Monday, 29 July 2013

July's Epic Family Road Trip

My mother-in-law's lovely front porch - Ontario

Late Friday afternoon, the four of us returned from a crazy 2-week road trip through 4 Canadian provinces and 5 US states.  Uncharacteristically, before we had been home even half an hour, I had the van unloaded and even vacuumed.  I was afraid that if I sat down at all, I'd never do it.

The actual unpacking has taken longer, but I'm nearly done.  All that remains is putting away the clean laundry, taking the suitcases to the basement, and tidying up a few odds and ends.

Before we left, I spent precious time making sure that house was relatively clean.  I'm so glad I did!  It was so nice to walk into peace rather than chaos.

South of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  See, it's not ALL flat!
Trip highlights:

  • Walking around Chicago.  My husband is a die-hard Blackhawks fan.  We made the same trip (To Ontario via Chicago) 10 years ago, but it was much more fun with the kids.  They were surprisingly enthusiastic about all that walking (running, splashing, etc).  Me: I was fine during the day, but my legs hurt for a week!  I wore the wrong shoes for trekking through the city.
  • Driving through Ontario's country roads.  I love all the old houses, prim farmyards, roadside free furniture (I didn't actually take any home), and dilapidated barns.
  • Time with family.  The kids had so much fun with Nanny (who gave them candy before lunch time and let them watch cartoons every morning), Poppa (who taught them how to fish...the kids caught 5 fish between them.  A couple with no help at all.), Uncle Al (who initiated a pillow fight in his living room, introduced them to two cats, a dog, and a hedgehog, and played lego), Grand Nan (who blew bubbles for them to chase, and let them feed a stray cat), Aunt Chrissy and Uncle Malcolm (who let them overfeed the fish in their pond, and search for fossils in the garden). And everyone else who made the trip wonderful.  I truly enjoy chatting with my mother-in-law over multiple cups of coffee.  
  • The Vinyl Cafe Podcasts
  • Free WiFi, free breakfast, and comfy beds at most hotels (do not go to the Motel 6 in Fargo, but definitely do check out the Clubhouse Inn in Chicago)
  • Date night in Brockville, Ontario.  We left the kids with their grandparents at their lakeside camper and then went out for dinner.  Midway through our meal, the wind picks up, and the manager comes in to tell us there is a tornado warning, and where to go if we see anything suspicious out the windows.  Once we saw the wind knock over a tree, I started to worry about the kids.  Everyone was fine, but it made for a memorable date!  When we left the restraunt (after the wind had died down), we had a hard time finding our way around the trees lying on the roads.
  • Mini-date in Merrickville, Ontario.  My husband let me go into every single shop I wanted to, buy whatever I wanted, eat poutine for lunch, and then we went for a drive to Burrits Rapids, a tiny and picturesque little town full of quaint old houses. He even stopped to let me take pictures.  It was such a nice date.
  • The first few days we were in Ontario where ridiculously humid and hot.  But we got some fabulous thunderstorms out of it.  I loved it!

Back at home:

  • My little maple tree grew a foot in height!  I should probably move it before it gets any bigger.  It's only 2-feet from the garage.
  • Our grass is nearly half clover, and the garden full of weeds.  My son yelled out the window to his daddy, "Don't mow-lawn the flowers!"
  • I must say it was so nice to walk in to a clean house!
  • I've decided that it is time to get serious about writing.  So I'm thinking about the future, and how to make sitting down to work easy for me, and what kind of schedule we should have once school starts.  And how to be Happier at Home. (This book is due back at the library today and I can't renew it due to holds...but it's not going back 'til I finish reading it!)
  • I'm totally looking forward to buying school supplies for my daughter.  I can't believe she's in grade 1!

Family portrait at the Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois.
So, how are you spending your summer?  Any big trips?  What is your summer highlight so far?

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