Saturday, September 04, 2010

Case of: Summer of Fun 2010

When the summer began, even beforehand actually, we decided that our family needed a "summer of fun".  Something to kind of help get us back on track, something to keep our minds off the troubles, something to fuse us together a little better, and something to keep us occupied the summer before our biggest girl heads off to kindergarten.

While the "summer of fun" didn't work out exactly as planned, due to illnesses, work schedules, and downright time, we had a blast this summer and the kids really had a good time.

The summer kicked off in June with my parents taking the girls to the park in a nearby city, Dan Nicholas Park, where they saw animals and rode the train, went on the paddle boat, had a picnic, and an all-around fun time.  The highlight that stuck with them was the bear.  Apparently when they went to view the bears, one particular bear decided at that moment to turn around, show his butt, and know...go.  The kids found this hilarious, they're sick like that, and it was the first thing we found out when they returned.  We also were informed that grandpa is a slow-poke.  This stems from the fact that grandpa had to paddle the paddle-boat all by himself, as grandma had to be in the back with the kids.  Poor papa.  Ha.

Soon after their trip to the park their other grandma had them come visit her house 2-3 hours away for a week.  We were planning to paint the two-story livingroom and having them gone at this time would be a great help to us, and they would get to see their Tetta and cousins, aunt and uncle.  They were excited and had a blast.  They especially loved going to their Uncle J's pool and spending time with their cousins.  They have become water bugs now and can't wait to go back there.  After a week of painting we packed our bags to pick them up, only we had to pack extra as we were taking them to the beach instead of home.

When we got to Queen's mom's house we all headed over, that's right, to the pool.  We had a blast and the kids got to show us how great they were at "swimming", which isn't really swimming due to their kid-life-jacket-bathing-suit things.  We had some hotdogs and pool-time, splashed, laughed, and then returned to ready ourselves for our trip....which Uncle J, Aunt "Milan" and their kids were coming on as well.   That night the kids had a blast playing with the dog, Penny, or Cuku Puppy as they like to call her, as they hadn't seen her for a week, and let's just say they are a bit attached!  While it took forever to get them to bed, perhaps the excitement for the upcoming trip, they also didn't wake up early the next day so that's a good trade-off!

That morning we readied ourselves and headed out to the beach, in Southport NC.

When we arrived at the beach it was mid-afternoon, and the kids wanted to waste no time getting ON the beach.  So we unpacked the vehicles quickly and then headed out.  It was about a 10 minute ride and when we got there it wasn't too hot, a slight breeze, and almost other words, perfect.  The kids quickly took to the sand and the water, and Bug might have tried to swim to the other side of the ocean had we not stopped her.  She did however get to play in the shallow waves, while Bee sat in the sand and let the water rush up to her.  They built "sort-of" sand castles, "fed the ocean mud and sea shells", and ran around like little kids run around the beach.  And of course when it was time to go, they didn't want to.  But we were hungry!!

So we headed back to the condo, got some pizzas and wings, some drinks, and ate.  The kids all passed out on the pull-out in the livingroom, all four of them, and the four adults sat on the screened-in balcony and talked and had some beer or wine.

The next morning we headed back to the beach. This time it was a little bit more populated and hot, and while the kids didn't have problems with it, Queen got a little "toasty".  We spent most of the day at the beach and headed to dinner afterwards.  Let's just say dinner was an experience.  Seafood and steak, a hometown type restaurant, waitress was new, and was given a table of 4 adults, and 4 kids, who had been in the sun all day!  That's all I'm gonna say about that!

The next morning we headed back to Tetta's and then....

Headed home and this is when "summer of fun" turned into "summer of bleh" for a week.  Queen Bug couldn't take the pain she was in any longer, so I drove us home (I don't normally drive the van), and when she went to work she ended up driving herself to the emergency room, but not near our home (long story).  She was admitted, and stayed a week.  During the week we thankfully had help from my parents and various family members.  I would drop the kids there and travel to visit Queen in the hospital, and return later to get them.  While it was hard, everyone at the house made it so much easier and we are so thankful for that.  The kids, while missing mommy, did have fun though, with plenty of playtime with their cousins "S The Pirate" and "R-lephant" as well as grandma and grandpa.

All summer I'd been planning to take the kids to see fireworks on the 4th of July, and while Queen Bug was at work (the night mentioned above where she goes to the ER), we went to a nearby park/clearing and sat on the sidewalk to watch.  The kids had a blast, until the fireworks started. Bug LOVED it, but Bee was scared of the be fair we were about 100 yards from the launching site so it WAS pretty loud! While Queen Bug was in the hospital my parents had a cookout for the 4th, and the kids had a great time.  Playing in the pool with their cousins, eating hotdogs, playing with sparklers, and watching Uncle T catch the yard one fire...more than once!

Once the Queen Bug was back home and things started to get back to normal we introduced "Campout Saturdays".  The girls had spent many nights in the same bed while visiting Tetta, and really wanted to continue it, however they have their own rooms.  So to compromise we let them "campout" in a room on Saturday nights.  It works, and they look forward to it now!  Win one for the parents!

