Sunday, July 26, 2009

Freecation - Greatest Word Ever

A slow economy is obviously bad in a lot of ways, but I must say I am enjoying all the attempts to stimulate revenue. I am a lover of all things discounted and/or free so when I found out about the Freecation, my heart absolutely jumped for joy.
The Freecations was this - Nevada locals were invited to come spend a weekend in Primm (right on the southern border of Nevada and California). The trip included a free two night stay, free admission to their amusement park, free $50 in slot machine money, and 2 for 1 golf and meals. Awesome, huh?
We spread the word and got about 5 couples to join us. We got there Sunday evening, exactly when two of our other couple friends got there. Now I know that casinos are loud and smoky and contain a strange assortment of people, but to a two year old, all the spinning lights and colors can look like a magical place. Both kids were bouncing up and down. Scarlet threw her hands up every few minutes and said, "Look mom, our 'cation!"
The lines getting a hotel room were Disneyland ridiculous but we did all eventually get our rooms. Of course it was at that moment I noticed I had forgotten to bring my pack'n play. So Rhode got the sleep in the complimentary hotel baby crib. I am sure it was totally safety regulated...
Once the kids were fed and in bed, the adults gathered, chatted and endured the longest game of Uno in history. It was surprisingly fun to sit on a bed and stay up late chatting. It seems like something you only do when you are young.
Jon actually had to go to work the next morning so he took off and planned to join us for dinner that night. The rest of us explored the world that is Primm. One of their main attractions is the outlet mall filled with fun antique cars and boats.

Then we got our discount shopping on. Children's Place was having an amazing clearance. There is really nothing better than walking out with a big bag of clothes and shoes where no item was more than $2.99.

Look how excited Rhode and Ezra are about all the good deals we scored for them.
The buffet was our main eating choice since that was where we had coupons. I learned another very important lesson during my weekend. Two babies plus one adult does not equal a fun or easy eating experience at a buffet. Thank goodness for friends and friends husbands. And after we stuffed them full of the finest food Primm has to offer in bulk form, we threw all the kids back in bed and enjoyed a few hours peace. The boys planned to golf the afternoon away but during nap time decided just to go to the driving range for awhile instead of a full round. So the girls and I gathered all our kids and wasted time doing the activity the kids enjoyed the most... riding the monorail.
They called it their roller coaster and we rode back and forth many times. We got several funny stares from the conductors and passengers who saw us on their later journey back but who can complain about an activity that involves sitting and air conditioning?
It was quite a bit later when we realized that the husbands had been gone much longer than the hour they had estimated. Right then, Jon called to tell me he was on his way to go join the husbands on the ninth hole. Shortly after, we found out the amusement park closed at 8 p.m. long before the husbands would be back.
So here was our situation. We had four women, one four year old, two two year olds, a ten month old, two six month olds, and a little 6 week old baby. And there was the log ride and the roller coaster. And all four of us really wanted to ride both of them. Scarlet got to have her dad's wristband since he wasn't going to make it back in time and she bravely hopped on the Frog ride.

