Connecting in a Winter Wonderland

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe
  • (Re)connect (connection 2 of 12)
  • Get selfishly creative

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Earlier this month we met our friends at The Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park in northern Indiana. This was our second time meeting them there; our first having taken place four years ago…pre-kids. The old college friends’ trip of four years ago looked vastly different than this year’s trip. Having kids changes you…mutates you…forces you through a metamorphosis…I still haven’t really found the words to capture the soul/life/brain altering phenomenon that parenthood imparts on a person. Anyway, here are some slightly more noticeable ways that our winter connection differed this year than the last time we made the trip.

PreKids VS. PostKids

Sleeping Arrangements:

Share a room with two full beds so we can save money and play games and drink and eat without disturbing anybody in the lodge area VS. two rooms because she still gets up to nurse once a night, he may not settle down right away and could keep her up, I’m going pee all the time because this baby is sitting on my bladder, he’s sick and doesn’t want to get your family sick, she’s sick and doesn’t want to get our family sick…


Whenever we wanted, probably late, probably after many games VS.  too late (“No Baby, we cannot go to the pool now. It is time to SLEEP. Lay down. Lay down. LAY DOWN. …Ugh, can’t those hooligans out in the hallway shut up? It is after 8:30 already!”) or too early (“I’m sorry, we fell asleep when we were putting him down for bed.”)

Wake up:

Wake up when it felt right, probably  a little earlier than usual to pack in some outdoor activities VS. 7:15 a.m. (“No Baby, the pool isn’t open yet. Can you try to lay down and cuddle with us a little longer?  Mom and Dad would really like to sleep some more. …FIIIIIINE. Mom will get up with you. Let’s go find out where the pool is and Dad can meet us when he’s ready. Dad…Dad…Dad…do you think you could make it down soon?”)

Outdoor activities:

Miles and miles of cross-country skiing and multiple trips down toboggan run VS. sledding down a hill twice, pulling kids around on sled, hitting trees with sticks, experiment with two-year old on toboggan…once was enough

Indoor activities:

Pool for 30 minutes, board games at night VS.  texting to keep the other family updated on whereabouts, pool for hours, watching the fish in the aquarium, talking about why the stuffed coyote in the case was not alive, watching the fire in the fireplace, answering questions from strangers with “I’m two!” and “Yeah. I LOVE snow!”, multiple trips to the bathroom, running up and down ramps, pretending to be grizzly bears, “helping” with  community jigsaw puzzles by shoving pieces all over table, napping, “Board games tonight?” “If we don’t fall asleep with him. We’ll text you.”…”Okay, only for an hour, we don’t know how long these monitor batteries are going to work.”

Eating and Drinking

Share snacks, dinner can be whenever, consume a few or more beers while playing games VS. eat…no, like, NOW!, share snacks and cups and utensils, dinner by 5:30 so we can make sure they can get to bed somewhat on time, “Beer?” “Maybe one or two. You know how early we get up now.” And of course, none for the pregnant lady.

Though it was different this time around and we didn’t get to see as much of each other as we would have liked, the fact that we can still maintain a long-distance friendship is something we try not to take for granted. And I am pretty sure none of us would change a thing in order to get back to the us of four years ago. Each experience has its own wonderful memories and we hope to continue building on those memories year after year.