Monday, March 23, 2015

Friday Fun in Tacoma

Last Friday, the kids didn't have school due to an archdiocese in-service day, so we decided to make a day of it. Originally, I thought we might head north to Mt. Vernon to see the tulips in bloom; unfortunately, the tulips wouldn't be in bloom yet. Instead, we opted to pile into my van and make the trek down to Tacoma for a day of fun and ... uhh.... more fun!

We went straight to my mom's house to hang out for a bit prior to meeting my best friend and her little boy for lunch and frolicking at the Tacoma Children's Museum. In the hour of frolicking, the kids mostly stayed in the back yard inspecting my mom's newly planted flowers and playing the recorder that she keeps on hand for the kids to play with when they visit. Conor got up close and very personal with just about every bloom in the yard and let us know which ones smelled the best. Impressively, only one plant wound up under his shoes.

Conor sniffing the tulips

Taking time to stop and smell the daffodils

Getting a good whiff of the purple ones

Annika modeling the yellow tulips

 During this visit, I channeled my elementary school music teacher and taught Annika how to play "Mary had a little lamb" on the recorder. It was really impressive how she committed herself to learning the song and played it over and over until she had it down pat.

Naturally, Conor wanted his time with the recorder, too. He wasn't quite as concerned about learning a song as making the recorder make the loudest sounds it could possible make. (My apologies to all of my mom's neighbors who happened to be home during the kids' concerts!) Not to be left out, Annika opted to put on her conductor hat while Conor worked on his musical medley.

The kids did a good job of sharing the recorder and conducting duties. After a bit, Conor put down his conductor's baton pencil and did a little freestyle dancing to enhance Annika's rendition of "Mary had a little lamb".

The final portion of our backyard entertainment was comprised of Annika on the recorder and Conor on the spoons. The spoons were played on each other, some posts, a couple of planters, and the brick patio. Nothing limits our family's musical expression!

Once the music was all played out (moreover, I said we needed to leave in order to get to the restaurant on time), we piled into the van and meet Kate and Daniel at The Old Spaghetti Factory. YUM! I loved that place as a kid and my feeling haven't changed a bit as an adult. Kate and I don't get to spend nearly enough time together, which makes the time we do spend with each other that much more special and cherished. We caught up, exchanged Christmas gifts (yes, we're always this slow!), and laughed our heads off.

At one point during lunch, Annika serenaded us with the "Make new friends" song (a Girl Scout classic); she was just wanting to share a song, but in actuality, she summed up the friendship that Kate and I share.

Make new friends,

but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

A circle is round,
it has no end.
That's how long,
I will be your friend.

At the Tacoma Children's Museum, our kids went in every direction possible, making it tricky to keep chatting, but we did get a a few minutes here and there when the kids were occupied by the same activity. Just to be funny, I even texted Kate a few times while we were there, but not within sight of each other. The kids had a marvelous time exploring the new things to do at the museum and spending time at their go-to favorite activities, too. I was highly impressed with the new magnetic PVC segments activity that was added since our last visit and can see a scaled-down version being really neat in a classroom or Conor's room.

It was finally time to pack up and head back north. We said our goodbyes to Kate and Daniel, made a quick stop at Johnson's Candies (yum!), dropped off my mom at her house, and then spent the next 2 hours getting back home. Fortunately, the kids were pretty tired (aka mellow) and had tablets to keep them distracted as we sat in the rush hour traffic. It was a test in patience, but we were lucky enough to make it home without incident or any meltdowns.

Hurray for a fun day!!

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