Well, Summer Vacation '09 was not an unmitigated success. It wasn't the vacation from h*ll but it wasn't at all what I planned on or expected.
First of all, it rained for 3 days straight. It seemed as though the minute we left the great state of Minnesota, the heavens poured down. The closer we got to our destination, the harder it rained. The only blessing was that the rain slowed to a light misting when we arrived at the campground - just long enough for us to erect the tent and toss sleeping bags and suitcases into it. Alas, the skies began to fall as soon as we were in the tent and continued bombarding us all night.
I am incredibly thankful that my hubby and son had spent extra time waterproofing the tent last summer. We were nice and dry all night inside the tent, if a little cold. You see, the temperatures dropped in the night - right to the bottom extreme of the temperature rating on all our sleeping bags. In the morning, I found two little girls huddled in the bottom of their sleeping bags. It took several minutes of digging to find them down in the depths of their flannel cocoons. And Hockeyman, being the rough and not-so-ready type, decided he was too tough to bring his sleeping bag and only brought a lightweight blanket along. The only bright side to that brilliant decision is he was up at dawn, starting a fire in the ongoing drizzle and fog of the morning. It took him quite some time to get a decent blaze but at least he was motivated to keep trying, while the rest of us snuggled down in our sleeping bags, praying for some sun and heat. Hockeyman thoroughly regretted his choice to ignore his very wise mom's repeated instructions to bring his sleeping bag. (Teenagers think they know it all - teeheehee - this time Mom was the smart one.)
Because we were only able to set up the sleeping tent, I was unable to cook breakfast in the morning. The screened cooking tent stayed in it's bag because the ground was far too wet and muddy to risk trying to set it up. So, off to town for breakfast. After breakfast, we scouted around the local area for indoor activities.
After a day of eating out, bowling, playing board games in the campground game room, we retreated to our tent for yet another wet and even colder night. This led to another issue that made the trip a little less pleasant than it could have been.
Since Hockeyman didn't listen to his brilliant female parent, we had to improvise the sleeping arrangements a bit. So, Mom & Dad's sleeping bags were zipped together into one big sleeping bag and we invited Peeps to join us. That would allow Hockeyman to have Peeps sleeping bag and hopefully sleep a little more comfortably.
Now, you'd think that inviting the youngest member of the clan to join Mom & Dad in a double sleeping bag wouldn't be that much of an inconvenience. However, Peeps, who is just 48" tall and only weighs 40 or so pounds, is the biggest sleeper on the planet. She grew up with a few insecurity issues as a toddler and would often sneak into Mom & Dad's bed for comfort in the middle of the night. That was when we discovered her remarkable super power. She had this astounding ability to splay out all her limbs, turn sideways and take up 3/4's of a queen-size bed. No matter how many times you would shift her into an appropriate sleeping position, she'd rearrange herself into the most space-consuming positions imaginable and push one or both of us off the bed.
As a result of this amazing display of super-human sleeping size, my hubby has banned Peeps from sleeping between us and now I act as a buffer between Peeps and Hubby. So I spent my remaining nights sleeping in the middle of the double sleeping bag (which kept unzipping everytime someone turned over and exposing my body to the cold, night air), being kicked and slapped by the biggest little sleeper in the world (who also is know to giggle hysterically in her sleep - cute but definitely a sleep-banishing sound) and slipping between the two air mattresses under the sleeping bags (putting a portion of my bum in contact with the cold ground for a good portion of every night).
Alas, it stayed cold, cloudy and damp the rest of our vacation. We did get enough dry times to squeeze in horseback riding, go kart driving, a train trip to an historic logging camp and museum, a petting zoo, miniature golf and some fishing. However, I only cooked 2 meals the whole week, leaving an entire cooler of food in the car to be brought back home and unpacked.
We had a great time laughing and playing board games together, as well as enjoying a fabulous read-aloud book every night. So, while the rain kept this trip from being what we expected, it did bring a lot of togetherness and family memories. (And a few bruises on Mom, courtesy of the worlds biggest little sleeper and a horse named Tex).
And that's what family vacations are really all about . . . right? (Ah, memories - not bruises)