Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Family Vacation Continued

We ended our camping trip with a stay at a nearby Marriott. I am still mildly embarrassed about what I looked (and smelled!) like as I checked us into the hotel. I'm not sure that shower floor will ever be the same after the seven of us were done showering for the first time in a few days.

Obviously the hotel was a big hit as Joshua has suggested several times since,
"We should go and stay at that 'inpartment' that we did when we came out of the mountain."
(I think it is hilarious that in the only photo I have of the hotel, Joshua has a bag of potato chips and a juice box--I can't tell you the amount of fruit and vegetables Mike had the children eat for the previous 3 days. Vacations to me are kind of about junk food, not so much for Mike. So following yet another healthy portion of apples, carrots and leafy lettuce on his sandwich, Joshua was allowed one of the Koolaid Jammers given to us by the campground hosts 2 days previously. Perhaps I was subconsciously rejoicing with Joshua and that is why I took the photo at that particular moment.)

I love the city of Logan. I'm not sure why every time I visit, I feel a slight longing to live there.  (I'm sure it has a lot to do with many wonderful memories I have of time spent there.) We ate at a little diner, that Megan ate her first ice cream cone at when she was 2 1/2, but only because my Grandma was there with us back in 2001 and she was appalled Megan had never had one before. In my defense, Megan was my first child and I was uptight that ice cream cones were too messy.  Believe me when I say I have certainly relaxed over the years.
At one point during our so-called vacation, Mike and I left the five children in the car with Megan in charge while we left for maybe 7 minutes total to get Aggie ice cream at the USU ice cream parlor. Those 7 minutes were bad news for the children in the car, and when Mike pulled over a few blocks later and I had to climb into the back seat, I was not a happy mother. I was even more mad that in the attempt to maneuver myself back there, I had to eat my ice cream cone more rapidly and couldn't enjoy it like I had planned on. Next time I will be the driver when I have an Aggie ice cream cone and Mike can be the acrobat.

We loved the little tiny zoo even though we had a hard time coming up with the "over 600 animals" that their marketing team seems to think they have. Although the turkey that gobbled at Mike was well worth the on-your-honor $9 it cost our family to get in.
(Can you see that startled expression on Mike's face?!)

We ended our little family vacation at the American West Heritage Center. The activities were right up my kids' alley. I enjoyed the potential of it too, but honestly, by about day four together, I wasn't quite feeling all the positive-how-fun-to-be-together feelings much anymore. It didn't help that while Mike decided to go back to the car to fix everybody lunch (which by day four I was judging to be more about maintaining control over the cooler and food container than kindness of heart) I opted to bond with the children at the "panning for gold exhibit." No bonding occurred, unless you count the moment I snapped at Megan to quit laughing when I discovered I had some sort of varnish all over my skin that would not come off. With every effort I made to wipe it off in the panning for gold water, I smeared the sticky brown stuff worse all over my two hands.

With a less than kind tone, I told the four children to stay together and meet dad at the car in 10 minutes. I would take Drew to the restroom with me while I washed my hands. The brown sticky substance on my hands was irritating enough, but when combined with sensor water faucets that apparently could not sense my hands beneath them, and further compounded by the fact that I was on day 4 of a family vacation, I took on a less than friendly tone with a worker dressed in period costume who began washing her hands next to mine. I told her exactly what I thought of the panning for gold exhibit but refrained from sharing my true feelings with her about the sensor faucets. (She wouldn't have understood anyways. The water seemed to be coming in a perfectly steady stream for her.)

I gained a small sense of satisfaction when a few minutes later I saw a large tarp being placed over the panning for gold exhibit. As I glanced down at my still stained brown hands, I felt no remorse for the children who would be told panning for gold would not be available during their visit.

With all that said, I was bound determined to return to the car, cheery faced with all five children happy and smiling to greet Mike and our waiting sandwiches. I was going to appear a nice, cheerful, happy mother on day 4 of a family vacation. As I led my entourage back to the car, Drew wanted to be carried and I didn't want to carry him. It was 165 degrees outside and I was hot. As Megan and the children opted to detour slightly towards the store to exchange their $@#% gold for a small prize, I snapped at Megan to take Drew with her. In a slightly louder than I thought voice, I said, "I'm done with him for now. Take him."

With that, I returned alone to the suburban and the waiting sandwiches. Just as I was about to put on my nice-cheerful-happy-mother-on-day-4-of-a-family vacation expression to let Mike think for just one brief moment of our parenting career that I really was all about being a nice, cheerful and happy mother, Mike greeted me with, "I could hear you from here announce to the whole park that "You were done."

The day sort of went down hill after that. But it is a memory nonetheless.
I don't even regret that I ended up having my phone only for the after-lunch photos. Remember by this point I wasn't exactly "feeling the love" so mediocre cell phone photos may actually be a more accurate portrayal...
Here's hoping time dims some memories more than others.

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