But, anyway, last week we took the grandkids on a mini-vacation. We hung out at the family cabin the first afternoon/evening we were there, with the requisite visit from multiple family members who stayed way past time for the kids to go to sleep (and so they didn't, until nearly eleven p.m.) Mother-in-Law did get out her old Farmall H tractor and give the kids rides; they go absolutely nuts over tractors.
One of the days, we took them to the beach at Negwegon State Park, which is on Lake Huron. They had a blast playing in the water, and on the beach itself. Negwegon is a great place to go, mainly because it is so remote there is usually hardly anyone else on the beach. Peaceful, quiet, and lots of elbow room.
The third day we went canoeing and kayaking (with a few relatives who invited themselves) on a section of the Au Sable river, and got back to the parking area just ahead of a hellacious thunderstorm. The kids and I sheltered in the nearby pit toilet (which was a nice sturdy building, even if the 'plumbing' was primitive) while DH loaded the boats and gear and drove right to 'our' door so the kids wouldn't get soaked while getting into the truck. As a bonus, Toad, who is potty training, just had to try out the toilet. Apparently he isn't as afraid of outhouses as his sister seems to be. . .
By the time we returned to the cabin, the rain had stopped. So, taking a page from our own childhood summer times spent with our grandparents, we let the kids run and play in the mud and the puddles. They had a great time and got absolutely filthy. They also figured out how to play on the rope swing.
When it was time for bed, we washed them off under the outdoor hand pump. They didn't even mind the frigid right-from-the-ground water; they were too intent on taking turns helping DH pump while I scrubbed down their sibling. And, of course, true to the nature of my inlaws, several showed up (unplanned, uninvited, unannounced) with their dogs just as I was drying very sleepy kids off and putting them into their pajamas. *sigh* (Have I ever mentioned that I am just not a naturally social person? I'm very introverted and like order and quiet, plus lots of personal space. And I don't consider hanging out with relatives a vacation. . . ) It ended up being another late night, over tired kids, dogs under foot.
DH decided that instead of spending our final day at the family cabin, we should just drive home and enjoy a peaceful evening (and a proper bedtime) at this little place here. So that is what we did, right after breakfast the next morning, and before any relatives could arrive.
The kids didn't seem to mind the garden walk we did once home, checking on my veggie plants, or the 4-wheeler and tractor rides DH gave them. They liked the nice long soak in the bathtub I gave them, and then I was able to sing them to sleep, camped out on the living room floor. DH and I enjoyed having an uninterrupted meal with just the grandkids, and a nice quiet evening sans relatives and their accompanying canines.
Not sure what we will do next summer on our vacation with the grandkids. But most likely it won't be located at the family cabin, and relatives will not be involved. We'll have to dust off the Take Grandkids Here List and go to some of those places instead.