March 27, 2011

The lowdown

My wonderful brother-in-law told me that he can't wait to read the blog posts that will summarize the last week of our collective lives. He told me this while the kids zipped through the kitchen at top speed over and over and over. Apparently he believes I'm going to recap our Spring Break vacation to California in a way that will amuse him. 

I would hazard a guess that he thinks I'm going to write about how wet and chilly it was in Southern California during our visit and that I'm going to tell all about each of our families losing days of carefree fun to sick children. He probably also thinks I'm going to bitch about how I was discriminated against because I'm a girl I live in Kansas, and I wasn't allowed to drive a car to the grocery store without a chaperone. (I'm not bitter about that. I know it was because of all that aforementioned rain.)  He has probably even predicted I'll tell you that we learned the hard way that the Griffith Observatory isn't open on Mondays and that Legoland isn't open on Tuesdays. 

That all happened, but in the 48 hours we've been home, those aren't the memories that really jump out to me.

Room for everyone on the swingset
Instead, I'm going to show you how much fun six kids can have in a backyard that's equipped with a tree and a swingset.  I'm so terribly biased, but these are great kids and they have great fun together. With each visit, they pick up right where they left off the time before.

Jump Rope!
Zac and Andrew in a tree. I don't think they're supposed to be up
that high, but all's well that ends well.

I would be remiss not to mention that roller skating is a very good rainy day activity and I can report that it's kind of like riding a bike.  Though it had been at least 25 years, it all came back to us adults quickly.  I should also document that four kids had four different styles of learning to skate and they all worked, though the styles of the two youngest resulted in sore shoulders and elbows for their parents.  For them, skating was a contact sport.

I will also tell you that while Griffith Observatory is indeed closed on Mondays, the drive there is worth the trip and walking around the grounds and capturing the views offered of the Hollywood hills, downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean and the famed HOLLYWOOD sign were all great fun. Having the Train Museum in the park all to ourselves was fun too. Not many people braved the tempermental elements that day and the kids had the run of the place. We even had our own private tram driver.

Griffith Park Outlook.  If you look carefully you can see the
Hollywood sign iin the background.

Deserted train park
I can confirm that while it seems very strange for a theme park to be closed two days a week, after two checks of Legoland's website, we had no choice but to believe it. My genius sister-in-law knew we needed to step up with a really good substitute and Disney's California Adventure did the trick. Upon entering, we wondered if California Adventure was another bust for the trip, but it turns out it's a total win if you just give it time.

The Bugs' Life train ride. Exhilirating it was not.
Zac on the Bugs' Life bumper cars. We were starting to get somewhere now.
On the Disney Midway
Andrew, Zac, Mark & Eric rode this rollercoaster. When did they grow old
enough to do this?!

What Maria, Claire, Thomas and I did while the boys rode the rollercoaster.

The kids had a blast and while I won't speak for anyone else, I did too.

I'm also going to show you that a well-stocked costume trunk can provide hours of fun - both for the kids wearing the costumes and the adults being entertained by them.

No shame.
Rides in the Model A are also always entertaining. Butch and I spent what must have been 90 minutes driving around Claremont rotating who got to sit in the back and who had to sit on my lap so that everyone had a fair turn.  We also throroughly embarrassed Zac by going to pick him up from school like this!

The coveted rumble seat.

So, while Eric thought I was going to remember total chaos as four, five or sometimes even six kids shrieked and ran and yelled and wrote on each other with markers and shrieked and played, he's wrong. I remember that it's a gift for these kids to play together, for hours on end, so well and for them to wake up each morning asking when we're starting the day's adventures together. I'm also going to remember a lot of good food consumed and oodles of good company.

I will remember that it's a good idea to check ahead for operating hours, but if they don't work with your operating hours, Plan B will probably be just as good. And, I will also remember how lovely it is to spend a week at Casa Henderson where food is prepared on your behalf and the trash cans are always empty, without my having to lift a finger. Thank you!

March 25, 2011

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery

I owe this blog a post about our recent trip to California, but while I struggle to amass the right pictures in the right folders, allow me to borrow this video from my sister-in-law's blog.  It's a pretty good summation of the total hilarity and chaos that reigns when nine first-borns/oldest/only children are assembled in one family.

The Tuckers own a Wii game called, "Just Dance" and it's a total hoot. After all the kids had taken turns and even Aunt Susan and Aunt Maria had cut a rug, they decided it was time for Uncle Mark and Uncle Eric to show us what they had. 

As you can see, no one can resist the lure of shaking what you got. Click here to see some funny stuff.

March 15, 2011

Sleep tight

The boys and I spent some time outside on this beautiful March afternoon. Andrew insisted on playing in the front yard because he wanted to climb the trees. They can't play in the front yard without my being outside with them and I hedged at first; I have lots of laundry to do. Thank goodness I relented. I would have missed this if they had been in the backyard. 

The video quality is poor and unedited, but it's such a great glimpse into how they roll that I'm posting it anyway. Andrew swung himself up into that tree dozens of times, kind of like a leaping monkey, and Thomas?  Thomas was practicing his football footwork.  He's watched too much of the recent NFL combine agility testing with Dad on television.

You would think they would be tired at bedtime, no?

March 10, 2011


The Jayhawks squeaked out an ugly victory today in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. The game was at 11:30 a.m. and Thomas was concerned by that fact because he would be at school and unable to watch.

At around noon I received a text from one of his teachers with this photo attached. The message said, "Thomas is keeping us up-to-date on the score. Rock Chalk."

Notice he's wearing his coat and there are kids outside - you can see their hands pressed against the window. He had chosen to forego outside time to stand on a chair with his ear pressed to a radio to listen to the game while a teacher cleaned up after lunch.

What a great school for letting him do this; it was important to him. What a great teacher for capturing a picture; she didn't have to do that.

What a great kid.