No Harm Done

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blogging's been light lately, as I've been working on this year's Christmas letter. I love the annual Christmas letters that everyone sends this time of year. We tape up the photos and cards around a prominent doorway so that we can see them and marvel at how everyone's changed over the year.

I also love putting our family card together. Here's a link to last year's card. This year our card involves a bit more effort, art-work-wise. But it's coming along......

For now, though, I'll jump back to before Thanksgiving when M. was gone for a week. That was a really difficult week, coming on the heels of two shorter 2 and 3 day away trips. The kids are I were wiped out. And it's not like we got many breaks from each other's company: swim practice here, a Bible study there; it didn't add up to much.

So on the final Friday of M.'s absence I cancelled school, packed all the boys in the van, and we drove to the big city. I don't mind driving in big cities, so long as I have an idea where I'm going. (The last time we drove to this part of the big city, I slept through the busiest part of the drive.) Armed with MapQuest printouts, money for tolls, and my AAA card, we hit the road.

Our first stop was the big mall in the big city where we feasted at the Rain Forest Cafe. It's a jungle-themed restaurant, with animatronic animals, and giant fish tanks. The atmosphere is wonderful, and it's the only place we've eaten where M. and I don't have to constantly entertain the boys while waiting for food to arrive. The activity and environment of the restaurant does that for us. Brogan and Braden remembered eating here, but Colson didn't so he was a little freaked out when the monkeys and gorillas nearby began to act up.

(Rain Forest Cafe Exterior)

(Rain Forest Cafe Interior and Sky Scene)

(The boys watching the thunderstorm)

I love going to restaurants with Braden because he doesn't order off the kid's menu anymore, and he has quite an adventurous palatte. It's so much fun to watch the waiter's face when he orders: " I'd like the crab legs with roasted vegetables please. And a Ceasar salad. Oh! And a chocolate milk in a grown-up sized glass, please."

At the Rain Forest Cafe, he ordered the shrimp and calamari appetizer platter. (The appetizers were huge!) Afterwards, he asked the waiter what calamari was, who hesitated before asking me, "Should I tell him?" Upon hearing that he was eating squid, Braden just said, "Won't Dad be excited to hear I ate squid and liked it!!"

After lunch it was off to the merry-go-round in the mall.

After the mall, we drove through part of the big city to find some apartments I'd lived in when I was very small, and a park that our family used to play at. It was a gorgeous day, and the boys and I had fun playing on the equipment.

Finally we visited the apartments.

Before heading home we visited Starbucks for hot cocoa and coffee. We read children's books while we sipped, and that was fun until I realized that it was getting awfully close to rush hour, and in the big city during rush hour on a Friday with three tired children is not someplace I wanted to be.


At 11:24 PM , Blogger Mallory said...

What a fun tour! Thanks for posting the video and pictures. I just noticed that my hair is now longer than Braden's (I still have a ways to go before I can compete with his cousins here)!

At 9:59 PM , Anonymous Lisa P. said...

Hi, Hillary! Loved reading about your trip to "the big mall"! The kids and I go there with my mom every year as a Christmas tradition to eat at the RF Cafe and ride the carousel and train. (This became in lieu of sitting on Santa's lap, which they refused to do very early on...) Next time you're headed to the city, ask me about a fantastic FREE park with a petting farm, one-room schoolhouse, mining experience, etc. It's really fun and mostly free. Also, I owe you a BIG thank you for the great things for Brandon -- it will be in the mail (or email) SOON!


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