17: The Birthday of My Dreams – Part Two


Anne-Marie’s Notes: I am so very excited to have my daughter, Lindsey, graciously writing some guest posts for my blog about our 2009 AZ Trip. Of course, no arm twisting was needed for the talented author to compile the tale.

If you have not already, you might want to read the Adoption Story to get a better understanding of our relationship.

The Trip – Day #2

The Crestview Community Church Adventure

I do not sleep well on sleepovers – especially on the first night. So, this mass “sleep-over”, if you will, was a little hard on my beauty sleep. By the time we arrived at Crestview Community Church for our 11:00 a.m. Church service, I’d had a total amount of 2.5 hours of sleep.

We all marched into the church, attracting quite an audience from onlookers. The greeter’s eyes bulged at the mere sight of our little group, and we exclaimed, “It looks like the bus was emptied here!”
“We’ve got donuts in the other room!” someone called.
The kids’ faces lit up. “No!!!!!!” Anne-Marie said, herding her children into the sanctuary.

It’s a miracle I didn’t fall asleep in church (due to being so sleep deprived). That’s all I remember about church – a really good sermon and feeling sleep deprived.

There wasn’t enough room for us all to sit together, so Mom, Anne-Marie, and the Munchies ended up sitting across the aisle from Dad, Allie and I. The Pastor provided the Munchies with Bible related activity booklets to keep them occupied.

We were on our way out of the sanctuary when Mom exclaimed, “The kids were so good, they deserve a donut!”

So Allie and I guided the Munchies into the donut room. They each grabbed a chocolate covered donut and munched away. The pastor’s wife laughed. “The kids always go for the chocolate ones.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “I’m probably the only one here who isn’t tempted to take one.” However, Allie stated later that she was not a donut person. So, this kid ODs on ice cream, and doesn’t like donuts? The things you learn on vacation.

We headed back to the cars, and Allie took advantage of the church’s cell phone reception to call her Mom and say “hi”.

The Hiking Adventure

Once back at the hotel, we parted ways for a brief time. Mom, Dad, Allie and I ate our New Frontiers deli sandwich lunch out on the porch of our creekhouse. From inside the creekhouse we could hear the NASCAR race blaring on the TV. Allie’s family has a tradition of watching NASCAR on the weekends, and voting on who will win the race. And of course, this trip would be no exception. Allie’s little brother had e-mailed her the name of a NASCAR racer guy whom her family had picked for her to vote for. Greg Biffel, or “The Biff” as Allie’s little brother had stated in his e-mail. Neither Allie nor I had heard of him – though I wouldn’t expect myself to know these things. I’m not into NASCAR (though I am guilty of watching the occasional NASCAR race now and then). Viva Jeff Gordon! Oops, did I say that? Harley Davidson Motorcycles are exciting enough for me. Whenever I see a Harley Davidson motorcycle, I cry out “HARLEY!”. Later, I would get into an argument with Allie’s older brother about the average speed of Harleys vs. “cheap imitation” motorcycles.

But I digress. Shortly after lunch, Allie and I had changed out of our church clothes and into more hiking appropriate clothes. My parents and the Shaffers did the same, and soon all nine of us were congregated in our creekhouse in preparation for our first hike – a short little hike up a trail behind the hotel. The Munchies were decked out in their swim gear, seeing as we’d be hiking right next to Oak Creek.

Finally, we all hiked out the door and down to the creek – all of us except for Mom and Anne-Marie, who were still busily talking about something of lesser importance (their lame excuse for delaying the start of our hike).

We were instructed to wait by the cattle-guard bridge, which we (being Allie and myself) did. But the Munchies headed right for the bridge.

“No kids!” we called, rushing up and pulling them away from the welcoming cattle-guard bridge.

Nate grabbed the tripod. “Come on,” he demanded, “set up the camera! This is the scene where…”

“We’re not filming anything until after the hike,” Anne-Marie stated as she and Mom approached.

We started our long, arduous journey across the bridge and up the trail. A little ways up the trail, we came to an area where a man-made canal ran under the path. We taught the Munchies the art of “Pooh-sticking” which kept their attention for about thirty some seconds.

We hiked up, Dad in the lead, followed by Nate, Allie, me, Helena, Gabe, Mom, Anne-Marie, and Danni. The Munchies ran to the edge of every drop off, scaring Anne-Marie and I to death.

Then, at last, we reached the top of the hill. Up there, Dad and I have a tradition of hiding pine cones and things like that under a rock. Every time we go up to Sedona, we check and see if the stuff is still there. It was, accompanied by millions of daddy-long-legs.

“Did you know,” Allie asked, “daddy-long-legs are one of the most poisonous spiders in the world?”

“What?” I asked in total shock. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very well-educated person. I’m just more interested in World War II dates and the capitals of African countries, and historical things that happened on my birthday.

“Yeah,” Anne-Marie said, “they’re one of the most poisonous spiders…but they can’t bite you cause their mouths are too small.”

Nate crouched down next to the spiders and shouted, “Losers! You’re loser spiders!” Allie and I cracked up.

