Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vacation...

Funny how life brings about all kinds of little surprises... One month ago, Mike and I had no plans for this summer vacation. We love our down time with the kids. Mike's schedule allows for him to have extra time with them during the week when they're not at school, which feels so amazing compared to the school year when they miss out on each other because of his weekend schedule. We love just enjoying the back yard, cooking out, and going on little daytrip excursions to some of our favorite New England destinations. We haven't been on a "real" vacation in 9 years. (and let's just say that one goes more into the "learned lessons" category then the fun and relaxation one!)

About a month ago, Mike came home from picking up the kids at school. He said, "Jen wants to know if we want to go away with them the first week of summer vacation."

One of my best friends in the whole world, her husband, and their 3 youngest children (who happen to be our kids' best friends) were all planning on vacationing in The Berkshires. Jen's mother-in-law owns some time shares and wasn't able to get away to enjoy them this time around, so she welcomed them to invite some friends along. Wow. My favorite people, in one of my favorite destinations?

Now, let me tell you... I love these people so much, that I'd have said yes even if we were sleeping in tents. I knew that rain or shine the kids would have a blast together. And truth be told... after the stressful last couple of years, we all needed a vacation together.

To top everything off, my grandaughter (whom I care for during the work week) was  very happy to spend some extra time with her daddy who came home from college the week before our trip. Everything fell into place just lovely. But then.....

OUCH!!! WT? I ended up in the hospital and had to have an emergency procedure done on the common duct which was blocked up with gall stones. :(  Miraculously... And I mean MIRACULOUSLY we were angelically wisped into the care of a surgeon who pulled some strings and got me into the OR in just enough time to get the procedure done, and still allow me to go away. :)  But then...

We were scheduled to leave Monday at 2:00 pm. During the weekend, we noticed Jacob developing spots all over his body. We didn't want to expose our hosts' children or anyone else to anything questionable, so we called the pediatrician. We were hoping to hear "Oh, that's nothing." but instead, the nurse wanted Jake to be seen because it sounded like scarlet fever, which meant accompanying strep throat and very contageous. Great. Well, thankfully... after 23+ years with this pediatrician, and the charm Mike is able to pull out of his hat, they were willing to squeeze us in immediately.  I stayed home while Mike took Jake. I tried to gently break it to the other kids that if Jacob did have scarlet fever, there was no way we could go to a resort, and take the chance of infecting anyone else. But then...

My cell phone rang. It was Mike. The doctors all concurred that it was NOT scarlet fever, or 5ths disease or anything else that would cause any possible harm to anyone. Just "one of those childhood rashes"!!! YAY! So... we finished packing, and OFF WE WENT!!!

We were amazed at the lovely resort and accomodations. Our hosts were beyond generous in sharing this perfect week with us. I don't know what my favorite part was...


Mike making us coffee and breakfast
in the lovely kitchen every morning...

Enjoying meals together out on the balcony...

The totally relaxing bubble baths in the jacuzzi...

The total "child-friendly" atmosphere of the resort
which featured a playground, arcade, movie theater...

mini golf...


 swimming pools...


OR...
The pristine nature trails along the river...


Where the kids were enchanted by these HUGE vines...

... and where we had an encounter with a beautiful Black Bear!!!


umm... I'll stick with the bubble bath, thank you...

Then, of course... there was the abundant quaint New England scenery...


and the historic side trips like Arrowhead Farm, where
Herman Melville wrote "Moby Dick"...

inspired by his visions of Mt. Greylock from his study window...

Right down to the swell folks at the Tire Center in Sturbridge MA
who so kindly and graciously assisted us after our close call on the
Mass Turnpike...


Thanks to our dear friends, we had the BEST VACATION EVER! It was so chuck full of wonderful moments, and thanks to that bear encounter, I'm sure our kids will never... EVER forget our special time in The Berkshires.  I am very thankful we live in Black Bear territory, as they are predominantly gentle and used to human companionship on the trails. As you can imagine, I was immediately terrified. We were three adults and six young children on the trail. My first emotions were an inner panic about protecting the kids. Mike was calm and gently, but firmly directed us to head back, while he posed as bear chow. The bear hardly took notice of us, and continued on it's way across the path and into the woods. The panic melted away into awe and excitement. Hannah was on cloud nine to have had such an experience. Rebekah? She may never go for a walk around the block again, never mind a hike in the woods... LOL! As I was unpacking our bags, I said "Oh, look Bekah... that's the dress you had on when we saw the bear." She replied, "Ya. That needs to be washed. It still has bear fear on it."

I love my family. I love my friends. And I love New England!


I have so much to be thankful for...


 

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