Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wrapping up Christmas Gifts, B makes Art, and a Pet for the Day

For Christmas, we wanted to give Jared a trip to a theme park or water park.  Eloise asked for her gift to be a night in a hotel with a swimming pool.  In the end we decided to combine their gifts into one big family trip to Great Wolf Lodge, which is a water park and hotel a couple of hours from our house.  They have more attractions than just the water park, but we just came for the swimming.  Everyone was delighted to get wolf ears at check in.  There was a lot of howling in our room.  
 We could play in the water park starting at 1:00 p.m. on the day of check in.  We arrived a little after one on Thursday and got right down to business.  Sammy never wanted to do a water slide.  I thought he might warm up to slides eventually, since he is tall enough to go down a few of them, but he never did.  He only went down one short playground height one in the toddler area once.  Eloise had to warm up to the slides, but once she got comfortable, she was more independent than I have ever seen her, running back up the stairs to do slides over and over and over. 
 The water park had a wave pool.  B and Sammy spent a lot of time playing in shallow water.  Jared was all about the slides, most of the time, but he also liked playing in the deeper part of the wave pool.  B liked the slides, but didn't want to be going up and down all of the time. 
 After a couple of hours of playing, we went to our room to get cleaned up.  "Mega Mind" was on TV, so, after we got everyone cleaned up and put in pajamas, Todd went out to pick up dinner while we relaxed with a movie.  This was the most painless night we have ever spent in a hotel.  B and Sammy shared a pull out couch, and Jared and Eloise shared a queen bed.  No one burst into noisy tears as everyone else was falling asleep, and everyone was asleep before 9:00.  Maybe it is time to try camping again. 
 On Friday, when the water park opened at 9 a.m. we were ready to go.  These tireless kids swam for FIVE HOURS.  Jared dragged me onto a water slide called the Howling Tornado that plunges you into darkness and then drops you over a cliff.  It was the scariest thing ever.  Jared was in heaven.  He was the only one of our kids tall enough to do that particular slide, which just added to the fun for him, I think.  We make him wear this orange swim cap so that we can find him in a crowded swimming pool. 
 This was so much fun. 
 Sammy climbed on the play jet skis in the toddler area and announced that he was going to drive his boat to Arizona.  I wonder what he is going to do when he runs out of water on the trip. 
 We had to take a couple of breaks.  It was a lovely 85 degrees in the pool area, so the kids didn't get too shivery. 
 Even when we went outside for lunch we weren't freezing.  It was sleeting outside, so this was a nice change for us. 
 When we finally left the pool around 2:30, the kids were tired, but happy.  Sammy almost fell asleep in my arms as we waited for Eloise to come down the water slide for the 20th time, and for B to take Daddy on one last run on the tube slides. 
 Sammy fell asleep the minute he was strapped into his car seat, and slept for most of the ride home.  He woke up happy at our stop to pick up pizza.  In spite of his two hour late afternoon nap, he still went to bed on time and slept late in the morning.  All of the kids slept past their usual wake up times the next morning.  Pardon my crazy swimming hair. 
This was the best Christmas present idea ever.  I have a feeling I know what the kids are going to be asking for for their birthdays, and for Christmas next year.  

A week ago, a neighbor gave us a flannel board and some flannel dolls, clothes, and accessories to play with.  The kids all love the dolls, but they are all girls, and I knew that B would get a lot more mileage out of some flannel cars.  B draws and doodles race cars all day long, so Eloise and I set out to turn some of his drawings into toys.  B is a really good artist for a five year old.  His cars all have very expressive faces.   
 Sammy asked for a fire truck, and even helped us cut out some of the pieces.  Eloise cut out a fireman and made him some clothes and a hat.  B has designed a pickup truck for me to cut out next, and Eloise has started cutting out word bubbles to put next to the dolls, and decorating them with markers.  I love seeing their creativity, and the pride they feel when they are playing with a toy that they have designed, or even created from beginning to end. 
 B is really a great little artist.  We inherited this stuffed bear from my sister, Faith, because it was in a tote that had my name on it, but turned out to be full of Faith and Cheyenne's stuff.  When my mom gave it to me around six years ago, my kids appropriated Faith's bear collection.  B decided today that he wants to keep the bear, so he drew Faith a replica, hoping to make an exchange. 
 We got a new pet! Meet Tarantuly, who we caught in our downstairs bathroom.  I thought we would observe and release him, but he was so beloved that his jar was carried around all afternoon. 
 Eloise even brought him with us on our walk through the woods.  We went in the woods to break in the new hiking boots Todd and I got on a date yesterday morning.  Or it would have been a date if Sammy hadn't had babysitter anxiety.  Having a potty training two year old along on a date is a real mood killer, not to mention how difficult it is to have a conversation when there is a toddler pulling on your arm, asking for snacks, or disappearing from view constantly.  At least we ended up with the shoes we set out for. 
 "Eloise! Get in my boat! We're going to Arizona!" 
 Sammy announced that he was king of the rock, and then did this look.  The fat mittens shoved in his pockets gave him wide hips, so we decided he was actually the sassy mama of the rock. 
 Jared kills me with his fashion.  He didn't want the puffy coat that goes with this hood, but he couldn't find his hooded rain coat, either, and the clouds were looking ominous, so he just decided to take the best parts of the two coats and combine them.  He also wanted to be the sassy mama of the rock. 
 Everyone took turns adoring our new pet and throwing sticks for our old pet to chase. 
I did insist that Tarantuly get released before bed, since it would be cruel to keep him overnight without feeding him.  Eloise was concerned about releasing him outdoors, since he is an indoor spider, so he was released into the sheltered porch where Shadow sleeps off of the kitchen.  After all of the manhandling he got, I was sure he would flee the jar at the first opportunity, but apparently he liked all of the attention, and refused to leave the jar.  At bedtime, B told me that he is going to miss Tarantuly, but we can find another big spider in the house and name him Tarantuly, too, and then they can be twins.  Yep.  That is exactly how it works. 

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