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July 12, 2003
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The Park, the Lake, and a Chaos of Kids

It's already Saturday. A week, already, of being on the road, on vacation. It's gone by so quickly, it seems crazy... my hands still ache, partially, because, I think, of this journal. We'll see.

We got up earlier today than the other days. I guess I'm catching up on sleep.


5:54 pm: Breakfast was a mild surprise. Janice made great biscuits, cheese scramble, and cut up lots of fruit. Jet actually ate three-quarters of a biscuit! That surprised me a lot. They were crisp on the edges, tender in the center, and rose really well. That was pretty cool, so I copied her recipe and I'll have to try it sometime.

From there we headed out to the Park. There's a thin valley of land between ridges that got made into a community park. So we had to go downhill. Turns out that there was a hidden path along part of the way down there and Jan showed us the way. It was a nice walk in the morning, not too hot, but the sun made it really nice. Jet was already pretty tired from a morning's worth of play, but he was very happy to sit in his stroller and get a ride to the park.

He was more interested in playing with his truck than with the other kids or the climbing equipment when he got there. Marina was very happy to run like crazy and play play play. Jet did do some climbing, went up the two-story high slide three or so times before giving up to play with his truck again. Eventually, he actually came over to climb into his stroller. He was pretty tired, and even he knew it. That was good to know.

We went out to hang out with Jan and Louie. She'd taken him for a walk, as he wasn't allowed in the park or the stream. And we all headed back. Paul and Marina headed for the hospital half way through, as he needed to do something there and Marina was still wide-awake. Jet fell asleep as we pushed him up the hill and had a good nap after that.

I spent a good amount of time dictating yesterday's entry while Jet slept. It was nice to just sit outside and do it without bothering anyone or my hands.

I finished it before my batteries ran our and before Jet woke up. That was satisfying.

We then loaded up the van, got Oliver and Jenna and everyone got into two cars and headed for the airport. The airport was storage for their floating boats, and we got the two boats for the lake. From there we headed for the lake and got into a big fight with Jet over his lifevest. He didn't want to wear it. At all. It was only after we managed to get him out on the water in the vest that we finally convinced him that it was an okay thing to have. He got into the water a couple of times, floated quite well, and he was much happier having the vest on than not having it on.

We went into the wind to start and had luck with that. We nearly got to the opposite shore, where there was some waterweed. Marina jumped off her boat, and swam amid the plants. Jet, John and I shared a kayak, where Jet and I sat on the ends and Jet sat in the middle. It worked out really well, but since it was a self-bailing boat, it took on water really quickly with the extra weight.

We then took a good long time to sit on the beach, talk, sleep, and eat watermelon. Jet actually ate four slices of watermelon, the same stuff that he ignored last night. He loved it and kept asking for more. SO we have another hit, I think, for the short term.

At about 4:30, we all headed home, and Jet and I showered while John unloaded the car and all the stuff we'd brought with us. So we're now sitting with Jenna and Oliver. Marina's cousin, Sienna, came by as well, to go to dinner with us. She's a slender eight-year-old, who is very nice and quiet. It'll be an interesting dinner with five adults and five kids.


9:11 pm: We went out for dinner with a chaos of kids. There were Marina, Jet, Oliver, Jenna, and Sienna with the appropriate adults, and we all went to Standing Stone Brewery, which had to its credit, a whole bunch of toys that the kids could take to the tables. It substituted, quite well, for the toys in Jet's diaper bag. He was very happy to play with some of them, but he was rather fiercely competitive about keeping his toys from both Marina and Oliver, sadly. Oliver and Jet fought quite a lot over items they both thought were interesting. Oops.

But there was chaos everywhere from all the kids on the patio, so Jet and Oliver's little conversations were not of interest to all the other parents there. It was also interesting that Oliver ate just about everything, including a big forkful of salad, while Jet wouldn't eat anything until his pizza came. And when his pizza did come, he peeled off a piece of pepperoni and then started picking at all the miniscule bits of cheese going, "No icky cheese." Wow. So he picked off all the cheese, ate the slice of pepperoni and went hunting for another slide without "icky cheese". He polished off all the slices of pepperoni, being less picky about what cheese was on or off them by the end of it. When I offered him the smallest slice of cheese pizza after that, he was willing to eat it as there was no other pepperoni in sight.

