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We took our first family-of-four vacation (five if you count our pup). All of us, German Shepherd included, squished in the car and we made the four-hour drive to Lake Shasta. 

It was a long ride and there was crying. The boys cried too. 

Ev said, “It’s really far. We should take an airplane.” And I agreed. 

He asked for a snack every five minutes and I starved him out of fear he’d throw up like he always does on a windy road and I don’t feel bad because we arrived at the cabin with a clean car.  

The boys were beyond enthusiastic about a lake cabin, running around with huge, animated grins as they opened every drawer and cupboard. Thank God, it was mostly child-proof. It was nearing bedtime but we all sat on the deck outside at the big wooden table. Jeff and Ev on one side of me and Ethan on the other and we ate Chipolte while over-looking the lake and then we walked to the store for ice cream. Ev rode his tiny skate board.

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After bedtime prayers and snuggles, Jeff and I sat outside in the quiet and watched as the sun set over the lake. 

This. 

This, right here, was worth the whole-long-crying car ride. 

The silence. The twilight. The cool night air. 

The next day we rented a boat and Ev had his first boat driving lesson from our Coastie. Ethan cried the first hour and then fell asleep in my arms. I kissed his chubby pink cheeks and I briefly forgot about the crying. Briefly. Until he woke. FullSizeRender-5 FullSizeRender-10 IMG_3407 FullSizeRender-1

Back at the cabin, Jeff fired up the grill and started cooking our steaks and veggies. After about two minutes, we noticed way too much smoke coming from the BBQ. We opened it and everything was on fire. The fire only got bigger after he turned off the propane. I quickly called the office for a fire extinguisher and we discovered the grill hadn’t been maintained properly and it caused the fire. By the time the fire was out, our dinner was ruined. We found a backup plan and spent the evening on the deck with wine and sunset. 

The cabin provided a quiet we haven’t had lately but by day three we caved and turned on Paw Patrol. I had been up all night and the boys were up way too early. And I don’t even feel guilty. 

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It was about 100 outside but, as warned by the locals, we bundled up to visit the caverns, a national landmark at Lake Shasta. The website, which I didn’t read until after says, “There is an extensive walking component of the tour, and it is not recommended for people suffering from heart conditions, knee or back issues or other medical conditions.” 

They are missing, “or moms that plan on carrying a wiggly one-year old for the tour.”

As there are over 600 stairs I had to trek while Ethan pushed away from me and cried. 

Uphill. 

Both ways. 

I felt like Sacagawea climbing the Rockies. I huffed up the stairs as carrying the whinny child and I made comments to Jeff that I’m pretty sure require some sort of forgiveness. 

Also, I forgot my shoes and had to wear Jeff’s way-too-big running shoes. And I could see people whispering and pointing at my feet. 

By the middle of the tour, I couldn’t have careless about the caverns or all the beauty. It might as well been a pile of dirt. I just wanted to be done and get back to my deck. And we did. 

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The view made me forget my Lewis and Clark Expedition and we ordered a pizza. No cooking or cleaning required. 

It was then I wondered about my parents and the vacations we took when I was little. Was it this much work for them too? Surely, my brother and I were the exception and allowed my parents to relax and unwind. I mean, it was a vacation for my parents too. Right? 

As all good things must come to an end, we loaded the car and started the drive back home. 

Ev asked for snacks and I caved. He threw up and Ethan cried. 

At home, I had to unpack. And I had laundry, but thankfully only a little because I made them wear the same thing every day. Strategies. 

Till next time…

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