Last weekend I planned a surprise getaway for Mike’s birthday. I wanted something close, something serene … somewhere we could just relax. I found a secluded cabin just an hour and 15 minutes away from Chicago, nestled on 80 private acres of woodland and spring fed ponds. I did all the packing and grocery shopping in advance and even picked up two fishing poles [Mike has always wanted to take Ava fishing]. It is amazing how much stuff we had for just a two night/three day stay [most of it for Ava – kids don’t pack light!]. Mike drove us to our destination, guided by “Matilda” [the name we gave our mobile navigation voice] and was pleasantly surprised as we turned down the long private drive to the cabin.
The surroundings were beautiful – lush spring forest, lily pad laden ponds – ahhhhh nature.
While I sorted things out inside the cabin, Mike busted out the fishing poles and he and Ava dug up some worms and headed to the pond. She caught a baby bluegill on her first cast! She ended up catching a total of two … Mike, zero.
We kicked off our night by making a fire in the firepit and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. I thought Ava would love s’mores, but she said she didn’t like marshmallows “with brown stuff”. She did enjoy waving her marshmallow stick around though!
On Saturday we went exploring [we were only 15 minutes away from the Michigan Harbor Towns on the beachfront] and picked up some local morels and sausages from a farmer’s market. Ava spent lots of time outdoors and especially loved the tree swing out in front of the cabin.
Saturday night, Mike and Ava headed down to one of the ponds with a flashlight and net and brought back a bullfrog and a tree frog. [If Ava spots a gnat or fly, she totally freaks out – but frogs and fish, love at first sight!] She held the treefrog for quite a while and wanted to bring him home with us [um no.].
The next morning, Mike made a stellar skillet breakfast using our fresh morels and some wild onions, scrambled eggs, local bacon, and potatoes. Yum. Then he and Ava headed down to the pond one last time and found a few tadpoles. [Not bringing those home either!] By the time we had to leave, we were just getting into the rhythm of cabin life [isn’t that how it always is on a vacation … just when you start to relax it’s time to go].
I have a feeling this won’t be our last weekend getaway for the spring/summer.
Yes, I admit it. Lately I have been a very bad blogger. I haven’t posted anything in 44 days. Yikes. Shame on me. Now I am going to have to make up for lost time by going on a posting rampage. I’m not even going to make any excuses for my neglect except to say I was sucked into a black hole or a time warp or something … because motherhood can feel like that sometimes. Things we have (or make) time for slowly inch their way down the priority list to make room for bigger and better stuff … like …
Learning to ride a tricycle:
Finally being able to pump the swing:
Climbing a tree:
(With Daddy’s help, of course)
Holding a baby lamb:
And planning a weekend getaway … which we are leaving on today. It is Mike’s birthday weekend [official b-day Monday] and we are whisking him away on a surprise trip so I can’t share any details with you … yet. XO
That is what Ava said when we told her we were going to go outside and play in the snow on Wednesday morning. Totally worth venturing out into the aftermath of the blizzard here in Chicago. Our parking lot was covered in drifts so it was the perfect spot for some snow play without having to dig out the car. We may only have lasted about 15 minutes in the cold, but seeing her have so much fun [as she kept telling us every few seconds] was pretty priceless.
After what has seemed like forever, we are finally all moved into our new place. I still have plenty of boxes left to unpack, artwork to hang, and knick-knacks to arrange, but for me that is the fun part of moving. [Pictures coming soon!] Our loft is located in the South Loop, pretty close to Chinatown. Yesterday we took Ava for her first dim sum [think Chinese brunch].
We brought along the training chopsticks Mike bought her [by Combi from ThinkGeek], which she was actually able to pick up food with [but enjoyed just poking holes in it more]. Her favorite part of the meal was the green tea – she loved holding her little tea cup and sipping warm tea. So mature. :-) XO
The other day I took Ava to the beach. She loves the water and especially the sand. We splashed around, dug holes in the sand, and smiled – a lot!
On our way back to the Jeep, we stopped at the playground so Ava could run around and swing [and hopefully dry off and ditch some of the sand]. When it was time to go, she didn’t want to leave [big surprise] and started to throw quite the tantrum. She did that thing where she arched her back and let her legs go limp when I tried to pick her up, and I dropped one of the bags I was hauling. When I put her down to pick up the tote, she took off running for the slide. I caught her and started walking to the car. She was sobbing and kept trying to say something, but I couldn’t understand. I thought she was having a worse than normal reaction to leaving, but maybe she was just tired. I still couldn’t figure out what it was she was yelling, and then she took a deep breath, looked at me through her teary eyes and said, “shoe, mommy”. I looked down at her feet and saw one of her shoes was missing. It must have fallen off when she went for the slide. As soon as I acknowledged it and headed back to pick it up, the tears stopped and she was all happy-go-lucky again. Baby loves her shoes.