Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who Wants to Marry Me ... Again?

Our family recently had the pleasure of going on a lovely beach vacation.  In fact, if you've read my recent post, "Stress on the Beach," you already know about my disastrous swimsuit mishap. 

But there is another story worth telling from this vacation, and this once revolves around my in-laws, with whom we were staying in a large, multi-bedroom rental house that afforded us the luxury of our own space while still allowing us to spend time together.

The house was really lovely, which was a relief after our disastrous trip down.  We had gotten stuck in traffic, and every time the car stopped, my 20-month-old daughter Clara would scream and cry from the backseat—so essentially, we'd move a few feet and she'd take a breath and pause, we'd think we were in the clear, then traffic would come to a standstill again and she'd resume her wailing.  I'm pretty sure I have some permanent hearing loss as a result of the screeching—it literally went on for hours.

At one point we stopped at a rest stop to get some more snacks and drinks for the kids (we'd thrown everything we had at them so far in an attempt to keep them distracted from the fact that we weren't going anywhere), and the children leaped out of the car and pranced around with huge grins on their faces.  My four-year-old son Evan shouted "We're here!  Where's the ocean?"  *sigh*

After begrudgingly piling the kids back into the van (with new snacks and beverages in hand), we resumed our stop-and-go pattern until we finally found an alternate route that was less jammed up, and let me tell you, it was absolutely exhilarating to be able to exceed five miles an hour.

Despite our delays, we finally arrived at the house. We were haggard and tired, but grateful to be there, and we were immediately distracted from our recent ordeal by whispered rumors that my sister-in-law's boyfriend had brought along a ring.  We already knew that he was planning on asking her to marry him, and it was now obvious that he planned on proposing during our stay at the beach!  The excitement was palpable, and we began placing our bets on when the proposal would take place.

As it happened, they were engaged by day three. There was much celebrating and admiring of the ring (it's an absolutely gorgeous blue diamond), and after lots of shouting, squealing and hugging, we grew wistful and began telling stories about our own engagements and laughing about our own wedding mishaps.

Evan, sensing the excitement in the air, donned a ring-pop and pranced about, proudly announcing that the ring meant that he, too, was engaged.  When we asked him who he was planning on marrying, he cuddled up to me and said sweetly, "I'm going to marry Mommy, because she's my best girl."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  I think I did a little of both.

Evan continued to wear the ring-pop stub even after he had devoured the lollipop, and he showed it off to every passerby in town who would take notice, proudly announcing, "I'm getting married!"

It was a magical time for everyone, and I had the honor of doing the engagement photos (I'm a photographer in my "spare time"—it's something I don't talk about much on my blog, but it's a passion of mine).  Here's a photo I took of the gorgeous ring! 

There was much to be happy about in addition to the engagement, for my husband and I had just celebrated our eight year anniversary. And when my in-laws offered to put the kids to bed one night so that we could have a rare evening out to celebrate, we wasted no time in accepting the offer!

We chose a fancy restaurant with a view of the water and had the pleasure of enjoying a rare romantic dinner at sunset. The baked brie was pure heaven on a plate, my scallops were amazing, and the view of the sunset over the water was stunning. We held hands, drank wine, reminisced about our wedding and marveled at the fact that, in two years, we'll have been married for a decade.

We posed for some photos between dinner and dessert.  It was all very romantic; the combination of drinks, music and sunset definitely had us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  My thoughts drifted wistfully back to my wedding, and by the time our desserts had been eaten and our alcohol-laden coffees had arrived, I was feeling quite inspired to do something romantic and wedding-ish again with my sweetheart.

I shot my hubby a flirty look as he snapped my picture with my decadent coffee, and as he gazed at me lovingly across the table, I proposed my brilliant idea.

"So honey, what do you think about renewing our vows for our tenth anniversary?  Wouldn't that just be perfect?"

I was met with a blank stare from my husband.  "Why on earth would we want to do that?" he asked.  "What—didn't we mean them the first time?"  I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open.  Did I really have to explain this?

I said, "We could go somewhere and do it on the beach.  I could wear my wedding dress again."

He responded, "Oh, I get it. This is just to prove it still fits, isn't it?  It's some kind of female validation thing."  I was horrified.  That couldn't be it, could it?  I mean, sure—it would be awesome if my dress still fit, and I would love to have an opportunity to wear it again, to get photos taken, to carry a bouquet... but surely this wasn't all about me.