We hiked on. The path became narrow, leading off to an almost straight drop off on one side. Anne-Marie took Danni by the hand, and I took Helena and we proceeded to cross this treacherous terrain. Attempting to keep Helena on the trail as much as possible, I stepped off the path and onto the side of the drop off, relying on the grip on my shoes to keep me from slipping to my death. It didn’t work. Loose sediment began to slide, taking me with it. In the nick of time, Anne-Marie grabbed me and pulled me to safety.

Suddenly, Dad exclaimed, “It’s a tarantula!”

The boys rushed forward to see. Allie took a picture. The girls pushed their way through the boys to see.

“That’s only a baby one,” Dad stated. “The ones at our house are huge.” He held up his hands to show how large they were.

“Wow,” Anne-Marie replied.

At last, Dad began to lead us off the trail and down toward the creek. The going was tough, especially because I was helping Helena along.

“Why can’t they just make these rocks like stairs?” Gabe replied.
I started to explain how the rocks were just there and happened to be part of a man-made path to the creek, but then figured that he was too young to comprehend what I was saying.

The creek at last! We helped the kids put on their water shoes and then watched them splash in the water. Allie and I watched from a rock in the creek. But, the Munchies really liked their big sister “Yindsey” and her friend “Island” (as Allie was called for the first day or so of the trip). Soon they were upon us, climbing around, literally, on top of us.

Munchies were all over me, grabbing my shirt for support. Like a knit tank top and a little empire waist shirt were going to save their lives.

Nate made his way across the creek, splashing in the water as he went. Gabe tried to follow, but slipped, grabbing Helena’s hair for support. Oh, that will give you so much more support than my tank top.

“Let go of your sister’s hair!” Anne-Marie called.

Gabe obeyed, but continued to follow Nate. Then, with a huge splash, Gabe was in the water, floundering for a rock to stand on. We all burst out laughing as he made his way back.

Nate was, by this time, on the other side of the creek, with no way of getting back. Anne-Marie took off her shoes and rock-hopped out as far as she could, which still wasn’t close enough. Then Allie took off her shoes and rock-hopped out to help Nate, having to step in the water in order to get close to him. But, by this time, Nate was on his way back safely, basically stranding Allie in the middle of the creek.

We started back toward the hotel. A large group passed us. Helena began to panic and exclaimed, “They’re going to steal our hotel room!”

We stopped at the AB Young trail to film one short scene, and then continued on our way back to the hotel. The boys and my Dad rushed ahead. Helena called to them, “Wait guys!” Needless to say, they didn’t wait. Isn’t that just like boys?

Helena humphed and muttered, “No-waiters.”

“Why don’t we take the kids to see the secret garden?” Mom suggested.

“Okay,” I replied, pushing my way to the front of the Munchies. “Follow me guys!” Nate and Gabe held my hands as I led them up the pathway. Allie followed. Mom and Anne-Marie had the girls.

“Up we go!” I called. “Just like the movie “Up”.”

“I really want to see that,” Allie stated. “Have you seen it yet?”

“[A friend of ours] wants to go see it,” I replied. “If she hasn’t seen it when I get back home, I’ll probably go see it with her…but she’s probably going to see it while I’m gone.”

“I don’t really know why they rated it PG,” Allie stated.

“It’s probably all that stuff movie makers put in nowadays,” I replied. “All that stuff I don’t want my two-year-old watching – hypothetically speaking, of course.”

Gabe looked shocked. “You have a two-year-old?”

I laughed. “No.”

Gabe got one of those gentle expressions on his face. “Lindsey, are you going to have a baby?”

Allie and I looked at each other, not knowing exactly how to react. “No.” I replied. “I should hope not. Anne-Marie would faint if I was going to.”

We arrived safely in the secret garden. The Munchies ran wildly through the garden as Dad collapsed, half dead from exhaustion, in the grass. Okay, okay, that was an over exaggeration. But we were all pretty tired.

Just for some details, the secret garden is a large patch of grass surrounded by tall pine trees. On the south side of the garden is a covered bridge which leads to a picnic table with a grill, and on the west side of the garden is a large wooden swing – large enough for all four Munchies to sit squished together. How do we know this? Simple answer – we tried it.

Dad swung the Munchies several times, then Anne-Marie, Helena and I got on for a much needed photo-op (we’d taken a boatload of pictures of me and the kids, and all nine of us as a group, but we had no pictures of just me and Anne-Marie!). Then Allie and I got on for our photo-op.

At last we headed back to our creekhouses for dinner. We’d gotten a work out that day, but we couldn’t wait to see what God had in store for tomorrow!


Haven’t read the 4 segments of Part One?: Preface, The Meeting, The Long Expected Party, & The Adventure.

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2 thoughts on “17: The Birthday of My Dreams – Part Two

  1. Pingback: 17; The Birthday of My Dreams – Part Three « The Mom-O-Sphere

  2. Pingback: 17; The Birthday of My Dreams – Part Four « The Mom-O-Sphere

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