Our Lake House Vacation and What it Taught Me About Time Management
I can NOT believe that summer is over! It always goes WAY too fast, and this year I have TWO going back to school! I can’t believe it, and because I am in complete denial that my oldest started kindergarten this week(!!!), today’s post will be all about the vacation we took this summer, rather than anything back to school related.
At the beginning of August we went on a family vacation to the Poconos and rented a Lake House! Guys, it was pretty awesome. I didn’t realize until we started planning this trip that we had never done a family vacation with just our little family. EVER! Last year we did a week at the Jersey shore with my sister and brother-in-law, and we have done a few beach camping trips to Assateague Island with my husband’s family, and a week in OBX with friends when Gage was a baby, but we had never done a trip with JUST us. I couldn’t believe it! And since we are already planning next year’s vacation to include 25+ aunts, uncles, and cousins from my side of the family, we relished in every quiet, staring at the lake moment this year.
Life gets so busy, and with a 2 year old and a 5 year old, I find I can sometimes actually keep my sanity more, the busier we are, but don’t get me wrong I love the down time. I love a rainy weekend with no plans, or when there is enough “free time” to actually enjoy it, and that is exactly what this week was. I shared my vacation bucket list on Instagram and my personal Facebook page, and I have to admit, we rocked that bucket list pretty hard.
The house that we rented was on a gorgeous little lake in White Haven, PA. It was in a small community with a pool, and we were one of the only houses that were actually lakefront, so it was so peaceful and quiet. There was a dirt road going all the way around the lake that led to a little beach and picnic area, so we had a lot of fun walking over there and climbing on the jungle gym.
Unfortunately on our second day there (and after we let our kids splash in the water) we found out that the lake had tested positive for E-coli and that we couldn’t actually swim in it. Womp Wommmpppp. So that was a huge disappointment, but we did find another lake that was a short drive away at Hickory Run State Park, that we were able to swim and play in and the kids had a great time.
Even though we couldn’t swim in “our” lake, they did allow catch and release fishing, so my husband and the kids had a good time trying their hand at fishing a few times, which was so sweet to watch. The kids still have quite a bit to learn, as they both kept saying that their fishing rod “wasn’t working,” but it was still fun and made for some adorable pictures.
The only thing that was on my list to venture “out” and do, was a waterpark. I have learned over time that I don’t love amusement parks. I can’t do more that two roller coasters without a pounding headache, but I love love love a waterslide. We have taken our kids to the more kid friendly amusement/water parks closer to us like Sesame Place and Dutch Wonderland, but Camelback’s “Camelbeach” in the Poconos has a full on waterpark for the whole family and we had THE BEST time. Gage was big enough to do a majority of the slides and even little Ellie was able to go on a bunch of the double tube ones with a parent and a puddle-jumper!
The lake and the waterpark were our biggest “adventures” of the week. We also checked out the community pool. Other than that, I wanted to do all of the things that we never take the time for at home, which to an introvert like me is really what vacation is all about, and it was incredible! We worked on puzzles, played a few games, caught a few frogs, read books in the middle of the afternoon, Annnnnddd, the Olympics were on!!! For a family without cable at home, how lucky were we that the olympics were on the week we were away?? And because we are not complete nerds, we may have also fit in some mild day drinking out on the deck, while the kids napped, and I colored (scratch that nerd part).
And um, I hate to brag but, MY HUSBAND COOKED DINNER EVERY NIGHT OF OUR VACATION. If that is not a vacation, I don’t know what is! It was amazing!!! There was a funny post awhile back about how vacation for a mom is just performing all your regular household duties in closer proximity to the beach. Nope, not this mom. I was determined not to fall into that trap, and getting out of the monotony of the daily routine, especially of having to cook dinner, definitely helped (it may have also helped that we lived like slobs all week and enjoyed every minute of it).
This vacation certainly wasn’t all unicorns and glitter, but overall we had a great time, and it made me realize just how busy life gets at home. Even when we have the time, how often do we sit down to do a puzzle? Never. Whether you have a full-time job, or little ones demanding your attention for 22 hours of your day, it’s a lot, every day. I am so grateful that my family was able to take a vacation together, and I really hope that I am able to learn from it and make more time for the quiet quality time at home.
My goal is to work harder at prioritizing my time. To work my butt off when I need to, but to also recognize the pockets of “free time” that we do have in our schedule and actually enjoy them. I have a tendency to waste my free time feeling like I “should be doing something” rather than actually doing something, so I get nothing done and don’t get to enjoy the free time either. It’s a lose/lose situation and I end up feeling like crap.
The start of a new school year feels like the perfect time for some re-structuring, and with my son starting full day kindergarten and my daughter heading to preschool for 5 1/2 hours a week, I feel like this just may be the year that I can pull it off. Whether you have little ones at home or not, anybody can benefit from starting their day with a plan though. Of course your needs may be different from mine, but the 3 main areas that will benefit me the most to have more scheduled are meals, housework (cleaning and renovating) and my blog schedule. If I set a time/day to work on each of those items, maybe I won’t feel like they are all hanging over my head all day needing to get done and then once they are planned/completed I can enjoy my “free time” with my family to do a puzzle, start crafting again, or go on a bike ride with the kids, especially since that quality time is going to be even more important now that they are in school.
Hopefully I’ll be checking back in a little while to let you know how my new schedule has miraculously changed our lives, Bahahaha! Hey it’s worth a shot. All I know is that right now feeling like I have a million things to do all the time and instead of getting anything done, I sit there overwhelmed scrolling through social media. It is not working for me, or my family, so we’ll see. Fingers crossed.
I would love to hear if anybody has any great tips for how to include more structure in their days. Does a schedule actually work, or am I kidding myself? Any other great vacations this year? Are they jam-packed full of activities or do you kick back with an umbrella drink and a good book (until the kids get mysteriously quiet)? Oh, and good luck to all the little kiddies heading back to school!!!