Monday, April 05, 2010

Sideburns and Sunburns

L was out of school on Good Friday.

I had made an executive decision to not tell her anything that Friday held in store for her. This meant that when her head hit the pillow on Thursday evening, she knew not that the next evening her head would be resting on another pillow, in another town as our big weekend got under way. She knew nothing other than that she would get up the next day, eat breakfast and hang out at home with B and I.

However, little did I know that this was EXACTLY what she was WANTING to do with her Good Friday break.

Once she woke for the day I told her she might want to get ready, as I had planned a big day...just for her.

She groaned.

(Then so did I.)

She informed me that she wasn't interested in a big day. Not a girl day. Not a day focused solely on her. Nadda. Zip.

She was only interested in a day, staying and playing AT HOME.

I called her bluff and said, " want me to call Aunt Sissy and Corban and tell them that you don't want to go with them on a 'girls day'?"

She said, "Yes."

(Seriously, in that moment, I felt like I could have a nervous breakdown. In my mental playbook of how this day was to go down, this move was NOT included.)

I told her point blank hinted that I thought she might be a wee bit spoiled if the prospect of having a day devoted to doting on her was not enticing and that I, on the other hand, would LOVE for someone to pamper ME for a day.

She wasn't budging, she was crying, but she wasn't budging......and she was only crying because I thought she might be spoiled.


So, I did what I do when I don't know what else to do. I dialed Aunt Sissy, told her she didn't want to go and then handed the phone over to L.

I then went outside to feed our orphan calf and said a prayer that A) I could keep my emotions (and disappointment) in check and B) my daughter would humor me.....just this once.

I returned to the house to find L smiling and talking animatedly on the couch. I took the phone back and asked Aunt Sissy what kind of voo-doo magic she had just worked and she (the one without children) said to me, "It's early, she's tired....cut her some slack. I just told her we were going to Kansas City and she's game."

Sure. OK. I will remember that next time. Apparently the whole "secrecy" thing wasn't working .

So, she started getting ready for our Kansas City trip.

I still had a few cards up my sleeve though........

L didn't know we were staying the night and she still had no idea about the 'main event'. I had packed two days before and our suitcase was already loaded.

B was excited to go see a movie with Mi Mi and L had a new pep in her step.


We arrived in KC pretty early and had plenty of time before our hotel check in. While filling up with gas I asked L when she thought we should head back home.

She thought maybe 3:00 pm. I told her that only gave us 2 1/2 hours....and we had driven longer than THAT.

She reconsidered and said, "maybe 6".

I nodded, "That would give us more time.....but what if we stayed the night?"

Folks, I think that could have been the main surprise because she was so happy at the thought of a motel.

Any motel.

Motel 6. Econo Lodge. Budget Inn.

She didn't care. A hotel is a hotel is a hotel.


We ended up killing some time at a mall. Yes, there is a mall within 45 minutes of our house, but where is the fun in that?

So, instead we drove across the state line and to the Oak Park Mall where we all saw our first double decker carousel.

And, yes, we rode it.
Then as we shopped, L made friends with mannequins.

After visiting only one store, we stopped at Build-A-Bear and L brought to life a new know, 'to remember the weekend'.

Her name was Rose.

We checked into our hotel and asked L what she would want to do that evening if she could pick anything at all.

She said, "swim".

I'll admit, I was going for something a little bigger.

When we broke the news that I didn't pack a bathing suit and our hotel didn't have a pool....we asked her again, "what would you do, if you could do anything at all?"

She smiled and sheepishly said, "a concert."

Aunt Sissy said, "who?...."

"Taylor Swift"

We all started laughing and I finally said, "You know what..? You ARE in luck."

She smiled a big smile and then said, "I am so excited!!!.....I don't even know what to say."

Then, in true motherly fashion, I said, "Aren't you glad you didn't stay home today?"


The forecast, which had predicted thunderstorms, ended up being wrong. The day was beautiful as we made our way to the venue.

As the time grew nearer, L became more and more excited. She didn't mind the opening acts, but she was definitely there to see:

We were all ready for the show to get under way.

"You Belong With Me"

"Love Story"

And L's favorite song, "Should've Said No" wrapped up the show......and stole it. Again.

Yes. She sang in the rain. On stage. Inside.

The next morning L's smile reflected the joy of the night before.

Knowing that it takes time for 4 girls to get around, we decided to order room service.

L stated, "I have never had room service EVER before." Yeah. She's six and no room service. EVER BEFORE.
Please don't call the Division of Family Services on me.


So we ordered french toast and orange juice and she ate three bites before she was "so full" she couldn't possibly eat anymore.

Glad we spent $17 dollars on three pieces of bread, syrup, sausage and orange juice. Thankfully (or not) I had already decided to eat whatever she didn't.

We spent the morning walking around the Plaza.

We heard stories about Taylor Swift shopping and eating there the day before.

(Cue the saying about "A day late and a dollar short....")
(Or $17....I am looking at you, French Toast.)

We snapped a pic of our hotel, The Raphael, before grabbing a bite to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and making our 3 1/2 hour trek back home.....just in time for our family Easter celebration, which didn't take place on Easter.

Outside the Cheesecake Factory with one of the Plaza Easter Bunnies.

