15 August 2016

Denver Aquarium

We woke up to the succulent smells of pancakes and bacon...smells that I did not have to cook. The older kids were dressed and outside playing a last time with Sadie and Xander. The teenagers slowly left the confines of their beds, enticed by the smells of breakfast. We packed up and somehow left more than our fair share of items at the Curry house including: Amelia's birthday dress, Evelyn's pink boots, and a variety of socks, undies, and such. We hugged Heidi then left for a half day of fun in downtown Denver. We wanted to celebrate the end of summer vacation with a visit to the Aquarium. We went to Denver because Amelia had another Dr appointment with Dr G at 3 pm. This time we took Justin and the middle kids. It was a good excuse to get out of town for a couple days. The Aquarium was quite fun. It was better than the rumors I heard that it was small and not worth the price tag. The entrance fee was higher than the Monterey Bay Aquarium and not as spacious. Still we enjoyed the way it was laid out by different types of water and fish from different areas in the world (ie. rainforest, harbors, desert, deep ocean, sea, coral reefs, etc). The tank with rays, groupers, and harmless fish hosted a Mermaid show. Justin and the kids almost missed the show, they went off exploring while I nursed Josie. The show was quite magical! The girls did a good job swimming without being able to see in the salty water. Of course, at the end they had to throw in a plug about keeping trash out of the oceans and to recycle. Evelyn was wide-eyed watching the Mermaids swim about. My favorite was when a huge Manta Ray slid down the tank glass several times. I imagined his whoops of joy! Phillip loved the shark tank. Everett started at the jellyfish for a long time. At the end of the tour we had to walk through a tourist trap. Even with the hefty entrance fee the last area enticed kids with photos with a mermaid, face painting, feeding rays, toys, food, and games...all with a price tag. Sneaky, sneaky. The kids got a photo with a mermaid and then tried to touch a slimy ray. We got the kids a ride on the carousel. Evelyn was terrified, even with Justin sitting or standing behind her. The carousel broke down 3 times and had to be restarted. We walked around downtown in search of a Noodles and Co, Amelia's favorite food place. Justin found a parking spot not too far away. We spotted a guy feeding a herd of pigeons, he was surrounded with birds. The boys and Evelyn could not resist scattering his herd of birds. Evelyn insisted on pushing Josie down the sidewalk unassisted. She did a decent job staying on the sidewalk. Amelia tucked right into a big bowl of Wisconsin Mac n'Cheese. Justin and I got a new Korean dish that left our lips tingling from spicy heat.

Justin checked in Amelia for her appointment with the two boys. Both girls fell asleep so I drove around until Josie woke up. We waited for quite a long time, 2 hours for a 10 minute visit with Dr G. Amelia's bone is slowly bridging the gap her surgery left.  We can see remodeling on the inner part of her bone but very little between the incision. Dr G made sure we knew to limit her physical activity and keep her on crutches until the bone fills in more. She is excused from PE until further notice. We plan on her doing her PT exercises during the time she is in PE. Her PE teacher will help make sure she does that instead of lagging about. That is a real win-win for us since she will not do her exercises at home. We drove home much later than I anticipated. I found a little Italian place for dinner. The kids were not so keen on their noodles and butter. They were also a bit disruptive during dinner. We try hard to keep them attentive to manners but someone always slides under the radar. Right after the kids went to bed a cool lightening storm passed over Sidney. I grabbed my camera and practiced some lightening photography. I captured some pretty fun shots while getting wet and enjoying the spectacle.

Tuesday was an awful day. The kids were all tired and crabby. Just before lunch I asked the kids to help clean up the clutter in the living room. Everett gladly picked up his items. Phillip melted in a quivering mass of whining. Amelia went into full tantrum mode. I asked her to go down to her room until she cooled down. She refused, instead started poking and smacking me. I could not wrestle her down to the basement since I had Josie in the front pack. She got worse and worse, it felt like a black cloud spewing filth all over me. My mommy mode broke, I smacked her across the face, mostly to get her attention. That served up nothing except guilt over me smacking her. She raged even harder until I was afraid she would hurt me or the smaller kids. So, I grabbed Evelyn and Everett and hopped in the van. Phillip was still whining over picking up his toys so he stayed with Mrs Jekyll. We drove around the block and waited 5 minutes. Both kids were blubbering something fierce when we pulled back into the garage. Amelia melted back into Hyde mode, crying her eyes out. We hugged and snuggled until the storm passed. Phillip still refused to pick up his stuff so I ripped out a new garbage bag and stuffed his prized toys, Cager, and his baby blanket into the bag and took the lot out to the alley. He freaked and immediately cleaned up his room and the rest of the stuff in the living room. Luckily, the garbage truck picked up the trash at the High School so that spurned him on further to act quickly before his precious items went to the dump. He earned back his stuff just in time! I hate that he only responds to threats. I was an emotional wreck that day after all the drama. I prayed for inspiration to help the kids feel loved while being disciplined, that is a hard balance to find. The kids lost all technology privileges for 2 days. I love being a mom, but there are times when I feel so frazzled. I seek help and strength from Justin and my Heavenly Father. I try to look for the smiles and good rather than focus on the sea of whining.

