Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Latergram or How I Spent Someone Else's Summer Vacation

For a couple of months now, I have been threatening promising to share about the time this summer when the Zolman family came on summer vacation to visit us.

Background: The Z family lived down the street from us when we lived in our second house in Indiana. Eric and Chad coached together at Homestead High School, and Chris and I, along with the other coaches' wives, sat in the stands on Friday nights and attempted to watch the games while analyzing where on the happy/unhappy/somewhat nuclear scale our husbands were on at the moment and generally trying to ignore parents in the stands making unkind remarks about the coaches. Seriously, parents are awful. Take note, all parents of football players: with very, VERY few exceptions, your child is not a future D1 and/or professional football player. At 5 foot 3, 110 pounds soaking-wet with slippery fingers and a 5:1 40-time, your child does NOT meet the exception criteria. Shut up, be glad he's on the team, and stop complaining about playing time/your kid could do it better/if the coach would only x,y, or z. You're wrong, and yes, I can hear you in the stands. Also, your roots are showing.

Anyway, the Z family is nothing if not awesome - all 7 of them. If you have any doubt about this, consider the following: Chris texted me to confirm that yes, in fact, they were coming out over 4th of July. I let her know that this was awesome, but reminded her that, oh yea, we live in crazy-town and our job is to have leave the house in show-condition every day, even if you do have 5 kids. "We'll do our best" she replied.

Every day they walked out of that house as if they were never there. I have no idea how they did it, but wow.

On top of that, this family DROVE to Colorado from Indiana. In ONE mini-van. 7 people on a one-week vacation that included changing clothes, in ONE van. And they didn't kill each other. Or leave anyone behind at a rest stop in Nebraska.

What you do when you can't go in
the hot pool.
We had a blast with them here. I didn't take any time off work, but fortunately, they came over the holiday, so Eric and I had a three-day weekend in which to explore with the Zs. Before the weekend, they toured themselves around Southern Colorado and Colorado Springs, and managed to kick us out of the kitchen and off our grill to make dinners for us (seriously? You're on vacation and you're cooking for US??), and got into a nice routine that I could have gotten really used to of group dinner clean-up followed by a dip in the hot tub (or the "hot pool" as Josie, the youngest, calls it) before bed. There was one night when it thundered and we thought better of going in the outdoor hot tub for a while. However, Josie was sad that we couldn't go in, so we made do by sticking her in the sink, which amazingly, she fit in, and I had a great laugh.

We took off on July 3 and headed for Rocky Mountain National Park. Since 7 plus 2 don't fit in one van, even that magical Zolman van, we had two cars, and Eric and I rotated Zolman children through our backseats for the weekend, which was super fun. We drove up through Estes Park (super crowded) and toodled around the park, including lunch with a view and a hike to Alberta Falls.

Alberta Falls with the cool kids
We then took the Fall River Road across the park (we may have come close to killing Chris with anxiety, since the Fall River Road is the unpaved road through the mountains with lots of switchbacks and sheer drop-offs. It also had only been open 2 days after being closed for 2 years due to flood damage.) We got over to the west side of the park (much less crowded), and we were on a moose hunt, after seeing large elk WAY up high, stopping at the Alpine Visitor's center, where we saw more elk from a distance, then up close, then... well, you get the idea.

And moose we did see. I don't remember the count, but over the course of our time on the west side of the park, we found lots! It was so much fun looking around for animals, and even more fun when we found them... except maybe for that time that Chad, Zach and Josie got a little too close to a female elk. That was maybe a little scary, but it worked out for the best.

We staying in a condo in Fraser, and spent some time in Grand Lake, where Josie lived it up like a BOSS on the playground, for hours, while everyone else explored Grand Lake and did some shopping. She was so tired by the end, she had a mini meltdown in our car, which was about the funniest thing. It went like this:

Emma: Josie, drink some water. Here's mom's water bottle.
Josie: Pour it in mine.
Emma: No, just drink out of hers.
Josie: No! I can't! (crying)
Emma: Why not?
Josie: I have dirty lips!
Emma: How did you get your lips dirty?
Josie: I was dragging them! On the playground! (wailing)

Oh my goodness. You can't make this stuff up.

So much fun, and we can't wait until they come out again. Emma is going to move here, I think. Until she gets her own place, she can stay with us (yea!)

So good looking. Makes me a little sick, actually.

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