Sep 27, 2008

VAY CAY SHUN!

Life is finally settling back to normal (you can tell by the huge pile of laundry sitting at the bottom of my stairs, waiting to be sorted and moved to the laundry room!), so finally I get to tell you about our vacation two weeks ago! It took me this long due to the week of living without electricity (thanks, Ike!) and a week jam-packed with recovering from same plus babysitting my grandson who was feeling punky with another head and chest cold. Our vacation was FAB U LUSS! To be honest, beforehand I was a little nervous about having Brayden for four solid days, which included two long car trips (his first) to and from the house we rented. Silly me. I will say, in all honesty, that Mr. Brayden Lee was a complete angel baby for the entire time. Not one nano-second of fussing or temper tantrums or get-into's. He was one bundle of joy and laughter. He had no problem sleeping in a strange bed or house, no problem adhering to the rules we set as soon as we got there, no problem on hikes in the woods or going into museums! How can that be? But I digress... Lots of photos to share. On the way to the rental (Lake Logan, OH), Jeff and I agreed we would stop one hour into the trip, to give Brayden a chance to get out, run around, expend some energy, get a drink and a snack (he's not allowed to eat in the car - I'm sorry, but I LIKE a clean car!) and give us a chance to stretch our legs as well. We arrived in the area of Lake Logan about two hours prior to "check in time" at the house, but we'd pre-planned this so we could take Brayden to the county fair and have some fun BEFORE getting to the house to unpack the car and settle into the house. Honestly, we just plain hoped to tire him out before we got to the rental so he'd sleep good that first night. Brayden is going to be one of THOSE kids who loves amusement parks. His first "big ride" was on the ferris wheel with Umpa. By the second revolution of the wheel, Umpa had taught him to put his hands up in the air roller-coaster-style! There were only three rides we could go on with him -- the Ferris Wheel, the Merry-Go-Round and the Tea Cups, so we did all those first because he wasn't interested in going on anything by himself and we certainly didn't push him about it -- he's only two! But soon enough, he was asking to go on the little kid rides ALONE! I was a little hesitant (he's so little!), but the guy doing the ride assured me he would stop the ride of Brayden freaked out, so off he went. I'm watching him go around on this little Scrambler, and what do I see? His little arms going up in the air just like Umpa showed him! It was very hot at the fair, so we grabbed some cold drinks and sandwiches and sat down in a shelter for awhile to get out of the sun. The Golden Child is NOT a Golden Child when it comes to eating and the best he would do is lick the ketchup off a corn dog. I've never seen a child less willing to try one bite of something new... And it was finally time to get to the vacation house. This is a wonderful rental home we've been to before, and most definitely will go to again and again. Honestly, it feels like "home". We spent most of our time outdoors swinging on the porch swing or out on the HUGE deck (where Brayden mastered tricycle riding). I unpacked the food and got dinner cooking, while Jeff took Brayden to the lake for his first beach experience -- unfortunately without the camera. Jeff said it took Brayden all of 30 seconds to plop into the water and go under, and that he loved every minute of "swimming" in the lake with Umpa. Dinner was ready when they returned , then it was time to let Brayden explore the house, set some rules about what he could and could not touch and where he could and could not go on his own, etc. (Kids don't know these things automatically! It always pays to explain things and give the child an opportunity to learn the rules, rather than waiting for them to do something "wrong" and say, "No! Don't do that!".) Then it was time for some hot tubbing (I'd turned the temp down to 96 when we first arrived at the house), and off to bed. The next day we headed to the local tourist information place, which was really fun on it's own. There was a huge waterwheel outside, which Brayden enjoyed, and several gardens to walk through. Then we were off on our first hike! The hike was about 1/2 mile long, with LOTS of steps and winding paths along a beautiful river, down into a canyon-type rock formation to view the area's largest waterfall. Unfortunately, the waterfall wasn't much more than a trickle, but it was still a wonderful spot. Before we headed back UP all those steps, we had a snack of bananas and peanut butter crackers, with bottles of water. Two opportunities came up - the first to teach Brayden about ECHOES (which he tried in my kitchen yesterday without good results), and the next about