Last week was insanely busy busy busy busy. Spencer's birthday (6!) was Monday, which included a class party and lunch out with dear old mom. Halloween was Tuesday. Bible study was Tuesday. Colin's parent-teacher conference was Tuesday. Work was Wednesday. Colin's class birthday party was Wednesday. The second-grade field trip was Thursday (Harn Homestead! More later!). Spencer's teacher conference was Thursday. Colin's birthday (8!) was Friday.
Friday we left for vacation.
I'm too tired to write about the entire week, good as it was, but I'd like to give you the details about our weekend because it sure was a fun weekend.
We visit Big Cedar Lodge
in Missouri once a year and we just love it. This year we asked the boys if they would rather have a birthday party or take one family with us to Big Cedar Lodge. They chose Big Cedar. (Yay for us!). We took some of our dearest friends who also have two boys, one of which is Colin's best friend.
We left early Friday morning and stopped in Branson around lunch time to do a little shopping at the outlet mal
l there. We mainly shopped at the Polo Shop
and Harry and David.
We didn't spend much time in Branson because we wanted to get to Big Cedar quickly, but we also had a few Christmas gift to buy each other, so we did some hinting and then split up.
That evening we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and ate in our condo with our friends, then we went out to play hide and seek on the grounds IN THE DARK! We hid under trees, in trees, on the putt-putt course and even in the tennis court. It was exciting and thrilling for the boys. After that we went back to our condo and had our birthday celebration with cake and gifts. They boys stayed up late playing Jedi knights and generally being boys.
Saturday we slept late (for us) and made quiche, sausages and cream cheese rolls for breakfast. We went out on the great lawn beside our building and played soccer. Marcia and I got to be the goalies. It was drizzling, but we played anyway, and it was a tough game. My team won 7 - 5. I laughed so hard watching Marcia jumping around and screaming when the ball came near her goal. She was actually pretty good, but she played like a girl! ; ) At one point James took over the goalie job and Marcia suddenly became a soccer pro!!! When she started bringing that ball toward my goal I said there was no way I'd let a girl score against me. . . and then she scored! TWICE!! argh.
After the game we had to go back to the condo and dry our clothes before we headed out again for a hike down to the lake. The hike was beautiful. The trees were really showing their colors that afternoon and they reflected so nicely on the lake. We made the boys go with us to canoe so we could teach them what they needed to know for their scout badges. They were surprisingly grumpy about it!
After that, we hiked up to the restaurant for lunch, and Byron found some wild persimmons
on the way, which he picked for our dessert. They were delicious! We visited the gift shop and had a contest to get the golf ball on the tee
. Byron promised a dollar to the first person to succeed. Byron was the first. None of the rest of us ever got it. It was, by far, the most frustrating game EVER!
After lunch, Marcia and I continued hiking while the boys went to play putt-putt. Marcia made us a delicious and colorful dinner of chicken and rice, salad, fresh fruits and hot bread and then we headed off to play another game of outdoor hide and seek IN THE DARK! I didn't plan to be found, so I chose a very special hiding place that happened to require me to lie on my side next the a little roadway. I don't think there was much traffic until I got there, and then it seemed as if it were a very busy little city. As the cars drove by, I wondered if they saw me there, with my pink hoody pulled up over my head "sleeping" in the grass by the side of the road. Would they stop to help? Would they call the police? The horse and buggy clip-clopped by several times and one family even walked by. I had my head covered so I couldn't see them, and I don't think they saw me. But there I was, lying in the grass in the middle of a resort IN THE DARK. Then it started to rain. Now, my clothes were really too thin for the cool air, but the rain - oh, the rain - it was frightfully cold. Still, there I was, lying in the grass in the middle of a resort in the dark IN THE RAIN.
Let's just say, I won that game.
After a trip back to the condo to change clothes, we went to the indoor swimming pool. The boys swam while the men sat in the hot tub and Marcia and I drank hot chocolate. After that, we went back the room and the boys spent the evening building their new Lego toys.
I have no idea when they went to bed. I had already been asleep a long time, I'm sure!
Today we got up even later (for us) and had Marcia's delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, cinnamon rolls and melon. We packed up and checked out, then headed down for more canoeing (since the boys LOVED it so much the day before) (not) (we just like to torture them). I forgot to mention that the day before I had arrived at the canoes first and chose 8 of my most favorite orange lifejackets for us to use. I put them on the dock next the the four canoes we planned to take. Before we all got our gear, a youngish couple came to the dock and took two of my most favorite orange lifejackets for themselves...and then started to take one of the canoes! We thought we should share so we didn't say anything. Then, they didn't have a paddle, so they came to take one of ours. Byron is SO nice, he gave them our two best paddles. If I had been a cartoon, I would have had black smoke above my head, but I didn't say anything.
