List #251: The Family Vacation

Suitcases are scattered all over our bedroom and laundry is piled high on the beds. Though the boyfriend and I have gone on quite a few trips together in the last year, we are about to head out on our first family adventure in a few days. There will be a beach house, pool, waves, extended family, a budding toddler, a cuddly newborn, an enclosed porch, egrets and ibises, tea in the morning and drinks in the afternoon. 

It's a vacation that I'm greatly looking forward to and one that I feel I've earned with the hectic summer schedule I've been living with since June. Ditto for the boyfriend who is running just as ragged as me. 

Though my family may or may not have gone on a family vacation every summer, it certainly feels that way in my memories. Vacations were weeks that felt endless, filled with surprise and excitement, and really that's all I want for our family vacations too. 

  • I remember a joint-family vacation to a beach town that has long since been forgotten. Wearing swimsuits all day, sharing bedrooms, and loving that my best friend was right by my side. We swam, flew kites, ate boardwalk fries, and were oblivious to any problems that might have been sitting right in front of us.
  • Then were was the family car trip to the 1996 Olympics. The longest vacation my family has ever taken together. We saw Mongolian wrestlers on the train, took a ferry to New Jersey, left the park just as the bomb went off, and were entirely too young to watch Braveheart. It was the best trip we ever took together.
  • In high school there was tagalong-as-a-friend vacation to North Carolina. Those days were filled with all the things that high school kid in the 90s did. Plus long walks on the beach, floral sundresses, and the sound of frogs echoing all around the hot tub as we soaked our too tan bodies at night.
  • Long weeks at the Jersey Shore trying to balance family with being too cool for a family vacation. And spending all of my hard-earned money in the second hand book store.
I can't wait to get on that plane and land where the waves are. Summer should pause long enough for all of us to escape. See you when we return.


List #250: The One with the Fake Gambling

In just 12 days I'll be heading off to the beach. With the boyfriend, the not-so-little baby, and a few extended family members. For bird watching, beach sitting, pool swimming, and hopefully a few drinks together on a rather large porch.

Before we pack up the bags and push a little one through the airport in the umbrella stroller. There is a lot to get through.

Between now and then, our family will see:

  • 14 library programs spread out over just 9 days.
  • Two business trips to neighboring states.
  • More walking practice.
  • A house-warming party.
  • Bathing-suit shopping.
  • An afternoon spent with my parents.
  • Directions to cat/house sitters.
  • A night out with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And oh god, that's all I can remember without looking at my Google calendar. And because of all of this, I have been finding it increasingly hard to restore the balance in my life amid the summer madness. Our house is rather messy, my desk is a disaster, laundry is never finished, and the two adults in this house are nearly always tired.

So it's no wonder that I've been coming home and numbing my brain with endless rounds of fake slots on my cell phone. The colors, the sounds, the repetition, are one of the only things that calm my brain each night. And even though I'm sort of wondering just who in the world plays cell phone slots, I do not wish to stop.  With all of my obsessions, it will go away, I'm sure. 

But between now (when another work day just means a whole lot of me running around, singing, and dancing, and reading) and then (when the days will seem long and the nearest sounds are birds and waves) I'll numb my brain with the only vice that's interesting at the moment. And be thankful that I haven't gotten sucked into another season of Teen Mom Two. Just yet.

So dear readers, how do you manage to restore your sanity after a particularly (extended) stressful period of work?