Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Perfect Day

The pictures are finally downloaded, so here is the long-awaited post about my month of luscious, lazy leisure. (That phrase acutally sounds better if read with a British accent.)

On July 3rd, we drove to my parents' home in Utah, all in one day. It is a long trip, but we left at 3 am to arrive by dinner time and the kids did remarkably well. July 4th was the usual melee of parading, pyromanism, sweating and barbecuing. You know, the usual. I'll spare you my July 4th patriotism tribute/diatribe this year.

The next day we left for five wonderful days in Bear Lake. Plantboy has 8 siblings and every other year they do a family reunion. They take turns planning so that it is always some place different. It was our year to be in charge, and it has actually been a year in the planning to put it all together. (Read: stressful). We chose Bear Lake as a central-ish location rather than bringing everyone to us. All seemed to enjoy themselves and each day was fun and unique. I think it was a little bit harder to really enjoy myself because of the whole being in charge thing; the first day or two was especially stress-inducing.

My big kids were mostly very well-behaved, though the baby was a little bit harder. I think he was so sick of meeting new people and sleeping in a different bed nearly every night for a week that he was kind of a bearcat. Still, getting together with Plantboy's family (whom I really love), and doing all of our fun activities was wonderful. Here are a few pictures of some of the good times.

I'm so careful about Patchy's ultra-pale skin that he was the only one who ended up sunburn free. Even the baby got a red spot on one cheek.
I guess if your mother is a science teacher then you have to look at fossils to call it a vacation.
Everyone is smiling in this picture because it is BEFORE we hauled the two little ones down and then up 440 stairs in Minnetonka Cave. (That means we hit each stair twice for a total of nearly 900.)
This is a cute picture at the beach because it is all boys. The truth is that on Plantboy's side of the family, as of three days after the end of the reunion, there are 15 grandsons and 15 granddaughters. Every kid in this bunch got at least a little bit sunburned despite much diligent re-application of the Factor 150.
And how can you say you have been to Garden City without the stop at LaBeau's? I pounded two orders of French fries so fast at this place it is almost embarrassing. Almost. I didn't drink the fry sauce.
Sunset at the back of the cabin. Each family told a pioneer story and then we roasted smore's. My kids are in the gray and blue, half-turned in the center. It was a little lengthy but very cool. Uncle Sterling, of course, told the story of our great-great uncle Bob Squarepants. Hm . . . . not exactly what we had in mind when we requested a pioneer story.
One night, while we were all sitting around, we got to talking about what would be your perfect day, and would that include kids or not? I have been thinking about that a lot. Could there be ONE just perfect day? (I mean, the term perfect is absolute, right?) Would it really be a perfect day if you attempted to plan it that way? Or would it just happen on its own. Maybe a perfect day would include the kids, or my husband, or both . . . or maybe just myself. I had perfect days in each of May, June and July of 1996. There was a perfect day on my mission. Oddly enough, all we did was tract, but there was a feeling of testimony so down deep in my bones that there has been no room for doubt since. Every time something seems to not add up, I think of that day. Plantboy and I had a perfect night stargazing in Logan Canyon while we were dating. The day my #2 was born was quite perfect. There could have been other perfect days, but I think I am too much consumed with worry and planning.

But I digress.

After Bear Lake, Plantboy had to return home for work. He flew; we stayed for a few extra days. During that second week I was much-consumed with caring for my little brood, but there was time for some great things too. I mentioned before my fabulous visit with Nem and Desmama: two women who would live in my ideal neighborhood. I was having a good hair day that day. I helped my mom watch my sister's kids overnight and it was fun to see the five little boy cousins interact. My dad said it was no better than herding cats to get them to do what you wanted, but it was fun. My sister and I scrapbooked until one o'clock in the morning one night, laughing our heads off over old episodes of "The Office." I was able to see my mother teach a Relief Society lesson. There was another family barbecue, everyone is living within an hour of my parents now except for us, and a trip to Pine View dam. The waterskiing was not quite as sublime as my morning at Bear Lake, but it was still so much fun. On our last full day we rode the Front Runner, just to give the kids a train ride. Here are pictures of my husbandless week:

We actually took five kids on the Front Runner, but Patchy didn't want to get in the picture because he was really freaking out before we rode it. He calmed down once we got going.

Cousins. L-boy is actually more like Patchy's age but Scallywag's size.

Of course we had to get a picture in front of the breakdown train.

There is no such thing as fun if L-boy is doing sports. He takes this very seriously. Love the helmet.

Uncle Treff winds up for the pitch.

Patchy is less than serious.

Captain Tootypants wonders when he'll be big enough to play.

I love this picture because it coincides almost exactly with this post from last year. It is fun to see the kids on the same set of rocks to note how they've grown: and that we've added one.

I'm not sure if this is called leading off the base or the potty dance.

