It was time to introduce the kids to some true nature. I thought it would be fun to head over to Taylor Creek to look at the Stream Profile, along the Rainbow Trail. It's a 1/4 of a mile along a creek so I figured it would be an easy walk without much effort for the kids.
As we started out, the kids seemed excited....pointing at various things along the way and asking questions like "Do wild snakes live out here?", "Who put all these trees here?", "Are bears human?" and "Who poured all this water in the street?". The street? I think they meant the creek....which reminds me I should probably get their hearing checked.
This is part of the stream that we walked along....
I could've stood there all day, listening to the sound of the running water off the rocks. I said to the kids, "Isn't this the most relaxing sound you've ever heard?". They listened for a minute and then Cole said, "What? I don't hear anything". I said, "How can you not hear the running water? Listen...." and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh that noise? It sounds like someone who held their pee for too long....". Ahhhh, my little nature lovers.
We arrived at the Stream Profile and the kids looked at the fish. They seemed unimpressed....except for Garrett, who squealed with delight each time a fish would swim past him, "Look, it's Nemo"!, as he waved his Shrek pez dispenser at the fish...
As we walked back to the beginning of the trail, the kids whined about how tired they were, how much they hate nature, how hot it was, how unfair life was...blah, blah, blah. Then I happened to notice a bunch of tadpoles in the creek....all of a sudden, they LOVED nature. They couldn't get enough of the tadpoles and they were even more intrigued when they learned that tadpoles turn into frogs. Bella said, "And then they turn into princes....". I held my tongue as the words threatened to come out, "Uh....no, most of them are still frogs, my dear, which you'll sadly realize someday".
After the walk, the kids were hungry so we drove to a picnic area by the beach and broke out the cooler and made sandwiches. A few feet away from us were a group of women doing a Bible study. What a lovely idea....getting together with your church friends to talk about Bible verses under the beautiful blue skies and the tall pine trees, enjoying God's green earth. Until my family appeared....
I kept having to remind the children to try to be as quiet as they could so we didn't disturb the women. The kids were quiet for a few minutes and then eventually their voices would get louder and louder. Garrett kept sticking his hands in the dirt right each time we washed them with antibacterial wipes and Tim had had enough....he finally yelled at Garrett, "Jesus Christ, will you stop doing that....you're pissing me off, damnit". The women looked up at us. I held my breath, as I halfway expected God to strike Tim down with lightening right there on the spot.
Suddenly, we noticed little chipmunks scurrying about, very close to where we were sitting. The kids kept throwing pieces of their sandwiches to the chipmunks, completely entranced by these little creatures. "Look, Mommy, they like our sandwiches....". And they liked our grapes....and our apples....and our chips.... There was one chipmunk in particular who seemed to be the leader of the pack...kind of like Bella. Cole pointed to "the leader of the pack" and said, "I think that's Alvin...".
Here's Alvin enjoying a piece of bread....
Here's Simon also enjoying a piece of bread...
Where was Theodore? Cole said, "Maybe he's in the bathroom....or maybe he's on time-out". Bella added, "OR maybe he's on time-out IN the bathroom". And they both laughed hysterically as if they had just heard the best joke of the century. What I wouldn't give to live inside their little minds just for a day.
>After waiting for Theodore to join us and realizing that he was doing one hell of a long time-out, thus, leaving any chance of Alvin and The Chipmunks to perform Funky Town pretty much null and void, the kids were ready to leave. But not before Garrett rolled around in the dirt some more and got yelled at again by Tim. God still did not strike Tim down with lightening but there was thunder, oddly enough. I told Tim, "I think it's fair to say that you've been warned....".
The day ended on a good note....we went back to our rental home and hung out for a few hours, then went to dinner at a little restaurant on the beach. Not exactly the most quiet of dinners but the kids ate and went to bed with full bellies.....oh, most importantly, we weren't booted from the restaurant before we were able to finish our meals. That's a vital part to include, as well.
Day 5: We went to Sand Harbor beach and, let me just say, it was like heaven on earth. Beautiful, soft white sand....crystal blue lake water that was so clear you could see your feet as you walked along the bottom....it was shallow enough where the kids could walk for miles.
