I am still recovering by our family trip this evening. Jay announced to me, in private, that he wanted to take the family out tonight. He told me where and in my desperation to get out of the house for the second time in over a week, I agreed. Under cloak of going to the grocery store, we managed to keep it a surprise from the kids until we pulled into the parking lot. It is on the top of the list for every person who has recently had back surgery. Gastronomical delights abound which can thoroughly satisfy person that hasn't eaten out in about 3 weeks, save a trip to chik-fila this week. The pinnacle of gourmet decadence and romantic ambiance...Can you guess???? Could it possibly be??? Wait, don't guess now...I'll give you another hint...my kids went bonkers in the car at the sight of it...I gave it away with that one, I am sure. Yes, you guessed it...CHUCK E. CHEESE!!!!!
Alright, I am being a little extreme - I did like getting out of this house, despite the noise, pizza and my slowly escalating pain. Seriously, though, the kids still love that place. Jay's purpose was to reward the kids for incredible report cards this school year. It is also a place unlike anything they have in the Netherlands and since Jay's mom is here, well, you just have to go. It ranks up there with Golden Corral in terms of unbelievable-ness to her.
I really should attach a picture of Lily taken at her 2nd birthday - also held at Mr. Cheese's house. The expression on her face is how I imagine my face when I see Jesus. Except, she is gazing, adoringly at the big mouse. It is pure adoration. It was really no different this time either. Chuck came out for someone's birthday party and she literally pushed through the crowd of kids whose parents had shelled out the bucks for his appearance and jumped into his arms. To say she is a big fan of the mouse is really an understatement.
Back to tonight...we took their report cards which gives them 15 extra tokens a piece and then brought in a discount coupon from the 'net. We sent the kids off into the wonderland with plastic cups and tokens in hand. Two hours later, three salads, one large pizza and several refills later, we were at the "trash trove," oops, I mean "treasure trove," to pick out our incredible prizes from the 75 or tickets we have earned. Seriously, who ever earns 3,000 tickets for an inflatable Chuck E. Cheese bouncy ball?
Actually, before we were finished with the games, Sadie came up to me thrust her prize pickins' in my hands and said, "I'm done, I am going to the playset." Huh? So, she did all her games, turned her tickets into the machines herself and got her prizes. O-K. She doesn't need me for that anymore. Ethan took for-ev-er to decide as he usually does. He always asks me if I think his choice is ok. Or, would I pick that if I were him. You know, the child that needs affirmation that he is doing the right thing. He accidently got shorted a measly 30 ticket item (the world to him) - a plastic scorpion ring. The boy was nearly in tears -at 8! The line was long, the prize redeemer had left his station leaving throngs of other kids waiting, Jay was impatient, I was in pain, Lily was itching to crack open her lollipops, so what was a mom to do? Yeah, you know it. I went around the line to the cashier and just said, we got short a scorpion deal - can we just get one? Supermom to the rescue, a boy's smile returned and we headed to the car.
Oh, this is an interesting tidbit...I was standing with Lily at the ticket redemption machine. We were there for a little while because Lily insisted on feeding them into the machine herself and really, it wasn't worth the battle. Another boy, age 7 maybe, was standing behind me, or rather kept slinking up beside me. He declared he was saving up for one of the larger prizes. Then he said, " I have to find Sadie." I said, really, I have a daughter Sadie. He said, "Yes, she is really nice, you know, as a friend. I have had fun playing with her." I had seen them playing together earlier in the germ generator, I mean playplace. I thought it was nice to hear. Upon recounting this story to Jay, Jay was aghast. He had seen them play together but saw it as a sign of the future. A future he is not quite ready for.