i neglected to mention that there were these swarms of gnats up by the bison statue made by robert dean. you'd turn your head and SWOOSH, you were enveloped. or, at least, i was. not helping the matter is the fact that, as a result of becoming suddenly afflicted by three kinds of mysterious skin eruptions several months ago, i have begun making my own hairspray from the juice of an orange (not to be confused with orange juice) and flax seed goo, and i believe this did make me a target.
so, there i am saturday morning with my hair dryer, freshening up my 'do, when i notice some things falling into the sink. GNATS! DEAD GNATS FALLING ALL UP OUT OF MY HAIR INTO THE SINK AND ON TO THE FLOOR! it was just a little bit disturbing. i was styling my hair gnaturally.
after i finished my gnat removal and was looking pretty good, we tried to go down to the small handful of tiny shops on the creek, but were an hour early and so walked back to jason's to meet up with nannette and brendan and their four year old named flint. which worked out well, considering we had our four year old named oliver. fast friends. out of our hair. like gnats in a sink.
then brandi and chris showed up (these are all their college friends, i suppose i should say) and we all ambled back down to the shops and went into the first one. this was oliver's first experience with having his own money to spend. three dollars. there was some change involved and he actually divided the coins up amongst several of us so we could all buy something, which i thought was pretty swell of him. and it made me sad every time he asked how much something was and it was out of his price range. this place was kind of high-falutin' with native american-styled wares. but it was the size of a closet and didn't take us long to get through it and we got out even quicker when i could no longer take oliver looking with his hands instead of his eyes. then we accidentally wound up in an even smaller dog shop / hot dog counter somehow and that took about seven seconds. violet was impressed by the pictures of dogs on everything. and that was all the shopping. we repeated our bath lake/goose/metal buffalo tour and the boys tried to make me have a heart attack by going in faster and faster circles on the rocks in the middle of the creek. and then we went back to jason's to meet his sister, baby nephew, and brother.
i imagine the bison did not appreciate the proctology exam and erected a series of protective pinwheels during the course of the night.
brian and i left them all there to drink pre-lunch beers so that we could roll down the hill to Buffalo Gap to feed children. it was somewhere in here that we decided violet had diarrhea (she had obviously eaten a bean burrito the day before, if you know what i mean) and i would later diagnose her with roseola. because i have an honorary medical degree.
the whole lot of us drove in a caravan across the nature preserve to this popular restaurant. i stayed in the car with napping violet and watched a long horn navigate his way through a serpentine pen to the great outdoors of a small, neighboring grassy yard. seeing animals confined in such a way is icky enough, but seeing them confined right next door to a gorgeous preserve just really seems to be punching them in the face while they're down. or downed. oliver was in denial about the animal's confinement and was convinced it had escaped. so, the restaurant was a little too popular and had a 45 minute wait at 1 in the afternoon, so we looped around the back of the preserve and back over to bath lake and everyone went into the winery cafe while i looked at my nice view from the hill and took a tiny surprise nap. violet eventually woke and we went on in and it was super slow, winery-type service, so no one was eating yet. we would take the kids out in shifts so oliver and flint could go nuts. back at the table, oliver said, "isn't this owl on my jacket crazy?" and flint said, "that's why you should take it off." and oliver (who doesn't listen too well) said, "isn't this owl on my jacket crazy?" and flint said, "that's why you should take it off." so i got a double dose of feeling bad. wait, triple. because oliver immediately took off his jacket.
our end of the table ate a gigantic salad and tiny, roasted potatoes. and then we sloughed off jason's brother and sister and nephew in the parking lot and the rest of us went out to the house of bees belonging to theresa and, crap i'm bad with names, theresa's husband. and they were very gracious about three cars filled with strangers showing up at their door.
jason suited up with nanette and later brian to go look at bees. oliver and flint ran around like crazy people some more and flint found a tick on his leg. we never did remember to do tick checks. i should get on that. violet experienced wild mood swings as powered by her diarrhea stomach cramps. holy shit was she moody. the bee couple is also the wine-making couple and they poured us each a glass of red wine (not for violet, though she probably could have used one) and even gave us complimentary bottles to take with us. i declined a second glass as i didn't want to turn into The Sentimental One.
eventually, it seems i wound up too close to the bee-keeping activities and ignored the warnings from chris and the beewine man about the lone bee which will hone in on your head and follow you until you go inside. it was at this point that i became a target. not helping the matter is the fact that i was wearing that Gnat's Dream Hairspray, which is apparently also the elixir of bees. i had my turn as the single bee target and had to give up the fight and start traveling back to the house as the bee buzzed loudly around my head and bumped aggressively into it. this was layered on top of my already present, life long bee fear. at some point, i had to abandon violet and go running in the front door squealing to brendan, "go get my baby!" the fact is, if i had picked her up, i would have placed her right in the line of bee fire, so i'm not as awful a mother as that scene made me look.
violet pooped her pants another time or two and oliver spent time being fascinated by the bear skin on the wall with a paper airplane stuck in its fur and the older children were plied with animal crackers and a river of apple juice, god help us. and we finally got loaded back into cars for another trip to jason's for a jason sandwich (which simply and uneventfully means jason ate a sandwich), where the boys ran in circles around the cottage and picked out souvenir beaver teeth from the communal yard. i fed my children a poor man's dinner of whole foods olives and pita chips. i reckon flint didn't take too kindly to the pita chips as his were relinquished to oliver's care.
violet mysteriously freaked way the fuck out two seconds after this photo was taken.
it was rolling up on 6pm, so we finally high-tailed it up the sides of mount scott. the temperature was dropping quickly and the wind was having a time of it up there. medicine park is just so stinking gorgeous. that mountain top was an album cover. and you could see the expansive windmill farm on the horizon.
after taking my photo opportunities and having everyone assemble for group photos so ten years from now they could all say, "aw! that was that time ages ago when we all got together in medicine park," we said our goodbyes to the daytrippers and went to Buffalo Gap to put babies in beds. brian and i didn't even try to pretend we were going to enjoy down time without children and just went straight to bed. and then violet woke up a couple of hours later and came to bed with us. and then oliver woke up a couple of hours after that, which meant we were all up for the day...
i believe this is where my camera battery started giving out.
a boy's dream playground. a mother's series of heart attacks.
i was there, too!
not as bad as it looks. they were just pinching noses.
on the way back down. violet's been doing this terribly cute thing where you can turn around and stare at her in the back seat and she'll get all shy and smiley.
brian's nose at sunset.