I started waxing poetic about how romantic it would be, and how much more meaningful the vows would be now that we had kids, and...

"So we'd get a vacation out of it, at least," he interrupted, "without the kids?" I said that yes, naturally if we renewed our vows we would take a second honeymoon, and that it would be without the kids.

He snorted. "Good luck convincing anyone to watch the rugrats for a whole week.  And what—I'd have to get all dressed up in a tux again and pay someone to do a ceremony and everything?  Can't we just take a vacation?"

I stared at him and began to realize that he had zero interest in renewing our vows.  Absolutely none.  I slumped in my chair and pouted. "So, you really don't like the idea of renewing vows?" I asked sorrowfully.

He smiled and said, "Heck, if you can find a guy who's willing to do it with you, I'm all for it."

(dramatic pause)

"And THAT," I said, "IS GOING ON MY BLOG."

He glared at me and I thought I detected some smoke emanating from his ears. "Well," he said ruefully, "apparently I have to watch everything I say around you any more."  I informed him that if he'd stop being an idiot, he'd stop getting quoted on my blog.

So, I guess now I should start the search for a stand-in for my husband for that renewal of vows.  But whoever submits his application is going to have to remember something—this handsome little guy has already claimed me, and he's got the ring to prove it!
I love my Mommy!
Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our Trip to "Crazy-Land"

We are fortunate to live extremely close to a major amusement park—let's call it Crazy-Land for the sake of this post.  For the past two years we've endured our son's endless pleas to go to Crazy-Land (we drive past it at least once a week).  We finally gave in this past Friday.

On Friday morning we schlepped the kids, the giant jogging stroller, changes of clothing, swim gear, towels, water shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, sippy cups, extra underwear for my 4-year-old son (just in case), and our proudly purchased discount-passes (my husband saved $13 off of each ticket at our local grocery store) to the park for a day that promised to be all sorts of... well... crazy.

My husband bragged about his genius at finding discount passes as we pulled into the parking lot, and I was forced to acknowledge that, as always, he was the bargain master, and yes—generally his skills at ferreting out the best deals were under-appreciated in our household.

I believe I was still stroking his ego as we tried to unload the heavy bags that vomited out the back of our van as soon as the hatch opened, when the man from the car next to us approached us and said, "Hey, you guys wouldn't by any chance want some free passes, would you?  I have four extra and they're only good until Monday, and we're looking to give them to a family who could use them."

I had begun to say, "Oh, isn't that nice of you, when I was cut off by my husband, who said, tight-lipped, "No, we have passes already..." then, "dammit!" under his breath. 

I patted him on the back comfortingly as we strolled toward the park.  He was taking the whole matter rather hard (he is very serious about saving money, and I knew he was already thinking about what he could have done with the cash we had spent on the tickets), but he promised he would get over it, and we proceeded into the park.

As soon as we crossed through the turnstiles, our son Evan began strutting about, hands on his hips and rump shaking, shouting "Oh YEAH!!! Oh YEAH!!!"  He then began running back and forth in a random zig-zag pattern, flailing his arms about and shaking his head, and the looks he was attracting from the passersby said that they were slightly concerned he might be having some sort of seizure.  I returned their worried gazes with a look that I hoped communicated "He's fine—he's just a spazz."

We decided to start the day with a nice, calm train ride to get our 20-month-old daughter Clara warmed up to the idea of the park.  We boarded the train and Evan was extremely excited—he continued his endless chant of "Oh yeah!" during the ride (this occasionally morphed into Justin Bieber's "Baby, Baby, Baby...Ooooh...and then back into "Oh yeah!" was like the remix from hell), while Clara—who was downright terrified—spent the whole ride shrieking in my ear and frantically screaming, "No CHAIN!!!  BYE-BYE!!!  DONE, DONE, DONE!!!"   Needless to say, it was not a very relaxing ride.

Once we had extracted ourselves from the train and steeled ourselves for what the rest of the day promised to bring, we redirected the children to the kiddie area, where there were more age-appropriate rides available.

What ensued was rather predictable—Evan saw the various attractions and began frantically running from ride to ride like a chihuahua on speed.

Clara was initially scared, but then she spotted this statue of Snoopy and was quite content to stand there and molest it for a good half an hour, so I babysat her while Evan went on some rides with his daddy.

