This summer has been a totallly different story!
NAUVOO:Brian skipped driver's ed teaching to go to Nauvoo with the EXTENDED Wayne Family for a 3 day excursion.
Since I used to live there, it was really like going to my 2nd home. This time the kids appreciated where I used to "Go to Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade (as well as some others, but they can appreciate those grades for now). They also appreciated where I lived when I was "7" and "5" - how old Brooke and Ty are now. "WOOOAHHH!"
We went on the buggy tour which has TOTALLY changed - I liked the change - even the crazy crossing the creek part, feeling like you are totally going to tip over: THINK LEGACY. It is the same area that THAT wagon tipped over, which was not scripted.
We even had a TORNADO WARNING, unbeknownst to us. I used all my feminine wiles to convince Brian to stop at the top of the hill right in front of the temple to take some awesome lightening shots of the gigantic storm coming in. I did get some cool cloud shots. The sky exploded before we got to the hotel, and we were made to sit in the HALLWAY with a ton of EFY and YOUTH CONFERENCE kids in the hotel away from all the windows and wait out the TORNADO warning. I actually quite enjoyed it. But back in the Chicago burbs, our front porch got BLASTED IN...its duck taped for now...
WISCONSIN DELLS:This is the EXTENDED Wayne Family Excursion #2. We left the SAME DAY Brian finished teaching Driver's Ed for the summer to go stay at a friend's vacation house up there...unfortunately filled with MICE!! Tyler erupted in an asthma outburst, and we hadn't realized why until we saw a CUTE, FURRY, ADORABLE....EEEEEEEEK!.... MOUSE SCURRYING across the kitchen floor. Every trap we put out from there out was filled within just a couple of hours....so that was a fun activity for the kids to watch...
However, it was SO SO SO SO AWESOME to go to the Indoor/Outdoor water park of Chula Vista. I would TOTALLY recommend that to anyone going there. We DID go on a Tuesday, but hardy any lines - I just have gone down 60 different times ALL the various slides, except for the superhigh straight plunge yellow one - no THANKS! Brooke and Tyler LOVED IT, and Brooke has become my new partner in waterslide/ride thrills. We BOTH like to lose our stomachs. Brian's stomach is probably on par with a 3 year olds...or maybe a 63 year old...more delicate.
We also went to the Army Duck boats. I had heard they were cool and a "must" but my experience was LESS THAN STELLER! I was in the very front seat behind the driver, and felt the direct line of heated pipe exhaust blast out at me until I felt TOTALLY nauseous and sick. Then Kylie fell asleep on me, her bare skin totally sweaty and wet against my legs. She was draped across me, making me even more hot and feeling trapped. We went only about 7 miles per hour in the boat in the water, and I just envied the people in the JET BOATS who were going so fast, and having a swift breeze!
We also did mining - very timely because Brooke has been VERY into whose birthstone is whose - and each of the kids, and our, birthstones were all represented. Brooke was SO happy to have an AMETHYST in her mining bucket.
OHIO AND KENTUCKY:So since my sister is living in Ohio now, we thought we would visit them and make a trip out of it. What we DIDNT realize, was that the weather was going to be in the 100s and upper 90s, with dangerous heat indexes. So walking around Cincinatti was a scorcher, but during the baseball game we went to it TOTALLY poured and cooled off to our RELIEF. Our attitudes improved incrementally with each degree it dropped.
We camped directly following the game, in a tiny camping spot the size of a toilet paper square, that they charged us TWENTY DOLLARS to camp at!! It rained the whole night, and all I could think about was how hard it was raining, the lightening with all the trees around us...and waking up every 30 minutes to make sure the kids were OK. We got 8 people into a typical FOUR MAN tent - not bad!!
OFF TO KENUCKY - we decided on RED RIVER GORGE - reading about how its like the "ARCHES" in the midwest. We pitched our tent and got a campfire going...with MUCH effort on my sister Tami's part. Just when it was time to put our tinfoil dinners on, it started thundering and the OMINOUS CLOUDS blew in with threat. We cooked away, and during the intermittant downpours we scurried to get the kids in the 4 man tent for shelter, while the rest put covers over the fire and food to make sure it could still cook. It was after all, our meal for the next 3 meals. The rain would stop just in time for the kids to stop killing each other for a few seconds and they could go out and feel the freedom of the outdoors for 3 whole minutes, before the next downpour would start, and we would RUSH the kids back into the tiny tent...there were 5 kids including my neices. After the pattern continued for the next hour, we were actually able to eat with 10 good minutes of no rain. The sun decided to stay out for the next 3 1/2 hours as we got to go on 3 cool hikes - the kids did AWESOME. Even accident prone Tyler did well - and no WHINING! I couldn't believe it! Our good luck didn't TOTALLY hold out though, it rained all night long! Isn't there some rule that says it HAS to rain while you camp in a tent?
There were signs everywhere talking about some crazed maniac bear that closed the park down for a week, just days before we got there. They hadn't caught him yet...so of course I laid awake thinking that every noise was a bear, or a snake. There were several poisenous snakes that just LOVED the area, and so we had to make sure on our way to the outhouse at night we had a flashlight to look for snakes.
We woke up to EXCEEDINGLY GREAT DOWNPOURS, very similar to the the rains Noah experienced while the people of the earth were drowning. That is the weather we had to pack up the tents, sleeping bags, and kids in. And in this totally mangled, nasty,damp, smelly, frizzy-haired condition, we decided to go...where else? THE OUTLET MALL!!!!!! I made the mistake of trying to do an exchange at Aeropostal and they looked at me like "What HOLE did YOU crawl out of, you nasty lady?" Seriously, it was appalling how I looked, and it was also APPALINGLY HOT! Not a good combo - all I could think about was 2 THINGS: Air conditioning...and SHOWER.
The rest of the trip was more relaxing - we went to splash pads, had game night, went to my birthday lunch at BDs Mongolian Grill -YUM, and some Key Lime Cheesecake with Almond sprinkles from CHEESECAKE FACTORY - equally YUM!
CANADA TRIP/ JACKSONVILLE: That brings us to the present. Brian went on a brothers/dad trip out to Canada border - probably more in Minnesota. Haven't heard a thing from the boy...his phone is of course dead. I am at my parents house picking out flowers, decor, and cake pans, for my sister Susan's wedding...trying to relieve my mom's stress a little. I had a hunch a lot of the wedding stuff would fall to me - the cool, crafty, oldest sister with good taste...at least that's how I am choosing to look at it.
TONITE? We are watching HARRY POTTER 1 ( Brooke is JUST getting into them!) while doing Susan's wedding bouquet and the boutineers. I can't think of a BETTER COMBINATION!!