Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Weekly Beast 3: The Last Week of Summer!

We planned a very, very full week of activities for our second and last week of summer break. We made our summer break calendar on post-it notes so we’d have the ability to move the activities around as needed, but ended up doing everything on the day we’d planned it! I’m glad we made the calendar because I think it really helped us to take advantage of the short summer break we had and we were able to do a ton of fun stuff because we already had things planned. But, I will say that by the end of the week I was exhausted, as was Asher. The two of us are the biggest introverts in our family and being out and about that much was just kind of wearing. By the end of the week, Asher was super grumpy. So was I! We’ll definitely make a summer break/track break calendar again, but next time we’ll make sure to include home days where we do crafts or play in our kiddie pool.

Anyway, here is how we spent our week!

Monday: Mondays are ward park day, which I’m the organizer of, so we made sure to go! We took Reed’s friend Joshua with us; Asher’s friend Jake came with his mom; and one of our favorite ward friends, the Binghams, came too! We only lasted a little over an hour at the last ward park day, but this time we were there for three full hours! Keep in mind that it was over 100* for all three of those hours! The kids just had so much fun playing on the playground, then went to town playing in the splash pad forever. Lila was feeling a little left out because she couldn’t keep up with the big kids, but sweet Mara noticed and ended up playing with and entertaining Lila for over an hour. I know who I’m calling next time I need a babysitter!

We were able to squeeze in a quick trip Monday afternoon to the grocery store to pick up our Harry Potter premiere supplies, then went home and made all kinds of yummy confections: chocolate frogs, chocolate wands, polyjuice potion (sherbert + sprite), and pizza rolls! Last time, we made wings for the pizza rolls so they looked like snitches. This time, I ran out of time to make wings so we just called the rolls quaffles and bludgers!

Tuesday: On Tuesday we went to the Springs Preserve! We are on our second year-long pass to Springs Preserve—but we took a year-long break between the two—and between both passes I’ve only ever taken the kids to the Springs without Ryan once! And I was with a friend then. Tuesday was our first solo trip. I will say that a solo trip anywhere is not nearly as big a deal when your kids are 6, 4, and 2—way easier than when they were 4, 2, and 0! We spent the majority of our time in the Origen museum, seeing the Eat or be Eaten show, the flash flood, the new dinosaur room, and the animals outside. I don’t think we’ve ever been to the Springs without seeing the flash flood—I’m pretty sure it’s the kids’ favorite exhibit there. Next we went to the building that must not be named (because I don’t know its name, ha) and played with the ball section and saw the movie inside the garbage truck. The kids were pushing to go to the Nevada State Museum (also on the Springs property) after, but we’d already made it past our normal lunch time and had a half-an-hour drive home, so I vetoed their idea. I knew that if we played longer then still had to drive home, we’d have a very grumpy drive indeed. The kids were a little disappointed, but consoled themselves by walking as slowly as they could through the gift shop so they could examine every item there.

Wednesday: The Natural History Museum was on the docket for Wednesday. We won a year-long pass for $20 off to the NHM in the NPR radio auction in the spring, or we probably wouldn’t have a pass there, too! We started out at the piece of petrified wood outside. I am not sure if you are actually supposed to climb all over the petrified wood, but there is no sign saying you can’t and we’ve never been told otherwise, so we just go with it. The wood is super smooth and is sloped down, so the kids use it like a slide! We have fun before we even go through the doors.

Our next stop was the potty, because Lila really likes to go potty at various places and always wants to go potty when we are somewhere new.  She likes to see if she can find “silly potties”—or potties that don’t flush, like the potties on hikes!  After the bathroom break, we looked at the fish and sharks, went to Egypt, explored the kids’ play area, and ended at their new dinosaur exhibit. Side note: of the three big kids’ museums in town, all three have new dinosaur exhibits this summer. Was this planned? Anyway, the NHM dinosaur exhibit is super cool: it is a huge maze that you have to answer trivia questions to navigate through. At various points in the maze are activities: dinosaur shoes to make prints, a zip line, a huge dinosaur puzzle, and a climbing wall. The kids’ favorite is the zip line—we went back to it twice for extra rides! We also spent a long time in Egypt. The boys loved the hieroglyph decoding station and were the cutest little team! Asher was the fastest at finding which letter the symbol stood for, and each time they completed a word Reed would read it for them. At the end of the Egypt tour is a pile of blocks to build pyramids with, which we played with for quite a while, and a mummy with a scanner that shows various levels of images.

Thursday: Thursday was our Pump it Up day! Last time we went to Pump it Up, hardly any kids were there. I kind of expected this trip to be the same—and it did start out that way. But by an hour into our jump session, the place was crawling with kids. Asher, especially, was annoyed by the amounts of kids running around. We lasted another 30 minutes before we left. We still had fun, but next time I’m hoping there are fewer kids because Pump it Up is definitely more enjoyable with a smaller crowd. Side note: the kids and I all wore converse to match each other. On Saturday, we roped Ryan in to wearing converse with us, too!

Lila found a handy bed at pump it up.

Reed got all three green Mixels. When you have three mixels from the same color and series, you can get extra instructions online to turn them into a Mixel Max--one giant Mixel! He already created his Mixel Max, but I forgot to take a picture, oops!

