Monday, April 28, 2008

Hide and Seek

It's late April and the Arizona heat is playing a great game of hide and seek, readying to come out of hiding for good in the coming few weeks. March and April have been beautiful. Some coolish days -- at least by my recently adapted Arizona standards -- and our first push into the 90s over the weekend.

Blake and Nicky each had indoor soccer games Saturday. Nicky's team got demolished, something like 15-4 ... and poor Nicky was goalie. Each time he was scored on, he'd turn around and look up at the scoreboard, his face becoming increasingly forlorn as the goals became more frequent. When the coach finally replaced him in the 3rd quarter and put him at forward, he scored a goal, so some of the grumpiness and frustration that had been ruminating while he was playing had dissipated by the car ride home.

Blake's team lost 3-4 to a rival Anthem team that is a year older. He had a great goal even though he thought it was "cheap" because he and an opponent were both racing to the ball and the other guy tripped and fell.

Once the games were over, we spent much of Saturday afternoon out by the pool and in the back yard. The pool water is still just a few degrees too cool to officially get "in," but Zach and Allie love playing on the steps and we love being outside while we still can.

We decided to go out to dinner Saturday night. We were going to try a new Mexican restaurant that we had heard good things about. But when we pulled up, it was in a strip mall and I was in the mood for more outdoor ambiance, so we drove up to El Encanto in Cave Creek. It's about a 25-minute drive from our house, and the area is partially what sold me on Arizona when we first checked the area out before we made the final decision to move here. The hilly, cactus-studded terrain is peppered with pueblo-style homes. Lots of beautiful rock formations. It's a great place drive to or from during sunset. When you get to the main strip in Cave Creek, there are rustic little shops and a few restaurants with names like Crazy Ed's Satisfied Frog Restaurant and Horny Toad Restaurant.

El Encanto is a local favorite. I don't think the food has been the best the past couple times, but you can't beat the atmosphere. There's a huge outdoor dining area, and we usually brave it dining with the critters. There's a huge pond with ducks, turtles and fish. There's a food machine (for feeding fish) and the kids always love feeding them. There are a lot of birds flitting about and it frequently feels like they barely miss the table. Saturday night the weather was perfect. Warm with a soft breeze.

Going out to dinner with the kids is always a gamble. If Zach and Allie are tired or restless, it can make for a short evening ... or in some cases, a long evening. Blake, in his pre-pubescent state, could potentially be unpleasant, complaining that "nothing looks good" or anything else that is on his mind.

But Saturday night they were all angels. Talking, laughing, listening to the mariachis sing "It's a Small World" -- yeah, it was kind of weird, and earning their end-of-the-meal reward of feeding the ducks and turtles in the pond. They even all ate their dinners -- bonus!

When we came home the kids remembered that Saturday is Family Game Night -- which we instituted about a month ago. So they all wanted to play hide and seek. Actually hide and seek base, where the hiders run to the designated base before the seeker finds them or catches them. Zach and Allie still don't quite grasp the concept of hiding, so they enjoy the license to run through the house, yelling and being crazy.

Blake always seems to find the best hiding places. This time he managed to crouch down, twisted like a pretzel, in a low section of the bathroom closet. I didn't know he was that limber.

Last summer we played a lot of hide and seek when the brutal heat kept us indoors.

It won't be long ... I better come up with some good places to hide ...

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