While Tim took the other kids into the water, Cole and I built a little castle kingdom for The Naked Twins. All Bella's dolls are naked, for some reason. Upon receiving a new doll, she immediately strips them of their clothes. I've never asked her why she does this but I suppose I should just be happy that she's not dismembering them body piece by body piece.
"Welcome to our castle...make yourself at home....and don't hate us because we have perky boobs and 4 inch waists".
I captured this picture of Tim, dragging my kids off to the middle of the lake....while I sat on the beach, soaking up the rays and eating peanut butter out of a jar with my fingers. Why? Because I could....simple as that.
And what do you know....I guess sharks do live in lakes.
When we were done at the beach, we went to my dad's hotel and had a BBQ with them. We BBQ'd the fish we
murdered caught at the trout farm....YUM! Cole was really bothered that we wouldn't let him eat the fishes' heads...he assured us it wasn't a problem because the fish didn't have brains. I'm not sure how any of that makes sense but I still wasn't going to let him feast on fish heads.
After dinner, the kids and Tim went swimming in the pool. You may not wanna watch this short video if you have a weak heart....
Day 6 (final day of "vacation")....A blogging buddy of mine, Sharlene at Double The Adventure (who's always going on fun, adventurous trips with her young twins), suggested we check out Fallen Leaf Lake. When I looked up directions on how to get to the lake, it said there was a waterfall called Glen Alpine Falls out there and the kids had been dying to check out a real waterfall (unlike the fake waterfall that my mom has at the edge of her pool).
When we saw the falls, it was like we had just walked into God's personal oasis....the beauty of it all took my breath away. Tim stayed behind in the mini-van since Garrett and Landon had fallen asleep so I went with Cole and Bella to check things out. We ended up hiking to the middle of the falls and scaled up and down it, walking through the streams of water....it was amazing!
This is what we saw when we looked down from where we were parked....
We hiked down to this part....
Once we were in the middle of the falls, a nice man offered to take our picture....so I have proof that I was actually on vacation with my family (since I haven't been in ANY pictures until this point)....
I also took this video when we were in the very middle of the falls, as water was rushing by us....some serious beauty right there....
I took a quick look at my watch and noticed that we had been gone for about 35 minutes so I told the kids we had to go back to the mini-van to check on Tim and the little twins. Tim wanted to check things out, so we grabbed Garrett and Landon (who were now awake) and hiked down to the middle of the falls again, which is quite interesting to do with two 4-yr olds and two 2-yr olds. Never in a million years did I ever think I'd be hiking through a big waterfall with my 4 young children but I have to admit it was more fun than it was stressful.
Cole and Bella wanted to continue to hike to the top of the waterfall but it was pretty steep so I told Tim to go ahead and take them and I'd stay behind in the middle of the falls with Garrett and Landon. As I was sitting on a rock with G & L, swinging our feet in the water, I heard, "Hey Mommy....." and I looked up and saw this....
I kept telling myself, "Remain calm....God wouldn't let anything tragic happen in such beautiful surroundings". Then I saw this....
WTF??!! was my first reaction....I swear, this is the difference between men and women when it comes to their children. If it were me, we would've all been connected by hands....if one goes, we all go. But Tim....no, he had no problem leaving one child behind as he guided the other child down the falls. I was screaming to him, "What the hell are you thinking?? Go back and get her NOW....vultures are gonna eat her, for crying outloud!!"
Once they were all down safely, we went back to the mini-van and headed out but not before taking some more breath-taking pictures of the lake (look at how clear the water is)....
Then it was time to start our trek back home....for the first 30 minutes of the ride, this is what we had to listen to....
Bella: Can we come back here again?
Cole: Yeah, can we?
Me: Yes, we'll come back again sometime.
Cole: When? Tomorrow?
Me: No, not tomorrow.
Tim: We'll come back again next year...next summer.
Bella: Not even the day after tomorrow?
Tim: No, not even the day after tomorrow. I said next year.
Cole: What about next Wednesday?
Me: Nope, not next Wednesday.
Cole: Well, how about next month?
And this went on and on, until Tim and I finally had to drown out the noise with the DVD player.
The minute we set foot in the door of our home sweet home...the clock struck twelve and the kids' horns grew back and I was changed back into their personal maid. The good times don't last for long, do they?