QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A fun time was had by all

Last week’s vacation was particularly gratifying because 64% of the group with whom I was hangin’ was unaware of my blogging habit, and therefore prime targets for blog material. There were 11 of us, and my family of 4 were the only beings conscious that they were bloggable; it was a beautiful thing.

I remain close with 3 of my high school friends from the Chicagoland area, 2 of whom tolerate me enough to schlep their entire families, along with mine, on vacation together every summer. This was our 9th annual summer adventure, and this year’s destination was beautiful, rainy Colorado.

We left Sophie in the doggie spa, complete with pedicure appointment, and set off ….

The first day it rained… kinda hard. But we managed to have some fun anyway.

We rode those 4-5-person bike buggy contraptions around a big lake, except for the husband and me on a tandem bike.

Those suckers are scary until you really get going; actually, they’re scary when you’re going any speed. You have no control. At one point the husband hopped off and the 11-year-old (now officially 11) hopped on and all hell broke loose:

“Stop wiggling the handle bars; we’re going to CRASH!!” I screamed at him (literally screamed).

“I’m NOT doing it on purpose! Do you think I’m doing it on purpose?!!!” the 11 year old answered.

(do I look calm?)

Meanwhile, 100% sure we were going to bite the dust any moment as we dramatically wiggled back and forth over and over, I lamented that we lacked bicycle helmets. My life flashed before my eyes. I stuck out my feet to try and slow us to no avail. I was utterly helpless. I’m so sorry for everything, God, I began apologizing….sure the end was near…

When we finally gained momentum, the 11-year-old slammed on the brakes (with me behind him) – I can tell you that the concept of inertia is alive and well (an object at rest stays at rest; an object in motion continues in motion. I was the object in motion…).

Why are you slamming on the brakes!” I yelled.

“Because you’re YELLING at me!” he teared, visually and completely in despair.

It was not one of my finer moments as a mom. I had to bribe back his affection with a full-sized Snickers bar.

Boy that was fun. Shew.

If it weren’t for my friend’s 7-year-old daughter who innocently kept showing, to everyone we passed, the cut on the back of her middle finger (Look! I have a cut on my finger! she kept yelling), it would have been a complete bust. I tried to get a picture of the 7-year-old naively flipping the bird to all passersby, but alas, my camera was out of batteries at that point.

Here she is with her "I hate you" finger (as her parents finally explained) politely holding onto the handle.

At one point the 13-year-old had taken over the tandem bike with the husband. He rode one way with his Dad, and then on the way back the Dad was gone. “Do you know you lost a passenger?” I queried.

“Oops!” he yelled, turning around.

stranded Dad

The next day it rained kinda hard AGAIN. …. But we managed to have some fun anyway. We moms (whilst the Dads went to various beer breweries for tastings) took the kids to a really “fun” park where they have this giant banana slide that always puts the tune from the 80s kids’ show Banana Splits in my head.

Remember that ungodly happy bouncy annoying tune? It went, and I quote (ahem): “la la laaaa, la la la laaaa, la la la la la la la la.” Remember? The “fun” park went really well until the kids starting whining that they wanted to do it again and again and again and we moms were reduced to complaining that our kids never appreciate the nice things we try to do for them and looked forward to the evening’s cocktail hour’s beginning a bit early.

The next day it rained kinda hard AGAIN… but we managed to have some fun anyway.

In the morning the husband had to do a conference call for work with about 12 Elk in the front yard of the mountain house. I guess they were looking for some finance tips in this down market, but he managed to keep it all confidential.

Speaking of Elk, there are a plethora in Estes Park, CO. They’re everywhere. Just look. I was particularly excited to see this big guy from the safety of our car:

oh look! More Elk... they're ubiquitous out there....

and more! (okay maybe these were deer)

We hiked, the whole crew, 2 miles up to the top of a mountain the same day.

Is it cocktail hour yet?