Thursday afternoon was our big shopping trip--I try to plan for two weeks at a time--which was surprisingly not bad. I brought snacks, which helped, and both boys had decided to use some of their saved money to buy Mixel lego sets, which really helped. 

Friday: We quite recently went to Anderson Dairy with Asher’s school buddies, but Reed missed that trip and Asher was pumped about going again, so we scheduled our tour and to Anderson Dairy we went. This tour was perhaps our best Anderson Dairy tour to date. There was only one other family in the tour with us, so we could hear and see the tour guide more easily than usual. And, almost every machine in the factory was running, so we got to see way more than usual! We all agreed that the ice cream filling machine and the milk gallon filling machine were the coolest. I also enjoyed seeing the machine that folded and formed the round ice cream containers. The tour ends by giving everyone a cup of cookies n’ cream ice cream to enjoy, so that wasn’t bad, either!

After the tour, we had lunch, played a bit, then went to Reed's school to meet his new teacher, Ms. Sears. Reed is in a portable this year, which was a new experience. He was excited to see Sofia from his class last year and the two of them chose out spots at a table by each other. Ms. Sears seems quite nice and Reed is excited for a great year. Directly after going to Reed's school, we went to the surgery center for a tour! The lady giving us the tour was super nice and loaded Asher down with all kinds of swag: socks, a surgery gown, a mask to get him ready for the anesthesia mask, a surgery cap (times three--one for each kid), and a wrist band. We also got to see the red line--a literal line on the ground--where the scrubbing in process begins, and thus where Asher and I will part company. I'm really glad we got to take a tour because Asher's nerves were eased and I really think Tuesday's surgery will be less traumatic going in! Also, I noticed later when I look at the pictures I took that Lila's shoes were on the wrong feet--and must have been the entire tour!

Random picture of one of the crafts we made this week.

By Friday afternoon, the week of being out and about had gotten to both Asher and I (and, by extension, to Reed and Lila). Asher was overtired and exceedingly grumpy. Small things that don’t usually bother him were setting him off easily. And the big things that do usually bother him were causing a full-blown melt down. The other kids didn’t really pick up on this and Lila especially just wouldn’t leave him alone. I was tired from getting us prepped and too all these activities, so by the time Ryan came home Friday night I was in meltdown mode. And Ryan, sweet husband that he is, told me to go relax while he took all three kids out for a little while. I felt really bad, because he was originally going to take Asher out on a date to get ice cream, pudding, and jello for Asher’s surgery. Asher was surprisingly good natured about the change in plans, though, and didn’t mind Bub and Lila accompanying them at all. (Ryan did tell me later that Reed was worried about the change, because he didn’t want Asher’s hijacked date to push back Reed’s next date, haha.) I ignored the gigantic mess downstairs, climbed into bed, and finished my book. They still weren’t home, so I watched an episode of Grey’s all by myself. The quiet was exactly what I needed and I’m so grateful for Ryan for understanding that even without me telling him.

Saturday: I woke up Saturday morning at 8:00 (!!) and went downstairs to find a spotless living room, dining room, and kitchen! Ryan let me sleep in while he wrangled the kids into cleaning up. I function so much better when the stress of a messy house isn’t hanging over me, so I was extremely grateful to see all the work they’d put into the house. After reveling in the cleanliness for a while, we loaded everyone up to go play tourist on the strip, the last activity on our calendar. The boys mainly wanted to see the Bellagio Gardens and the 3D movie at MnM world, so that’s exactly what we did. When we made our way back to the car, it was around lunch time, so we decided to go to Cici’s Pizza Buffet because, well, pizza buffet. After lunch, we drove right next to the Pinball Hall of Fame, so decided that needed to be part of our day, too! Ryan had been to the Pinball Hall of Fame with a friend once while we were out of town, but the kids and I had never had the opportunity to go. We got five dollars’ worth of quarters, then set them loose on the machines! Luckily, $5 goes a long way in machines that only cost .25-.50 per game. Ryan stuck with the boys while Lila and I wandered around looking for drive-drives, AKA games that have steering wheels. We found several drive-drive games, the most notable being a purple drive-drive.

When our quarters were out, we went home to give Lila a nap. By dinner time, the kids were all grouchy again, so it seemed only right to leave the house (I obviously did not learn my lesson this week) (buuuuut I will say that generally, going to the park is low-stress and happiness-inducing, as was the case this night). We went to the “building park,” where we rode bikes, scored with free popsicles from the Mountain’s Edge Association, and had a fun little picnic dinner. Finally, we went home and tucked everyone into bed.

Sunday: Ryan and the kids had a relaxing morning while I went to ward council, where I learned that our ward is splitting again! The ward split once right before we moved here and once about 18 months ago. Crazy. Sunday night, I put on my first-ever Priesthood Preview, which went well. As I got into Ryan’s car to leave, though, the car wouldn’t start! Thankfully one of my counselors was still there. The two of us nervously (and with help over the phone) figured out how to connect the jump cables and got the car started. Hallelujah.

 Other random item of note: After being cleared by my PT (my dad) I started exercising again this week! Just walking, and just short walks, but it's better than notthing!

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