Ever think, "I wonder what Kacy's doing this weekend?" My kids had Thursday and Friday off from school this week. It used to be called, ominously, "The Deerhunt" when I was growing up. I personally never hunted deer or knew anyone who hunted deer so to me it was a holiday celebrating and pointing to an event from the far past--like how Thanksgiving celebrates the pilgrim's first feast. Apparently, a lot of people did and do really hunt deer. It is like, a thing.
And then for years of college and having little babies The Deerhunt meant nothing to me. By the time I had kids in grade school the name of the vacation had been changed to UEA (Utah Educators Something?). Because--you know Utah--we would never stick with anything outdated or with a slight negative stigma!
This year it is called, simply, "Fall Break." I like it. And the best thing about it is that if you still want to kill deer[s] during your fall break, you can.
At first I started planning an actual trip for Fall Break. But staying in a hotel with 4 kids is not as fun as it used to be [when we had no kids]. Everything seemed so expensive and not that fun. Plus, my oldest son had to go to a scout camp. Plus, my husband doesn't really have (and by "have" I mean "take" since he is, technically, his own boss) Fall Break off. So I decided to let the kids plan our break. I gave them each an index card and told them they could each plan a complete day. I told them we could do anything in Utah. Here are their lists:
Go to IHOP for Breakfast
See Ramona and Beezus
Eat lunch at Costa Vida
Go to Baskin Robbins for dessert
Go to the River with Frances
Bajios for Dinner
Park City (maybe)
Sleepover at Granny's (hot tub)
See a Movie
Get Ice Cream
Have a Water Balloon Fight
Buy Water Guns
Have a Feast
Visit Bubble Tea
Get a Manicure
Got to Granny's House
Since Sam would be here for only half of the first day and half of the last day, we had to mix up the schedule a bit and let him choose some things before he left. So far, we are having a lot of fun. A word about Bubble Tea: In our family we call "passing gas" "having a bubble." I don't know why or where it came from. It's just what we do. Once we saw a coffee shop called "Bubble Tea." As you can imagine, the prospect of bubble tea is very hilarious to Ben. But there aren't any Bubble Teas in Utah. So that was just a pipe dream.
The genius of Ben really shows in his request, "Get Presents." It was a pretty good request. Thursday morning felt just like Christmas. Everyone woke up early to open their presents. I got them each a small toy and a video so we could "watch a movie" and "watch TV." Ben's toy was the water guns he had requested. Maggie got a Webkinz. Ellen got a small plastic Super Why, and Sam got a tiny skateboard with working parts. (Did you know that's a thing? It is. So are tiny bikes.) Ellen made everyone cards and Ben gave Maggie a plastic hanger. It was thrilling to get presents on a non-traditional present day. I think the kids were totally blown away, even though the presents were small. Ellen got Bee Movie, which we watched the first night with homemade caramel corn. Ben got Phineas and Ferb Christmas, which we watched in the car while driving from place to place and which lent an air of of Christmas break to the whole thing. Sam got a collection of Underdog cartoons and Maggie got She-Ra. I love to give them old cartoons that I grew up with but to tell you the truth, they are never as great as I remember (with the exception of Danger Mouse which is greatER).
Sam wanted to go to Maglebys Fresh for breakfast. They have delicious french toast. At Maglebys we saw the Orem High track team, the Timpview Ballroom team, and the BYU Golf team. It occurred to me that Maglebys Fresh is exactly the kind of place I would NEVER have eaten breakfast at as a teenager or young adult. Winchells/Gas Station/McDonalds was much more my speed. But whatever. Now I eat there whenever I like. It was 40 dollars! I about died. I hate paying for food for my whole family. Christian usually pays the bill, which is why it is so shocking for me to handle the transaction. Which is why a gas station breakfast is more my speed. Sam wanted to go to the mall. He bought a Coca-Cola case for his cell phone with his own money. Ben bought Lotso from Toy Story 3 with his own money. I figured it was like how you let your kids get dumb, wasteful souvenirs when you go on vacation. They were excited. Sam taught us how to get a lot of gumballs out of a gumball machine. I was so impressed. Then I realized it was stealing. I felt conflicted. Sam left for his camp out and we went to the river with the dog. We had a spaghetti feast for dinner.
The next day Ben suggested that I make pancakes instead of going to IHOP. I was glad. And here's where never making my kids a special breakfast comes in handy--when I do, it really is special. I made the Pioneer Woman's sour cream pancakes. They really are good. We went to the river again and then I gave everyone manicures. (Ben's was a no-polish manicure.) I was actually excited for a chance to clip their nails. We got ice cream and went to the dollar movie. Ramona and Beezus isn't playing here anymore so we saw Toy Story 3 again. I'll tell you what--I have to fight hard not to cry in that movie. I'm so mom. We had dinner at Bajios. I'm more than a little happy that my kids' fantasy day revolves around eating meals at different restaurants. Because that is my fantasy. Christian met us and took Ben and Maggie on a Halloween Cruise on the Provo River. I had to get creative with "go rafting" because I didn't, oh what's the word, want to "go rafting." They tell ghost stories and pretend to get attacked by pirates on the Halloween Cruise. Classic. I, being stalwart and selfless, took Ellen home to bed. I read in bed. Have I mentioned that I find solitude restorative?
Today we've got the big water balloon fight, lunch at Costa Vida, a trip to Park City (MAYBE--probably not), and then we're going to sleep over at my mom's and go in her hot tub. It's been pretty fun. And since we are home and not at Disneyland or Mesa Verde (some of my original ideas), I can fold laundry and check e-mail in between our fun excursions. I like it much better this way. When it comes right down to it, I have no desire to "get away from it all." But that's just me. There you have it. That's what I'm doing right now. Also, later I might kill a deer. I'll do it, too! Don't test me, deer.