Last week we trekked to Lake Chelan to join family and friends in a glorious vacation on the water.
It’s about a three and a half hour drive from our house to our destination so I mentally prepared myself for the drive to take 6-8 hours. Between stops to feed Alice, bathroom breaks for everyone and just an extra stop to get out and stretch our legs it was just about six hours on the dot each way. It was the longest car trip we’ve taken as a family of five so I did plenty of work ahead of time to make the ride manageable. There were special snacks, special activities and somehow we managed all twelve hours in the car with zero movies or video games to make it through. We had the Kindle packed and ready for use but luckily we never got to that point. The kids did great; all things considered. PERHAPS someday I’ll do a post on the highlights.
On the way out we took our first stop in Monroe so I could nurse Alice. The boys went exploring with Joel and found some water to throw rocks into for a while. It was a great first stop.
Because of the wildfires and road closures on Highway 2 we took the provided detour around Leavenworth and just when we were at our peak of boredom, heat exhaustion and hunger hitting we came upon the mecca of rest stops (when you have toddlers with you).
There was a huge grassy lawn for running, little games to play for FREE, a chicken coop to check out, port a potties and a refreshing gift shop for fresh cold beverages.
We were still in our Seattle clothes so we pulled out our car bag and switched the kids to tshirts and shorts and with a bit of a snack we were ready for the final leg of the trip.
Once we made it to Chelan it was smooth sailing. There were a dozen or so adults to share the work of taking care of all the kiddos. I made it a true vacation and didn’t open my laptop once (I had brought it with the goal of blogging in my down time but that didn’t happen) I didn’t even keep my phone on me while we were at the house. I left it in my room and enjoyed three wonderful days of being unplugged. The only downside was I didn’t take a single picture for the entire five days of our vacation. Luckily Joel and Nana got some fun pictures to document our stay.
Alice took a vacation selfie one morning with daddy. #relaxinwiththefam
There were hours and hours of Nana and Papa time. Making new friends and getting to know other friends better.
The rental house was right on Lake Chelan with a dock and some of our friends brought plenty of water toys for sharing. Joel took the boys on paddle board tours out to the floating trampoline. Nana swam with the boys and toured them around on the rowing floats.
One of the highlights of the trip was spending time on a boat. It’s fun to have friends with big toys!
We geared the kids up in life jackets and we were off. Alice kept laughing at everything and I was cracking up watching them all experience boating for the first time.
Alice looked like those guys wearing inflatable sumo suits at a carnival and the boys had a blast checking out all the bells and whistles of the boat.
Another great thing about vacationing with so many people was watching our kids with all the other kids there. There was a 6 week old, 5 month old, Alice, a twenty month old, Graham and Miles and two older girls who enjoyed the freedom of not being the babies. One afternoon Alice had some laughs playing with one of her new buddies. It was sweet to watch.
Us big kids even got away for three hours of wine tasting and left the eight children behind to look after the grandparents.
All the dinners were shared by the group with a different couple in charge each night. Joel and I got to brush off our kitchen skills and cooked breakfast for the group one morning. It’s a good thing the house had two refrigerators because everyone came with their favorite meals and snacks for sharing.
There were “late night” runs to the ice cream shop and star gazing on the deck with beers in our hands. It was so relaxing. Once the kids were passed out for the night.
It was plenty of work too, the gear, the application of sunblock on three wiggly kids, the snacks, the naps, the in and out of wet clothes. But I don’t think I’ll remember those parts. I think I’ll remember the moments of watching the boys enjoying the outdoors.
And even some of the mundane car ride moments were pretty fun too.
Like Graham’s pride in the tent he made when we made tin foil sculptures.
The boys experienced Sonic for the first time. Well, the first time that they actually got to try the food for themselves. They gave their milkshakes a big thumbs up.
And on the loooong ride home we even made the best of a windy situation when we stopped along side the road so I could use the boys’ car potty (uggg) and we took advantage of the stretch break and fed Alice lunch. I’ve seen too many movies, the town felt like zombies were going to come out of the bushes at any moment.
Goodbye Chelan we’ll miss you! Thank you to Nana and Papa for including us in this special vacation and for all the help with the kids.
And thank you to Joel for being my calm sane partner when the kids were driving me nuts. He always knows how to reel them in!