Sunday, July 8, 2007

friday's escape

Before we get started, a technical note: you can always click on any photo to see it enlarged, then hit the "Back" button of your browser to return.

We've had no daycare this week so I've been home from work for several days. I wanted a change of scenery so I packed the girls up and headed a couple of hours away to see my friend Susan and family. Details of our last outing with them, to the beach.

Erin is a fan of Susan's daughters, "Those big girls who went to the beach with us, Leigh Ann and Lauren. They're nice, when are we going to see them at the beach again?"

Susan said to meet her at her mom's house so the kids could swim in the morning before it gets too hot. And hot around there is...HOT. So that was an excellent idea. The twins hadn't been in a regular "deep" pool in a year, not since we were in Hawaii last summer, and even then they really didn't enjoy it. They mostly cried and clung to John the whole time. So once they were suited up it was much of the same here although the heat kept them interested in the water. They sat on the pool steps for a long, long while, contemplating the danger and gathering their courage.

Erin, meanwhile, loved the pool right away. I asked Erin if she wanted me to throw her in and she did. Leigh Ann and Lauren and their cousins Mia and Kira (ages range from 6 - 11 and all great swimmers) were very encouraging. They reminded Erin to kick and paddle, and showed her the various prime locations for jumping in. The premier of these was "the diving rock", as Leigh Ann demonstrates below. They applauded Erin's every effort. Their title changed from merely lifeguard/babysitters to lifeguard/swim instructor/babysitter extraordinares.

About 45 minutes later, the twins agreed to venture off the steps--at first not so happily,

then a little more happily.

And finally they were having a blast and swimming all on their own (assisted only by every conceivable floatation device I could manage to fit on their tiny bodies). When we decided to get out because we'd been swimming for a couple of hours, it was now hotter than hot, and it was lunch time, Kate kept jumping back into the pool. Susan finally pretty much dragged her out.

Allison was happy on her own as long as she could keep the elephant floaty

What to do for lunch when it's 100F outside and you have seven kids to feed and entertain? Chuck E Cheese, of course! Susan and her mom and I planted ourselves in some booths in the center of the place where we had a vantage point to see pretty much everywhere and keep the invaluable token stash centralized. The big girls were, mostly, very good at making sure they kept tabs on the little girls. Leigh Ann and Lauren were particularly diligent, deciding with each other who was going to stay with whom to do what activity and when they would meet up to trade responsibilities. The one slip up (that I discovered) was when the pizza arrived and I headed over to the play structure where I'd seen several of the girls just a couple of minutes before. I found Allison alone and wandering around, looking slightly upset. After I brought her to our booth, served her some pizza and left her with Susan's mom I went back to get the others. Mia walked up to me just then, "Um, we can't find Allison anywhere. Sorry." with a little head tilt and shoulder shrug that implied, "you know how it is, well, at least you have others."

After all the cheesy excitement we could bear we dropped off the cousins and went back to Susan's mom's house. "Can we swim again?" the big girls asked. What a crazy idea! It cooled all the way down to, like, 90F by then.

While we were making dinner Kate and Allison kept busy with their second favorite activity of the day: shadowing and pestering poor Rusty the beagle. Beagles are known to have tremendous amounts of energy. Twin 2 year-olds have more. His only escape was through his doggy door, but K&A discovered that they are tiny enough to fit through it too (though I didn't capture that on video). When we arrived Rusty was very excited to see the girls but I think he soon got flashbacks of their last encounter.

After dinner the kids piled on the floor for a little movie-watching while Sean (second generation BBQ master) cooked some delicious ribs and chicken for us. Unfortunately, then it was time to get back home. What a full day and it was already past the girls' bedtime. We drove about a mile before all three kids were snoozing.

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