We did our annual vacation to a lake a little differently this year: a month earlier than normal, for only four days instead of the usual seven, to a new (to us) lake, and with just my mom for company for part of it. Everything worked out really well, though, and we had a really nice vacation!
We tried out Lake Anna this year, which was just perfect for us with the girls the ages they are right now. Two hours each way made for much easier travel than the usual four+ hours (well, except for poor Josie, who got sick on the way home), and the house we rented was really nice with great amenities.
[The first bunkbed that Josie ever got to sleep in]
As soon as we got there, we let the girls loose to run around in the yard to stretch their legs and get their sillies out. It was dinnertime when we got there so we couldn't go swimming straightaway, but we at least went down to the dock and stuck our hands in the water.
My vacation goals were to: 1) go in the water every day, and 2) not get in the car again until it was time to leave. Although we briefly thought about going out to get ice cream at one point, we managed to hold out and meet both goals ;)
Lake Anna is known for being pretty warm, and while it seemed like (almost too warm) bath water when we stuck our hands in the first night, it turned out to just be a perfect temperature when we actually got in: none of the normal shock from the cold water, but not so warm that it felt gross on a hot day. And going in June probably helped with that too, since while it was definitely hot out, it wasn't sweltering enough to make the water even warmer.
Our rental house was at the end of a cove, and the water was so shallow that the girls could basically play in the entire cove without too much danger of them going under with minimal floaties on. So with Audra, we experimented with a lifejacket, swimsuit with floaties built in, and a puddle jumper. She handled everything well, swam by herself a bit with the puddle jumper on, and even consented to wear a sun hat... most of the time ;)
Meanwhile, Josie was able to go without floaties as long as she was in the super shallow water, but she tooled around on a boogie board and/or some noodles when she went into the deeper water (where she could still touch, just not flat-footed). She apparently remembered her time at the pool from April well enough, since she was able to swim around on her own some too, although the big deal for the week was Josie jumping off the dock. So while most of the time she talked herself right out of jumping, she did manage to jump off several times into Ryan's or my arms, with us edging out a bit more each time ;)
As I mentioned, the amenities were really great at this house. We took the kayaks and paddle boat out on the lake, although I just realized we didn't use the canoe at all. I especially liked the double row of lifejackets of different sizes that were available, all neatly numbered so that they could be hung up on the appropriately-numbered hook (the owners of the house were very organized. I loved it.). Watching the beautiful sunsets every night was great though too, particularly from nestled within a hammock with a passel of children piled on top of oneself. I'd imagine, at least.
We also made use of the firepit to make s'mores one night, which (as expected) was a big hit ;)
Really, the biggest disappointment for me was... Chinese acrobatics. There was a basket full of DVDs there, and for whatever reason, I was absolutely intrigued by the "Best of Chinese Acrobatics" DVD, and touted it all that day as our special after-dinner treat. And then? IT WASN'T IN THE CASE. I was gutted, and after checking just about all of the other cases in the basket, I eventually had to admit defeat and we watched "Wall-E" instead... and reminisced about the time Ryan and I first watched it and made it about 20 minutes in before we released we were watching the French version. There isn't that much talking in the movie anyway, and I had somehow convinced myself that perhaps the humans of the future had come up with a different language in the intervening 800 years, although I didn't understand why this made-up language wasn't subtitled. Sigh.
[Josie's TV-watching face; I'm pretty sure she did not blink or breathe the entire movie]
Anyway! Vacation was great, and we got to spend lots of quality time together. I think we'll do it again sometime :)