It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses Their Edge

So yeah; gardens, boat, sunshine.  Take two.  (To save your poor browsers, I went with thumbnails for this.  Hover for descriptions, click to enlarge)

Ever drag 3 kids out on an hour long car ride, a two hour boat ride, and then expect them to be even close to interested in walking around some bee-infested garden?  You can guess how well that panned out for the lot of us.  Fortunately, I am a creative woman with a decade of parenting under her belt, and I know a trick or two for getting kids interested in something.



Besides that. Everyone knows that. It worked pretty well for me, too, truth be told.



No, no, I was talking about every kid's kryptonite: The Gift Shop.  PS: Whoever decided to put the gift shop at the entrance of everything, making it the Very First Thing every kid sees?  Can suck it.  Moving on.  I set a challenge for my boys that day; find and photograph ten shockingly, unexpected, secret things of beauty.  No small feat in the Garden of Eden, eh?  Each kid who found 10 got to go to the gift shop.

Of course, when 2of3 started pointing out bamboo fences in Japanese gardens *shock* and flowers growing in flower beds *gasp*, I had to clarify that I meant things that probably shouldn't be where they were, things that made them want to stop breathing for the sheer beauty of them.

Game. On.

2of3 did really well in the end.  My favorite find was the old pulley system for the limestone he found tucked in a corner, and my favorite picture of him, maybe ever, is that one with the blue flower.




1of3 is a little more conservative, and so it took him a LOT longer to get his pictures, but he was truly dazzled by the ones he did. Especially the totem poles and that water fountain, which just weren't there one second, and so totally massively there the next.




(Edit: Linds was kind enough to play editor and remind me that I forget to mention that yes, they all got some piece of crap that probably sitting in a landfill by now at the gift shop, even though no one actually got to 10.  We have the combined attention span of one cheese stick.) I found a few really beautiful things, too. We must have showed 20 kids that spider, which doesn't look in pictures nearly as big as it was.



But all through my day, at the gardens, on the boat, in Victoria, I found that I am surrounded every minute of the day by the most beautiful things I could ever hope to see.






Yes, even my mother in law. God, I'm getting soft in my old age.