Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Monday Again...oh Wait! It's TUESDAY!!!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all were able to take Labor Day to rest (ha ha) or to do whatever Labors were non-office related. My overseas readers, is Labor Day celebrated outside of the states? I don't think so. In that case, Happy Tuesday for getting through Monday!

We labored yesterday, but it was worth it. PC and I tackled our bedroom which had seemingly overnight turned into a walk-in closet/pantry/video library/filing system (I use the word "system" very very loosely). SmallBoy also worked on his room to get it ready for the "BIG BOY" makeover. Now that he's just weeks shy of 9, he and I decided it was time to lose the little boy theme and go for the big kid look. He worked hard, well, sort of, all day with a lot of prompting and nudging from PC & myself, and a bit of help from his brother and sister. Before I delve into that, though, let me brief you on our weekend.

As I had mentioned the other day, we all planned on crashing early on Friday in order to be awake by 5:30 Saturday morning for our trip to Michigan. Well, some of us crashed early (SmallBoy, LargeBoy) and some of us didn't (Girl, us). We all managed, though to be up in the morning. SmallBoy, PC & I got up at 5:30. Girl and LargeBoy were up at 5:00. I was shocked! They were excited, though. LargeBoy had recently been to the cottage and knew what absolute fun was in store and Girl, never having been there, was chomping at the bit to see what all the hype was about. SmallBoy got up as soon as his alarm went off...he's been dying to get up there, too, after listening to all of us talk about it.

We piled into the care at about 6:15, stopped for a box of munchkins and coffee, and headed out. It was a long drive, but there was minimal traffic. Even through the blasted construction for which this state is notorious, the only times we slowed were at the toll booths. The scenery, once was got out of the construction state, was incredible. As we crossed the border into Michigan, we began to see what was left of Hurricane Katrina. As she headed east across land, she sent some storms through the state earlier and was finally fading, looking simply like the remains of a summer storm, only the clouds were MUCH lower and it was clearly visible the circular pattern of the clouds. We remarked at how something that now looked so harmless could have inflicted so much damage on the Gulf just days before.

Stopping part of the way there for a stretch break and a potty break, we still made great time and were pulling up to the cottage within about 2 1/2 hours - probably less. The kids were enthralled by the surroundings...the unending trees give a sense of living out in the woods. After we unpacked the car, we grabbed ET, SIL, and Princess, who had come up the night before, and walked through the grounds to the dunes. Bear in mind these are not your average dunes. The first one we climbed seemed to go on forever. I was a little worried about SmallBoy, but he kept up with me and little by little, we made it to the top. My legs were already starting to feel the workout. Reaching the height of the dune, PC showed the kids the breathtaking view of the park and the bright blue waters of Lake Michigan. They gawked, sighed, and took off racing down the dune! We warned SmallBoy to make sure that if he fell, to close his mouth and his eyes. Well, he fell and came up with a face full of sand. He got right back up in time to watch Princess come tumbling down, almost in a flip, and land right on her face! We gave her a "10" for the grace and form of the fall. We finished the large dune and hiked over to the small Sugar Bowl dune and took off down that one. After telling the kids to be careful where they ran and to watch out for sticks, branches and roots, I snagged my foot on a very large root sticking out of the sand. As I felt it hit, I realized I had two choices, rip my foot out from underneath and scrape the skin off the top, or continue running, fall, and more than likely break my ankle. I opted to scrape off the top layer of skin. If you've been following my blog, you see that I have been accident prone lately.

Dunes behind us, we took the scenic route back to the cottage...along the beach. SmallBoy, not having much experience with large bodies of water, hadn't the slightest idea of the strength of the waves breaking on the shore. PC, ET, and I had all talked to him and told him that he needed to be extra careful and to not walk too far in while we were walking along the shoreling. Of course he didn't listen, he was too taken by the lake to even comprehend what we told him. With my hand around his, though, we all made it safely back. Once back at the cottage, the kids all asked if we could head back to the beach to go swimming. Absolutely! Everyone changed, we packed up a cooler, grabbed some towels and chairs and walked right back down. This time we took a shorter route that meant following trails. LargeBoy and Girl loved it. SmallBoy enjoyed it, too, but wanted to be first. Not knowing where he was going, or the trails at all, we had to convince him that he needed to hang back and follow our leads.

