Thursday, August 9, 2007

Beating the Heat

Hel-lo! It has been hot here lately! So hot, that I haven't even been allowing the kids to play outside except after dinner for a short time. To avoid a high stress level (mine and theirs), I have had to think of ways to beat the heat (yeah, me!). I took all three kids to the pool, by myself, for the first time ever. This may not sound like a big deal, but prior to last month, all three were non-swimmers. Ever try to watch 3 kids at one time, in a crowded pool, when any of them could drown at any minute?! I call that a nightmare, so we basically never went swimming without Dad. Now that Will and Emma have completed their lessons and are able to swim without life preservers, I braved the pool ALONE. It was AWESOME! Will spent the whole time in the deep end, going down the slide or jumping off the diving board. Jack stayed at the "baby" end and poor Emma spent time between the two, but was never allowed in the deep end without me. She is a good swimmer, but I am still nervous about letting her go alone. We all had fun and stayed cool, so that is what matters most.

Another fun activity that we tried was the Children's Museum. What a hoot! The kids LOVED it. I had a blast just watching them. They were so excited, they didn't know which exhibit to try first. :) Will's favorite, hands down, was the Krispy Kreme doughnut factory. Like his dad, he was completely geeked out over how everything worked and probably spent an hour "making doughnuts". Emma and Jack loved the grocery store. Jack couldn't' get enough of filling and emptying the carts and Emma liked being the manager, helping everyone get their jobs done (even kids she didn't know!). I enjoyed yoga story time the best. We listened to a story about a starfish and then did yoga positions to mimic the sea creatures in the story. It was a riot watching Jack close his eyes, inhale and then stretch his legs out like a starfish. I was really impressed by his ability to listen (yes, I am talking about Jack) and then follow directions.

After spending 3 1/2 hours in the museum, we went out for lunch, where Jack went back to his normal behavior. He tried playing with a strangers silverware while I was ordering at a counter, tipped over a bud vase that was full of stinky water while I was getting everyone drinks and wanted to touch everything in the dirty bathroom while the rest of us were getting our business done. I guess even Jack has his limits of how long he can behave! Take note, Mom.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Weekend Away - For Everyone!

The time finally came for a "girls' weekend away"! Just as plans were firming up, I got a call from a friend inviting us (the family) to come and spend some time with her family at Hilton Head. Drat! It just wasn't meant to be for me, but after a LOT of coaxing and pleading, my friend and I talked Allan into taking the kids there himself. So, early on a Friday morning, Allan and the kids hit the road for Hilton Head and my friend, Rhonda and I hit the road for the mountains and Asheville!

What a riot it was! First, we had to drive the Civic, which I had not driven in almost 6 years. Allan had it all spiffed up for us and I thought I was good to go. HA! I guess I had forgotten what it was like to drive the little box of zero horsepower. Not only that, but I had not considered what it would be like driving the 5-speed in the MOUNTAINS! I will just sum it all up by saying my legs should look like those of an athlete after a weekend of driving in a mountain town with a 5-speed! OK, so they don't, but they SHOULD!

Next, I want to point out that I nearly ate my way through that town. Maybe that is what negated the leg exercises in the Civic. Hmmm.....anyway! The food was awesome! I really could have eaten at McDonald's all weekend and still enjoyed it, but we really hit the jackpot on some good food. What a joy it was to sit down and have quiet conversation while deciding on what to eat. I didn't have to read the menu to Rhonda, which was a plus. And then! The best part is that I didn't have to cut up Rhonda's food when it came! This allowed me to eat my food right away, which meant it was hot! Hooray! Our best meal by far, was at the Lobster Trap. It was so good that I had to take a picture of it. I dined on pecan-crusted Mountain Trout, Asian string beans and lobster macaroni and cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Other than eating, we shopped at lots of little boutiques and hit a "few" bars. Our favorite bar was Jack of the Wood, which was an English pub that had a live band at night. The band didn't live up to anyone's expectations, but the pub was fun and we scored a couple of cool t-shirts.
On Friday night, Asheville had a street fair of sorts with beer and wine vendors and lots of locals running around. We had a great time there and made some new friends. We even went dancing at Magnolia's and did the old drinking days routine of hitting the Waffle House for breakfast before heading home.

Another highlight was hanging out at the hotel pool. I believe I last did something like that back in high school! It was just nice to lay around and not have to worry about a thing (or someone). It was also the perfect activity for "the day after".

As for Allan and the kids, I can pretty much sum up their activities for the weekend: swim. They had a GREAT time swimming in the ocean and the beach. Other than that, they simply had a great time being with our friends.