Monday, November 17, 2014


I was not looking forward to the weekend, especially after the week that I'd had. What I wanted to do was run away from home, not pack up everyone's bags and hole up in the cabin together for the entire weekend. I wanted to get away. AWAY. I didn't want to be around anyone. Instead, I packed everyone's bags, got all the food together, got all the kids snowpants/hats/mittens/gloves/boots/coats together, and drove to the northwoods. It was probably a bad idea.

The week had been filled, and I mean FILLED, with errands, and meetings, and boy scouts, and basketball practices, and choir practice, and tons of homework, and 9 parent teacher conferences at two different schools, and more meetings, and dance class, and haircut appointments (one for the dog and one for me), and Ben's 1st Reconciliation preparation meetings, and Todd gone bow hunting, and me with a sinus cold. There was so much stuff I had to write hourly lists just to make sure I didn't miss a meeting or a pick up or drop off, or my mind. 

By the end of the week I was spent and I did not want to drive my 4 obnoxious children 3 hours to the cabin surrounded by 18 inches of freshly dumped snow. Kids. Snow. Cold. Trapped. Not great. Alas, that was the plan. 

Todd left early on Friday so that he could plow out the driveway before we got there. It was a smart idea seeing as how it took him 3 hours to plow out the driveway with the tractor. I can not imagine the kids waiting for 3 hours in the car, after the 3 hour car ride to get there, as Todd plowed a path to the cabin. 

Still, I was dreading the drive (actually the whole weekend). I normally like driving, but just that morning Tommy and I  had another huge blow out (man, that kid has got to be going through a phase because we have had our fair share of blow outs lately) and it put me in a foul mood the rest of the day. It was also my dad's birthday (he would have been 83) and I was feeling a bit melancholy and sad. Basically, I was in a mood. 

When the kids finally got home from school they sensed my mood.  They tried their best to listen and behave and soon after we got on the road all of the boys feel asleep. Grace was quiet for the boys and it was a peaceful ride for almost 2 hours until we stopped for dinner. The kids continued their good behavior at the restaurant and my mood started to turn around. 

By the time we got back in the car we were happily telling stories about grandpa and, as a tribute to him, listened to Frank Sinatra the rest of the way up north. These same little people that had me at my wit's end all week had managed to turn my nasty mood around. 

We finally arrived at the cabin just as Todd was finishing up the driveway. We dragged all of our stuff inside, turned on the heat, unpacked, got into our jammies, and relaxed for the first time in over a week. And despite my snuffy, phlegmy nose I slept great that night. 

The next morning I awoke to a crackling fire and a hot, steaming cup of coffee. The kids excitedly dragged me to the picture window to show me the fresh snow, and even though I wasn't ready to embrace winter just yet I had to admit it made a beautiful picture.
The kids rushed through breakfast and were begging to go and play out in the snow. Though it wasn't even 8 o'clock yet I bundled them up and sent them outside.
Hours passed and the kids finally came in for a warm up. It was 8 degrees outside and there were plenty of red cheeks and cold fingers to thaw. The snow clothes went into the dryer and the kids sat in front of the fire.

After an early lunch (we forgot to turn the clocks back since last we'd been there and I thought it was 11:30 but actually it was 10:30- which also means I got up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 like I thought-boo) I helped the kids back into their snow clothes and sent them back outside.
When I wasn't outside taking pictures, or handing out drinks of water, or adjusting mittens, or checking up on behavior, I was inside by the fire with a book. I only had a few minutes of peace at a time before another little voice would be calling from the back stairs for more water, or more help, or more shovels and sleds, but it was enough.

As I watched Tommy help his little sister it reminded me that even though he has had quite a few trying moments lately, he really is a great kid.
It reminded me to put aside the craziness and focus on the facts. Through the madness of all 9 parent/teacher conferences we did not have one teacher bring up any problems. Each teacher had nothing but positive things to say about my kids.
Joey, who has really struggled to adjust to the expectations and demands of middle school still managed to pull off all As and Bs on his report card. No small feat considering how challenging his classes are and what is expected of him. And all of his teachers praised his work ethic and his drive while laughing at his goofy personality.

My kids are thriving. They are learning. They are trying their best. And even when they are driving me crazy I need to remind myself just how lucky I am. Even in the difficult days/weeks, even through the tantrums and the sass, at the heart of it I really couldn't ask for more.
Though I was surrounded by freezing temps and mounds of snow I was toasty warm on the inside. Just like the grinch, my grumpy heart had grown three sizes that day.

The kids came in for the final time that afternoon and were treated to hot chocolate and cheese and crackers. We snuggled by the fire, we watched movies, and we played games.
After church on Sunday morning we packed up and drove back home. The ride back was just as peaceful as the ride up, perfectly rounding out our refreshing weekend.

I guess sometimes peace comes when you are least expecting it.


Tabor said...

You should find a quiet cold day and read this post to your family so they know what you juggle and why you run out of patience but not love. You might want to make a list of everything you think you SHOULD do this next month and cross off at least 15% of it!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm glad you got away and found a LITTLE bit of balance. This can be a crazy time of year.

Mom24 said...

It really does, doesn't it? Sorry you're missing your dad. I get it. (((hugs)))

I need a weekend to push the reset button. I'm hoping this coming one will do it because if not, Thanksgiving is going to be a real P-I-T-A.

Bijoux said...

I was really, really hoping this had a happy ending ;)

betty said...

Beautiful pictures of the snow! So glad it turned out to be a great weekend that was filled with lots of great memories! WTG mom and dad on the successful parent teacher conferences! You guys are doing a great job!


Rima said...

It's crazy how busy life is getting now that everyone is older, with all the activities and sports. I'm glad your weekend was worth it! Your photos from Up North always make me wish I had someplace like that to go to!

Hilary said...

When you have kids like yours, that roller coaster rises and dips between crazy and wonderful. I like Tabor's idea. Your kids are all old enough to get it. Hugs to you and your beautiful family.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

It sounds like you all needed to chill (pun!) and be together. LOVE!

Wisconsin Girl said...

Beautiful in so many ways! Sorry to hear about the struggles...those times take so much out of us and leave us feeling so guilty. I'm happy to see your week turned around with a beautiful end to it. Your cabin is such a beautiful and perfect place to escape and create such great family memories!

lime said...

i'm glad it all worked out. the hectic can really take it's toll so i'm glad you got your tank filled back up even if it wasn't the way you expected.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson