Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Week Before Thanksgiving

Another kid-filled post.  Avert your eyes!  Unless you're my dad.

For the last few years, I've been lucky enough to spend the week before US Thanksgiving back home with my folks.  Steve drives us down on the weekend and flies back to Toronto to work.  Then we meet him in Niagara Falls on the way to our big Thanksgiving get together in upstate New York.  It's a highly orchestrated event involving a car, an airplane, a train and sometimes a bus. 

But it's all worth it because we get to do stuff like this:

Green Bay Packers Autograph Signing

Since I've managed to successfully turn my children into enormous Packer fans, this random event completely blew their minds. 

The only lead up I gave them was: You only get a few seconds with these guys.  Maybe you should ask them a question!?!

Henry: What's your favorite animal?
Quarless: A Lion!
Pennel: An Elephant.
Jake: Is it easier to catch the ball in the heat or in the cold?
Quarless: Haha, good question! Definitely the heat.

Mike Pennel #64
Andrew Quarless #81

I heard about it on the radio the day before.  It was taking place at a local haircut chain.  We stood outside in a freezing cold lineup for 1/2 hr.  But only about 35 people showed up, so we could have arrived 1/2 hr after the event started and walked right in. 

Oh, smalltown, WI.  You're so not Toronto. 

Then we took a roadtrip.

Ella's Deli - Madison, WI

The state capitol is Madison, WI...only 60 minutes away from my parents' front door.  So why not?

The State Capitol

It was really really cold.  But still, I told them to run around as much as they could outside, because it was gonna be all business inside. 

2nd Floor

But, by looking at this picture, you can tell that middle child was anything but business. 

State Senate Chamber

Thank goodness, our close family friend sits in that very desk.  I only found this out when my mom was reading the self guided tour info.  "...and the president of the Senate sits in the desk at the front of the room.  Oh!  That's Mary!!" 

She was elected to the position by her Senate peers just a few weeks ago.  The first female Senate President of the State of Wisconsin.  I've known her since I was in 4th grade.  Go Mary!!!

Rub The Nose For Luck

Then we found the bronze badger, our official state animal, and rubbed the nose for luck.  He sits right outside the Governor's office, so we had to ask the security guard to let us in.  He asked if we might be Packer fans.  I have no idea why.

And here's a picture without children...

The Dome

The inside of the Capitol Dome.  It's gorgeous.  Even the kids were drawn in. 

Oh yes!  Those kids...

Loving It
Turning In Tickets
His Loot

Today was our Grand Finale.  We leave tomorrow for my brother's house and then on to the east coast.  So, of course, we hit Chuck E. Cheese for lunch.  I never ever EVER go there in Toronto, so it's a real treat for these guys.  The games, the tickets and the prizes.  I don't think I've ever paid so much for a twisty lollipop in my life. 

But look at that face.  He's just so happy.

And part two of the finale?

Helium Trampoline Park

My kids are the three blurs in the foreground.  There is nothing more satisfying than burning off energy, and this is the place to do it. 

These videos kill me.  He's 3-1/2.  I had to drag him out kicking and screaming.

Happy almost Thanksgiving / Black Friday!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Halloween...And Then Some

I've decided to get into the mode of posting less more often instead of a lot less often.  I'm short on time.  Like everyone.  So if I put it out there, maybe I'll do it. 

After this one.

My "blogiversary" came and went.  November 1st.  Three years!  I did a Halloween recap then, and again, and again, so I must do one now.  No matter how late is is...

George and I visited Henry's classroom Halloween party.  This black cat got to pose with The Hulk...aka his 3rd costume choice in the week leading up to the big event.  Argh!!

After school, we ran home to decorate.  I just can't get it together to decorate even one day in advance.  It's last minute every single year.  But the joy of kids getting older, means they pitch in.  Jake did the caution tape and I took care of the faux-pumpkins.  (For a full explanation, visit this link, we will never carve again!!!)

Recurring themes:  Zombie (this year there were two), Rain (at least it's not snow) and CANDY (more than ever).  We have the kids pour all the loot onto the table for a picture right after trick-or-treating.  This makes for no individual stashes.  I can't believe they haven't caught onto my trick yet. 

And because it's been two weeks since Halloween, here's some other random things going on in our terribly busy lives:

Winter Is Coming
Winter gear goes on sale incredibly early.  I gave him the chance to pick out his own hat.  I think he loves it.

This came home in Jake's backpack.  His class was taking a trip to the "Century Schoolhouse" here in Toronto, and he was actually excited about it!  I was skeptical.  I know my resistant-to-any-kind-of-change child, but he really wanted to participate.  So we headed to Value Village and Dollarama.  He picked it all out.

And then this happened. 

He settled down, went off to school and met up with his classmates who looked just as crazy cute.  A friend of mine called it "adorkable".  Yes.  Every 3rd grade child must go through the rite of passage.

Then he came home and told us how he got "punished" and had to hold a log for 2 minutes.  A classmate got her hair pinned to the wall and another had to stand on his tippy toes and hold his nose to the wall for a minute.  Awful field trip that it was.

"Henry, you're gonna hate it next year."

Since we're going with a Jake theme here, I have to mention how insanely into football he is right now.  I admit, we've been brainwashing him with my beloved Green Bay Packers from very young.  But he not only watches it, he plays it.  Daily.  At school.  Begs us to go outside and "throw the football around."  His brothers, too.  I love it. 

(And we loved watching the Packers dismantle the Bears on Sunday Night Football.  All three boys may have been a little tired at school the next day...)

And on this active note:

Random iPad Picture

We're neck deep in the electronics war.  Our kids have taken over the iPad.  And an old laptop.  Yesterday, Jake found my old iPhone. 

It's still the kid phase.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts aren't in our near future.  But usage is getting out of hand.  Our general family belief is: everything in moderation.  So we're doing our best to limit the time spent on electronics, taking turns, managing the games. 

But some days, that iPad just seems to disappear.  Nobody can find it!  Hmmm...let's go play football, instead ;)