My mom came back with me to help with the driving. On our return trip we divided the driving into two phases, which made it a little easier on the driving, but the hotel room was a bit confining and crazy. On day two of our driving we discoverd a fantastic outlet mall just over an hour from my house. Mom couldn't believe I'd never been there, but I reminded her that except to see movies, I'd only been to the mall close to my house once in the past year--the last time she visited. On day three, Plantboy took half the day off and mom babysat so we could have a day time date. Oh, and we ate these carrots for Sunday dinner. Aren't they beautiful?

But day four.

Oh, day four. The PERFECT day.

Our only plan was to rent a mini-van and head to Haceta Head Lighthouse. We only had a vague idea of how to get there and a memory of a visit from six years ago.

I think that the beach below the lighthouse is officially going to rank on my list of the five most awesome places I've been*. It was impossible not to feel absolute joy as we lay on the beach watching the kids play and having a great time. My mother and I laughed until we were giggling like school girls. During low-tide we found pools of anenomes and rocks covered with mussels. During high tide, the waves crashed their freezing blasts up to my knees reminding me why I love the ocean so much. The view from the lighthouse was charming and a stray sea lion came to sun herself on the rocks below us. I was enchanted by the purple and yellow flowers clinging to the roofs of moss covered caves created by the tides. I have no adequate words for how perfect this spot is. Just. Seventy. Minutes. From. Home.

We found a delightful ice cream shop on the way home which features a flavor called "A Taste of Oregon" which has blackberries and hazelnuts. My kids were great; the baby slept coming and going and I really have a love for the minivan. When we got home, everyone was exhausted so we watched this favorite movie from my childhood that my kids have only recently discovered. Dinner was simple and delicious--my favorite chicken salad on warm pita bread with fried red potatoes from Plantboy's garden.

The kids went to bed early. Plantboy and I did too. . . .

A perfect day.

Mother returned home on Monday. (Insert sigh here) It has taken me a few days to adjust to normal life, but I had a teacher once who said that the memories and anticipation of summer vacation were better than the actual event. I think there is something to that. I have a golden memory that will shine for a long, long time.

* The other four are in no particular order: Glacier National Park (Montana) in July, Delicate Arch (Moab, Utah) in February under a full moon, Three Sisters National Park (Katoomba, NSW, AUS) either lightly dusted with snow in August or under a full canopy of ferns in December--its a toss up, Snow Basin (Ogden, Utah) on a perfect, sunny, late winter day off work.



Yay for pictures!
Yay for vacations!
Yay for cute kids!
Yay for happy families that you can tolerate being around for weeks at a time without major drama erupting! (That's a factor that makes me envious of you)

I'm flying to Seattle to see a friend in 14 days. I am freaked out because the plane trip is over 4 hours and I'm a nervous flyer. Some ladies are converging on the Oregon coast and the plan is to drive over and meet up with them. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest before but after seeing pics from your blog and a few others it really looks scenic and gorgeous.

FoxyJ said...

I'm glad you had a perfect day! And now I'm even more sad that UO didn't want me...

Z. Marie said...

Love the photos! And I think discovering places practically in your back yard always is a bonus -- especially outlet malls.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

Here's to many more such days in your life.

N.F. said...

What an awesome post.

Makes me reminiscent (?) for my Idaho family reunions from my childhood.

Caitlin said...

The northwest coast is so beautiful and I can see why you had such a wonderful time. I also just read about purple carrots so I'm glad you posted that picture.

As for the X-Files, I was the biggest fan ever until about 2000. Then the show "jumped the shark" as they say. I literally have been following the news of the second movie for the past 10 years. The release date was announced in December of 2007, so I have been waiting almost 8 months for tomorrow. My husband is moving his company from California to Houston and he won't be back until late Saturday night. So I am facing a huge dilemma, do I get a sitter and see it tomorrow night with all the die hards or do I (painfully) wait until Tuesday (we can't get a sitter on FHE night)? Since I have had the kids by myself for 10 days, I vote for the former. Unfortunately the reviews have all read pretty similar: weak on story strong on the Mulder/Scully relationship. Personally, I thought that was the strongest point of the show. The tension/emotion/respect between the actors was almost palpable. So I am excited for that. There is also talk of a third movie if this one does well. I think I hear my nerd alert going off so I had better stop here.

A thought on your last post...My husband was also surprised at how profoundly affected he was after seeing "The Dark Knight." He had the same thoughts about the Joker's disregard for rule of law as well as human life. We talked for a long time about this and came to the conclusion that those who are truly evil believe that man has the power to do only one thing and that is to destroy. Thanks for you insight, I sent a link of your post to my husband so he could read it as well.

The Grahams said...

You've got me thinking about my perfect day. Your vacation did look great. I would love to see the Oregon Coast, it looks amazing. I love the ocean, the sound, the smell, the peace. Do you think you guys will be there for a long time??

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Long enough for you guys to visit I hope!

Yankee Girl said...

I love the pictures! We are thinking of doing a family reunion at Bear Lake in a couple of years--either that or Zion's.