All the girls had ordered butter noodles with a bit of parmesan. So Jet wasn't at all interested in them at all. Oliver, who normally eats the buttered noodles, too, refused to eat his at all. Eventually he was persuaded to eat a piece of Jet's pizza. I actually think that he enjoyed 'stealing' a piece of Jet's dinner.

Jet went back into the restaurant, after he'd finished eating, to get a big bead frame from the shelves of toys. The girls went off to a more secluded part of the patio and started up a play, with Marina directing. That was pretty cool to watch, though it really emphasized the whole 'boys get involved with things' while 'girls figure out social things'. Jet went back in, with me, to find yet another toy. When one of the other dads picked Jet up to see what he was playing with Jet took offense and fought his way out.

From there we walked to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company and had ice cream. All the kids, as we walked there, saw the giant stuffed bear out in front and ran over to hug it thoroughly. Jet nearly tripped over his own feet on the way down, but was very happy to get there and hug the bear around its leg. Squealing ensued.

All the kids got their little cones first. Jet decided he wanted, "Pink!" and got a cone of strawberry. Three of the kids wanted chocolate, and Sienna decided on the cookie dough. All of the kids trooped outside and then draped themselves, in various ways, across the same bench the bear was on. They were extremely cute, each licking their ice cream cone as was their wont, while playing, talking, and being very happy kids with a treat. Jet sat there with a big smile and licked and sucked away at his ice cream. He left a huge strawberry stream down his chin and his shirt, but that's what washing machines are for. John and I used quite a few napkins to try and save the shoes and shorts, and it worked pretty well on the most part.

It was a very happy bunch of kids that followed Paul when he told them to follow him to play Pooh Sticks. They found a bridge, went up under an overpass to find sticks, and Jet followed Paul manfully while still hanging onto his cone and licking bits out of it now and again. They went over some pretty rough dirt areas, but Jet kept up quite well and never dropped his cone. Yay!

He then stood with all the other kids while Paul or Sienna would drop sticks into the stream, rush over to the other side to just spot them. No race here, just getting to see the sticks come out the other side was enough for everyone there. A very non-competitive version of the game, not that the original was that competitive to start...

From there we walked back to the car, through green lawns, a quiet neighborhood. One place was watering their lawn, so John and several of the kids took advantage of the sprinklers and washed off stick hands and faces. Jet actually scooped up a handful of water to splash his face with. That was really neat to see, and he even rubbed his hands thoroughly in the spray to get them good and clean.

We headed home. Marina helped take Sienna home. Both Jet and Marina were pretty tired. Marina didn't want to go to sleep, though, since Jet was up, again. Paul also gave Jet a little concertina concert, which Jet danced, jumped, and capered to for a while John had changed him, brushed his teeth,, and all that. I made up his bed, and finally got him to nurse with me in the livingroom, so he could see and hear what people were doing. Halfway through, I was able to move to the darkened playroom, and he went right to sleep.

Whew.

We're all pretty tired with the hot day in the sun. I'm mildly headachy, and it's really weird to not be rested, yet, after all these mornings of getting up late, it's kind of odd to still feel really tired. Maybe it's just the last several months catching up to me or something.

It's weird to know that the vacation is already well over a quarter done, and I don't feel unwound, yet. Maybe that's just me. Tired all the time from worrying. The lake, today, took a lot out of me, what with all the kids so close to the water, and being uncertain, myself, of my ability to really swim in that kind of water. I did take one of the life vests, so I wouldn't have had a problem even if Jet had somehow managed to wiggle out of his life vest. I wish I worried less about such things, as I can tell that my jaw is just aching from being clenched.

There are other times when I wonder if I shouldn't have just booked a week or so at a monastery or something. Where I wouldn't have to expend such huge amounts of energy every day just to be social with hosts that I do want to be friendly with and everything, it's just the energy to do it all goes away so quickly. I've forgotten how to be social, and I worry, so hard, that it shows.

Ah well. I'm sure I did okay. I'm just so tired. Some part of me will be okay with being at John's parents' house, as they know that I need time alone and don't take it badly. Though, admittedly, there's some part of my brain that still wishes that we'd stayed at home for more of this vacation. So it is.

Travel ho, tomorrow, so we'll be on our way again, and maybe that's what I'm really worried about. We'll see.

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