So I said I'd give a report about our trip down the river with the kids.... here goes. From the beginning of the trip, it wasn't a matter of "if" the kids would go float down the river with us, it was a matter of "how". There are many parents out there who would not even consider putting their kids in the flowing and sometimes deep water, but we knew we could handle it. Wes bought a raft a few weeks before our trip thinking that would be their means of transportation down the river. It was a good thought, but truth is it served better as a storage vessel for empty cans and other "stuff."
As we put in our tubes at the beginning of the route, Caleb decided he did not want to wear his life jacket. Can't say I blamed him since it shoved up into his neck a bit when he sat down. This meant he was in the tube with Wes from the very start. About 20 minutes into the float, Austin and Avery decided they shouldn't have to wear lifejackets either. I know, I know, you cautious parents out there are saying "make them wear the jackets." Well, that was our feelings but we preferred not to hear constant whining and protesting for the next 2 hours. We were with a big group and needed to make it as enjoyable as possible. They also thought it would be better to ride with someone in a tube. Having them in a tube wasn't so bad except that they had no desire to sit still. As we let the water take us down the river, Avery enjoyed herself less and less. In fact on the 3 1/2 hour float, which was an hour longer than we intially thought, she cried at least 2 of the hours. At first I thought she was tired, but unlike Caleb, even the endless tears wouldn't put her to sleep. The last hour I had both her and Austin on my lap. I tried telling stories and singing songs and at times the sobbing would stop but only for a few short minutes. Wes had Caleb on his lap over half the float and at the end Caleb was able to take a little snooze, but this meant that whenever we came to a shallower part, we had to remain in our tubes and rely on others to pull us along. As we came to our final desitnation, there was a sense of relief.... from both the kids and the parents. Avery's attiditude totally changed as we headed home for the house and she was the first one in the pool.
Needless to say, the next day was a kidless float. A HUGE Thank You to Aunt Dorothy for staying back with 5 kids.