Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ahhh, A Vacation From My Problems

I have been attempting to post for this for the last few weeks (I just noticed I started it in June!), but getting pictures uploaded has been a real bear, so our little June getaway will now be in two posts in no particular order. (For which I have my computer-husband to thank. Having the latest versions of software can actually hamper one in these things. Since my computer is more up-to-date than Blogger, I am not able to use the usual shortcuts--cut and paste--among other weirdness. More than a tad annoying, but I shouldn't complain. At least I have 24 hour support! Too bad it's not my computer that's the problem.)

In June, the girls and I had the privilege of driving up to Colorado to spend time with family. My sister Karin and her son, Alan the Second flew over from Rhode Island and we decided to join in the festivities and get all four Schultz sisters assembled in one location. Who knows when that will happen again?

Unfortunately (but it turned out to be quite fortunate), I had misplaced my camera during the drive, and was too lazy to tear apart our duffles to find it. So, I asked 3 people to let me have copies of the pictures taken during that week. Turns out I got about 700 pictures to sort through and I love it. So many pics I could never have captured on just my camera. I should leave my camera on purpose next time! (J.K. guys--I won't do that to you . . . maybe:).

Uncle Daniel. What can I say about this guy? He is not your average teenager. Super with kiddos. Were it not for him, we would have driven A.L.O.N.E. (and realistically, we would not have come up at all). Yep. Daniel was my navigator, and more importantly, another adult to join me in getting the girls in and out of their car seats and contented on the road. Thanks a ton, Dan!
The girl's oldest cousin, Lydia. They look up to her, and she does well as "the boss" (that's what my girls call her), though dealing with all the fighting tires her out and makes her seek a little alone time. (Me too, Lyd.)
Ruby loved Papa's pool toys (Snack bags with air in them. Shh. . . don't tell the safety police!)
The girls enjoy bath time with cousin Caiden. He's not sure what to think of so much estrogen.

Caid looks so much like a baby here, but he is no longer the baby . . . his little bro-- Grady Ellison was born last Sunday morning and his uncles tell me that Caiden suddenly looks quite big and old in comparison to the 6 1/2 pound peanut! These boys are about 15 months apart. What can I say, Deb? I'm glad you're all living with Mom and Dad right now! You'll be better for it! Perhaps you WILL have all your hair when I see you again (though grey is sure to come soon, right?)!

I love this expression on Caid's face.
We were gone for a total of 8 days. That's the longest I've ever been away from Casey, (Sorry to rub it in, military friends! I had felt a little guilty in admitting this, until I ran into a friend who has been married for over 25 years who was just in the middle of her longest time away from her hubby--10 days. Maybe it isn't that bad that it took 6 years for us to be separated that long.) In that week, we went on picnics, swam, hiked, played cards, jumped on the trampoline, had a girl's night, celebrated Father's Day and my birthday.

It was marvelous. I refer to this week (in true "What About Bob?" fasion) as: "a vacation from my problems." I have not had such a restful and relaxing time since. . . I don't know when . . . possibly our trip to the beach with Casey's family a few Christmases ago? Having so many other people to entertain my children, I hardly lifted a finger. It worked out well that the girls were so occupied for almost every waking moment: I only had to deal with a handful of discipline issues.

Even though it was wonderful to experience such a huge break, all good things must come to an end. Eight days was a perfect time to be ready to get back to real life, while not yet being sick of our vacation. As some of you parents with young children can probably attest to, it is not that our children cannot be "good" for periods of time, but how "good" they appear is almost always directly related to one thing: what (and how much) we're requiring of them. (Incidentally, I think this is why those from the staunch "attachment parenting" group can have such well-behaved kids. What child isn't well-behaved when everything revolves around them?)

Yes, it was relieving to have the girls so occupied that they rarely got in trouble, except for the occasional bad attitude, but I was thankful that in returning to our real life situation of not having so much help (and therefore, not having as much to distract/occupy them), I had to start requiring a little more of them back at home.

I believe it is good for the girls (and their parents) that they are not always occupied/entertained and need to share and wait in everyday life. It certainly would be fun and a ton less work if we were in such a vacation situation on a regular basis, but I believe it would be harmful to their (and our) development of certain character traits. So, though I loved the time up there, common sense reassures me that a regular diet of such ease would not be good for us in the long run.

I think of it like a (traditional) home mortgage: the interest is front-loaded. There is a ton more work in these early years than there could be if we were to just let them do what they want, but as we get disciplined habits and expectations established, the work should be minimized as each year goes by and they are better and better capable of controlling and regulating themselves. They will be better equipped to handle "real life" (where the world does not revolve around them) as they enter adulthood.

All but three of the grandchildren. Savannah and her brother, Elijah are missing, and so is Grady (who happened to be tied up in the womb at the moment).

From left to right: Caiden, Lydia, Ruby, Alan the Second, Isaac, Claire and Haley. Until about a year ago, girls far outnumbered boys among the grandchildren.

Caiden hangs with Papa.

My littlest sis, Deb. (Who, at 36 weeks prego, happened to be my biggest sis as well!)

My brother, David, has always been a virtual monkey. He has climbed things ever since before he could walk. He'd climb trees when he was two. Just shimmy up the tree like a bear cub.
It is nearly impossible to see him in this pic, but he is waaaay up there in the rocks.

Here he is, probably a good hundred feet above us.
Auntie M loves on Haley.

The Three Musketeers.

Caiden's daddy likes to tease.