Monday, September 28, 2009

The Tea Party that Wasn't

I have two sons, who I adore wholeheartedly. They are both good natured and reliable. They do not throw tantrums in the crowded grocery store, they do not hide in racks at the clothing store, they do not scream when they are told "no." When they were babies and toddlers I happily patted myself on the back for a job well done, all while looking scornfully upon the mother whose child was doing all those things my boys were not.

Years later, as my well mannered boys grew, I felt the itch, for just one more, hoping in vain for a daughter to snuggle. Boys are great fun but a daughter would be my companion, someone to understand and be understood. Dressing the boys was always fun, I loved to coordinate their outfits, but to delve in to the realm of tights, hair bows and frill was just too tempting.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

My daughter, my dear sweet cherub faced little girl, came in to this world kicking and screaming and has yet to relent. Within minutes of being born she began nursing, half of an hour on either side, even before I had any milk to offer. She refused to sleep on her back and in exhausted moments of desperation I would set her on a blanket, face near the crack in the cushions of the couch and lay my face next to hers to feel her breath as I took a moment of rest along with her.

As she came out of her newborn stages she slept better but never through the night. She would eat but never on our schedule. She would play but never with her toys, preferring instead to steal whatever seemed to be most interesting to her brothers during the day. She mastered crawling and climbing faster than her brothers ever did but she refused to walk. Her first birthday came and went and still she did not walk and barely talked. Communicating through screams and grunts was most effective for her.

Walking and talking did come, closer to her second birthday, finally.

Be careful what you wish for...

Keeping her secured in the shopping cart, once she could walk, became a battle of not only wills but sheer strength. Despite being buckled in with a strap tightened to the very tightest notch she would contort her body unbelievably until she wriggled free. When I allowed her down she would run out of the aisle and across the store so quickly I often had to abandon my cart, making a mad dash after her, my purse remembered at the last second and flying behind me. If I did not allow her down an immediate trigger was activated and an ear piercing scream to rival a police siren would erupt out of her perfect little pink mouth, earning us nasty glares and even fingers in the ears of those walking past.

I began to question the vanity in my wanting another child, a baby girl to love and cherish. She demanded so much that it felt the boys were second fiddle and receiving less of me each day. My blond haired, blue-eyed angel quickly approached her third birthday, which by all accounts should be considered a miracle given her history.

As the day approached I worried silently to myself, remembering that the boys had not experienced "Terrible Two's" but instead had gone through "Terrible Three's." If her first two years of life had been so daunting how on earth was I going to handle her turning three?

As if in answer to my looming dread, a few weeks before her birthday the clouds parted and gave to me the most pleasant, well behaved young lady this world has ever seen. Knowing that there is a significant difference between boys and girls I wondered if perhaps she had done her "terrible" stint as a two year old but I had missed the signs because it transitioned so seamlessly from her difficult babyhood. Amazed at the difference I assured my girlfriends with difficult toddler daughters that a light was coming at the end of the two-year old tunnel, so to speak.

At home, this mostly well behaved darling is confident and outgoing. She keeps up well with her older brothers and their make believe adventures. She digs in to her dress-up clothes with reckless abandon and enjoys being a Princess and making her brothers in to her Ladies in Waiting. She has attended preschool with much success and fewer tears each day.

A few weeks after the start of preschool a lovely flyer came home, announcing an exciting Princess Tea Party. So sure that she would really enjoy a chance to dress up, a chance to get away from her brothers and be super girly with just me, I reserved our spots and secured a purple princess gown with matching tights and fuzzy purse. I was a bit concerned she would not want to wear the special dress based simply on the fact that I wanted her to, so a week in advance, I made sure to show it to her and each day remind her of the fun we would have.

…what you wish for...

The fun day arrived, happily she put on the poufy splendor and after a picture snapped by Daddy we were off. Snow White greeted us and pinned a sash on my Princess. When asked her name she simply looked at me and said quietly "you tell her." She accepted her tiara with grace and sat in my lap as we listened to a story about a young girl, daydreaming of being a princess. She noticed a fellow Princess in our group was a friend from preschool and she seemed happy to see her.

