Near sunset on Saturday, I snapped the above photo of Jennifer fishing off the dock trying to catch bass with no-MSG/no-nitrate hot dogs.

The kids didn’t care for them either.

What the photo doesn’t communicate is the sound of the portobello and yellow onions, and the lime and rosemary marinated ribs I had sizzling on the patio grill. Or the hum of tiny fans defeated and resigned to simply move hot air around from one space to the other on the deck.


In the three hours leading up to this veil of relaxation, however, there was much tripping and falling and tears and redirecting attention. Babyhood is full of firsts, and this was our first overnight trip away from home or grandma’s with walking toddlers. And one does not appreciate the conveniences of a babyproofed home until one stays in a home that isn’t. Mateo was constantly drawn to the cabinets that had household cleaners and bug killers. At least he was kind enough to bring me the stainless steel spray bottle from who knows which room. Harper was fond of the cabinets with pyrex glassware, and of hanging on and rattling the wrought iron console table. The one with fifteen photo frames and two lamps on it.

It was quickly culminating into An Early Bedtime but from 7:15 to 10:00, Harper woke up screaming no less than six times, be it the unfamiliar shadows, or her brother’s rhythmically thumping his foot to fall asleep, or who knows what. Each time, we had to go in and hold her, and she’d fall asleep and then we’d put her down and then she’d wake up screaming shortly thereafter. The kids and I have colds, so I started to think Ear Infection, but no, I think it was being overtired combined with a new environment. She’s our more sensitive sleeper.

Somewhere between cleaning up the kitchen and showers, Jennifer and I had decided we were headed back home after breakfast the next morning. Our plans had been to stay at our friend’s lakehouse through Sunday afternoon, maybe take a dip in the lake, and generally relax with our children. BUT WHO WERE WE KIDDING?

We were home by 10:30 a.m., less than twenty hours after we had left.