This Labor Day weekend, the three of us (Buggy, hubby, and myself) took our first official family trip together. We’ve only all 3 slept in a strange place once before since Buggy came around. A hotel in VA Beach for a family wedding. Which also had some bouts of baby diarrhea. Seriously people, it seems to rule my life.
We stayed in a cabin at the lovely Lake Anna State Park. Seriously Virginia – your state parks rock and your cabins are clean, perfectly modest accommodations, and wildly cheap. Thanks Dad for helping to establish many of the parks we have enjoyed for vacation, during your stint in VA Parks & Rec. Thank you Governors of VA for seeing their value, importance, and beauty and continuing to support them.
Instead of going step by step through the weekend, I’ve broken the trip into categories.
Cabin: A small, 2-bedroom with a conjoined family room/kitchen area. Perfect size for the 3 of us. A lovely grill, turned fire pit, situated outside. Very uncomfortable yet enjoyable rocking chairs on the wrap-around porch. Lots of sticks and rocks around for Buggy to enjoy.
Swimming: Not so much the attraction, for us. A meager beach, with the “sand” just under the shoreline consisting mostly of slippery mud. Ridiculously packed with non-camping, non-cabining visitors. Nothing personal, but the fact that 95% of the beach goers did not speak, nor read, English meant the lifeguard was blowing the whistle and yelling constantly because of people not knowing and not following the swimming rules. We spent about an hour of our trip at the “beach”. Lake Anna is best enjoyed with a boat, far away from crowds of people and mud.
Bike Trails: Can someone say, “bring a map”? We took what we thought was the moderate hiking/biking trail but ended up taking a harder trail, not much meant for bikes, or babies. That led to another long, difficult trail. That led to another long, difficult trail. That finally led to an easier, flatter trail that led to the car. Thank God! 4 miles, 1 hour, and a screaming Buggy later we made it to the car and realized that the trail we had planned on taking was across the street. Whoops! A couple with their dogs, that saw us stop to allow Buggy to stop screaming and walk around for a bit earlier on the trails, met us again at the parking lot. The woman asked us, “how in the world did you make those trails on your bikes?” I couldn’t tell her we almost didn’t because I was out of breath and would pass out if I gave up the oxygen to say so. Definitely got our exercise and fill of scenery. Buggy may have had whiplash from all the roots (not really, but he was not happy).
Sleep: This was the first time Buggy was in a Pack-n-Play. First night, he took a while to fall asleep and was up again and in bed with us at 5:30 am. Though he napped like a champ the next day and slept like a log the second night. Hope for future trips with the PnP. OUR bed on the other hand – awful! The mattress was wrapped in some horrible plastic/rubber – I’m sure to preserve it from the hundreds of guests that sleep on it yearly – NASTY thought. It was like sleeping on a cardboard box on the floor. We tossed and turned hourly. My back has been realigned and not in a good way. But Hubby assures me that it was in no way like this cardboard box…
Food: We wimped out on food. It is definitely make all and bring all at the cabins. We had planned on getting pizza from a local pizzeria one night to save us time and effort. I Googled the place and Google assured me it existed. Alas, it did not. 30 minutes of pointless driving and a horrible occurrence later (see car trip below) we ended up coming back home to eat MORE hot dogs. Our weekend pretty much consisted of hot dogs and other food that wasn’t very tasty. Our faults completely. Next time we’re packing the porterhouse steaks and fancy spices for sure. We did make smores over our grill/fire pit. YUM! I ate my weight in those this weekend. That was the only thing worthwhile that we ate.
Car Trip: We put the new convertible car seat in for this trip. Lake Anna was only about an hour from home but we were going during non-nap time so we decided to try the forward facing to keep Buggy more captivated and less fussy. Trip there, great. Trip to find food the second night – awful. I’m assuming motion sickness set in when I gave him a magazine to play with (to try and distract him from screaming and crying), because curdled milk and half digested grapes covered my child and his brand new car seat. We immediately went back to the cabin and ate another crappy meal. Buggy was delighted. Ride home, just as horrible. I didn’t fully realize that the night before was definitely motion sickness as a foul diarrhea diaper hit before bedtime – stomach thing? I pondered. I made the mistake of handing Buggy a book 10 minutes into the ride home. Breakfast returned with vengeance. 3 full clothing changes, 3 car seat wipe downs, and 3 pukes more – we turned the car seat to rear facing and made it home with no more incidents. Yikes – definitely staying with the old infant car seat till Buggy hits 22 pounds and HAS to have the new one. Hopefully the visit with the doc in 2 weeks will help with insight on how to handle motion sickness in the new seat. My car stinks by the way.
Trip Enjoyment In General: I know it doesn’t sound like a great trip. What with the puking, diarrhea, uncomfortable beds, crappy food, bad swimming, etc. But despite all that, we had a great time. Simply because Buggy had a blast. From the second he woke up to the second he went to bed, Buggy wanted nothing more than to be outside. He helped us find sticks for the fire. He rearranged the rocks in the patio area. He called back to birds, dogs, and neighbors alike. And he let us hear the plethora of words he’s learned that we had yet to stop and really hear. Hubby and I even got a chance to enjoy some quiet time together. Sitting in the dark, roasting marshmallows over the grill, star gazing.
(Seriously, what’s wrong with my picture? There were a ba-jillion stars in the sky! Why are you laughing? Because you can’t believe I thought my cell phone camera rivals the Hubble telescope? Eh, I tried to capture the beauty…)
This weekend was all about family. There were no chores, no errands, no TV, no computers. Just the 3 of us enjoying the 3 of us and having a blast. I can’t wait to do it again – although I would prefer the puking and diarrhea not be a part of the next family vacation.