Josh and I started the tradition of giving Wyatt and Clara little day trips for Christmas instead of toys. We still get them a few small things (books, clothes, sidewalk chalk) so they have stuff to open on Christmas but their main presents they have to wait for. I’m not sure if the anticipation is greater for the kids or us.
This year we gave Clara a trip to the Science Center in Des Moines and saw the Lego movie in Altoona. The movie got added because the IMAX theater at the Science Center is under repair. We took Wyatt a few years ago so now it was Clara’s turn. By coincidence it was also the day they were promoting women in science. It was great to see the wheels turning in her head as they helped her with experiments. She really liked the room where it’s all hands on. You build tunnels to direct water flow, throw balls and watch them go through a series of tubes that you can change, learn about air displacement watching some sequins shimmer and pull yourself up in a chair using a pulley system. She was not terribly fond of the nature in Iowa room but that was because there were a lot of snakes. One of the workers even had a snake out to pet but she wanted nothing to do with him (neither did Josh to be fair).
Then we were off to Lego Movie 2. We got our snacks and were some of the first people in the theater which of course means our snacks were basically gone before the movie even started. The theater has the reclining seats – awesome, or “Everything is Awesome” for those that have seen the movies! We really thought Clara was going to fall asleep because she was laid all the way back in her seat. In the end she never fell asleep but Josh can’t say the same thing. She was having fun keeping an eye on him and waking him up so he didn’t miss anything. The day went perfectly for all. She was telling people about her ‘special Clara day’ for the next week.
Recently we finally got to have Wyatt’s trip to play paintball in Des Moines. I think it’s safe to say all 3 of us were excited but equally nervous. The way this place works is your group goes in the playing area which has multiple blow up things to hide behind, the round starts and when you get hit you’re out for that round. Our teams were always 2 on 1 with Wyatt always on a team, and the last team standing wins that round. Wyatt had spent the previous night researching paintball videos and was doing his best to psych us out that he was going to hideout and be the sniper. We quickly figured out this is not the best strategy. With only 3 of us in our group you are better off to attack than hide.
Once we were 2 rounds in and everyone had been hit at least once the nerves went away. Yes they hurt but only for a minute (granted my bruises took over a week to fully go away). The highlights (or low depending on who you’re rooting for) were Josh shooting me in the back, Wyatt getting shot in the face – twice, Wyatt shooting me perfectly that it hit the insides of BOTH my legs, and Josh somehow getting shot by Wyatt and I simultaneously in 3 different rounds. It was great watching Wyatt’s confidence grow with each round. So much so that he has requested to have his birthday party there.
We started this tradition because we wanted to concentrate on making memories. Each year is a challenge for me of finding a new adventure. One of the best parts of this whole process is watching the kids on Christmas day. They find out which envelope is from us and keep that to open last, which is kid speak is the highest compliment. The smiles, jokes, laughs, learning things about each other and memories are the biggest thank you we could ever get. What really has kept this going is the simple fact that the kids are so great. They’re polite, fun and so easy to take places. May this tradition never end.
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Until next time!