Posted by: amamasblog | August 16, 2007

Back From Vacation

I’m back!!  Our vacation was wonderful…fun, relaxing, not too long, not too short, and the boys had a blast! 

Here is a daily summary of what we did.  I have lots of pictures at the end as well. 

Day 1: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, & Boats

We left at 7am for the airport.  We arrived at the airport at 8,- the plane left at 10.  Cole nursed and fell asleep before the plane took off, and slept for an hour and a half.  Then he woke up and played with the window shade, toys I packed, and ate his snacks.

Ryan and Joe were sitting two rows back from Cole and I, so I didn’t get to really see or hear what Ryan did on the flight, but he did like his etch-a-sketch and snacks.  He enjoyed looking out the window, and he got all the apple and orange juice he wanted- he thought that was neat.

We arrived at 2pm, local time.  We rented a car, and had to take a shuttle bus a few blocks away from the airport.  As we were loading up the car, about an hour after we arrived, we realized that we only had 4 bags, but brought 5- my bag was missing- yikes!!  We drove back to the airport, and I dashed back into the baggage claim, after getting a “warning” from a security guard that I wasn’t allowed to just hop out of the car in the middle of the lane- whatever. (sometimes I think these guards in small towns really don’t have a lot to do.) 

I went to the carousel and didn’t see my bag.  There were some bags lined up against the wall, but mine wasn’t there.  I was getting nervous, thinking I would have to go stand in the lost baggage line- you know how fun that is- but then I saw my lone bag sitting on the carousel towards the back. 

We then stopped for lunch, and we were on the road by 4.  The boys did great, considering it was a really long day, and around 6 they both got cranky, so we stopped at a grocery store, got them some grapes, and let them stretch their legs.  We arrived at my grandma’s around 8pm.

The boys ran out to the beach immediately, where their grandpa was, and started playing.  We realized the boys had been on a plane, train (at the airport), and an automobile all in one day. We laughed and joked that they just needed a boat ride, and then they would have been on practically every mode of transportation.  My dad then put Ryan in a raft, and gave him a “boat” ride.  Ryan smiled the entire time and said, “This has been a big day!” 

Day 2: First Beach Day-

In the morning Joe, Cole, and I went to town to stock up on groceries, and spent about 2 hours doing that.  Ryan stayed with Papa Dan (my dad), and started his first day playing on the beach and in the water.

Some neighbors loaned us their grandkid’s sand toys, so Ryan was equipped with sand pails, shovels, molds, and even a Tonka bulldozer, and dump truck.  Talk about a 3-year old boy heaven!

When Joe and I got back, I went out in the water with my dad and Ryan.  My dad pulled Ryan in the raft to deeper water where there is an anchored raft.  Ryan had fun sitting on the raft and then I asked him if he wanted to jump in the water to me.  He did, and then spent the next two hours jumping in to Papa Dan, Joe, and I.

My dad and step mom were wonderful in helping with the boys- my dad sat with Ryan in the shallow water so he could play in the sand, my step mom sat on the deck and read, and listened for Cole to wake up from his nap, and Joe and I got to go out for a swim by ourselves. 

For dinner, my dad grilled hamburgers, and I made a green salad. 

Day 3: Date Night / No Sleep

We all took a walk to the library on the peninsula (except for my grandmother, who obviously knew better than us, not to walk).  It is only about a mile and it was cloudy and cool when we started out, but then the sun came out and there were enormous, steep hills to climb. I could barely make it up with Cole in an umbrella stroller!  Poor Joe had to carry Ryan on his shoulders the entire walk.

Needless to say, we were hot and sweaty when we arrived at the library, but it was air conditioned, so we stayed a while and browsed to gear up for the walk home.  We got the boys a Builder Bob DVD and a few books to read for our visit. 

We got home at noon.  It was so hot and we were hungry!  We ate lunch and then hit the water.

I took Cole in later for a nap, and then went back in the water.  Joe and Papa Dan played with Ryan in their “sand kingdom,” and Cole joined in too, until dinner. 

My step mom, (Grandma Jean) made spaghetti.

Joe and I gave the boys a bath and put them to bed by nine.  We got to go to a movie!! Woo hoo!  We went into town and saw Bourne Ultimatum.  It was really good!

