Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our other spring break activities!

The majority of our week was spent in re-doing Kendra's bedroom (see previous post) but we did squeeze in some other fun (and not-so-fun) things as well.

First, Kendra started her break by flying to Utah to see her dad get married.  He flew her out on Thursday afternoon and she came home Sunday so it was a fast and furious trip. She got to see almost all of her family on her dad's side, which was fun for her.  Her new step-mom is really nice and she has two sons and two daughters, so Kendra now has step-siblings.  She really likes all of them a lot.  I like that she has other people to visit when she goes to see her dad.  Here's a picture of four of the five kids (her oldest son is on a mission for our church).

On Monday we took my car in for some service.  I had an issue with a headlight (replaced the bulb but still wasn't working) and I took it to the dealer first.  They were going to charge me $120 just to look at it, so we said we'd come back later.  Took it to a local oil change place that I really like and they said they could do an electrical diagnostic for half that price, so I told them go ahead.  $55 later and it turned out the replacement headlight I bought at a parts store was a bum light.  :-(  Lovely.  I guess it's good that it wasn't a larger electrical issue, but still!

Tuesday we took our REALLY shaggy doggie in for grooming.  At Christmastime we took her in and received a call saying they wouldn't groom her because she was biting.  What?  Seemed strange.  I tried brushing her myself and she was trying to bite the BRUSH, not me.  I trimmed up her face and let it go.  I got a recommendation from a friend for a certain groomer at the same place so decided to give it a go.  She did GREAT, but unfortunately because her fur had gotten so long she was matted all over the place so she had to get buzzed.  We thought we'd be taking home a little rat, but it doesn't look too bad at all and we've actually come to like how she looks.

I forgot to get a "before" picture, but trust me, she was a disaster!
Wednesday we checked out a new science museum in Dallas called the Perot Museum.  SO COOL.  It is four floors and was really, really neat.  Unfortunately it was spring break so even though they only sell a certain amount of tickets per time slot (a cool way to manage crowds), it was very busy.  We will definitely go back to see it again when it is less busy!
Hanging with the mammoth

They had a "create your own bird" activity

The sports area--Kendra served a volleyball while they recorded her motions
Then she could watch her form

We just thought this was cool.
Thursday we did a little shopping...Kendra had a gift card from her dad from Christmas to Aeropostale, so she bought three pairs of shorts, a pair of capris, and a lightweight hoodie jacket--she is getting all set for spring!

Friday was our theater day--we went to our favorite local community theater, The Artisan, and saw the children's show in the morning and volunteered and saw the mainstage show (Thoroughly Modern Millie) in the evening.  When you volunteer you get to see the show for free--we love it!

Saturday was spring cleaning day around the house and getting geared up to go back to school.  :-(  We also threw in some yard work this week (trying to de-weed my yard is a constant process---I inherited a mess when I bought this place!).  It's been a great week--lots of sleeping in, enjoying gorgeous weather, spending time with my favorite gal, and getting things done.   Spring break = success!

Kendra's room re-do

The major project of our spring break was painting and re-decorating Kendra's bedroom.  It was the first room we fully decorated when we moved in six years ago, and it's the first room getting a re-do (and I have no plans to redo anything else in the near future---I do NOT like to paint!)

Here's Kendra's room when we first moved in...

We added baby pink and hot pink polka dots and a fun canopy soon after this.  I don't have any pictures of that (I don't know why) but you can see them both in this picture:

This is from Christmas this past year when she got her new bedding.  Because much of the accents in her room are pink and hot pink, like her desk chair, book bins, and round chair, the room re-do needed to incorporate pink somehow (since I'm not Mrs. Moneybags). We decided upon three colors and challenged myself with the task of painting straight lines on textured walls (what was I thinking???)

Step one done---a pewter grey on top

Step two--add a bold pink line.  Bottom is jagged because we will cover that next
Then came a small disaster.  We made our 7 millionth trip to the Orange Depot (you know the one), and we saw a glaze treatment that was supposed to add sparkle to the wall.  We consulted a HD paint person, who said we just apply it with an old t-shirt or sponge, and it was pretty easy.  Since Kendra's favorite color is "sparkle" and this treatment was less than $10, I thought, why not?  Well, here's why not:

Yep, just looks like dirty wall, doesn't it.  Well, the lovely HD associate failed to mention that you shouldn't use that glaze treatment on textured walls, nor on satin finish paint.  Both of which we have.  I could have cried.  It looked TERRIBLE and we had used all of the grey paint.  I knew we had to re-paint, though.  Luckily, the customer service at HD is also kind, and they gave us a new can of paint at no cost to apologize for the bad advice.  Unfortunately they couldn't give me back the time it took to re-tape and re-do it all!  Argh!

Here we are, a bit silly from paint fumes, I think...

The bottom half first coat---painting with black is NOT for sissies.  Had me worried...

But came out great with the second coat.  Repainted the grey next...
My helper---she did a FANTASTIC job.  She truly did half of the roller work!
Removing the tape and putting everything back...

