Wordless Wednesday: Fun At the Jacksonville Zoo

My 13yo thinks he’s Waldo. Can you spot him?

On the zoo train.

13yo trying to hide behind his sister, who’s rocking the mullet, don’t you think?

I weep for her hair almost daily. So many blonde curls just gone. *sob*

The Wishing Well

I hope she wished for her hair to grow back…

Billy loved the birds.

“Eat or drown!” Poor bird.

Molly is less enthusiastic. She’s nervous and rightfully so…

…because birds poo when you least expect it.

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Scheduling Summer

It’s the second week of Summer Break.  We spent the first week staying up and sleeping late, cleaning house, watching television, and just knowing it was really and truly summer and we didn’t have to go back to work and school for a long time.

Miraculously, the kids haven’t been fighting too much.  It’s tough for five kids in a relatively small house with one TV and a small yard not to fight and they’ve done so well.  But I know it won’t last.  Sooner or later (I suspect sooner) they’re going to get on each other’s nerves and then they’ll get on my nerves.  There will be screaming, picking, hitting, and tattling.  Oh, the dreaded tattling.  There’s nothing like hearing, “Mo-om” in that tattling voice.  It sets my teeth on edge.

To ward this off, I’m making a schedule.  A summer activity schedule.   And if it works out, I might even get some alone time.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

1.  Bowling.  I signed the kids up for free bowling.  You read that right.  FREE bowling.  There are time restrictions, but not very many.  For $25, you can add up to four adults on the pass.  Me, my 5 kids, my husband, and my husband’s parents get to bowl all summer for $25.  You still have to rent the shoes or do like I did, and buy cheap bowling shoes.  If we go 7 times, the bowling shoes are paid for and we don’t have to wear those scary rentals.  But don’t worry, cheap bowling shoes are every bit as ugly as the rentals, so you still have the genuine bowling experience.

Oh, did I mention that when you sign up, you also get a gift certificate from restaurant.com.?  A gift certificate for $25?  Yeah, that’s right.  That makes the bowling absolutely FREE!

The website to sign up is kidsbowlfree.com

2.  The YMCA.  We’ve been members of the Y for years.  We haven’t actually been to the Y in a while.  Where we lived before, it was too far.  There was a local Y, but it didn’t have a pool or the super awesome sprayground.  Now, we’re less than 15 minutes from the Y.  I plan to take the kids to the pool/sprayground at least twice a week.  The only downside to this is that I have to get a bathing suit.  Is there anything more stressful/horrifying on the planet than shopping for a bathing suit?  No, there is not.

old-fashioned bathing suit

Think I can find one like this?

Another great thing about the Y is the childcare.  I can drop my kids off for up to 2 hours while I work out.  I can attempt a spin class.  I can start taking Pilates or yoga again.  I can spend some time on the elliptical.  I can sit in the locker room and read a book.  Kidding.  (Sort of.)  2 whole hours by myself.  I get giddy just thinking about it.

3.  The Jacksonville Zoo.  We’ve been planning this trip for a while but something always comes up. (See my tips for dealing with vacation letdown here.)    We will do it this summer.  I love zoos and it’s fun to get out of town, even if it’s only a 2 hour trip.

sand pail on the beach4.  The Beach.   When I was younger I wanted to live close to the beach.  I pictured spending my summer lying on the beach, soaking up the sun.  Well, I’ve lived 30 minutes from a beach for 10 years and have actually set foot on the beach about 10 times.  That’s just crazy.

I had my reasons.  A lot of those years, I had infants.  A beach outing is a pain in the butt when you have to tote pack and plays, diaper bags, baby food, formula, umbrellas (for shade) and all the other crap that infants require. By the time you lug all that down to the sand, you’re exhausted.  And then you have to drag it back to the car.  Not fun.

Now, my youngest is almost 3.  She doesn’t need anything but a bucket and a shovel and a buttload of sunscreen.  She’ll adore the beach and I’ll love watching her adore it.

Basically, the idea is to keep my kids busy.  The more they have to do, the less likely they’re to pick on each other.  Also, the more we’re out of the house, the more likely it is to stay clean.  It’s a win/win.

What about you?  What are your plans for the summer?  How do you keep your kids from whining, “I’m booooooooored.”?