Monday, February 16, 2009

I’ll Never Need to go Skydiving

Brent went skydiving after turning the responsible adult age of 18, and his grandmother went skydiving when she turned 75…and I must say my preference in staying close to, if not on, the ground is a disappointment to the Smith gene pool.

BUT…I do feel comfortable with my contribution to the family tree, and I’m relieved that I’ll never have to go skydiving to maintain my confidence level. Instead of jumping from a plane, I bravely took 5 children (an infant who gets hungry frequently and often needs head-to-toe diaper changes, a toddler who is prone to random wandering and typical tantrums, and 3 older ones who did an excellent job of trying to be mature (that was their end of the deal) but are still likely to bicker about who’s first and tattle about who’s touching who at least a few times…) to the Chicago Field Museum ALL BY MYSELF!

I psyched myself up for the event when the kids showed a renewed obsession with dinosaurs last week, AND the Museum offers Target-FREE second Mondays for all exhibits (this excursion took place last Mon.). With a small window of opportunity, I had to think fast and ignore any rational thinking. So, the kids and I packed lunches and forged ahead. I did have second thoughts as the plane ascended, I mean as I fought unfamiliar downtown Chicago traffic with a van full of kids for over an hour (Brent says I would've gotten there quicker if I would've used all the lanes on I-90, but I stuck with the right one).

The jump was successful…the sights were breathtaking and the oohhs and aahhs were priceless, and though our feet were sore when we landed, we had a fabulous time! We did have to opt out of heading next door to the Shedd Aquarium to take advantage of their free Monday event, which would’ve maximized our parking/gas cost. But we were happy to go home. (Thankfully, memories of my dad dragging my brothers and I down “one more street” on Halloween to maximize the night of free candy was still fresh enough in my mind to help me make a wise decision with my own children).

The patience required by all parties involved (including museum employees and other museum guests) for such an endeavor is monumental, but the memories were well-worth the physical and mental exhaustion. And of course...once you've experienced being on top of the world, you can always say you've done it...even if you don't plan on doing again anytime soon.

Meeting SUE was the primary goal...and she looked great!

She's the largest, most complete T-rex skeleton ever discovered.

The kids were also quite fascinated with the Egyptian display...especially the real mummies.

We entered a "shrinking machine" and experienced underground life with enormous, moving bugs.

Allison's favorite part was pushing any and all of the red buttons in the entire museum.

Special Thanks Go To:

The double stroller.

My parents who gave us the double stroller this last Christmas.

The kind lady who helped my carry the double stroller up about 100 stairs to enter the museum.

The information specialist and security guard who showed me an alternative exit on the ground floor.

My wonderful children!!

And of course, my husband, for promising to jump with me next time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Date Night

After 371 days of waiting, the Daddy-Daughter Princess Ball arrived...again.

The Prince did such a good job of sweeping Princess Kirsti off her feet last year at her first Princess Ball (a fundraiser by a local high school), that she’s been day-dreaming about dancing in the palace lined with knights on another Princess night with Dad ever since. Throughout the year, Kirsti would randomly say things like, “I like dancing with Daddy. When is the next Princess Dance?” while she was getting ready for bed at night or even while digging in the mud with her brothers. She asked Grandma for a wedding dress for her 4th birthday last July in prep for the BIG night (which happened yesterday). She associates princesses with weddings and dancing and happy endings thanks to Disney, so she was very appropriately dressed. Hopefully she’ll always want to marry someone exactly like her Dad…the song “Butterfly Kisses” comes to mind.

The Prince arrived at the front door and the exchanging of flowers commenced.

It was a wonderful chance for our gorgeous, confident middle child to get a night with her Dad all to herself.

Allison thought she was getting ready to “go,” also, and based on her response when the dancers disappeared into the night, Daddy will have to take two Princesses next year…and eventually 3.