We were preparing to leave for Oklahoma. The goal: see a brother I haven’t seen in over 20 years (and get to know his family), visit with family and cook all the breakfast and dinner for 19 people the entire week. I offered to do the cooking (with Jen, of course), to take pressure off my mom.
Jen and I made a menu for the week and wrote out two shopping lists. One for my parents, one for us to bring/purchase. We tried to keep the shopping list for my parents light; it wasn’t fair to make them buy everything. We ended up purchasing other stuff while we were there but the intent was in place.
Before I could pack to leave, however, Mark asked me to make him two of his favorite meals for while we were gone and he was waiting to return to work. Chicken Enchiladas is an old favorite; we’ve been making it randomly for the past 3 years. He wanted that and a newer recipe: Dorito Taco Salad.
He had to help. He cut up and cooked the chicken while I was paying with the spices part…
Fresh cilantro and parsley broken up and cut up in that nifty little spin cutter purchased nearly 10 years ago at the State Fair.
The result: gooey yummy mozzarella melted over tortilla shells stuffed with chicken and green sauce.
And, of course, the Dorito Taco Salad. We left him with those two meals and packed up to go.
We drove off on 8/16 at about 11:00 a.m. Unfortunately, we have zero pictures of the first day. We drove from Idaho through Wyoming to Denver, Colorado and delivered a baby blanket to my brother for his son. We got no pictures from that. His son was sick and sleeping. After dropping off the gifts, we got back on the road, drove for another hour or two and stopped at a hotel for the night. The room we got (last one available) was a king sized bed with a couch and chair. Brendan wanted the chair and enjoyed himself on it.
Caiden took the couch and refused to wake up in the morning. I think we wore them out swimming in the hot tub after we got to the hotel (around midnight or so).
The next morning (8/17), Brendan walked (by himself with Jen shadowing him) to the front desk twice to find out how much it would cost to call his daddy. After the second trip to get an answer, the front desk clerk said he could call his daddy and not get charged. Brendan was super-excited and raced back upstairs to call his dad … who didn’t answer because he was up until the crack of dawn playing with his brothers. He was having his own little party since we were out of town and missed his son’s phone call.
Halfway through the day of driving, we saw a gas station/park for kids and pulled over for lunch. We let the boys play out some of their energy and got back on the road. They seemed to enjoy themselves – especially after Brendan used his earned quarters to purchase him and his brother a sweet snack.
Again, I forgot to get pictures on arrival. We got to my parents house about 11 p.m. on Saturday night (8/17). The next day (8/18), my dad was an instant hit with the boys. He had a riding lawn mower and had no problems giving the boys a ride.
Brendan is all serious about mowing the lawn and Caiden just wants to run around and jump on. My dad was their hero, that morning.
Brendan starts getting comfortable enough to play with the gadgets on the dash.
Caiden is so serious about mowing the lawn. I can see his little mind working, “I get to drive!” When he was a year old, we had a riding lawn mower and a huge yard. He’d fall asleep on his dad’s lap while Mark was mowing the yard. He didn’t want to go to his bed for a nap. He’d rather stay on dad’s lap. If we tried to move him, he’d wake and wail. These pictures I have will be fond, tear-jerking memories when my dad is gone, that’s for sure!
And, of course, Pop-Pop (my dad) becomes a hero to 2 of my brother’s boys and my own by taking them for an extended ride around his huge yard.
Pop-Pop is truly a grandpa – giving the boys lovely memories!
My parent’s house. It sits high on a hill behind the Choctaw Casino that my dad works at. The Fifth-Wheel to the right there is where my wee family and I stayed for the week. It was comfortable – in the day, it would get hot as blazes, though. Did I mention it was 100+ with severe humidity the entire week we were there?! I was dying, most of the time. By mid-day, I had to lay down for 30-45 minutes or simply pass out.
Later on, I took my brother’s 3 boys and my own 2 and went down to the river/lake. It’s a mile or two down the dirt road from my parent’s house and they had a blast for awhile, skipping rocks and dunking each other. Of course, it was also a great way to cool off, even if the water temperature was like taking a luke-warm bath!
Eventually, everyone made it into the water. I had to call my dad and ask him to deliver towels, as I’d forgotten them.
That’s all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Late on Sunday night, my brother from Connecticut showed up. In all the excitement, I did forget to take pictures. There are plenty more of other days, of course. I’ll give ya a few hours to digest this part of the week and then post the next.