Parent's Vacation 2013

We love the boys to death but sometimes you just need some time to yourself. They can do a lot more with us now than they could in the past but there are still some things that are easier to do without the kiddos around. That’s why we took this week off but decided to send the boys to day care every day. We had a huge list of things that we wanted to get done around the house and we just wanted to relax a bit too. The ability to make some progress and have some relaxation not only refreshes us but makes us better parents too.

The Weekend

IMG_2514Vacation started on Saturday and boy was it a busy day. We went to the Dover Children’s Festival in the morning with Rachel, Josh, and Heidi. We played at Henry Law Park for a bit and then returned home for naps. On the way to the car the boys got an up-close look at a couple of the Dover Mounted Police horses which was nothing short of thrilling for them. After nap was over we met up with the Roberges once again to head to York Beach. We went after 4 PM and arrived just in time for the morning crowds to leave and the weather to cool off just a bit. The boys had a ton of fun in the sand with Heidi.

After about an hour and a half of sand and sun we headed into Portsmouth for dinner. We couldn’t find parking in the down town area and ended up at the Olive Garden instead. We actually had quite a nice meal with all of the kids, even after Adam peed on me through his swim diaper and had to have family changing time in the car. Not only was it the first time that the boys had been to the Olive Garden, it was also the first time we had dinner until after 8. At the end of the meal the boys even helped the waitstaff vacuum the floor. It was 9 PM by the time we got home, got settled, and put the boys down for bed. It was a busy but very successful, fun, and fulfilling day. We’re hoping to have more of those this summer.

Sunday was supposed to be our more mundane weekend day where we did boring things like cleaned the house and did the grocery shopping. We did start to clean up the house a bit but we also spent some time outside in the boys’ new pool. It’s an inflatable toddler pool with a palm tree water fountain in the middle. The boys had a blast playing in it while we sat in the shade and watched. It even has a little slide that Zach giggled on as he slid down. We gave them some water toys and some cups to play with – the cups were of course the most popular.

We posted some videos of the boys’ pool excursions on Facebook which garnered many likes and comments that turned into an impromptu pool party and grill night. We invited the Roberges and the Chens over for the afternoon and had a really fun time. Heidi and the boys played in the pool, splashing, jumping, and sliding all over the place while the adults grilled hamburgers, chicken, and steak. We headed inside just as the clouds started to darken and avoided a heavy thunder-storm.

It was a little chaotic with the dogs, the kids, and all of the people around but it was actually a ton of fun. It was really nice to see Heidi and the boys playing together. Even though they are about a year apart Heidi can hold her own with our two year olds. I really enjoyed the feeling of cooperation that we had – we were watching each other’s kids, cooking each other’s food, and all working together and pitching in to make sure dinner happened. We had great conversation and it was really nice to talk to adults. Ken and Britney stayed around until after the boys went to bed and we had a nice evening chat. It was a great way to start our vacation.


Monday was the first official day of vacation but it didn’t feel like it when the alarm went off at 5:45. We still had to get up at our normal time to get the boys ready and off to day care otherwise we wouldn’t get anything done. The morning was a little less stressful since we didn’t have to be anywhere at a specific time and didn’t need to prep for work. Ironically we arrived at day care earlier than normal.

Sally had a dentist appointment to get her mouth guard fitted so I finished up some of our weekend chores and cleaned the first floor of the house. Once Sally was done we did the grocery shopping that we had delayed from the weekend and then scrubbed the grout between the floor tiles in the living room, hallway, and bathroom. It doesn’t sound glamorous but it made a huge difference in the look of the floor.

After playing Cinderella for a couple of hours we started prepping for our number one task for the week: gathering items for our yard sale. Oh yes, we are finding all the crap that we can and trying to sell it all on Sunday. We started with the corner of whoa in the upstairs hallway and then moved on to our closet and the spare room. All in all we moved about six boxes of stuff into the garage to be sold. The upstairs is now nice and organized.

We ended our day with a quick trip to Savers before picking up the boys and then spent the evening outside. We mowed the lawn and visited Lyn and Sally before putting the kiddos to bed and watching two episodes of Game of Thrones. We’re still on season two but we’re catching up.