We got home at midnight, and Cole was up with Papa Dan, and Grandma Jean.  He had been crying, but the grandparents had him eating some Cheerios, but he did NOT want to go back to sleep.  I had a very hard time trying to get him down.  He would drift off for a few minutes, and then wake up crying.  My grandmother’s house is pretty small, and I didn’t want to keep everyone else up with Cole’s crying, so I put him in the car and drove him up and down the peninsula for about an hour, listening to “soothing music” from the XM satellite radio that was in the car.  He finally fell asleep at 3 am!  He woke up again, when I put him back in the Pack N Play, but he rolled over and stayed asleep.  It was a long night. 

Day 4- All Aboard!

My dad said he would watch the boys in the morning so I could take a nap to recover from the night before, and he didn’t have to offer twice!

When I woke up, Cole took a nap and then Papa Dan and Grandma Jean took Ryan to pick blueberries.  When they got back, Joe, Ryan, Cole, and I left around noon and took the boys to a park in town, where we rode a train that went around the park- complete with a real engineer, steam, and a whistle.  They loved it!  Cole and I rode once, and then Joe bought him and Ryan another ticket for another ride.  For some reason the engineer decided to go around twice, so when Ryan got off the train he was excited and said, “I got to go around two times, Mommy!”

We were planning on taking a short drive to another town about half an hour away, but ended up just driving around where we were.  We stopped for a late lunch / early dinner at Chili’s.  Then the boys fell asleep in the car, so we drove around some more, and parked at a pretty park, overlooking the water.  Joe and I talked, and snoozed ourselves, until the boys woke up.

We got back home around 7, to see some other relatives who were leaving after a visit.  Then the boys played in the sand.  My grandmother, Mimi, made a delicious blueberry cobbler with some of the blueberries Ryan picked.

After the boys went to bed, I played cards with my dad and step mom and read.

I stayed up until 2am to finish Two Little Girls in Blue, by Mary Higgins Clark (click to see my review).  It was a page turner!

Day 5: Daddy Day

We all slept in late this morning- until 10 and 10:30. 

I took my dad and Jean back to the library to help them reserve a rental car for their trip back to the airport (out of the same town we flew into- they drove up with my grandma, but didn’t want to have to have her drive them back down).

Ryan and Cole stayed with Joe.  He built them a huge sand pit, and lined it with a trash bag to keep the water in it.  Mimi extended her garden hose all the way down to the beach, so there was a slow but consistent flow of water into the hole.  I don’t think I have ever seen my two little boys happier!

After the library, the three of us ran some errands and picked up some local food in town.  We returned home 3 hours later, to find Joe reading and BOTH boys down and sleeping for their naps.  I guess Dad has the magic touch. 

I had a snack, read, went swimming, and snorkeling.  When the boys woke up, we played in the water until dinner. 

Mimi made pork loin roast with farm fresh green beans (from a garden just up the hill from her), and Jean made roasted potatoes. 

We watched the sunset, and Cole was having trouble going to sleep.  Joe got him to sleep after putting Ryan to bed.  He put both boys down for their naps and bed today- super, super, Dad!

Unfortunately, Cole did not stay sleeping.  He had another bad night.  He woke up around 2, and did not want to sleep.  He was doing the same thing from a few nights before.  He kept waking up my grandma, so I took him to the car again. 

By this time it was 4 am.  I was so tired, I wasn’t going to drive- I was afraid I would be too drowsy- so I just held him in the car, while sitting in the passenger side of the car.  He finally went to sleep and I was dozing.  I thought to myself, “Five more minutes,” in order to make sure he was really in a deep sleep, before I would bring him back into the house.

Then, all of a sudden, the car alarm went off!  I have no idea why or how it went off. The horn was honking, and as quiet as it is on my grandmother’s peninsula, it might as well of been a space shuttle being blasted off.  The noise was deafening, and I know the noise woke up everyone within miles!

Joe came up to the car, and wanted the keys.  I didn’t have them, since I wasn’t planning on driving.  He went back to get them, and finally got that damn alarm to stop.  Of course everyone was awake, and I felt terrible.  Cole seemed very excited, but as soon as we went back into the room, he conked out!

