Sunday, August 24, 2008

Daniel Visits (warning: this is a LONG post)

Last week Daniel came up to visit a few days. It was really nice to have him here. For the most part things went pretty smoothly (although we did have to take away the air freshener...) and we didn't have any mention on hamburgers! To see the pictures from his visit, go to here. (It will take forever to upload all of these pictures. For some reason blogger hates me and my large files.)

On Tuesday, I took Daniel to this new museum in downtown called Marbles. It was really cool, but a little too young for D. We went any way and when he wasn't saying, "Too old" he seemed to have a good time. The museum is basically a glorified playground and craft center for kids under 10 years of age. They had several different areas with themes. The downstairs area had a place for very small children that was a little town where they could dress up, go shopping, go to work, go to the doctors, etc., etc. and was geared at learning social things. In addition to the town, the water exhibit was downstairs. There was a little pool with running water and toys for kids to play with (with plastic poncho type things to keep them from getting too wet) and a bunch of aquarium tanks with interesting fish. Daniel was totally disinterested in either exhibits, so we went upstairs.

Upstairs, they had an exhibit that was all about creating things. There was a place where you could make your own car (with wooden erector set looking things) and then race them pinewood derby-style, there was a place that you could make whatever you wanted our of recycled materials. They actually had real tools (ie. hammer, nails, screws, saw....) that the kinds could use and Daniel enjoyed sawing away at a piece of wood for a while. Also in that same area, there were giant lego blocks and other wooden building blocks where a couple of kids were working on a pretty impressive tower (using step ladders and such) and finally, there was a place that had scraps of fabric and scissors and templates where you could make your own clothes. Pretty cool (I was seriously interested) but Daniel kept saying, "Too old".

The final exhibit was a temporary exhibit that was all about the Olympics. They had all sorts of activities you could do and a scorecard to keep track of your progress. There was a long jump, a basketball hoop, javelin throw, bean bag toss, vertical jump, and two really cool stations. One of them was a big replica of a hockey rink with a very waxed floor and goalies nets. It had a video of the Carolina Hurricane's team talking about hockey and then the kids could grab a puck, a stick and slip on some socks (if they didn't already have any) and slide around playing hockey. Daniel was a little interested but I thought it would be better for him to watch in stead of participate (there were a lot of kids in there and most of them very small). Also, they had a small gymnastics mat, just like the ones they use for real gymnastics floor events, some hula hoops, some scarves, ribbons on sticks, and a balance beam sitting right on the ground. I picked up the ribbons and started dancing around with them (the other parents gave me some odd looks, but whatever) and Daniel loved it. He picked up some ribbons of his own and started waving them around. I got of video of it. I also got him to walk on the balance beam (it was literally sitting on the ground). I held out my hand to help him balance but he kept pushing it away. I kept my hand there, ready to help him if he needed and by and by his pushing my hand away turned into him using my hand to balance, using only one finger of course. He also really enjoyed the javelin throw (which was a pool noodle cut in have with some fins attached at the end for you to throw at a giant painted bullseye) and the bean bag toss.

Close to the sports area, they had some coloring stations. One of them was a "make-your-own-flag" station. They had examples of real flags and suggested making up your own flag. Initially, Daniel didn't want anything to do with it, but when I suggested coloring the Scotland flag, he was all about it! He did a pretty good job. After that, thought Daniel was finished saying, "Too old," more and more often. So we left.

On our way home, we stopped by the Harley Davidson dealership that is close to our house. He had a great time looking at the motorcycles and when I asked which one he liked the best, of course he happened to pick the most expensive bike in the place. It was one of those cross country affairs with the big cushy seats, the big dashboard and lots of buttons. We wandered back into the accessories section and started looking at helmets. Daniel kept saying, "Wayne get for me, four-wheeler... Love it, for me," and talking about how great all of the helmets were. Of course he loved the one that had a microphone built into it with the full face shield.

After the motorcycle dealership, we went to the farmers market where Daniel picked out a watermelon for dinner. It was a huge thing for 2 bucks!! He picked a good one too and proceeded to carry it over his shoulder. Afterwards, Daniel dutifully went grocery shopping with me a pushed the cart for me. It was really sweet.

So, all in all, it was a good visit, although next time I think I'll try to find something a little more age appropriate. :)

p.s. - I'll work on trying to get the video to work. We've had some trouble in the past getting video to actually appear on our blog, so we'll try to work out the kinks. :) Cheers!

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