On the way home I called Steven and told him our approximate arrival time and heard about their boys weekend. It included tossing quarters...(yes, B is four), trips to Dairy Queen, a buggy ride, riding on a toy car strapped to an automatic horse walker and new nicknames.
B was now referring to himself as "Magic Man". And he told me so himself.

When Steven and B arrived at mom and dad's just as we arrived back from KC, I was so excited to see both of my guys, but one thing was painfully apparent.

1.) Steven doesn't know how to apply sunscreen. (B's face was fire engine was his scalp)


2.) Men should never be allowed to make facial hair choices on their own.


We started preparing for the big Easter egg hunt and corralled the kids and stuck them in dad's office. We drew the blinds and shut the door because no peeking was allowed.

The kids anticipation of finding the "golden (this year it was Reynold's aluminum foil silver) egg" was so much that they were giddy with excitement.

(no, that red isn't reflecting off his shirt and the camera doesn't even do the color justice)

When one of the bunny's helpers came in and briefed the group on the parameters of the hunting grounds, the kids were released.

Yes. It was mayhem.

Eggs were high....and low.
Far and wide.

And there were a bunch of them!

Then, like herding chickens, we gathered everyone and had them take a picture with Grandpa.
The next day was his 91st birthday.

We had cameras poised on tripods....some of them larger than others.

There was running, and repositioning. There were many re-do's.

No. Everybody didn't look at the camera. No, the kids weren't all smiling. No, it didn't look professionally done.


It WAS perfect.

Then we gathered the great-grandkids.

Then all the grandkids and their spouses gathered for their chance to capture a moment in time with Grandpa.

And then the kids......

"This is the day the Lord has made....let us be glad and rejoice in it."


Late last summer, B had learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. He, however, became discouraged with the trouble he had starting and stopping on his own.

He wanted the training wheels back on.

And so, last week, the training wheels were removed. Again.

B seemed to really grasp the concept. He, however, only had one speed: Fast.

While at mom and dad's everyone sat out in lawn chairs enjoying the sight of the kids playing. Having all the cousins together is a rarity and the kids, as well as adults, were taking it in.

B and his cousins had gotten bikes out and had decided to ride them.

B would go flying by and moments later you would hear the tin on the barn make a loud "Boom" and everyone would look and laugh, knowing B had used the 'broad side of a barn' to stop him.

Again, he would go by, smiling cheek to cheek. This process was repeated several times.

As luck, or the absence of it, would have it, there was a crash.

Steven brought a crying B to me. I reached for him and saw the side of his face scraped up...... I held him and whispered my love to him, wishing I could take the pain away.

One of the cousins relayed that he was trying to do "a jump".

He's four.

He's had the training wheels off less than a week.


My kids are often dirty, but not often hurt. I didn't realize that once the blood was clear, I was in for a bigger surprise with a black eye and atrocious swelling.


As luck would have it, the Easter bunny visited our house on Easter morning. Mr. Easter bunny laid in bed the night before as Mrs. Easter bunny, who I might mention was bone tired from the trip, did laundry, stuffed eggs, hid them in the yard with a flashlight, and prepared for the coming day, which consisted of the immediate family coming to our house for Easter lunch.

The kids hunted eggs.....(again) their jammies.....

with B only taking a break once to lower his britches and pee, right there in the front yard.


We dressed for church and B, aka "the magic man", was as handsome as could be....even with the scars.

One quick pic was grabbed before we rushed out the door.....

After church the kids hunted eggs (again).

And the wind played havoc with our hair accessories.

And the hunting? was good!

After church, while Aunt Sissy, mom and I, were working on getting lunch ready, Steven got "ready for the next day" and Pa Pa played in the dirt pile with B.

(Exhibit A: of facial malpractice. Hey Steven, the 60's called, they need their sideburns back.)

After lunch we all decided to sit back, relax and go fishing.

Even Daisy chilled out.

Pa Pa gave B pointers.

Steven and L, tried to reel one in.

After no bites at the first pond, we ALL (yes, all) loaded up on the Polaris Ranger and rode to another pond on our place.
Again, no biting.
Sooooo....we once again, loaded up and went to another pond on our land.
This time everyone who cast a line got a bite.
They were monster fish! Can't you tell?
(Uncle Jason with his fish. He wanted to have it mounted.)
Although the kids had fun fishing, they found that they equally enjoyed just 'hanging out".
After we had caught more fish than we could handle, we loaded up, once again, and rode to the edge of our property, crawled through the fence and walked to the old Reed School, a one room school house that my aunts and uncles went to. My dad, being one of the youngest, went to the public school in town, just after the Reed School shut down.
We enjoyed hearing the history retold by my dad.
We also enjoyed the walk to the old homesite.....and each other's company.

In fact, I have to agree with L when she said that this "was the best Easter ever" and with B when he said that he "didn't think the name Magic Man was working for him."


Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

What a fun time!! I love Taylor Swift too!! :)

Amanda said...

Please tell Steven that look isn't working!! LOL Why do they do that when we aren't around? Glad you had a great weekend. Loved all your photos.

Marlana said...

Lovin' all the pictures! You are such a great memory makin' momma. You are going to go down in history as being the best birthday mom ever!

No room service, seriously? Definitely call Family Services! :)

I love the picture of your great big family. What a great keepsake for everyone.