Spring Break ’10 Hits

Spring Break ’10 has finally arrived, and we welcomed it in on Friday afternoon with everything except champagne and confetti.

Because the boy is only nine, you know, so he can’t have the champagne, and because my Type A personality cannot handle the confetti all over my floors.

The boy’s good buddy, Ben, came home with him after school on Friday, because he was going to stay the night at our house. They came out of the school building, jumping and whooping and slinging their backpacks around and around. It was a manly show of enthusiasm and cheering, because they were looking nine days of absolutely no school smack in the face.

You might remember Ben from older posts. He and the boy met on their very first day of pre-kindergarten. The boy had been five for all of fourteen days, and Ben was still four. They were the cutest things ever! They sat beside one another when their teacher first asked them to sit down, and they played together during that first recess, and a friendship was instantly sealed.

Weren’t they darling? I can’t get over how tiny they were the day they started pre-kindergarten!

Eventually, around Christmas time of that year, the boy would puke on Ben on the playground, and their friendship would be cemented for life.

Hubs and I took the boy and Ben to see How to Train Your Dragon at the theater on Friday, and, since I’m becoming quite the blogging movie critic, let me just say this: Run! Run like the wind to the theater to see this one! Hubs and I loved it; we laughed until our sides hurt. The boy and Ben howled with laughter until they nearly spilled their drinks. The nonstop action and all the fire-breathing antics kept their attention glued, full force, to the big screen. They even cheered a bit in the end, when the big dragon went down. And really? Hubs and I loved the overall message of this movie, which was simply that it just doesn’t matter in life if you have a handicap or not. You can overcome, and you can still do anything you set your mind to.

Today, Ben and the boy are a wee bit taller. And a wee bit naughtier. And a wee bit more adventurous. They’re still frightfully cute, though. Future heartbreakers. Ralph Lauren will be asking them to wear his clothes for catalog shoots; I’m certain of it.

On Saturday, our good friends, Nathan and Sierra, threw together a little sledding party. A sledding party which involved a trek to the mountains and a very steep hill. Naturally, the boys were in, hook, line and sinker. They live for sledding. They want to bypass a modeling career with Ralph and become professional sledders who are destined for the Olympics. No hill is too steep for them. They are not even afraid to climb the steep hills on foot, or so they claim. Thankfully, Nathan brought his snow machine to the mountains with us, because, after you’ve slid down the hill faster than a lightning bolt and screamed with fright and hollered from the sheer wild adventure, it’s the pits to have to face that hill and walk up it. While dragging your sled. In the deep snow. After you’ve done that twice, you’re almost ready to puke and call it a day. But Nathan, bless his heart, engineered a train, of sorts. He tied five over-sized inner tubes behind the snow machine, and he’d meet the kids at the bottom of the hill. It looked like a genuine bus stop on a busy New York City street, as our herd of kids (and umpteen kids that we didn’t even know!) ran to jump on a tube and catch a ride back up the mountain. When everyone was aboard, Nathan would haul everyone to the top. Of course, this meant that snow was kicked into everyone’s faces as they rode uphill in the tubes, but they loved it! Since our pack of kids are all budding Nobel Prize Winners, they quickly learned to put their sleds in front of their faces, to keep the snow from being kicked up and frosting their eyelids shut. In this next snapshot, the boy demonstrates the sled-in-your-face technique.

In this next snapshot, Ben demonstrates the fact that he actually does have a charming smile, regardless of the fact that he usually enjoys snarling and flexing his biceps for the camera. I took twenty squillion photos of Ben on Saturday, where he glared at me and tried to look like James Dean, until this one. This is the one where I said, “Just smile nicely; this picture’s for your mom!” And because he loves his mama, Ben grinned from ear to ear and looked a little angelic. Don’t let that cute smile fool you! He’s full of mischief!

Eventually, the big boys got tired of driving the train (um…snow machine) up the hill. After one hundred and ninety-seven runs, they decided to take a break and discuss important things. Here, Hubs and Nathan are contemplating what kinds of sandwiches are in their coolers. (“Man, I hope the little wife didn’t make Spam sandwiches again! Hey! Do you have any Girl Scout cookies in your cooler?”)

This is Andrew. Andrew spent the entire day sitting in this black sled. The. Entire. Day. Andrew did not take to sledding like a duck takes to water. Andrew remembered that he was from the South, where they don’t have snow, and Andrew closed his eyes, clicked his heels together a dozen times, and whispered, “There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.” Unfortunately, he was still stuck on the side of the mountain, in a sled that he didn’t wish to ride in, so he sat very quietly all day long, hoping that no one would notice him and make him take another run down the side of the very steep hill. Also, he tried to take a nap while he was sitting upright like that. Isn’t he cute?

