Tory is 3 years, 10 months
Aden is 19 months
Andi and I are both 34 years
Chloe (the dog) is 10 years
... and it's summertime! Our family is waking up at the lake cabin on this day after an extended Fourth of July holiday weekend. Vacation's over, and we're headed home to the Twin Cities.
5:00am: I hear Andi get out of bed, shower, and leave for work in a matter of six minutes. How do guys do that? He kisses me good-bye before he walks out the door and I shout after him to send me a text message when he makes it safely to his office in the Twin Cities. (The kids and I drove separately last week, so that's why we have two cars at the cabin.)
I'm awake, so I lay in bed for a few minutes and listen to nature's soundtrack outside the open bedroom window. A few minutes later, I get up and pour myself a cup of coffee. I slide the patio door open to let Chloe outside and feel the crisp, cool air hit my face. It's the last time I get to see this gorgeous view until Friday, so I linger in this quiet, peaceful moment to soak it all in.
For once, and I feel like this should be noted, everyone slept through the night last night. Wahoo! Tory and Aden are finally sleeping through the night consistently now and for as long as I live, I'll never take for granted how wonderful it is to clock an entire night of sleep in my own bed. It's only taken 3 1/2 years to get here but who's counting, right?
It's just after 5:00am, so I crawl back into bed and blog about our Fourth of July weekend. The sun continues to fill the room. I don't hear anything other than birds chirping and my own personal thoughts running through my head. Some people say exercise is their mental saving grace, but this here -- alone time first-thing in the morning to write -- is mine. It allows me to process my inner thoughts, to wake up slowly, and to feel like I had "my time" if everything else falls apart in the day.
6:00am: Suddenly, I hear Tory talking so I jump out of bed to check if she's awake. Really?! At 6:00am? Come on, girlfriend. Thankfully, it seems like she must've been talking in her sleep because she never emerges from her bedroom. I check the monitor and see Aden tossing around in his crib, but then he covers himself up with his blanket and settles back to sleep. Phew.
6:30am: Hit publish on my Fourth of July blog post, get out of bed and start packing up for home while the kids are still asleep. I pack the kids and I's suitcase, gather up all the dirty laundry and pull out some clean sheets for the house cleaner. A while back, Andi asked me what things I needed to make my life easier and I said a house cleaner. I'd gladly give up all the new clothes in the world, pedicures or fancy dinners on the town for someone to come and clean my house once a month. Or, in this case, the lake cabin. For the months of June, July and August, I hired a cleaner to visit the cabin every two weeks and it's such a treat. The last thing I want to spend my time doing at the lake cabin is cleaning and I really hate subjecting our friends and family to cleaning after they've stayed with us, so this luxury is perfection. As I'm packing, I draft a note to the cleaner and make lists of other things I need to remember.
7:00am: Aden wakes up and I notice he's soaked through his nighttime diaper and pajamas. I clean him up and get him dressed for the day as he shouts "Chlo!" (Chloe) to the dog over and over again. Then, I get Aden set up with some Cheerios and diced mangoes in the high chair while I scramble to finish the rest of the cabin pack-out.
7:30am: I make a bowl of yogurt with granola for myself to eat while I unload the dishwasher. I''m also listening to Aden chanting in the background, "One, two, three, four ... whee!" as he hurls his breakfast food onto the floor. Meanwhile, Tory is still fast asleep and I know exactly what this means -- it'll be a mad dash to get her up and out the door for our drive back to the Twin Cities.
Andi shoots me a text to say he made it safely to his office, and I mentally send him positive vibes for his first day back to work after a long holiday weekend. Always a rough one ... ugh.
7:45am: Now with a little helper underfoot, I unload perishables from the refrigerator, and begin to gather items into one big pile to load into the car. Aden's shouting "Popsicle! Popsicle!" (or more like "pop-hicle") while pointing to the freezer, and nope ... no Popsicles before 8:00am, Buddy. As you can see, summertime's been good to this boy.
Miss Sleepyhead emerges from her lower level bedroom and immediately embraces Aden in a big ol' hug, as she usually does first-thing in the morning.