"We have a fun day planned," Snow White explained to the eager little faces, "we are going to start in this room with dancing so we are prepared for the Ball, we will then make necklaces and have our hair and nails done, followed by a Princess parade and a tea party!" Certainly I was excited and thought my angel was too. When the music began and the instructor lined the girls up I encouraged my timid little royalty to stand next to her school friend for support. Not only did she not stand by her friend, she did not join the line of smiling faces but instead she found the smallest corner in the room and stuffed herself in to it.

Exasperated I decided to take the high road and say nothing at all, I figured soon she would see the fun the girls were having and she would want to join them. After what seemed like forever I felt the stares of the other mothers so I attempted to coax my shy one out of the corner. She refused and to emphasis her point she pulled her tiara over her eyes and hiked her dress up to her waist. So lady like, this one.

Feeling the desperation of her baby years creeping back in to my consciousness I hauled her out of the corner and demanded, quietly in her ear, that she sit with me on the chair if she wasn’t going to participate. Stubbornly she slid off my lap and attempted to squeeze in behind my chair. I was absolutely sure she would have fun if she just gave it a try so I offered to take her to her favorite fast food restaurant for a pink smoothie, knowing that a similar bribe had worked for my friends shy 3 year old at dance class the week before. Nothing I tried would convince her to approach the dance floor and so I threatened to leave, so sure she would not want to miss the fun yet to come.

Mercifully the dancing finally concluded and the young ladies followed Snow White to the next party room. We sat in front of a pile of lovely beads which were captivating to the others and elicited a collective “oh” and “ah” around the table. A quick glimpse of the rest of the room showed stations for nail polishing, up-do’s and wand making. I tried to bring all of this to the attention of my pride and joy but she was so far past caring that it seemed hopeless. I was finally pushed past my boiling point when she refused to even sit in the chair. I took her tiny, perfect little hand and led her out of the room, through the hall way and out the front door.

Just as I pressed the button to unlock the van I heard a little plea, coming from a sad little child next to me, “please we stay?” Shocked, I looked down to confirm this was actually coming from my daughter, the most uncooperative child in the whole tea party.

I explained that we would not be grumpy if we went back in, though the irritated tone in my voice certainly was not doing much to enforce my message. She agreed and so we started back towards the building. As we reached the front door she changed her mind and started back for the car. Stick a fork in me, I am done. No more tea party, no more niceties, no more, no more, no more.

When we arrived home I decided I would take it upon myself to drive home the puppy we were watching for the weekend. The 2 hour drive to my father’s house might be enough time to cool down and reflect on what I had done wrong. I did not say much as I led our daughter in to the house except to let my husband know that I had reached my end and was going to take the dog home, alone.

I was beyond mad as I drove across state, I didn’t even turn on the radio. I sat in complete silence, thinking over the past hour, and even my four legged passenger seemed to know better than to make more than a sigh as we drove.

When I reached my parents house I explained the reason for leaving behind my husband and children. My Dad laughed and my Step Mom reminded me of my youngest Step Sister when she was a child and the difficulty she had with participating and doing things on her own. I remembered it so well after she mentioned it that is surprised me I hadn’t thought of it sooner.

While a teenager, my younger sister, 4 years my junior, would hang out with my friends rather than her own. My friends were always very good about this and never seemed to mind. As a whole my family often wondered how my sister would manage to go off to college and yet she did just that and has been successful in her adult life. I mentioned to my Step Mom that I would not be so frustrated if my dear, sweet daughter would act shy and uncooperative all of the time and not just out in public, with a laugh she corrected me that it would be just as frustrating either way.

As we parted ways my Dad encouraged me to keep trying and eventually she would be comfortable enough to enjoy the events I signed her up for. For now, he reminded me, signing her up seems to be more for my benefit than hers and so I should not be so disappointed when it did not work out as perfectly as I had planned.

As I started my 2 hour drive home I thought over what they had said and decided that it must not be as bad as I was allowing myself to dwell on. I love my sister and would not change her in anyway, even back in the days when she preferred to follow me around rather than be with her own friends. She has grown up in to a wonderful mother, wife and sister. Above all, my sister is an outstanding woman and with time, patience and understanding I am certain my daughter will be too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

27 of 52

Today is Thursday. 
Yes, it is.  Don't argue with me, if I say it is Thursday, well, then it darn well better be Thursday. 
Don't make me come over there... Okay, now that we are on the same page -
Happy Thursday!

