It's good to know that most likely for the rest of my life, I will never be on vacation alone. That is what comes along with reproduction, the insurance that if you want to be with someone, you can be. It's quite comforting really. Our friends and I take it one step further and think it's tons of fun to accumulate as much of our offspring all together and 'hang out.' Mostly all of our offspring are under the age of 8. We think that this will distract our children, and be great fun for us. But what it really is is, 'huh, what did you say, I can't hear you over the 76 children screaming their heads off! Wait what? Where's your Mommy, go tell her. Stop tattling. I don't care if Ryan only took two bites, you are taking five. Where's Tate? If you don't take time to go potty and you pee your pants, we are going home. No, you are not taking off all of your clothes and putting on a dress up. Where's Tate? I don't know if that is your juice box, who cares, just drink it, you all share the same germs anyway. Shut the gate! Where's Tate? Are you whining, if this isn't fun, we can go home, we can whine at home. There is 4,000 toys to chose from, why are you fighting over the same one? Where's Tate?' All this while attempting to have 'adult conversation.' What gets better is taking it on the road.
So year two, we head up to Shawnee. This year it was only two families since we only had one home to stay in. So there was only 7 kids under 8. Nope, I kid you not. Yeah, that's manageable, and sounds like a vacation, right? 7 kids, 4 adults, two bedroom home. And you say, this is where I make the u-turn on the highway and head home. However, these kids, they must have some good parents, because for the most part, you never would have known they were all jumbled together expected to be nice and play nice, and clear your plates, and go to bed at night, and sleep in in the morning. Oh wait...they all may not have slept in, but they were good. And I say it like I am shocked, because I was. Every night I would think, ok tomorrow is going to be melt down day, and it wasn't. Most especially due to minimal nappage, but they acted like troopers.
But here is the thing about vacation with multiple children. It's the packing. I tell you the van actually looked like I just folded up the house and put it in there. When you have a newborn, you really do take just about everything. Placing it all in the van so it fits with 3 children is another feat, and it is like a puzzle, and I am a control freak sometimes, so I loaded, both times. The makers of vans act like they are so smart. They brag about the comfort it provides for larger families. What about the families things? They give you this little box sized space the size of maybe a cooler and expect you to be ok. Get the turtle for the top...how dorky. Because if you really fill up the seats, that would be 7 people, now where are you going to fit 7 people's things? If we have another child one of these things will be occurring, we will have to rent a u-haul to go away, take an additional car, or promptly admit ourselves to the psych ward at the local hospital due to all the screaming that occurs from the lack of space for legs, arms, etc. I could hardly see the child that sat in the back row of the van. I could just see a head, maybe, if I peeked in at a certain angle.
If I may, I will just offer up the week in pictures, with captions, because when you do go away, some nice people want to see your pictures, and Trista wants to see them too, because her poor children will have no keepsakes of vacations when they were young because their parents didn't take pictures. For all they know they sat in their flooding basement and ate all summer. ;)
The annual pose on the stairs, this is minus 3 of the children. The oldest of the bunch was, 'too cool,' for the stairs and needed to have a better place...coming up, one of the youngest was asleep in his stroller, and can't sit yet, and the second to youngest was screaming her head off being me strapped into a stroller because she wanted to climb the stairs, but is too little.
Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
I don't know, if you have ever seen the movie Toy Story, you know who Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are. They are my favorite characters. They argue incessantly over the most mundane of topics because they are meant to resemble an old married couple. Enter, Gabby and Ethan. These two argued like this the entire week. At the time of this picture Gabby was asking Ethan in nagging tone, 'Why are you eating the green pop, you said you wanted the blue one, if you wanted blue why are you eating that?' And Ethan replied shouting, 'BECAUSE I CHANGED MY MIND!' And Gabby again,'but you wanted BLUE!!!!'
I don't know how these children do it a number of times a week and not jump off the trail in protest, but we make them hike from the home to the golf course while others are finishing golfing to meet them. It is not a long trail, maybe a mile total, but it begins with this steep hill, and usually there is only 2 of us convincing 7 kids that this is the greatest time ever! I bribe them with water and snacks. They can't have them until they reach the end destination with minimal complaining. I am all boot camp like that, don't call child protective services.
E on the hill, cursing his mother.
Then there was this child, who has grown so much in year. She thinks she has grown a lot more then that. So much so that at the age of one, she thinks she is an olympic swimmer and can be in the pool all by herself with swimmies on just like the other kids. This was the theme for her that week. Whatever the big kids did, she was doing too. You couldn't tell her otherwise, and how could you? Look how sweet she is.
Trista and E. I do not think that Trista left the pool the entire time we were down at it, even after readily admitting her kids pee in it. Consider yourself warned!
One day another family of friends came up, with 3 children. So you know, now we have 10 children. But one thing we did not lack was food. And I must mention at this point that Jake ate four thick sliced pork roll sandwiches for lunch one day. I still can't decide if that is gross or amazing.
But they do have some pretty snazzy swimsuits.
E and his BFF who came up to visit for the day.
So I am thinking 2 years into it, that going away on vacation with friends is a good tradition, especially when you find some friends you can live with in close quarters for a week and come out the other end smiling, knowing even more about each other, like who can and cannot do dive rolls. The memories the kids will have will be endless and silly. I hope one day one of them writes a book. I hope that they too cram as many friends as they can into a vacation home because if you look real closely, admidst all that chaos is smiling faces.