Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009: At the Arboretum

Grammy had Good Friday off so she drove up on Thursday night, leaving Poppa alone with his thoughts and his tax returns. Alex was very excited to see her when he woke up in the morning, and the two of them had some fun laying down some tracks in the playroom.

We decided to take Alex to the Arboretum that morning to have his picture taken with the Easter Bunny, plus they were having a children's performer put on a kid-friendly concert at the amphitheater at 11:00- a perfect way to spend a gorgeous day with Grammy. So around 10:30am, we loaded up the van with cameras and snacks and diaper bags and headed that way.

I had forgotten how long it took to get there, and after what felt like three months in the car, we finally rounded the corner before the entrance and noticed that the traffic had suddenly come to a standstill. We found ourselves at the rear of a long line of vehicles that, despite the changing traffic lights, were moving at a snail's pace. Surely this wasn't the line to get into the Arboretum?! It's Friday morning, for heaven's sake, why aren't these people at work?! Then it occurred to me that, like Grammy, other people might have Good Friday off. Hey, gimme a break, I don't think about those things anymore. I'm a stay-at-home mom - I have everyday off of work. No, wait...I never get a day off...well, same difference, in this case. Point is, it never occurred to me that the Arboretum might be swamped on a Friday morning.

We decided to pass the folks in the "Valet Only" line because, as appealing as valet parking might be in this situation, Lord knows how long it would take to get the car back when we wanted to leave. Instead, we opted to follow the signs that read "Shuttle from Remote Parking Lot", complete with cute little arrows to direct the way, and discovered that the word "Remote" was a vast understatement. We drove and drove and drove, circling White Rock Lake, following signs and arrows all along the way, and just when we expected to Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind a sign to tell us we had been Punk'd, we spotted the Very Very Far Away Remote Parking Lot.

We parked and stood in line with dozens of others waiting to be loaded onto the bus. Alex was psyched about getting to ride the bus and kept saying "BUS! BUS!! BUS!", although I think he was mostly excited to ride in a vehicle without being strapped into a carseat. I, on the other hand, felt a little uneasy about the situation, like I was being entrapped by DHFS, who would be waiting at our destination to haul Alex off because his irresponsible mother failed to properly restrain him during a bus ride.

Thankfully, Alex made it in one piece and DHFS was not waiting for us when we got there. First off, we found the bunny - some skinny teenager in a bunny suit with dirt on the knees - and found out that, despite what the website had said, there were no professional bunny pictures being taken. Of course, the bunny was mute because, well, bunnies don't talk, so this information came from his translator/body guard - another skinny teenager who follows him around apparently knows how to speak rabbit. He wasn't the most engaging or energetic Easter Bunny that ever was (what can you expect from a moody teenager getting paid minimum wage to dress up in a goofy costume and entertain whiny children all day), but that didn't phase Alex a bit. We forced Alex on him and got a few less-than-professional pictures, including one of Alex pointing out a noisy bird. Look Bunny, there's a bird! Do you see it, Bunny? DO YOU??!!

We dragged A away from the bunny, literally, and went to the amphitheater to catch the end of the concert. There were hundreds of parents and kids there, and A made a beeline for the stage as soon as he realized where the music was coming from. We tried to get him to stand back on the concrete benches and dance, but he refused to stand so far back when all the action was going on in the front row. Turns out even the front row wasn't close enough to the action, so he ended up onstage, where the singer called him out as Grammy chased him down.

After the concert, we had a great lunch at the Arboretum's Terrace Restaurant, a little outdoor cafe that overlooks the lake. Sooo good - I had the best panini I've ever tasted, and apparently Alex thought so too since he completely neglected his PB&J and stole bites of my lunch instead. It was a delicious way to end a lovely day at the Arboretum, and it sort of made up for the fact that we didn't get any good pics with the bunny. Besides, we had alternative plans for officially documenting Easter this year, so we weren't too worried about it anyway. More on those plans in the next post...


grammy said...

Boy Grammy sure does look rough in the mornings. I will have to remember that next time. One thing is for sure, Alex brings a whole new meaning to "Good Friday". Can't wait to see the next post because the weekend just kept getting better !!!!!!!!

saspivey said...

Man, my poor kid. His toy collection pales in comparsion with your kid's toy collection. Maybe I'm the one DHS will be after. I can see it now: Amanda Simposn charged with "Failure to provide child with enough playthings."