Monday, April 27, 2015

Scrambled Thoughts XIIIb - Let's Talk About More Vacations

(Me, Katie, and Cindy)

1 - It's a sure sign of Burn Out when you start a happy little dance that your plane is delayed by 30 minutes, because you're all by yourself!  

And now you have a full half hour to stroll, unhindered, through the airport with your camera phone to see what there is to see!  Listening to no one and thinking about nothing!  Solving no problems, cleaning no messes, following no instructions... just free.  Free to be, and to see, and to breathe, and to fill your camera roll with art you love.

But then, of course, when you get to where you're going and see the people you're coming to see, you forget all about how burned out you are and spend so much time talking and listening and thinking and solving and soaking up the wonderfulness of friendship that you entirely forget that you're carrying a camera around in your pocket at all, and never use it once to get a snapshot of you with two of your very best friends.  Girls' weekends... there should be more of those around.

But you do use your camera when you're stopped breathless by the beauty of the ocean.

And by the flowers near the ocean.

And by the cutest stranger couple cuddling up close to each other with a backdrop of the ocean. 

2 - If there is such thing as a Universal Bucket List, I would add: Find yourself on a boat that is surrounded by a giant pod of wild dolphins.

Because, amazing.  Amazing. A-mazing.  And, the best part was that there were babies.  Babies!  See the cute little guy below on the right side of its mama?  The babies swam right alongside of their mamas and warmed my little mama heart with their cuteness.

Also, there were whales.  They were quite impressive themselves, though I have to say that the dolphins were just too cute to be beatable.  I will have to go back someday.  And that time, bring my real camera with a zoom lens. Though, kudos to my little camera phone!

(Alders, Larsons, and Paxtons)

3 - Hiking is way more fun without shoes.

This picture is of Miles... and it scares me.  Because just yesterday, I pulled the giant toenail clippers out and he said, "Uh, what are those?"

Wait.  Okay... so, first of all, I don't clip my kids nails very often.  But, second of all, what Miles really meant to say was, "Uh, those look like fingernail clippers, but they're much, much bigger," because, really, he does know what fingernail clippers are.  It's just that he's always had sweet little boy toenails that got along happily with those fingernail clippers until just recently, when his toenails underwent a sort of growing up phase in which they now respect only the strength that comes from the giant ones.

Anyway - 

"Uh, what are those?" he asked.
"These are just like fingernail clippers, but they're toenail clippers," I responded.
He gasped, wide-eyed and afraid, with a hand protectively sliding over his toenails.  "But... but I like to bite those!"

Oh son, please don't bite your toenails.  Because you like to do things like hike without shoes on...

...well, he can't be bothered to worry about things as trivial as sanitation when he's in the middle of climbing a giant rock and posing like a cheetah.  Because, apparently, cheetahs pose like this, I was informed.

4 - If you're lucky enough to be able to hike in Sedona, you're lucky enough.

It has such a fantastic mix of red rock and green.  And pink, when Juli wears her pink pants.  

I don't have a wide enough lens on my big camera to get shots like these, so I have to trust my phone.  I am almost always happy with the results... but once in a while I get a picture uploaded onto my computer and notice that the focus was off a bit.  Usually I just delete those pictures, but this next one was so beautiful with the light and the kids and the colors that I just couldn't slay it... Just pretend those beautiful kids are in sharp focus... ah... now isn't that lovely?

5 - The debate is over.  Girls are more pain tolerant than boys.  McKenzie, Emily and Elise settled that matter once and for all.

These girls even outlasted Brian in the stand-in-the-freezing-cold-water-for-as-long-as-you-can game. Teek's little feet weren't bothered much by the cold water, either.  In fact, none of him was... there was a point where he'd stripped down to nothing but his T shirt and began doing push-ups to dip the tip of his nose in the water.  So, maybe I should say that Girls and Teek are more pain tolerant than boys... ?

Though, maybe not, because mostly he just liked to throw rocks in the water and watch them splash.  

6 - Rocks are nature's toys.

7 - Apparently there is something invigorating and exhilarating about being submerged in freezing cold water.  I. do. not. get. it.

Some might say that makes me boring.  I say it makes me smart.  Eventually this boy was dripping wet from the roots of his hair down through the numbness in his feet.  Insane, I tell you. Insane.

8 - Sometimes the picture of joy and invigoration and exhilaration that you are poised and ready to capture as your son comes careening down slippery rocks on his backside turns out to be different than you'd expected.

I guess slippery rocks can be a bit unpredictable.  And so can 5-year-olds.

He gets over things quickly, though.  Finding holes to stick your entire arm into helps.

9 - Everyone needs some sassy in their life.

10 - Wherever we go, whatever we do, I'm happy to spend my life traveling with this bunch!

Though, this picture makes me realize that, soon, with the way things are going, I'm going to be the short one in all the vacation pictures...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Scrambled Thoughts XIIIa - Let's Talk About Vacations

Today is your day.
You're off to great places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go
 -Dr Seuss

Vacations make me happy.

Like, really, really happy.  

