Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lessons Learned

(Warning, this is long--only those written about are obligated to read.)

About two weeks ago, I made a spontaneous (for me) decision to take a couple of my children and ride down with my parents to St. George. Knowing it would be nothing but sheer bliss, harmony and Kumbayah-ing as a family, I convinced Casey and Cindy to drive up from California too.

Despite the fact that we never quite got to the Kumbayah level, it was a pretty swell weekend and somewhere amid the good times, there were all sorts of nuggets of wisdom I discovered.

Lesson #1.
I should take more vacations traveling with just me and two children in the back seat of my parents car. Oh my word! No passing around snacks to the whole multitude. No keeping the driver entertained, fed or thirsted and (for the most part) no squabbling children in the back seat. No cutting up fruit to pass around to hungry children. (Mike's choice of snack for the children when we travel with the kids! Obviously he thinks using sharp knives at 70+ mph is no big deal.) But traveling with my parents? What a glorious way to travel--crackers, candy, two children, i-pads, i-phones, and Netflix. I may consider making far more road-trips with that kind of stuff!

Lesson #2
When on vacation, it is entirely appropriate to sit inside a gas station's convenience store to eat our lunch. Five adults and one child squeezed into a convenience store booth to eat Subway sandwiches is not something I typically do.

Lesson #3
My parents are really into the moon. Like, really into it. Like, mention it over and over on the five hour drive down. Set phone alarms so it isn't forgotten. Go outside 20 minutes early. Stay outside until the peak time. Call the grown kids inside the house to tell them they have 4 minutes until they should get outside. It was funny. And for whatever reason, my photos of it were even funnier. Maybe you had to be there. Believe me, we were. I'm not likely to forget the "Super Moon of 2012".

Lesson #4
Speaking of gas stations and what I don't typically do... (This paragraph really should have an entire blog post dedicated to this one experience.) While the adult take-out was being picked up, Casey and I ran down to the local Taco Bell to pick up a bean burrito for Ellie. Taco Bell drive-thru was our only plan, so it really shouldn't have mattered at all that we decided to throw in diaper-wearing ONLY Lucy to ride with us. Except somehow one thing led to another and we found ourselves at the local Maverick convenience store. Feeling like splurging, I let Ellie pick out a juice bottle for herself. Well then I realized Joshua, Lucy and Annie would probably want one too. So I left  her at one end of the aisle, while I went to the fountain drink counter to help Casey fill the requests we had just solicited from those left back home. One little problem-well actually, a few different problems. Ellie's hands are little and her carrying four juice bottles didn't quite work out and one of them met it's fate. As blue juice spilled from the bottle on the store floor, I tried to keep Ellie from crying and help console her, while balancing Lucy on one hip, and three remaining juice bottles in my hands, while wending my way to the store clerk to alert him to a clean-up on Aisle 1. In the meantime, Casey was filling what seemed like cup after cup full of soda and between one of us carrying Lucy, and Ellie too scared to help carry anymore drinks, we made what seemed like 37 trips up to the counter to plonk down our purchases. We were the epitome of white trash. From the diaper wearing one year old, to spilling juice all over the aisle, to purchasing far too much sugary soda. We couldn't help but laugh hard as we got into the car. Except that was posing a slight problem too, the drinks were quite full and precariously balanced in the cardboard cup holders, and the slight jiggly movements from laughter was potentially disastrous. I will think twice before making snap judgments in the future when I see a similar sight and hope that others did the same of Casey and me. We were clearly not in our element.

(I'd insert the photo here that Casey took of us in the car. But I look as though I singlehandedly drink that much soda on a daily basis-and will therefore delete that photo permanently.)

Lesson #5
In exchange for keeping a temper tantrum at bay due to a lost privilege to use Nana's i-pad, a 5 year-old will stay quiet and content when given free reign of the point and shoot camera. Well if you don't count the ornery sister who started to cry each time the camera was pointed at her. Whatever it takes to make a five hour journey bearable...

Lesson #6
Even though we love and adore Cindy-and even though she was sitting in front of us with a birthday hat on and a cake full of lit candles in front of us--when Ellie was singing the loudest and made a mistake and sung, "Happy Birthday dear Krist...." we all followed suit! A room full of capable and knowledgeable adults and we still practically all made the same mistake as the almost-eight year old. Between that and the gas station lunch, cancelled dinner plans, and lack of reserved seating at a movie theater, I think a fairly decent birthday was still had. Mental note though to think twice before going to St. George for a family trip on my birthday.
Lesson #7
Sometimes when you're on vacation, there are no limits to sugar intake.
Lesson #8
My brothers do not share my same sentiments about wishing I had been born a century earlier. And despite the whole crowd being more than willing to accompany me to Judd's General Store on Saturday morning, they laughed and scoffed when I suggested one day wearing my pioneer dress to visit this charming, quaint little shop.

Lesson #9
Even though I can not sing on-key, my baby Drew (who incidentally, can sing on-key) loves my singing before he goes to bed. He missed me lots, and by the third night he insisted Luke call me on the phone, and insisted I sing to him over the phone. Good thing I had already shut myself in the garage for the phone call, so nobody seemed to notice when I began singing "Hush little baby don't say a word..."

Lesson #10
Not only does my youngest child love me, but my younger brother does too. He had the option to enjoy dinner with only the adults when I offered to stay home and babysit all the children. He opted for dinner with his cranky one year old over me not being there. Ahh-how tender. It was quite reminiscent of James circling the Las Vegas airport three times before dropping me off last month. They aren't brothers to tell me they love me, but circling airports and telling me they'd rather deal with a cranky child than not have me at dinner with them, says we love you all the same.

Lesson #11
Nosiness is hereditary and I blame dear Granny entirely for it. While sitting at the park on a pleasant Sunday evening, we watched while Joshua and Cousin Annie stood in a giant sandbox fixated on a stranger boy having a temper tantrum. The beckoning swings, slides and monkey bars they had entirely to themselves were no match for poking their nose into somebody else's business. Despite the two of them standing as still as statues staring, I was unable to capture a photo.

Lesson #12
Lest you think I went to St. George last weekend to act like white trash at a gas station or lament the fact I was born a century too late, I didn't. I went because my little niece, Kate was "being blessed." Now, you have to know that I think baby blessings are completely over-exaggerated and should become a non-issue. In fact the day before Drew's blessing, Mike had to beg me to quit being ornery and helped remind me it was the last time we ever had to do it. Okay, I digressed big time, back to Kate. Casting all my opinions aside, it was a special occasion. Kate was beautiful (wish I had a photo of her alone) and I couldn't help but feel proud of my little brother as he blessed his dear little baby.
(James, Kristin, Annie and Kate) 


Oh there was so much more! There were potty breaks on the side of the road, iron-man fascinations, swimming pools, stuffed animals getting into the wrong hands, late night talks, carousel rides, laundry-room-turned personal space, long conversations, train restaurants, and so much more.
Lesson #13
Through it all, I realized that despite all the flaws, I have some pretty swell family members.

Love them.

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