This week I got a call from our friends the Allreds. We had just crashed their pad over Spring Break and they called to see if we could return the favor. They were on their way to AZ for their Spring Break and wondered if they could spend the night here, as it is about half way. We were excited to have them come through even if we only got to see them for a night. Then they got a wild hair. After us talking it up so much, the Allreds decided it might be fun to spend the night at the Pagosa Hot Springs. It was Darin's birthday and they thought it might be a fun way to spend it, cuz who wants to be driving for hours on their birthday. We told Lori we would decorate their hotel room as we planned to arrive hours before them. We thought that sounded like a really fun idea, and I went to pencil it onto the calendar.
As is so often the case lately, we realized we had a conflict. This Saturday was Elise's Destination Imagination competition. Her team at Sunnyside, the Determinators, had been meeting and working diligently for several months. (Disclaimer: Some of you might remember that I have had children participate in DI in the past. And I have never particularly liked it. I find it too free form for my tastes, so I generally steer pretty clear of it. I did happen to substitute one day after school with the group. A kid sliced his thumbnail open using an xacto knife and I secretly swore to myself I would do a better job of avoiding it as I walked him to the nurse's office.) Still, Elise had put in a lot of time and effort, and I was a little bummed I would miss it. I didn't fret over it too much because having gone for the last 2 years to see both Seth and Elise give their presentations at the competition, I had been the only parent that came to watch.
Friday was fast approaching, and I told John we had better make a reservation at the Springs, cuz it could get pretty busy on the weekends. He agreed and I jumped online to book a room. There were the standard rooms available, and I noticed that the amazing suite we stayed in only 10 days ago was FAR more expensive than the price we paid by showing up that evening at the hotel. I hesitated.
I talked to John about the idea that if we just showed up on Friday afternoon, we might get a great deal on that sweet suite. I noticed there were still a few more rooms available, so we decided to take a chance and drive there without a reservation. We dropped Elise off with a DI teammate, and headed to Pagosa. I was a little frustrated that we had gotten a later start than I had wanted, and it was past dinnertime when we finally pulled into the Springs. John walked into the hotel and was pleased when the front desk guy recognized him from last week. John smiled and asked if they had any rooms. The front desk guy's face fell as he told us that he had just given away the last room. Since no one had rented the sweet suite, they had given it to a friend of the owner for FREE!! So there we were, in Pagosa, with all the kids and a bag of swimsuits...without a room! YIKES!
Well, the front desk guy felt pretty bad for us, but there wasn't much he could do except direct us acrossed the street to the only other hotel in town with rooms. He even broke the rules a little and let us go up to the Allred's room to decorate it. We had some balloons and some noise makers. I thought the room looked pretty good, but I was pretty bummed to leave it knowing where we would be staying.
Going acrossed the street to the other hotel was like walking back in time to an older, and smelly-er time. When we checked into our room, our kids were totally complaining. John and I looked at each other and chuckled a little. We told them they were just spoiled and this is how most hotels are, but I have to admit, I kept my flip flops on as I walked around the room. ;) It was pretty 'rustic.' I tried to be enthusiastic about going down to the indoor hotel pool-maybe the night wouldn't be a total bust and we could get some use out of our swim suits. But as soon as we saw it, we decided to go ahead and just get to bed and get a good jump on the next day!
The Allreds called our phone that next morning and we felt pretty sheepish telling them that we were staying somewhere else, when we met them in the hot springs! :) It was kind of a bummer we didn't get to swim under the full moon, but it was fun to swim in the early morning too.
We had fun going from pot to pot. The kids were feeling pretty adventurous and tried hopping into the frigid river. The dads went in too! This is the best place to hop in. There is hot water that bubbles right up into the river and people have stacked rocks forming a hot tub. But step out of that ring of rocks, and it is COLD!
I had my waterproof camera and while it does not take the best pictures, it can take pictures underwater! Jebb insisted I get an underwater shot of him, that is the blue floating kid in the collage. :)
I was so much fun for our family to soak all morning with the Allreds. We decided to dry off and head towards Durango around lunch time. We voted on lunch at Serious Texas and we hopped in the car and headed that way. We drove through Bayfield which is where Elise was doing her DI stuff. I was sad that Elise missed our family stuff, and I wondered how she was doing.
Lori had ordered a fantastic cake for Darin and it complimented the BBQ perfectly! :) After devouring the yumminess, we bid farewell to the passing travelers and they continued on their Spring Break journey. We headed home to do some work around the house. Of course we were all trying to finish before the BYU March Madness began.
And I was missing Elise.
As the only daughter in our family, there is a void of girlness when she is gone. I wondered how her DI stuff was going. She had a really solid team and I hoped they would perform well for the judges.
Then she finally returned! I asked her how it went and could tell from her experession that she was disappointed. I guess they had run out of time on their presentation and their score reflected that. They finished almost last! Yikes! I felt bad I hadn't been there console her. Then she told me that she had been the only kid on the team whose parents weren't there... Uh... What? Yes, the only parents from her team not attending the presentation and awards were...US! Man, I went from feeling bad to worse. I sputtered, I stammered, I apologized profusely. Trying to make myself feel better, I reminded her that last year I had been the only parent there and didn't think it was really a parent-type thing, so much, er, uh, ya.
But of course she could still smell a hint of the Sulfur Hot Springs wafting from our damp swimsuits in the laundry room. And see the glow that relaxation in hot pots and hanging with friends can give to ones cheeks. But with typical Elise grace and coolness, she gave me a big hug and said it didn't matter that I wasn't there. That almost made my guilt worse, but I hugged her back, apologized some more, then asked her for all the details of her day. She wasn't in the mood to elaborate (they didn't do too well, remember?), but she gave me the basics.
Through the magic of blogging, I was actually able to get some pictures of Elise at the DI day! Luckily, there was an involved parent that took some pictures of her child that is also on the team (thanks, Lucy! Picture descriptions are hers). So here is a glimpse into Elise's day as well.
Overall, a busy day for the BigGTribe. I am so glad though that everyone had a full and friendly day! I am glad there are great families in the world that are raising good kids that mine get to associate with! :)