Friday, January 5, 2018

Thanksgiving Week

Anni, Ryan, Maren, and James got here late at night on the 18th.  We love cousin time!  Todd and Ryan wasted no time getting down to video game business.  Todd learned to take it slowly introducing novices to virtual reality.  He got Ryan good and motion sick.  
The Jensens are my family's science nerds, so we took them to the Pacific Science Center.  This mirror makes a fun floating illusion. 
The kids always have a hard time lining their heads up just right, but it is fun to try.  This was right before we legitimately lost Sammy.  I guess he is getting a little bit too comfortable with the science center.  I took one of the kids to the bathroom, and, when Sammy discovered that he was unsupervised (the other adults thought he had gone with me), he took himself to play in the toddler area.  I had covered a lot of ground looking for him and was starting to panic.  Science Center employees were coordinating a search when Anni located him.  Phew.  I know it is important for kids to become independent, but this fear in my heart is not preferable to the attention we get if he stands still and screams when he can't find me. 
My butterfly photography is improving. 

A few weeks before the Jensens came, I found out that the Space Needle is doing free tours for school groups while they have construction going on.  The Space Needle is the most famous feature of the Seattle skyline, and it is a bit of a wonder of engineering, but, as a local, I could never justify paying $20 per person for what amounts to an elevator ride.  The kids have always wanted to go up, though, so I set up a homeschool group tour, which just happened to fall when our relatives were visiting.  The information about the construction of the Space Needle which we could read on the way to the elevators was the most interesting part of the tour.  As you can see, the day was a bit cloudy.  I promise Jared was there, but he saw the deck while B was in the bathroom, and didn't want to go back out in the wind. 
We had promised the kids that they could go back through the Pacific Science Center to see one last thing on our way back to the car.  I got pictures there, but the kids had such tired expressions that they made me sad, so you will just have to imagine them. 
Because it was Monday, we had family home evening.  When we got home from the Seattle Center we turned oreos into turkeys. 
Candeeeeeeeeee!  Some of these were quite elaborate.  This is the perfect craft/candy combination for kids in this age range. 
On Tuesday in the daytime, the kids did a turkey painting craft.  Each of the kids painted a turkey stencil on a t-shirt.  
I heard about a refugee family that recently arrived in Washington with their eight sons and one daughter, and they were in need of clothes.  We didn't have anything for the daughter, who is 13, but Jared had three large boxes of almost brand new size 8 clothes which were given to us for Jared to grow into.  Jared only recently reached size 7, so I decided to take the spare clothes to the Muslim Association to distribute to the family.  I later discovered that all of Jared's size 7 shorts were in the mix with the clothes we had given away, which left us scrambling before our Hawaii trip, but I'm happy that we could help a displaced family in need.  

Sammy gave up his bed when the rest of our guests arrived.  Grandma Jill, Uncle Fred, Fred's fiancee Sarah, and my cousin Graelyn all came on Tuesday.  Sarah got the rare privilege of sleeping in Sammy's race car bed.  Mama Jill got the comfortable twin bed in Eloise's old room (Eloise moved in with B permanently in the bunk bed), Graelyn slept on the futon in the storage room, and Uncle Fred slept on a twin mattress on the floor of Todd's office.  Anni and Ryan's whole family crammed into Jared's room with the queen bed.  The kids slept on couch cushions.  Jared camped out on B and Eloise's floor.  Fourteen of us crammed into our five bedroom house, and everyone who needed it go privacy.  We even managed to stagger showers so that most of them were reasonably warm. 
Wednesday morning we took the kids to the Seattle Center again to see "Mr. Popper's Penguins" at the Seattle Children's Theater.  They were having a homeschool day, so we got tickets.  My kids declared that it wasn't like the book, but they liked it a lot anyway.  It was very fun.  The penguin puppets were very clever.  We took our lunch over to the armory after the play.  The armory had a mostly constructed giant model railroad town complete with people.  I lost Sammy a couple of times and both times found him checking out the train village.  The armory is one of the last places on earth where I want to lose Sammy.  He is taking years off of my life!  

Anni and I had made plans to run a 5K/10K together on Thanksgiving.  When Fred found out, he said that he and Sarah would like to run it with us.  So Thanksgiving morning we got up and ran the Mukilteo Turkey Trot in the pouring rain, just like last year.  I ran the 5K with Anni, and then I ran the second lap by myself.  I sped up a bit on the second half because I was hoping to get a little bit less wet.  I still managed to swamp my shoes.  I'm glad it was a little bit warmer than last year, but I'm going to have to think really hard about whether I will be running on Thanksgiving next year. 
We got a medal and a pair of tacky pajama pants for running.  Winners in each of the age groups won a pumpkin pie.  As we were leaving, Anni jokingly asked if there were any pies left.  Someone working at an advertising tent waved her over and gave her this great big pie.  They had raffled it off, but no one had come to retrieve it, and they were packing up.  We might not have accepted if we had known how many pumpkin pies Ryan was making at home.  This was the Thanksgiving of pie-mageddon.  So. Much. Pie.
I threw in this other picture of Ryan doing VR because I think it was his favorite thing here. 
On Friday morning we went to the temple, and the grown ups took turns doing initiatories.  Actually, everyone but me went into the temple, and then I went in and everyone else stayed out with the kids.  
In the afternoon, Anni and I took the kids to the swimming pool in Lynnwood while Todd and Ryan installed overhead lighting in our living room.  They did a beautiful job.  Maren was so excited about the water slides that Eloise finally decided that she likes water slides, too.  She has done the water slide before, but she always stopped after just one time.  
On Saturday morning, the Jensens packed up to leave.  Eloise and Maren rocked matching braids and buns (except Maren has TONS more hair than Eloise, so their braids matched, but their buns were very different).  They even discovered that they happen own the same Christmas tree shirt.  Cuties.  
After the Jensens left, we took the rest of the crew to the locks.  We always joke about not looking up when we walk under the trees with the blue heron colony in them, and Jared always runs through there, making me laugh, but this time, Sarah, Fred, and I all got hit by one mega-bomb from the trees.  Bird poop is supposed to be lucky, right?  I'm horrified to report that in all of the pictures I took of our Thanksgiving week, this is the only one that had Graelyn in it, and it isn't even good!  B must have asked me about 45 times since Thanksgiving when we are going to visit his cousin Graelyn.  She was fantastic with the kids, and tireless like Uncle Fred about playing their games. 
After the locks we went to see the troll under the bridge. 
We've seen this guy a few times, so Eloise decided that our usual pictures were a bit too tame. 
I even persuaded Todd to take a selfie with me.  As I was taking it, he was asking, "Why are we doing this?" Because we are darn cute, that's why.  We almost lost Eloise right after this.  She thought we were walking in front of her, not behind because we stopped for a picture.  Jared did something to bug her, and she took off running to where she thought we were.  She was a block past the turn for our car before I caught up with her.  She is fast! 
The rest of our guests except for Grandma Jill left that afternoon. 
On Sunday we got out our Christmas tree and did it's first round of decorating.  The tree got redecorated daily until it came down after Christmas.  Sammy is obsessed with fuzzy, soft things right now.  He can't sleep without his orange fleece blanket turned soft side in.  This can be challenging because he carries it around all day, so it is not usually in his bed at bedtime. 
B LOVES Christmas.  From the minute our Christmas tree went up, he started asking for some Christmas pajamas and Christmas socks.  All of his plunking on the piano was to be interpreted as Christmas carols, and he is plunking on the piano for over an hour every day.  It may be time for him to start piano lessons.   
We had a great week with all of our guests, but, after Thanksgiving, the countdown to Christmas begins! 

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