For our family vacation, we opted this year to keep things low-key and rent a cottage for a week. No need to rely on restaurants, easily accommodating to wily toddler moods and lack of a good night's sleep and teething, (which are our central variables this summer). We also found one in an area of the country we hadn't visited, which satisfies my annual goal to travel somewhere I've never gone before. We set out for the Eastern Townships of Quebec and were welcomed with open arms, clear skies and clear lake water. And a frog:
The girls' favourite part of the vacation was the family of ducks that waddled up the bank and across the lawn, looking for food. We stocked up on oats on a trip into town (being better for ducks, nutritionally, than white bread), and had them, literally, eating out of our hands! Abby named them, Summer engaged them in loud conversations, Robin hogged all the oats to throw and Hailey wanted to swim with them. I identified with the mama duck, who stood back a bit to let her kids gorge themselves and enjoy the strangers, but kept them in line with subtle quacks and nudges.
The town reminded me a lot of Kelowna, (where we stayed on our way home after our wedding), so that was a nice romantic throwback. We found a killer poutine stand proprietor by a nice family who doted on our girls, a blessing for parents with slight anxiety about bringing our kids to restaurants.
I spend all my day with these girls all summer long, but I really enjoyed this vacation together. We stayed up late, cuddled on the couch watching movies during rainy afternoons, ate dessert with every meal, swam out to floating docks only to jump right back in, played hide and seek and ate outside for every meal. Hailey told me quietly she, "loved the cottage very, very much" with a shy smile: her way of telling me how special our vacation was to her. It warmed my heart.
The cottage was luxury: dishwasher, laundry, DVD players, ceiling fans and floor to ceiling windows to watch the sun rise and set each day. My mom came along the first few days, and it was so nice to have her there as a bona fide cottage-going family member, sharing hugs and laughs. I watched old movies with Rich after the girls went to sleep (or, at least, their shared room to giggle into the darkness of night), and with no distractions, it was really nice to just sit and be us.