What's better than a giant spinning wheel?
A big tray of sand, rocks, and water, that's what.
Do your lives go this way? Long periods of interminable boring-ness followed by activities piled in one on top of the other? I wish there were some way to keep the fun from happening in clumps. I had to actually miss things I really wanted to do (baby shower, free ticket to a women's conference) because I ALREADY HAD PLANS. WRITTEN ON THE CALENDAR. Very unusual.
Two weeks ago we had a really fun day with a friend from California and her kids. Judy was free while her husband was working (he's a photographer, and you must check out their website), so we met up at Bob's Red Mill for breakfast. I have purchased many of their delicious grain products before, never realizing that the red mill on the label is not a marketing fabrication but an actual place. A place that serves darned good breakfasts. As a bonus, the boys were mesmerized by the mill wheel.
After that, we were off to OMSI (that's Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for you out-of-towners.) The kids had a fantastic time and ran themselves ragged in the "science playground," which was a deluxe compilation of everything a pre-schooler might want to busy himself with: super-fancy giant sandbox with wall-mounted sifters, shovels, and tractors? Check. Huge waterways at waist level with protective aprons and rubber boots provided? Check. Squirrel vests with tails, giant plastic acorns, and hollow tree trunks? Check. It was glorious.
Other big hits included the paleontology area (yes, there were dinosaur bones and a fully assembled saber-toothed tiger skeleton) and a salmon habitat area where the boys could move rocks, sand and trees around.
Had I been a more conscientious mother and checked out the exhibits ahead of time, we probably would have skipped the human sciences section. It was very interesting, but geared toward slightly older kids. The boys were unprepared for life-sized drawings of a baby in utero, and I was unprepared for a transparent life-sized human figure. It was pretty spectacular, elevated so the knees were at adult eye level. Several irresistible buttons did things like rotate the figure and illuminate organs and systems. When Willem found the button that caused the figure's breasts to light up green, I figured it was time to move on. But we'll go back. We still haven't toured the submarine in the river just outside.
That weekend our friends The Hamiltons of Idaho These Days But We're Trying To Get Them To Move West came for a visit. During the day Amanda took her art students to do art things, and Andrew and Esly hung out with us. In the evening we put the kids to bed and ate some lentil soup and listened to some good music (play list courtesy of Andrew) and enjoyed one another's company.
For me, that would already have been about three months' worth of activity. But the next week I got to see my friend Heidi and her two little girls. They came over to play for a few hours. Now, Heidi is my friend from high school, and I haven't seen her since we graduated in 1990. The last I knew (about 8 or 9 years ago), she was in West Africa in the Peace Corps. Then I signed up for Facebook and found her...and found out she had just moved to Portland this year and lives about 20 minutes away from us. Oh, crazy life.
LAST weekend I had the most fun of all, a fun so fun that it deserves its own post.
I hope I haven't been hogging it all. I hope you've been having some fun too.