The boys spent some time at camp, so it was just Hannah, Emma and I at my Dad's house for most of the time. Poor Buzzard had to stay behind and do the whole make-a-living thing. He was also saddled with a sick dog, so a felt a wee guilty living in the lap of luxury. It felt so strange, after a few really busy weeks, to sit in a quiet place with no agenda. Hannah and I weren't really sure how to act at first, but we decided sleeping late, being a little sloppy with all our stuff, and eating all manner of delicious food just felt right, so we went with it. Turns out, we're experts at being lazy and pampered.
I will confess that I was overly nervous about how Emma was going to do on this trip. My Dad lives in the House of Many Breakables. I envisioned constantly having to rescue things from her grasp, all while distracting her from a steep wooden stair case and his hundred pound German Shepherd. Well, she never went near the staircase - not even once - and she did a nearly perfect job of minding her P's and Q's when it came to touching things. (In all fairness, the remote control had very colorful buttons on it, and I personally think all the glass doors look less boring covered in tiny handprints.) Despite Emma's extraordinary exuberance over the "DOOOOOGIEEEE!!!!!", Abbey the German Shepherd was a superstar. A well loved, often chased, frequently petted, and sometimes poked and proded superstar. All was well.
Hot Springs is positively over run with deer this year. It is a sad scenario for the wildlife, but for us tourists, it was fun to see several groups of them wandering around at dusk. These blurry babies still had their spots on, as Hannah tried to catch this shot out the window of a moving van. Not bad!Every year we visit Granna at work to lunch with the lovely ladies who work with her. I call them the dental darlings. This year we timed our visit precisely right because it was Anita's birthday and there was cake. I've now caught on to the system and wish I would have figured it out sooner. Visit on a birthday and get homemade dessert and lots of fun birthday poems. I'll be carefully planning all my future visits. Okay darlings, this one's for you....
Roses are red
and Emma is blue
We're out of Flipz crackers
and she misses you!
By far a Hot Springs highlight is a visit to The Shack; the best burger joint EVER. Or perhaps that's visit(s), plural. When our waitress commented on the frequency with which she had the pleasure of serving Toddler Who Makes Much Noise, I told her I didn't think an every other day rotation was unreasonable for someone who only gets Shack food one week out of the year. Their hot fudge milkshakes and fried catfish are the perfect prelude to a long afternoon nap, all of which have "vacation" written all over them.
One night we attended a fish fry at my Dad's church. Emma was quite taken with the pinata decorations. Okay, this catfish was battered in Louisiana hotsauce then fried to perfection. Hello, southern. I highly approve of religious gatherings where the dessert table is four times the size of the buffet line. Hallelujah and amen to that. I had not seen the new stained glass widows that the church had installed and they were absolutely spectacular. It was fun to meet my Dad's friends, and I had to tease him about how efficient the whole evening was. Here's how you know you're in a church of retired folks (other than the dessert table)....the gathering starts at 6:00, so you arrive at five to six, are through the line by 6:10, and by 7:00 they are hauling away the chairs and vacuuming under your feet. Church doors are locked by 7:20, max. We need to be gettin' on home to digest some dessert, y'all. Let's party like we're old. :)
One of the best things about the week was the fact that we had time to just sit and enjoy Emma. No stranger to ruling a roost, she took to the attention from her adoring fans rather nicely. :)
Before long it was time to pick up the boys from camp. I love the first five minutes of our reunion when they are all excited to see me and feel the need to share a week's worth of stories and memories all in one run-on sentence. It's that explosive energy that reminds me why I've missed them so dang much.
It's tradition to head to the Shack (where else?) with our friends after camp for a celebratory lunch and for the happy campers to share a few more minutes together before we pry them apart. One family we camp with lives in Missouri now, so we only get to see them once a year. That makes camp extra special for my boys. Here's our cheery bunch of sunburned, non-showered, bug bitten, camp song singers. They shared an awesome week together, and the fact that I got to hear all about it over my third milkshake of the week made me a happy camper too.
Karen, me and Melinda...
My boy playing with my camera.
Our last night in town we took the boys to a pebbled beach for a swim at sunset. Ever since they were tiny we've given them kitchen strainers to take to the beach to use to catch minnows and sort rocks.
Then we came home and took a walk on the golf course to chase deer. Can you see the deer over to the left??
Granna found this deer skull on a walk in the woods. Bones really impress young boys.
We wrapped things up with an early birthday celebration for Hayden. He got a Major League Baseball game for the Wii and he was thrilled. Thanks, Opa and Granna, for a really fun visit!