when bella was still in pre-school i began a ritual called dad days. dad days happen once a year, and are not to be confused with dad hours which happen five times a week. dad days began as a way to celebrate a child's achievements in school. in the beginning i would pick them up from their last day, which was usually a half-day, and take them out on some adventure catered just to them. further, these were completely decadent days. for instance, bella's dad day a few years back consisted of a few hours of trail riding on horses (which was a huge sacrifice on my part because horses terrify me), followed by a movie (and not a war/adventure movie but more likely to be called something like step up revolution), followed by an hour at a book store with some sort of spending allowance (it was the start of summer), followed by a steak dinner (where an eight-year old bella would get a 24oz porterhouse), followed by a ted drewes concrete (surely a large). like i said fully decadent.
pulling these dad days off got more complicated once i had three kids in school but the tradition was set and i'm not the one to foul traditions people are looking forward to, so we made them work. last summer because of some work-drama i was unable to take my kids on their dad days. i treated this very seriously and told them i was not blowing them off and that i was still appreciative of all the hard work they put in that school year and that i would make it up to them. well this summer was that make-up summer and i spent several weeks, perhaps even months, figuring out what their dad days would look like this year. i just recently unveiled them to the group.
for anthony, he and i would drive to louisville, kentucky to go to not one, but two amusement parks in the area. further, we would meet bookpimp and his son who is eight days older than anthony and a very experienced roller coaster man.
for alex, he and i will travel south to table rock lake in the branson, mo area for two days of jet-skis and go-karts.
for bella, she and i will drive to lyons, colorado where she will get to see/hear her favorite public speaker, shane koyzan (his ted talk), perform.
anthony and i just got back from our trip. it exceeded both of our expectations. i know this because when we returned and marty was visiting with him, asking about the adventure, he confessed to being nervous about traveling alone for multiple days with his father (hearing that bummed me out more than a little). but he said we had a great time and now he was nervous about traveling alone with his mother (knowing marty, this didn't phase her a bit). young minds are most curious.
upon hearing the level of success of our trip marty is already cautioning me to not expect to treat the children to adventures this lavish in the future. it was almost as if she could hear the wheels spinning, mine and theirs, already.
and, if you'd like to better assess the fact that my hair is not moving in the above photo, i invite you to inspect the full size image to confirm that yes, in fact, not a strand of hair on my head has been disturbed.
oh. and if you ever find yourself near the louisville, ky area, make sure to make your way to the Grind Burger Kitchen. this was yet another steller find via YELP.
and while we're talking up great things, the mega-quest ropes course at the louisville mega caverns is cool beyond description. this thoughtful endeavor way saved us after our second park day got rained out.