Tag Archives: Staycation

Staycation turned Project-cation

Project-cation just doesn’t have the same ring as Staycation. Tim would be the first to tell you it isn’t nearly as relaxing as Staycation either, but man did we get a lot done.

We left off with a trip to Minnehaha and an indulgent dinner out with Grandma and Grandpa Shannon. The next two days were packed full of projects and some major checking off of the to-do list. I was in project heaven and having Ruth by my side made the progress of the projects go that must faster.

Tim tackled the garage, while I was visiting my Mom on Wednesday morning.  When I came back he had already taken a load of wood to the compost people to be turned into mulch (Reuse-Recycle people!) and had everything else stacked into piles of “find a place for it”, donate to Habit ReStore, get Meg’s permission to throw away and a “I will throw no matter what Meg thinks” pile.

I was shocked at the progress he made considering I didn’t know he was going to tackle the garage. We decided that the best thing to do would be to split up, so Tim continued working on the garage, Ruth and I started staining the million and two spindles on the deck and Jim was in charge of dealing with the boys (if they had an issue) and Elise was napping.

We stopped long enough to go to Michael’s soccer game that night and boy did he love having the extra-large cheering section.

The next day Tim finished up the garage and then started repairing what needed to be repaired on the deck. We finished staining the deck that day too, just in time for Patrick’s soccer game. I think Jim had the most fun watching the soccer game. It may be frustrating to watch but seeing Patrick play soccer is mighty entertaining.

Elise loves going to the soccer games. Sometimes she sits nicely and watches, sometimes she goes and plays with other kids who got dragged along to the games and sometimes Tim does this with her to keep her content.

 To Ruth, Thank you for all your help. We couldn’t have gotten half of the projects we started and completed done with out your help!

More pics of the finished deck soon.

note: Elise’s birthday post is ready to go up. I just need to get some good recent photos of her so stay tuned. An Elise photo shoot is scheduled for this weekend.

Staycation Week 2 Begins with a trip to the park

I am desperately trying to play catch up. Bare with me. If you missed out on the first week of Staycation you can read about it here and here and here and here and here.

After Elise’s Birthday it was Sunday. Is it just me or do the days of the week just not matter when you are on vacation? My folks were in town for the afternoon so Elise and I opened up gifts and we all went to eat. They headed on their way shortly after supper which gave me 24 hours to prepare for the next wave of guests.

Tim’s parents, or as the kids call them; Grandma and Grandpa Shannon, came into town Monday night and stayed through Friday morning.

The first full day they were here Tim and I used them as an excuse (got to show your guests a good time!) to give Minnehaha Falls another go after my failed birthday picnic.

It was so much fun. I can’t believe we haven’t explored this gem before. We have been to the park twice for corporate picnics but never ventured down the hiking/walking paths until that day with Grandpa and Grandma Shannon.

The kids had a blast exploring the paths, throwing rocks in the water (still a favorite activity of my kiddos), watching the waterfall, talking about how cool it would be if it was a lava fall and how they could make lava falls in Minecraft and just enjoying exploring something new.




Minnehaha Falls will definitely become a regular on our list of parks, and now that we know what to expect, I will make sure to dress the kids in swim clothes and bring some water shoes to change into.

It didn’t take long for Elise to forge a bond with Grandma Shannon. They became quite inseparable over the 5 days they were in town.

Patrick of course was the first one to break away from the group and, like a salmon, he started heading up-stream where all the action was; i.e. kids building a rock dam.

Michael didn’t venture as far, but he still had fun wading in the water and figuring out which way the current would go while the other boys placed rock after rock on the “dam”

Photography side note. I learned that wadding into a heavy current and standing unevenly on sharp rocks to get a good shot makes it hard to focus on the intended subject. Man, I wish Michael was in focus here.

and here

I think the adults appreciated the cool water after the hike just as much as the kids did.

At the top of the hill we hiked was a splash pad. Luckily, there was still a swim suit bottom for Elise in the bottom of the stroller from when Beth watched the kids the weekend before. Elise was concerned with not wearing the right clothes for the situation, but after a few minutes she lightened up, made a friend and had fun. This shot was taken before she got over wearing a wet T.

The boys were not bothered by the lack of swim gear the slightest bit.

We headed home after the splash pad made a quick change into dry clothes, then took Tim’s folks out to eat for a belated Anniversary dinner.  It was a long day for everyone but it was a fun one. I know that the kids will have memories from this day for years to come.