Forever In Blue Jeans

On this lovely Autumn day, I can't help but wonder -
Does this child ever smile? 
Bribes don't work,
threats don't work {ahem, not that I'd try that...},
hugs and kisses only make her more angry. 
Where is her smile, I continue to wonder...


It is hidden beneath the bubbles.  Who knew...

Visit Carin at Forever in Blue Jeans, she is the genuis behind 52 Weeks.

******************52 Weeks********************
52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you're not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

26 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans
New-To-Us Skates!

I found these gems at our local Good Will as I hunted for bits and pieces to fashion each child's requested Halloween costume for this fall.  I paid less than $10 for both pairs, so when they get bored with them after a few days it won't break my heart.
Helmets securely fastened, we took to the lot, but both Topher and Lilly soon found their skills lacking.  Mom to the rescue!  I unbelievably found the patience I needed to repeatedly walk both kids around and around the parking lot, giving pointers and guiding balance.
Lilly's skates are way too big, so it was pretty great entertainment to see her try so hard with such an impossible task.  Thankfully she has years to learn and plenty of room to grow {her feet anyway}.
Skate to Carin's at Forever in Blue Jeans, she is always doing something fun!
******************52 Weeks********************
52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you're not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Empty, Wobbily Stroller: A Retelling

Thursday, Lillian's second day of preschool, found me debating the best way to pick her up when class ended at noon. We live roughly 1 1/2 miles from preschool and I sat outside in the hot September weather wondering if it made more sense to ride my bike or walk the distance. Given Lilly's affinity for filling our free Wesco popcorn bucket whenever we are over that way I thought it would be best to walk, I could only imagine the scene she would make juggling an overflowing popcorn bucket and an ice cold mushy {her word for slushy}, most likely I would end up wearing much of the frozen treat on my back. No thank you!

Now, our road is super busy with no sidewalks, {another rant, for another day} which means I have the pleasure of walking down a narrow strip of shoulder, against traffic so I can see the car that will most likely hit me rather than a sneak attack from behind. Ya, old lady who shouldn't have her license anymore, I am talking to you! It is the thought of walking down the busy road that has me thinking just how ridiculous I am going to look pushing an empty stroller on my way to preschool. Solution? My iPod - because if I can't hear the people jeering at me then it isn't happening, right? Problem solved...

...or not, since the darn thing decided that exact moment would be ideal to die and need to be charged. “Let the weird looks and jeering begin”, I said to myself as I got ready to set out. Quick mental check - talking to myself while walking a beat-up empty stroller is not helping the situation. Maybe I should bring a large baby doll wrapped in a blanket with me, or at least a blanket balled up to confuse the people driving towards me. Then I thought of my insane daughter who would insist on wrapping up in the blanket on the way home even though the weather was hot for once this summer.

Okay, no baby doll, or blanket - so in my genius I pulled the shade down on the stroller, in an effort to make passerby's think perhaps they did not just see an empty stroller and it was just their imagination, because certainly no one would be that odd, right? Now I just needed one of those starched leashes that hold themselves up with out a dog at the end, to add to my air of mystery. Seriously, I feel so silly, like I am the town crazy who walks around caring for a plastic baby... you know who I'm talking about... and I don't wanna be that person, ever.

So, I set out, popcorn bucket in the basket and a few quarters in my pocket for the mushy. No biggie, I cross the road to walk against traffic, straighten my back and sucked in my stomach as I walked for the benefit of strength training… we in the lazy, couch potato world call this multi-tasking! See Billy Blanks, I know cardio and apply it in every day life, so ha!

Ten or twenty feet down the road I encountered my first dead animal, eww! Remember how I mentioned before that the shoulder is narrow? Right, so when a flat squirrel is facing you down the choices are pretty limited. 1. Walk over it – bleck! 2. Walk out in to the road around it – unless there is too much traffic 3. Squeeze between the remaining shoulder and the 6 foot ditch full of scum and trash. Okay, so option three wins and I do my best to not touch the dead hyde, however the wheel of the stroller catches the very edge of the toe nail and the thing actually flips up, vertical to the road, falls back down and vibrates from side to disgusting side for a few moments. Road kill flap jacks are so not on my list of favorite things. By my count I had a road kill obstacle course consisting of 5 squirrels’, 2 rabbits and something so far gone I have no idea what it used to be. Lovely.

