We went to Amazone (one of those arcade type places with climbing stuff for little ones, video games, and laser-tag) tonight with our friends and their 2 kids. I have never been on a Friday night before and was prepared to be overwhelmed, but it was actually pretty nice. My daughter seemed to stick a little closer due to the crowd which was a welcome change. My son got to play his first game of laser-tag with his dad and our friend Y. He LOVED it and keeps asking when we can go back 🙂
We had a terrific day today. I got to enjoy lots of different things with the kids and thought I would share. Stories will come later…pics first.
Some of the day:
Washing and playing with poker chips:
Went to one of my favorite parks today to enjoy the weather and show a friend how great it is there for little kids. They have a nice flat, fenced, playground away from the road and it is fairly easy to handle more than 1 kid there, which I can’t say for many parks! By the time we got home, it was ridiculously warm- enough so to open the windows and put on summer clothes 🙂
My friend and her kids helped me get out of the house today ‘cuz the depression from yesterday wasn’t lifting very easily. We met up at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. I have never been there before. It is not that far for us…maybe 30-35 minutes (?). Anyway, I really liked it there. They have it set up so you can see lots of animals inside and out and there are also toys and books, etc. to explore while there. They have a planetarium which is only open at certain times/on certain days, but I would like to go back and catch a show sometime with the kids.
The day went better. We got home only a few minutes before J. who had been playing D&D.
Unfortunately, night brought pain and tummy trouble for my son. I think he might have picked up Salmonella or some other ick from touching the turtles and snakes and then eating lunch without washing up. I even thought about it at the time, but ignored that gut feeling…Warning to all- take Purell! Or wash up!
Long night, sleeping in after. We missed the meet-up at the Science Center on Monday. My son wanted to stay home and recover. Strangely, he asked for crazy foods later on, like calamari again and grape juice.
I had forgotten how much I LOVE having time alone with my son in the morning and how much better our day goes overall when it happens.
My daughter slept in today and I asked my son what he wanted to do while she slept assuming he would ask to play “Paper Mario” on the GameCube because we have been playing that one again. Instead, we started off cuddling on the couch together. I took a moment to test his eyesight on the box across the room (we need to check his prescription soon and I was wondering how clear things were for him with his current glasses) The box happened to be the “Lincoln Logs” he got from his Grandma for Christmas. He could see all the letters which was good as they are fairly large.
He asked why they were called “Lincoln Logs” and I told him a little bit about president Lincoln, the short version of what a president is, and a tad bit about the Civil War and slavery, which sounds crazy but his questions just took us there…He really liked the idea of houses being made of logs. We decided to make some ourselves and he made one following the directions and then made up a design of his own with 2 rooms, one for the horse and 1 for the hay. Then asked if we could take a picture of them to show Grandma. Pictures? Absolutely!
Then he decided to bring out the games.
We started off with a card game called “Things That Swim” which is really a beautiful game in terms of the cards. There are 48 cards which depict either the head, middle, or rear of an animal that lives in the water. You can play different versions of the game (there are three main ones listed in the rules), but in each the objective is to collect and make whole animals. In one version we played, you use a spinner to tell you what action to take- ie. trade cards with another person, draw a card from the pile, skip your turn, discard, etc. In the other version we played today, you have 5 cards in your hand and and can choose to either trade the other player or discard and draw from the pile. Whenever you complete an animal, you spin to see how many points you get.
After that one, he pulled out “Carcassonne-Hunters and Gatherers“. This is a tile game where you pick up and play tiles each turn by matching what is shown on their edges- forest, grassland, or river. As you build the board out of the tiles, you get points for “collecting” items in the pictures- fish, grazing animals, or gold depending on what you have decided to be (hunter, gatherer, or fisherman). We don’t play by the official rules, we each just pick something to be and get points if the tiles we play have the stuff we are trying to collect.
Then came “Hocus Focus” which is a cute attributes card game. It feature wizards on each card, each of whom is one of 3 sizes- small, medium, large. They are also wearing a robe, hat, and slippers, and carrying a sceptor. Each of these is colored lime, turquoise, purple, or red. To play, you lay out 12 cards face up and then have a draw pile. You turn over a card and look for a wizard that doesn’t share ANY of the attributes from the face up cards. Whoever slaps it first get to take it and fill the spot with the card that was drawn. Then you turn over another card and do it again. We play whoever gets 5 cards first wins. Very short and easy to “demand a rematch” if you don’t win…
Shockingly, he wanted still more games and brought out “Guess Who“. That one is the traditional guessing game where you ask questions to try to figure out which “person card” the other player has drawn. He won quickly. I think he asked 3 questions. He and his sister both have a knack for that one…
Then he grabbed the triangle puzzle we have which is lots and lots of loose triangles that fit into a wooden frame. Today he decided to make up open-ended game boards on it which were layed out very similar to “Paper Mario” and that turned quickly into us role-playing the characters of the game and “battling” each other by hurtling imaginary ice hammers and spells at each other 🙂 He claimed Vivian for his partner (whose special skill is to suck Mario into a shadow with her so that he never takes any damage). It felt vaguely reminiscent of our old Pokemon batles where he would wail on me yet never take any damage himself, LOL.
