Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dryers and decks

I spent half an hour in my dryer drum last night. The reason that I was in the dryer drum was because there was a crayon that went through the cycle and melted down to a fat stripe around the interior. Things like this happen daily.

You may enjoy pictures of something else that happened this week: the kids found some drippings of deck paint and painted themselves, the patio, the house, and their dump trucks red. When I realized what had happened, I told them to de-robe immediately (their clothes were soaked with paint and I was afraid that it would spread everywhere, which it did anyway). So then they were running around the backyard nude, except for the paint:
I carried them in individually to avoid red footprints on the carpet. Then they sat under the shower for a good 20 minutes while I scrubbed paint off the house (which was easy) and off the patio (which was hard). When I came back to scrub the kids, Michael asked to say a prayer in the bathtub. He bowed his head and prayed that they could be more obedient. It's hard to stay frustrated for long. 

Vacation, family-style

Eric had an ophthalmology conference to go to in Fort Lauderdale. We thought that we might make it a date, but then decided to take everyone. Because, seriously, why relax when you can take a circus of boys along? The plane ride was smooth, anyway:
And Eric (aka ZOZO) was smooth at the in-flight trivia game:
Ah yeah.
Eric went straight to his meetings; the kids and I immediately hit the beach:
Watching them run from "space sea monsters"
and build wave-resistant dams
made the preparation far worth it (a total of 33 pieces of clothing/accessories to put on, plus sunscreen!). 

We were lucky that Nana dropped down for a day and a half, which allowed Eric and I to go night-swimming in the ocean. Magical! (We found out later that we swam during prime shark feeding time; also Eric recently watched Jaws this week and doubts that he'll ever go back into an ocean, ever. So I'm glad that we had this chance.)
See look! There's Nana now:
Doesn't she look fantastic? She's carrying strawberry shakes from a roadside stand with fields of strawberries right behind it. Freshness guaranteed! We also visited Monkey Jungle, "where humans are caged and the monkeys run wild." The boys deposited raisins in little silver dishes that were suspended from the cages; then the monkeys towed the goodies up.

Adam was especially fond of the primates, probably because he is so like them in manner:
We went mansion-peeking along Las Olas Boulevard, where people have their yachts parked in the back like cars:
I stood on the other side of the park while Eric attempted to scale a palm tree:
(In her current post, my sister-in-law Jami has a picture of Eric's brother doing the exact same thing--funny. They were also there for the conference, as was Eric's cousin Matt and his family. Ophthalmology is popular in Eric's family! It was fun to see them all.)
And here's Eric swinging from a tree:
We found a treasure of a county park where we hiked through a tropical forest. 
The boys picked their own oranges
and spied on dozens of spiders with 6-ft.+ webs.

We splurged on ice cream in waffle cones for everyone one night. They got the two classic boy flavors: Cotton Candy and Bubble Gum. I think that every child cried at least once that night--ice cream is touchy business.

When we weren't site-seeing, we were probably relaxing on our balcony,
at the beach,
in a cabana,
or just on the couch.
After managing the repacking and flights home, we felt triumphant:
Absent in this photo is our red bag, which we didn't notice was missing until we were clear home. Bother. Also, when we got into our van it smelled like rotten eggs, which was exactly what it was. Someone had stowed away a hard-boiled Easter egg in the back, where it cooked for five days. Double bother.

What a trip! I felt like it was a microcosm of my life right now: high-stress (five crying/whining simultaneously at times and messes galore!) but rewarding (Marco Polo with giggling youngsters? Babies squealing at monkeys? Pockets full of beach treasures?). I love it.