It started as a simple plan - My Dad & Uncle Bart would take their granddaughters to the beach for the weekend. Then their wives found out and insisted they take a chaperon (me) to make sure they didn't lose or otherwise mame the kids through gross neglect. So this weekend I chaperoned a grandpa's beach trip. They didn't know it, but they were undergoing a serious test in which they could both gain and lose points towards child-care independence. Here's how they scored:
+10 points: We saw a momma bear & her two cubs on the way to Uncle Bart's cabin! My dad earned points by stopping a safe distance away.
-10 points: he unrolled the window as we drove by so Jo could see. And so the bear could eat my baby through the window like a drive through snack.
Here's dad & Jo next to "Chinookie" the giant carved bear. Jo consistently called it "JACK."
+10 points for foresight- Uncle Bart had it commissioned and told the artist to carve it WITHOUT baring its teeth so as not to scare the kids. It worked- Jo was not scared of the giant bear.
+30 points: Uncle Bart asked if the life jacket I brought for Jo was coast guard approved. My dad double checked to see that it was. Bart also informed me of his tsunami evacuation plan which includes a pre-packed emergency back pack. Good thinking gentlemen.
Uncle Bart bought a beautiful new boat for their anniversary. Good thing I wasn't scoring on thoughtfulness towards spouses- they actually earned +20 points for acquiring a new safer boat with which to take the babies out to sea in. As you may have noticed, Jo was not a fan of the boat at first- but after some yogurt bribery she became a big fan! While crabbing she actually took a peaceful 1.5 hr nap out on the water!
+30 points for meal prep. Uncle Bart fed the kids corn dogs, Dad grilled steak, and then Bart made us his (first time ever) famous french toast.
-5 points for feeding them donuts for breakfast. I can't really fault them for it though- the donuts looked good & the girls were happy.
+40 points for enforcing weather-appropriate clothing. As a curve ball, I packed Jo, myself & Baylor only tank tops & shorts. This wasn't short sighted on my part- it was meant to be a special test. My dad passed with flying colors when he tolerated and funded a stop at the outlet mall to get Jo some long pants & the sweatshirt you see here. Jo kept asking for help to get her "helmet" (hood) on.
+15 courtesy points: The 4 crabs caught were murdered & eaten out of sight of me & the kids. Good job uncle bart!
-15 points: Jo was pinched by a crab under my father's supervision. She lived, and did not bleed. Here she is showing me how the crab attacked her- with his pinchers.
+10 points: Dad & Bart slathered the girls with sunscreen without my direction! Well played. Nearly offsets the attack on my child by a sea monster. By the way, Dad was also pinched by a crab during the trip. He did bleed, but lived.
+10 safety points: They didn't attempt this without propping Baylor up with one hand.
-10 points for getting a bit close to my newborn son with this giant crab who is trying to eat him! (hence the horrified and horrifying look on my face)
+10 points for taking pictures of my son on the boat
-2 points for exposing my son's pink diaper (which we all agreed to never tell him about)
+20 points for suggesting popcorn & a movie to two overtired girls on Saturday night. -30 points for pouring some mixed drinks & leaving to go visit the neighbor. As they left they said, "See Michelle, if you weren't here this would keep them busy for 2 hours while we go visit our friend." +10 points for maintaining a sense of humor.
Overall, I am happy to say that the Stephens brothers PASSED their test with flying colors. They doted on the girls, exhibited massive amounts of patience, and ensured that all the ladies (myself especially!) had a fabulous time. Bart & Linda's cabin is GORGEOUS- I have a whole list of things I want to tell Linda that I love. I told Bart, but men don't appreciate complimenting one's choice in linens as much as women do. It was a super relaxing weekend - a wonderful retreat. And a special blessing too to see these two men fawn over a pair of diva's who love them as much as they're loved by them.
Love you Dad & Uncle Bart!!!