Category Archives: vacation

Mas Tequila Boss


When we were in Mexico, Luke decided to participate in a ping pong tournament.  And by that I mean he said, “I’m going to win the ping pong tournament.”  Well, the only issue was that the tournament was at 4:30, and none of us had watches, and there were no clocks anywhere.  So, we just decided that after lunch we would spend the rest of the day at the pool nearest to the ping pong table.  That plan worked well and before we knew it, Luke had won the ping pong tournament and all was right with the world.  Oh, except for one little thing.  The activities directory had told Luke there was a prize and then he faded away into the sunset before any prizes were awarded.  I told Luke that we’d just find Luis tomorrow, and that he should just be happy with the bragging rights as an award.

That night we went to dinner at the fancy resort restaurant, and got on a 1 hour wait list.  So I ran the kids over to the buffet for an appetizer while Dave held our spot.  On the way back, we saw Luis, and he said, “I’ll be right back!”  Into his office he went to rifle through drawers for a prize.  I told the kids he was saying, “Shot glass? No.  T-shirt? No. etc.”  He came out with a tee-shirt, a plastic sun visor and a shot glass.  We said, “Thanks!” and went off to find Dave.  I told Jack to wear the visor and act like it was no big deal.    This translated into Jack putting the sun visor on upside down, hair everywhere, arms raised, head bobbing from side to side saying, “WHAT!?  It’s no big deal?!?!”

The king of subtlety.

Bonus Jack story, because I never want to forget the period of time (currently happening) where Jack wrote BOSS on everything.  When we were doing our Christmas cards, I gave one to Jack to write for his teachers at daycare, to go with some cookies.  He can write most of his letters, but he can’t really read or spell much.  So when he wants to write something, he tells me what he wants to write, and I tell him how to do it, letter by letter.  When he can’t remember how to do a letter, I draw it in the air, or try to form it with my fingers.  This explains why some of his letters look a little odd.  ANYWAY, he said he wanted the card to say, “To the boss of <Daycare name redacted>”  I told him how to spell it, and that was that.   But somehow, he remembered how to write BOSS, and now he writes it on everything.  His drawings from school say “JACK BOSS” on them, doodles say “BOSS” etc.   Dave and Luke and I find this to be totally hilarious, and we want to call him boss, and start using boss as a synonym for awesome, and everything else.  But, unfortunately, Jack thinks we are making fun of him, and he doesn’t like it.  And yet, BOSS lives.

I just want to hold onto this phase.  Pretty soon he’ll be reading and writing, and leaving for college.  But for now, I am loving this BOSS phase.


The Sands of Time

Sand.  I always assumed that pockets are filled with sand over the course of the day through extreme and rugged playing.  From wallowing in sandboxes, and rolling through dirt.


But I learned otherwise on a hike through the Black Hills in Custer State Park.


We drive the Needles Highway one day and did a hike to the Cathedral Spires.


Jack picked up a piece of wood that was slightly curved, perfect for scooping sand, and there was a lot of sand and dirt to scoop.  Jack was a very good hiker that day, almost too determined, not wanting any help over some of the serious rock scrambles.  But on the way down, he asked me to carry his piece of wood filled with sand, because he was having trouble keeping the sand from spilling out on the way down.  I said he should just dump the sand and then fill it up again at the bottom of the hike.  Logical.  Subtext: Please lose that piece of wood on the way down.   Then I turned forward and started walking again, confident that Jack would dump the sand and follow.  After a few steps, I turned around to see him using the wood like a funnel, and filling his pockets with sand.   Filling his pockets with sand, on purpose.   New insight into the mind of a boy.

Seems odd to have a post about Jack and his antics, but Jack wasn’t really into posing that day.  As you can see.

Hot Nose!

We went to South Dakota for a long labor day weekend, and I was ecstatic to learn we’d be passing through Wheatland, Wyoming on the way there.  Years ago, possibly 10 years, I had an Italian cream soda at Terra Grano in Wheatland, Wyoming and it was fantastic.  (Terra Grano is Land Wheat in Italian.  Possibly.)  What better way to kick off a totally Americana trip to see giant heads in a rock, then by planning to have lunch where I once had a delicious drink a decade ago?

Dave was skeptical, and I have to admit, the cream soda didn’t change my life, like it did the first time.  But we did have an laugh so hard you cry experience that made it more than worthwhile.

We ordered cream sodas all around, and two pizzas.  Oh, and we got there after 1:00 pm, so we were all preeeeeetty hungry by the time the food arrived.  Luke took a bite of his pizza, the cheese sort of flipped up onto his nose, he started fanning his face and yelling, “HOT NOSE!! HOT NOSE!!”  Being the loving, nurturing, caring mother that I am, I started laughing.   Then, Luke followed up with a giant belch before he got up to get some more napkins.   Jack was laughing too, and he let out a world weary sigh and an, “Ooooh.  This is tooooo funny for me.”  The sort of thing your Great Aunt would say as she tittered and dabbed at her eye with a hankie.  That made me laugh a little harder, when Luke got back with the napkins, I had already almost shed a tear.  At that moment, Luke chose to say, “Excuse me” for the belch that happened so long ago, I had almost forgotten about it.  Then it was all over.  It was a laugh like the Big-Lebowski-quoting-coffee-spitting-great-partly-saying-wedding of 1998.  The one where I had to put my head under the table so I could focus long enough to chew and swallow my food in order to fully laugh without the very real fear of choking.

