Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter at the Little House in the Woods: West Branch, MI

Yesterday afternoon we returned to reality after our 2nd annual up north Easter trip. The kids had so much fun last year, that they requested we once again spend Easter at Grandpa's cabin. So Friday afternoon we took off, just the 6 of us plus Cleo, and drove north on I-75. The sun was shining in the clear blue sky, the kids were excited, and I instantly became remarkably less crabby as soon as we pulled out of our driveway. While I love to take trips, that last little bit while I'm trying valiantly to make sure everyone pees and we have adequate snacks and pillows and tooth brushes and whatever else we'll need, I tend to get a little nuts. But as soon as we're on the road, it's all good.

We drove straight to the cabin to unload, drop off Cleo, and let the kids run around outside for awhile before we went into town for pizza night at G's Pizza. "Town" is about 10 miles away. The only establishments between the cabin and town are a bar (aptly named "Bar", which we call the B Bar because the florescent "A" and "R" are perpetually burnt out), and a little party store. After dinner we did some grocery shopping and ran into Walmart to rent a couple movies from Red Box. We watched several movies over the weekend, but as best I can remember it was The Adventures of Tin Tin Friday night. After the kids were all sleeping Chris and I watched Young Adult. I dozed a little during Tin Tin, but although I thought the story line was a bit complicated for a movie geared toward kids, it was entertaining and very reminiscent of the Indiana Jones movies. Young Adult was kind of maddening because Charlize Theron's character was so utterly unlikeable. But it was a good movie and I did like it - even if I did want to reach through the television and smack Charlize.

Saturday morning the kids played outside quite a bit until lunch time. Like last year, they were having a great time in the ravine. This year Lucy was brave enough to venture down there (it's pretty far down and very steep going), and they took Mathilda down with them a few times too. They were pretty much just exploring and climbing and crawling through the tunnel that goes under the road to the other side of the ravine, and generally getting really filthy. Friday night we noticed that Mirror, Mirror was playing at the local movie theater, and Lucy had been really wanting to see it. So after we had lunch at the cabin Saturday, we went back to town to see a matinee of this Snow White adaptation. It was a good clean family movie. Chris and I both said we though it would be kind of ...better. I think we were hoping for something more on the level of Enchanted or Tangled. While it didn't quite meet our expectations, it was a fun movie and we all enjoyed it. After the movie we had to go back to the grocery store because we are not far sighted enough to get all our groceries for the weekend in one trip to the store. Knowing that we had a microwave and a stove top to work with back at the cabin (the oven is out of commission), we carefully chose our pre-cooked Easter dinner selections, and whatever else we needed to get us through Monday.

The kids were bugging out for a fire, so we built a fire Saturday night, and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows outside. Then we did sparklers. It was really such a lovely day, all the way around. When we finally went inside for the night, Chris and I had our dinner - veggie burgers and salad. Then we played some cards while the kids did something...which I can't remember at the moment. Maybe they watched a movie? Probably. But what was it? Hmmm. Not sure. My memory has definitely seen better days.

Easter Sunday was a day filled with obscene amounts of candy (gag!! yet...I can't stop eating it...), playing outside, and watching another movie. This time it was Real Steel. I had never even heard of this movie, and didn't hold out much hope for a film about robot boxing. But I was pleasantly surprised - I liked it. Another good, clean family movie. There was a little mild swearing, and at least one fight scene. But all in all, it was family friendly and entertaining for all of us. We ate our Easter dinner, had another bon fire, and took a nice long drive through the woods (not necessarily in that order). Before bed we watched yet another movie - Jack and Jill. Let me emphasize that this was a kids' pick. It's that movie in which Adam Sandler plays the roles of both the main characters. I have to admit it was pretty funny. There was some gross potty  humor (which I hate), and some annoying stupid parts. But we laughed a lot, and that's a good thing.

Our weekend was restful, fun, outdoorsy (despite the number of movies we watched), and just plain wonderful. We got tons of mileage out of a couple bouncy balls from the grocery store and sticks - which are great for walking, climbing, playing war, and poking at fires. Having no internet and like 3 television channels (which took way too much work to find amongst the score of unavailable channels) is really refreshing. Between blogging, checking my Facebook and my email regularly, and whatever else I do online, I spend way too much time in virtual reality. Getting a break from that was much needed and over due. What I need is the the willpower to do a self-imposed internet cleanse regularly. I'll think about working on that.

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