8:00am: Okay, it's go-time! I quickly load the SUV with suitcases, coolers and dirty laundry, and change Tory into a dress for the day. I buckle the kids into their car seats, turn on their respective iPads, grab the trash and shut off the water and pumps before closing up the cabin. We pull out of the garage at 8:20am and my goal was 8:00am, so that's a true snapshot of a "day in the life" if I've ever seen one. Why is it no matter how early you wake up, it's always a scramble to get out the door?
The kids behave very well during our weekly road trips to / from the cabin. My car travel survival kit includes: an iPad for each kid to watch with a long movie playing (because, there's no way for me to reset a show while I'm driving solo); snacks for Tory (in this case, breakfast to-go); a bottle of milk to fill up Aden's tummy and keep him happy; several pacifiers at my dispersal to hand backwards as needed; and, favorite blankets and lovies for both kids.
8:30am: During the drive, I read a joke to Tory off the back of her yogurt tube that goes something like: "What do you call a cow stuck in a hole? Answer: A hole-y cow!" Then, radio silence from Tory in the backseat. A few minutes later Tory counters, "Mom! How did the cow get through the woods? Answer: A field!" Umm? I choke out some fake laughter for Tory's benefit. Poor Tory wants so badly to tell jokes, but she may be a little young to understand the concept.
During the remainder of our 1 1/2 hour drive, Tory and Aden watch their respective movies (Cinderella for her; Cars for him) and I listen to the news on SiriusXM, flipping between The Today Show and CNN. It's very freeing to be disconnected from current events while we're at the lake cabin, but I always feel like the world went on without me after I return to real life.
10:00am: We pull into the Twin Cities and make a quick stop at home to drop Chloe off before swimming lessons. I made a conscious choice to drive back from the cabin on the morning of swimming, fully knowing our morning would be crazy as a result but it was well worth it for one more night at the lake. During our quick stop at home, Tory tells me she has to use the bathroom so I prod her for the millionth time to HURRY UP! so we can get going to swimming class. Meanwhile, Janie and Jim (Andi's parents) send me a text to say they're coming to watch the kids in swimming. I tell them we'll see them there shortly.
Into swimming class we go ...
I'll admit, swimming days are not my favorite. It's freaking chaos getting the kids dressed in swimming suits, then showered and clothed again after lessons. It doesn't sound like much, but it involves lots of kid wrangling while being soaking wet. Typically, Aden and I swim first while Tory sits on the side of the pool with her iPad and an activity book. Then, Tory swims in her own class and Aden and I watch from the sidelines. Today is different and infinitely easier because Janie and Jim are there to help.
10:30am: Aden and I swim together during his 30-minute lesson. He rocks it, of course; he loves the water.
11:00am: There's a half-hour between lessons so I shower Aden and get us both dried off and dressed again while Tory stays with Janie. Then, I get Tory's suit on and we have a few minutes to play in the waiting area before her class begins.
11:30am: Tory's class begins and she does a really good job during her lesson, too. This class is a stretch for her skill level and I'm proud of the way she gives 100% every time, even when she's scared. Aden is super tired and fussy during Tory's 30-minute lesson, so I spend most of the time pacing and shushing him as I walk along the swimming deck.
Noon: Tory's out of the pool, and I hurry to shower and change her into dry clothing while Janie distracts Aden in the waiting area. As we're walking out the door to leave, Tory begs Grandma and Grandpa to come over to play but Janie declines. Instead, she offers to take Tory to their house to spend the day together. I agree because we don't have anything else scheduled for the rest of the day, so I move Tory's car seat to Janie and Jim's car and we both depart separate ways. Later I'm told Tory convinced Grandma and Grandpa to take her to Panera Bread for macaroni and cheese, and Tory even got to sit in a high chair inside the restaurant. Basically, she was in seventh heaven!
12:30pm: Aden and I cruise through the Jimmy John's drive-thru after swimming to grab a sandwich since I know we don't have any food at home after being gone for six days. It's awfully quiet in the backseat and my suspicions are confirmed when I arrive back home. Aden's fast asleep in his car seat. Sigh.
I capitalize on the free moment and unpack the cabin stuff from the car, then wake Aden up so he can eat lunch. Neither of my kids are very skilled at car-transfers (or maybe I'm not very skilled at car-transfers?), so I know he'd wake up the minute I try to move him anyway.
1:00pm: My entry way is littered with cabin stuff but first - we eat - because I'm famished. I make Aden some frozen chicken fingers and green beans for lunch, and eat my Turkey Tom and chips.