That was about all the excitement I could handle.  I hoped and hoped, that Cole would not have another night where he couldn’t sleep (and he didn’t!). 

Day 6: Shopping

I slept until 9 am, and then Ryan told me when I got up, that his bear (stuffed animal), had had a hard time going to sleep, and he had a rough night with his bear!

Jean and I decided to drive into a town about 20 minutes away to browse the shops and pick up some local jams and jellies.  We took Cole with us, and Ryan stayed back for more fun in the sun with Dad, and Papa Dan.

Cole did well on our shopping outing- we browsed, had lunch at a local grill, and then found the shop with the goodies!  I got wild blueberry jam and my all time favorite- strawberry rhubarb preserves, which were all made locally!

We headed back home to find Ryan still playing in the water.  Cole had reached his limit, so he and I headed in the house for a two hour nap, which we both took.  Ryan was still in the water, (no nap), having a blast.  Cole woke up, and we went in the water as well.

For dinner I made pizza- it was pizza from the deli, which I “doctored” up with some mushrooms, and green peppers.  I made another green salad too. 

Joe gave the boys a bath and then it was bed time.  Cole fell asleep very fast, so I went into Ryan and Joe’s tent to snuggle with Ryan, but he informed me that no girls were allowed- but I stayed anyway.

I finished reading Ravenhill, by Timothy Hillmer, (click to see my review), which was another fantastic read. 

Then Joe and I went into town for dessert and got to talk for a while.  We drove back to the peninsula and stopped to look at the stars.  It is so dark on the peninsula, we could see billions of stars, and we even saw the Milky Way Galaxy.  I also saw two shooting stars.

When we got back both boys were still fast asleep, and we went off to sleep.  It was a very nice and relaxing day!

Day 7: Lake Michigan

We drove today, and ended up at a beach on Lake Michigan.  It was awesome!  The waves were fun, and the water was just right. 

Cole just wanted to run right in- he had no fear what so ever.  We had to really watch him, because he kept trying to run in.  At my grandmother’s the water is very shallow and gradually gets deeper and deeper.  Where we were on the lake though, there was only a few feet where it was shallow, and then it dropped off considerably.

Ryan got used to the bigger waves and played in the water with Papa Dan.  After an hour or so, the boys were getting cold, so we headed back.  My dad and Jean took my grandmother’s car, because we all couldn’t fit in our rental car, and they decided to stay for a while longer.

We drove back and decided to stop at Olive Garden for dinner.  It was nice, and the boys behaved well.  Joe and I got dessert to go!   

This night, about 2 am it started to rain.  It was a complete downpour and the lightening was only about a mile away from us.  The thunder was so loud, it woke me up, but it was so cozy to be tucked into bed, where it was so dark, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, except for when the lightning would flash and light up the entire house. 

The bottom of Ryan and Joe’s tent got soaked but they were on an air mattress, so they were able to “ride out the storm”, without getting their bed wet.

Joe sleeps very deeply and he didn’t wake up with the thunder.  He said he heard Ryan going, “Dad, oh Dad,” and he woke up and saw Ryan standing over him.  He was shaking and was scared.  The thunder was very loud.  So he cuddled up with Ryan, and he said he could feel his heart pounding about 200 beats a minute!  Poor little guy- but he went back to sleep- what a trooper!

Day 8: Another Day Bumming Around 

By now, this is probably getting pretty boring- more swimming, napping, eating, and hanging out.  I don’t think we could have been any more relaxed if we tried.

My dad and Jean told us they were going to spend the night with my dad’s aunt, and then go fishing with her and her husband the next morning. 

Then my grandmother said she was going to spend the night at one of her friend’s house, so we actually ended up having the place to ourselves Sunday night.

We ate a late lunch, so we weren’t really hungry.  I made grilled cheese for the boys and Joe, and I had some left over ravioli from the night before.

We decided to take the boys into town for ice cream.  The one place downtown that we love, was closed so we went to another place that serves soft-serve.  It was ok, but Ryan really liked it for some reason. 

We got back to the house, and Joe bathed the boys, and we put them to bed.  Then we hung out, and we read.  I finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, (click to see my review), by Kim Edwards.

Both the boys slept really well and it was nice to have a quiet evening to ourselves. 

