Friday, April 22, 2011

Notes from a Rainy Spring Break: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Potter Mania, Patriot's Day, Passover, Clothes Shopping & a Visit to the ER

If you asked the Picket Post Fence kids, I'm guessing they'd likely tell you that they did "nothing" during their spring vacation, nothing of note anyway. We didn't go away to a warm, tropical locale like several of their classmates. We didn't go to an amusement park or a super-fun venue. We stayed home and I didn't arrange for them to party their way through the week.

And though I still attempted to work from my home office this week -- one day resorting to hanging a blanket over my windowed office door and banishing the children from the room so I could finish something -- between The Spouse and I, we still managed to do a bunch of stuff with the kids so they can't say they just sat around all week. Well, they can say that they sat around all week, even though they really didn't:

-- After The Youngest Boy's hockey team blessedly lost their playoff game, thus ending the season (*wild fist pump from this hockey mom*), we went out to dinner at the 99 Restaurant near us, which boasts that the day after the Red Sox win, kids eat free. Suffice is to say that the restaurant haven't been serving up many free kids' meals lately as the last place Red Sox haven't exactly gotten off to a stupendous start, and our kids certainly didn't eat free the night we dined there.

-- One weekend night, the five of us went to see The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, which was at least better than the first film version of one of my family's favorite kids' book series by Jeff Kinney. In this sequel, Greg Heffley wasn't a raging, inconsiderate narcissist and actually had a heart, unlike in the first film where he was nearly soulless.

The Picket Fence Post kids spent the whole car ride home afterward telling me how much nicer Mrs. Heffley is than I am and how, compared to her, I'm "wicked strict." I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or not.

Image credit: Boston Breakers
-- The Spouse and The Girl went to see the local women's professional soccer team, The Breakers, play their home opener. The Girl got to meet and get photos/autographs with players after the game, including with her new favorite professional soccer player, Alex Scott, who plays defense, like The Girl frequently does. I was thrilled that she got to enjoy a game where female athletes took center stage for a change.

-- On Patriot's Day -- a holiday in Massachusetts commemorating the beginning of the Revolutionary War -- The Spouse woke The Youngest Boy up in the 3 a.m. hour (yes, he really did) so they could drive up to the town green in Lexington, Mass. and secure a good spot from which to watch the reenactment of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. They returned home like twin ice cubes from being out in the cold for so long, even though they'd just spent an hour in a toasty warm & cozy restaurant eating goopy, syrupy breakfasts.

While The Spouse essentially slept the rest of that day, I took The Girl to the Emergency Room to have her wrist X-rayed and learned she'd only sustained a sprained wrist -- as opposed to a broken wrist -- during her weekend soccer game. (A follow-up orthopedic appointment took place later in the week for more laughs and wasted moments spent lingering in a waiting room, after The Girl's pain persisted.) After our ER visit, I cooked up a Seder dinner for the Picket Fence Post family. The Spouse made the brisket, while I made everything else.

-- There was ample Harry Potter mania at the Picket Fence Post household over the vacation week as I finally allowed The Youngest Boy to watch the fifth movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, seeing as though we finished reading the book aloud together last month as part of our Harry Potter Reading Out Loud Project. (We're at the beginning of reading the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.)

Early in the vacation week, I purchased Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 on DVD and finally got a chance to see if for myself because when it came out in theaters last fall, events conspired against me being able to see it, though The Girl saw it twice and took The Spouse with her once. It was a fantastic film -- much better than the Half-Blood Prince film -- and it left me feeling depressed and sad for one of my favorite characters from children's literature. I have a soft spot for Harry Potter.

-- Later in the week I took the two older kids (The Youngest Boy was visiting some classmates at the time) candle pin bowling in a bowling alley that looked and smelled like it was 1965, only minus the cigarette smoke. (I half expected to see Sally Draper there.) We met a friend of mine and her three children and I got to jabber away with my college pal while our kids bowled and I intermittently humiliated The Eldest Boy by cheering "too loudly" and embarrassing him . . . which only made me want to do it more.

-- The kids and I also spent several hours in the torturous shopping mall near us (I HATE shopping, except for books) seeking clothing items that would be appropriate for Easter, Passover and a first Communion we'll be attending in a few weeks. It always feels as though I just went shopping to get them clothes, but they keep doing that growing thing, necessitating frequent clothes shopping excursions. During our trip, The Youngest Boy was for some reason trying to press me into buying him a suit (?!), this from the kid who spends most of his waking hours trying to convince me that 40 degrees is shorts weather.

It was general chaos as I tried to oversee not only what the kids were trying on -- checking on the sizes and the price of the clothing, as well as whether the items fit them when they emerged from the changing rooms, sometimes all at the same time. I started stressing out, which generally leads to bad shopping decisions on my part. When we got home later, The Eldest Boy told me I had left some of the stuff that was designated as being in the "to buy" pile behind, though I think he accidentally left those items in the dressing room. But I could be wrong, perhaps that last discussion about boys' undergarments unhinged me. Who knows?

-- An ice cream sundae party with their younger cousins was canceled after one of my nephews got ill (before coming to our house) and we ate the sundaes without them. We visited the library once, had two of the kids' friends over to play at the house on Patriot's Day and The Girl had a sleepover with a friend one night.

Now I need a vacation from their vacation where they didn't "do anything."

Image credits: CinemagieBoston Breakers.

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