On the road again

As of 9am tomorrow, I am (hopefully) on my fourth trip to New England in as many months.  The car is not yet packed, I have misplaced about half of the VERY IMPORTANT THINGS that MUST COME WITH US, and both children are still wide awake, anticipating the joy that is three weeks at the beach surrounded by adoring aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  Please God, let us make it there safely, and if you are feeling overly generous, please make it stop raining.

I will post a picture of the packed car at some point, as let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.  There is a 50/50 chance that the bag of library books isn’t making it.  At least my mother has agreed that perhaps a library card might be in order, given the fact that C is devoring two to three books a day.  Next on the list to be cut?  Art projects.  Because I am sure that there is somplace in Maine where on can buy art supplies.

What is not exiting the car?  My yarn stash.  Not that I am taking all of it mind you, but last summer I finished two sweaters in two weeks.  This year I am taking along enough yarn for one pair of socks, two hats, one pair of mittens, and one stuffed mermaid.  I am hoping that it is sunny, so I won’t actually run through all of that in three weeks.  If I do, I may just have to make an emergency trip to a LYS in Maine.  Rough, I know.

Now I am off to bed, as I am sure that an eight+ hour drive with two small children requires a solid eight hours of rest.  At least we have the Muppet Show on DVD to keep us entertained…

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I KNEW this blog was good for something

Today I am contemplating packing for our grand tour of the East Coast (contemplating y’all, not actually DOING, that is what 3am Saturday is for, sheesh).  I have done this trip every summer for 25 years or so, minus that one year when I was 19 and for some stupid reason thought painting houses to make money was way more important than sitting on a beach (note to 19-year-old-self, the jeans you spent that money on never, ever fit right.  You should have gone to the beach.).  But yet, every year I get the packing part wrong.

Generally, I end up packing for a trip to southern Florida rather than the breezy New England coast line.  There is the infamous year that I packed ten tank tops, two pair of shorts and three bathing suits.  Not a sweatshirt in the suitcase, which I deeply regretted when the evening temps dipped into the 40’s.  Or the year that I forgot my raincoat and it rained. Every day.  One would think after 25 years I would have this down to a science, but earlier this summer I once again packed for the vacation that wasn’t, so clearly I am a slow learner.

But I fooled myself, you see.  A few years ago, I wrote this.  A packing list.  Complete with information on exactly which pair of sweatpants to bring (too bad I seem to have lost them).  Thank you 2007 self, from the bottom of my 2009 heart.  I am pre-packing my pillows in the back of the car as soon as I post this.

Summer Update

So I think we are exactly halfway through the summer today and and I must admit that despite my earlier panic, it has, in general, been good.  No, the kids STILL don’t know how to swim (my GOD, how much more money am I going to have to THROW at this one???) and the 6am wake ups have been rough, and the cats have NOT been pleased about all the extra company around destroying their precious daytime sleep, but as I told Rebecca yesterday, I think we will be doing the no camp thing again next summer.

C has been reading his way through the library, and A has been doing an admirable job of convincing the librarians that she too can read 300 page chapter books.  On our last trip she very serious stood in front of the 2nd grade reading shelf, carefully studied the back of several books, chose two of them and then walked over to the librarian and asked “Do you think this book is appropriate for me?  I am trying to branch out from unicorns and fairies.”  The book in question?  Was about dragons.  The librarian thought it was a brilliant choice, and then tried to convince me that my daughter, who insists that the word “cat” is “car,” can read.  No, she is just good at looking at the dragon depicted on the cover and determining that the book is probably about something other than unicorns and fairies.

There has been more ice cream this summer than our household has seen since I was pregnant.  There has also been an awful lot of arts and crafts, although very little knitting on my part because the majority of arts and crafts has required a fair amount of parental intervention to prevent the utter destruction of the eating area.  The sibling bickering has increased dramatically as an unfortunate by-product of our constant family togetherness, but as it generally results in two children being sent to their rooms and a few minutes of peace and quite for me, I can’t really complain too much (well, I can, but I won’t do so here for once).

This weekend we leave for our annual pilgrimage up the Eastern Seaboard, although this year it involves a drive north, a drive south, and then a drive back north again.  I am hopeful that the weather is better than it was earlier this summer during what will forever be referred to as the “Raincation” in our house.  By the time we get back there will only be 2 weeks until school starts, and A starts (full-day!) kindergarten.  After all this summer togetherness, I have a sinking feeling that I am going to be stalking the playground at lunchtime to catch glimpses of my children.

Apparently my time here has run out, the arts and crafts closet has been opened for the day at 7:39 am, and there are demands for “real paint” and “real glue.”  Here’s to hoping that the second half of the summer is as tolerable as the first…

A change is a good as a rest, until it isn’t

Ahem.  I seem to have taken off to Maine and come back again without actually MENTIONING that fact on the blog.  Whoops.  On the upside, we made it to Maine and back with only a slight head cold on my part. No trips to the pediatrician before the trip, no phone calls to her during the trip, and no trips to urgent care or the ER while in Maine.  A new record, I am quite sure.

On the downside, my kids didn’t have a CHANCE to catch a bloody thing as it rained.  All the time.  I actually felt so bad for them that I allowed myself to be dragged to the beach with toys, chairs, and towels, in the middle of a rain shower.  Yes indeed, the kids frolicked in the sand while I sat huddled on a sand chair in a rain jacket.  They thought it was brilliant, they had the beach to themselves.  I kept thinking that someone really needed to nominate me for a mommy of the year award.

Apparently, the weather was lovely here all week (lovely being a relative term I suppose, but at least no one was contemplating the woodpile in the backyard and wondering if there was enough there to build an ark).  And while I had to pull off the road THREE TIMES yesterday due to torrential downpours and massive lightning storms in New England, in NJ it was a balmy 78 and sunny.  Then there was the added bonus of actually making it across the Cross Bronx AND the George Washington Bridge at 60 MPH thanks to the holiday weekend.  We all cheered as the “Welcome to NJ sign” flashed passed us on the bridge.

I spent the week chanting Rebecca’s mom’s mantra, “a change is as good as a rest,” and by the end of the week I almost believed it.  Except the kids didn’t make it into bed until 9:30 last night, they were up at 6:10 this morning, and despite everyone’s insistence to the contrary, I am fairly confident that the only way we are seeing the fireworks tonight is through the hazy veil of tears.

Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, until you get home.  And then you realize that you need a vacation to recover from your rest.