do you get that fear, just before leaving for a well-anticipated vacation, that it’s not going to be what you hoped? that the weather will disappoint, the kids will bicker too much, the location will be a bust?
i’m sure i’m not the only one. and as we packed up to leave for our long weekend at the house in the woods i told jeremy how scared i was that this trip wasn’t going to be the relaxing, family-building excursion i had built up in my head.
boy was i wrong.
it was everything we hoped.
sure, the kids fought some. but not too much. and the dishwasher on the house broke and leaked all over the kitchen floor, but whatever. and harrison had four ticks on him, but we found them all.
the plus column just kept racking up more and more. so the minuses didn’t bother us quite so much.
the kids woke up every morning and headed outside. they spent the days exploring the stream—mostly in their underwear. that’s how secluded it was. their inner jungle babies awoke, and for four days it was the epitome of every childhood fantasy and children’s book ever written.
the house is set all by itself back in the woods. it was the cabin i had dreamed of finding—not a house in a Lakeside Community (rec center! pool! neighbors on both sides!) of which there are many in the pocono mountain area. this was steps from water—and ages from everyone else.
you know it’s gonna be good when this is your driveway.
no hipster-decor faux deer head here. the real stuffed and furry deal hanging in our little cabin.
you park on one side of the stream then cross a footbridge to the other bank where the house is. no electronics was the rule—the ipods/pads/tablets/tvs all were banned, and even any cell phone usage was relegated to the far end of the footbridge—the only place you could really pick up much of a signal.
the stream itself was perfection. little “rapids” right under the bridge were like a constant song. the large calm area in front of us ranged from ankle deep to about 2’…just right for exploring with no fear.
they canoed and laughed and skipped rocks and laughed and fished and laughed.
by the end of the day we were hungry and tired—but the good kind of hungry and tired that comes from long days in the sunshine and fresh air. we hit the food store our first day, list in hand, and overpaid for 4 days worth of meals. gotta love little grocery stores in little towns. half pound of butter? that’ll be $5 thankyouverymuch. whatever.
i’m pretty sure she spent the better part of all four days like this—tossing rocks into the water.
we walked out the door and hiked. left or right—didn’t matter. the scenery was gorgeous in either direction. we were having An Adventure. an adventure in forest that almost looked like it was created by walt disney.
we did breakfast in jammies, lunch in panties, dinner in sweats out by the stream. roasting marshmallows, playing game after game of movie charades and 20 questions that had us all laughing hard.
dinner cooked over an open fire, s’mores until we were ready to burst, rock skipping contests until your arms were sore and your belly hurt from laughing.
i’m learning how much i’m enjoying older children—the kind that you can have a conversation with, and play games with—beyond candy land and memory.
elliot is not a fan of the group photo.
we learned elliot is a born boater. no fear, she sat still and content on the little canoe. “ma boat, mommy! ma boat!”
we learned guinevere has lots of her mother’s and opa’s genetics—and can spent hoouuuurrrrrs reading.
we learned ava is perfectly content to strip down to nothing and be free in the forest. “panties ON!” became our war cry. you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere, right?
we learned gigi…well, she’s gigi. and there’s no learning gigi because she’s constantly surprising you. did you pee your pants? she asked jeremy as they played, because i heard something squirting.
he is clearly not afraid of dead crawdads
the very first day he was the only one to venture to what later became known as Tick Island. it rightly became a no-man’s-land for the rest of the weekend.
the smaller island in our stream was christened Hava Island, claimed by harrison and ava—replete with leaf and stick flag planted proudly.
Hava Island. not much to explore.
i can add other things here, pedantic thoughts like how the weather was perfect and there were virtually no bugs (the benefits of going in early may). or i can be more poetic and say how i couldn’t get enough of the sound of the twigs and pine needles crackling under my feet as i walked, and how the moss on the rocks was like a springy cushion we couldn’t get enough of poking.
but i’m sure you can fill in the blanks. just know we were sad—so, so sad—to leave. but our weekend in the woods did it’s job, and we returned home reinvigorated.
they showed me how sad they were to be leaving. elliot just wanted to comfort their sad faces.
reinvigorated, and full of memories and bumps and scraped up knees.
a more perfect start to summer i don’t think we’ll ever have.