This is Sister’s seven-year-old daughter, L. She showed up on top of the mountain on Saturday morning packing a sled and some attitude. Sister squatted down and told L that if the attitude continued, she’d have to sit in their SUV. Sit. And miss the sledding. L kept the attitude, insisting that she had absolutely no desire to sled. None. Zip. Zilch. Sitting in the SUV would be preferable. Sister never missed a beat. Her discipline technique was a bit forward and bold, as she picked L up, plopped her into a sled, and shoved it down the side of the mountain without any hesitation whatsoever! Yep. Sister, of course, went down right behind L, but L made that first run without wanting to at all. And when she missed the train at the bottom of the very steep hill and had to walk back up to us, she showed up grinning from ear to ear. And she was also giggling. And she was very, very happy. Hubs and I have decided that this is a good approach to disciplining small children, and we’ve decided to try it on the boy someday soon. (“Listen, Boy. If you don’t clean your room, I will shove you down the side of a snowy mountain! Just see if I don’t!”) See? L is grinning for the camera, because the attitude completely disappeared after her surprise slide down the mountain. Sister is very clever with discipline.

Eventually, after whipping down the hill forty different times, Ben and the boy complained of hunger, and they went in search of our cooler of sandwiches. And also, Girl Scout cookies. And, because I wasn’t watching them carefully, these two boys ate almost an entire box of Thin Mints all by themselves. Their teeth were black. Their chins were black. And they were very happy!

This is my friend, Bev. She and her boys are from the South. The South, where it doesn’t snow. Bev was worried that the coat her husband had bought for her to wear here, where it DOES indeed snow, wouldn’t be trendy, because it has a fur-lined hood. Bev never needed a coat like this in the South, so she wasn’t sure if fur-lined hoods were the way to go. Naturally, we told her that she looked like a total dork, and that no one in our cold state would be caught dead with a furry hood. And then we laughed, and let her know that, even though it snows here, we do know a few rules of fashion, and that furry hoods are all the rage these days. We assured her that she was cute as a bug’s left ear. And she was! It should also be noted that this was Bev’s very, very, very first time to go sledding. And it should also be noted that when she put her boys in the black sled for the first time, she looked at me and said, “I think that I’m about to ask a dumb question, but which end of the sled goes down the mountain first? The end with the rope? Or the end without the rope?” Hubs told Bev to push it down the hill sideways. Hubs thinks he’s so funny.

This is the boy’s good friend, Seth. Seth and the boy are four weeks apart. They met when they were four months and five months old. Seth never smiles for the camera. Ever. Not even when I tell him that I’m taking a shot for his mama. No matter. Even without a big, sloppy smile, he’s still a handsome little punk.

Eventually, the boy and Ben disconnected one of the tubes from the train, and decided to try their hands at racing it down the side of the mountain. They were pleasantly pleased with the result, which was Fastness. The boy and Ben adore the fastness. As far as they were concerned, they would have liked to have had Hubs attach some rocket boosters to the back of their sleds on Saturday. They had no fear at all of ripping down the very steep hill at record-breaking speeds.

This is Sister’s four-year-old son, K. K showed up on the mountain as happy as a clam. He didn’t have to be shoved down the hill without much warning at first. He was excited to be there, and I don’t think that he quit grinning the entire day. He also wore his daddy’s sunglasses, which were forty-three sizes too big for his tiny little face, all day long. He decided that he, too, wants to be an Olympic sledder sometime soon. When he weighs more than thirty-five pounds.

This is Anna. Anna belongs to Nathan and Sierra; she’s Seth’s little sister. And Matthew’s little sister. And Luke’s little sister. Nathan and Sierra hiked all the way to China to bring Anna home to their family, and she is honestly the sweetest little thing I know. I have offered no less than three thousand and eight times to take Anna off of their hands, but they keep insisting that hiking all the way to China equals a major commitment, and that a major commitment means that they’ll probably keep Anna. For life. I’m not sure that a cuter little muffin exists, and I am proud to say that Anna and I are close buddies. It’s because I feed her chocolate Hershey’s kisses every time I see her. I also admire her shoes every time I see her. Anna, you see, has a thing for shoes, and she loves it when I tell her how beautiful her sparkly high heels are! Imelda Marcos did not have a shoe problem, when she’s compared with Anna.

This is Hubs and Sister’s Husband. I would have paid twenty-two dollars to toss Sister’s Husband in a sled and shove him down the side of the very steep hill, unexpectedly, on Saturday. The big boys tried to frown and flex their biceps for this snapshot, but I told them that I wanted a nice picture for their mamas, and they burst out laughing. Just like Ben. They just couldn’t keep the straight face that Seth could keep. Seth has more grit than Hubs and Sister’s Husband have. His biceps are probably bigger than theirs, too.

This is what the very steep hill looked like after our pack of children ate lunch. Don’t worry, Tree Hugging People! We cleaned it all up! We recycled! We did our part!

And this is what a little nine-year-old looks like when he has stayed up late with his good friend the night before, and after he’s made four thousand and ten trips down the side of a mountain on a sled. Or, as Hubs would say, “Michael Jackson’s music can put anyone to sleep!”

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