22 April 2009

spring break

James has his spring break from school this week, and seeing as we have no spare time or money for a real vacation, we are having what trendy people refer to as a "stay-cation" which, if I understand correctly, is a stupid name for staying home and doing special things on a small scale. In the spirit of staycation, I have made my children pancakes on a weekday morning (unheard of!), I let them stay up late watching nature shows, and we took a visit to the children's museum.

I've posted bits and pieces about our children's museum before, but it really is an amazing place. We spent almost six hours there yesterday and Evan did not have a single tantrum, or even any whining, that's how magical it is. No whining! I wish that could have lasted forever.

The last time we were there, winter break, the place was insanely crowded and I nearly lost each of the children at least once in those fast-paced, waist-high crowds. It was completely overwhelming, for me anyway. The kids still loved it. This time I prepared myself for the worst, and gave the kids a strict lecture in the car on the way there about the importance of staying close together and never leaving my sight unless they want to live in their bedroom until college. All of which was totally unnecessary, because for no reason I can think of, the place was practically empty. I think the kids were even more well-behaved with fewer other children there. I still can't get over how good they were.

Some of yesterday's highlights include the carousel:

Evan is scared of the carousel horses that actually move, so he rode a miniature stationary horse who he named Fluffy.

There's a pretend TV studio at the museum, where James gave us the world news:

And then Evan filmed James' new cooking show:

And of course, the Lego table, where the boys spent at least an hour constructing various things, because they obviously don't spend enough time doing that at home.

In honor of Earth Day, the museum had some Earth-related events going on. We watched a play called Basura (Spanish for garbage) starring a woman whose overacting reminded me of Shirley Temple, and a puppet made out of trash. Together they taught us all about recycling, and even sang a recycling song to the tune of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, leaving us with that charming melody embedded in our brains for the rest of the day.

After the show we were invited to make our very own trash projects. And this is where I lost my patience. I'm fine with plays and songs, even those that indoctrinate my children (if the indoctrination is of a type I agree with, of course), as long as my kids are enjoying themselves. And I am a big advocate of recycling and reusing anything and everything we can. But I can not get behind the idea of reusing old materials to create extra junk that's going to sit around my house. That's not reusing anything, that's just reconfiguring the garbage and moving it from the recycling bins into my kids' bedroom.

Naturally my kids were on board with the plan to use someone else's garbage to clutter up our house, and I do have to admit that they came up with some pretty interesting little creatures, as much as I dislike the whole concept of the thing.

James made Big Mouth:

And Evan made Froglet:

Very creative, and almost cute, for something made out of garbage, but honestly I'm just wondering how soon I can smuggle these creatures into the actual trash and recycling bins.

Still, despite that little quibble, the museum was a really fun way to spend a day of vacation -- so fun I wish we had time to go again this week -- and I'm hoping the rest of the week will be as easy as yesterday was.

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