You'd think, after hiking to and over the dunes, and walking back along the beach, fighting the waves, that the kids would have been exhausted. I think they probably were, but no way were they going to admit it. SIL and I hung on the beach while the kids (yes, that includes PC & ET) headed into the water. They went out to the sandbar and were diving off the edge where it dropped off into deeper water. I have to mention something that I though was absolutely adorable. As I was laying on the beach frying, I heard PC and SmallBoy calling my name. As I looked up, I saw PC holding SmallBoy in his arms and then tossing him into the lake. They did this over and over with both of them laughing each time. It made me feel good to see more of this bonding between them.

With cries of "I'm hungry," coming from the small fries, we abandoned our stuff and walked over to the soda bar for some chow, pigged out, and walked back to the beach where we passed a few more hours. Finally we headed for home and started to think about dinner. PC & ET headed into town for wood for the beachfire while SIL, Girl, and I tried to persuade SmallBoy and Princess to snooze for a bit. Ha! A short while later we filled our bellies on BBQ- chicken, slathered in ET's blueberry BBQ sauce (OH YUM!) and hot dogs. There wasn't enough room for all of us to eat at the dining room table, so we let the kids eat inside while we grown ups ate outside on the porch. Terribly relaxing.

Afternoon faded into evening and we packed up to head back to the beach...this time with warm clothes and firewood instead of bathing suits and chairs. PC, ET, and LargeBoy got the fire going and then we all kicked back to watch the sunset. The purples and oranges reflected over the lake were incredible. The kids had seen sunsets before, but nothing of this magnitude. They were in awe as the sun slipped below the horizon and seemed to have been swallowed up by the lake, as there was still a glimmer of red-orange glow on the water after the sun had set. Nightfall had set in and it was time to concentrate on the fire.

Beach fires are a LOT of fun. This time, though, I was there as a parent instead of as a participant. I constantly had one eye on SmallBoy so that he would be safe near the water. Girl and LargeBoy settled in quite nicely. SmallBoy was all about roasting marshmallows. ET had to guide him through the proper procedure, but he wasn't interested - he wanted to do it himself (a characteristic of AS). After a while, SmallBoy tired and fell asleep on the mat that we had brought down. We set him far enough from the fire where he was out of the jumping range of the sparks, yet close enough to be wrapped in its warmth. We covered him with a sleeping bag and let him sleep. Princess curled up in SIL's lap and did the same. We were joined by a group of people from St. Louis and chatted for a while. At one point I did my typical mom move and dozed off in my chair. I'm not sure how long I was out, but once I woke up, I realized I had to take SmallBoy back to the cottage and get him into bed. This is when being the parent really kicked in. I wasn't about to make LargeBoy and Girl end their evening, it was only 11:30, for pete's sakes! I really really really wanted to stay, but I needed to take care of SmallBoy. So, PC and LargeBoy went back with me to tuck him in (thankfully we hitched a ride on a golf cart). PC & LargeBoy then went back and hung out and had fun. It's good for them to bond like this! Girl and SIL were like sisters all night, too. We did some girl bonding too...the outdoors-y kind. Once back at the cottage, though, I spent all of ten minutes moping to myself about how I still wanted to be down on the beach until reality kicked in and said, "Um, HELLOOOOOOOo...more often than not, you're going to be up here without the kids, so suck it up and...ZzzzzzzzZzzzzZzzzzzz...."

We left the next day, headed home and went to the concert. I must say Jimmy Buffett was awesome. I've seen him 11 out of the last 15yrs and he never fails to impress me. He wore a New Orleans shirt to make sure that we all remembered our neighbors and family struggling to get by and, at the end, went out to the bleachers with his guitar player, Mac Macanally, and played acoutstically "The City of New Orleans" while showing shots of Bourbon St and the rest of the city. It brought most of us to tears, but it was amazing, nonetheless. The show was unbelievable, though!

Ahhh, back to Monday. We all slept in late...would you expect any less...and then dove headfirst into our room cleaning project. After nosefulls of dust and dirt, struggling to clean against my sunburned stomach, and still being exhausted from the weekend, the room was conquered and so was SmallBoy's! We ate dinner, packed up for school (punted on a paper that LargeBoy had since Thursday and a printer that didn't work), put SmallBoy to bed, and sat down with a movie, during which I did my usual...fell asleep. And here we are. It's Tuesday. One day closer to Friday!!!!!!

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