Monday, May 25, 2009

By George...

...SAINT George, to be exact. Yup, we went AGAIN. I wanted a nice weekend with the kids before they leave for two months to go to Dad's. St. George is hot enough for swimming but close enough that I can handle the road trip without driving us all off of the nearest cliff. Having said that, it should be noted that St. George is 3-1/2 hours away, BUT...the trip back today took us 5 hours. Do not adjust your internet. I said 5 hours. I need a nap. Til Saturday, please.
St. George does boast a nice little "fun center" with mini golf, bumper boats, arcade and go karts. (Why is that always spelled with a "k"?) The kids loved this!

Hallie drove herself and Lucas underneath the big fountain and soaked them both. She's laughing. Him, not so much. His tantrum forced an unplanned trip to the dock to let him exit the craft.

See what I mean? The birthday boy ain't so happy.

I don't know what this face means, but it's too dang "Lucas" not to post on the blog.

I learned two things this weekend:
1. My kids can really stink up a miniature golf course
2. It's hereditary.

Isn't that the prettiest blue water behind them? Thanks to Ben, it's now got two golf balls in it! They put ledges up to prevent that from happening, but hey, Ben's not gonna be outsmarted by no stinking ledges!

Tiny Lucas turned 3 yesterday while we were there. He was a bit apprehensive about the candle at first. Never known him to be askeerd o' fire, but there's a first time for everything, I suppose.
Yes, that's my finger in the top left corner of the shot. I make no apologies. Four kids, me, a road trip, a hotel room, and desert heat. That about covers it. We're lucky any of these pictures are even in focus.
Being in a hotel room and away from home, of course we had to resort to store-bought baked goodies for the birthday treat (she said, as though it would have been different at home). Lucas wanted nuthin to do with the brownies, but as you can see, he found the wax 3 to be quite irresistible. Doesn't say much for the brownies, does it?

This little gem is about the best thing in St. George, as far as I'm concerned (just don't go on Memorial Day!). Main Street's Towne Square has put together this amazing water play area for children. A shooting fountain, a little "river" that runs from one end of the square to the other, rock waterfalls, more. It's hard to describe without seeing it live and in person. But whoever came up with this idea is pure genius. My kids LOVED this!

And now, ladies and gentleman, I'll allow Lucas to sum up the trip in his own unique way. A picture's worth a thousand words, right? I'll let this one do the talking...

Happy Birthday, tiny Lucas! Hope you had a marvelously exhausting birthday!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Writing Assignment 5

This week's topic: Stowaway child (thanks A LOT, Jon)

As always, feedback optional but welcome. (Luce, bring it on. I can take it)


I was in a dark place; the darkest of places, really. I was folded like cheap lawn furniture in the locked trunk of my mother’s Hyundai. With nothing but time--and a little bit of grease from a nearby tire iron--on my hands, I was forced to mull over the events that had brought me to this, the lowest point in my twelve short years on the planet.
I wasn’t exactly born to privilege. While karate lessons and hundred-dollar sneakers seemed to be creature comforts for most other 12 year old boys, for me, they were just part of a long list of luxuries I’d learned to live without. I didn’t mind, mostly. But family vacations, or the lack thereof, were always a real sore spot for me.

Summers were long and boring. Mom and Dad worked the typical ten hour days. They saved money on sitters by leaving me in the care of an older sister who, as far as I could tell, hated my guts. This could have been attributed to the many hours I spent torturing her cat and reading her diary, but who’s to say? Returning to the drudgery of school in the fall might have been a welcome reprieve, were it not for the endless stories of fun-filled family vacations as told by my classmates. It just wasn’t fair. They had their tales of Florida beaches and California roller coasters. I had four days in Las Cruces on Aunt Kathy’s backyard tire swing.
So when my parents announced their upcoming road trip to Las Vegas, the one they’d be taking without us kids, I knew I needed to take action. The usual whining and begging got me nowhere fast. They refused to budge. They left me no choice but to resort to my plan B, my drastic measures.
Their decision to take Mom’s car and not Dad’s pickup fit perfectly into my scheme. Stowing away unnoticed in the back of Dad’s truck would have been darn near impossible. But with a little effort, I could squeeze my skinny little rear-end into the trunk of the Hyundai and no one would be the wiser. Sure, they’d be mad--okay, furious--when they got to Vegas and discovered my complete disregard for their authority, but they’d also be stuck with me. For a weekend in Vegas—half-naked show girls, warm weather, swimming pools, Elvis impersonators--I could live with the possibility of being grounded for eternity. I mean, I only got grounded for a week when I got caught with those matches and lighter fluid behind the school. This was way worse than that. I was gonna get it for sure.
I knew I would need an accomplice to carry out my plan. And though her disdain for me made her a less-than-reliable accessory, I suspected big sis would find it in her heart to help me if it meant a shot at locking me in the trunk of a car. I figured this would be an irresistible offer for her. Sure enough, she was willing.
My parents’ road trips always began at an insanely early hour of the day. I would need to secure my spot in the trunk well before sun-up to be sure I wouldn’t get caught. Big sis set her alarm for 3 a.m. and sneakily escorted me out to the carport where mom’s car was parked with bags in the back seat and ready to go. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy helping me stuff myself and my overnight bag into mom’s trunk, already crowded by the spare tire and toolbox that were permanently housed there. She wished me a half-hearted “good luck” and began to close the door. Her sideways grin and the chomping of her bubble gum were the last things I saw and heard before the heavy door slammed shut over my head.
I probably should have been more worried than I was at this point. Being a one-dimensional twelve year old boy, thoughts of oxygen deprivation and possible rear-end collisions had only briefly occurred to me. After only a few minutes of discomfort in the darkness, I began to feel sleepy. I dozed off quickly and awoke some time later, not sure how long I’d been out or how much distance we’d covered. I was sure of one thing: we weren’t moving. The fog in my head began to clear as I heard the shuffle of footsteps moving toward the back of the car. My heart pounded wildly as I at-once considered the heap of trouble and the fantastic vacation which were both just seconds away from beginning. Perhaps my parents would be generous and apply the “what happens here stays here” rule to my circumstances. That kind of charity was more than I could have or should have hoped for.
The next thing I knew, the key was jiggling in the lock. The trunk slowly opened and the bright mid-morning sunlight filled my eyes, silhouetting the figure standing over me. I was suddenly more afraid of the impending consequences than I had expected I would be. My hand moved over my eyes to shade them from the sun’s blinding light and my vision came into near-perfect focus. What I saw left me puzzled and horrified all at the same time.

