Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring Break With the Family

This past week it has been spring break for my children. They were thrilled to get a whole five days off school, but have constantly worried that it's too short, and how this other school district they know gets a TWO week spring break (I'd like to know where that district is).

Throughout the week I've heard, "Oh no! Only four days left," or "I can't believe how fast this break is going." The most hilarious one is, "There's no way I'm going back to school on Monday!" Oh yes you are,I think to myself, all while smiling sympathetically at their scowling faces. Monday's going to be a great day for me.

My husband is a big camper/hiker/outdoor guy. He likes nothing better than to take the family camping. In years past I have stayed home with my youngest, claiming that she was too young to camp and it would be too cold. So they've gone without me--Darren and the three older kids--while I've hung out at home with the "baby." (two- three- and four-year olds can be "babies" can't they?)

For some strange reason, I decided to go with them this year. I think it had something to do with my oldest daughter graduating in two years and me wanting to make as many family memories as possible before that happens. Also, I couldn't claim that my almost six-year old was still a baby. Or it might have been that I actually wanted go to some of the places where Dad used to take us camping.

My husband spent a good portion of the day on Tuesday getting ready, while I napped on the couch. I'm still getting over my sickness, remember? I finally roused myself and went to the grocery store to "buy a few things" for the trip like marshmallows and beef jerkey and potato chips--all things bad for you. That trip cost $107.56.

Darren packed up the car while I avoided packing my own stuff. For some reason, I'm very bad at packing. Always have been. At 10 pm I watched "Everybody Loves Raymond" while folding up a huge basket of clothes. Personal tip: If you save laundry folding until 10 pm you can justify watching TV for an hour while you fold.

We were on the road at 9 am Wednesday but I needed to stop at Starbucks to get an herbal tea. This was annoying to everyone in the car. I've never heard such complaining! But I told them we'd all be happier if I was happy. They agreed and we stopped. They got some yummy lemon muffins out of it and Darren ended up drinking half my tea, saying "Wow, this is great tea," numerous times.

The highlights (bright spots) of our spring break trip were:

1. Taking two gorgeous hikes--one in Capitol Reef Nationl Park, Utah, and one in Little Wild Horse Canyon near Goblin Valley. The sandstone cliffs were magnificent and fearsome and narrow. It's a good thing I've recently lost a few pounds!

2. Realizing that my five-year old was deinitely not a baby anymore, but a young girl who wanted to prove she could hike the whole way.

3. Playing hide and seek around the "goblins" at Goblin Valley--the whole family. It was 65 degrees and one of those perfect--and rare--family moments when every one is happy at the same time.

4. Eating at a fun burger joint in Torrey, Utah, where everyone loved what they ate.

5. Running into old grad school friends and chatting a bit about old times.

6. Eating my husband's dutch oven chicken barbecue dinner--yum yum yum!

7. Seeing all the unique desert flowers in bloom and learning their names. Orange globemallow are especially beautiful.

8. Stopping at this amazing rock shop in Hanksville, Utah, and seeing a genuine dinosaur leg bone, and every other kind of rock imaginable.

Things I could have done without on the spring break:

1. Staying in a "cabin" that was really about as big a wooden tent because it was too cold to camp. It was a night of muscial beds and restless sleeping, and WAY too small for six people. But it was cheap.

2. Cleaning out the car after a camping trip. Bionicle heads, red rocks, red sandstone, bags of rocks, empty water bottles, empty cans, kids' meal toys, bionicle swords, pillows, Raggedy Ann, Slushy, Jessie and Fuzzy, (all beloved dolls and stuffed animals my kids can't sleep without) bionicles legs, map, brainquest card game, DVDs, bionicle arms, candy wrappers, more red sand and a crying Indian doll.

3. Buying our son his first pocket knife, and having three cuts in the first 10 minutes of whittling.

4. Thinking that Dad would have loved to be there with us all, and knowing he never would. Thinking he would have been a great pocket knife teacher and legend teller. He also would have known that ancient guy at the rock shop and would have sat a piece with him.

5. Knowing that I'll never eat such good crackling wheat bread again as we found at that old pioneer store.

There were more highlights than bad times. I guess it was a successful spring break after all. But tomorrow's going to be one of the few great Mondays.

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