Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Special Outings

During our Christmas holiday time at Grammy and Papa's, we went out on the town for a few special outings:

Obstacle Warrior Kids
This gym was set up to resemble various American Ninja Warrior courses. It was the first time any of us had visited a site like this. Jaden and Cody were a little on the young side to successfully be able to make their way through most of the obstacles, but they still seemed to enjoy trying.

In the back of the gym was a section for much younger kids containing a foam block pit, a few climbing obstacles, and a trampoline. Adley liked exploring this section and especially giggled when she was bounced on the trampoline.

Looking at Christmas Lights in Style!
One evening, Matt borrowed a bus from the school where he works, and the whole family piled in so we could drive around town looking at Christmas lights. All of the kids thought it was so special to be able to ride together in this large bus. What a unique adventure!

Jaden and Ian

Downtown Children's Museum
Our family had only visited this museum once before, so we were excited to try it out again. It ended up being a VERY busy day to visit, but we still thought our time there was worthwhile.

Cody enjoyed pretending to be a weatherman in Kidtropolis, the section of the museum set up to resemble a miniature city where the kids can work at jobs, earn paychecks, a spend money at grocery stores and restaurants.

Cody and Jaden played at this exhibit for quite some time, trying to devise the perfect pathway for a rolling ball.

I loved watching the boys talk to each other on these payphones (after, of course, I had to explain to them what these foreign contraptions even were!). Both phones even had little video cameras so they could see each other while they were talking.

This section for catching rubber fish and crabs in nets was also one of the boys' favorites.

Daddy took the boys climbing on this cool ladder.

Mommy and Daddy took turns spending time with Adley in the upstairs Tot Spot, an area designed for kids under 3 years old. This section was perfect for Adley! She loved crawling around up here, playing with various balls, wheels, and other fun toys.

Midway through our morning, we all gathered in the parking garage to eat a picnic lunch. The Children's Museum doesn't allow you to bring in food, and it was too chilly to eat on the ground, so the kids gathered in the back of Andrew and Sarah's van for lunch. Fun memories. :)

Ice Skating
This event could accurately be described as "the best of times and the worst of times." Going ice skating was one of Jaden and Cody's first picks when we gave them a list of options for what they wanted to do over Christmas break. However, when we actually got to the chilly rink, put on the clunky ice skates, and slid clumsily across the ice (even with a walker) for the very first time, Cody and Jaden weren't quite sure ice skating was something they wanted to do anymore! After quite a few tears, a break on the sidelines, and multiple pep talks from adults, the boys finally decided go around the rink again. And then again. Believe it or not, the skating actually got easier. ;)


We never quite graduated away from using the walkers, nor were the boys thrilled about skating without an adult directly behind them. But, in the end, we did get some smiles! And, once we were ready for home, both boys left saying that they loved skating and wanted to return again sometime soon. The whole experience was definitely a lesson in patience (for kids and parents alike!) and perseverance-- two good traits to continue to build up!

Our sweet girl wasn't too thrilled about spending time in the cold ice rink at first either. During one of Adley's fussy moments, however, Papa walked Adley around and expertly rocked her to sleep-- just what she needed!

All of these outings added up to make for a very enjoyable Christmas break! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Walquist Resort Activities

Traditionally for Christmas, our family has taken turns spending the holiday with Jason's side of the family one year, and then Amy's side of the family the next. This year was a Walquist-side celebration, and we had a unique issue to figure out-- how do we make the time together special when we all now live in the same community? We all agreed that extended time spent at one home makes it feel more like a vacation and gives us some quality time together. So, Grammy and Papa decided to open up their home as the "Walquist Resort" for a few nights during Christmas week. Our days were filled with a combination of outings around town and several fun, special activities that Grammy and Papa planned for at home. Here are some of the activities we did:

Money Class
Recently, Grammy and Papa had visited Dallas/Fort Worth and had toured the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving. They wanted to teach their grandkids some of the unique things they learned on their tour, so they held what Papa called a "money class."

Grammy and Papa used actual bills to show their grandkids how the pictures and markings on the bills have changed over time.

The kids used magnifying glasses to inspect the bills' serial numbers. Grammy and Papa showed us how some serial numbers are followed by a star. This signifies that an imperfection had been found on the original sheet, and a new, replacement sheet had to be printed.

It was fun to analyze these bills. Everyone learned something new! What a fun idea!

Sand Art
Grammy had found some awesome sand art kits online that she ordered for our time together. The pictures were extra-large, and the sand was so beautifully colored. The kids all LOVED making their pictures and asked to do it twice.

After the pictures were completed, Aunt Sarah had the great idea to just let the kids play in the sand.

Maple Syrup Tasting
In the fall, Grammy and Papa had also taken a vacation out to the New England states to see the fall colors. On their trip, they purchased several bottles of real maple syrup in varying degrees of sweetness. They were excited to let the whole family taste-test the syrups and decide which kinds we liked best. First, Papa and Grammy showed the kids a brief video on how maple syrup is made.

Then, each child received his own spoon, and Grammy poured samples of syrup from 4 different bottles.

The syrup was very rich and sweet! It was interesting to see which flavors each of the kids liked best.

Meanwhile, the men in the family were hard at work preparing a special pancake treat for the kids to eat with their chosen favorite syrup.

Aren't these reindeer pancakes adorable? What a fun idea!

The kids, of course, were eager to dig in. What a memorable and tasty lunch. Yum!

Aside from the organized activities, we had quite a bit of time just to hang out together and play. Abby and I dressed her doll with some of the new doll clothes we had given her for Christmas.

Adley and Ben found common ground with some toys.

We read lots of stories together...

...and played lots of outdoor baseball and soccer.

We played quite a few games, like Jaden and Cody's new Sleeping Queens card game (their current favorite).

A couple times, the family walked down to the school playground near Grammy and Papa's house.

We appreciate so much all the special things that Grammy and Papa did to make our time memorable. The Walquist Resort earned an easy 5 stars in our book! :)