Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vacation - part 3

I totally thought this series would take a couple weeks and be done in 3 parts, but noooo, I just can't stop enjoying summer enough to focus on anything and get this done. (We've been at the pool nearly every day!) And it's going to go into 4 parts, just so ya know. Sorry. The return trip deserves it's own post. If you missed them, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here. The conclusion, part 4, is here.

Let's pick up on Friday evening. After finishing up with mom's stuff, my sister-in-law and I planned to have an evening out, just us. It's been a long time since we've shared that time together and we always have a good time and usually laugh a lot. But when it came time to decide where to go, we were torn. Should we just go have a quiet bite where we could visit or should we go to the informal reunion get-together, which was supposed to be a casual evening for anyone to just drop in and catch up with others - really aimed towards seeing people who didn't plan to attend the adult only reunion the next evening that had a registration fee. Since we graduated together and she was planning to go to the picnic, but not the reunion, it was worth considering to stop by. We actually had a good time just trying to decide where to go and finally decided to drop by and see who was there. It was in a local restaurant/bar and it was hot, but lots of ice water helped keep the evening cool enough. The only thing I wish I had done differently was give my camera to my sister-in-law so I'd have some pictures to share. Instead it was in my purse nearly the whole time.

Sure enough, there were a few people who came who were not going to attend either the family picnic or the actual reunion the next night. Overall, I was glad we went and we stayed quite a while. It was a little weird to me to find out that some of my classmates are grandparents and some are brand new parents. It seemed like such a wide gap of where people are in their lives. I realized that I was having a hard time seeing everyone in terms of being an adult and not the same kids I knew in high school.

On Saturday afternoon, we were planning to attend the family picnic event of the reunion. It was being held in a local school so we'd have air conditioning, which was a real blessing! We had promised the kids that we'd take them to Oklahoma's largest playground, Funtastic Island, which is fun, but not at all an island. We stopped there along the way and got the kids some fun:

Child A:

Child C:
Child B:
This stop was dual purpose: get out their excess energy before we expected them to be good and provide some spin-therapy for Child B, who endures social anxiety along with sensory processing disorder. Spinning is very relaxing or her and she doesn't get dizzy. Child A, on the other hand, nearly got sick from the combination of spinning and 95 degree heat with high humidity. Oh well, can't win them all, huh? The kids did have fun and were ready to get to the picnic.

The girls would know no other children other than their almost 3-year old cousin and the point of this reunion event is to include the whole family, so we planned ahead and bought those jelly bands that were popular in the 80s for the girls to giveaway. It would give them a reason to approach other kids, rather than wait to be approached, and it would be a way to possibly help other kids be more comfortable if they were also apprehensive about being with so many other people they didn't know. For less than $20 (yes, we bought a lot of them), it was well worth it!

I enjoyed catching up and getting to know some of my former classmates again. Some people hadn't changed a bit in personality and others hadn't changed much in appearance. There were others who had changed more than I would have expected. Most everyone I talked to was just very down home and friendly, but that's how I remembered them, for the most part. I think I mostly enjoyed observing how the women interacted with their children - it's the mom in me!

Saturday night, my sister-in-law and friend's sister watched my girls while Hubby and I attended the evening reunion. It was at a local casino and I had no idea what to expect in terms of who would be there or what the reunion would be like in that environment. Again, my camera stayed mostly in my purse and I forgot to take very many pictures. I so wish my sister-in-law had been there to share the evening with. I probably would have talked to more people and certainly would have more pictures to show for it. At the same time, I am very appreciative of the sacrifice she made to stay with my girls.

Me & Hubby:

The evening started off with us walking into a room where I felt like I didn't know anyone anymore, much like the night before to be honest. My graduating class was just a little over a hundred students and the reunion had about 30% attendance. I pretty well though I knew who everyone was in high school, but walking into a room of people approaching the age of 40 was just not the same. So, we walked around the room and looked at the table decorations, which were record albums of music from the 80s. It was really neat to go back in time like that. And at the same time, I could read people's name tags without staring (because I was really looking at the record albums.)