“Guess what, dork. They took Dad’s truck after all. They left four hours ago. I meant to tell you before but I kinda got busy.”
With that, big sis once again gave me that wicked sideways grin, then spun around and headed back toward the house, her sinister laugh fading as she walked in the front door and left me lying in the trunk trying to process the events of the past ninety seconds.
Yup, she hated me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It Takes a Village

Once upon a time, when I was only slightly less insane than I am now, I opened my big mouth. I made the fatal error of telling my children that I thought it would be enjoyable to do a "fun thing" on Saturdays. Some small activity/event/adventure that we could all do together and that everyone would enjoy. Once we had done this for approximately one-and-a-half Saturdays in a row, it became law...apparently.

So now, each Thursday and Friday as the weekend approaches, the questioning begins: "Mommy, what's our fun thing for this Saturday? Have you thought about what our fun thing is going to be this Saturday? When will you decide? You're thinking about it? When will you be done thinking about it?"
It's been at least 2 years, maybe more, since I made this suggestion on that fateful day. We have yet to spend a funthingless Saturday.

One good thing about this? We're in Utah now, baby! Thank goodness, as I was running out of options in the lovely-yet-limited Sierra Vista, Arizona. But here, fun things abound! Here's what we found today. A delightful little place called Gardner Village in West Jordan. It's a charming community of cottage-style shops--candy shops, doll shops, quilted/handcrafted gift shops, even a year-round Christmass shoppe (you have to spell it 'shoppe' when it's a Christmas shoppe. I know there's a written rule about that somewhere). The bonus: a tiny river that runs through with ducks and fish and even big ol' frogs! And let's not forget the petting zoo with pony rides.

(Childrens' wardrobe and accessories courtesy of Auntie Donna. Thank you, auntie Donna! We love it...such cute stuff!)

The boy's just asking for it:

This little goat was so cute. He?she?it? was my favorite. Made the most adorable little crying/bleating noises.

Behind them is a big (actual running) water wheel. Very cool. If I was a better photographer, you'd be able to see that.

This feathered couple cracked me up. I had to take a picture. Aren't they funny?

Look at the mama duck and her itty bitty babies! They were so stinking cute!

Lucas and his shades. He needs to trade the horsey for a Harley.

p.s. I just read over this post and noticed that I used the word "cute" approximately...well...WAY too many times. It's somewhat out of character for me, but I'll own it this time. I mean, look at 'em. They're just so darn c***...ahem...precious. They're precious.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I don't want to spend too much time on the computer today, but I couldn't let the day go by without a short Mom's day post. Mostly I'm just here to exploit my darling children, but I want all you special mommies and women in general to know how much I love and appreciate you. I don't believe there is one woman reading this who has not impacted me and/or my children in a big and positive way.

Happy Mother's Day, mom. I hope your day (and your facial, eventually) are completely wonderful.
A Mother's day gift worth mentioning (from my 9 year old): she decided to go missing for about a half hour after church today. Was out in the front yard playing, as she often is, then suddenly she wasn't. Called, yelled, screamed her name all over the place, nothing. I was praying crying, calling neighbors, and they were even heading out to look for her, when she was found on one of their doorsteps with one of their children. That's the most panic I've felt in a loooong time. Just glad we found her! Her biggest concern? Worrying that I would post this event on the blog. Who, me?

Now, to continue the tradition I started 3 mom's days ago, here are our annual Mother's Day pics of me and the kids (thank you to Auntie Lyssa for doing the photo shoot and saving me from 10-second-camera-timer hell!)