April 26, 2012

April Catch Up / Grooming

Well April has been quite a busy month in our household.  We started our spring break with a quick trip to Virginia Beach with the kids.  We hooked up with another military family from our ward and hung out with them for a couple days which was nice.  We went to Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg Virginia.  Can I just say how much I love Mr Anheuser Busch for honoring military families by offering free admission to active duty members and their families once a year?  That's a 60.00 ticket x 7 for us.  Way to go Mr Busch, and not for your beer but for your generosity.  I salute you!  We will keep coming for as long as you're offering and probably beyond because we're hooked on your awesome roller coasters.
The Griffin- I totally went on it (screamed the entire time).
After that we quickly came home picked up cousin L at the airport and overloaded her with our 5 children while T and I went on a 20th anniversary trip to Pennsylvania.  She was the perfect girl for the job being both an elementary education teacher, a riverboat guide, and a certified EMT.  She didn't have to use her rafting skills as there are no rapids near our home, but she did to a lot of kid entertaining and she had to stop bleeding for at least one of my kids.  We are really indebted to her.  I'm sure I could not have done a better job.  More on Little Boy's loss of the pad on his right ring finger later.  It's a long story and this post is already a doozy.

T and I escaped to the Omni Resort Spa in Bedford Springs, PA which seemed like a great place to start.  We were super impressed with the vintage feel of the place and the beautiful surroundings.  I loved the facial I got and when I mentioned to the lady doing it that it was my anniversary I think it took about 20 minutes for the chocolate dipped strawberries to arrive in our room accented by a chocolate ribbon with gold writing on it wishing us a "happy anniversary".
De Lish
In fact almost every time we'd leave the room another mystery visitor would leave us something like fresh water bottles and ice, or an HBO guide on a freshly made bed with the TV left on.  They must have an army of minions watching for when guests leave your room lending them an opportunity to offer another gesture of good will.  In the end we were a bit creeped out by it.  In one of their lobbies we did a very intricate baseball-themed puzzle made by a tricky puzzle artist.  We looked up the cost of such a puzzle since we had such fun putting it together.  Most of them were super expensive- like $1000.00!  The cheapest was about $200.00.  Crazy!  We took a photo instead.
Took us a couple hours!  The other guests were impressed.
We continued our trip with a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright home tours which were fascinating.  We spent a couple nights in Pittsburgh and went on a walking tour of the city in very windy weather.  We wanted to bike the Allegheny but found the weather uncooperative.  All in all it was a relaxing good time to be had.  Such a great way to celebrate our 20 years of happiness together.  Below we are in the sculpture garden at one of the house tours we took.
We are under arrest....(for loving)
The next 4 days were spent touring around DC with my niece L.  We had a great time.  Even though no laundry got done, we did discover an underground African American art museum and this lovely beaded VW at the Native American Museum.  If I live here 100 yrs I will never see it all in this city.
That's over 200 pounds of bead work done by 2 families.  It took like 9,000 hrs to complete!
The next week has been a blur of activities including: making pom poms for Big Girl's variety show yearbook photos, shopping for prom wear for Big Boy, getting him ready for his eagle board of review (crazy!), making cheesecakes for both the scout fund-raising spaghetti dinner and for a Mormon prom group date (that Big Boy wouldn't even make it to due the over-the-top board of review process).  I ask you, does it prove you are eagle-worthy material if you can stand up to a panel of grown-ups with a strange overboard affinity for scouting, grilling you like there's no tomorrow?  Some of them need to chat with Mr Miagi about balance...

Mr. Miyagi say:
“Lesson not just karate only.
Lesson for whole life.
Whole life have a balance.
Everything be better. Understand?
Go-Find Balance!”

I think many of them are doing a great job, but a fair number are way overdoing the whole scouting thing (in my humble opinion).  

Now I should really find some of that balance in my own life, because shortly after the prom I threw another big birthday party for my 13yr old.  It was an amazing-race-themed party and I overdid things a bit that day and threw out my back.  How I was wishing for a Mr Miyagi hand thunder-clapping heat massage that night!  Three days later I am feeling better thanks to a little help from our friend and seminary teacher who just happens to also be a chiropractor.  I'm still not 100% better but I will take the improvement.  
It's edible paper- isn't that amazing?
Yesterday was my actual anniversary and it was so great.  T took the day off and told me to wipe my calendar clean.  I'm so lucky to have him!  He let me sleep in and he took the kids to seminary.  He brought me home a lemon-filled donut (my fav) then took me to my favorite pancake house.  It was a lot of calories but I have been married a lot of years-so...  I got a huge bouquet of flowers, a card & some good lovin'. It was a great day!  
Its the biggest one he's ever given me.  The size of a small toddler really.

We went to a matinee movie I wanted to see.  It was Disney's Chimpanzee- (A frickin' mazing!)  Loved the photography, loved the story, cutest chimp ever.  The most surprising thing to find out was that they eat monkeys.  Yeah- monkeys eating monkeys (!).  Although, I just looked it up and Chimps don't have tails making them more like humans than monkeys.  Still... it seemed odd.  But the thing that struck home for me was the concept of grooming.   This was what I originally sat down to blog about, but just got caught up in all the details of catching up.  (If you have actually read this far I congratulate you.  Blame it on my friend Kathryn who left me a very flattering voicemail today telling me what a great writer I am on my blog.  Now I'm just all cocky and long-winded).  But back to the grooming....  The main chimp family you follow is headed up by an alpha male they have named Freddie.  In Freddie's group they do a lot of bonding through grooming.  When they groom they basically look through each other's fur for bugs, foliage, etc and remove such things for you.  It goes into details about why, saying that through grooming one another they trust each other more and it actually helps strengthen them as a group making them better fighters when defending their turf.  The rival group ends up losing a battle even though they have stronger males mostly due to their lack of trust (and not enough grooming?).  While I watched I thought of the turmoil in my own family.  Perhaps if we took more time to do caring service-related acts for each other then we'd be strengthened and win our fight against our biggest enemy these days- contention.  Today was one of the most contentious days.  I hate it when I have to break up physical fights between my boys.  It rarely happens but when it does I am sick for days and I start  thinking we need family therapy.  Possibly grooming therapy.  Yesterday when I came home from the movie I went up to the boy who has been seeming the heaviest of heart lately and gave him a proper chimpanzee greeting and started searching through his hair for bugs to eat.  It didn't help much I guess, because he was the one threatening his little brother for over an hour today, throwing his stuff out the window, etc.  I think that boy needs emotional grooming.  If only he'd accept.  I also had the thought that I need to be home when that boy comes through the door after school.  I was off playing with a friend today and didn't get back before they did.  This chimp needs his mom to hug him and ask about his day.  He needs grooming.  Don't we all?