Every time we pass the Calico exit, I think it looks like a good idea. To be honest, any exit on the stretch between Vegas and L.A. looks like a good idea. It's a boring drive. And, since I was banned from outlet mall shopping, including the Prim Outlets, Calico seemed like as good a place to stop and stretch our legs as any.
I've never been to a ghost town. Apparently, they aren't haunted, but instead are abandoned mining towns that are rebuilt as tourist attractions. I think I may have known that on some level, but chose to think there'd be a spook around there somewhere.
Calico was hot. Damn hot. But, it was pretty fun. Collin thought it was the neatest place on earth. You would've thought it was better than Disneyland to see him run from spot to spot. Running wasn't the most advised mode of transport considering the heat, but don't let a little profuse sweating deter you, my boy.
Eddie thought it was the hottest place on earth. Thankfully, they allowed dogs, so long as they were on a leash. If they hadn't, we couldn't have gotten out of the car. Poor puppy would've roasted and died within a matter of minutes. I don't think I've ever seen him drink so much water.
Nothing says good ol' family fun like putting your kid in a coffin.
...and a jail cell.
We went to a rock store where they had all kinds of polished stone pendants, (among other crap) in the shapes of peace signs and crosses and my dear boy shouted with pure glee and ignorance: "Mommy! Look at all these peace signs and letter T's!!" The funny thing is that I've explained crosses to him before. Apparently, out of context, they are letter T's. Ahhh, young atheism.
And, we had a little pretend mining fun, of course. Well, not exactly. There was precisely one mine car and it was full of spray painted foam. Nonetheless, it was cool to stand in front of and Collin had to poke it copiously.
Donna, Bryon said the shot below is especially for you and that you will enjoy it. He kept repeating that we had to go to the bottle house. I had no idea what he was talking about until we got there.
Ahhh, bottle house. Now, I get it. Don't worry, Granny, we have multiple attempts at this shot and you can have them :) Does knowing that we were taking this picture, probably at the same moment that your car exploded, make you feel any better about the whole thing?
Finally, what is frontier fun without randomly placed wagon wheels?
Taking a kid to Vegas is super fun. Although, I have fears that he will become a compulsive gambler, now. The only explanation I could come up with for the slots were that they were grown up games. He was utterly fascinated with them and really, really really wanted to look at them, which of course he couldn't. This only made them more appealing. Since walking through the casinos is the only real way to get from point A to point B, he kind of had to see them. Oh well.
The stratosphere was a hit. He spent quite a bit of time up there looking at pools. We had been turned away from Gramps' and Nana's pool earlier that morning because they live in a retirement community and apparently there is a height requirement for users. Collin was an inch too short to swim with the big guys and he was devastated. Alas, every pool he could see from the Stratosphere, and there were A LOT of them, was Gramps' and Nana's pool.
There was fun to be had a Cesar's, but NOT the moving statues because after quite a bit of walking, we discovered that they were out of order. We did throw pennies into the fountain. Hey, tell Rachel to look out, she's about to get punched in the face by an errant penny throw.
See, I told you.
The boy got sunglasses because as we told him, it was bright out there. Something about that desert sun and all that rock and glass makes for a bright day. Does he look like a stud or what? Note the TWO M&M bags. He made quite a killing in there. $12.99 a pound for M&M's you can buy anywhere for what, $2?
But, the highlight was going to see the "Tournament of Kings" show at Excalibur. I don't think he even blinked for the entire show.
He got to meet our knight afterward and he told him all about his real sword at home and how he knows how to fight like a knight, just like him. He just talked and talked. I'm not sure the guy understood him because he was so excited, he was talking really fast.
He told him when he's a little older, he can come back to Vegas and they will hire him to be a real knight and he just gasped. It was pretty cute. Almost as cute as our knight.
We haven't been home in years. YEARS. I have been promising my family a trip for a while now, and putting it off and hemming and hawing, so I bit the bullet and planned a trip for this summer. Apparently, the weather gods heard I was coming and conspired to brew a warm front that would assure that I didn't want to visit again anytime soon. It is making me dread the move to D.C. even more. I'm already sad enough to leave California. Thank goodness I have my wonderful husband to look forward too.
