Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Weekend in the Clouds

This past weekend we went to the home of our friends, Kyle, Kristi, Mia, and Micah in Great Bend, Pa. They live on land that the Landis family is developing into a Christian camp, The Loft. Yesterday, Kendall was reminiscing about the weekend, and looked out our window and pointed in a northerly direction slanting towards the sky and said, 'Mommy, Mia lives just over there, up there high enough to touch the clouds.' This is Kendall's sweet interpretation of Mia living in the mountains.

So we left on Friday evening after Andy got home from work. Let me say that Friday was chaotic. To pack for four people for both inside and outside entertainment in the winter is overwhelming. Well perhaps just to me, and if this is not to you, well then pat yourself on the back. So we had a bag and basket for snow gear and boots, and then an over sized duffel with all the other clothes. A basket of blankets to keep us extra cozy and warm up there. Our pillows. I don't know, it is one of those things, while growing up we always took our pillows with us when we were going to sleep somewhere. It is the contour of the divot I suppose that your head has worked so long to achieve that gives you a peaceful rest. Then the bag of toiletries, diapers, wipes, so on and so forth. Camera, little fan, (because I was not about to have my children awake in the middle of the night because of loud boys), food and snacks, and then entertainment for the ride. (this included a basket of books, activity pages, magna doodle, snacks, a flash light, and Ariel)

Andy thought that they both would sleep on the ride up there since we were leaving after dinner. To assist in this dream, I did not give Kendall a nap that day. So you can imagine mid afternoon the hell that broke loose from and over tired girl and her Mommy not packing every last thing, just in case. 'Mommy, please, please, we need to take all the princesses, what if I need them?!?!' And this went on from there, over books, walking out to the van to load things, so on and so forth. Now Ethan, he napped, he needs a nap, I need his nap, daily. So as we embark, finally...he was 1/2 right, Kendall was out 10 minutes into the drive. Ethan? Bright eyed and bushy tailed the entire road trip. We played guess the sketch, on the Magna Doodle, either he is a really good interpreter, or I, brush my shoulders, am a pretty good artist. I rig up a flash light so that he can read. About 30 minutes away he starts the freak mode. Where, this is it, I have had it, this is so boring, I feel like I could rocket right out of this van. So I start saying, Ethan, ' there is a big truck coming up to Kendall's window, LOOK!!' And so it went on like this for the duration of the ride. Andy would slow down and speed up to catch tractor trailers. A little shout out to 81 and the truckers, my son loves you.

Ethan taking in the snow and cold weather, so not his style.

When we arrived Kendall awoke to a snowy and cold tundra, where we had to unload all of our things at the bottom of the hill and load them into Kyle's pick up. Why? Well because the driveway was a sheet of ice and is vertical. So then you can ask, how icy was it? Go ahead. Well was we start up to park next to Todd and Mandi's car, my husband, asks, ' I do not understand why we can't get up, it doesn't look that bad.' I am not lying as the sentence is coming to completion out of his mouth, and as I am thinking, 'bad idea' in my head, we begin to slide backwards. Awesome. Then the van begins to turn sideways. So now we are parallel, on a sheet of ice, on a hill, with two ditches in front and in back of us. He could not have got that van parked like that even if he had tried. So up this hill I see the lights of Kyle's truck, and I say to Andy, 'put it in park, and no one gets hurt.' No, I really just calmly suggested that maybe since Kyle is proficient with these conditions, perhaps he should get the van out of this predicament. It was a funny predicament to me. Just this van in the middle of a mountain road of ice, sideways. I love you honey.

So we get there.

Kendall and Ethan are awake, and I decide to let them play and explore a bit so that they can get acquainted with their surroundings. Mia and Micah were asleep, and so after about 30 minutes, I took them off to bed.

Then I return to the 5, Kyle, Kristi, Todd, Mandi, and Andy, playing this board game, Would you Rather or something like that. I don't know what the game is all about or its point, I came in mid playing. Kyle says he just loves this game. Kyle would. It is a game that involves debate, instruction, embarrassing challenges, i.e. Kristi having to act like she was a cat for an entire minute about to pounce something but portraying it as an interpretive dance. I know. Todd was going to have to belly dance for I think 3 minutes or something, but then my husband said something funny while he was taking a swallow of his beverage and it sprayed all over the table, floor, and games. Game Over.

The girls, we went to bed, the boys, they geared up and went outside on the gator until 4 a.m. on back trails, doing who knows what.

Ethan, Mia, Kendall, & Micah, getting ready for movie time.

Saturday, the kids got up and were instantaneous best of friends, and that was the tone of Saturday for them. It was just lovely, besides yelling, 'slow down,' and cleaning up after them, they entertained themselves. We went sledding before lunch with the kids. Ethan of course refused this. It was a big hill. Kendall loved it. But he tolerated being bundled and outside for over an hour. Then the toboggan was hooked up to the back of the gator, and it pulled everyone around an open field. Kendall of course refused to do this, so after Mia took her turn Kyle and Andy decided to whip each other around. Then Kyle got the fantastic idea to just hold on to the rope while being pulled by the gator, on foot. Kristi and I just gathered the children and took them in. I don't even think we watched what happened. I heard Kyle later talking with Andy and Todd about when he does that again, what would be the best thing to wear so that he does not get snow down the front of him. That is these boys.

This photo cracks me up because in the background is Kendall looking like the kid in a Christmas Story when he is all bundled up to go outside.

Daddy & Kendall on their first run.

Ethan, extremely content to just watch.
Kendall upon the gator, as it whips Andy around.

After, in Kendall's words, 'the best lunch ever,' I think she was so hungry, the kids took naps. From this point on the weekend went on, with Planet Earth playing in the background. Todd had brought out the dvd's while we were outside, and from that point we watched it whenever there was down time.

Before dinner I took the girls out for a walk to get some energy out and the appetites up, and Andy came to pick us up at the bottom of the hill in the gator. We then traveled on some of the paths in the woods, while Kendall kept a look out for Snow White.

After dinner Kyle and I thought, well the kids need baths, we will just put them in together. So we put them in Kyle and Kristi's bathroom tub. I left the boys up there to handle this situation and I began cleaning. Kyle then came down and was going downstairs I suppose to check a circuit breaker because the jets weren't turning on. All I needed to hear was jets and I started up the stairs. At the flip of the switch, they went on, and the screaming started. I then ran up the stairs to find a naked screaming Micah in Andy's arms, and Ethan flailing to get out. Needless to say, almost 2 year olds are deathly afraid of jacuzzi jets. So the boys and their weight get out, the level goes down, the jets go back on, water, water, spraying everywhere.

Post jets, still worked up as all get out.
Sunday we woke up and began packing up. Kendall was so sad to have to leave. As we were saying goodbye to Kyle who took us to our van, he said, 'well you guys should come up again next year!' Apparently he didn't have as much fun as we did. I think he was trying to say that we should make a point of doing this every year at this time, and we will see each other when we can in the middle, but just the same, it sounded so warm and inviting, don't you think?

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