This year's family vacation memories will be preserved in words rather than pictures since I completely forgot to pack our camera. Several times I missed it at a particularly adorable-child-moment but since it was actually the only item besides clean socks that I forgot to pack, I counted myself pretty lucky.
Early yesterday morning we loaded our station wagon with supplies and kids and headed North. Destination: Silverwood Theme Park. Although our kids are a tad young to appreciate such a venture, Hubby had never been there and I had not gotten there for almost ten years. Also I did a website for my friend Jilann recently and she was wiling to barter with me for entrance passes which sealed the deal. Our family vacation would be Silverwood this year.
We arrived uneventfully although somewhat late to meet our friends who were offering not only passes but slave labor in the form of their two daughters to wrangle my kids for two days. It did not take long for their services to be needed, for, in the 95 degree heat my daughter got heatstroke and had a major meltdown. Jilann took her home to cool off where my daughter actually threw up twice. Poor little kid, she'd had too much. But since Jilann had the kids, Hubby and I rode the roller coasters all afternoon, cheerfully abandoning our progeny and their zookeepers to their fate. When we did finally go pick them up, Jilann had given Natta a bath and even fixed us dinner. I bow to her in awe. I would have been hiding under my bed.
That day was one of the times I really needed my camera because we had splurged a little early on and gotten Natalie's face painted. She had a spotted puppy painted on her face, a round black spot over one eye and a little red tongue drooping down her chin. After the bath, however all that remained was a ring of black around one eye, giving her a comical too-much-eyeliner-on-half-her-face look.
During dinner in which she continued to peer innocently out from her eyeliner, we ate out on the deck where Jilann's pet peacock (!) had proceeded to defile the deck in several areas. Natalie was incensed by this, especially when she accidentally stepped in it. One would have thought it was acid-laden the way she screamed and shook her foot. Seth as usual calmly looked on, accepting bites of dinner that Hubby placed at intervals into his rosebud mouth. That kid never lacks dramatic entertainment.
Speaking of dramatic entertainment, Jilann's girls have a kitten who, to all appearances, is possessed by pure evil. We did not realize its sinister nature until after dinner when finding a scrap of food on the deck, it suddenly erupted into a growling frenzy and clawed every available creature within a three-foot radius that might possibly steal its morsel. I tossed it a few more bites to the amusement of everyone at the table. The kitten pitched a growling fit over its bites, scaring even the hungry dog away from its tidbits, which included of all things a tomato. I have never in my life seen a kitten growl so fiercely over a bite of tomato.
Later that night we drove down to the Lake and stayed in Grandpa's cabin. Natta slept like the dead, having gotten her sickies taken care of but Seth coughed and wheezed well into the night, causing me to have a panic attack because I thought he was asthmatic again. I had Hubby so worked up he was ready to take the poor little guy into town to the ER (an hour away) when Seth suddenly settled down and fell asleep. We discovered later it was just a cold.
Well into the wee sma's we fell asleep too and morning came far too early. This morning both Hubby and I were so grouchy that it's a wonder we're still married. A visit to a nice coffee shop in town took care of this problem and we both felt somewhat ready to face the day. Some cough/cold medicine for Seth and we felt almost back to normal.
Mom and Dad met us at the Park and the girls were with us as well, so we made quite a merry party. This time Natta seemed to continue feeling okay, but Seth deteriorated as his cold medicine wore off. By dinner time he was a limp ball of dough in his stroller, set to patiently endure whatever else we threw into his day in the form of travel or rides. He did emerge from his stupor long enough to enjoy the carousel ride, but only because one of the colorful landscapes painted on the whirling ride contained a moon.
Natalie, on the other hand, had a wonderful day. The girls took her on ride after ride: Dumbo, the train roller coaster, the airplanes, the kiddie ferris wheel, the tree houses. She rode the "big real train" around the park three times and gloried in the carousel. Her Papa and Mama (my parents) ended the day with a rousing water gun fight in which she shot two big buckets of colored balls at a boat. Seth loaded the balls.
We were exhausted but happy when we pulled into the cabin for our second night after dropping the girls off at their house. The memory of that twilight drive along the lake, the sun sinking into fiery clouds, the silhouettes of the trees reflecting in the lake and the soft strains of the kids' lullaby CD playing will be forever etched in my mind when I remember this summer.