We have just returned from a short kid vacation, which is completely different from an adult vacation, where adults come home feeing rested. I admit that a kid vacation has moments of fun, but is mostly full of parents shouting things like, “Quit lollygagging!” and “Why didn’t you go to the bathroom when I asked you to go?” and “Look! Look at the horses! Look! TURN YOU HEAD AWAY FROM THE STUPID MOVIE AND LOOK AT THE HORSES OR WE ARE TURNING THIS CAR AROUND AND GOING BACK HOME! Aren’t they lovely?”
We checked into our hotel on Friday evening. Apparently, kids are not born knowing what a hotel is, and you have to actually sit down and explain the entire concept of a hotel, from the checking in to the checking out parts. As we meandered in to our Comfort Suites Inn in Lancaster County, Caleb and Ben grew wide-eyed as they perused out the lobby area, which was complete with floral sofas, chairs, and a large flat-screen television showing an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants. We checked in, rode in the elevator up to the third floor, and the kids gathered round as we popped the keycard into room 302. They immediately rushed into the room and predictably began bouncing from one queen-sized bed to the next as John and I became suspicious of the Comfort Inn’s definition of the term “suite.” According to the FreeDictionary.com, a suite is “A series of connected rooms used as a living unit” and not “One large room with two beds and a couch.” Nevertheless, we ultimately opted not to seek larger lodgings and hunkered down in our poorly-defined but pleasantly cool “suite.”
We were foremost in town for my sister-in-law’s wedding, which was to take place the next day at the unholy hour of 10am. We unpacked, found that episode of Sponge Bob on the television, and got ready for the rehearsal dinner. As our time of departure approached, we told the boys to put their shoes on. Caleb stared at me, with a blank expression.
“Where are your shoes?” I asked.
“I took them off by the door.” I looked over by the door. They were not there. I sighed, impatiently.
“I took them off by the downstairs door,” he explained.
“Me too!” said Ben.
Explanation #1: The lobby is not our own personal “downstairs,” but a public gathering area where shoes are not only permissible, but encouraged.
Day 1: The Rehearsal Dinner
One of these brothers is not like the others...
The last picture of the "Jennings" siblings- although Carl was coerced into taking Mary's last name, Mary is now an Edwards.
Ella found a box to sit in so she was happy.
Day 2: The Wedding
So this was taken by Lisa because I wasn't there. Because Ella wanted to talk through the entire ceremony. She saw her uncle Scott, the love of her life, and threw a hissy fit when he didn't come and sit with her. I spent the majority of the ceremony outside the chapel seriously considering selling my daughter on ebay.
I'm very proud of my FIL for not bawling like a baby throughout the entire ceremony and reception. Everyone was concerned about this. He was quite mature about the whole thing.
My daughter is a party girl. She danced to every song. I was terrified she was going to be trampled. She did the electric slide, the cha cha, and here she is with Carl, leading the train. I had to drag her off the floor kicking and screaming when it was time to go.
Daniel, on the other hand, drank too much wine. I kid.
Caleb and his cousin Celeste.
Day 3: A Quiet Day with Family
Caleb and his aunt Lisa by the Inner Harbor
I have the world's greatest sister-in-laws.
I was granted a reprieve from holding Daniel all day. Grandpa took over.
So the Baltimore Aquarium had an "Invasion of the Jellyfish" exhibit going on. Ben and I are totally pumped.
Ben's favorite part of the entire trip.
And now for some wicked cool pics of different types of jellyfish:
At this point, I'm resigned to his clingy behavior. And a little train sick, too.
A bucolic farm. Authentically Amish.
They had a blast.
We had a fantastic time, but I'm ready for a real vacation. Not one where I threaten my kids into sleeping and then sit by the pale lamplight and read a book for two hours until I get tired.
The kids were beat. Ben had to be continually reassured that no one was going to take our hotel room while we were out.
Explanation #2: We reside in the hotel room until we check out. No one else goes in and out. Except the maid. But she is completely not interested in your blankie and your doggie. And she won't steal your swimsuit, either.
This was a genuine concern of his, and he was always eager to get back to the hotel to make sure everything was as he left it.
Final Caleb quote: (We were in a gift store and walked beneath a framed picture of the American flag with the following caption: America, Land of the Free.)
"Mom. A long time ago, when America wasn't so free, blacks and whites couldn't sit together on the bus. And they couldn't drink out of the same drinking fountains. But then Martin Luther King came along. And it's a good thing he did. Otherwise, Mary might have never been able to marry Carl."
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.