Happy To See Me

I was gone for a few days last week.

The day I was returning home my Granny said to me “Your girls will be happy to see you.”

“Oh,” said I, “they might be, but they will hide it very well.”

After being gone for almost three days I walked up to Jane while she was playing with her friend.  Jane’s friend happily called out, “Jane, your mom is here!” Jane glanced up and went back to playing without acknowledging my presence.

I didn’t see Ivy and Clara until the next morning. Ivy gave me a nice hug, told me she was ready for school and could she please now use the tablet that had accompanied me on my trip.

My reunion with Clara was not so much a reuniting but more of a spectacle as I watched her come into the room and flop face first into the couch while crying and yelling at everyone to go away. Clara and I are not morning people, I felt her pain.

At least John was very happy to see me. He said many adoring husband things and listened to my stories and held me close and then said. “I’m officially abdicating the running of the household, you’re in charge again.”

I’m not upset by these reactions, quite the opposite, I’m very happy to be able to leave my family without a soul crushing, guilt inducing, flood of tears. In fact, I’m happily leaving on vacation again this week, for much longer this time and it’s good to know they will all be just fine without me!

 

The General Manager

This is Turk.Turk

Turk, otherwise known as Turkey, or Mr. Impressive if you want to get all official about it, is my brother’s dog. In the past few years Turk has been joined in the field by his two half brothers. Trip (my dog) and Sunday, a.k.a. Weasel (also my brother’s dog) and the three of them are amazing.Turk, Trip and Sunday

I could wax poetic on how, when they hunt together, they truly hunt together. Working with each other, blocking birds, covering the field all the while looking like the handsomest trio of pups you’ve ever seen. But those of you who are bird hunters with dogs of your own probably won’t believe me (because, obviously, your dogs are better).  And those of you who aren’t won’t fully comprehend the awesomeness that I’m trying to convey so I won’t. I’ll just stick with amazing.

These dogs are amazing.

One field, three awesome dogs and a limit of pheasants for everyone including my mom the picture taker.

One field, three awesome dogs and a limit of pheasants for everyone including my mom the picture taker.

Turk is getting up in years, he’ll be 9 come spring, which means that sadly his experience in the field is getting tempered by his stamina. Fortunately, he has the young boys, four year old litter-mates, that he’s training up. And yes, I say he’s training them up. My brother and I, we try to help, but Turk is the one pulling the real weight.Turk on the kennel box

Early in our week of Montana hunting the three boys would swarm the field together. Often Turk was the steadying presence for the young dogs as they pinned down a bird. But by the end of the week he was tired, trotting rather than running through the grass. Occasionally, stopping and staring into whatever likely cover we were passing by as if to say, “Hey boys! Get in there!”And the youngsters did. He had taken over as general manager of our little pack of dogs.Turk

But Turk wasn’t completely out of gas.  He was just an experienced dog conserving it for when it counted.

Near the end of the week my brother shot a sharp-tailed grouse. Off it flew over the crest of a hill, running out of steam and going down. Right behind it flew the dogs. Sunday, Turk and Trip lined up and running all out for the retrieve. They were, as I have said, a beautiful sight. And then, as we watched, Turk kicked it into high gear. Always the champion of the long distance retrieve, he was not about to be outdone by those young upstarts.  And the dog that had been trotting about lengthened his stride and started gaining on Sunday as they crested the hill and disappeared out of sight.

My brother and I looked at each other and laughed. Turk retrieving sharp-tail.

Of course it was Turk who came back over the hill, mouth full of feathers, with a look in his eye for the youngsters as if  to say, “This is how it’s done.”

 

Never Say Never

“I’m never getting back on a plane with the kids until they are all at least eight years old!” – A vow I made in complete sincerity just after I was one of those people on a plane.

Four years ago I was the pregnant mother with the screaming two year old at the airport. The mother from the family with the seats in the back of the plane. The mother who had to carry her screaming recalcitrant two year old down the entire length of the plane. As if announcing to all the passengers- here we are- and it’s going to be ugly. And oh was it ugly. Screaming, and more screaming- and seat kicking- and that was all while we were sitting waiting (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting) for take off. Shortly after we took off, my screamer fell asleep on top of me and despite the uncomfortableness that comes with having a small child sleeping in your lap in a tiny airplane seat when you are six months pregnant with your third child while your needy first child is crowding you for attention, I left her there – because I had a serious fear of more screaming. When we emerged from the hot sweaty hell that was the airplane. I swore I was never doing that again.

