Spring Break 2014

March 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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James left for DC this week, so we thought it would be the perfect time for a Shaver invasion. I stocked up on wine and Liam waited by the window. Soon enough, Monday afternoon they pulled in the driveway. Let the chaos begin! Liam was just getting over a cold, so he was in rare form, screaming and crying every time Evie didn’t want to play with him. And Evie was in no mood for a whiny five-year-old. So the adults self-medicated while the children worked out their problems as best they could. The peace was tenuous at best. So we decided to CottonCandy2break out the cotton candy machine. Ahh, that got them in line. They dutifully waited their turn as I made one cotton candy flavor after another. We had five flavors to choose from, and I think we tried them all. When my arm got tired, Jill took over. I have to say, when James got this thing I was a bit dubious. But it was a huge hit! The next day it was all Evie could talk about, and we managed to put the kids off until after dinner again, requiring them to finish their veggies (or in Evie’s case, whatever she will deign to eat) And they all CottonCandy3lined up like little birds waiting for mama to give them a worm. No fighting, no whining. Everyone got the flavor they wanted and everyone waited their turn. Then sticky children got in the bath (Evie and Liam in the jacuzzi tub marveling at the “shooting bubbles!”), brushed teeth, and got to bed. We put Liam and Evie in his twin bed, which ultimately we regretted. Jill and I were trying our best to catch her up on Season 3 of Game of Thrones amid numerous interruptions. I finally had to just sit in there with them until they nodded off around 10:30. So the kids were especially cranky all the next day while Auntie Mandy nursed a hangover and what turned out to be an oncoming cold. My mom wasn’t feeling too well, either, so dad came up to Wichita on his own on Tuesday to witness the madness. Milo stuck to him like glue, the older children bickered, and I had to make another wine run.

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With the change of plans came a change of menu – instead of bland Shepard’s Pie, I decided to break out the spicy Chicken Tikka Masala for us three spicy food fiends. Yum yum! Then it was more cotton candy, sticky children in the bath, teeth brushed, sleeping arrangements rearranged so all the children slept separately, and we had some peace and quiet. Yes! Jill and I finished the last episode of Game of Thrones, and then we decided to introduce dad to Breaking Bad. I never get tired of watching that show!

The next day Jill had to return to her day job, so the Shavers bid us adieu. We briefly entertained the idea of keeping Evie so she could spend more time with Liam, but it was apparent that these cousins had had enough of each other. We’ll be seeing a lot of them in the coming month, so just as well. My cold was just setting in, so I was ready for a little peace and quiet, anyway. Amazing how much the volume dips when you subtract two children.

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So dad, Liam and I took a little field trip up to Hutchison. First stop, the Strataca, the Salt Mine Museum. During the safety video I got a little worried about the hard hat rule. Liam hates wearing hats. And he wasn’t too happy, but he seemed to accept that he was required to wear it. He spent the first 30 minutes complaining about it and messing with it, but then we got on the underground train, and all was good. IMG_2675The exhibits were pretty fascinating, though dad got to see more of those than I did. I had a five-year-old pulling me around as fast as he could toward the train. We were interested to learn that at 650 feet below the surface, we were actually beneath the aquifer that services the water supply for the entire area, even Derby. Liam and I talk at great length about the water cycle, so he thought that was cool. I was surprised to see a whole cache of movie props and costumes that are stored in the facility. We took another ride on a tram through some of the darker parts of the mine, learning more about the history, cave-ins, red salt, and how water seepage can make the purest variety of salt. Then we stopped and got to collect our own salt rocks. Liam wanted to stay on the tram, so I collected a little bag for him and a salt rock as big as my fist to shine up and display at home. By the time we made it back to the elevator, I felt like my skin was covered in a fine layer of salt dust. And we were ready to see some sunshine again. How do those miners do it, I tell ya!

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Cosmosphere geeking out to space stuff. An impressive museum, ranking in my mind up there with Smithsonian Air & Space and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral. I wish Liam would take more of an interest, but he instead sped through, dragging me along as I tried my best to glance at all the cool stuff. We made a stop at the lunar lander and waited for grandpa to catch up. I did get to see a cool moon rock. And Jim Lovell’s space suit from Apollo 13. And a video of the moon landing. After an emergency stop at the snack shop, dad and Liam snapped this hilarious photo at kiosk in the lobby. Liam still had his hat hair.

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We ended the evening with a gut-busting trip to Strouds, and the food was even better this time because I was ravenous. I find it hilarious that dad and I tend to order the same thing whenever we eat out. This time it was chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and ice tea. And let’s not forget a cinnamon roll. Our appetites must be genetic. Yum!

Thursday grandpa tagged along to tumbling class. The teacher gave the kids some time for free play, so Liam showed off his balance beam skills.

After indulging in a sea salt and caramel Pazookie at BJ’s (divine!), we headed for The World Treasures Museum. They were hosting some sort of a military event there, so it was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it. As usual, Liam led me around, hardly glancing at the exhibits. We rode the elevator 30 times. And took the back stairs about half a dozen. We kept finding and losing grandpa, who wanted to read every plaque on the wall. Mr. Whiny Pants cut him a bit short, so we’ll have to go back another time so he can properly tour the first floor.

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Back home we broke out a souvenir from the salt mine that grandpa picked up for the grandkids: a tree that grows colored salt. He carefully mixed the formula and poured it into the tray. And then Liam managed to knock it over, doh! But we saved it, and as the afternoon wore on, it kept getting fuzzier and fuzzier. By bedtime it was a full-fledged pink tree. Very cool!

More whining and crying ensued the next morning when we tried to go out for breakfast and Liam didn’t get to finish his cartoons. I think poor grandpa, who seemed to have the same cold I did, was ready to get back to his peaceful, quiet house. I wish I could have gone with him! Perhaps next weekend, when I’m planning a short trip up to KC to see Divergent with mom and Jill, we’ll all be over our colds and everyone will be a better mood. Or we might be dropping off the grandkids at the orphanage!

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