As I was looking back over this past year I looked at some photos from the past several years, some of which were from our first Monopoly travels to the Badlands in South Dakota. This has definitely reminded me of how much the kids have grown since we began our National Park adventures not all that long ago. This brings a number of different feelings as I’m sure many parents experience.
First, a huge smile to my face remembering the places we’ve explored together as a family and the stories there are about each one. Then a little bit of sadness enters because we can never go back to those ages with the kids and all that are left of those times are the pictures and memories. As I’m reminded of the changes that have occurred I begin to think about the changes that will be coming as we have only eight spaces remaining on our Monopoly National Parks board out of twenty-eight total spaces.
The end of these family adventures is nearing and I’m wanting time to slow down because our last trip is supposed to be to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which coincides with the oldest daughter graduating from high school. From that point I expect our family to change as she begins to venture out on her own making family vacations more challenging to complete. As I envision entering our final park and stopping to take the requisite photo by the sign I begin to well up a little and feel as though I can’t get out of the car to get that last photo as my girls will be pretty much all grown up. Even writing this now is more challenging due to my emotions. I made the mistake one time of looking up images of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and saw a photo of the entrance sign making these visions all that more real for me.
We have been very fortunate to have these adventures and share them with several family members and friends along the way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to explore so many areas of the United States with my children and watch as they grow up and learn about these parks and places as well as they get to learn more about what each of them likes and doesn’t like and begins to explore themselves. Fortunately I have eight more parks to share with them and watch them continue to grow more.
As I look over these photos I’m very proud of our family for what we’ve done and tried and learned. There is no question in my mind these Monopoly Adventures are worth what we’ve put into them and some of the trade offs we’ve made to accomplish our goals so far. I’m hopeful we are able to complete the last parts of our board without too many difficulties, but not too quickly. OK, time to look ahead into 2015!
Great! The one day a year when children are taught how to go around and beg for candy from strangers. So I’m not a huge fan of this event. Now, if you’re like most people when I mention this your probably rolling up your eyes, getting ready to click away because you don’t have an interest in reading about a Halloween Scrooge. I don’t have an big interest in being bothered to answer the door and give away candy only to have to do this again 2 minutes later. Are you wondering how I became this way? Yes, I did go trick or treating when I was younger and yes my children go trick or treating now. I try to not hinder their enjoyment even though I wonder how many more years I have to endure the dressing up and walking through the neighborhood freezing my hands off while the kids bother each person possible looking for candy. There is one benefit of all this. They often share their candy with me (they don’t always know this….oh, did I type that out loud?)
As my children are growing up and my oldest is getting to the questionable age for trick or treating I am starting to remember all of the fun parts that I will miss someday. What?! I’m not a total Halloween Scrooge? NO! The part of this day that is the most enjoyable for me is the creativity that people put into it. It may take a minute or two to get into carving the pumpkins but I do have fun creating a new design and challenging myself and the children to come up with something different. It is amazing at what can be created out of a pumpkin. To see some of the best check this place out …Villafane Studios as seen on the Today Show. They are truly some of the best and most creative carving I have seen.
People that take the time to get into full costume and put a lot of energy coming up with their costume are impressive to me. I do enjoy a great costume. I tend not to get invited to Halloween parties anymore because I don’t dress up because I’m a Halloween Scrooge. O.K. so there was this one time that I did actually dress up and had some fun doing it. My wife and I knocked on the door to the hosts and they could not tell who it was. Unsure if we belonged there they eventually let us pass as we said nothing and drove a car we had just purchased the month before so they could not tell it was someone they were familiar with. It was at least a half hour before we broke our silence and began to reveal who we were. Fortunately I don’t believe there are pictures around of that so I can deny it and continue with being a Scrooge.
Finally, people who put time and energy into creating a great Halloween landscape around their home make this event more enjoyable. For a few pictures of some outstanding Halloween landscapes click here… (There are also some cool posts about pallet furniture). Maybe I should start putting more energy into decorating outside for Halloween since my job limits how much time and energy I have available for the Christmas season. I bet if I start planning a Halloween yard in May I could come up with some ideas that the neighbors would enjoy. Scaring the older trick or treaters sounds like some fun for me and for them. Hmm.. a few trap doors placed strategically in the yard, maybe a few ghouls flying from the trees with a few more greeting people at the driveway. It might even bring a few smiles to scare parents as they wait for the children to go to the door. Who doesn’t like to get a little scared on Halloween? O.K. so I really don’t but I know my oldest child and her friends are at the age that getting scared makes for a memorable night.
For those that like to go on adventures for Halloween there are usually a multitude of haunted houses being put on during the last few weekends in October for all to enjoy. If your interested in going further, here is a list of the 10 best places to go in the US. Another reason I don’t enjoy Halloween is because of what comes next!