Adventure: Any experience during which at some points you wish you weren’t there. (As defined by Jon Roberts)
Today we planned to play hokey from church and go snowshoeing. This is, in fact, what happened, but the results were, shall we say… interesting.
Tim was skeptical from the get-go. J-man’s cough was gnarly, yesterday had been a busy day, and in normal circumstances, one outdoor gallivant a weekend is about all our over-scheduling-averse family can handle.
However, there is something about the Arendt determination to “go through with the plan” that is difficult to shut down. Arendt is my maiden name, and stubborn is sort of invisibly hyphenated at the back. I don’t recall seeing it in the family genealogy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of my ancestors was in charge of the decision NOT TO GIVE UP at the Alamo. I am AWARE that I have a problem giving up. The nice thing about this is that it makes me a very loyal friend/spouse/mother/daughter/sister. I have a history of not giving up on relationships, long past the point where it is obvious that whoever I was in relationship with either hates me or no longer has any interest in me. My loved ones can generally count on me for large doses of grace. The bad thing about this is that I am often not very flexible. Knowing this, I had promised Tim that I would hold Adventure Month lightly. But I was super duper DUPER excited about snowshoeing. So, when Tim suggested we change our plans (gasp!), I admitted that J-man didn’t seem at his best, but I honestly thought that he wasn’t that bad (he was wrestling with his brother on the floor of the kitchen), and that I still wanted to give it a try.
So, Tim suggested we sit down with the kids and have a family meeting. Votes tallied as follows…
E-man: Snowshoe, because he wanted to go to the Rock Shop, and could we go ride the Light Rail in Denver next weekend so he could finally use his shiny new bus pass?
Tim: Everyone stays home all day. (I winced at the thought, since “active kids stuck at home for the day” is otherwise known to me as “the 4th circle of hell”.)
J-man: ”Earn jewels for my rewards jar and buy a new toy when it is full…”
"J-man," I asked, "Do you know what snowshoes are?"
I got the snowshoes out of the garage and explained them to the kids. They jumped for joy with excitement, and couldn’t wait to snowshoe! I was relieved, and Tim conceded that he was outvoted. I spent the next hour and a half packing snacks, snow things, waters, and haranguing the boys into getting dressed. I privately assured Tim that it really was OK with me - IT REALLY WAS - if he wanted to stay home while I took the boys myself. He said no, he did want to come, so we all piled into the car…
except for J-man. He went to put shoes on, and I explained that he would need boots. He asked why. ”Well, honey, its cold up in the mountains…” and he melted. J-man, with aforementioned gnarly cough, already sounded like a cross between a mouse and Joan Rivers. At this point, J-man plunked down on the floor and started sobbing and coughing and sobbing about how he didn’t want to go to the mountains, about how he wanted to stay in BOOOOOULDER, about how he didn’t waaaaaaant to go snowshoeing anymore. While Tim and E-man were in the car with the engine running.
The momentum was too much to stop at this point. I picked him up and stuffed him in the car. With a pang of guilt, I suggested to Tim that maybe he and J-man could stay home. Tim said “No, we’re going”, and off we went.
We got to Bear Lake, and put snowshoes on the boys. They rejoiced….
for about 5 minutes. Then I asked the ranger to take a picture of us as a family. At which point, J-man assumed the following pose…
Things proceeded pretty much predictably from there on out. E-man had the time of his life playing in the snowshoes. He gallivanted, racing up and down and off and on the trails. He ate snow, rolled in snow, threw snow at every member of the family, and tromped around on the top of frozen lakes sporting cool air bubbles trapped in the ice. He got his mineral souvenir afterwards as promised, and declared that he wanted to go snowshoeing again as soon as possible!
J-man, on the other hand, was whiny and melty for a solid hour. We hiked 0.5 miles up to Nymph Lake, nearly all of which I carried J-man piggyback.
I was actually sort of enjoying the challenge, but what we didn’t predict was that with J-man riding on my back, he wasn’t moving around. And when J-man wasn’t moving around, he got cold. Very cold. Very quickly. Tim carried J-man down the trail, and by the time we returned to the car, J-man’s hands were like ice. He said his feet were cold too, and his whines had transformed into hysterical hiccuping sobs, which could just barely be interpreted as saying… ”I WAaaANT to go HOooOOOoooOME!”. I was barely keeping my patience, and Tim had lost it long enough ago that he ordered all of us not to talk until he’d gotten to hear at least three U2 songs played at top volume in the car.
J-man slept on the trip home, and we stopped by Larkburger for dinner. It counted as new because I’d never eaten their chicken burger, which I must say was fantastic. Before bed, I read the children the first book in the Magic Treehouse series. E-man definitely got anxious at a couple of the T-rex parts, but I read really quickly and he never had time to let the anxiety get acute before the story resolved. Apparently he is able to handle 5 minutes of dramatic tension without accompanying scary music, but not much more than that.
We tucked the kiddos in bed, I curled up to write this post… Aaaaaaand then E-man threw up. And he’s been puking every 45 minutes since. Shoot. ”Hopefully” its food poisoning, so the rest of us aren’t likely to catch it. Kudos here goes to Tim, who was my FULL partner in cleaning up E-man and his bunk bed. Which is not a job for the faint of heart. Yay Honey!
1. Maybe wait a couple years before trying Larkburger again…
2. E-man + gadget = happy E-man. Pretty much no matter what we are doing.
3. Leave the grumpy emphysema-like child at home on adventure days, even if he has no fever and has been cheerfully harassing his brother all morning.
4. Get J-man better mittens and a couple more layers of socks when we next venture into the cold. His mittens are actually pretty stellar compared to some stuff out there, but apparently they still aren’t good enough.
Of course, its an even bet whether it was the mittens or just the lack of body movement that left J-man coldest, but I’m thinking we should focus on what we CAN control. No power known to man can induce a 4-year old to move their body when they don’t want to, but we do have it within our power to acquire better equipment. I plan on calling REI and asking for suggestions.
Lastly, I think we’ve had enough outdoor adventures for a few days. :)
Got any tips of your own for keeping smaller kiddos warm in the cold?