Since we didn’t have any morning appointments Tuesday was the perfect day to have breakfast together. We decided to forgo our standard IHOP and try something a little different. We ended up at a place called Colby’s in Portsmouth down the street from Breaking New Grounds. The food was tasty and the portions were plentiful… once we got in. The city was having the sidewalk redone requiring us to walk through the sand and gravel that was being laid for the work. I kind of felt bad for walking through the work they were doing but then again they probably could have planned it a bit better. We watched at least four other people walk through it to get in and out of the restaurant while we were there.

Before heading home to start Day 2 of our staycation we had to gather some supplies. We went to the Re Store to see if we could find some wood and hardware for my Mac Museum and then to Home Depot to pick up a bunch of stuff for our outside work. Once we arrived home we cleaned up and re-mulched the trees in our yard, removed the prickly bushes that have been catching on everyone for years, and put weed block and mulch inside the bottom of the boys’ swing set.

IMG_2536Sally had a meeting in the afternoon but the work continued after. We went into the basement to see how much stuff we could yard sale from it. We had a ton of stuff piled up in the corner as well as a ton of boxes of keepsakes and thing that we needed to go through. By the end of the afternoon we had added another six or eight boxes to the garage, enough that I had to move my car out in addition to Sally’s.


We had big plans for mid-week. I had to go get my oil changed and have a recall fixed on my car. I was able to negotiate a loaner for the day so we decided to take advantage and make it a shopping day. I drove around in a 2012 TSX with a V6 and the technology package. It was fantastic. I’m considering a current generation TSX for my next car but I was more interested in the 4 cylinder model for gas mileage. Boy is the V6 nice though! It’s smooth, has great pickup, and, due to advancements in technology, actually gets the same fuel economy as my current 4 cylinder TSX.

While driving around in a fancy new car we decided to spend the day in Newington shopping like we were childless again. We found great deals on clothes, an awesome watch from Express, candles, soaps, gifts for birthdays and Father’s Day, and even some clothes for the kiddos. We paused our shopping spree briefly to go out to lunch with Ken and drive him around in my loaner car.

By mid-afternoon my real car was ready to pick up so I returned the loaner and headed back home. We spend the rest of the afternoon working though our basement clutter in preparation for the yard sale. By now the garage was filled with piles of sweet riches for interested parties to purchase.


After spending much of the week around and about it was time to stay home and focus on some more yard tasks. We’ve been slowly improving our back yard since we moved in, first clearing out the brush on the hill out back, then building the deck and landings, adding the swing set, and most recently filling in and flattening out some of the large dips in the lower yard. We had a truck load of fill delivered last year and spread it out but it was too late in the season to seed it. That was our task on Thursday.

The weather was cool and we spent the morning working on the two patches, a total of about 600 square feet. We first raked the fill to loosen it as it was very sandy and had solidified over the winter. Next we loaded three trash cans worth of fresh fill into a wheel barrel and spread it over the areas in the back yard to prepare for planting. Then we seeded, added grass feed, and watered it. By then the sun was out and pretty much evaporated all of the water that we put down.

In the afternoon we made a quick trip to Agway to get some straw. Heavy rains were coming that evening and we needed the straw to keep the grass seed from washing away. We also picked up some stakes and tape to build a fence of sorts so that the boys wouldn’t bother the young grass. On the way home we stapled yard sale signs to local telephone poles hoping to woo potential purchasers as they drove tdown the road. If you want to feel like an oddball, take a staple gun to telephone poles that sit in people’s front yards and run across the street in front of oncoming traffic.

Once that was done we returned home, put the straw down, hammered the stakes in, and put up the tape. The rest of the evening was spent having fun with the boys and once again preparing for the yard sale.


The last official day of our vacation was devoted solely to yard sale preparation, after a quick breakfast with the kiddos at school of course. Turns out we had decided to take our vacation during day care’s Parent’s Appreciation Week. Each classroom held an event during the week to appreciate the parents. Ours was breakfast at 8 AM on Friday. The boys’ teacher was late because her car broke down but once she arrived and cut the fruit we had a nice little breakfast with the boys, their friends, and some of the other parents.