If you can't tell by the length of the legs around her, Scarlet was the youngest kid on the ride by at least two years. The Frog ride took them up a straight pole and when it got to the top, it dropped down, bounced back up, then dropped again and repeated that for a few times before finally resting at the bottom. Scarlet's eyes were as wide as they get and she gripped that bar in front of her as hard as she possibly could. She didn't smile but she didn't cry or scream either. She just stared. Then, when the ride finished, she came towards me but right before she reached me, she bolted back in line so she could go again. I am pretty sure she rode the Frog ride at least 15 times.
While Scarlet and Bennett rode, the rest of us plotted how we were going to do the rides. We finally realized we were going to have to leave two of us with all the kids while the other two rode and then switch. The line to the Log ride was really long so we all got in line. When we finally made it to the logs, Scarlet and I jumped in the front with my friend Brittany in the back while the rest of our group corralled right on the platform with the rest of the kids.
The ride floated through the hotel. It had a fun drop and at some point something was shooting water at me. Scarlet was absolutely terrified for the life of this woman and her wagon that teetered over the ledge.
Even at the end of the trip, Scarlet was still convinced that we needed to go save her even though she had seen her balanced there for three days.
I can't say that the Log ride was totally worth running back through the line down to the waiting two, trading off babies, then getting all those babies back up the line going against traffic to where we would meet them after their turn. We all had a slight look of overwhelmed by the end. But we really had to go on the roller coaster. None of us were pregnant which was an accomplishment in itself. It just needed to happen so we started the process again.
This time the line wasn't as long so Ashley and I sent Cynthia and Brittany into the line. This time, we knew we definitely had to take a picture.
Scarlet is standing directly behind Bennett, you can kind of see her arm. This was one of the only moments that the mobile children stayed by our sides. And the baby that looks asleep in the stroller? Most definitely not asleep.
Now this picture needs cartoon talking balloons.
I would be saying, "Oh Scarlet, you want a snack? Ok, let me just pull out my third arm and help you with that."
The woman in the background would be saying "Must be those crazy polygamists you hear about on the news." Same husband, thankfully no. Crazy... yes probably.
Though I must say when we traded and I got my turn on the roller coaster, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! What an awesome ride! I don't know how tall it is but the first drop used to be the tallest in the U.S. for quite a while. It is insane! And the insanity never stops. You know how most roller coasters have crazy exciting parts, then some slower parts, the exciting again. Not this one, there was not one moment that wasn't completely exhilarating. Before we got on, Ashley asked me if I was a screamer. I told her no, screaming wasn't my thing. I then, to my surprise, proceeded to scream my head off through the entire ride. So, so fun.
The boys finally joined us for dinner, including Jon.
It felt really nice to hand off the children to the men for a minute.
And with babies exhausted in bed, we got to chat and hang out once again that evening. The next day was checkout. The kids and I took our time getting ready and packed. I threw Rhode on the bed with Scarlet right after he woke up and the two were giggling like crazy as Rhode tried to get the pacifier from Scarlet.
It was one of those really good mom moments.
And before you knew it we were home again. I am not sure it was the most relaxing weekend getaway of my life but it was by far the cheapest!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Look Out House, Here I Come!

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. My children are happier when I don't force them into the car on 113 degree days. Go figure. So instead, we had some good old backyard fun.

Scarlet has found a new love for her swimming pool. I have gotten more than my money's worth out of this five dollar purchase. "Look mom, I swim on my belly!" she will shout and she scoots herself around in circles for hours.

But though she loves her pool, she finds her "simmin poot" a little too constricting. Her panties give her a little less resistance.

Hose water is a little too cold for this kid, but he was entertained nonetheless.

Our trusty hammock only lasted us a year before each and every rope snapped. We're trying not to take it as a sign that the Nielsen family needs to cut down a few pounds. We took down the hammock but the ropes tying it to the tree have just been waiting there for a replacement.

So Wednesday night, I was having book club while Jon and the kids played around in the backyard. And we all couldn't help but notice that Jon had climbed the tree and was tossing ropes over branches. Ironically, we were discussing the Crucible as Jon tossed what resembled a noose over the highest limbs. Luckily he was not providing us with a visual aid, but instead built this.

It is the perfect two year old swing. It is low to the ground and can spin in any direction without whacking the tree or any other permanently placed objects (other two year olds not included). After whacking a few friends in swinging range, we taught Scarlet to say, 'look out!' if she was swinging toward someone. So when she got really flying the other day, her eyes widened as she yelled, "look out house, here I come!"
Scarlet is just in heaven. And before you think she is the only one enjoying our latest backyard addition...

He LOVED it! And held on tight for a good old time before...
Saved by the dad. Builds them a swing then keeps them from tumbling off it. Now there is a great father!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Glimpse at My Sunday Morning

A few thoughts.

What should I be more disgusted by? My son pretending he is my new self propelled vacuum and sucking up every morsel of who knows what he comes across? Or his new puppy enjoyment of chewing and gnawing on our shoes?

