Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We're Cooler Than the Grand Canyon

I'm starting a list of places where people are more excited to see us than the place they came to visit. Our first experience with this was at Niagara Falls but that was when we only had one set of twins. Apparently two identical little girls are way more interesting than some silly waterfall. And Washington, DC? Well who cares about the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial when you can pose next to a quad stroller? Even the Grand Canyon is no match for "the Beast."We had no sooner parked and exited the van when we were mobbed by a group of Italian tourists. Two dozen women lined up and took photos of us while shouting things like "Bravissimo" and "Grazie." Jason is always horribly embarrassed by the commotion we cause so he and Matthew took off, leaving me and Joshua to navigate "the Beast" through the crowd. That was only the beginning. I guess nobody had heard that the Obamas were coming to the Grand Canyon too, because they paid too much attention to us and we're nobodies.
There are always a few people who try to snap pictures on the sly without us noticing. Even those that aren't trying to hide it usually don't ask permission. As a matter of fact, if you pick up the summer edition of Twins Magazine you'll find a whole article about multiple multiples and a quote from me about the strange picture-taking phenomenon. I've even had people take pictures of us on the way into the public restroom.
Anyway, the point is that we were attracting a lot of attention. It's hard to enjoy yourself when everyone is watching you. In some small way, I feel like I understand how a celebrity feels when the paparazzi are photographing them. It's unnerving! And then there's the comments. Sometimes the comments are made to me and sometimes just about me. I try to be gracious and I usually smile and thank people who wish us well. When they ask how I do it I just say "by the grace of God." The kids are used to the attention-which makes me uncomfortable since they have no problem smiling for strangers. At least nobody kissed them this time. Did you know that it's good luck to kiss twins in some cultures? A lady at the fabric store kissed all 4 of them recently.
To avoid the attention, I took Matthew and Joshua to some of the overlooks by ourselves while Jason stayed with the dog and the little kids. Matthew and I climbed over to this tree just a few feet from the edge of the canyon. It was really windy so Joshua was scared and just watched. I knew my mom would have a heart attack if she saw us close to the canyon, so this was the perfect picture to scare her senseless.
We ate a picnic lunch by our van and the kids played in the woods. Being the ever-prepared mother I am, I certainly didn't forget the dog bowl for our mutt. Ok, so maybe I did. But he was perfectly fine drinking out of the girls' pink potty! He's a dog and dogs drink out of the toilet anyway, right?
I pushed "the Beast" for over 3 miles on Saturday as we hiked the rim of the Grand Canyon. Jason mostly walked the dog but there were times when Joshua's little legs were tired and Jason became the piggyback Daddy. At least it wasn't too hot and there was that nice (gusty!) breeze. We walked a lot-so much that my legs are still sore. That's my exercise for the month.
We saw all sorts of beauty in the nature around us. The canyon itself is breathtaking but the rim also offers scenic views of the flora and fauna of the region. Matthew thought the trees were spooky but they looked amazing next to the deep blue sky.

I won't even try to use words to describe this sight. I could never do it justice.
Did I mention I pushed "the Beast" all day? It was exhausting! And by the time Jason snapped this picture Sarah had just woken up and was crying, Nathan was still asleep, and Joshua had to pee again. Fun times!
The entire trip was worth it just to see this view as we stood basking in God's amazing creation.
We passed this sign in Flagstaff, AZ as we were heading back home. Martians welcome?
By the time we got on the road again, this was the scene in the back of our van. That's Leila screaming. Loudly. Apparently Miss Priss was upset again. Perhaps someone looked at her wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.
How did I cope? By eating the yummy coconut M&Ms that Jason bought!
We even took the time to drive down the historic Route 66. We also cranked up the Cars soundtrack and sang at the top of our lungs. "Get your kicks on Route 66!" It was hysterical. Matthew couldn't stop smiling and everybody was amazed that Route 66 really exists.
After a long weekend we finally returned home. I turned around to see Matthew diving into the back of the van in search of a lost Lego car. This kid can always crack me up. He's such a goofball!
Overall, I'd say our trip was a huge success. We took 6 children, ages 6 and under, and a dog to the Grand Canyon. And nobody fell in!
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