Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hidden Lake

Most weekends last summer, we would pick a new area to explore. Our excitement about living our west for the first time was unlimited. We would pick a new hiking spot or shopping area. We found new restaurants, libraries, and kid-friendly stores and parks. It was really great.

This spring we have already started our exploration – there are so many parts of this city and state that we have yet to see. Last month we became members at a University of Utah garden that has a great area for kids and great outdoor concerts for us. It is close to the house and will be a great weekly getaway. Park City is already one of our absolute favorite areas to explore and spend time in, but we are slowly exploring the Uinta mountain range directly to the east of it.

The staff at my school (all 9 of us) were invited to the cabin of our 10th staff member. This teacher and her husband have a beautiful spot in a remote canyon along a river and near a hidden lake in the Uintas. The kids had a great time feeling mountain breezes, digging in the gravel in their driveway, hiking through the woods (a.k.a. tromping through every mud puddle they could find) and finally have a whole day with their mom and dad. (It has been a bad week – I was out four nights this week and Chris was out once. None of us liked this week.) Harrison had an unusually bad week at preschool. It was hard on me. I received a couple of calls from his teacher and it really affected my concentration at work. It doesn’t help that our school’s building is under construction so we have a temporary office in a portable classroom. Four of us work full time in this small space while all of the rest of the staff, as well as our students, come and go throughout the day. Bottom line – everyone around me knows about many of the details of my life. They know I’m on a diet, they know that the kids have switched preschools, and they know that Harrison struggled this week.

As we were driving up to the cabin, I listened to one of our teachers, Amanda, in the back seat of my van interacting with them. The kids responded to her as if they had known her forever. She chose to sit between their two car seats instead of the front seat. Throughout the day, Ella (especially) bonded with Amanda. It was really sweet watching Ella grab her hand or climb up into her lap throughout our day-away. Harrison loved his freedom and was the model of good behavior. I had been worried about his behavior around my co-workers, but he rose to the occasion and both of my children impressed everyone.

The woods that surrounded the cabin were full of unusual birds and animal tracks. We found moose tracks and a huge mountain lion track. Cool, but it made me nervous. I’m not used to the reality of these “out west” dangers!

After about six hours of romping through the woods, lounging in hammock swings on the porch, mountain biking, and socializing, we drove back down the mountain to civilization. Amanda again chose the back seat and watched a “Veggie Tales” movie with Harrison. (Ella fell asleep about 5 minutes into our hour long trip home.) Harrison conked out about 30 seconds after the movie ended around 7 pm. (Now here comes the best part!!) Both of the kids stayed asleep through the transfer into their beds and slept through the night until about 6:15 this morning. Days like this are a perfect conclusion to weeks like we had. It was another reminder that kids go through stages. Just when you think you can’t handle the stage/behavior/habit for one minute longer, it stops. Harry had another good day today and I’m looking forward to a small, perfect birthday celebration for him tomorrow.

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