Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dinosaur Daddy and the Party Pool

About once a month I have to take a road trip for my job.  It's about a four-hour drive through rural Utah and takes me to such metropli (metropoleis?, metropolises?) as Vernal and Roosevelt.  I stay overnight and then hit some other towns on the way back.  It's really quite a beautiful drive.  In February I pulled Jesi and Grace out of school so they could come with me.  They read, napped and iPod-ed in the car, and then enjoyed a dinner out with dad, time in the pool and a complimentary breakfast at the hotel.  Good times were had by all.

Yesterday was Taylor and Parker's turn.  We got up early and headed out.  The boys slept most of the 2.5 hours to my first stop.  We had lunch at KFC and then finished the driving and calls I had to make.  After I was done with work we took the opportunity visit Dinosaur National Monument, which is just outside of Vernal.  This is one of the most amazing sites in the world.  Truly.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit, it is worth the drive.  (Thanks Grandpa Nelson and Uncle Matthew for the tip!)  A bazillion years ago, when the dinosaurs were here, a large river ran through that area.  As dinosaurs died, their bodies were pushed along by the river until they hit the area that is currently Dinosaur National Monument.  Many of these dinos were deposited there, then covered by layer upon layer of silt, sand and mud.  The bones fossilized.  As the rocky mountains were formed, the ground was pushed upwards.  This layer of thousands of fossilized bones was no longer lying flat.  It was pushed up until it was pretty much vertical.  In the early 1900's the bones were discovered, and it became apparent what an incredible find it was.  They excavated quite a bit, but left over 1500 of these massive bones partially exposed in this wall.  Then a building was erected around it for protection from the elements.  Taylor, Parker and I were awed by the experience:

Those bones were just found there!  Thousands all together.  Very cool.  I feel very blessed to have boys who appreciate this type of beauty and grandeur.  They are my best buds!

The rest of our Vernal trip consisted of a dip in the hotel pool, a showing of Madagascar 3 and a visit to a pretty nice steak house.  The boys had never had really good steak before, and they can't stop talking about it.  (They are now trying to convince Christi to try medium rare, or at least medium, but "charcoal" is still her preparation of choice:)

While I was gone, Christi set up our new kiddie pool:)  It is 10 feet in diameter and 30 inches deep.  Xander went over to the neighbors and invited them to come see our 30-foot pool!  Even the dad came over, wondering what it took to install such a thing.  So while I was gone, Christi hosted 14 kids for a pool party.

When we got home today, Parker played with Elli in the pool.  She loves being squirted!:
Tonight, Christi returned the favor:)

She left to a church activity with Taylor and Graci.  Parker went to scouts.  "Oh, by the way hon, I promised Lexi and Sophi that they could go swimming tonight in the pool.  You might as well let the other kids go too.  And don't forget the sunscreen.  Love you!"  Once I got my head wrapped around it, I dove right in (pun intended:)  I really did decide to just have fun with it.  And, by the way, except for those of you in similar parenting situations (and there are a few) you have NO IDEA what kind of chaos our family can erupt into in no time flat.  OK.  Sunscreen.  Really?  We won't even get outside until 7:10.  And we need about a gallon of sunscreen to cover everyone.  Can't I skip it just this once?  The kids will be fine.  Well, I guess they say the exposure can be harmful, even if there's no sunburn.  I don't want to condemn my kids to skin cancer in their 60's.  All right.  I'll be a responsible father.  So I sunscreen all of the kids.  (As it turns out, I really didn't have a choice.  Sophi absolutely insisted on "sunscream" in addition to her "swim soup.")  Just as were about to go outside, the phone rings.  It's the neighbor dad from last night.  (I've mentioned this before and will say it again.  Many tears are going to be shed when this family moves next month!)  "Um, I just got home and Gracie, Annie, and Levi are telling me they're going over to the Greens to swim in the pool.  Was that the plan?"  "Well," I replied, "I don't think it was exactly 'the plan,' but I am just going out with our younger kids to play in the pool.  They're welcome to come over."  So all of a sudden I'm in charge of a gaggle of 8 kids in a pool.  As we step outside, the first thing I notice is that the pool is completely inside the only shadow on the lawn.  Our neighbor's tree is completely blocking out the sun from the pool.  In other words, no sunscreen needed.  Of course.

Everything is going along fine.  I get in and splash with them.  Everyone is having a fun time.  After 20 minutes, the kids are getting a little chilly and they start to get out.  Someone asks if we have popsicles, which we do.  Refreshing treats are passed around, and I think I'm about done with the pre-bedtime part of my evening.  But then Jesi gets this hankering to go back in the water.  I try to convince her otherwise, but she insists.  She eventually convinces everyone else to join her, and so everyone (including me!?!) ends up back in the pool.  This time they start running and jumping in.  It's really pretty cute:

Another 20 minutes.  I'm pretty cold.  I finally tell them we're going to go in after five more minutes.  Within seconds, two more of the neighbor kids come running around the side of the house with loaded squirt guns.  A huge water fight ensues.  I become the prime target.  We now have 10 kids in the back yard:
Christi is somewhere far away, sitting quietly and listening to a spiritually uplifting speaker.  I am soaked to the bone.  Actually, I would not have traded with her.  It was a great chance to spend time with the "littles."  It was about this time Elli decided she wanted to join in the party.  Earlier she had emphatically let me know that she did not want to go in the pool.  So I used rather poor judgement and dressed her in jeans and a shirt instead of her swimsuit.  Inappropriate apparel aside, she now decided that being in the pool was exactly what she wanted.  And so our lives go:)

With Father's Day around the corner, I can't think of a greater gift than the time these kids still love to spend with me.  I have eight wonderful blessings that I count every single day!


  1. So fun! It is great when yours is the home that everyone wants to go to...yes, it is more work, but it also means your kids are with you. And you do have spray-on sunscreen, right? Saves hours!

  2. Really, do you know how rare you are? They will never forget that night...exhausting as I'm sure it was!

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