Fortunately, the rainbow comes after the storm. The rest of the week was amazing. Wednesday Alison came over after 3 to help clean my kitchen cupboards. I spread out a sheet in the living room for the kids to make crafts with a load of foam sheets Jen gave us last week. The kids made a huge mess with glue, scissors, markers, and foam. It was so beautiful! They created masks, photo frames, and silly figures. After the foam was all cut up Alison rolled up the mess in the sheet and threw it in the dumpster. I hired Alia to take the kids swimming from 3-5 pm. We worked as quickly as possible and cleaned 8 cupboards in 90 minutes. The next day or so I worked on cleaning out drawers and the laundry/pantry area. I cleaned under the washer and dryer about a year ago, it was a terrible mess. Phillip helped clean out the space and got to keep all the coins he found under the appliances. I took another load over to Salvation Army of kitchen gadgets I no longer need or want. We attended the ward picnic for dinner. The ward provided a hot dog bar where you could make chili dogs, cuban dogs, chicago dogs, spicy dogs, Hawaiian dogs, etc. The set up was fancy and the dogs quite delicious. The members brought salads or desserts. I made a bacon-swiss salad and a blueberry dessert salad. I love making recipes out of Betty's cookbook, Grandpa Lynn's sister. She had Utah cooking down to an art. All of the recipes list interesting details like who she served it too and if the recipe was like, adored, or so-so. We loved the blueberry salad!

Amelia really wanted to face paint, I did not so she painted faces herself! I think she did a really good job. Phillip sort of liked his, he added his own interpretation over the top of Amelia's design. He was so mad it looked like a darth maul/camouflage face.

Friday I braved the impossible to take the kids to Walmart for School supply shopping. I usually go to Target but this year just went down the road for ease and convenience. It was a mad house with 3 kids running around collecting items on and off their lists. Evelyn was quite helpful as she added all the items she wanted as well (hemorrhoid cream, more nail polish, markers, permanent markers, and scissors). Phillip and Everett can't read well yet so they just piled in what they thought their lists asked for. I had to empty the cart and start over. The cart had a strict no-fly zone, if it did not fly by mom it did not make it to the cart. I am not sure what I was thinking! Next year remind me that school supply shopping is a solo gig. Evelyn of course removed her shoes as quickly as possible. I had 4-5 concerned Walmart workers stop to tell me she was barefooted in the store and might step on some glass. I put on her shoes over 20 times, smacked her feet a couple times, listened to her scream as I fastened her into the cart. Still, I got the stares and lectures. Finally I unleashed the beast and let her run wild hoping maybe she would get glass in her feet and finally consent to keeping her shoes on. I hate looks of pity I get from other folks and the rude comments. I enjoy this even if my face looks impatient. I have to be a drill Sargent, especially in public. I am not over-burdened, upset, mad, or disappointed in the kids I have. Gracious, can't you see they are pretty amazing people full of energy. I think our society is cultivating an intolerance for normal behavior from kids, expecting them to be silent as they are hooked to devices. Kids need to be kids, in the right places of course. Instead of judging, lend a helping hand, instead of staring and saying rude comments just smile and say you are doing a great job. The kids played on the caboose parked up on the hill after lunch. They enjoy playing up there!

As a family we drove to Sterling early afternoon. Every 6 weeks I pass a museum just off I-76 for Overland Trail Museum. I've visited several museums in Nebraska and Colorado, this one put them all to shame. Best museum in this part of the country. The main museum was filled with old fossils, Indian artifacts, taxidermy, clothing, dolls, toys, furniture, etc. Outside the museum are 13-14 out buildings dedicated to a theme: collection of farm tools/machines, ranching items, barbershop, store, church, school, house, gas station, old vehicles, and a caboose and train depot. I am sure I missed one or two buildings. The kids played in each building, it was hard to reign them back from touching and treating the spaces like a true play area. Evelyn loved the church, the stand became a stage. Everett preached a sermon from the pulpit. Amelia showed how teachers used to smack little hands with a ruler, Justin played to be a soda jerker. All the kids loved the Caboose. Best $7.50 we've spent at a museum. Josie looked darling in a little sunbonnet I thrifted and repaired with needle and thread. We visited the park after the museum for some down time. Lazing on a quilt at a park is quite ideal. Justin remarked how well-behaved the kids were!

I was late for church. Again. This time the driver's side passenger door would not open. It clunked against some heavy metal. Justin fixed the door after watching several YouTube videos and finding the source of the issue: a small spring that came loose was the issue. As I put Josie in her seat she pooed all over my hands, I had mustard hands, her clothes were mustarded, it was dripping a trail to where I changed her. At church all the parking spaces were taken so we parked out on the street. One thing after another! I taught a fun lesson in Sunday School about journaling, a subject dear to my heart. One piece of advice Elder Eyring gave was to journal this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” What a perfect question! Often times we do not see the answer to this question while in the family trenches, a bit of pondering and reflection will reveal the hand of God in our daily lives.