Chris decided awhile back that Claire would be old enough for spring turkey hunting this year. I’m not exactly sure the formula one uses to determine an acceptable age for a first hunt, but apparently Claire has reached that age. She was ecstatic. Our lives became a preparation for the big hunt. Claire would insist on getting “camoed up” and asking me to try to see her (which of course, I never could). She practiced and perfected her turkey call. This child has shown major dedication in preparing for this trip, and I was so happy and excited for her. I was also happy about the fact that with a noisy 3 year-old along, Chris was very unlikely to shoot a turkey which we would have to eat, and Chris insisted would need to be stuffed and displayed in our living room.
On the weekend of the turkey hunt, my mom had planned a trip through Oklahoma City to visit her aunt, and then up to Tulsa to visit her sister and brother-in-law. I decided to join her. We’ve never taken a trip just the two of us, and I thought it would be nice to spend the time together.
Leading up to The Big Weekend, Chris and Claire began to prep all their hunting gear – camo, sleeping bags, backpacks, binoculars, etc. So, I thought I would surprise Claire with her own Claire-sized camo backpack and a set of binoculars. I was so excited to give it to her and anticipated the look of delight that would spread across her face as she opened it. (I should have read my post on Expectations before I gave it to her.) Anyway, I told her to sit on the floor while I went to get her surprise. She did.
Here she is waiting for the surprise. So sweet.
And here she is pouting. “Mommy, I wanted candy. I thought my surprise was going to be candy.” She’s very strongly motivated by food. More than anything else. We’re a little worried about this.
Here’s Claire digging in the bag to see if there’s any candy hidden at the bottom. Notice that my smile from the above photos has disappeared.
And this picture is from when I said, “Okay, I’ll just return the backpack since you don’t like it.” (I am so my mom.) Then she decided that she really did love it and snuggled with the pack to prove her devotion.
After that, things seemed to really pick up – she was very happy with her gifts and made sure to thank me. She just had a brief lapse in thankfulness, I guess. She absolutely LOVED her binoculars! Isn’t she so cute??
Okay, onto The Big Weekend. Chris and Claire left Friday afternoon and my mom arrived on Friday night. We left Saturday morning for OKC and stopped to meet my great aunt Georgie for lunch. We picked her up at her independent living facility. She’s pretty amazing – almost 90 and still living on her own, driving herself places, and she was knitting a blanket for a children’s home when we arrived. We asked her where she’d like to go to lunch and she picked IHOP. Yes, IHOP. We drove past Five Guys, Which Wich?, and Panera Bread (knife in my heart) on our way. We did have a lovely visit over lunch, and I am so glad we got to see her. I just love hearing old stories of when my grandparents were young.
Here is Aunt Georgie and my mom at Aunt Georgie’s apartment. Yes, that is Claire on my mom’s shirt.
After lunch we got back on the road and headed up to Tulsa. We had so much fun talking and laughing. We also had fun trying to get on the toll road when the GPS was set to no tolls. We got on, got off, got on, got off, and finally got back on and stayed on. Sheesh. I’m proud of our investment in the Kirkpatrick Turnpike.
We finally reached my aunt and uncles’ house. That evening we went to a little pizza place for dinner and then to PInot’s Pallette. It was so much fun! My mom and I had never been, but Linda and Greg are old pros. They have painted many a masterpiece at PInot’s. If you’ve never been, you should! The concept is – each person starts with a blank palette, paint brushes, and paint. There is an in-house artist who gives step by step instructions and even the most unartistic person’s (me) painting turns out so much better than you ever thought it would. I highly recommend it!!
Here is my artistic look. You may not recognize me because I’ve never had a reason to try to look artistic before.
Here I am with my aunt, Linda.
And here my mom and Linda are apparently trying to paint each other.
Here we are taking a brief break from our artwork.
And now painting away.
I was very impressed with our trees in fields of daffodils! We really had the best time! (Also, I don’t know why I look 3 times bigger than everyone else in this picture. I’m not.)
Linda and Greg live in a beautiful historic district of Tulsa. Also, it rains in Tulsa, so things are green. Plants grow in yards and flowers bloom. It is beautiful and very foreign to me. We did a lot of walking over the weekend. A lot. It was nice to walk through the neighborhoods chatting and looking at all the old houses and to walk along the river. I would say we walked at least 5 miles on Saturday, and although I didn’t tell my aunt and uncle (since they are almost 60 and I didn’t want to seem wimpy), my calves got so sore!
These are a few of my favorite houses and yards. I really thought for a second, Man, we should move somewhere pretty and green like this. Then I looked at my
freshly straightened and perfectly smooth fuzzy hair and remembered the benefits of living in a dry climate.
I also got to see our friends, Crystal and Andrew while in Tulsa, and meet their brand-new baby girl, Eden.
I absolutely loved taking this trip with my mom. We spent 6 hours to Tulsa and back just talking – laughing, remembering old stories, and solving all the world’s problems.
Meanwhile, the hunters were hard at work. The crew included Chris and Claire, my dad and Tristen (our nephew), my uncle David, cousin Jeremy, and two of my cousins’ kids, Gregory and Jordyn. I knew that this weekend would involve playing in the dirt, lots of junk food, and late nights around the campfire. However, I wasn’t prepared for what a rite of passage this would be for my sweet little girl. She did such a good job! She was up before the sun every morning, completely camoed the whole time, and sat quietly under the trees for extended periods calling for turkeys. Poor thing, she just had to sleep whenever and wherever the occasion arose.
Here are Tristen and Claire, up bright and early, all bundled up.
And here is my sweet girl calling for turkeys. She does it perfectly. She didn’t call in any turkeys this time but she did call in a pack of wolves. Yes, a pack of wolves. When I asked her if she was scared she said, “No. I know Papa was fixin’ to shoot ’em.”
Also, Tristen loaned her a pocket knife, which Chris approved. I assumed she had a pocket knife so she could keep something in her pocket and feel like a serious hunter. Silly me. Obviously, a 3 year old would be whittling wood as instructed by her father and grandfather. Also, when they got back to Albuquerque, Papa took her to buy her own pocket knife. Ay ay ay. I am happy to say that she has given me an in-depth lesson in knife safety and promptly corrects anyone who handles her knife in a manner which is unacceptable. Good girl.
Claire and Tristen, along with Gregory and Jordyn built an amazing fort. I mean really, it’s amazing. They thought of every detail – there was a kitchen (including a fridge), bathroom, fireplace, front porch, and even pine needle carpeting. This was a luxury vacation destination!
I love their faces in this picture!
Chris and Claire got home about an hour before my mom and I made it to Amarillo. Here’s how she greeted us. That’s an elk hip bone on her head. You can’t get any more redneck than that.
I swear she looked older when I saw her. I really think this was an important “first” in her life. I love that she is my sweet girly girl, but that she is adventurous and brave too. I love her excitement for life and the joy she takes in doing things just like Daddy. I’m thankful for the weekend she spent as a hunter and I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my mom. I’m sure we’ll be talking about The Big Weekend for a long time – probably until The Big Weekend comes around again next April.