A half mile in I pass my friend Sherry’s house and much to my chagrin her devastatingly handsome husband {that’s right, I said it} is pulling out of their driveway. I pushed on, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me or perhaps where ever he was setting out to was so important he would be solely focused on his destination. Um, no – he noticed me and waved a big ‘ol friendly southern howdy from his Jeep. I swear he was looking in his side mirror to see if, in fact, I was pushing a barren stroller. Yeah, Matt, it is what it looked like, and, yeah, I’ve been fitted for my straight jacket.

Another half mile down the road it occurred to me that the stroller is shaking, almost to the point that it is difficult to push. I have never had this happen before so it obviously has something to do with, oh I don’t know, being empty maybe? I gripped the handles tight, avoiding the exposed metal where a hunk of foam used to be and push on. As I heave the thing and it shakes more violently, I imagine one of the tread-bare tires flying off, certainly it is more than possible due to the unnatural angle the wheels are already operating at. Actually, I thought to myself {ya know, rather than talking to myself out loud}, if anything would make someone driving down the road think there is a child in the stroller it would be from the serious bend and apparent pressure that something is putting on it. If only…

To occupy my embarrassed mind I ran through the worst case scenario, that being if the tire did actually fly off, so I was prepared to act quickly. Well, it has given us 9 years of great service so I would be okay with ditching it along side of the road. What did you think I was gonna say – that I’d carry it home? Pish, whatever. With any luck it might just do it in front of that unsightly house on our road that already stores loads of junk out front and no one would be the wiser. Hey, don’t judge me – it isn’t as though it has a VIN and could be traced back to me, so long as the yard it dies in does not belong to one of the parents who recognize me at the boys school by my “ride,” which is often “parked” out front when I am at school with Lilly in tow. I suppose that does present a complication, so this darn thing had just better make it to and from with no further hassle.

Finally, I neared the main road the preschool is on. I really should not have worn jeans if I was planning on power walking a wayward stroller. Nothing says “I walked really far, really fast with a crappie stroller” like a sweaty Mom among the fresh, composed Mom’s who drove to pick up their children.

I should feel very fortunate that I have a narrow shoulder to walk along on my road because once I hit the main road there is nothing, nada, zip to walk along besides the road itself. The way I avoid holding up traffic, or joining the road kill brigade, is by cutting through the parking lot of a few restaurants, which caused me to wonder if people pulling in think I may be so desperate to go out to eat {or to the bar} that I am walking with my stroller there… I suppose nothing is impossible.

After I ran out of parking lot I skillfully scaled down a steep, dusty dirt hill of sorts in to the Wesco gas station parking lot. Nothing says mental patient like walking your stupid stroller by gas pumps – “Fill ‘er up with unleaded, won’t ya?” Actually, it is tempting to mess with people by pretending to top off my ride, maybe I should outfit it with a gas cap?

What could mess with my already damaged self-esteem more than walking with a phantom child down a busy road? Waiting by an even busier road, standing still until traffic clears, under the Pines Motel sign, which boasts “Recline with the Pine, nightly, weekly and monthly rates available.” FYI to my fellow preschool Moms’ – I was not reclining at the Pine. Thankyouverymuch!

So, I finally arrived at school and preceded to give myself a pep talk about how it is okay that I walk to and from school and that it is okay that I have the ugliest stroller in town. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like me.” I repeated this mantra to myself and, at the last second before reaching the door, ditched it behind a large bush on the opposite side of the front door. So sue me, I was ready to abandon the stupid thing if it blew to pieces in a strangers yard, so no love lost, believe me.

I collected Lilly and heard about her fabulous day at school. We headed back outside and as much as I had hoped she would notice the stroller off to the side, in the distance, she did not and I had to point it out to her… and thus anyone nearby us. Hey, maybe I could start a self-help group, “Momma’s with a Stroller Complex.”

We waited to cross the road again, popcorn bucket in hand. Lilly charmed the clerk at the station with her darling smile, I paid for her multi-flavor mushy and we set off for home. This is where my story ends, for there was no more uncontrollable shaking and the flat animals were remarkably absent on the opposite side of the road. My baby girl rode happily oblivious in her ancient chariot, munching on her prized treats, and all was right in the world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You need to try this: Zucchini Bread

When life hands you exceptionally large zucchini's, make exceptionally tasty zucchini bread! 

