Friday was an especially busy day, filled with back-to-back, last-minute events. I made plans the night before to meet up with another triplet mom friend at Superior Play. I hadn't seen her since our Nashville trip in August, so it was fun to reconnect while our kids jumped on the trampoline and played on the playgrounds.
It was slightly disheartening to compare both sets of triplets. Though only two months older, her girls seemed so much more advanced than James, Amelia, or Maddie. I don't know if it's because they attend preschool, or if the trio's delays are more significant than I thought, but it was a little discouraging. Either way, all six toddlers enjoyed the free fun.
I didn't know how long we would play so I packed a lunch. I stopped at the Airport Overlook to enjoy lunch with a view. It was pretty cold so I let the trio sit up front and eat.
It was basically twenty minutes of all three of them screaming, "Plane!" every five seconds.
My brother and his fiancee welcomed their son into the world last week. I was unable to visit them in the hospital, due to a series of unfortunate events that ended with me not being allowed in because of strictly enforced "quiet hours". I cooked dinner and dessert for them on Thursday, and was able to deliver it after picking Jackson up from preschool on Friday. They live an hour away. The only advantage to such a long drive is that James, Amelia, and Maddie all took a nap for the first time in over a week.
Cuddling with a week old baby is nice enough, but I am not one of those women that get baby fever. At all. No quivering uterus here. I'm much more interested in postpartum care and seeing how the mom is doing. (She's doing well, by the way.)
Jackson asked, "Does he play? What does he do?" He was a bit disappointed that his newest cousin spent the whole time sleeping.
The girls were so excited to have a living baby doll.
They walked around trying to give their sleeping, younger cousin bottles, pacifiers, and toys.
James was much more interested in my brother's model car collection than the baby. Like most houses, their house is not triplet-toddler proof. Not wanting to overextend my welcome, we left after an hour. I changed diapers in the van and passed out snacks.
Ever since my teenage years, I've had a rule that I'll drive anywhere, but the amount of time I spend at the place has to be at least as long as my total drive time. For example, if it takes me 30 minutes to get to a park, I have to spend at least an hour there. When we decided to go to the beach for the day, I would only go if we could spend at least eight hours at the beach, since it took eight hours to drive there and back. I've made very few exceptions over the last decade, but in general, I'm quite obsessive about drive time vs activity time.
The point of that rant was to give background as to why I couldn't just drive home after visiting my brother. I needed to find at least another hour worth of fun for the kids. I made an impromptu decision to take the kids to the Schiele Museum. Located only fifteen minutes from my childhood home, I grew up going to this museum. It's permanent exhibits feature North American wildlife, minerals, North Carolina habitats, prehistoric era, and American Indians. There's also a planetarium, travelling exhibits, and an impressive nature trail. It's much cheaper than any of the Discovery Place branches and kids 3 and under get in free.
I forgot how much I enjoyed the museum! It was so fun to experience it through the kids' eyes. The temporary exhibit was about the solar system. Most of the exhibit had a black ceiling with lights to resemble stars. There were enormous models of each planet. Jackson's favorite part was at the end when he could dress as an astronaut and look at different rovers.
All four kids were equally enthusiastic and shocked to see the enormous stuffed wildlife. I explained that everything was real, but no longer alive.
There were so many amazing animals on display. I would love to include all of the photos, but this post is already picture heavy and I took over 50 pictures just at the museum.
Jackson was taught about "pilgrims and Indians" a few weeks ago. Like many preschoolers, he has this belief that all "Indians" live in tepees and wear feathers on their heads. I've been trying to expound upon his current beliefs the last two weeks. The museum provided the best possible way to do so, with exhibits on each of the American Indian groups. We talked about how the climate and geography determined what kind of shelter, clothing, and food they had. It was fantastic!
Night at the Museum, anyone?
James loved the American Indian exhibit because he kept picking up the "phone" and listening to the songs and chants in different languages.
We explored a lot more than is pictured. Each gallery provoked new vocabulary for the toddlers and pretty challenging dialogue with Jackson. One particular exhibit was on evolution of humans. There were models of how humans progressed. I feel confident that this was the first time Jackson has questioned evolution. He was most concerned about why we "used to have fur".
I tried to take a picture of all four kids under the dinosaur. James was so distracted by the many exciting sights around him.
I led the kids to the "18th Century Backcountry Farm" so they could explore how early settlers lived. There were sheep, pigs, chickens, gardens, etc. I wanted to stay longer to visit the other outdoor exhibits, but I feared it was too cold for the girls. (They had been wearing pants but I took them off after both of their diapers leaked.)
After the excitement from the museum, we headed home for the first time since 9 a.m. Jesse was waiting for us with pizza. Our family devoured 2 whole pizzas before layering up and going to our final event of the day, the Harrisburg tree lighting.
I don't have any photos, but the first thing we did was ride the free horse and carriage ride. Santa arrived on a firetruck while we were waiting. Jackson was thrilled by Santa's arrival; James was elated over the firetrucks. Amelia didn't care for the sirens, and Maddie burrowed her head in Jesse's chest.
The tree lighting was a non event. I never even heard any countdown, perhaps because of technical difficulties. The lights just suddenly turned on. Still, it was a merry sight.
Before leaving, we waited in another long line for a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Jesse and I agreed that we wouldn't force any of the kids to sit on Santa's lap, but we wanted everyone in the picture. The toddlers wanted nothing to do with Santa, so we began to move behind Santa. Mrs. Claus insisted Jesse and I sit on their laps. Strange, but sweet.
It was a very long day, filled with so many fun activities. We were all worn out and required a long night of sleep.