Our Friday was an employer sponsored fun day at a local amusement park. My hubby's company paid for parking, dinner, and most of the cost of a day pass. We figured this was the only way we would ever get the chance to take the kids there so we saved our pennies, and just to make sure they appreciated it, insisted the kids put in 100 hour of yard work a person this summer to earn their way.
It was a long, hot day but I think the kids had a blast. We learned a few things though.
1. My husband and I are not young anymore. The rides we enjoyed as young twenty-somethings nearly made us hurl. What happened to our stomachs? What happened to our equilibrium? What happened to our yearning for an adrenaline rush? Out the window, baby.
2. Our kids were very pumped up about the rides they had heard about from their friends. They were all ready to go do the most extreme rides because their friends had tried them. When we got there and got them on a couple of milder roller coasters, the preteen girl and the newly teen son got cold feet. Fast merry-go-round type rides became very much sought after instead of the turn-you-upside-down-make-you-toss-your-lunch thrill rides. Our oldest daughter did get a little more brave and took her dad on some of the wilder ones, but even she had her limits. She never did the double upside down loop roller coaster or the one that takes you several stories up and drops you repeatedly. I think my kids actually did inherit some of my cautious, sensible side. That kind of reassures me. Maybe they will recognize the really dangerous stuff in life and avoid them, like drugs, alcohol, extreme sports. I'm crossing my fingers.
3. I'm not missing much by not taking them to Disneyland. This was a much smaller park than Disneyland and we still didn't get around to doing everything we could have done even without the rides that looked too sickening. I haven't been to Disneyland since I was a kid. I know it has grown a lot since then but even when I went, you couldn't possibly do the whole park in a day. One day is enough for me for a year or two. If I never take the kids to Disneyland, I'm not going to sweat it. If they want to go bad enough, they can grow up, get jobs, and take their own kids.
Our Saturday was a day for the grownups. My husband's sister and her husband adopted a little baby girl last year and this was the day when they would take their adopted daughter to the local LDS Temple to have her sealed to them for all eternity. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that we can be families even after we die. Sealing ordinances performed in the temple allow us to stay with our fathers, mothers, children, everyone we love forever. My sister-in-law has been very accepting and loving to her adopted daughter's birth family. The biological siblings get to visit the baby on a regular basis. We were privileged to witness the sealing and my husband got a chance to visit with all of his brothers and sisters. They are all so spread out over the country, it's rare that they get together all at the same time. My husband's parents took the opportunity to take family portraits.
On Sunday, we packed up our kids and traveled to the aforementioned sister-in-law's ward (congregation) to see their daughter receive a blessing. In the LDS Church, babies are given a blessing shortly after they are born. They are formally given a name and then the person performing the blessing, usually a priesthood holding father or other relative or friend of the family, prays for the Spirit and blesses the child. Things that often come up in baby blessings are the family's hope that the child will grow up healthy or wise or kind or any other desirable character traits. These blessings are never recorded or transcribed beyond the date that it took place. Few parents ever remember what was said during a baby blessing and the child certainly can't, but I think what is most important is that the family is recognizing the importance of God in helping to raise the child. God loves every one of us and I think He likes it when we pay attention and take care of the little ones among us.
After the baby blessing, our kids got a chance to meet a couple of cousins they hadn't seen in a long time and of course, take a turn at holding the new member of the family. My "baby" is seven years old. My kids don't get many chances to hold babies but they sure like it when they do.
Today most of the kids are out playing with friends. Back to School Night is tonight. Usually the local elementary school does it a week or so into the school year. It will be alright though, they'll get to see their new classrooms before tomorrow. The older junior high teen will have a Back to School night later in the week. The high school doesn't bother, thank goodness.
The fire that has been burning on the other side of our mountain is slowly being contained and the wind has pushed the smoke away from us. The air still smells smoky but at least we can see the sun and we don't have ash floating down on us today. Phew. The fire has knocked out power to the place where my husband works so he can't do anything there today. He 's home working on our car problem. It's one of those hide-and-seek jobs where you can't tell which part(s) is causing the problem. Oy.
Aaaaaaaand THERE! I chronicled the whole summer vacation.