Monday, July 2, 2012

Vacation Recuperation

I am coming off of a week long vacation "Up North" (For those of you not from the northern states in the US, "up north" is a colloquial term for any area of a higher latitude that is covered in pine trees and deer.) , followed by a short anniversary trip to San Antonio with the hubby, followed by a week of catching up with housework and trying to survive the sweltering heat. 

It has taken me a while to get back to this blog-o-rama.  Honestly, it just took me this long to find that stinkin' cord that lets me upload pictures from my camera to the computer.  And then summer procrastination rolled in.  So, this post is just a few weeks late.

We spent a week with a menagerie of Ben's family at his parent's house.  At one point, there were 12 children in my parent-in-law's home, with my 10 year old being the oldest of the bunch.  It was a fun, loud, exhausting time.

Let me share a  few highlights of our Up North vacation:

1.  Boating, Fishing and Swimming - This is the trifecta of Up North vacations.  My in-laws have a boat, so that met the first requirement.  Everyone has a fishing rod.  My sweet hubby managed to snag a 7 pound, 32-inch Northern, the prize fish of the trip.  And boy did that thing taste great fresh off the grill.  I'd show a picture of the enormous swimming beast, but the pictures are on my in-laws camera.  I know.  That sounds like the ultimate fishing lie.There was also a small beach close by to fulfill the swimming requirement. 

2.  Mosquitoes - Normally a negative part of the vacation experience, we were able to turn it into an incredible positive through the power of bug zappers.  Not just any bug zappers.  These puppies were shaped like tennis rackets.  The giddy kids waved these through the grass and air creating a chorus of "zzft" noises and beautiful little sparks that lit the night.  Yes, it was a bit redneck-y, but it brought so much joy.  How fortunate for us that this year was heavy with mosquitoes.

Watch out Skeeters, we're ready.

3.  Homemade Deliciousness - Isn't food really the best part of vacation?  This year was a endless parade of wonderful nibbles.  From the pizza pudgie pies cooked in the cast iron camp cookers over a bonfire, to homemade ice cream (hand cranked by several of the kids and adults), grilled ribs, homemade waffles, and too much yumminess to list.

I was able to sample a couple new delicacies, too.  I feasted on rabbit and squirrel.  Now I'm no vegetarian and I am not opposed to trying new things, so I kept an open mind.  Really it wasn't too bad.  I guess it tasted like chicken.  The only time I had a hard time swallowing was when I was told that it was so tender because the animal was so young and small.  I immediately thought of every cute, fluffy bunny I had ever seen.  I didn't eat much after that.  It is never wise to envision the living version of the animal you are eating, especially if they have made an appearance in a Disney animated movie.  Sorry Thumper.

Just finishing a meal of squirrel and rabbit.  And With a BB gun and good aim, you could have some, too.

Outside breakfast after camping out.

I think someone forgot his table manners.

4.  Togetherness - There was no way we weren't going to spend time together as a family. We slept all seven of us in our bedroom.  Sure we didn't sleep much, but no family ever reminisces years later about the good sleep they had on vacation.

5.  Girls Day Out - Ever year when we get together with Ben's family, we have a girl's day out.  This usually involves trips to several thrift stores, antique shops and a nice lunch that isn't interrupted by the needs of several children.  I felt like I hit the second-hand jackpot this year.  I picked up a bunch of great books.  I have a mild obsession with vintage cookbooks, parenting books and advice books.  I also found a ginormous stock pot.  I have been looking for one for a while, but they cost about $75 new.  I found one that had been used probably only once or twice for $10.  I admit, I squealed loudly in the store.  My mother and sister in law thought I was either injured or had lost my wallet or something equally horrendous for me to make such a sound in public.

6.  Road Trip Music - Ben drives nearly all the time.  He claims he gets carsick.  I like to drive, but co-pilot has its perks, too.  For example, I could read magazines for the nearly 3 hour long trip Up North.  The navigator also is in charge of the radio.  I pull out my alternate persona of DJ Jazzy Kristin and listen to some truly uncool (yet child appropriate) music.  I sing loudly and off key.  No, we do not listen to children's music.  We listened to a lot of Beatles, 80's music and Country.  There has to be some perks to being a grown-up and choosing the tunes is one of them.

Sure, there was more we did on vacation, but it tends to blur together from lack of sleep.  We are now all trying to recuperate from the fun.

Helping Grandma fill the bird feeders.

Pit stop at a playground.

Piggy back rides.

Playing in the sand.

Playing with bubbles.

No vacation is really complete without a chance to play in the dirt.

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