The day after Boxing Day I started confiscating the kids' favorite toys, clothes, and books, to aid my packing efforts. A week from Saturday we're departing Alberta for sunnier climes (and donkey spiders, flying giant cockroaches, and mosquitoes that require half my family to take extra-strength Benadryl) to visit my parents for a month. It's the second year in a row we've done this, after our seven-month stay back in 2002-2003. The timing works out well -- it's the only sort of slow period all year for Tom, in part because his apprentice is required to take a two-month college course. We're all hoping for a mild winter in our absence, the kids because they don't want to miss any really good snowstorms or too much skating, and Tom and I because we feel guilty enough already leaving his parents with our daily farm chores (feeding cows and chickens and washing eggs).
Thirty years ago my parents took their first kid-less vacation to the West Indies, and loved it so much that they were determined to find some land and build a house. Which they finally did about 20 years ago, though they have yet to move down full time. Yes, I love it down there, though I was never crazy about spending Christmas in the Caribbean, with an artificial tree to boot (in fact, Tom and I got engaged the year I left the family holiday early, just after New Year's, to rendez-vous with him in Toronto in the midst of a huge, beautiful, snowstorm -- yes, my family and friends thought I was nuts both to get engaged only a few months after meeting and to trade a vacation of sun and sand for one with snow). And a four-week stay at my parents' house is not as much of a vacation as, say, two weeks in a hotel where someone else does the cooking and shopping. Though life with a unfenced pool is much less fraught now that the kiddies all swim and dive like dolphins.
So there probably won't be a lot of blogging going on, though I hope to check in from time to time, on my father's computer.
There will be some schoolwork -- a bit of math, grammar, history, and lots of fun readalouds (the kids and I are still deciding which books to bring along) -- though we'll be unschooling science for the duration. Helping Grandpapa tend to the four-acre tropical garden, going to the beach, star gazing on warm evenings, and one or two sessions at the hands-on aquarium (where you get to pick up and hold various sea creatures) should do the trick.
Off to confiscate some more underwear. Oh, and some Lego...