We laughed, cried, pulled ourselves together, made eye contact with each other, and started again.  Many times.

Hot Nose!  The new family vacation memory.

I Want You! To Enjoy These Fireworks.

The imagination fireworks were tolerable on July 4th because we has already seen a great fireworks show on the 2nd.  We were driving around Silverthorne and we passed a sign that said, “Never Forget.”  Sort of vague, huh?  We wondered what we weren’t supposed to forget.   The Declaration of Independence? The Revolutionary Way? 9/11?  Pearl Harbor, The Alamo?  I read an article later in the day that said the fireworks display was a tribute to The Troops, about whom we should never forget.    That’s an especially good reminder for me, because I ran into one soldier in particular this past weekend who said, “I’m still waiting for those cookies.”  Oops!  (Disclaimer:  I support the troops.)

First we were going to try to see the fireworks from our campsite, then we briefly considered going with friends to their friend’s house, but then we remembered we had the dog, and the bikes, and maybe no locks, so we went back to plan A.  But the kids thought they were going to miss the show and everyone was stressed out and crying when we just decided to drive right down into the middle of the Support the Troops celebration, and park ourselves and our crazy dog on a blanket by Lake Dillon.   Actually we sat on half the blanket, with Luke on Dave’s lap and Jack on mine, and the blanket folded over us.  Because it was dark, and freezing, and windy.   And Lucy is crazy, so we found a spot way off to the side, not even facing the direction where all the rest of the people were.  There was even a stand of trees in between us and the 4th of July Never Forget Celebration, so we figured the fireworks would be on the other side of the trees.  So we snuggled, and we watched the boats and we waited for the fireworks to start.   We didn’t know how Lucy would react since last year the fireworks were rained out, but BOOM, all of a sudden the show started, and we had the prime viewing spot.  And then it was SWARM, SWARM!  We were suddenly surrounded on all sides by people rushing to the prime spot to get the best view.  Turns out, Lucy does not like fireworks, and she started shaking, so we squished her body between Dave and I, and her head between Luke and Dave.  No time to act ferocious to random dogs, too busy trembling.

At this point, the wind stopped, and I realized we’d get through the fireworks without Lucy causing a scene,and we had a good view, and everything was right in the world.  Except, I was sort of sitting on a stick, and the way Jack was leaning on me was sort of uncomfortable,  and I couldn’t straighten my back at all.  But we were all close and snuggly, and this was the sort of fireworks show that stands out.  Because the best way to enjoy fireworks, is to be constantly berated about how much you should be enjoying them.   It was really dark, and I could barely move my neck, so I didn’t get to see who was talking, but I was guessing it was a drunken lady, with a deep and commanding voice.  It went like this.


Crowd: Awkward silence.



Crowd:  Murmuring


Me: giggle


Random person in crowd:  We’re trying!


Me: Not me, I’m from Canada.


Dave: Is this going to be one of those stories we tell forever?


Luke: And China, where fireworks were invented.

And, scene.

Yes, the July 2nd fireworks show was one we will never forget.



We said goodbye to the kids this afternoon, which they viewed as an interruption to their card game with the cousins. I had been pretty vague with them about our plans to prevent anyone from worrying about anything in advance. But they knew they were going to get to sleep in the RV with Grandmom and Grandad for a few days. So this morning when I said, “Daddy and I are driving back to Colorado today and you’ll be with Grandmom and Grandad. We’ll see you in a few days” I guess I was excepting some sadness on Jack’s part. Luke cheered. Jack was happy. I thought, “He doesn’t get it. I can either keep explaining to him until he realizes how much he is going to miss me, or else, stop talking about it and let him be oblivious, and then he can freak out later, after I leave.” Of course I chose option B and resigned myself to the guilt of not fully explaining the situation.

And then one of those rare lightbulbs went off in my head. He got it, and he was going to be fine. And I could go on and on about how he was going to miss me, until he got upset, but he’d only be getting upset because that is what I was expecting him to do.

Thank you, lightbulb!

And now to enjoy a few kidless days, which we kick off with a 15 hour road trip home.

Mad Libs

Luke: Ok, Jack, “part of the body.”
Me: Well if you are asking Jack to pick a part of the body, it will obviously be the nose.


