We arrived back at the resort midafternoon the next day. John and Betty welcome Terry and his family with open arms. He put them up in the cabin that Billy and his mom had used.
During dinner, John and Betty surprised me by saying that they wanted to "retire." They would continue to live at the resort and help out when needed. They wanted Terry and Brenda to take over the operation of the resort. I thought that would be perfect for the young couple. They were stunned but readily accepted their new jobs. Terry would run the outside of the resort like John did and Brenda would run the main lodge, kitchen and dining room as Betty had done. The winter months were slow, so it gave the couple an easy time to adjust to their new jobs.
The boys and I decide to stay at the resort over Christmas and New Year's Eve. The entire west coast was in shambles so there was no point in continuing our journey. Davey and Billy didn’t mind since they had two new friends to play with at the resort.
Tommy and TJ were enrolled in the same homeschooling as Billy and Davey. Betty and John offered to tutor the boys with their lessons. Terry flew back to San Francisco to sell the lot their house stood on.
Christmas was going to be a very festive time for everyone. We agreed to have a small separate family times Christmas morning and then get together in the lodge for a big Christmas dinner together.
This was going to be my first Christmas with my two sons and I planned on making it very special for them.
The boys saved up their allowances and insisted on going to the huge West Edmonton Mall to buy Christmas gifts for everyone. Terry’s family joined us along with John and Betty. We decided to spend next weekend at the "Fantasyland Hotel" inside the mall. I decided to take the camper with the boys while John, Betty, Terry and Brenda took the resort van.
We left early in the morning in order to maximize our time at the mall.
John and Betty picked the Arabian theme room.
Terry and Brenda picked the Western theme for their family
Davey and Billy picked the Luxury Executive Suite
After we checked into the hotel, we decided to do a simple walk-through of the mall. It turned out to be anything but simple. The mall was huge. Once the boys found the Galaxyland Amusement Park, Christmas shopping was put on hold.
After spending the afternoon at the amusement park, the boys agreed to spend the evening doing some of their Christmas shopping.
The boys woke everyone up early so they could spend the day at the World Waterpark and Deep Sea Adventure. I agreed to look after the 4 boys while Terry, Brenda, John and Betty did their Christmas shopping.
Everyone got together for a group supper in the food court.
After everyone was full, John took the boys to continue their Christmas shopping after supper. I gave each boy, including Tommy and TJ, a debit card with a $500 limit. I told them that if they ran out of money on the card, they could come to me if they needed more.
Terry and Brenda retired to their room for some quiet time. I told Terry that their boys would spend the night in my room so he and Brenda could enjoy their time together for the entire night.
Betty enjoyed helping me do my Christmas shopping for the boys. After seeing the total devastation from the tsunami, I wanted to get each of the boys a complete set of camping/survival equipment. The other major items for my boys were going to be two brand new mountain bikes with saddlebags and other accessories.
I assigned each family a compartment under the RV to put their Christmas shopping gifts. I designated one to myself so my boys would not be tempted to snoop. Everyone would bring their gifts to the camper once their arms were full of gift bags. Every compartment was completely packed by the time everyone was done their Christmas shopping.
Saturday night I treated the boys to a movie at the mall theatre. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel room to soak in the whirlpool. As each boy started to yawn and fade, I tucked them into the bed and rubbed their back until they fell asleep.
Davey was the last one awake. We decided to cuddle together on the couch. Davey put a pillow on my lap and stretched out. I rubbed his back.
"Daddy, thank you so much for a great weekend!"
"You’re very welcome Davey. Did you finish your Christmas shopping?"
"Well, I finished most of my shopping but there were a few things I saw but ran out of money."
"Were they important to you to buy for someone?"
"How much more do you need?"
"Well… Ummm… I can’t really tell you because it’s a gift for you…."
"Oh… I see…"
"Would it be too much to ask for another debit card like you gave me this morning?"
"No, it would not be too much to ask if it is that important to you."
"It really is important, Daddy."
"O.K. I’ll reload your debit card tomorrow morning."
"Thank you, Daddy." He said with a yawn.
I picked Davey up and carried him to the bed and tucked him in. I crawled into bed beside him. I rubbed his back until we both fell asleep.
The boys woke me up by tickling my feet. After I tickled each of their feet, including Tommy and TJ, I told them to take their showers before breakfast. They giggled and decided on a group shower. I looked at the clock and it was already 11 am. The phone rang.
