Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekend Getaway

Our Keys vacation was this past weekend. It was fantastic, mostly. The drive down was a bit long for the kids (The Youngest, aka The Wild Child, had a bad case of the "are-we-there-yets") but I enjoyed the scenery. We got there to a houseful of friends and family- there were 17 of us when everyone finally arrived, consisting of my sister in law and her husband, their kids, his extended family, and my mother and father in law. I haven't spent much time with my sister in law's in laws in the past so it was fun to get to know them a little bit this weekend. I spent time talking to my sister in law's sister in law (wow, that's getting to be a stretch to define the relationships!) about her large garden. I'm so jealous!! I want a large garden and a green thumb to go with it, but alas, I'll have to start with my little 6'x8' "starter garden" in the back yard.

We went out for a snorkeling excursion on Saturday to Looe Key, which isn't another island but rather a reef. The trip out was great. Most of us were in a big flat bottomed boat and we bounced along at a good clip. The kids and my sister in law's husband, whom I will refer to as The Pied Piper, were in a Sea Doo. They were literally running circles around us, much to the delight of the kids. Then we got to the reef and got ready to snorkel. Only... the seas were rough and the boats were rocking all around and oh, nooooo, The Wild Child started feeling ill, then oh, noooo, I started feeling ill too. He upchucked first; I wasn't far behind. Everyone said "get in the water, you'll feel better", but I couldn't look down to get my gear since that made me feel worse! The Wild Child was having issues with his flippers but I couldn't help him. I finally managed to get my gear on and left him to his grandparents while I got in the water. I paddled around for a few minutes and the reef was truly breathtaking, but I didn't feel any better, I was too uncomfortable with the snorkel, I felt very out of my element, DH had abandoned me, and so I got back in the boat. OK, I'm not a water girl. I can be a camper girl, but water? Not so much. Give me dry land any day.

The Wild Child and I weren't the only ones who got sick. The seas were so choppy that even the veteran boaters were getting sick, so my mother in law decided that was it, we were heading back. I have never loved her so much!!! Everyone piled back in the boats and off we went, thank heavens. I spent the next several hours in bed eating salty crunchy bagel chips in an effort to settle my tummy. (I polished off the entire bag, which I NEVER do normally; I'm all about the portion control. But it was lunch. Blech.) While I was languishing, everyone else (except The Eldest, who was languishing in her own bed, and one or two of the others) went out lobster hunting, including The Wild Child. I still can't believe he got back on a boat but he did, and he got in the water that time from what I hear. I didn't even know everyone was gone, but I wouldn't have cared; I just wanted to be left alone to recover.

After I finally started feeling a little better, I got up and made a grocery run with my father in law. We got lost a bit, but I like getting lost in new places. I love exploring and seeing what's down the road a ways. We finally found the store and I picked up a few things I needed to make our dinner then headed back to the rental house. I got started on meal prep and hung out in the kitchen listening to everyone else talking and having a good time. I think that was the best part of the weekend for me- being around a loud, boisterous, fun family group and knowing that my kids were having fun with their cousins and making memories that will last them a lifetime. When dinner was ready The Pied Piper's sister asked me if we minded if they say grace (I guess they were told DH and I aren't particularly religious) and I said no, we would never have a problem with that. We did the big circle with everyone holding hands and grace was said. I thought it was really great, actually. Again, something my kids wouldn't normally do, but important for them to experience. There was a lot of love going around that circle.

As to the food, I finally figured out how I wanted to handle things. I realized we were only talking about four meals, not including breakfast and snacks, so it wasn't a big deal. I planned out four quick and easy main dish recipes and figured we would share in the sides everyone else had planned. I gathered all of the ingredients for each recipe and made meal kits using 2 gallon ziploc bags. The items that wouldn't fit in the bags were labeled- "Saturday dinner" or "Sunday lunch", etc. I made a menu plan that included ingredient lists and cookware lists so I wouldn't forget anything. (But of course I forgot a few things, thus the grocery store run.) It worked beautifully! I made enough of each item to share too, which supplemented the side dishes for everyone else.

I was able to walk while we were there, which is good since I missed a couple of walks before leaving. (I needed the walk time for packing!) We walked around the neighborhood where the rental house was located. It was fun to see how the other half lives for a couple of days! The houses for sale were priced in the millions. Seems kind of high for something that will wash away in the next hurricane, but they were beautiful. Actually, some of them were beautiful; a lot of them were just OK, but priced high due to the all important location, location, location.

All in all, I could have done without the sea sickness, but the rest of the weekend more than made up for it. It was a vacation to remember and I will always be grateful to my sister in law and The Pied Piper for including us.

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