Thursday, April 11, 2013

One Exciting Week

We have been extraordinarily busy this week.  The fun started with General Conference on Saturday and Sunday.  We got to hear some timely and inspired messages from living apostles and prophets.  Jared and Eloise were pretty happy to play a lot and watch a little.  Unfortunately, Eloise was sleeping really badly due to congestion, but overall it was a great weekend.
 Between sessions of conference on Sunday, Jared, Eloise, and I went for a walk in the pouring rain.
 At least Eloise walked until she noticed that some of the sticks on the ground were wiggly worms.  After that she preferred to be carried.  Eloise recently had an experience playing in the yard where a bumblebee the size of a small bird crawled across her hand.  She was terrified. She screamed so much that I undressed her to check her whole body for stings.  She was sting free, but, ever since then, the sight of the tiniest gnat sets her off.

We wanted to see the neighborhood horses, but the horses decided they preferred the comfort of their shelter to the downpour we were standing in.  They had the right idea.  By the time we got home, we were more than ready for some hot chocolate. 

On Tuesday, we hosted Jared's preschool.  Only two of the children came.  It was my first time teaching, and I didn't feel like it went very well, but I learned a lot for next time.  I was still grouchy about preschool after naps, so, when Eloise woke up extremely early, I decided to go on an exploratory trip to Kelsey Creek Park.  It wasn't raining at the moment, so I decided to risk the possibility of rain starting during the 25 minute drive.  We could always divert to the mall play area.  I really needed to get out of the house.
Kelsey Creek Farm/Park ended up being exactly, amazingly perfect for Jared and Eloise.  Benjamin slept through the whole experience (two and a half hours).  We found farm animals and wild animals.  If you zoom in on this picture, there is a wild cottontail rabbit grazing near the gate on the opposite side of the field.
There was some kind of play area for small kids every hundred yards or so.  Eloise loves to dig.
I was surprised how close Eloise let this goat get to her.  For a girl who can't tolerate the tiniest bug, she turned out to have a fairly high tolerance for farm animals bleating in her face.
Whenever we go to the zoo, Jared's favorite exhibit is the bunnies.  Kelsey Creek Farm turns out to have even more bunnies than the zoo, and the farm is free.  You can't beat that.  Also, the farm ingeniously has the names of the bunnies on placards above their cages.  I can't figure out why no one has ever done this at the zoo.  I struggle to remember the names of the three zoo animals we do know (thanks to zoo preceptors standing outside their pens), and the kids are forever asking me the names of the animals we don't know.  
Jared and Eloise enjoyed this little tractor playground, until a fly landed on Eloise's steering wheel.  She called out, "Scary! That bug makes me feel lonely!"
 I think she believes "lonely" and "scared" are synonyms because Jared uses them in approximately the same contexts.
Eloise was really excited about this big wooly sheep.  "Wook, Mom! A Sheep! I want to ride on it!"
I think she really wanted to cuddle it, since it was so fuzzy.  Kelsey Creek Farms has a sheep shearing event coming up in a few weeks, so the sheep are currently wearing their full winter coats.
Before we headed home, we stopped at the biggest playground yet so that I could try to wake B up and feed him before the drive home.  I made the mistake of reading out loud a sign advertising piglets coming to the farm at the end of April, so Jared has reminded me at least a dozen times that we have to go back in two or three weeks to see piglets.
We picked up Daddy on the way home, and, since I didn't much want to cook, he took us out for Mexican food.
It was a pretty awesome day.

Benjamin has a new skill today.  Despite the lack of regular parental attention in his life, he persists in getting bigger and stronger.  Today I realized that he can grab a toy held in front of him with both of his hands, and get it to his mouth.  Those tiny little baby fists are opening up into dexterous little hands.  It is amazing to watch him develop.
Jared also has a new skill today.  He read a whole story that he had never seen before without help!  He had a little encouragement from me, but he sounded out the words he didn't know without help.  The book was a BOB training book, with a lot of three letter words, but it is really exciting to see him doing it on his own.

This afternoon Jared and Eloise had dentist appointments.  In spite of Benjamin wanting to be fed while Jared and Eloise were taking turns on the dentist's table, and Eloise needing an emergency diaper change while I was trying to feed Benjamin, the kids were great for their exams and cleaning.  Eloise even got on the table to get her teeth brushed and have fluoride applied.  It helped that there was a movie playing above her head.  The kids left with a clean bill of dental health.
After the dentist, I took the kids to play at a nearby mall play area.  I forgot that the local schools have spring break, so the play area was a madhouse with a lot of children who are too old for the play area.  Eloise eventually let go of me and climbed on a boat.  Then she kept getting my attention to tell me, "Wook, Mom! There are children on my boat! Lots of children on my boat!"
She was inevitably knocked over by a bigger kid, but she still managed to have a good time.
Look at those perfect pearly whites. . . and a yellow pepper.
Benjamin was so tired, and so absorbed with watching the kids play, that he flopped over on my arm and fell asleep without me even noticing for a couple of minutes.  
I brought home three very exhausted children.  After an abbreviated evening routine, Jared climbed into bed and fell asleep before anyone made it to his room to tuck him in.  

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