Anyway, Collin loved his seeing his grandparents. Grandpa might have tilted the scales in favor of glamorizing Michigan by making Collin his very own Sword in the Stone.
A real sword. For a four year old.
It's caused a bit of gasping around here while we've gotten used to the safety rules, but he's in love with it.
Grandpa's house has a much better bath tub than ours does, as do most houses, and much better tub toys. But, then again, don't all houses have better toys than your own? Doctor's waiting rooms with toys covered in Ebola virus and with dead batteries are better than your own.
And, Grandpa even let Collin play with his antique bowling set. Apparently, my iPod isn't the only gadget he needs to play with to be fully entertained.
I let him play with it for the first time on the plane on the way out and a full-on addiction has started.
It was really great for him to get to play with my grandmother too. She wowed him the only way to truly wow my child, with food.
One of the greatest things though, was seeing him play with Ella, my friend Kristin's daughter. Ella was due three days after Collin was due. Collin was three weeks early and Ella was two weeks late. Kristin and I blissfully thought it would be great if we had our babies on the same day. Oh how wrong we were. Darn babies messing up our plans. But, Kristin and I have been friends since our junior year of college and it's great to see our lives change along the way.
His pastime of choice in Michigan was "watering" the plants in grandpa's backyard. By the way, that's sweat, not water from the hose. It's that hot.
And, that's how my boy carries his swords. We've had to lay down ground rules about not carrying the real one that way.
And, my boy found Grandpa's washing machine amazing and "better" than mine.
We made it to the Detroit zoo toward the end of the trip when the temperature dropped a mili-degree. They had an awesome dinosaur exhibit that even had a t-rex. See.
This is the closest I could get to a picture of Collin with the t-rex. As you can see, he is fleeing.
However, he was more than willing to pose with herbivores.
So, Michigan was a success for the boy and an all around good trip. But, when we got back, he hugged the car and his car seat and the welcome mat, and the stairs and the front door (you get the picture). For a week, he kept saying, "I liked Michigan but it would be more fun if Grandpa and Nana Debby lived in California. I like it better here." I agree.
But, Michigan will always have stuff like this:
I grew up climbing on this hippo outside of Crowley's at Oakland Mall while my mom shopped. It got moved to the Detroit Zoo years and years ago when Crowley's closed. It's just one of those things I remember. No matter how much I grow away from Michigan, I won't be able to get rid of things like that damn hippo. I told Bryon the other day that California is my home now, we always have to come back here but I guess there's a bit of Michigan that will always be stuck with me because I got a little twinge of happiness seeing my boy climb on it.
So, we have officially "graduated" from our first Kindergarten reading box. I am so proud of the little guy. This book was the final book in the box. He read it once while we were in Michigan, and I have to say, he wasn't quite ready for it when we tried it, but he still did swimmingly. I think that he was so dazzled by all the splendor that is Detroit (note sarcasm) that he forgot he even read it in the first place, anyway. That was over a week ago and it was time to try again.
His second go at it this week was amazing. He's trucking along so quickly though the lessons that I think we'll be through the kindergarten level before school starts, which is my unofficial goal. But, since the words and sounds are getting a little harder now, we'll probably slow down. Either way, I'm so stinking proud of him, I can hardly stand it. It makes my heart pitter patter when he points out words he knows on signs and in books and to hear him try to sound out words he doesn't. He's my little reader now!
Anyway, Daddy this is for you.
And, Grandpa and Nana Debby, we'll get those Detroit pictures sorted and up soon. I promise. We have been too busy enjoying being back in the land of soda and sliding glass doors (versus pop and door walls).
I'm Mommy to the best boy on the planet and wife of the best husband. What more could I ask for? I am enjoying my life of loving my family and writing, writing, writing and even getting used to getting rejection letters, sprinkled with a few acceptances here and there.