Andi is 35
Heather is 34
Tory is 4
Aden is 2
Chloe (the dog) is 11
I wake up feeling warm and cozy; a full night's sleep - yes! I always sleep so soundly at the lake cabin. I don't know if it's the quiet surroundings or our comfortable bed that does the trick, but ... ahhhh, I needed the rest. I click the button on my Fitbit to see the time: 5:00am. "I should get up and work out before the kids wake up," I say to myself. On second thought, I quickly drift back to dreamland.
Click the time: 6:00am. Still dark outside. I should get up ... but, I roll over and go back to sleep.
Okay, now I really need to get up! Andi is asleep beside me and the kids are still asleep too. I roll out of bed and pull on the workout clothes I laid out the night before. I fire up PiYO on my computer, a hybrid Pilates / Yoga program I started two weeks ago, and get about six minutes in to the video before I hear Aden crying from his bedroom. I hit pause, go retrieve him and bring him to Andi who's just waking up himself. A minute later, Tory joins the party in our bedroom.
Tory and Aden snuggle into our bed to wake up with a show, and Andi gets them each a breakfast snack. Then, Andi heads outside to get the ice house ready for fishing this morning. The kids and I will meet him on nearby Staples Lake after I've finished my workout and we all get dressed.
I throw on a long-sleeve shirt and jeans, then I get the kids dressed for the day. It doesn't really matter what we look like; ice fishing isn't a beauty sport!
Aden's really fussy this morning, and I notice his cheeks are especially rosy. I hope he's not getting sick. As I'm trying to pull together some toys and activities for the kids to do in the ice house, Aden has a major meltdown. Tory determines he's asking for a pacifier, and tries to help him reach one in the silverware drawer.
"No! Blue one!" Aden demands, tears and boogers running down his face.
"Here's a blue one, Bud" Tory says as she hands him a pacifier.
"NO! BLUE ONE!" Aden screams back.
I intervene and lift Aden up to pick out his own pacifier. He stops crying, cracks a smile and says "Blue one."
"Um, Aden, that's green" Tory says, rolling her eyes toward her brother.
It's like herding cats getting the kids downstairs to the car. I gather up all of our winter gear -- that's three pairs of snow boots, three pairs of regular shoes to wear inside the ice house, three neck warmers, three stocking hats, three winter coats, three pairs of snow pants and three sets of mittens. Phew! I check the pile of stuff twice to make sure I didn't forget anything. We're in the car by 9:15am.
Staples Lake is just a few miles away. We could, of course, fish on our own lake but the ice fishing on Staples is suppose to be dynamite. Well, according to the "bucket crew" (a group of die-hard fishermen we see there every weekend perched on top of overturned 5-gallon buckets).
Half-way down the road, Aden cries for his favorite blanket and I realize we forgot it back at the cabin. So, I turn the car around and we go get it. Life without Aden's favorite blue blanket is not a life I want to be apart of! Back on the road just before 9:30am.
As we're driving to Staples Lake, I realize I'm starving; as in, I'm so hungry I feel sick to my stomach. I need to eat like, whoa. I pull up to the boat landing and spot our big black ice house straight ahead. I unbuckle the kids' seatbelts for safety and drive ahead onto the ice. No matter how many times I do this, I still feel nervous as I listen to the ice crack and groan beneath the weight of my vehicle. I pull up near the ice house and carry the kids to the shack. Inside, Andi's got everything set up for fishing and breakfast underway.
For breakfast, he's made us eggs-in-a-hole (runny yolk eggs inside slices of toast) with sauteed mushrooms and asparagus. Oh, and coffee: a big ol' travel mug filled with piping hot coffee. I scarf down my food so fast I barely taste it. Aden and Tory each pick at the food on their plates. They're obviously a) not hungry, or b) not as impressed as I am with Andi's fancy ice house breakfast.
I clean up the breakfast mess while Andi starts fishing with the kids. Aden holds a "dummy" ice fishing rod - one without a hook or a reel - and seems perfectly happy in doing so. "Reel! Reel!" he shouts without the danger of sticking someone in the eye with a flying hook. "Oh, fishie, where are you?" Give it another year and I think Andi'll have a serious fishing buddy on his hands.
Though, I suppose he's already got one child who delights in fishing with her dad.
Andi keeps fishing with Aden while Tory and I play Candy Land together. I'm truly amazed how well she understands the concept of playing a game now. Just six months ago, she'd cry if it wasn't her turn or if she didn't win; now, we completed the entire game and most importantly, had a great time playing together.
I suggest we go outside and play in the snow for a bit, so we pull on all our winter gear. It proves to be a bad decision as Aden has another meltdown. He cries because he doesn't want to wear gloves on his hands, then cries when his hands get cold without them. Frankly, he cries the entire time we're outside. Kid, you're driving me crazy! I take a few deep breaths and remind myself he doesn't feel very well. That's becoming obvious with every passing hour.
Tory's having fun making snow castles with a plastic Solo cup, and Andi seems to be enjoying himself fishing at a hole nearby.
Not many bites from the fish, though. We decided to pack it up and head back to the cabin. I drive the kids in my vehicle, and Andi cleans up the ice house and pulls it back to the cabin with his truck.
Aden whines on the floor while I unload the car. "Blankie! Blankie!" he cries, and Tory's saying back, "You're sitting on it, Aden." Little buddy is having a rough day.
All the work I did loading up snow gear and activities for the ice house is being replayed in reverse as I unload all the bags, plus the food and dirty dishes from breakfast. I set Aden up with a TV show in my bed so he'll stop crying. Tory's contently playing with toys in the living room.