So, anyway, when we got in that canoe this morning, Marcia noticed a small jewelry box and a little gold ribbon. She guessed he had proposed to her the night before in that very canoe. My little black cloud blew away as I guessed he must have been pretty flustered to find he almost had no canoe and then he had no paddle, so maybe that's why he wasn't his usual fine self that I'm just sure he must be.
But wait a minute. Why were they at a lodge together if they aren't even married?
Oh, whatever. Back to my story.
I took Spencer and Ben in my canoe and Ben was scaring me with the turning around to look this way and the turning around to look that way. I told him if we capsized he wouldn't be getting that canoe badge! OH!!! And on the way to canoe, we saw a live deer running toward the lake. So, we were canoeing quietly in hopes of spotting him again. We went all the way down to a cove so the boys could get out and look for "sea" shells and so I could look for more wild persimmons. We saw Colin across the cove walking on the rocks and I decided to canoe over to him and bring him to our side. When I got there, he decided he didn't want to get in the canoe, but there behind him was the most glorious persimmon tree I had ever seen
. It was dripping with fruit. I decided to pull over and fill up my boat with persimmons.
Now, Big Cedar is on Table Rock Lake, which is named for the large tables of limestone rock that surround the perimeter of the lake. There are few beachy areas, so stopping to get out isn't as easy as it is in most lakes. I found a large table, though, and surmised I might rest my boat up on that rock and climb out to the rocky shore. As I was pushing my oar against the rock, it slipped on the slime and fell right out of my hand. As it was falling, I reached for it.
It was really cold down there. And deep. And wet. And did I mention really cold? REALLY
cold! As I dog paddled my way to the top and climbed over the slimy table rocks on to the rocky shore, I was breathing fast and heavy. It was just plain SHOCKING! My boat was upright, but had several inches of water in it. Thankfully, I was able to reach the oar. And you know what? I was really cold. As I stood there weighing my options (nobody else was in view), Marcia came rowing around the bend and saw me standing there. (She told me later I looked like a crazy statue). Suddenly everyone was yelling, "Mrs. [Happy Homemaker] fell in!! Mrs. [Happy Homemaker] fell in!!
And, thus my humiliation seemed complete.
Not wanting to succumb to the humiliation (or scare the children), I said I was fine and I would row myself in as soon as I caught my breath. And, that's what I did. James came running down the shore and got in the boat with me to help me get back to the dock (which suddenly seemed miles away). When I discovered he had moved our car from the dock to the restaurant, I had him let me off to walk to the car. He said I looked a fright, and he was correct there.
My hair had a comb-over part and some of it was plastered to my face. There may have been snails in there, for all I know. My clothes were hanging off me with the heaviness of the total drenching, and my shoes squished when I walked.
As I got out of the boat I saw a dead snake. I decided the boys would LOVE to see a dead snake, so I found some leaves and picked it up to carry back for them. Then I saw it: glorious persimmon tree number two, as if it was a get-well gift from God himself! I picked a few branches and laced them through my fingers on my right hand and carried the dead snake in the other. As I approached the lodge, I realized I may not be welcome carrying a dead snake, so I left it next to a tree for another boys to find and I kept walking.
I had hoped James had parked at the edge of the lot, but my hopes were dashed. The parking lot that was normally sparsely occupied was now completely full and humming with activity. It was as if every guest at Big Cedar had turned out to see the crazy lady who sleeps by the side of the road in the rain and bathes in the lake come walking through the parking lot all drenched, lost and toting branches covered with a strange orange mystery fruit. "Don't stare, children...she deserves our sympathy." "Poor lady. She doesn't even have a place to sleep or bathe, and here we are vacationing. Poor lady." There I was. Standing in the middle of it all in my wet, pink hoody and my no-doubt-illegal persimmon booty, just looking for my car.
Once I found my car, I drove over tothe indoor pool and walked up to the lady at the guest services desk. I was sure that with th0usands of guests every day, falling in the lake was probably a common occurrence. Apparently no. "Excuse me, ma'am," I said, ""I have just fallen in the lake and since I've already checked out I was wondering if you might have a dryer?."
The look of shock and horror on her face told me I might possible be the first EVER guest to fall in the lake. At a minimum I was the first to admit it.
All ended well, however. I got dry clothes and I even got a hot tub soak to take off the chill. Now I'm home, all cozy and warm. And you know what? I'm giving Ben the canoe badge.
(Oh, yeah...I saw a wild turkey on the way home. Cool!)