I have a pesky fun little habit of signing up for just about every random freebie I come across.  Typically it takes an item so long to arrive that it is like Christmas in my mailbox every week when the little packages arrive.  A sample of Cheerios for ma-wa?  Oh, you shouldn't have!  That being said, imagine my surprise when a nice little bound cookbook arrived, "How to Cook for Crohn's and Colitis," by Brenda Roscher.  I believe Colitis is one of those words, like Pork, that sounds so unappetizing that equating it with tasty food seems impossible.  Are you with me on this one?  Bleck!

Trying to be a good wife, I know- I make it look so easy, I thought I would test out the zucchini bread recipe since I have three over grown gourds screaming to be made in to something before turning to a nat's dream home. 

The results are in and the cookbook can stay!  The bread turned out great and is healthy too, great combo in this house these days.  It is so good that, well, I am blogging about it - so there.  Even if you don't like zucchini you really do need to give this simply scrumptious bread a try. 

Zucchini Bread

1/3 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchinis, patted dry after shredding)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with vegetable spray
~In large bowl combine applesauce, eggs, zucchini, and vanilla and stir well.  Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir well.  Add dark brown sugar and granulated sugar and stir well.  Stir in flour just until combined-do not overmix.  Fold in dried cranberries or raisins, if desired.
~Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s).  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (bake mini loaf pans 30-40 minutes.)  Remove from pan(s) and cool on wire rack.
Yield: 1 loaf or 4 mini loaves, about 12 servings

Thursday, September 10, 2009

25 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

Thirty again!  Yes, that is right - I am going backwards in age so when my birthday rolled around {as it seems to have the pesky habit of doing so every year...} I was delighted to erase a few years from my birth certificate.  Go me! 
We started a super fun weekend with the visit of a speedy ice cream truck... well, more of a sad looking Astro Van which closely resembled a rusty bullet as it sped down our busy street.  Luckily with 8 arms waving wildly at the end of driveway we summoned the gal back and perused her wares... which were sadly limited and packed in dry ice.  This picture of Nathan is exactly what it looks like - said young man managed to get his tounge STUCK to his ice cream bar.  {What a look of compassion Topher has for his brothers pain} After a bit of patience and his warming breath he was free and managed to enjoy the treat without further incident.  Whew!
On Saturday we packed the fam in to our sleek, rust free van and sped off like a bullet to Grand Haven for the day.  I {heart} Rays from back in my High School days, so we stopped in and the kids experienced that fun little hamburger stand which we quickly took to the State Park and enjoyed on the sandy beach.  For the first time this summer we enjoyed a hot, wind and seagull free day, now that is sayin' something.
Each of the kids took turns digging large holes and filling them back in with their bodies and loads of heavy sand, similar to small tombs - don't really see the appeal myself.  Lilly couldn't resist getting back at Topher for all his naughty big brother crud he is always pulling on her... it was pretty funny to see how upset the little bit of water made him only after he saw who was pouring it. 
Monday morning, the day of my birthday, the kids woke me up with breakfast in bed {which looked oddly like Mr. Magoo}, a GIANT card that spoke to me and a very nice gift of bath bubbles.  Since that day I keep wishing a quick death to the battery of the card because it causes hours entertainment for Lilly now... *sigh*
After breakfast we headed out to the John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids.  Fun!
Could it be that Lilly was in a bad mood...again...even after a fun day at the zoo?  Um, ya, which is usually the case anymore - I am so not looking forward to her teenage years if this is what her toddler years are like.  Seriously.   
 We ended our fun-filled weekend with a yummy ice cream cake and two too many candles... I'm going backwards, remember?  Guess I'll have to talk to the management about that one.  Sunday night Patrick arranged for the kids to go to The Wonderful Sherry's {her new title from now on} house for about 4 hours so we could have alone time and go to dinner - so I vote this year as the absolute best birthday ever. 

Forever in Blue Jeans is another fabulous place to be, go on over and check it out.

******************52 Weeks********************
52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you're not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day of School: 2009

Here we go again!  Mom's most favorite time of year - the first day of school, oh yeah!
The boys became huge fans of the many Sonic the Hedgehog Wii games they found to rent during the summer so it was only fitting that their first day of school shirts displayed the little blue fella.
Nathan, the proud new 3rd grader, is sporting his new freckles from a bit too much sun in Mexico.
Once a ham, always a ham, Sir Topher - the 2nd grader!

