A Fun (???) Day

As summer is starting to wind down, Brian finally has sometime off. Now that Summer Conference season is over, he has taken the month of August off to enjoy some time with the family. In true Hough fashion, we have made a list of “fun things to do.” One of the things that was on the list was to take the kids canoeing. Sounds like a great idea right? I was totally on board. We headed to Raccoon Creek State Park to make it happen. As we turned into Park, it started to pour! It was raining so hard, but our spirits would not be dampened. As we made our way to the boat rental place, I said to Brian,”If this goes well, maybe a canoe or kayak would be a fun family Christmas gift!” He looked at me with a confused and somewhat surprised look. “What?!”I said. “Nothing, I am just kind of surprised. This doesn’t seem like a thing that you would typically want to do. ” I shrugged him off. I was looking forward to our adventure!

We were all given life jackets and we were ready to roll!

(*Sidenote: In case you were wondering, we only had 5 kids with us because the other kids were traveling. It was really, really weird to only have 5…)

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Ready for action!

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Because….well just because these kids can’t be too serious.

We had two canoes. A 4 person one that Brian and I had  to sit in the front and the back with Aiden and JP in the middle. The other canoe was a three person one with the three stooges…I mean Isaac, Gia, and Noah.

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They might look like they know what they are doing, but they didn’t. Trust me.

Brian and I climbed into our canoe and then JP and Aiden climbed in. The boat rental guy handed us the paddles and we were off! As we started to paddle, I suddenly remembered that I am absolutely terrified of drowning. I am fine in pools,at the beach, even on bigger boats, but the seemingly instability of the canoe was not ok. I looked at Brian and said, ” This might not have been a good idea. “

You will notice that I have no picture of Brian, Aiden and Jonathan and I in our canoe. That is because I was planning on taking a picture while we were out on the water. My phone was in a ziploc bag tucked carefully down the front of my bathing suit. The effort to retrieve it caused way too much rocking and I quickly gave up that idea. A picture was not worth the possibility of death.

Brian started to paddle and I noticed that we were headed toward the dam. If you would ask Brian he would tell you that we were about 8 football fields away from being even remotely near the dam, but I was a little bit panicked. And “a little bit panicked” may or may not have involved me screaming, “Can’t you see the buoys??? The giant white bouys that mean DEATH! Please turn around!!!” In an attempt to calm me down, he kindly turned the canoe in the opposite direction. Aiden just wanted to help paddle, but everytime he would try, the canoe rocked which resulted more freaking out from me. Finally he was content to drag his hand through the water, but that was also rocking the boat. I felt bad, I really truly did. And I was really trying (however unsuccessfully) not to ruin our adventure for Brian and the kids. The one thing that actually kept me from passing out, was the other canoe.

OH MY WORD! They were cracking us up. First of all, they couldn’t go straight and just kept paddling in circles. The boys were rocking back and forth to see if they could tip the canoe, which resulted in Gianna shrieking at them, repeatedly. We just kept hearing, “CUT IT OUT!” and”KNOCK IT OFF!” She might be little, but hands down, she is the loudest kid that we have. (That is no small feat!) We were a good ways away from them, but we always knew exactly where they were, thanks to her big mouth. At one point, we were at least a third of a mile away from them so we doubled back to see what was going on. They claim that they were “looking for turtles.” Not buying it guys! But then we realized that Isaac and Noah had switched seats. It allowed them a little bit better luck with the paddling and directing, but that isn’t saying a whole lot. Thankfully they switched seats when I wasn’t watching them or I might have had a heart attack right then. AHHHHH

I finally kind of calmed down and then it occurred to me that we had our bag with the keys to the van in the canoe with us. Then I started to imagine the canoe tipping over and our keys sinking to the bottom of a bottomless lake, never to be seen again. We would be stuck at Raccoon Creek State Park forever. The obsession of keeping the keys safe took my mind off of my fear of drowning for a bit, so I guess that was good.

Finally, the 60 minutes of torture were over and we made our way back to the dock. The boat rental guys were getting a chuckle out of watching us. Between me being on the verge of a panic attack and the three stooges inability to paddle in a straight line, they had plenty to keep them entertained. Thankfully they helped the little boys out first and then the one guy, bless him, basically pulled me out of the canoe onto the dock…that wonderful, sturdy, safe dock.

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Gianna and I after we were safely on solid ground.

To finish off our family “fun” day, we decided to go swimming for a bit at the beach. That actually was a lot of fun. At least it was until Jonathan came back to the blanket. He looked at me with big eyes and said, “Mom do you see those big white things?” I pointed to the buoys that lined the roped off swimming area. “Those buoys?” “Yes.” I nodded, “What about them?” With all of the sincerity that his little 7 year old self could muster, he said, “Do those really mean death??”

Parenting Fail! I had broken my little guy with my complete and utterly insane fear of drowning!  Oh man. So much for a grand adventure! I explained that they do not actually mean death. They are to caution you to be careful. And then I had to explain that I was over-reacting a little bit…or a lot a bit. You can decide that for yourself.

Thankfully we did go on to enjoy the beach…

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When we got home from our adventure, we played a game of yahtzee and had ice cream. It was the perfect end to the day.

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The yahtzee king and I

So aside from the near death experience and breaking my little boy, it was a great day!

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