Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day at the Museum (without Ben Stiller)

My friend, Andrea, suggested that we take the kids to the Children's Museum (click on the blue link and watch the video) here in Houston. GREAT thinking, Andrea! The kids get to play happily indoors while we get stay out of the heat? You get a high-five for that idea.

As expected, the kids (along with Andrea and myself) had a GREAT time despite the hoards of people that were there. One would think that if technology can replace a human heart and make cars run off of cow poop, they would be able to figure out how to make strollers move well in masses of people. But alas, since that has yet to occur in the science world, Andrea and I did our best at maneuvering our buggies. Andrea gets an extra pat on the back though because she was pushing one of those more cumbersome double strollers. She gets a second pat on the back because she just happened to load her car with two strollers - one of which I ended up borrowing since I left the house without packing our stroller. But moving on - - - folks, the Children's Museum was incredible! I mean, I had high expectations, but I never imagined that it would be sooooooooooooo awesome and 100% hands-on. Let's just say that if you are looking at moving to Houston, the Children's Museum is a PERFECT reason to do so - really!! It was so big and so full of activities that there was NO way we could see and do all of it. We tried to hit some of the big attractions/exhibits, but I digress... Let's get on to the pictures for the grandparents, shall we?

***Warning: Although I am sure it will come as a surprise, Grant would not pose for any pictures. Maybe I can get Andrea to teach my kids how to pose for pictures... her kids seem to have it down.

There were old cars that had clear plastic over the doors and hood so you could see all the parts of the motor and what the inside of a car door looked like. (I could care less about that, but Grant got a big kick out of it.) It was also very fun to sit in the old car... (I don't understand this either.)

But Gabby, Alex and Grant thought it was a blast!

We experimented with elasticity... (Who knew that could be soooo fun?!)

And we experimented with gravity...

But then Alex figured out that the flat colorful maze pieces were really fun to play with on the floor.

We tried to lift ourselves using a pully system. Go, Gabby!

There were computerized sorting activities, but the two-year-olds (Alex on left and Rhett on right) had a better time removing the blocks from the rotating conveyor belt...

Rhett is going through a stage where he likes to tell us to be quiet. I guess he thought this area was getting a little too loud because I looked down and found him doing this while while making a "lispy" shhhhhhhh sound...

We experimented with density...

And other science properties that end in "itsy" that I can't quite recall at the moment...

Scientist Gabby playing with atoms...

Grant enjoyed playing with a simulation of molecules.

I mean, who doesn't enjoy playing with molecules???!!

Are we sure this kid is mine??

After that, we headed over to the pretend diner where chefs Grant, Gabby, Alex and Rhett prepared some amazing dishes. Who knew you could fry up so many kinds of foods??

Gabby is "cooking" a delicious meatball sub in the "wood burning pizza oven".

(bummer about the random green stripe in this picture)

Grant and Gabby

I mean, really, this pretend diner had it all!

Including a crazy chef!

After our great meal, we headed over to the vet clinic. Both boys really enjoyed this area. Wonder if they'll be following in their Great-Grandfather Martin's footsteps and become veterinarians??? Grant went straight to work and found a "Mommy Dog" to take care of...

Rhett also found a puppy in need of veterinary assistance.

This is when Rhett went around to anyone that would listen and say, "My puppy!" whilst squeezing it tightly to his chest. Although possibly annoying to some, I thought it was very sweet.

But the most fun thing about the veterinary clinic were the cages you could take your dogs in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out of...

Off to face painting.

Reflection of Gabby painting a lightning bolt on Alex's arm. I take full responsibility for this one - it was my idea. Sorry, Alex...

And how cute is Alex and his kitty face paint??

"Heil Hitler!?"

I thought it would be funny to paint a mustache on Rhett.
He ended up looking like Hitler... ooooooops!
I'm pretty sure this could earn me Mother of the Year.

Baby Hitler (I mean, Rhett) building in the construction area...

Never fear: Project Manager Grant is here!

So much for staying inside; Next we stumbled across "Flow Works", and oh-how-FUN that was!!! It was so fun, we forgot it was 97 degrees outside. There was shooting water and water to shoot. There were tubes and damns and boats and canals and whirlpools and waves and bubbles and big tubs that dumped water and buckets of water to pull up to the big tubs of water via pulleys and... (Whew! Let me catch my breath!)

Rhett and his "boot" (boat).
If only he was a few inches taller...

Alex and Grant experimenting with tubes to change the flow of water...

Look, Mom! I can make an underwater tornado.
(Sorry about the bad picture quality. He made a tornado inside the tall cylinder.)

Grant making waves...

But the coolest part of Flow Works

was the

aqueduct you could experiment with...
Grant would've spent every moment in this one spot if time had allowed it. And I really enjoyed watching these kids who were absolute strangers to one another come together and make the aqueduct work. As you can see, there were many parts and many doors, but with patience that allowed time for the different "steps" of the aqueducts to fill up (that had to be timed with the big tub of water being dumped above them) and a loud count of, "One! Two! Three!" the doors were opened and the water flowed!

The lesson of manipulating the water's path might have been lost on Little Rhett, but he still had a good time playing with the tubes and the trickles coming from them.

What museum experience wouldn't be complete without a lunch consisting of good table manners and friendly conversation?
(I gotta be honest = This CRACKS me up every time I watch it! As you can see, Alex and Rhett are two peas in a pod!)

And all this time, what was sweet baby Mackenzie doing?
She was chillin' in her stroller,

enjoying some one-on-one time with her mommy,

and sleeping like the perfect easy-going baby she is!!!! Wow! What a little trooper!

And what busy day at the museum doesn't end with the gentleman helping the tired young lady to her car? (I mean, the sweet young lady pushing the I'm-to-tired-to-walk "gentleman" to his car. Hmmmmmmmm - I think he owes Gabby for this one!)

What a FUN day! Thanks for the idea, Miss Andrea!
I'll always look at this picture and remember three things:
1. What Grant's hair can look like even though I really DO fix it WITH GEL.
2. What Rhett's forehead looks like.
3. That Gabby tried really hard to take a stair-stepping picture of us.

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