And then they just had to suck the fun out of it....
It was the 3rd day of summer vacation and the kids were already driving me crazy.
"We're bored," they complained endlessly.
Rolling my eyes in defeat, I sighed, "Really? You have enough toys and games to stock an entire Target store and you all can't find one thing to do?!"
Suddenly, I remembered an article I had seen in Family Fun Magazine about geocaching.
"I know what we can do...let's try geocaching!" I suggested.
"Geo...what?" the spawn replied. "What's that? It sounds stupid."
Cole, being the financial whiz in the family, said, "Did you say cash? There's money involved?!"
I explained to them, "Basically we go in search of hidden outdoor treasures that other people have hidden! Doesn't that sound like fun?"
Oh yeah, they were so on board now. "Hidden treasures! That is SO cool!!" they shouted in unison.
Armed with my iPhone, a few coins and trinkets, 4 sippy cups full of water, sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, visors, and snacks (whew.....), we hopped on our bikes and began our adventure.
I figured our first geocache should be relatively easily....you know, to get them pumped up and excited.
As we neared the exact spot, the kids spotted a bird feeder hanging from an oversized tree.
Landon shrugged his shoulders and inquired, "Where's the gurgle-catch?"
I pointed to the bird feeder and said, "You mean, geocache. That's it, right there!"
Judging from the looks of disappointment on their tiny faces, I could tell they were not impressed.
"Really?" Cole mumbled. "Is this seriously it? This isn't a hidden treasure! Oh my God, this is so lame!"
I lectured, "It's all about the journey, guys. Isn't it fun to imagine what we might find?"
They all shook their heads....violently, I might add.
Melting in the hot sun, I suggested we move on quickly to geocache #2. This was not going exactly how I had planned. But then again, does it ever?
Unfortunately, geocache #2 was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard we searched and compared the compass to exactly where we were located. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
The spawn weren't just irritated...they were downright pissed off.
"You know what I think?" Bella said. "I think you just were trying to find a way to get us out of the house. You don't have a clue what you're doing! There are no treasures anywhere!"
I had to restrain myself as I spat through clenched teeth, "Oh yeah, you are SO onto me now. I mean, it never occurred to me to just ask if you guys wanted to go to the park. Instead I had to come up with this huge, ridiculous wild goose chase just to get you out the front door!"
We stared one another down for what seemed like an eternity when I finally said, "Okay, let's cut the bad attitudes and focus. We can find the next one."
I put my hand out in front of me and shouted, "All for one and one for all!!"
The stillness in the air was deafening. And then the spawn each hopped on their bikes and one of them casted a loud, "Whatever" in my direction.
Geez, I should get paid for the shit I put up with.
The next location was called "Ocean Ballet", which the spawn deemed downright ridiculous because we don't live near the ocean.
"Let's think creatively," I hinted, as we got closer to our final destination. "The tip says the location is out in the open but the geocache itself is camoflauged among the scenery."
Garrett clucked his tongue. "What the heck is that supposed to mean?"
Suddenly, Cole shouted with glee, "I know!! I know what it is!" He pointed to a beautiful statue of dancing dolphins located on the edge of the lake.
Sure enough, the statue was named, "Ocean Ballet". The kids all high-5'd one another and whooped it up.
"We found it, we found it!" they exclaimed.
Now, we just had to locate the geocache itself. Instead of getting frustrated, the kids were now determined to find the hidden treasure, as was I.
There was something extremely rewarding about the process. Kind of like getting an invisible thumbs up from God himself when you follow the right path...not that I've experienced that very often or anything.
After 10 exhausting minutes, we still hadn't located the geocache....even though we were literally standing in the exact spot where the compass had pointed to.
I frowned, "I don't get it. We're standing right here in the spot it says it's at. We're not looking hard enough. It's got to be here! Someone just found it yesterday so I know it's here!"
Landon sat down and took a deep breath. "I'm tired. I want to go home," he complained.
"We are not going home until we find one of these geocaches!" I protested.
Right then, I spotted what looked like a drain on the ground, partially hidden amongst the bushes. Cole followed my eyes and pointed, "Do you think it's part of the drain?"
I smiled and we both ran for it and grabbed at the drain. The top came off immediately and, along with it, came attached a long cylinder-like tube filled with colorful trinkets and toys.
"Awesome!!" Bella screamed. "This is hecka cool!"
She spilled the contents out onto the grass and they sorted through it until they each had found something they wanted.
Then we added our trinkets to the tube and replaced it back in the ground.
From this point, a new obsession had begun.
Every morning the spawn would wake up and shout, "Let's go find some more hidden treasures!"
But just like every other activity I engage in with the spawn, all good things must come to an end.
"I found it first," one of them screamed.
"No, I found it first. Get your dirty hands off of MY treasure," another one whined.
"Mommy," yet another screached, "tell her it's MINE!"
And just like that...they had managed to suck the fun out of it.
Did I mention that we were only ONE week into summer vacation?