Bonus summer weeks

photo-392My oldest doesn’t start school until tomorrow (Sept 8) and the second doesn’t until Sept 10. Then the 3-year-old goes all the way until Sept 16. So while my Facebook feed has been full of back-to-school photos, we’ve been trying to take advantage of some extra summer weeks.

We spent the last week at the Indiana Dunes, which is part of the southern shore of Lake Michigan, about an hour from Chicago. We’d rented a two-house compound, and my parents and little brother were there for part of the time. My mother-in-law came and stayed nearby at her sister’s house (they live on the lake). The “glass house” where I stayed was interesting from an architectural perspective, though a bit strange to actually live in (I had to change in the bathroom!)

photo-393On the positive side, I took several wonderful runs through the trails at the dunes, including one with my sister-in-law, and one with my brother. I tried kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. I took the big kids to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and mostly enjoyed that. We had some good meals, enjoyed sunsets, and drank beers overlooking the lake. My husband and I went out for an 11th anniversary dinner.

photo-394On the negative side, the baby learned to crawl fast, so he had to be watched constantly in the rental house. He is now pulling himself up on everything. He’s also cutting teeth and did not sleep well in strange settings. Here’s an exhausted 6 a.m. selfie of the two of us. The drives out and back were just…long. Even in a minivan equipped with a DVD player.

So that’s vacation with the kids. Much mixed experiences. Though I guess we’re willing to keep at it, because we’re taking another short vacation on the days the kids have off for Rosh Hashanah!

The website is still in flux – lauravanderkam.com seems to be working for most people but not www.lauravanderkam.com. Please bear with me. I hope everything will be back to normal soon.

6 thoughts on “Bonus summer weeks

  1. We are very close to the Indiana Dunes area and visit every summer, usually going into Michigan too for a few days. Shedd is great. Next time you are close to Chicago with kids check out the Museum of Science and Industry. Wonderful place!

  2. those kid-trips (and we only have 2 🙂 ) are tough! we’ve already decided to skip our planned november beach vacay in lieu of a staycation for easier childcare (and i mean really, we live in a beach vacation locale and DON’T take advantage of it most of the time, so it makes sense!!!)

  3. One of the many thinks I love about your blog is your honesty about time with children. I have two little ones, I am working full time, I am doing a phd, and my husband is working every saturday and sunday. But for some reason, the most difficult thing is not to go through all of these activities (as thoses in general reflect my own choices ) but to consider that every second spent with my children should be heaven and to feel so disappointed by myself when it is actually not going so well. What a relief to allow myself thinking that they are good and less good family moments and that this is ok. Each time I come accross one of your positive/negative side balance, I breath deeper. Thank you! (And sorry for my English…)

    1. @Alex- thank you. It’s impossible for it to be all Hallmark-y. My 5-year-old was just howling because he didn’t want his birthday party scheduled on a weekend. He wants his party on the day itself, even though I tried explaining that he’d get to celebrate twice, once with family on the day, once on a weekend with friends (none of his friends has ever hosted a Thursday night birthday!). There was no reasoning. It was just a chance to howl. Over-romanticizing these things just sets ourselves up for disappointment.

      1. Thank you for your reply. I guess I really need to grow in ‘maternal maturity’ and learn to accept frustrating moments as inevitable. (As you might guess, I loved your article about guilt too…) 😉

  4. Is it normal for school to start in September for the kids? Out here it seems like kids are going back earlier and earlier, mostly all in August.

    I felt a tiny twinge of guilt for hoping our Little would take just a little longer to learn to crawl, it was kind of helpful that ze would stay where I put hir for a little longer but nope, ze is into everything: crawling, climbing, attempts at walking so we’re having to chase hir a lot and a lot sooner than I expected. <3

    I empathize with your 5yo a little. My parents always scheduled my birthdays for the weekend so I didn't even know when the actual birthday was until I was about that age. There was a lot of confusion!

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