At this point, I had to bail and grab a bath because we were meeting another homeschooler to pick up some manipulatives and books she was done with. I woke Emma and hurried us out the door with the promise of lunch after meeting the new mom. The kids decided they wanted McDonald’s and I agreed.
It was super cool to meet her and her family and we chatted for a few minutes before she needed to leave for a class.
When we left, I was forced to turn in the direction away from the McDonald’s by a “No Left Turn” sign and decided I really did not want to eat at McDonald’s. I know the kids like the shakes and fries, but I am fairly disgusted by the whole scene. While we were driving, I managed to sway them both into going to Bob Evans with me instead, on the premise that I really needed some food that would help my body feel good and that wasn’t gonna happen at McDonald’s.
We had the best time ever! I am so glad to see them growing up and being decently mannered in a restaurant! We ordered lots of yummy food. They each declared that they had a crush on each other, complete with hugs and kisses and they shared their food. My son even asked my daughter to sit next to him. Fantastic. It makes me want to take them out more often…oh and they had cool straws. Can you beat that?
We stopped at the used game store on the way home to buy a “surprise” for Daddy at my son’s request. We returned the game “Super Smash Brothers” to my brother at Christmas after he had leant it to us for a year. My son had been missing it a bit and decided we should get it again, for Daddy, yeah, that’s right, Daddy. They didn’t have it, so we browsed around a bunch to see if there was anything else worth getting instead. He has loved playing “Donky Konga” at my dad’s house and asked if we could get it. I haven’t wanted it in the past because he does get to play it over there once in a while and I didn’t want to store the drums. Today, I took him seriously and when I looked, the drums were…get this…$4.99. “Donky Konga”, it is. THAT became Daddy’s surprise.
After we got home, we played a few rounds of DK and then tore into the new stuff we had picked up earlier in the day.
First up- those blocks that come in singles, tens, hundreds, and a thousand cube (some of which linked together, some not). Both kids tore into them. My son declared them to be like legos and started building stuff, like a camera and a tower. My daughter started searching through for ones that didn’t connect with each other and pouring them into empty socks. We looked a bit at the book that came with them and then my son wanted to know how big a thousand was. He stacked hundreds up to match the thousand cube and then started adding extra hundres and asking how much. Then he decided to cover a whole hundred block with singles. Fun. Oh yeah, and apparently you can make a decent drum out of a thousand cube and a Bob Evan’s straw 🙂
Then we checked out a Cuisenaire Rod picture puzzle book. You use the blocks to solve simple equations and then put them on a grid to form a hidden picture. It was really neat. The grid is empty except for letters which show you where to put the rods. There are questions for ACROSS and DOWN and the answer to the problem determines what color rod you put down. When you put all the pieces on, it makes a picture.
Ours spelled “Hello” 🙂
end of the day and pictures will come later…off to play
Well, we have managed to stumble upon one of the most ferocious stomach bugs ever. Both kids and J. have fallen pray to it since last Sunday. My daughter has managed to be in an incredible mood for the most part, managing to act perfectly healthy and eating like crazy in between bouts of wretching every 18-26 hours. Every day that went by, we assumed she was over it, given her mood and appetite. She managed to keep it for a full 7 days. I have never heard of such a thing! My son got it in the middle of her plight and wound up heaving over 2 1/2 days and J. managed to throw up only twice.
I consider myself incredible lucky. I felt a little off one night, but swigged some Kefir and slept through it. I definitely think that all the probiotics I have been eating and drinking helped me come through unscathed… I have been regularly drinking Kefir and Kombucha and eating homemade lacto-fermented pickles and sauerkraut.
Anyway, thought I would share some of the recovering kid pics:
During all of this, I checked out more of Miyazaki’s movies to watch while laying around. Oh my gosh, they are the best. We have had multiple requests for “Whispers of the Heart” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” as well as “Spirited Away”. I personally liked “Howl’s Moving Castle”, but that is me. “Castle in the Sky” took last place amongst the lot…