cleaning up our trash when we went out in the woods. Back to the house by 3pm for a quick nap time (for both Jeff and Brayden), and some time to spend out on the huge deck overlooking the lake. The best part of this deck is that it is totally fenced in with either railings or fence, and it was approximately 18 x 30! Brayden could ride his tricycle to his heart's content, while we sat out and enjoyed some relaxing time and fresh air. One view from the deck As darkness arrived, Jeff started a campfire in the fire pit. Brayden helped find sticks to cook marshmellows, which turned out to be ONE of the few foods he'll eat. LOL Since it was almost bedtime, I had to limit him to three -- I think he would have eaten the entire bag. On Day Three we decided to take Brayden on a train ride - great choice! As with most boys his age, he's quite taken by trains (thanks to Thomas), and was so excited to be riding on a real "big big BIG" train. It was a two hour ride, with a 20 minute stop at a local pioneer village park. After the ride we went into the VERY small and VERY crowded gift shop. I picked out a t-shirt for Brayden and a small plastic wind-up train locomotive. As we were waiting in line for the cash register, he spotted a small Railroad Crossing sign he seemed quite mesmerized by. "Umma - look!" I quietly had the cashier add the sign in as well. When we got to the car, I showed him the shirt (he was as excited as kids get about shirts - not much) and the little locomotive (he loved that he could wind it and watch the gears turn inside), and then brought out the little railroad crossing sign. "Oh, THANK YOU Umma!" I swear. He was so excited. $2.49 can go a long way with a two year old. After the train ride, we saw a small local VFW military museum and decided to go in and investigate. It was a local Civil War Museum and we were the only visitors. When we got in the door, I talked with Brayden for just a minute to lay out the rules -- look, but don't touch; use your inside voice; stay with us; no fingers on the glass cases. I was so proud of him! He walked around and looked at things without touching. He asked questions (2 yr old style -- "what's that?") and listened to the answers. As we were leaving the gentleman in the museum brought over an small American flag and gave it to Brayden and told him how well behaved he was! This little flag is now one of his treasures. Our last afternoon was spent at the house. Jeff and Brayden took a nice walk along the lake (again, without camera), while I sat on the deck with a cup of coffee and a good book. The driveway to the house is VERY steep (honestly, it's scarey steep), which Brayden got a huge kick out of. He loves climbing up and down steep hills! I actually took a movie of his going up and down this hill, but every time Brayden saw me with my camera, he'd stop whatever he was doing and get this big silly grin on his face and say CHEESE! Doesn't make for a good movie! We ordered dinner from a local restaurant that night -- wonderful BBQ Brisket for me, and Pulled Pork for Jeff, with side dishes of baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and cole slaw. Brayden doesn't eat meat of any kind (that he knows about), but did chow down on the macaroni and cheese, tried some baked beans, and ate a corn muffin. After dinner we headed back out on the deck, and Brayden rode his bike. We were all actually quite tired, and no nap that day for Brayden. He asked a few times if Jeff would take him up and down the "steep steep STEEP driveway", and Jeff had said "Maybe in a few minutes." I said, "Brayden, we're all feeling really tired and just need to relax for a little while." He nodded his head and understood and didn't bother Jeff again. He knew HE was tired, and I guess it made sense that Umma and Umpa might be tired too. You actually CAN reason with a two year old. We had to leave by 11am the next morning, and everyone slept in until 9am, so I was scurrying a bit to get everything packed back up. Jeff took Brayden out for another walk along the lake while I packed, then came back and loaded the car while I took Brayden outside to play. By 11am we were ready to hit the road. We made one last stop at the Waterwheel, and headed home. Four days is apparently the perfect length for a vacation with a two year old. He was definitely missing his Mom, and we were definitely all tired and ready to go home. I'm already thinking that May might be a good month to make the next reservations at our home away from home! I think we provided Brayden with some wonderful memories of his first vacation. He still talks about the Waterwheel and the "steep steep STEEP driveway". I don't think we'd have had nearly as much fun or giggles or tugging of the heart strings if we'd taken vacation without him!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful vacation! Great pictures too!