"Good morning. Doug. It’s about time you and the other children were awake. I’m guessing you and the boys were up late last night?" John chuckled.
"You know me too well John. Ya, it was kind of a late night."
"Well, Terry, Brenda, Betty and I have already finished our breakfast. We are going to check out and head back to the resort in the van. Betty wants to know if she can trust you to bring the boys back at a decent hour." He chuckled.
"Gee… I don’t know John… Maybe Betty should stay behind to chaperone me and the boys."
Betty got on the phone and tried to act stern.
"You boys be back at the resort by bedtime."
She giggled and hung up.
All the boys came out of the bathroom with just their towels around their waists.
"Daddy Inspection time" Billy announced raising his arms.
Tommy and TJ were confused until I started my inspection in Billy. Tommy went next and then TJ. Davey wanted to go last while the others got dressed. I spent a few extra minutes with Davey as another special father/son time.
I decided to take the boys to the food court for brunch. On the way, I reloaded Davey’s debit card.
"Daddy, can I go get that gift now?"
"How about you eat first and then everyone can go together?"
"But Daddy, if you go, you will know what the gift is." Davey pouted.
"Ok. how about we eat together and then you and Billy run ahead of us once we get close to the store you want to go to?"
"What will you do?"
"I’ll take Tommy and TJ with me and we will pick a place for you and Billy to meet us at."
"Ok… but can we go to the RV to hide your gift first?"
"How about this... I’ll walk ahead of you and Billy and promise not to turn around to peak at your gift?"
"That will work, if you promise not to be sneaky and peak over your shoulder," Davey said as he hugged me.
"You are growing up too fast and starting to think like me. You are getting to know my tricks," I tickled him as I returned his hug.
He giggled and wiggled out of our hug.
"I learned everything from you, Daddy." He continued to giggle as he ran ahead and out of my tickle reach.
Billy ran ahead with Davey as Tommy and TJ snuck under my arms.
We found an ‘all you can eat’ buffet which was perfect for 4 hungry and growing boys. Each boy went up to the buffet 3 times and to the dessert area twice. All the boys were completely stuffed when we left.
"Daddy, the store I want to go to is around the corner. Can you, Tommy and TJ wait here on the bench while Billy and I go around the corner?"
"Can I come?" TJ whined.
"Take TJ with you and Tommy and I will wait here."
The 3 boys ran around the corner while Tommy sat on my lap in the bench.
"Billy, TJ… It’s very important to me that you don’t tell Daddy what my gift is to him."
"I won’t tell Davey," Billy said
"I won’t tell either," TJ said.
"What if Daddy tickled you to try and get you to tell?"
"I still won’t tell," Billy said and TJ agreed.
"O.K… I’m counting on both of you to keep my special gift to Daddy a secret."
"Davey, can I be included in your gift to Daddy?" Billy said with a puppy dog look.
"Ok. Billy, the gift can be from both of us." Davey said as he hugged his younger brother.
Davey noticed that TJ was feeling left out.
"What’s wrong TJ?"
"I would like to get the same gift for my Daddy with Tommy." He said with a pout.
Davey ran back around the corner
"Daddy… TJ wants to get the same gift for his daddy and wants Tommy included."
I reloaded TJ’s debit card and sent all the boys around the corner.
After about 30 minutes, I began to get worried. As soon as I stood up, Billy and Tommy came running around the corner. They turned me around and placed my arms around their shoulders. They sat me back on the bench. After another 30 minutes, Davey whistled around the corner. Billy and Tommy stood me up and hung onto my hands so I could not turn around easily. Each time I playfully tried to turn around, they giggled and tightened their grip on my hands. Davey and TJ made sure they were far enough behind me in case I turned around. They had enough time to duck into a store to hide their gifts from my sight.
Billy and Tommy escorted me into the RV while TJ and Davey stored their gifts in their compartments under the RV.
The Evil Author In Training Silas111 told me I have to put some twistedly evil, and wicked words here, So, here they are twistedly evil, wicked, and dastardly.
Serially though, taking a bunch of kids Christmas Shopping in a Mall, especially one that big, I think some adults need to have their head examined. Just saying.
So, do we dare wonder what we are going to find under the Christmas Tree?
I know but if I told you...