There was one classmate in particular who I was talking with about where we are in our lives - geography as well as what we are doing in life and whether we work or stay home with our kids. I mentioned that we don't get out much without the kids because we are very family oriented and do most everything together. I don't know if she thought I was dissatisfied with that or if it was just unfamiliar to her, but she said she was sorry. I corrected myself by just telling her it is a choice we've made to homeschool and be present in our children's lives by parenting all the time. I don't know what she took away from that conversation, but it made me appreciate more the choices we've made. I tried to make a point to mention in conversations God's blessings in my life. God has changed me a lot since high school and I certainly didn't want to overlook His hand in who I am today.

We had planned to leave right at midnight, but as we were getting ready to leave, there were some classmates who hadn't attended the reunion, but had stopped by to see who had. Some of them were people I had really hoped to see, so we stayed a bit longer to catch up. I'm glad we did.

There were still some people who I wish had come and some that I wish I had made more of a point to connect with. I know there were a few people at the reunion who I just never made it over to talk to. I also found that I was visiting an awful lot (not that it was awful, because it wasn't) with spouses of my classmates. Maybe that's because many of my friends were guys and now I just have more in common with their wives than with them. I also was very conscious of rekindling some of those friendships that probably should be left alone.

I made a promise to one classmate, whom I had lost track of the fall after graduation, that I would finally get onto Facebook. Yeah, now you know why I haven't been blogging much...

One thing I was very happy about was that this reunion was just a nice gathering of people who used to be friends, for the most part. Whereas, my husband's 20-year reunion was not only more formal, but some of the women were way out of control. I told my husband, based on the formal gowns that were worn at his reunion, that this is not prom. Later that evening, in the bathroom, one woman's hair was falling out of her updoo, and she was having a hissy fit. She told her friend, "You have to fix it. This is bigger than prom!" Yes, she actually said that. I am so glad my reunion was not like that.

My kids had a great time with my sister-in-law (Aunt K) and my friend's sister (Aunt Winna.) There were planned activities involving making bracelets and crowns (because they are princesses - daughters of The King.) They also made me a little coupon book that I can redeem for chores and love. We had a good time and so did the kids! In fact, the kids are still talking about it two months later! They wish both Aunt K and Aunt Winna lived closer (so do I, but not because they watched the kids, but because I would love to spend more time with them, myself.)

On Sunday, we went to the zoo. Monday would be the first leg of our trip home and I wanted to do something fun as a family and include my brothers again. It was hot and miserable and I stuck to my guns that the zoo would be a lot of fun. What's wrong with me? But we made the most of it for a while and tried to enjoy it.

This is one of the exhibits we saw. Really, Tulsa Zoo? You have to make the USA look like this? In the elephant exhibit, there was this display case. It might be hard to see here, so I'll describe it. The picture at the top of the picture, which is cut off, is "Prehistoric Images" (of elephants), the display on the left is "Buddhist Images" with an elephant lying down and a figurine. "Hindu Images" in the middle has a Hindu figurine. Then on the right, we have "Modern Images" with Babar, a republican elephant, and two books: Dumbo and Horton Hears a Who. Yep, that's the modern elephant... {sigh}

We also had a science lesson with these little guys, who were not intentionally on display. My sister-in-law saw them on a tree in the petting zoo.

They were strong and would grab just about anything. The zookeeper put them on his shirt and they chomped right down and didn't want to let go.

Child B with Uncle Andrew:

Child A & C with cousin & Uncle C:

My 3 girls with Uncle Andrew:

It was hot, Uncle Andrew had late afternoon plans, and we seriously needed some ice cream to cool off, so we called it a day and went to Braum's. It was nice to spend the afternoon with family, but next time it's that hot, will someone please convince me to do something indoors?


  1. I absoultely loved reading about the reunion - and I'm thankful for your post (and verbal telling) and FB pictures since I didn't go.

    I'm also glad you made it during the cool part of the summer (Lol since you called it hot). The boys grandparents visited last week when the heat index was over 111!

    Also...there's a simple way to fix the aunts being closer - you guys need to move here!

  2. That's a good pic of you and the hubs!

  3. What a good looking couple you two are!!