I start lunch for the kids and I; Andi's still not back from fishing. Sunday lunch is usually a clean-out-the-fridge meal as we bring most groceries back to the Twin Cities with us at the end of a weekend. I scrounge together corn tortillas, black beans, leftover chicken and shredded cheese to make a quesadilla for Tory and I. Aden doesn't eat dairy, so I make him spaghetti with a side of oranges.
Except, I find him fast asleep in the master bedroom. Poor buddy. (An out-of-focus photo, but I didn't dare wake him with the click of more than one shot.)
Tory and I are eating lunch at the table when I notice Chloe throwing up on the carpet in the living room. Life with kids and pets is so glamorous, isn't it?
After we finish eating, I start to pack up for home. This includes packing up the suitcase with our dirty clothes from the weekend, emptying the refrigerator of perishable items, washing and drying dirty dishes and folding clean towels. Andi's back at the cabin now, tinkering with things in the garage. When he finally emerges, I make him a quesadilla for lunch and do a final wipe-down of the kitchen.
I set the suitcase and grocery bag by the stairs, and Andi loads them into my car. We tag-team pulling the blinds, making sure everything that's suppose to be unplugged is unplugged, gathering coats and boots that go home with us ... and triple-checking Tory and Aden's favorite blankets, stuffed animals and pillows are loaded in the car. We never, ever want to forget those! It sounds like a lot to remember, but Andi and I are so used to doing it every weekend I think we could close down the cabin in our sleep.
I buckle the kids into their car seats and say good-bye to Andi. He met the kids and I at the cabin on Saturday afternoon because he had a work event in the Twin Cities on Friday night. We don't typically drive separately, but recently it seems that way due to his various work events. Andi turns off the water pumps and hot water heater at the cabin, and is on the road shortly after us.
The drive is ... not a very pleasant one. Aden fusses for the next two hours in the car. I do my best to re-start his iPad a dozen times and hand back snacks to keep him occupied, but nothing works for long. Usually he'll sleep in the car on Sunday afternoons, but the 30-minute power nap he clocked over lunchtime has thrown his schedule off.
Fortunately, Tory handles the drive nicely. She watches Inside Out on her iPad and only pipes up when she asks for a snack or two.
I suddenly remember the entire upstairs level of our house in the Twin Cities is in shambles. We had new carpet laid in our bedrooms on Friday morning so all the beds need to be re-assembled and furniture moved back to its place. Ugh. My least favorite part of having a cabin is unpacking at home after a weekend. Today this feeling is compounded (x a million) as everything needs to be put away.
It's go-time; let's do this! Andi and I hit turbo-power: he assembles the beds and I assist in holding things when he asks me. I also dust the furniture, vacuum and make the beds with clean sheets and blankets.
New carpet! One of those things that isn't that expensive in the scheme of things, and makes me wonder why we didn't replace it a long time ago.
Now that's done, it's on to unpacking the cabin bags still sitting by the back door. I'm starting to feel like all I've done today is pack and unpack bags! Check the time, and my step count: 8,840. I'll have no problem reaching 10,000 steps today. (I'm seriously obsessed with my Fitbit, can you tell?)
Andi asks me what's the plan for dinner, and my simple response is "I don't know, and I'm not cooking." Sunday night meals are tough to plan because we're usually pulling in from the cabin right at dinnertime. He offers to run to the closest grocery store deli to pick up food. I pour myself a glass of wine; I deserve it.
That makes two bathroom selfies today...
Andi's back with dinner. He picks up crispy chicken fingers, corn, mashed potatoes and fruit for Tory and Aden, rotisserie chicken and a salad for me, and meatloaf and mashed potatoes for himself. Tory proclaims it the best chicken she's ever tasted. So delicious, in fact, she couldn't even finish her favorite mashed potatoes. Two gold stars for you, HyVee deli!
Aden eats corn, and refuses all the rest.
The kids tear around the house playing dress-up while I clean up the kitchen after dinner. Tory's dancing and twirling in the living room in her "beautiful princess dress, high heels and crown" and Aden's behind her dragging his blanket around like Linus from Peanuts. Andi's off taking a shower, I think. After dishes, I get the kids dressed in their pajamas and start to turn the lights down low for bedtime.
Books and bedtime for Aden. I rock him in the rocking chair for a few minutes and put him to sleep. He doesn't protest much; little dude just wasn't himself today. Andi sets up the humidifier in his room to help Aden's congestion. Judging by his barky cough, I'm guessing it's going to be a long night ahead.
Tory and I curl up in our room to read a few books before her bedtime. It's a bit earlier than her normal bedtime around 8:00pm, but she seems tired enough to call it a night.
Andi and I snuggle up and watch a few episodes of Bloodline on Netflix - a new mini-series we started watching this weekend that's pretty good!
I can't remember what time Andi and I fall asleep, but Aden wakes up coughing and crying around 10:00pm. I get him from his room and take him to the living room to sit in the rocking chair for a while. He's having a hard time breathing while laying down. We both fall asleep there until 11:30pm when I carry him back to his crib. He cries, and his voice sounds so hoarse. It pulls at my heartstrings, so I bring him to bed with me in the master bedroom. Andi doesn't love having the kids sleep with us, but I can't leave Aden to cry tonight.
Our night of sleep is a rough one -- Aden lays propped up on my chest when he's not tossing and turning between Andi and I. Not an ideal night of sleep, but I will say at this point in my parenting career I've learned to live with less.