Today was another great day -made even better by the arrival of Michael first thing in the morning. Why would he come down for just a day visit? Well, because today is Natalia's birthday...and there's no way he was going to miss celebrating his beautiful daughter's 12th birthday. We made caramel rolls and sausage for her (it was a group effort - while Chele and I manned the kitchen, the guys had to make two different trips to the store for ingredients!!). In the end, it was all worth it - especially with the "Happy Birthday" song and candles lit in it.
So, when I went looking for the right card for Nati - I saw this and given how much it reminded me of what Baxter (their puggle) does - I felt like the card was PERFECT for Nati - especially with the sentiment inside. I showed Michele the card and her response was, "YOU DID NOT!" - Yup, we bought the same card. This isn't the first time either. Two different towns we shopped in (Salem vs. Eugene), two different stores (Safeway vs. Kohls)...but same card. And, if you read particularly the first line we both wrote...also eerily similar. Ha! Love it when that twin thing surfaces unexpectedly! =)
The plan we thought was going to happen was taking the family(ies) to see "The Avengers". But, upon bringing it up to Nati - she was less than thrilled - as were John, Mikayla, and Ellie. So, with much discussion making sure Nati wasn't feeling in any way slighted by her parents, it was concluded that the girls would all go with John who was determined to treat them to a very fun morning.
Before I address their adventures, I will say that we all LOVED the movie (as did much of America based on box office results!). It was much more entertaining, amusing, and captivating than I expected. Also, due to the unexpectedness of high demand of people seeing it, we all ended up with free 3D tickets. We got jipped getting switched from one ticket purchasing line to another, only to find the computer crashed with that cashier - and then getting sent to the back of the original line. Not cool. Michele addressed the situation with a manager (nicely - they bonded as Michele was a Cinemark employee the summer before she got married) who felt it only appropriate to comp us admission to the higher priced next showing, the 3D version (showing 45 minutes later). Hey, we'll take that!
Meanwhile, John and the girls cruised the mall. The girls each picked out and purchased Webkinz and tested equipment at Sports Authority.
Why they chose to visit a mattress store is beyond me - but the girls loved this bed that the employee operated to fold them up like a taco =)
These girls' favorite indoor pastime is "playing school" - so an ideal day shopping must include school supply purchases.
Also included in the trip was a visit to Fro-Yo. Even the Webkinz enjoyed their grand adventures.
Upon all of us returning home within an hour of each other, we used the Sport Court in the backyard for what has now become the favorite pastime on it - a rousing game of "Foursquare". Really? We have a volleyball net and a basketball hoop and the activity chosen is something we could have done on the pavement out front with chalk for lines?! Ha! But, we are NOT complaining - it is just funny. The game went on and on between the dads and the kids - SO GREAT! This court is creating all these opportunities to see the family bonding, keep the kids outside ("in the fresh air"), and overall make me feel like less of a "loser mom" (as opposed to feeling like they spend excessive time on the PS3, laptops, or in front of the tv). I think having the sun shining helps immensely too. (And, great company to play with). All's to say, my expectations just keep getting exceeded, and given how much concern I had for the investment, that's a very positive thing.
In an effort to share another "BTS" situation, I feel like my emotions and state of mind have finally shifted to a much more positive state. Post-holiday is always hard for me - dependent on weather and circumstances, it's never a sure bet how long that sense of "detachment/apathy" will stick around. This year has been very gray for us in Oregon with weather, and somewhat consequently, gray for me through the month of March in terms of outlook. As one would expect, my mood switched gears in anticipation of our trip to Maui, but I really wasn't sure if coming home again would keep the feelings on an upswing. Thankfully, whether it is the time of year (summer around the corner!), the refreshment of Maui, the weather that is looking good on the forecast (though hasn't been necessarily ideal since returning home), or just God getting me through a tough bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder - I feel like I've arrived with that general level of "up-ness" that had been pretty much lacking the first three months of this year. The gray fog has lifted...figuratively and literally - and I am ever so thankful!!!!