Monday, September 5, 2011

Resting From Our Labors

Happy Labor Day! 
How did you rest from your labors?
We went swimming...

It has been a crazy few weeks around here. Okay, who am I kidding? It has been a crazy few YEARS around here. One thing leads to another, which leads to ten more things that need to be done, and each step forward is often followed by three steps back. From Nor'easters to Hurricanes, unexpected arrivals (like baby ponies!) to expected arrivals (like new babies...specifically, Boo), uncertain health (my predictably bad migraines) to certainties such as the fact that Boo can and will get into everything and that kids (of all ages) are just plain old good at making times it can seem like all we do around here is work, work, work. In fact, once you get into a groove of working, I find, sometimes it is hard to stop! Do you ever find that to be true?

Well, anyhow, Labor Day rolled around and Hubby was granted a day off to do as he pleased. We had discussed several options (one of them WAS, in fact, working more...thankfully, we chose to NOT do that one!), and a few hiccups derailed our best plans, so we wound up running with our backup plan, which was to take the kids to a military facility in the next town that has an indoor pool with a kids area and a slide that we knew they'd enjoy. The idea was for us to all relax as a family and appreciate some well-earned rest from our many labors.

I'm not saying anything about whether the choice to take five kids (four under the age of 8, with four non-swimmers) to a pool was the most restful idea, but it was fun for all of us. Oddly enough, the usually crowded pool was practically deserted (several times we were the only family there, with no more than two other families joining us at any given time), and the choice of an indoor pool turned out to be perfect since it started raining heavily about two hours into our visit (but no lightning, so we were allowed to stay in).

It is a very nice facility. Thanks to all the kind folks who worked on the Labor Day holiday so we could rest and have fun, and to the military for providing this lovely place for families to enjoy.

This particular pool has a lazy river around a whirlpool, a slide that is several stories tall, a raining mushroom, and a large kids' area. There is an adjacent lap pool, but nobody was using it, so we just stayed in the fun zone. There were chairs aplenty to choose from, so we picked a set near the long wall of windows so Boo would have something to look at if he had to have a time out of the water (he did...sigh).

Even during "time out" for Boo, it was relaxing. It's something about the water, the warmth, or the sunlight (without the bugs)...or the combination of the three with a dose of heart-warming laughter in the background.

Hubby, Tex, and I took turns taking the Amigos around the lazy river and working on pre-swimming skills with them (we don't have an affordable family pool conveniently close by, or we'd have taught them to swim by now, as Hubby LOVES to swim), then we each took turns with Tex going down the huge slide (yes, I went, too, even though the water got up my nose and made my head hurt a time or two! It was awesome!! Except for the water up my nose, that is).

I tried several times to get a picture of someone shooting off of the slide, but all I kept coming up with were feet. These feet belong to Tex.

The kids enjoyed the raining mushroom immensely, even though Cowboy, who dislikes showers (the water in his face bothers him) was a bit shy about it at first. However, a game of sharks and minnows, in which being inside the mushroom gave you safety, cured him of that particular fear fairly speedily.

The neatest thing (to me) was that since this trip was sort of a last minute back up plan, I was not entirely prepared for it and lacked the usual bag of pool toys and various entertainments that I would have preferred to drag along. You know, kids like to be entertained and always be prepared and all that...right? Anyhow, lacking toys of the modern sort, I reverted to my mom and dad's old "give 'em a penny and have them dive for it" (to get them used to getting their faces wet and holding their breath for short amounts of time) game, and they LOVED it!! Sometimes they would toss their own penny or two and see for how long they could "dive down" to get it (we were in the 2 foot area), and other times I would scatter all ten pennies while they closed their eyes and they'd see who could find the most. It warmed my heart when Ladybug saw that Firefly wasn't getting as many pennies, so she started giving up her pennies to her, and worked with her instead. What an awesome big sister!

Ten tiny pennies entertained my four Amigos, plus several other random kids for almost two hours! That and the directions for playing Marco Polo (which I gave to the little ones, but apparently, the bigger crowd was listening, and Tex got three older boys who showed up to play it with him in the deeper areas of the pool) and Sharks and Minnows stood us in good stead for hours (four to be exact). No toys required. What water games do you play in your neck of the woods?

Our short snack break turned into a classic "I wonder if anything will come out of the machines if I jiggle the knobs" session...initiated by guess who? Yup. Boo. Of course. He gets into everything.

During one of the mandatory ten minute breaks, we took time out for a snack of granola bars, Capri Sun drinks, and some story-telling with Daddy around the table...Another non-toy-requiring family fun activity. I love it! Then I realized, that we were all getting into the story telling except for Tex, who had declined to sit with us and instead sat alone at the far end of the snack area. Hmmmm. At first I was wondering if I should feel hurt, or worried, but then I realized that the one TV in the place was tuned to one of the Star Wars movies...(I do not know which one, as I am the one non-afficianado). Around our house, anything Star Wars equates to an irresistible force, so I let him stay there. After all, we were there to relax, and laughing at one of his favorite movies for a while helped him to relax. He works hard all week, too, and deserves a break that is right up his alley.  Everyone is different, and that's okay.

I am thinking that this pool may need to become a monthly visit for us. I think the kids would like it a lot, and in spite of the fact that I really did not get to do much relaxing (if you think watching kids on land is tough...try doing it in the water!), I still felt as if I was more relaxed when I left than when I arrived. And it certainly wore my happy campers out. Three of them fell asleep on the way home (which was fine, since we stuck them in pajamas when we changed their clothes for the trip home), and went to bed as soon as they ate dinner. I know I slept soundly that night. It was a well-earned rest for all of us.

Happy Labor Day to all of you. I hope you had a pleasant rest from your labors.



This is the one Amigo who was not tired out from all of the water fun. She was feeling goofy instead, and had to demonstrate her considerable aptitude for contortion on the way home. 
She's a silly, but very sweet (and talented) girl!

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