The boys enjoyed returning to the same school for the second year, I did too because everyone was far more relaxed and comfortable with the new begining.  The boys are enjoying their teachers and having fun seeing old friends and making new ones.  It is hard to believe how fast they have grown but so exciting too!
Speaking of growing too fast... Lilly joined in on the first day fun with a super adorable new outfit!  We are trying out a great preschool/daycare down the road, which is what is in the background.  Wish us luck with that one - this girl is stubborn and morning is not her shiny time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

World Traveler: Nathan

Nathan is the man this summer. While his family dutifully withdrew all vacation plans and tried out the new fad of "staycation" he was jet-setting across the country, all the way to Mexico. Every two years or so my Dad and Step Mom take an exotic vacation down to sunny Cancun for two weeks, taking along a grandchild or two. This year it was Nathan's turn to go and he was accompanied by his cousin, Devin, who is a year older. Little did my parents know what they were in for with those too... or did they? The lucky world travelers!

Nathan and Devin in the cockpit of the plane, how cool is that?!

Once they arrived in Cancun, my Dad, Angie, Devin and Nathan hopped on to a very nice bus and traveled 4 hours in to the country to my Aunt and Uncles house in Merida. I think maybe they are watching a movie in this picture...? Or they are just too sexy for the bus perhaps?

I really like this picture - two of my favorite fellas, Nathan and my Dad.

STOP! Two young hunks, lookin' for a good time.

The heat was more than anyone had anticipated, super high compared to anything the boys had ever experienced. Sleeping in hammocks, especially in the unbearable heat, is the preferred way to snooze the night away.

Super tasty fish and other great authentic foods were abundant. Nathan liked the fish and had so many new and exciting foods he had never heard of. I am so proud of him for trying so many different things.

The boys were able to play with there Mexico cousins, seeing the two younger ones for the very first time.

In the market the boys are picking out a hat from the vendors. What an interesting way to showcase your inventory... wonder if their necks are very sore at the end of the day?

Shark! Thank goodness it is just a baby one... not only were the boys intrigued by this little monster but so were my Dad and Angie - in fact Angie used the rough skin on the shark to file a chipped nail. Good thing the shark was dead or else it might have been ticked to be used as a nail file...

My Uncle Carlos took everyone to this beach along the ocean where flamingos migrate. There were thousands of pink flamingos up and down this coast, a breath-taking sight. Did you know flamingos get their pink color from eating krill and shrimp... brighter the pink = better eaters.

Holy smokes... wouldn't want to meet this fella in a dark alley at night... whoa.

More ruins the kids visited...
I am sure I'll get it wrong... this is a Senota (sp?) and an amazing sight

here the boys are flipping in to the water of the Senota - far braver than me!

They saw a sound and light show at these ruins, looks pretty neat!

Standing in more ruins. They saw so much but this blog would never end if I added all of the amazing pictures.
Chichen Itza, a super huge pyramid. When I went to Mexico back in 1995 we were able to climb the 365 stairs to the top but they no longer allow it. They arrived early enough to get pictures before the throngs of tourists showed up to mar the background of this great pic.

Lime Popsicles, a welcome relief from the scorching heat.
What a beautiful sight, wish I'd been there. The second week everyone headed back to Cancun to the resort for fun and sun!

So brave! Here the boys are floating high above the ocean in a para sail, just the two of them.

The tiny spot, way up high in the sky, is the boys para sail

I believe that these young men spent more time in the water than on dry land, it is a wonder they remembered how to walk at all.

The boys had a chance to go snorkeling in the ocean, what an incredible experience for them!

I'm savin' this one for his first girlfriend, hehehe!

The market downtown where Nathan tried his hand at negotiating for many, many treasures to bring home for his waiting family and, of course, for himself.

This is Princess the gi-normus snake and these are the crazy people who thought it was a good idea to hold this man eater...

I am almost sure she is enjoying herself way too much and likely would have put the thing in her suitcase and brought it home.

It would appear Dad has finally figured out just what this thing could actually do to him...
One last dip in the salty ocean...

The last day and I'd say those boys look like they had a great time and love there Grandma for giving them such an incredible experience.

Lillian is very excited with her hot pink sombrero her awesome big brother brought home for her. Adios Amigos!