The kids and I had a super-adventurous visit with my parents recently. Kissing lions in the park was only the beginning.
Andrew decided pig riding was more his speed. Interestingly, this pig was in the children's garden, and after several minutes of letting the children climb all over him we noticed a sign that said he wasn't supposed to be touched. Come now. You're going to put a giant, affable-looking bronze pig in the middle of the children's garden, right at the children's level, and you don't want him touched?
While I'm on the subject, I'll go ahead and confess to you that I continued to let the children climb on that snooty pig even after I read the sign because I thought it was stupid. Not being one that brazenly disregards rules (in public) on a regular basis, I felt a little self-conscious, but my disdain for the moronic Garden Rule-Makers far outweighed my goodie-two-shoesidness. Then, a little farther into the children's garden there was a whole line of giant bronze turtles that had no sign, so I was able to enjoy watching Andrew and Elsbeth play on them with no pangs of conscience. That is until a mom came walking up the trail with her kids and, spying mine, said (loud enough for me to hear ... obviously), "You guys are not allowed to do what those kids are doing." Even now I kind of hate her guts.
Our beautiful and rebellious day at the gardens turned out to be only a very mild adventure indeed. The real madness came about on Sunday when my dad decided to take me on my very first (and only!) kayaking trip. A beginners trip, perhaps and hour or so long on Lynches river just to give me some quiet daddy/daughter time away from the little ones. Here we are, happy and dry and not bleeding, ready to scoot off to the river for some peace and relaxation ....
... and here we are about 6 hours later, wet and chilled to the bone and bleeding and barefoot and so exhausted we could barely stand.
It would take pages for me to describe the insanity of this little venture. Suffice it to say that low water levels, lots of fallen trees, totally bizarro quicksand-like clay bogs and kayaking don't mix as well as one would think. There was lots of capsizing and hauling of kayaks and frantic digging of legs out of muck and swimming in cold, alligator and snake infested river water. But it turns out facing death and giant hairy spiders with someone is quite the bonding experience. I'll never forget our trip together, Dad! I'm so grateful for you (and that you didn't sink to your death in the bog).
We also watched a pig race, walked through the corn maze, rode the cow train, slid down a giant slide, chased goats and ate delicious, very festive food. Elsbeth snarfed my corn dog and I let her, which shows you the depth of a mother's love for her child. Anyone else would have drawn back a bloody nub