And after watching me get ready this morning, Scarlet pulled on a few items of clothes, spruced up her 'do, and declared, "Mom, I'n weady fo chuch!"

How is your Sunday morning going?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What a Peach

My blogging always lags when I spend time in Moses Lake. But now that we are back and settled for awhile, it is time to come back to the blog.

We had a good time in Washington. Jon came up with the kids and I on Thursday the 18th. After making that flight without the extra set of hands a few times, I REALLY appreciated having him on the flight. We were up there to film Today's Generation dance recital to make their dvd of the show. They perform three shows on Saturday, it is a seriously long day for those of us who love dance. For those less inclined to enjoying preschoolers shaking their booties in cute sparkly costumes for the millionth time, it can be pretty tiresome. But Jon survived yet again. I think his new saving grace is spending the last show filming up in the rafters. He took Bryan up with him this year and I think they both enjoyed the show more with the added altitude.

Jon left Sunday night while Scarlet, Rhode and I hung out for another week. Of course, to our great timing, also leaving that Sunday were Tricia (foreign exchange student), Bryan (to BYU basketball camp), and Kylie and Kendall (girls camp). So it was down to Courtney, my parents, my kids and me. And, Courtney was running a workshop at the studio the week we were there. So several time I found myself alone with my kids at the house washing dishes, making dinner, playing with my kids and waiting for work to be done so someone else would join us. More than once I thought, how is this different than my normal life? Then I remembered

1 - way bigger house with way more Scarlet-distracting toys,
2 - television and Tivo
3 - a good 20 degrees cooler outside

So even with the lack of company on occasion it was still a very pleasant trip.

And since we have been home Rhode had just come to life. He is cruising everywhere, pulling himself to standing whenever he can, and insisting that the world of blended food is no longer for him. He prefers handling his own eating.

We got back and have been on our toes ever since. We had a baby "open house" shower for this adorable little one on Wednesday.

Little Charlie Grace you melt my heart!

Jon and I got to go to the temple on Thursday for the first time in a long time. I can't even admit how long it has been. So so sad. But it was really great and now we have a couple that we can regularly trade off baby watching/temple going with so hopefully we will not return to our slacker ways.

Then Friday we got to get our SYCYCD on. Since the "digital transition" me and all the 60+ crowd have lost our antennae signal and, with it, FOX. To save us from the horror that is a So You Think You Can Dance-free summer, our friends offered to Tivo and share. So with good food and a good crowd and some dang good entertainment we had a great evening.

And of course following a week like that, it was the Fourth of July! We had nothing going on and the more we asked around it seemed to be the general consensus. So we threw together a barbecue, set up the kiddie pool, one friend made a run to Moapa for fireworks and we threw together a really fun little party. There were ribs, corn, burgers, and even some homemade ice cream.

We had kind of a crazy start to Saturday morning. Jon and I were both helping at the ward 4th of July breakfast which started at a cruel 7:00. My alarm was set for 6 but thanks to Scarlet and an incident with which I will spare you the gory details, we were wide awake by 5. After a morning in the sun with the kids in our ward, Scarlet was exhausted by 11 and proceeded to sleep away the next 4 1/2 hours. It was awesome.

But as you can imagine she woke up groggy and hungry. We were cleaning the backyard for the party so I stuck Scarlet in front of a show with a sippy of juice and a nectarine while Rhode practiced his latest crawling skills and tried to find more things to shove in his cheeks and headed outside.

I walked in a few minutes later to find Scarlet gone and Rhode like this.

I then hear Scarlet bawling from the top of the stairs, yelling my name.

"What is it sweetie?"

"Rhode took my PEACH!"

"Scarlet, you steal things from your brother all day long and yet he somehow wrestled the peach out of your hand and you couldn't get it back?"

"But mom, he took my PEACH!"

I am thinking this might the beginning of the end of my children getting along. Sibling rivalry... here we come.