2:00pm: Even though Aden's not sleeping, I take advantage of my alone time and unpack our cabin bags and start on the many loads of laundry awaiting me. Then, I sit down and relax ... if only for a few minutes.
2:30pm: Now Aden's yelling for me from his crib, and it's clear a nap isn't going to happen. I go in and get him and he's happy as ever to see me. Shortly thereafter, we leave for Target to pick up some groceries before Tory arrives home from Grandma's house.
3:00pm: We arrive at Target - ahhhh! Many times, I think I could live full-time at the lake cabin, and then on second thought wonder how I'd survive without trips to Target. Life would go on I'm sure, but it'd be difficult.
Aden and I fill our cart full with meat and produce, chips (because, duh!), paper goods, and trinkety crap from the dollar section. This week's dinners include chopped salads, key west grilled chicken and balsamic pork chops so I make sure to buy all the ingredients needed for those recipes.
4:15pm: I roll out of Target with an increasingly fussy little boy, and hurry to unload the shopping cart before Aden has a full-on meltdown in the parking lot. I debate stopping at Home Goods on the way home, but figure I better get Aden (and our groceries) home. We pull into the garage and I open the back hatch to find a toddler sleeping soundly in his car seat. Bah! An unexpected nap this late in the afternoon is not good for bedtime.
Oh well, what can you do?
5:00pm: I unload the groceries while Aden snoozes in his car seat. He wakes up just as I unload the last bag and is GRUMPY. We snuggle on the three-season porch for a bit to see if it cures his funk. Sadly, it does not. Where is Tory when you need her?!
Once everything's done, I feed Aden dinner in his high chair. He eats most of it, and is rewarded with a handful of grapes. Andi's working late, Tory's eating dinner with Grandma and Grandpa and I'm not very hungry, so I put everything away in the refrigerator for leftovers tomorrow.
6:00pm: Aden's on dinner clean-up tonight. (Kidding!) He helps me sweep up the food on the floor with Tory's toy broom. I wash dishes and throw in another load of cabin laundry downstairs.
6:30pm: Now my happy boy is back, so we snuggle in the living room and read books -- Aden's favorite pastime.
7:00pm: The garage door opening is a welcome sound as I didn't expect Andi to be home until later tonight. "Daddy's home!" I say to Aden and he bee-lines to the door to greet Andi.
7:15pm: Grandma and Grandpa bring Tory home, and there's even more chaos and excitement as Tory greets everyone. "I missed you, Aden!" she says as she gives him a big bear hug. Tory recaps her fun-filled day -- Grandma and Grandpa took her to Panera for lunch, they baked mini banana cream pies, they played at the park and threw sticks into the Mississippi River, and they went out to dinner at a 50's Grill restaurant.
7:30pm: Andi and I talk to his parents for a few minutes while Tory and Aden run laps around the living room. Then, Janie puts on Aden's pajamas and lays him down for bed with a bottle of milk. Andi and I snack on take-out chopped steak tacos he picked up on his way home.
8:00pm: Jim and Janie leave, Andi hops into the shower, and I dress Tory in her pajamas. I promise her one episode of Dora before bedtime, and take a shower myself while she watches it. I still haven't showered after swimming lessons this morning, and my skin wreaks like chlorine.
8:15pm: Andi reemerges after his shower downstairs, and together we crawl in bed with Tory to read three bedtime stories. Tonight she chooses Baby's First Book of Prayers, Teddy Tutu Ballet Star and Fancy Nancy and the Late, Late, Late Night. Afterwards, I carry Tory to her bed and tuck her in for the night. Surprisingly, I don't hear a peep from her afterwards. Bedtime's come a long way in 3 1/2 years!
8:30pm: Andi looks exhausted. He starts reading a book on his Kindle and is asleep minutes later. I'm wide awake, so I start typing up this post in bed and then move to the three-season porch as not to disturb him with light from the lamp and my keyboard typing.
10:15pm: I catch the first part of the news on TV while I continue blogging. I'm still not very tired, but figure I better get to bed. Of course, a few minutes after I lay down I'm sound to sleep.
No wake-ups from the kids on this night either! The next thing I feel is Andi kissing me good-bye the next morning at 5:00am.
Thanks for reading!
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