It isn't completely finished yet.  I bought some white, black, and hot pink stars (different sizes) in vinyl to decorate and Kendra purchased five Broadway musical posters and framed them for the walls.  But we have to wait a couple weeks after painting before we can apply the stars, so I'm sure I'll have a post with the final result when we can put it all together!!  It was a lot of work, but it was really great to work together like we did to accomplish this project.  Kendra loves it!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge

I wanted to have a little getaway around spring break but didn't want to drive or fly far away.  One day I got an email on a good deal for Great Wolf Lodge (which is only about 40 minutes away from home) so we that's what we did!  We went on the Friday the weekend before spring break, hoping it wouldn't be terribly busy.  It wasn't too bad!

Kendra invited her friend Katherine, and I picked them both up from school and we headed out.  We grabbed a pizza on the way there, which was great because we ate the leftovers for lunch on Saturday.  We arrived and jumped into our swimsuits right away.   We hung out at the park for a while but the girls got tired (it had been a long week) so we got some ice cream from the little shop inside the hotel and settled in our room to chill.

We spent most of Saturday in the water park, eating leftover pizza and buying a cookie the size of my head.  The park started getting really crowded around 4:00 when the Saturday/Sunday crowd was coming in.  The girls had had their fill, so we headed out, stopping for some shopping at a nice shopping center on the way home.  Kendra has picked some really great friends, and it was delightful to spend the time with these two girlies.

In our cozies after nighttime swim/play

The big bucket that dumps on your head
The dumping of the bucket.  The girls are in there somewhere!
Kendra loves crossing these lily pads

The cookies as big as your head...
The best part for me?  I went on exactly ONE slide---and then read my book the rest of the time.  Kendra had a blast with her friend and I did, too!!!  :-)

Destination Imagination!

Kendra is a member of her school's Destination Imagination team.  DI is a competition in which kids work on problem solving challenges.  They are given a "main" challenge that they develop over the course of the year, then at the competition they present that challenge as well as perform an "instant challenge."  One of the coolest things is that they are allowed to receive ZERO adult input on their challenges.  Their coach is a teacher at the school, but she is not allowed to give any advice or suggestions on the challenges.  Nor can the kids get help from parents or other adults.  They have to come up with the solutions on their own.  Pretty neat (but also hard for this teacher mama not to open her big mouth with suggestions!). 

The Saturday of the challenge came and we headed out to a school about 35 minutes away for the day.  Each kid was responsible for bringing parts of the costumes, background, props, etc. for the main challenge.  The premise of their challenge was they had to perform some sort of skit with some required elements (a disguise and a mask that morphed into something using "technology") and some team elements that they designed themselves.  They decided to have their skit be a disco competition in which the boys declare "No Girls Allowed."  So the girls disguised themselves as guys and win the contest.  The mask was the hard part;  they had planned to have it change color using heavily colored water in a spray bottle.   Here's where it got crazy.  The boy who was supposed to bring the food color forgot it!  So the kids are freaking out but also problem solving, trying to think of what they could use instead of red food color.  Someone thought of ketchup and so I took off running to find the concessions.  Unfortunately we were at the middle school, and concessions was across the street at the high school.  I had to hoof it quite a ways to get it, but I got it!  It was gross, but they had ketchup water so they weren't disqualified.  The main challenge was cute and they did pretty well.

Next was the instant challenge and they felt like they did pretty well.  They were successful in achieving what was required---but I can't tell you what it was!  It is TOP SECRET---the kids have to promise not to divulge the elements of the challenge until they are 52 years old (or some such thing ;-) )  The only thing Kendra could tell me was that they were required to have things a certain length/height and if they got it longer/taller it got them extra points, and she knew they got a LOT of extra points. 

Fast forward to the awards.  I was sitting with another mom while the team sat on the coliseum floor, and we were hoping the kids would at least get a medal.  They awarded medals for 6th place and up, and there were 13 schools in their category.  They awarded 6th through 2nd place, but then waited to tell the 1st place winners until the end.  As our category was announced and our team didn't get called, the other mom and I were sad for the kids.  You see, we knew that they hadn't gotten a really high score on their main challenge.  We kept watching the kids and they seemed hopeful still, and we were both worried they were going to be crushed.  We headed down the bleachers to the rails nearby the kids as they were getting ready to announce the first place winners and I mouthed to Kendra, "I really don't think its your team, honey." (complete with an "I'm sorry" expression).  She mouthed back, "I know."  I hitched up my purse straps to my shoulder, ready to hug my sad child when they announced first place---and THEY WON!!!!!  The other mom and I turned to each other and screamed, "WHAAAAATTTTT????"  The kids were screaming and bouncing and hugging each other, then they ran full gainer up to the front to receive their medals.  We could not believe it!  Apparently they absolutely NAILED their instant challenge, which gained them the win.  It was crazy! 

So, now we're headed to the State competition in Katy, TX in April.  We are ALL still amazed.  But honestly, I hope they don't win at State---I don't think we can afford Nationals!!!

The team!

The team being goof balls...

Ready to start their "main challenge"

"You should be dancin', yeah!"  (Tell me you also hear the Bee Gees...)

Disguised as boys--going to enter the disco competition

Winning the disco trophy

Out for lunch together between challenges