More photos here

Favorite Anniversary

The surprise that I mentioned yesterday, that Beth and I had been scheming about for over a month, was that she offered to take the kids for the weekend – at her house – in Duluth!

The plan was that I would convince Tim that it would be fun for our family to drive up to Duluth and spend the night at Beth’s and then spend the next day hanging out with her on the shores of Lake Superior. He wasn’t excited but because he loves me and because he knows the kids always have a blast he said enthusiastically, “Sure. We can go.” Except it wasn’t enthusiastic. It was more begrudgingly and with a bit of a sulky pout.

The plan was going smoothly. He had no idea and then we rented a pressure washer the afternoon before we were suppose to leave thinking it wouldn’t take more than a few hours and we would be able to leave at noon the next day (Friday) and head to Duluth for the weekend as a family.

Well like every DIY project things didn’t go as expected and at 11am Tim was still spraying and I was getting angry. I had this big weekend planned and he was talking about returning the sprayer and then spending the money to rent it again so we could leave for Duluth as planned. He didn’t know why I was mad. So he took it personally and then I got even more frustrated. I was packing up the kids and the plan was I would pack a suitcase for Tim and I and when I made him pull over at a gas station for a pee break, Beth would be there. We would yell SURPRISE and then Tim and I would switch cars with Beth so she had a van full of kids and we had a car to ourselves with a packed bag. We could go to a nearby resort or we could head home and enjoy having the house to ourself.

Because we were both mad, and because I didn’t want to have to rent the sprayer again when in actuality had hours of spray time if I just drove the kids myself, I spilled the beans. He was shocked and so happy and loved the surprise. He kept asking, “Really?!” It was fun. Tim isn’t a huge fan of surprises so it was great that this one was so well received. As I predicted Tim didn’t want to go to a resort, he wanted to stay home and enjoy the empty house.

I switched my van full of kids for Beth little red car and sang at the top of my lungs to music I liked the whole way home.

Tim was just finishing up the deck when I got home. It worked out perfectly.

We spent that Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday morning enjoying being husband and wife while taking a break from parenthood.

That Friday night while drinking happy hour drinks at Tavern Grill we realized that this was the first kid free weekend we have had that didn’t involve another commitment. Sure we went to 4 AGMs with out the kids but that is a weekend of meetings for Tim and then large social activities with Tim’s co-workers. Fun but not a vacation. The only other time we can remember being without the kids was at my friends Jess’s wedding when I was 7 months pregnant with Patrick. Another great time but not a weekend just for us.

The weekend was much-needed and more appreciated than Beth will ever know.


Staycation Pitfalls

Here is how we spent week one of

I have talked about all the great things about a Staycation but to be honest there are some serious pitfalls.

One: When you Staycation you are not at a hotel with housekeepers that make your bed every morning and you are not eating out every meal so you still have to shop for food, prepare the food and clean up after the food.

Two: When Staycationing I like to tackle a few house projects since I have Tim around 24/7. I love being able to check a few things off my list. Tim does not, but he loves me so he helps out anyway. It is a great feeling to tackle some of the bigger projects that take time and extra hands but in doing so we are sacrificing time that could be spent on Staycation Adventures or just sitting around relaxing.

We cleaned out under the deck and  power washed it,  we did major yard work, cleaned house and I started a furniture refinishing project.

Three: We are still at home so we need stay on top of all our regular appointments. The first week of Staycation had a pretty full schedule. We took Elise to the Dentist, Patrick went to Kindergarten Readiness M-F 9-12, swim lessons for all three kids and soccer for the boys.



Those three pitfalls really cut into play and relaxation time. And our first week of Staycation was packed full of all three of those pitfalls. There were a few random trips to the park and we ate out a couple of lunches but that was it on the Staycation front.

In the middle of the week Tim and I celebrated 8 years of marriage by cooking a nice meal together, making our favorite dessert of apples, brie and jam baked into a pastry and watched a movie together cuddled up on the couch. If you are looking for a great date night movie that everyone will love check out Salmon Fishing in Yemen.

It was a great anniversary but Tim thought that was all we were planning on doing. He had no idea that Beth and I had been scheming for over a month to help fill Tim and my wildest Staycation dreams. More on that later.

All photos on this post are from my Instagram feed.