We’re back from our annual trip to the Great Midwest, and instead of a tremendously boring play-by-play, I’ll just give you the Good, Bad, and Ugly of 10 days in Northern Wisconsin with my family.
The kids were super travelers. Even Ellie, on her first flights, who was cutting her second tooth the entire time. And while I was adamant that I could have taken all three kids by myself (M couldn’t take that much time off from work and didn’t arrive until much later), I’m very glad my mom was there. Solo-ing it would have been foolish.
10 days of extra people to constantly entertain my kids was awesome. My mom got up with them and made breakfast. My stepdad was so excited to have them there, I lost count of how many fun things he had set up for them to do. My teenage cousins showed up and Daniel & Becca completely forgot anyone else was there. And my aunts practically lined up for turns holding Ellie.
The indulgences never ended. Delicious dinners every night. Late bedtimes. Lollipops a-plenty. Bonfires and roasted marshmallows. Always someone willing to go fishing or swimming or do a puzzle.
The kids were really good about water safety. We had a clear rule that they could only go on the dock (much less in a boat or in the water) with a lifejacket on, and there was zero pushback. Only once or twice did they forget and put so much as a foot on the dock without one.
Despite the first few days being a relative heatwave, the weather was largely beautiful, the lake wasn’t too cold, and we spent the majority of every day outside.
By the end, the late bedtimes and hit-or-miss naps got a little out of hand and the big kids got kind of cranky. (Ellie, bless her, took some SERIOUS naps and was always down for the night between 6 and 7.)
We had to get up at 3:45AM for our return trip. It beat the alternative of starting the travel at 5PM and not getting home until midnight, but still. That was ugly.
The lake had a nasty bout of Swimmer’s Itch, a yucky little parasite that sometimes lives in the shallow water and can get under your skin if you’re not careful. This year, it was in much deeper water than normal. And despite taking what we thought were appropriate precautions, Daniel and I got it, bad. The itching was so awful, I literally felt sick to my stomach that first day. Daniel tried to hide under couch cushions and said it made him “crazy and mad.” Thankfully, a bit of benadryl took the edge off, and the itching was mostly gone the next day. The welts however, are only just now fading from my arms, almost two weeks later. We found a zinc-based sunscreen ointment that seemed to provide a barrier, so thankfully we didn’t have to completely abandon the water.
My mom’s dog, a 100+ pound Golden/Newfoundland mix, bit Rebecca. On the face. AGAIN. This would be the third time in two years, and yes, I’m livid. While a mostly friendly dog, he’s unpredictable. We were keeping them separated for much of the trip, and keeping a close eye when they were in the room together. Rebecca’s offense? She’s a completely undeterred dog lover, all shapes and sizes. She went to give him a pat on the head and maybe a little kiss, and he bit her.
I am done with this animal. Believe me, I am a dog lover, too. But since I can’t trust this one, even with reasonable amounts of supervision, I’m done. Some shit is going to hit the fan when I have to tell my mom that we won’t stay at her house for Christmas with the dog there, but I’m not quite ready to have that discussion yet.
It happened on the last day of our trip, which was a miserable way to end it. My mom was very upset and constantly apologetic. M (who had arrived a few days earlier) showed considerable restraint in that he neither yelled at my mom nor kicked (or worse) the dog.
Canine drama aside, it really was a good trip, and I’m glad we went. The kids had a blast, I found it relatively relaxing, and I was glad that plenty of my extended family members got to meet Ellie. And, as with any vacation, I’m glad to be back home.