To aide in the recovery of having mommy gone I decided to take the kids to Sonic Drive-in for dinner one night.  This was a chance to get them out of the house, fed, and also to play on the playground there.  They love to go there and it had been ages since I took them.  They had a blast.  Then it was time for a parents date night, and we got to go to the John Mayer concert on July 16th.  Train opened, which Queen Bug loved, and John Mayer and his band were outstanding.  While we had forgotten just HOW INSANE food and drink prices were at these shows, it was a great escape from the norm, and we hope to get to some more shows soon, it had been far too long!'

The very next day we gathered the kids in the van and headed out to Lazy 5 Ranch.  It's sort of a drive thru petting zoo, but with a great deal more animals.  We drove through the animal area, which took about an hour, and the girls fed animals as they came up to the van, stuck their heads in the windows or through the open van side doors.  The kids had a blast and while it did rain as we were trying to get to the walking section, we at least got to spend a few minutes seeing some of the other animals, such as lemurs and the talking parrot.

Left: Me a few years ago
Right: Bug this year

To end our "summer of fun" Queen Bug booked us a trip to the mountains, specifically at the place where we got married. Bug has seen pictures of it and always asks if we will take her to "where we got married", so it was a surprise for her.  Queen had planned a Jeep tour of the mountains (kids want me to get my Jeep) but that was put on hold due to Queen's reoccurring medical issues, instead we went and had fun in other ways.  We left on Friday the 6th of August and returned Sunday the 8th, and while the driving part was typical family car-time, the trip was overall a success.

Christmas in July...I mean August

The kids were hell-bent on recreating OUR trip, as they have seen in pictures. Such as our wedding pics on the bridge and our visit to "Bear's Den" restaurant.  It's quite funny and cute and made for a fun time.  We also got to visit Santa's Land, a theme park around Christmas that also has rides, animals, and more....and of course Santa.  The kids had a blast!!!  The first thing they wanted to do was visit with Santa and then we ventured to a magic show for kids.  We got on the train ride around the park, to see what was all available, and then Bug wanted to ride the Rudi-coaster, which Queen took her on, 3 times.  Bee and I took to the helicopter ride, and then they both ended up on the carousal and little boat carousal.  We hit up the restaurant there to eat, and then checked out some of the animals they had in the zoo part of the park.  The kids wanted to go on the paddle boats, but the line was too long and I was not in any condition to paddle the 4 of us alone, unlike my dad earlier this summer.  We rode the train again and the kids went to the playground area afterwards...where a lapse in parental judgment led to Bee flying of the "roundabout". Seriously, you always hear how dangerous these things are, but you don't believe it...we now know, and thankfully she just has a little black and blue mark on her cheek.  Of course later that night she asked me, "why did you hit me?" and pointed to her cheek....ummm, seriously?  In the words of Louis C.K.  "If I hit her there would be nothing left.  She's like this big.  Look at this fist, I'd demolish her."  Or something like that!  Funny, but no so funny at the same time.  Anyways, we then headed home after a stop at the gift shop and would you believe it, kids asleep before we're out of the parking lot.

We didn't make the trip only for Santa's Land, as we also ventured down the side of one mountain to get to SoCo falls, and up a billion steps to Mingo Falls, and the kids were really amazed at the view and how great these falls were....even if Bee wasn't too fond of the "creek" nearby.  We spent a late night on Blue Ridge Parkway star-gazing, which Bug found breathtaking and has made Queen think she should really help push her towards Queen's passion of stars and the sky.  It really truly is amazing what is visible up there when you are away from the city, and some people get to see it every night and probably begin to take it for granted.

Every time we visit Queen asks if I'll do one of those "old-time" photos.  I always say not this time, or when we have the kids.  Well we had them this time and there was no getting away from it, and I had a good time I have to admit.  The kids were a little apprehensive at first, especially Bee, but she eventually went along with it and it did turn out pretty good.  The faces, the clothes, and whole thing was funny and the girls wanted to do more than one.  Perhaps next visit!  We also had a chance to visit with our friend, Miss Sandee, who is the one we rent the cabin from, and is also who married us.  The kids were very excited to meet her for dinner at one of our favorite places there, Snappy's.  She hilariously performed a renewal of our wedding vows while we were getting back into the van to leave, and as always made us feel very special to be in Maggie Valley and at Timberwolf Creek.

All in all our "Summer of Fun" was just that, we hit a few bumpy patches, but at the end of it all we all had a good time.  As I prepare to return to work for the school year, Queen has her surgery and figures out how to manage work schedules with kid schedules, Bug prepares for Kindergarten, and Bee readies herself for all-week pre-school, we will remember this time together, it was something special.

Taken from Red's blog at :


Tina said...

Hi. I tried to comment on your other blog but there wasnt a comment section. Not sure if you did it intentially or not :)

Anyway I loved thhe story about the magic cloth. I will have to use that on my kids one time.

Queen Bug said...

Tina.. that's my husbands blog. He's a much better writer than I am. I'll tell him he should allow comments. ;) If not, you can always comment on here. He reads my blog.


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