Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For the Love of Sharks!

Sophia has a deep love of all things that swim in the ocean.  I'm not sure where it comes from, as living in Kansas is just about as far from an ocean as you can get.  And, since all of our vacations to this point involve heading west to Colorado - she's yet to see one.   But, nevertheless, she loves it all!  I never knew there were so many books on oceans and sharks! But apparently we're on a quest to own every single one.  

Friday, the kids didn't have school and Chris was able to take the day off so we swung by the grandparents' house to pick up the kids (Thanks for the date night!!) and loaded them into the van.  We just told them we were going to go somewhere for a special surprise.  Usually that doesn't work.  Usually, they wear us down with questions until we finally give up and tell them where we are going.  No fun.  This time, I think they were just tired enough that they gave up their questioning pretty quickly. 

We headed south to the Oklahoma Aquarium.  Three hours later, as we got out of our car I asked Sophia to read the sign on the building.  As she read the word aquarium her eyes lit up!  She was so excited!  That look alone was worth the trip and the ticket price --- which by the way is pretty steep. 

While there we saw a ton of things that had previously only been seen in our books and on Finding Nemo.  We saw plenty of Nemos, Marlins, and Dorys.  We got to feel shrimp, starfish and other hard and squishy things.  We watched turtles swim, saw some gorgeous salt water fish and some ridiculously large catfish and bass. 

But all along, Sophia kept rushing us to get to the shark exhibit.  Once there she just stood in awe.  You can walk through a glass tunnel and have the sharks swim all around and over you.  I got a little dizzy.  But Sophia could have stayed there for hours I think.  Not an easy place to take pictures.

Smart museums all make you exit through the gift shop.  Somehow, we manged to get out the door without making any purchases.  We did have to turn around as Sam walked right out the doors with a sword.  Then we got in the car and headed home.  After a few minutes in the car I looked back and all four kids were asleep.  THAT IS SO STINKIN' RARE!  The other kids can fall asleep in the car, but Sophia hardly ever does. 

That lasted exactly 20 minutes until we proceeded to pass through Oklahoma's absurd toll booth system.  I don't know how many we went through, but every time we hit those bumps intended to get you to slow down, our kids were all awake.  Giant bummer.  Note to Oklahoma:  seriously, your roads are not that great!  One toll stop would be acceptable, then put the others as people EXIT off the highway, not in the middle of it. 

Six hours in the car and more money than I want to add up for about 2 hours at the Oklahoma Aquarium.  Totally worth it though!  The kids had a great time and saw things they won't likely see again for a long time.  It's really a great place to take a day trip!   All for the love of sharks. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Super Sunday: Part 2

Anna has talked to me for several months about getting baptised.  Since she's pretty much hardly ever missed a Sunday at church, she confidently believes in Jesus and knows He is in her heart.  She understands (as much as any 6 year-old can) that baptism is an act of obedience to God.  It's an outward expression of her faith.  While she's young, we know we'll continue to teach her more and more about God and what the Bible has to say about her life, so we're comfortable baptising her now and letting her follow her heart.  She has been ready to do this for a very long time. 

But, there's just this one little problem.  She's pretty shy.  Like, look down when an adult talks to you and cover your mouth if you actually have to respond. So the idea of going up to the front of the sanctuary for everyone to see is a little bit of a challenge.  She was nervous, but insistent that she wanted to do it.  But, she didn't want any of our family to come.  Sorry Grandparents!   We learned at her t-ball games this summer that the more relatives in attendance - the more nervous she was.  So, we didn't invite anyone to come.  And luckily, Chris was able to baptise her just like he did Sophia.  See hereDid I mention the water was pretty cold?  There was a little bit of shock on her face when she got in.  

It  was a pretty special Sunday, celebrated with lunch at Applebees and afternoon naps for everyone!  I'm just so proud of her because I know how hard that was for her to do.  Many adults don't have the courage she had!  I love you Anna Faith!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Abilene Campout

Last weekend we attended The Great Abilene Campout.  It was so much fun!  We had 170 people attend the school-wide campout on the playground and adjoining field.  While a few people didn't spend the night, we had 36 tents and a few RVs all lined up. 

These moms are amazing!  Carrying everything, setting it all up and camping with their kids!

Up goes tent city.
I love how my kids are all lined up below just watching the adults set up the tents -- like they're watching a movie!

Some of the dads grilled hot dogs for everyone and as it got darker everyone made their own s'mores.  In the morning donuts and juice were waiting for everyone - despite how early all the kids actually woke up! Seriously, don't they need more sleep than that?

The thing is, I normally supervise our kids like a protective mama bear.  And that night they had freedom they're not accustomed to.  The playground was fenced in and the kids generally just ran around for hours on end.  They all had flashlights and glow sticks and could play soccer, play on the playground equipment, run around in and out of the tents and just be free to be kids.  They had so much fun with their friends.  Many of the adults just sat around the campfire talking and we would catch little glimpses of our kids running by.  That was my favorite part - just talking to the other parents.  It seems rare these days that we take time to just sit and relax together. 
Our kids' side of the tent.  Plenty of room.

I thought we'd have to force our kids to go to bed.  But after the girls had run around for about 4 hours, they kicked all the other kids out of our tent and went to bed.  Awesome!  Sam was another story.  He finally went to bed around 12:30 when Chris and I left the warm campfire.  Then, he wouldn't fall asleep until he snuggled into Chris' mummy sleeping bag with him.  Cozy!  Camping out was COLD at night.  I know the temperature only said about 47, but somehow I was freezing all night long.  Not exagerating in the least.  I'm not sure how I could have been cold.  I had a great sleeping bag along with a blanket in a really nice tent.  But I just laid there and shivered.  I listened to the trains pass through town.  Who knew they came through so many times at night?  I noticed when the power went out for the whole town.  How does that happen without any storms?  And I actually considered heading in to the teacher's lounge where I knew there was a couch.  I didn't, but I really, really wanted to!  Luckily the kids slept better than me!  Though we all napped the next day.  I've really got to toughen up if I'm actually going to camp out at Yellowstone next summer. 

The camp out was SO MUCH FUN!  Little planning, lots of relaxing and watching our kids have a ball.  Can't wait for next year! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Would you like cash back?

We were talking to the kids today at the lunch table about money.  The girls had mentioned wanting new winter coats because they simply liked another color better than last years' coats.  I explained that we bought new coats if they outgrew the old ones or if they were beginning to fall apart (which happens when you have three girls who pass clothes down to each other).  We don't buy new things just because we want them.  Big bummer!

I was telling them how we are trying really hard to spend less money and save more so we can do fun things like go on summer vacations and REALLY fun things like pay all of our bills.  Anna, my six year-old, just looked at me and asked me "when you're at the store why don't you just say yes when they ask if you want cash back?"  Problem solved in her sweet little mind.   They offer us money, we say yes. 

Wouldn't it be nice if it worked that way?