With school starting in just a couple weeks, baby #4 arriving in less than that time, we thought it was a good time to get away as a family. Turn off the TV, the cellphones, the X Box, and just hang out with each other. I got lucky again with Airbnb and found a tiny little cabin by a lake in Vermont, the perfect size for our family of five. It had two bedrooms, a little kitchen/dining/living room, a fire pit out front and a picnic table. Part of a little bungalow colony, the cabin was one of a handful of tiny wooden cabins off a quiet road, with the lake just a short, couple minutes walk away. There was also a pool, a tennis court, a basketball court and a little rec hall, which I totally fell in love with. It had a ping pong table, tons of toys, shelves and shelves of books, stacks of back issues of magazines, a huge stone fireplace, riding toys for the kids, a pool table, foosball, and it was so huge and open the kids could ride skateboards and bikes inside it, taking little laps around a big community table while I lounged on the couches getting recipes from old copies of Better Homes & Gardens. Out on the veranda of the rec hall there was a bubble table set up with dozens of bubble wands of all shapes and sizes and huge bottles full of bubble solution. The kids spent hours there together, blowing bubbles out onto the lawn, chasing them down. We spent our first couple of days on the lake, fishing and swimming and boating (they had a paddle boat, canoes and kayaks all ready to be borrowed). Sean was worried the kids wouldn't catch any fish, then quickly became worried he would be spending his entire vacation de-hooking fish as the kids caught fish after fish, Finn even snagged three fish at once simply by dropping a net into the lake under the dock. Jack even got in on the fish action and caught his very first fish, a teeny sunfish.
One of the days it poured rain, and after our hundredth round of Go Fish (I swear the entire trip wasn't fish themed), we decided to decamp to Shelburne Farms, where the kids spent the afternoon meeting roosters and making matching bracelets out of wool. Besides having a truly amazing, hands on kids area, Shelburne Farms is simply beautiful, even in the pouring rain, and if you go be sure to stop by their Farm Cart and get the roast beef sandwich, it was the best sandwich I've ever tried.
Although I was prepared to have no TV and no computer, I was a little taken aback when I realized I also had no cell service, which I have to admit wasn't the easiest thing for me. Each morning we would go get the newspapers and iced coffees and I would quickly check my email and upload a few photos with the spotty service they had at the gas station. At first it was really frustrating, but by the third day it was pretty great. I realized that anything really pressing could of course wait, and it did, and I know that if I did have service I would have spent way more time checking and answering emails, and worrying about things that didn't need my time, and less time sitting on the dock, watching my kids jump into the calm, clear lake.
Because of the rain we extended our last day so we could hike up the Moosalamoo trail to see Lana Falls and Silver Lake, which was a lake on top of the mountain. I'm usually a pretty decent hiker, but at almost 39 weeks pregnant I was a little skeptical I would make it to the top. I huffed and puffed and waddled my way up there though, and was so glad I did, because the lake was unlike any I had ever seen. Except for a few hikers who we passed on the way up, there was no one up there except for a group of loons which were honking and zipping across the lake making little ripple wakes. It was cool up there, and the kids surprised me by wanting to go in for a swim (our resident nudist, Jack chose to go in sans bathing suit, his preference for most of our trip), and we spent an hour up there, just us, the kids splashing around looking for minnows. It was so nice to be able to just sit there and watch them before all this change happens, new baby, third grade and first grade, the summer ending. With Finn going into third grade and there being a new baby on the way it has made me realize I now have a big kid, and will also have an infant, (and a toddler and a not yet so big kid) at the same time, so different from my previous parenting experiences of all toddler and baby. It's funny to see how my parenting has become different, how I'm starting to look at things with a new perspective and let go of things, and even though the idea of having four kids sometimes overwhelms me during those sleepless moments of uncomfortable pregnancy and heartburn, I'm also so excited to have an even bigger family to do stuff like this with.
This summer I have tried to let my two older kids learn some older kid stuff. Finn and Levy went out in the boat by themselves, I let them bait their own hooks and learn how to get the fish off the hooks. I taught Levy how to use the burner on the stove and she made us pancakes one night all by herself. I'm so used to those two being toddlers together it is hard to see them as being big kids, but it's also fun to teach them how to do this stuff, and fun to watch them do it.
We already have plans to visit again, and I have to say I'm even more in love with Airbnb after this trip. I didn't think I would find another great spot, especially for a family of five, but our cabin was perfect, and at just $85 a night it was a complete steal. We packed all of our food and made meals at the cabin, so all in all it was a super inexpensive trip, and we didn't need to pay for anything extra other than worms for bait. I hope you all have a chance to get away, even if it's just for an afternoon, before the summer is officially over. Even if it's just out in a backyard, take a minute to sit back and drink it in before it's time to pick apples again and pack lunches. xoxo