I always enjoy seeing the boys at school. It’s a different environment and they act very differently than they do at home. They interact with their friends, they go through their normal morning routines like throwing away their trash and putting their plates away. It’s a really nice chance to see them in their element. It was great.

We were home by around 9 and started to organize the huge mass of items we had piled into the garage. It took us nearly four hours but we got everything priced, organized, and staged for the yard sale, rain or shine. It was actually quite amazing to see it all. You wouldn’t think that it was from a young family of four. There is a lot of stuff.


IMG_2571The final Saturday of our vacation was as busy as the first. We again spent the day with the Roberges and their daughter Heidi. We went to Market Square Day in Portsmouth in the morning. It was a very fun time. We started out with the boys in the strollers but that only lasted so long. They were in the stroller, out of the stroller, and in our arms for an hour. We made it through all of the streets, stopping to pick up some dips, some clothes, and some free promotional items that were being handed out. When lunch time arrived we grabbed some Flatbread pizza and found a nice spot on the brick sidewalk. It was a lot of fun to hang out together, eat, and watch the kids play. The music from the band was pretty good, good enough to make the boys and Heidi dance around in the streets. It was pretty adorable.

We took a break for nap time and then met up again at the Roberge’s for dinner and a fire pit. Dinner was tasty. We had steak, chicken, corn, steamed vegetables, with some Mac & Cheese for the little ones. The boys enjoyed playing with Heidi’s toys and playing outside. Adam had a blast riding Heidi’s rocking dragon fly and Zach enjoyed her car. Dinner was typical – Heidi ate pretty well and the boys were picky. Once bed time arrived the boys shared a bath and story time with Heidi and then we put the boys to bed in their pack and plays upstairs. It was a bit rough at first but they were asleep within a half hour. We had a nice fire pit after that. We chatted and ate s’mores.

The trouble began when it was time to leave. Adam had woken up in hysteria and ended up vomiting all over himself and Sally’s car on the ride home. Zach went into a tantrum that didn’t want to stop. Needless to say it was a tough Sunday night.


The last day of our vacation was the famed yard sale. GiGi took the boys while we tended our goods. We had a pretty good showing as we were opening up. Things slowed down in the afternoon but in the end we sold about half of our stuff, many of them the large items such as the Adirondack chairs, the stools, the mini fridge, the pool, and all three of the Macs that I had for sale. The rest is going to be donated to Savers with the exception of the darkroom and bridesmaid’s dresses.

Game of Thrones

We started watching Game of Thrones a couple of months ago when Comcast had a free weekend. We squeezed the entire first season (with a bit of fast forwarding) into three days. We spent the week of vacation watching the second season in the evenings and during lunch. It was nice to have something to watch now that the majority of our TV shows are on hiatus for the summer. I never had a good handle on the characters so I’ve started re-watching the first season to fill in the blanks. Season 3 this week.

In Summary

Our vacation went by fast, as most vacations do, but we got a lot accomplished. We didn’t just sit around all day and chill out (although that would have been nice). We took the opportunity to do some things that we’ve needed to do for a while. Now that we’ve organized the yard sale I know that we couldn’t have done it any other way unless we wanted to have multiple small events. For the sheer amount of stuff that we sorted through and organized we needed a week without children to get it done.

We each had to-do lists and we each had things that we didn’t get done but we made progress in some very important areas. The yard sale, the yard work, shopping, some cleaning, some TV watching, and some time with friends equates to a productive and relaxing week without work. It may not have been a fancy trip to the islands or a do-what-you-want week but it was what we wanted to do.

2 Replies to “Parent's Vacation 2013”

  1. Well! It sounds like you had a very busy, eventful and enjoyable “staycation week”. It is always good to have some “parents only” time together to do the things that need to be done and also the ones that you want done.
    I am glad you had family & friends time with the
    Roberges and the Chens. They are nice, enjoyable couples.
    All in all it sounds like the week went well and the yard sale too. Cool!


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