Every year, Mike’s friend Mike organizes a weekend up at Silver Lake with a bunch of their college buddies. To add to the confusion, Mike and Mike’s college buddies are also mainly named Mike. Of the seven dads who bring their families up to Silver Lake each summer, five of them are named Mike. (We call the other two “The Associates.”)

While nicknames solved this problem easily in college, it gets a bit more complicated when wives and children are involved.

“Where’s Mike?”

“Which Mike?”

“My dad, Mike?”

“My husband, Mike?”

“No, the other Mike.”

At the very least, if you forget anybody’s name, you have an 85% chance of guessing it right.


The first year we did this trip, I was pregnant with Harlow and Mazzy was two-years-old. We stayed in a one bedroom/one bathroom cabin with five families. If you think that already sounds like hell, imagine getting food poisoning and being the one to monopolize the lone bathroom for most of the weekend. Did I mention it opened up right into the living room? MORTIFYING.

We opted out the next couple of years until last year when Mike took Mazzy while I stayed home with Harlow. They had a great time and if anybody asks Mazzy what her favorite part of Summer 2015 about the summer, she would wax nostalgic about that particular weekend. Mike (not Mike but the other Mike) has a boat with a slide on it and apparently that is all you need to make a lasting impression on a five-year-old.


IMG_0211This year, thanks to Mazzy’s rave reviews, I opted to bring Harlow for the first time and join the fun. We drove up six hours on a Thursday, which went much smoother than I imagined it would. Instead of everyone staying in one house this time, we rented a few houses with no more than two families in each. Bathrooms for everyone!!!


The weekend was jam packed with activities. We spent most of our time barbequing and taking turns tubing on the boat.


The kids ranged from three to 13-years-old with Harlow being the youngest. Mazzy went back and forth playing princess with the little kids and trying to hold her own with the big kids.


Harlow held her own too and when she’s not being fussy and demanding parental attention, I find she is one of those kids that other kids always want to play with.

Although, this series which I have entitled “Classic Harlow” suggests otherwise:



IMG_7663IMG_7665Mazzy is fearless and went down the waterslide and rode the tube as fast and as often as she was allowed. The first time Mazzy went on the tube, Harlow put her towel over her head and said she couldn’t watch, which was adorable.

Mazzy didn’t fall off until her last run when she had a huge wipeout while riding with the big kids. The whole thing flipped over sending them all flying. When she got back on the boat, Mazzy said, “Well, I was not expecting that. I think I will remember that for the rest of my life.” Then she concluded that it was “awesome” and a daredevil was born.

Harlow was content to sit on the boat. Here’s our friend Jeff treating Harlow like either a pet or an armrest. You decide.


That night we went to the best place in town for kids, called the Charcoal Coral. It’s also probably the only place because it’s a pretty small town. The Charcoal Corral has bouncy castles, burgers, pizza, an arcade, miniature golf and a drive-in movie theater.


The best moment was when Mazzy helped Harlow get through the bouncy castle obstacle course. The first time on it, Harlow was afraid to climb the big slide but Mazzy’s encouragement helped her try again. Then Mazzy made sure her little sister got the satisfaction of completing the course.

You can watch the Instagram video below to see how Mazzy waits to make sure Harlow is keeping up at every obstacle. And don’t miss Harlow’s victory dance at the end!

A video posted by Ilana Wiles (@mommyshorts) on

Then Mazzy went to the arcade and hit the jackpot on her first try. She won 100 tickets at once and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited.


Of course, all 100 tickets got her was a pair of plastic fangs and a fake ice cream cone, but she didn’t seem to mind.


The kids played until it got dark out and then we all settled in on blankets to watch Pets, which kinda sucked but not enough to ruin the experience.

The next day, we took a day trip to the American side of Niagara Falls. It was hot and crowded and the kids were a little mad that we took them away from the lakehouse where they were having so much fun. We tried to explain to them that it was raining at the lake house and everyone was going on day trips, but they didn’t seem to care.


As a result, Niagara Falls was not the best experience. I mean, I am happy we went because it is hilarious to hold a confused and hysterical three-year-old on a boat while gallons of water is being dumped on your heads, but maybe it would have been more fun if they were a few years older.


IMG_7723They refused to stand still and smile for pictures. Or one of them would smile while they other turned their back to me. And then they would switch roles. I got this ridiculous series of photos as a souvenir.


IMG_7720IMG_7719IMG_7718I also got a great shot that Harlow took of Mazzy and me.


And one where it looks like Mazzy and I are just standing in front of a white wall.


Then there are these two photos of the family, which looks like the kids are in a wee bit of pain.


IMG_7881But if you follow me on Instagram— I will probably pretend everything went peachy and just post this one.


When we got back from the Seventh Wonder of the World, things were on the up and up again.

NOTE TO SELF: When you’ve got a boat with a water slide, don’t attempt to take your children away from it.


Can’t wait to do it all again next summer!

For more from my family, follow @mommyshorts on Instagram!