It all started auspiciously enough until there was some whining and some scraping of knees incidents (and it was too late to throw in the towel and go back for an early cocktail hour). We had to fight for our packed lunches at the top around a lake where a mean pack of chipmunks tried to take our food from us.

On the way back down it started to rain again. That was really fun, what with all the whining kids and being underdressed for the cold temperatures and the mud and everything.

The next day it rained kina hard again! We went to town and did some shopping. The kids got some ice cream cones.

I (and the other adults) had planned on mooching from the kids’ ice cream cones,
but they all got disgusting, unsensible flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy, so I was forced to send the husband back for a chocolate-dipped waffle cone filled with double chocolate ice-cream with brownie bites (or something like that). He had to run to catch up.

Do I hear an "awwww... what a nice guy..." ? Yup!

I even shared, which was unusual for me and chocolate. I was proud of myself.

On the last day… it DIDN’T RAIN!

We went on a hike by a beautiful waterfall where we posed for a gadzillion pictures which will be used, as the tradition goes, for Christmas card photos in 6 more months. We took a few steps, and posed for pictures. We took another few steps, and arranged ourselves for a photo. More and more photos... Inbetween poses the Dad of the youngest in the group, the 5-year-old girl, swallowed a few valiums in an effort to calm his nerves while his daughter climbed on the tall rocks around the river.

All in all, a fun time was had … and this is what happened when I urged the boys to unpack:

I guess I had it coming.


  1. LOL...looks like you all had a great time despite the rain. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. wow - looks like a great vacation.
    I DO remember Banana Splits!
    Love the I Hate You Finger, too...funny!

  3. Is that my hamper? Sure looks like it. Except we just got back from one weekend away. Glad you had fun. Glad you saw elk. Glad you had ice cream. Glad you shared. It's good to have you back.

  4. the price for a good time. fun vacation, my favorite the injured finger.

  5. I've been to Colorado a skillion times. My parents lived there.
    I've never seen an elk. What a gyp.
    We went "shining" for elk.
    My mom hit one with her truck.
    I've eaten ick, I mean; elk.
    It's waaaay better when you shoot 'em with your camera.

    Your pix are lovely. It looks like great fun (except for the death trap bicycles, fearless rodents and cliffhanging toddlers.)
    You beat the rain for sure.

  6. You weren't kidding about the weather, in some of the photos the sky looks downright nasty. Looks like you had fun anyway.

  7. Looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing all those wonderful memories. That slide...I just went on one with my two year old on my lap and it was fun. Banana Splits is actually still on Boomerang and my 5 year old will watch it every once and a while and now I have that song stuck in my head.

  8. Hey! Your huz is kinda hot. I can't wait for Andy to go gray. Love the lid back on the hamper. Welcome home...

  9. What a great trip!

    What part of Chicago? I'm a McHenry brat, 45 minutes outside the city...small world

  10. Yay! You're back! I missed you!
    What a great vacation. Your pix are great! (Those elk look like they're wearing underpants...) and I love that you take the trip with your HS friends. CO looks beautiful!
    Good luck and welcome to laundry hell. (Otherwise known as everyday at my house.)

  11. Great pictures, and I loved the term "The I Hate You Finger".

    And now I want ice cream.

  12. I love Colorado in the summer! We like to go to Aspen and hike up a storm. So sorry it rained so much but it looked like you had a great time anyway.

  13. Looks like fun...ugh, I have the post vacation laundry pile staring at me too.

  14. Yippee. I am so glad you are home. You were gone far too long. Looks like you had fun (duh) and I love that you don't share your blogging secret with too many. What would we all blog about if anyone knew what we do in our spare (and not so spare) time?

    'whilst'. happy sigh.

    If I had a picture of every time my husband has a phone stuck to his ear while on 'vacation', well, I would have a lot of pictures.


  15. That's a whole lot of rain! Looks like you guys had an incredible time. And kudos to you on the hawt husband score!

    Also, lmao @ 64% of the people not knowing about your blog. Too funny!


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