May 31, 2011

A Start to Summer

My poor kiddos. I think it is just awful that I had to put them on that big, yellow bus this morning after spending the last three days giving them a glimpse into how fun this summer is going to be. I'm pretty sure the school year was done before Memorial Day weekend last year. I remember thinking how fantastic it was that school was done and summer could officially start on all levels. None of this taunting and teasing nonsense of having SIX MORE DAYS!!!

Anyway, this past weekend was awesome. Beyond awesome really... it might have just been the best Memorial Day weekend I have ever had. At the very least, it is in my top two. Husband and I once went camping with a handful of other couples when we were dating and it was one of the most fun times we have ever had. So that long ago memory is definitely a contender for the title of My Best Memorial Day Weekend Ever. What was so great about the past three days was that we kind of flew by the seat of out pants, which I rarely do. I am a planner at heart and I did have my plan laid for this holiday weekend but, of course, the weather didn't cooperate and we had to improvise.

We were supposed to spend Saturday camping with friends overnight in our tent until late Sunday morning. I was also going to take the kids to the zoo on Monday since Husband had to work. It was a simple plan that left us lots of wiggle room to get other things done around the house like laundry and yard work on Sunday afternoon. But when we woke up Saturday morning and looked at the weather forecast, all of that went out the window. Memorial Day weekend in northern Indiana is synonymous with miserable, cold rain if you didn't already know. Saturday was that day this past weekend. We rescheduled the campground for Sunday when the forecast looked a little more tolerable and headed out to the movie theater to see Rio. We will forever remember to keep "movie theater outing" in our back pocket of "things to occupy the kids" when Memorial Day weekend weather inevitably sucks.

After the movie, we came home and played Monopoly because when the hell else are we going to have time to play a three hour game except on a day that we were supposed to do something else and couldn't. We had also opened a new video game the night before that had a bunch of family games on it like Life, Clue, and Mouse Trap, so we played a few of those games as well. The kids and I are completely addicted to playing Life and 8yr-old-boy is begging us to get him the *real* board version. I'm also planning on picking up the board version of Clue because the kids like the concept and collecting the clues on the video game, but it just isn't as good as the board version. Family movie/game day concluded with me pitching a tent in the toy room after we got home from church because the kids had really been looking forward to sleeping in a tent and I didn't want them to miss out on it completely because of the rain.

Sunday, we loaded up kids and car and headed for the campground to spend the day with our friends. It was overcast, but warm and we hit the pool as soon as lunch was over. The water was a little chilly, but the kids didn't care and they played and swam for awhile. We went for a golf cart ride through the campground next and decided that the beach looked like something fun for the kids to do so we grabbed buckets and shovels and went back to the beach to let them do their thing. They were having a grand old time digging and rolling and burying when all of a sudden everyone started fleeing the beach like a shark had been spotted in the tiny lake.

We didn't know what was happening. I asked a man not far from us what was going on and he simply said, "Tornado". Umm, what? The sky was clear and not really even overcast anymore. It didn't make sense, but we loaded the kids up and headed back to the campsite to figure out what was going on. The ride back was noticeably cooler, the temperature was dropping and the wind was picking up a bit, but the sky was still clear. Once we were back at the camper, we found out that there had been a touch down 40 miles west of us and we were in the storms path. Thank you once again Memorial Day weekend for being the ambassador of terrible weather.

So we waited. We waited for about 30 minutes at the campsite until the sky turned black and the wind began to whip dead leaves and grass. We spent the next half hour sheltered in a bathhouse with forty other people while the storm dumped a crazy amount of rain and snapped a few tree branches outside. And then the rain and wind were gone and we resumed our previously scheduled camping shenanigans. I drank too much, the kids got filthy (I do not expect to ever be forgiven for the state of that bathroom after I hosed them down), we stayed too late, 4yr-old-boy snored the whole way home, I collapsed into bed once we were home, Husband unloaded kids and car and went to work on not enough sleep the next day. It was a perfect day.

The crazy weather continued and Monday's temperatures soared to 95+ degrees. No way was I going to spend the day sweltering at the zoo. There is only one place to go and bake on a day that hot.... I packed a lunch, grabbed the sand toys, and the kids and I headed to the beach. And so did every other family in the county. It took me 90 minutes, one scary car stall and a resulting service light, to creep the two miles into the state park beach. I have never seen my kids behave so well. Ever. They were hot and antsy and held their stuff together so Mommy could maintain hers. Thank you, babies, for not pushing me over the edge while the stupid dashboard light terrorized me that last mile.

We ate, we played, we basked, we froze our patooties off in the frigid Lake Michigan waters. I took a bazillion photos to document the frolicking and sand writhing that Husband missed. We stayed until dinner time when I knew Husband would be on his way home from work and could come rescue us when my car decided not to start in the parking lot. But it did start and the service light had disappeared, so we drove home happy and content in wet swimsuits with sand between our toes and everywhere else, glowing from all of the sun that we had soaked up (or an entire bottle of greasy sunscreen) with baggies full of sand and rocks that the kids simply had to bring home. It was wonderful.

I just realized that neither of my top two Memorial Day weekends were planned. All of those years ago, when Husband (then Boyfriend) and I went camping, he called me the morning of to see if I wanted to go. It just goes to show that sometimes letting things unfold in there own way can result in some pretty fantastic times and memories. I will never forget that weekend more than a decade ago and I know my kids will remember fun at the beach, the 5 gallon container of cheese balls, and the almost tornado. Raising my kids is what has taught me that sometimes I need to let go and just roll with whatever is going to happen. When you're the mom of three, there's not much else you can do.

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