Sunday, March 26, 2006

Family Visits and other Mayhem

We have had a bit of a rollercoaster of a life lately. Ups and downs all crammed into a short period of time, it has been quite a ride! When I last posted we were thick in the prep for a visit from family. But before that could happen, we had to take time to say a special good bye to our good friends who were moving to Kansas. We had the family over for dinner last Saturday night. This picture is of the girls, A, E and M, all together for the last time, for a while anyway. These friends are keepers, so we will not say goodbye forever! We plan to catch up in September at the Live and Learn Conference in Albuquerque, NM. And I feel a road trip east is in our future, even if the girls and I have to go it alone. The girls handled the goodbye with great maturity, even better than I predicted. I think I was the one to shed more tears!

A lost her tooth late that night, after the tooth fairy could get her on her schedule. AND she lost another tooth at church on Sunday. One of the kids accidentally bumped her mouth with his elbow and her tooth fell out! She said it did not even hurt. She shared her excitement with everyone during the kid's time, a first for her. The kids share what they are grateful for, or something that is troubling them, and she has passed on sharing until now. She was very proud of speaking up! Later that night when her cousins got here, we found out one of them had lost his first tooth that day. The tooth fairy had two jobs at our house that night!

Our whirlwind of a visit began in earnest Monday morning. After a nice breakfast, we headed out to the Shark Reef to check out the sharks and fish and other animals there. This is a picture of the kids at the touchpool part of the tour, where they could touch baby sharks, horseshoe crabs, and stingrays. Afterward we rode the tram to the Excaliber to eat lunch, stopping to get a picture with the Dragon, of course. Then we walked to M&M world, that three storied palace of consumption and consumerism! A spent 18 bucks of her own money on a huge bag of M&Ms, all in pretty pastels. After that we headed back to home and everyone rested. Well, not me, since I had a nice dinner to make.

Tuesday, I needed a rest, what with everyone getting me up way early, so all but me and the little girls, A, E and their cousin, went to wander around the Bass Pro Shop. It is quite an experience, with all the stuffed animals, tanks of indigenous fish, rock climbing wall, and cool boats and other stuff to look at. But I had been before and the girls did not want to go, so we stayed home and played. Later in the afternoon I took those interested to the strip to check out the Venetian Canal shops. I had not been before and it was cool, but not too much different than the other casino malls.

Wednesday we went to Red Rock for a hike and a picnic. We stopped at the visitor center, since we had visitors with us. A got up close and personal with one of the wild Burros that comes to steal the desert tortoise's food and drink his water. He was hibernating so I guess he did not mind this time. A wanted to touch the burro, but I did not think that was a good idea. She relented. We left the visitors center and drove on to our picnic spot. It was near a spring which flows out of a crack in a rock. Here are the kids looking for tiny snails on the rocks in the water. They found some. After the picnic, we went for the hike. For some reason, A wanted to stay with her grandparents who were not up for hiking. E wanted to do whatever A did, so she stayed as well. We took the rest of the gang on the hike to the waterfall. There was snow in patches once we got into the shade of the mountain. My nephew hit me in the nose with a snowball, ambushing me from the top of a huge rock. I returned the blow later, hitting my BIL since he was the main accomplice in the crime. I think they really enjoyed the hike and snow and water flowing in the desert. When we got back to the picnic spot to pick up the others, A was very distraught to hear that we had seen snow, and she had missed it. She was not happy with her choice to stay with her grandparents. I did the best I could to console her, but she remained upset for the whole ride home. When you give them the power to make their own choices, you can't save them from their mistakes. All I could do was soften the blow. Here is a picture of the kids and their Papaw.

They all got up very early to fly home on Thursday. We slept in and went out to a park day with the Life Learners. It was good to have that to distract the girls from missing their cousins. A was gloomy on Friday, missing them. I told her she could choose to be grateful for the sadness since it meant she had had three fun days with her cousins. She considered that idea but stayed sad for a while longer. It had been a good visit and she needed to mourn the end of it. We had a quiet weekend recovering.

One more bit of news is that we bought the trampoline, finally. It is not here yet, but we are eagerly awaiting it's arrival! We will probably have it up for April and May and then set up the pool for the summer. I can't wait!

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