Day 9: Our Last Full Day

We all woke up about 8, and decided to go into town to a wonderful place for breakfast. 

I got cherry-pecan French toast with eggs, and Joe got a Denver omelet.  The boys got eggs and pancakes.  They gave the boys their milk in a kiddie cup, and it had a really think bendy straw, all Cole wanted to do, was take the straw out, and then put it back in again.  He did that for the entire breakfast!

When we got back to the house, my grandmother was home.  We talked for a while and then Joe went in with Cole to take a nap, Ryan played on the beach, and I watched him, and read. 

It was a lot cooler this day, so it was kind of cold to go swimming, but we all got in the water to our waists and I chased Ryan around the water.  We had so much fun- he is still talking about me chasing him.

Then I took a shower, and stared getting us packed up, so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning.  My dad and Jean came back with fresh salmon filets they caught that morning on Lake Michigan!  Guess what we had for dinner?

The boys went to bed, and Jean and my grandma watched a movie.  I was trying to read and finish a book Jean had gotten at the library, but I was really tired.  I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.  My dad was tired too, so we actually went to bed early, and left Joe reading, and Jean and Mimi watching the movie.

Day 10: Home

We got up at 7, to get ready to leave.  We finished packing, ate breakfast, got the boys ready, and were ready to leave for the drive back to the airport at 9:15. 

My dad and Jean were leaving the next day, and I actually started to cry when I said goodbye to them and my grandma.  They were all so helpful, and helped us have a fantastic vacation.  It was just perfect. Even with the few bad nights Cole had, no one complained or made me feel bad. 

They were all great about helping us with Ryan and Cole, and allowed Joe and I to have some much needed time for us, and just catch up on sleep, relax, and unwind. 

I  know we didn’t do our “fair share” of cooking or cleaning, but no one minded, and my dad told me that was why they were staying an extra day, so we could just relax and not have to worry about it.

So, we are so thankful and grateful to my dad, Jean, and Mimi.  Thank you guys, for giving us such a wonderful break and vacation, and being so great and loving to Ryan and Cole.  They had a terrific time as well.

On the way to the airport, Cole threw up- I think he was gagging himself, and of course, as soon as I picked him up, I got it all over my shirt.  So we stopped at a rest area to change, but we still made it into the town an hour early.

We stopped and got some lunch and then dropped off the rental car.  We managed to get all our bags this time, and arrived at the airport an hour before the flight. 

Ryan kept asking when we would be in the clouds again, and was super excited when we finally took off.  Cole fell asleep again, and slept for two hours.  I dozed off and on, and noticed that Ryan was sleeping too.

Joe’s dad came and picked us up from the airport, and then his mom had a delicious meal of hamburgers, sweet corn, cucumbers, green beans, and home grown tomatoes for us.  It was so nice of her to cook for us, and it was just the perfect ending to our vacation. 

The minute we walked in the door, the boys went to their toys, and Cole had a smile on his face like, “Hey, I remember this place.”

Ryan was thrilled to be in his own bed again, and I find it true for myself as well- no matter how much I love vacations, there is something to sleeping in my own bed.  I don’t think anything feels more like home to me, then those first few minutes after I am laying in my bed after being away.  It was a great vacation, but I am happy to be home- back in my own bed.

If you have read this far, thank you, and now for the pictures: (you can click on any of them to see them bigger)

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  1. I’m so glad you guys had a good time! The pictures turned out beautiful. I especially love the pic of the the two boys standing together looking and the water.

  2. Welcome home!

    I’m too emotional…but the end of your vacation made me cry! Sounds like a lovely, lovely trip! All those books and all that sleep sound lovely too!

    your pics are gorgeous! Cole has gotten so big already! Quite the little boy!

    I’m glad you got to get away! You deserve it! 🙂

  3. Your trip sounded awesome – so relaxing and fun! What a great place your grandma has! Hope to see you soon, if not, I’ll see you at the farm for preschool!

  4. Sounds like you had a great time! What a yummy sounding dinner your mom made 🙂 With all the luggage problems lately I’m glad to hear yours was there, but hiding! hehe Have you seen the tags that keep track of your trip details? Here’s a link, at least I hope I can post it for you… Global Bag Tag

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