my son through the thick weeds while he clung to the back of the Kayak, it worked for a couple feet then we got stuck.
Eventually we dried off and headed back up to the deck for some drinks snacks and football. I love tossing a football or baseball around with the kids it’s so simple but so much fun. I could do it all afternoon.
My favorite times were palying with the kids, and having morning coffees down by the water.
I love the silence, calm and natural wake up. It was awesome, one day I even physically noticed the relaxation spread through my neck shoulders and back. It had been a while.
It felt really good and that’s when I vowed to make it my lifes mission to find a house on the water. Also find a cottage. Or atleast find a house that gives off a cottage vibe with all the awesome of a house, house.
The only down side to the week was having to put our toilet paper in the trash can after wiping.
Yeah, you read that right.
When we arrived on the Monday, as we were getting the garbage sorting run down. My dad casually mentions that we have to wipe and place it in the garbage.
I don’t question it. Do what I’m supposed to, wipe and store it. We did this all week. Then On the second last day, after dinner I actually read the posting in the bathroom. It did not mention keeping our toilet paper in the garbage, but does say not to flush food or paper towels as the septic tank could get gummed up.
So of course I decide to loudly announce the directions I just read. Through chest grabbing cackles I spout, it off. As everyone slowly joins in.
So when your planning a family get away with 3 kids, a toddler, a newborn, and people who go to the bathroom more than a hydrated alcoholic, make sure you can flush the tissues.
Also remember when you get home, you can flush and put all the things in the toilet. Thats right about 2 hours after getting home we get a group text from my dad reminding us, toilet paper goes in the toilet.
Out of habit he had discarded a poop wipe in to the garbage at home.
It’s the stories like that and weird little nuances that make up great times. When you reflect on these times and moments, you feel the calm of the morning coffee, the giggle of the kids running around and playing in the water and most of all the belly laughs that come when everyone is relaxed and our guards are down. It’s what we need, a little family time and a little mother nature.