And, fortunately, we were actually able to convince Clara to ride a couple of attractions (especially if they resembled a swing set) before we took a break for lunch. 

After lunch we decided to head to the water park.  I took both children into the ladies' room with me to change while my hubby rode one of the new coasters that had recently been installed.  Changing myself and two children into swimsuits is quite the feat on an ordinary day, but considering that my son was still running about like a yippy-dog on crack, and that I had no leash with which to tether him to a toilet, it was absolute chaos.

Clothing was thrown randomly into whatever bag was closest as I tried to keep Evan from running out of the bathroom, giggling, with just a shirt on and his wee-wee flapping freely in the breeze.  I considered it a triumph that we didn't leave a shoe behind and I still had both of my own children with me when all was said and done. 

The stroller was now completely useless, as in my panic I had randomly loaded it down with bags that were now bursting at the zippers, threatening to explode and haphazardly spew our belongings onto the cement.  My husband returned from riding the roller coaster, flushed with excitement. He saw the stroller and the look on my face and frowned.

"Was there... a problem?" he asked.  I glared at him and said, "Take her!" thrusting our daughter into his arms and grabbing Evan by the hand before he could dart away again. 

We trudged over to the water park and headed for the kiddie play area.  Clara wanted nothing to do with it.  She wouldn't set foot in the water without shrieking, and when I tried to take her down one of the little baby slides on my lap, she panicked and ended up pooping in her swim diaper.

No, Clara wanted nothing to do with water play.  She instead found a reclining chair, pulled a towel from one of the bags, and sprawled across it.  She said, "Night, night," closed her eyes and lay there sunning herself.

Meanwhile, Evan had discovered the greatest thrill in the park so far—the squirting fountains!!  Why would squirting fountains be more exciting than, say, a kiddie coaster?  Well, basically because a kiddie coaster doesn't spray water in your crotch.   Take a look—this is just brilliant.   I'm... so.... proud.
We spent quite a bit of time like this, with Clara rearranging herself on the towel and Evan experimenting with the water jets. We were exhausted and began talking of getting everyone back into normal clothes, but Evan refused to leave until his crotch had been sufficiently sprayed to his satisfaction.  

It also didn't help that he found it quite enjoyable to have the water spray his bottom too.

Yep—that's my boy.  

We practically had to drag him out of the water park, but we finally did manage to get back to the changing areas.  I took Clara with me into the ladies' room, and my husband took Evan, but the bags were so mixed up it was impossible to tell who had whose clothes.  I ended up with my husband's shirt, Evan's socks had been lost completely, and I simply couldn't find my underwear. 

What I did have, however, was an extra pair of Evan's toddler-sized Calvin Kleins.  I debated whether I'd be able to squeeze my butt into his teensy undies.


(You may be asking yourself why a 4-year-old needs Calvin Klein underwear.  Basically, he doesn't. They were on sale at Ross, and I caved.)

Fortunately, I finally located my undies at the very bottom of the diaper bag, underneath some crushed peanut butter crackers.  I shook the crumbs out of them and hoped peanut-butter crackers were vajayjay friendly; I did not want to get some bizarre infection from half-eaten toddler snacks.
We got some semblance of order to our bags and headed back to the main park, where Evan resumed his routine of running, yelling, going on rides, and shouting "Oh YEAH!!"  But eventually even he started to run out of steam, and we began to trudge our way to the park's exit.
Before we left, I asked him to pause for a picture with me and Snoopy, and he agreed, but only on the condition that he could "pose" me.  This is the result, and I must say, it's ironically my favorite picture from the whole day!

By the time we got to the car, we were all weary and worn out, and in my husband's and my case...absolutely starving!  The kids were asleep by the time we were out of the parking lot, and they continued to snooze while my husband ran into the grocery store to buy a turkey sub for dinner from the deli counter.

We pulled into our driveway and listened to our children snoring loudly in their car seats.  We decided not to wake them up for dinner; instead we gingerly carried them upstairs, changed them into their pajamas (they didn't even wake up during this process), and laid them gently in their respective beds.

My husband and I then got to enjoy the first quiet dinner at home together we'd had in a LONG time.  It was nice.  At one point my hubby said, "Hey... we should do this amusement park thing more often!  Putting the kids to bed was a breeze!"

I shot him a murderous glance. 

"Just kidding!" he said. 

Good—just making sure.
   Stumble Upon Toolbar
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...