Until I did.

Last Christmas my Grandpa approached us with an incredibly generous gift. A Florida vacation to visit him and my Granny there in the early spring. His offer involved super nice things like a flight and a rental car and even letting us stay in their condo. But, and I checked, it didn’t come with the offer of a nanny to fly with our kids. I internally cringed at the thought of flying and said yes anyway.

And that is how I found myself headed up the stairs to wake up the girls (ages 3, 5, and 8) and head to the airport to break my vow from four years earlier.

I was prepared.

I had plans. I had been given advice. I was armed with new coloring books and tiny toys and snacks and kids who are experts at long car rides.

I was ready.

And then I went to wake up Jane.

The three year old.

The wildcard in all my fears for the flight.

And, while her sisters had bounced out of bed in excitement, she didn’t want to wake up.  Uh-oh.

When I did get her up she promptly re-fell asleep on the couch. Uh- oh.Jane sleeping on couch

That’s right, I was about to get on a plane with three kids, two of whom were under my randomly assigned age requirement and one of those was sick.

“But”, I mentally reassured myself, “she’s just tired sick. I can carry her. John can herd the others, manage the tickets and we’ll be fine.”

And that’s what we did.

Then, as we were standing at the front of the line for the security check, she said it: “I think I’m gonna throw up.”

Not fine.

Just like that, we were gone from the line. I was holding her over a garbage can, John had disappeared looking for barf bags and a very nice woman was trying to convince me it was going to be fine. The garbage can was unnecessary. John came back- with bags. We re-herded the other two, got ourselves back in line and just after showing ID’s she said it again…

“Right this way Ma’m”

Jane and I were ushered through a security check point faster than I thought possible and directed to the nearest garbage can on the other side. Fortunately, it was yet another false alarm.

So we waited, in various states of health, excitement and dread, for our flight to board.Jane sleeps on airport floor

And while boarding went smoothly, I’m afraid Jane didn’t take in much of her first airplane ride.Jane's first airplane ride

Of course, we didn’t have a direct flight. We had to change planes with a bit of a layover because the only thing more fun than flying with small kids is herding little naive country children through large metropolitan airports trying not to lose them in the crowd.

Clara whistled while she wandered her way through the airports so at least we could hear her...

Clara whistled while she wandered her way through the airports so at least we could hear her…

Safely at our new gate, all in one piece and with some lunch beside, Jane perked up. Had a bit to drink. Had a bit to eat. Announced that she was gonna throw up and promptly did so all over the carpet at gate C21.

Not fine.

Interesting things of note:

-Some strangers will supply copious amounts of napkins, quickly and without being asked.

-Some strangers will affect not to notice the pile of vomit by their feet.

-No one will relocate to a different spot.

-Puking always makes kids feel better.

-And, despite the fact that she slept most of the rest of the way, I still really don’t like flying with kids.

 

 

 (Not to worry, by the next morning Jane was her usual cheerful non-puking self and we had a wonderful vacation… Except for the turbulent flight home where she looked at me and said, “My belly hurts!”)

 

A Bit of Sky

I went to Colorado and I found a bit of sky!Colorado Sky

Just in case you didn’t get the full implications of that…

I’m in Colorado!

On vacation!

With no kids!

Just me, and my mom and a pile of fishing, hiking and camping gear.

Tonight after a crazy-lot of driving we are hotel-ing it but tomorrow we are off to the mountains!

Amazing!

 

Shake It Off

How was your holiday weekend?

Were you as lucky as we were and able to turn it into a weeks vacation?

A trip with family and friends, canoeing and fishing,Canoeing

swimming, and running,three girls wading in the pond

kite flying and picnicking,

Yup, we picnicked with our Foosball table- cut the grilling operation out of the picture- everybody knows what that looks like!

Yup, we picnicked with our Foosball table- cut the grilling operation out of the picture- everybody knows what that looks like!

fireworks and all?firework

Are you still in the habit of lazy days, afternoon drinks and delicious dinners?Beautiful evening

If so, take a deep breath, savor the memory of reading in the sun and shake it off.Storm shaking

Because, if you are like me, you are home alone with kids used to constant company and entertainment and there’s nobody else around to help with dinner.

The vacations over – Trip shaking -just shake it off!

 

Perfection Pending