Sunday, January 29, 2012

ReVamped Ecotarium Brings a Mountain of Fun

With our year's membership coming to an end shortly, I figured yesterday would be a great day to visit the Worcester Ecotarium with the boys.
We were pleasantly surprised to enter the newly renovated top floor.  Upon entering, we became emerged in The Arctic Next Door which has Mount Washington related experiments.  There is a new bouldering wall that Boog just had to keep trekking.  A wind tube that let them experience hurricane force winds.  An air flow construction area that was intriguing to look at with its colorful wall of 144 pinwheels.
Many of the tried and true fun-sploration was still there.  But there were some new additions too.  Right now there is a Playing Together area in which we played giant chess, giant manacala, and a bunch of other great games.
And of course since the weather was nice, we hit the playground and I even went up the rope net with Boog.  The boys stuck it out with me in the mud to do the Forest Trail.  And we payed our respects to Kenda, the Ecotarium's pride and joy polar bear who passed away this January.
This family pass was by far one of the best investments we have made.  Not only is the Ecotarium a great local place to visit and spend hours experimenting and exploring, but the pass has either full price or discounted reciprocity to 250 other places including the Providence Children's Museum and the Boston Museum of Science.  For  $100, it covers 2 adults and up to 4 children under 18. If you choose the $120 plus option, you get an extra 2 guests to bring. We are definitely renewing our membership.
So if you are thinking about things to do in the upcoming February vacation, you may want to check out the Ecotarium.  It is open Tuesdays thru Saturday, 10-5; Sundays noon- 5; closed Mondays, except as indicated on their website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In case of emergency, don't look up from your game...

When I work out around my children, I don't expect them or want them to be in the middle of what I am doing. However, I would like them to acknowledge my falling ungracefulthermo the ground, rolling around and writhing (albeit briefly)in pain. Nope, not one glance up from thier electronic devices when this happened this morning.

So it got me thinking. God forbid I had a serious problem, would either of them notice?

I could see either of these following scenarios happen:
1. When they get up to pee, they step on me on thier way to the bathroom. Then, on their way back, they ask me for a snack. And when I don't get their snack, because I am unconscious lying on the floor, pursue the request with a louder version of "mom!" still while getting thru Bowser's Castle. Then finally call for help...Only after their DSi has run out of batteries.
2. Only after they begin arguing over the name of the Pokemon they each are going to pretend to be, leading to a battle of Nun uh and yeah Huhs, and some toys thrown, and find me unresponsive to their heated arguments, that they might come looking for me broken in the living room.

Maybe I should test out these theories.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No, Sam don't eat.

I have determined we live in a land of reverse psychology. Or rather, just the little one does.

See, he is determined to do the opposite of whatever Dad tells him.

"No, Mudge, don't eat your pasta so you can shrink."
Devilish smirk, then he takes a great big bite.

"No, Mudge, don't finish your almonds, I want them."
Evil giggle followed by devouring 4 of them.

"No, Mudge, don't eat that broccoli so you don't grow. I don't want to have to buy the next size up."
Maniacle laugh followed by shoving it in his mouth.

We reflected on this one night. First, this has worked greatly to our benefit. Mudge is not a big eater and supper often takes an hour or more to get him to finish parts of his meal. He dilly dallies and generally fiddle farts and putzes around his dish as if he were working it like a maze. We would get so frustrated. But then the Ah Ha moment happened. The little shit always does the opposite of what Daddy tells him. Bingo! So dinner now is back to being more goofy and filling for the Mudge. And often it reminds us of the scene in A Chirstmas Story where Mom gets Ralphie's brother to eat his supper like a piggie.

I guess what it really comes down to is parents will do whatever it takes to get their children to do what they want,even if it takes a little verbal finagling.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hoping to make wishes come true...

At the beginning of December, I started the Second Annual Pennies for Wishes Campaign, in memory of a great little girl, Dana.

She was a phenomenally happy child despite a lot of medical issues.  I had the pleasure of knowing her for 1/2 her life, as she was taken at 6 years old.  Her death fundamentally changed my 'spirit'.  And because of her, I strive to do my part to pay it forward as best as I can, in the little ways I know how.  So Pennies for Wishes was born on the anniversary of her death in 2010 to celebrate life.

The object was simple.  Each classroom gets a container and fills it with the loose change they might find lying around.  But when every penny counts in each family's dynamic, especially in these rough economic times, I truly wasn't thinking we would raise more the an a hundred dollars for A Wish Come True, a Southern New England wish granting non-profit organization.  But what happened was amazing.  We raised over $620 that first year.

With the success of last year's endeavor, I felt it was important to keep the momentum going.  But not all of the students, let alone the staff, remembered Dana.  It didn't matter.  People still gave.  I even had a little preschooler come up to me with a bag of coins and a note saying she wanted to donate her money from her piggy bank to the Pennies for Wishes.  I wanted to cry, I was so touched.

So over vacation, I spent a good amount of time counting and rolling coins and dollars that were collected during the four weeks prior to winter break.  15,000 pennies and then some.  I was floored.  The generosity of the students, families and staff was overwhelming yet again.  Amazingly, everyone exceeded my expectations, and last year's amount by over $100.

With each wish granted averaging $5000, each penny counts.  Though I am sure we all have a few pennies lying around, it is when you put them together that you see the change- pun intended-.  And if we are able to help out children with life threatening disease and their families experience a little joy, then it was all worth while.