First find three perfect children. Too hard to find? You can borrow mine. But only for a day or two. Then they start to turn. Trust me, you'll want to return them before that happens. Okay my kids are far from perfect. But I can't tell them that. I'm their mom. Pretty sure it's my job to make them know how unconditionally loved they are. So as far as they are concerned, I think they are perfect.
So wake up in the morning and decide to take your three perfect children to someplace magical. Someplace unforgettable. No, not Disneyland. Too far and too expensive. We're talking about Niagara Falls.
Pick a day that you think might not be too busy. Like a random Friday in June for example. Be completely oblivious to the fact that world history is being made there that day, by some tightrope walker and just show up.
Listen to personalized CD's for the two hour drive. Stop for candy.
Get lunch at Chili's. Aaron got a new soup of theirs and proclaimed it his favorite soup from a restaurant ever. On a Friday. In New York. I enjoyed a Quesadilla Explosion Salad - or just an EXPLO to us former Chili-heads.
Let those perfect kids play under the table while you enjoy each peaceful bite.
Save two of three kids from choking to death. Abbi needs to learn to CHEW her FOOD! Seriously. And Natester needs to pop out a few teeth.
Then load everyone up and follow signs and GPS to The Falls. See parking lot full. Drive around and find alternative parking. Find out alternative parking wants FIFTY BUCKS!! 5-0. Fifty smackeroo's. Half of a hundred. Fiddy bones. To park your car in their dirt. Apparently this tight-rope walker is drawing quite the crowd, and these guys want to profit. I was appalled. Really appalled is the only word. The kid couldn't even keep a straight face when telling us the price. Aaron was positive that he was joking. So was I. Apparently another lot was asking $75! These people should be put in prison. I could not believe it. I was so outraged. I mean I guess they have to make their money. So whatever. But they are not making it off me! We found a lot for $10, because that's how we roll.
Take a ride on Maid Of The Mist. It will be the best money you spend all day. Olivia stood by the edge of the boat with head peaking between the rails the entire 16 minute trip. Only reluctantly turning her head when, as I begged for pictures. Abbi was fearful the first few minutes and clung to her Daddy for dear life. Nathan fell asleep on my shoulder.
Don't forget to smooch your amazing husband while being blasted with water spraying off The Falls.
Roam around a gift shop and buy a $3 magnet/snowglobe. Is there a more perfect souvenir? Serves a purpose, reminds us of our trip, and entertains small children. Perfect.
Sit on park bench and let kids run around the grass, while the Baby finishes his nap.
Promise kids ice cream if they walk nicely back to the car. Talk up ice cream place with 50 flavors. Ignore the hubby's words of wisdom as he says they might only take cash, and we only have $2 left. Walking half a mile with three kids is like pulling teeth. Especially perfect kids who like to stop and pet every single dog, pick up every single rock, pick every flower, and walk on every ledge.
Keep mentioning that ice cream to get the moving. Finally arrive at ice cream shop, to find that husband was right the entire time. Cash only. And the cheapest thing on the menu is $3.50. Ya know what, actually you might want to just skip that part.
Drag screaming, crying children away from promised ice cream to the car. Try promising different ice cream, but now your word means nothing since you just pulled the rug out from under them.
Eventually make it to Dairy Queen and let them get anything they want - since it now seems like a bargain. And you feel guilty about the whole Twist of the Mist fiasco. When they end up happily sharing a medium chocolate milkshake, that the employee so kindly separated into two small cups, silently celebrate your victory of money-saving.
Enjoy a peaceful drive home with two sleeping toddlers.
Don't forget to stop at Anchor Bar on your way through Buffalo, home of The Original Buffalo Wing, and pick up some wings. Spot a possible celebrity standing outside smoking a pipe. Argue with husband about whether or not it was someone famous.
Come home and forget all rules. Eat dinner in front of the TV. Let the kids stay up late. Skip baths. And then when they don't want to sleep, even after 9:00PM let them come watch Niagara Falls on TV with you.
Also - when putting the baby to bed - if he wants to be rocked, rock him. Nathan rarely wants to be rocked to sleep anymore. He usually fusses until he's wrapped with his favorite blanket, and placed just so on my bed. Tonight he whined and cried unless I was holding him. So I held him. And he clung to my necklace for dear life. I couldn't find it in me to pry those little fingers off the charms dangling from my neck. So I waited and just stared at his sweet little face. I wasn't looking at facebook on my phone. Or wishing I was downstairs on the couch watching TV. I wasn't worrying about the girls, since Aaron was tucking them. I was just enjoying every second of this perfect moment.
After baby is as asleep as can be, tiptoe downstairs to watch Niagara Falls on TV. Marvel at the coincidence that you have never been there before, and you've also never seen it on TV before, and now you're seeing both in the same day. Strange. Ignore the running around and laughter coming from the girls' bedroom.
Until you can't because laughter has turned to screams. Go up to yell at the girls and tell them to go to sleep or else -- but change your mind half way up the stairs and instead pick them up out of bed and carry them downstairs so they can watch Niagara Falls on TV too. Olivia was so shocked and so smiley. She was expecting to hear the usual "Go to sleep" and instead got to come downstairs and watch TV. Abigail ended up wanting to be back in her bed. So she went to sleep. And Olivia and I sat on the couch and watched all 22 minutes of Walenda crossing The Falls on tightrope. In the middle of it she looked at me and said, "Mom you know how sometimes you cry when you're really happy? Well look at my eyes. Do you see these tears? They are because I am SO happy." It warmed my heart, made me laugh, and I had to ask just because I wanted to hear it - "Why are you so happy, Olivia?" "Because it's the middle of the night and you're letting me watch TV!"
Sometimes to have the perfect day, you have to forget about all the rules. Aaron and I are sticklers for bedtime and routines. It keeps peace in our home. But every once in a while it is good to just forget about all the rules and just do what feels right at the time. Not always, of course. But yesterday it was a recipe for success.