>Eventually, I will blog about our awesome vacation, but first I want to talk about the McDonald’s PlayPlace. (We went twice, so the kids could get exercise during the road trip. And so that we could eat.) Say what you want about the evils of McDonalds, but it’s a great place to run around and burn off some energy when you have been in the car forever. That is, until some gigantic family swarms, swarms, swarms. With their giant kids, and brothers and sisters and cousins, with the yelling and the blocking of the slide, and chasing, and general roughhousing. This same thing happened at both McDonalds stops. And both times Luke retreated to another area, while Jack got trapped somewhere by the swarm. In Kayenta, Arizona, I just sent Luke in after Jack and we left when things got out of hand. But in Albequerque, New Mexico, I guess Jack had learned a thing or two. We were ready to leave, and Luke was avoiding the swarm, and Jack was trapped at the end of the line for the slide, three stories up, behind a never-ending line of cutters. I was about to send Luke after him, but first I just yelled up there, “Jack! Just come down the slide!” Next thing I knew, he had pushed to the front of the line, and as he slid down, this is what echoed out both ends of that tubular slide: “BUH BYE SUCKAS!!!” Other Jack vacation moments: I filmed an interview with him, asking what his favorite part of vacation was. Pointing to himself he said, “This guy.” Speaking of Jack pointing to himself, a few weeks ago, on the way home from Eldora, he pointed at each person in the car and said the following, “You’re a skier, you’re a snowboarder, you’re a snowboarder, and I’m a skier.” Still pointing to himself and looking down at his finger, and nodding vigorously he said, “Yeah! That’s right, finger!’



From vacation2010

When we were in Ouray this summer, I was sad to see the hood of our van propped up, and Dave and Grandad peering inside. What is worse that car trouble on vacation? But it wasn’t a mechanical problem. The problem was that there was a hummingbird trapped deep in the dashboard. And by “problem” I mean “horrifying situation.” They couldn’t get the bird out, so the only option was to let it… I can’t even say it. So what is the best way to take your mind off the fact that a hummingbird is going to die a terrible death in your dashboard? Why, going for a drive to a ghost town on an incredibly steep, winding, mountain roads with no guardrails.

On the way back, Dave was driving, Grandad was in the front seat and Grandmom, Luke and Jack were in the back seat. I was in the middle row, facing backwards, when the bird flew out of the dashboard. The look of horror and surprise on Grandmom, Luke, and Jack’s face was terrifying. I didn’t see the bird, and could only assume Dave was driving off a cliff and our lives were over. But it all lasted about 1 second before Grandad grabbed the bird and tossed it out the window. Dave never even swerved.

>I’ll Miss The Peaches… Oh, and you

>Dave and I drove across a part of the South together on our first vacation about 16 years ago. We stopped at a roadside stand and bought a peach that I can’t really describe. I mean, I could, but what I am going to do? Use a bunch of adjectives like sweet, juicy, sticky? Isn’t it enough to say that I remember a specific peach from the summer of 1994?

That we both remember it.

Speaking of things that are really sweet, you can thank me for not going off on a “peach as metaphor for young love” tangent here. Instead, I will say that I could write a book about that trip, or a screen play for a road trip movie starring Ellen Page as the young MetaMegan and James Franco as Dave. (I know… I let Dave cast his character.) So the fact that we both remember that peach, ok, you get the point.

And the point is, we stopped in Palisade on our way home from our vacation and bought a half bushel of peaches. I had spent the entire vacation reading The Blah with the Dragon Blah and Little Bee so the magazines that I had been hoarding to read on vacation were untouched. On the drive home, I ripped out all the peach related recipes and we found some winners.

The first order of business was Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches from Real Simple. Yum.
Next up, Grilled Cornmeal Flatbread with Peaches, Serrano Ham (I used prosciutto) and Spicy Greens. So good. So so good. I may even start using the flatbread recipe as my go to pizza crust. I’ll report back on that.

Then I also froze and “canned” some peaches, but that’s a story for another post. What I wanted to share was that Luke and Jack were supposed to go to the RV with Grandmom and Grandad in the middle of this peachy time, and they were acting reluctant, and I was encouraging Dave to just go with them and leave me all alone. Dave thought about it for a full minute before he sighed and said, “I can’t go. I’d miss the peaches.”

>Vacation Jackisms

>** I poured some sour milk into Jack’s glass when we were camping in Silverton. (I swear I tasted it first, but it must have turned after I poured it.) Jack said, “This milk makes my mouth go like this: Grrrrr! ROAR! GROWL!” And he proceeded to growl for about 5 minutes straight. For real, like a lion. A scary, angry lion that does not like sour milk.

** Grandad was trying to move the air mattress from the bedroom to the living room of the RV and Cleo the cat was safely hiding in the corner. Jack dove to her and threw his body over her’s yelling, “I will protect you Cleo!” Cleo didn’t like that and she let him know. I tried to explain by saying, “Jack, Cleo gets scared of you because she doesn’t know what you are going to do next. ” He shook his had wearily and said, “I don’t know either.”

This is our campsite in Silverton. It rained almost the whole time, so the picture doesn’t do it justice. Dave had a rest day from his ride the day before and that morning he was making Jack and I some delicious pancakes.

From vacation2010