April Vacation – Day One

Look around you and you’ll see a collective look of terror in the eyes of mothers across the country. Millions of mothers woke this morning (hopefully) prepared to enter battle. Like finely tuned machines, the organized mothers planned a week full of fun activities and the mothers with extra loot in the bank booked a vacation to a destination full of sunshine and beaches. Hell, I imagine that millions of children will even be visiting Mickey Mouse this April vacation. I am not one of those mothers.

April Vacation.

Here in Maine, it’s not entirely warm yet. The ground is slightly mucky and there are still a few random piles of granular snow clinging to the earth. The sun is warm, but that breeze is actually bone-chilling for my tiny little Kate. It’s true. She’s thrilled to be outside and stretching those little legs, but the minute the air begins gusting at the top of our hill, our tiny little toddler emits a howl that rivals the wind.


We’ve been outside doing a bit of post-Apocalypse restructuring. No, I’m sorry, that’s not true. I’m completely exaggerating. We’ve been outside performing a bit of spring clean up. You know…the standard fare when it comes to yard work – raking, dog poo search and destroy missions and perennial inspections. I cleaned up the children’s garden a bit, did some pruning and raked the wood chips into some semblance of order. 


 As I dug down into the cold brown soil, Kate sauntered over and squatted down next to me. “Dirt, Mama?” she wondered.

“Yes,” I answered. “See these tiny green leaves?”

“Weaves, Mama?”

“Uh, huh, those are our flowers beginning to grow again.”

Her eyes lit up with excitement. “Fwowers, Mama?”

She leaned in and performed an exaggerated toddler snort near the dead stalks of last fall’s coneflower then smiled as if she had whiffed magically fragrant rose. I snapped the old, grey stems and handed them off, providing her with her own skeleton bouquet.

I dug down into the cold dark earth and found a rather sluggish earthworm. Kate was terrified. For her, that worm’s pathetically slow writhing on my palm was akin to the sighting of a giant and hairy man-eating tarantula. Oh, the shrieking that ensued!

What do to…what to do…?

Let me just say this – having added graduate school to the already tight family budget, we’re not able to hang out with Mickey Mouse. To be honest we’re not really even able to go out to lunch without feeling the pinch, but Kate doesn’t “do” worms.

I feel guilty.

They’re watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on television. They’re playing educational games on pbskids.com and Super Mario Kart on the Wii. I printed out some springtime craft ideas which led to their current coloring of sparrow and bee shaped paper airplanes. They are honing their fine motor skills with their crayons and safety scissors.

The other moms are taking their girls to Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique.


My little guy caught the cold that his sister had. He woke with a cough and an ear ache. We snuggled on the couch; we scheduled a game of Super Mario Kart for later so that I can take some time to do some required reading and writing.

I’m being selfish.

Our local library has events set up for vacation. Things like Robot Day and a wildlife rehabilitator will be visiting with his animals. We’re going to do those things. We’re going to spend time together and they’re going to like it. Mommy doesn’t do Disney.



  1. cakeologist says:

    According to my children they are the only ones at their school NOT going on a super fun vacation. They are the most deprived children EVER!

    They are also trapped in the house because it has rained all day. Hopefully tomorrow we can get outside and start working on our yard. I told my son he could be in charge of chopping down one of the ugly trees in our yard. He is pretty excited…of course, he mistakenly thinks I will be allowing him to use a chain saw…

  2. my3littlebirds says:

    Last week was our spring break and I am surprised I survived. Godspeed Kelli. Seriously though, I'm impressed that you printed those coloring pages. I would have thought about and then decided it was too much work : ) You're a good mama- hope you guys get some sunshine!

  3. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy says:

    Don't feel guilty. These will be some of the best memories they have when they get older. I know I remember little moments like the ones you described above more than any trips my parents ever took me on. And we never really did much spring break vacationing. We did most of our trips during the summer, because, well frankly, we couldn't afford to take a spring break trip AND a summer vacation. I think it's great that you're taking the time to make their spring break at home a fun one. Who said home can't be as good, if not better, than Disney?

  4. TexaGermaNadian says:

    Whatever, those things at the library sound pretty neat! And the bibbity bobbity boutique….I don't even want to know how much extra that shiznit cost. Ridiculous 🙂 You could always stock up on some glitter from the dollar/craft store and make your own boutique 🙂 If she really wanted that.

  5. Missy (& various in Transplant blog) says:

    Yep, same boat ride here! Nowhere really "fun" (like Disney World) or even Kings Dominion. And so I hope I can at least take them up to the school and let them play on the big playground.

    I hate vacations sometimes.

  6. Don't feel guilty! I think it's really important that you get your things done too! I grew up in a household that had *no* money (My dad finished his second round of college when I was three . . . hullo student loans) and to be honest, while I longed for Disney World (which my uncle – who's an ophthalmologist- took our cousins to) when I was little, in the end, I think I got a whole lot more out of digging around in our backyard, going to the library, and playing board games, than I would have gotten from some sort of mass commercialized childhood experience.

  7. Good for you. I think the kids will have more fun with you. Considering the boy woke up with an cold, you should be glad your not going. Could you imagine a child with a in Disney? *shudder*

  8. Luckily, I work at a library and they asked me to work an extra day this week. Lila has been begging for Disney World since she was about a year old. And I have no idea when that is going to be even remotely possible financially. Don't feel guilty. No kid ever went into therapy because their parents didnt take them to DisneyLand. Plenty have needed therapy from mothers who were so insanely fixated on making their kids happy that they became total bitches in the process. Grad school is the right thing to do. Crafts and free library programs are perfect. As long as you make time for them they'll be fine.

    There's no guilt worse than the kind we inflict on ourselves, huh?

  9. Here's some irony for you all… we went to the library and built our robots out of recycled materials. They had so much fun! As we were standing in line for the glue gun, a little girl pushed her way in front of Gwen. Kind of obnoxious, right? Well, she had all of these beads in her hair and the lady asked her where she got her hair done. Answer? "Disney World! I went to Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique!" Ahahahahaaa. What are the chances??

  10. thefancyflea says:

    You're a fantastic Mum – the kids dragged off to Disney World probably spewed up their fairy floss, chucked a mega tantrum in line for a ride and ended up back in the hotel room watching TV.

    Your kids are getting genuine learning and life experiences, AND having quality time with their Mum. Nothing beats that.

    I know which i'd prefer 🙂

  11. Exactly! It's funny how some things make you feel guilty – a good sleep cured my case of the guilts. We had a good day today.

  12. Dwija {House Unseen} says:

    Oh, I'm sad I missed this yesterday (had to read it first before I could read today's…OF COURSE!). We are in the exact same boat. Our "amusement park" is the tire swing in the back woods. Our "zoo" are the dogs and chickens. Apparently EVERYONE in my daughter's class went somewhere in an airplane for spring break. Sigh.

  13. Someday, they'll be thankful for the tire swing and the chickens. I know I am! The best years were those spent on my family farm.

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