Since this is true, and since I had a not-so-very-happy-after-all winter of Moving Blues, we decided to fill our spring with vacations to turn that bit of unhappiness around into a spot of happiness again.  Also, it's probably important to note that while the Calendar Of The United States and Beyond says that spring goes from March through May, the Calendar of Las Vegas Weather goes from early February through April --- because apparently, starting this weekend, we hit the 90's, and we're not likely to turn back.  So, there's that.  Spring is over!  Good thing I just bought a new swimming suit today.  Anyway, on to some scrambled thoughts of our vacations.

(Alders and Aldriches)

1. Traveling alone with my children makes me feel like the boss.  And I like to be the boss.

{See picture at the top of this post}

I'm sure you know by now how much I love my husband.  I'm so sure, in fact, that I won't try to convince you of that fact again.  But traveling together means that there are two bosses, which means that neither one of us is really the boss, and instead The Boss turns out to be a combination of the two of us that smells a lot like compromise.  But when he's not there, I get to be the boss!  The one and only!  Which means that if I see some cool ruins on the side of the road that I'd like to stop and look at, done!  Feel like eating at Chick-Fil-A?  Done!  Want to listen to my boring-to-him-but-enlightening-to-me podcasts?  Plug 'em in!  Crank up the kid CD's and dance like a teenager again; stop at the rest stop just to have a footrace; plug in the phone while we're sitting in our driveway and trust it to take me all the way there without checking it fifty thousand three hundred and forty seven times.  Ah.  Freedom, I tell you.

The kids and I piled into the van on Friday morning after sending Brian off to work and began our drive out to Santa Cruz.  Actually, we were headed to the San Jose airport where, 10 hours later, we would pick up Brian after he'd finished his long day at work, and caught up to us in the air after traveling for one whole hour. Then we'd drive the last 45 minutes into Santa Cruz together.  And it was so.  I definitely got the better end of the deal.

2 - Santa Cruz always offers a breath of fresh air - both literally, and figuratively.  Ocean breezes and framily have a way of making that happen.

3 - Long, fun days make us excited to see our beds.

4 - Sometimes I get jealous of my friends that live in beautiful places.  But then I remember that I can visit them, so I stop being jealous and start being happy that I have friends that live in beautiful places.

Can you even?!  Look at the light on that grass!

And, what's more, these are all phone pictures.  It was that beautiful...

(Me with the youth in our church)

5 - California sun one weekend, Utah snow the next.  I'm not sure it could get much better than that.

Also, it's been a long, long while since my feet have donned a pair of skies and they were happy to get reacquainted with each other.  There was a time in my life where I'd go skiing every weekend, you know, but that was fifteen winters ago.  I wasn't sure if I was embarrassed or proud to realize that I was wearing the very same coat after all those years.

6 - If you are in charge of a group of youth, and you decide to spend the day with one of the girls that has never been skiing before, it is your responsibility to tell her we should not, in fact, follow the boys down the mountain to the steeper slopes.

Otherwise, she might fall and twist her knee.  And then need to be carried down the hill in a toboggan, loaded into an ambulance, and driven to the first aid wing.  But, if that does happen, you might get to ride in an old fashioned ambulance and that could be fun.

(Just us!)

7 - When someone like me brings a camera to the Grand Canyon, lots of the pictures end up looking the same... like I'm taking pictures of very grand kids in front of a very grand canyon. 

So I might decide to take a picture of a branch to shake things up a little... But find out it kind of looks the same after all.

So, hey!  How about *I* jump in one!  There's something new!

8 - March Madness waits for no one.  Even the Grand Canyon.

So if you need to cheer your Blue Devils on while sitting atop a rock overlooking the Grand Canyon, then by all means, go ahead.

9 - Turns out historic Route 66 in Williams has some pretty dang good extra cheesy pizza if you ask me.

Also if you ask Teek.  "Pee-za! Pee-za! Pee-za!"  Everything is always repeated in threes if he's extra excited about it.
The kid in back seems to be excited about it, too.

10 - Speaking of cheese... "You're so cheesy," Brian said when he saw the following picture:

Get it?

11 - Speaking of even more cheese, Teek has an awesome cheese smile going on these days.  

12 - Hey guys, stand in front of that church steeple and I'll get your picture!

Cool.  That was fun.

13 - Bearizona - see what they did there? *wink, wink*

It's a zoo where you can see bears in Arizona!  People are clever... People. are. clever.

I've never been one for zoos much.  So, it was fine.  We did see bears.  Lots and lots of bears.  And even three tiny nine-week-old bear cubs that looked no bigger than a newborn human baby.  Even I had to admit that was adorable.

14 - A friend once said to me, "I truly believe that children are the greatest artists." ... or something to that effect.

 We went out on a 'beauty hunt' one of the nights, and I told Miles to help me find some beauty.  "Anything you see that would make an interesting picture, you just holler and I'll be there with my phone in an instant," I said.  Did he pick some awesome things, or what?!  (And I only just realized that, somehow, two of the exact same pictures of Teek made it into this collage.  Hm.  Well, I'm simply too lazy to go back and fix it now.  Besides, it helps the layout, I suppose, to have that extra picture.)

15 - Big kids are awesome

Because Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders die with older children.  Need I say more?

16 - There are two more vacations that really should be part of this post, but I feel this madness has gone on long enough.  

So I'll have to split it up and bring part B to you another day.  Farewell!