We woke slowly all piled in our bed and came down to a breakfast that we all sat around the table for. The kids and Chris played legos as I read the paper and got ready for our excursion. We rode to Estes, stopping for gas on the way and the kids piled out of the car to help Daddy wash the car with the wiper wands you see next to each pump. We got to Estes and went to the fun center where the kids squealed with laughter as we played mini golf, running from hole to hole on an empty course, proudly declaring they got a hole in anywhere from 1 to 10. We snapped a few pictures next to a river and enjoyed the huge rainbow slides, Austin declaring he thought he was going to fly right off the slide. After the fun center we headed out for lunch and grabbed some sandwiches, salad, lemon cakes and coffee and took it to a pond where a group of kids were catching water skippers and driving a remote control boat. When we were full we packed it up and headed into the national park where we got to see herds of Elk being lazy under the fall trees and on our way home we stopped at a little farm stand for some cider to complete the day.
What I would have left out is this:
While Chris and the kids played legos they started telling us they do not want to to the mountains, it is too far away. The whole way to Estes the questions of how long it will take to get there did not stop, and consequently the various arguments that I am not going to repeat myself began. The trip to the gas station took over 20 minutes as we also had to get more oil and fill the tires with air. This put our arrival to Estes right at lunch time, which for some reason made me angry (hungry? now we only have half a day? who knows). The gondola we wanted to take to the top of the mountain was closed for the season, so we chose to do the fun center instead. The fun center was fun indeed, but we were also met with cries that the bumper cars weren't working and a full melt down from Austin as we left for lunch to the point where our usually easy kid sat on the sidewalk and didn't want to walk with us anymore. Lunch was a struggle as the kids didn't see anything they liked, we chose a table that was surrounded by bees and had to re-pack everything to move down to the pond. During lunch both kids are sitting there crying that they have to eat their chicken and salad before having their lemon cakes and I start ignoring them while Chris is trying to convince a 3 and 5 year old they should be "grateful for this fun day Mommy planned." I declare we should go home, hysterics ensue that result in the kids gobbling their food (what do you know! "This chicken is good Mommy!, and I like this salad!"). We pile into the car with me being grumpy, the kids half whining and Chris trying to talk to all of us with limited success. He also chooses this point to remind me that he wanted to be in Breckenridge this weekend, but I chose Estes for one day. That didn't go over well. The national park happens to be a free day which means half of Colorado is there and we are stuck in traffic trying to crane our necks around people to get a glimpse of the animals which lends itself to feeling like we are actually in a zoo and not in nature. Hiking trails are crawling with people (probably all out trying to do exactly what I had tried to do) and the kids and I all look at Chris and say we just want to go home. On the way home, I spot a cider stand, we flip a u-turn to enjoy some cider, damnit. The cider is cold, not hot, and the seating is on the side of a highway in direct sunlight which is nice, except we are dressed for fall and it's close to 80 degrees out.
This is sometimes just the way the day goes. The untold stories of families everywhere are there and that is why when we get together with other parents we understand the joys and tiredness of everyday life. We have entered a period of time where the kids are a bit older and have opinions on what they would like to do for the day and for the most part, our plans agree with one another. On the days they don't, I am usually able to view the days as version one above and forget about the trials, but on Sat., I could not snap out of it. The whines felt like being hammered in the head, the traffic felt like it would never end and my grumpiness turned into a sense of discomfort that would not end until I got home and in some sweat pants.
Thankfully fall has just begun, the sun is still shining, and that night Chris and I enjoyed a fall harvest dinner outside in our community garden which left me with feeling of happiness that I couldn't find earlier. Sunday came, our family was together at home, and we ended up having a fall family day with barely leaving the house.
(untold story being a trip to toys r us, birthday party, work at rental units, and a day of fall cleaning).