Friday, February 28, 2014

Little CSI Investigators

As I blogged about Ryan's birthday trip, I realized I hadn't posted about a fun time we spent in December in San Antonio at the Witte Museum, with their CSI Exhibit.

While we've never watched the CSI (other than a few minutes once at my mom's and the gruesomeness turned me off), the description of this exhibit sounded right up Team Danger's alley: a chance to investigate and solve your own crime scene!

We picked the most child-friendly of the three CSI paths upon entering: some remains are found in the desert, and you have to piece together who it is, and what happened to him/her (I call it child-friendly because there was no blood stains to analyze).

We then went through a lot of technological steps, where he used the computer to analyze some hair found in the skeleton's hands to show us it was some dog hair.

We analyzed the age of the bones, and the computer searched through missing records for us.

We also looked through gun registries, and analyzed the shell casings found at the scene.

We also went to the morgue to take a look at the remains, where we got to "talk" to the coroner and get the official cause of death.

Finally, we analyzed our potential suspects before we deduced who committed the crime, and then we watched it "recreated" on these screens. (Maybe they do that at the end of the tv show?)

We had a lot of fun doing our crime scene investigation. Its definitely not for the younger kids. I wish they would have had some sort of non-violent crime to analyze, but I never felt Ryan was too young.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Spurrific Birthday Getaway

As I briefly mentioned in my post about Ryan's birthday party, our big gift to him this year for his birthday was a mini-trip to San Antonio to see his favorite basketball team play.

We decided to stay again at the Omni La Mansion del Rio, down on the Riverwalk. We stayed there last year when we saw the Spurs play, and loved it so much, it was a no-brainer about returning.

We started our day with a late lunch at our old family favorite, Teka Molina. This boy loves their bean cups more than anything! He ate a record-breaking (for him) six bean cups now that he was eight.

Ryan opted to forego seeing any of the Riverwalk this visit, because he just wanted to swim in their heated pool.

And when its your birthday, that's what you get to do.

We shared a taxi to the game with a couple - the wife was celebrating her 50th birthday, and her present was also a trip to see the San Antonio Spurs. Great minds think alike. :)

The Spurs were behind for the majority of the game, but only a little bit. When they finally caught the lead in the 4th quarter, the arena exploded.

It was the kind of excitement where you are high-fiving and hugging your seat neighbors who are suddenly your best friends for this short few hours of your lives together.

The lead would alternate between the Spurs and the Kings for the rest of the game. Ryan was a bit concerned the Spurs might lose on his special day. Never fear, I told him. They are the greatest team in the NBA, and they WILL deliver a win for you on your birthday, Ryan. And in the last few seconds... they did.

And then it was back to our beloved hotel for milk and cookies, and mexican worry dolls to take all our worries away. Happy 8th Birthday, Ryan!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ryan's Awesome LEGO Movie Birthday Party

When we first saw the preview this summer for the new LEGO Movie, and that it had an opening date of February 7, 2014, Ryan pretty much decided then and there that his birthday party would involve a trip to see what he just new would soon become his favorite movie ever.

Which worked out perfectly well, because we took a trip to San Antonio on his actual birthday to see the San Antonio Spurs play a pretty incredible game against the Sacramento Kings.

This was an awesomely easy party to plan. The trickiest part was making sure we knew exactly when the Alamo Drafthouse put their tickets on sale to ensure I cold get a whole row of seats together.

Invitations were by evite, with a little help from the images found at the official LEGO movie website.

I ordered this LEGO brick cake from our favorite bakery, which I topped off with LEGO candles (they even came eight to a package - score!).

We updated Ryan's number plate he displays in his room (and which was first created for his 5th birthday). And Ryan brought down a lot of his built LEGOs and other LEGO-themed decor from his room. I didn't really take a good picture of those, but you can kind of see it in the picture below, on our mantel.

Add in a few balloons, and we were set.

The birthday boy had received some new LEGO movie LEGO sets for his birthday already, so he set those up as the centerpiece for the table.

I tried to arrange the plates to look like a LEGO. Don't think anyone noticed.

I found these great water bottle labels at etsy. Usually I can get my husband to create some for us, but I asked too late, and I fell in love with these designs, so it was $5 well spent in my book.

I gave everyone a twenty minute window to show up before we left for the theater, so to pass the time, we put the Clutch Powers LEGO DVD. Most of the boys ended up just playing basketball outside instead, however.

We gathered everyone together to remind them that they had to be quiet during the movie. I was more than a little afraid of the Drafthouse's strict no talking rules with this bunch!

The Drafthouse had recommended I create my own menus for the kids to fill out to make it easier for the servers, since the kids are often not near adults when ordering.

Because it was opening weekend for the movie, the Drafthouse had put out some huge LEGO tables for the kids to play with while we waited for our theater to open.

Finally, the doors opened, and we headed inside to take our seats.

Blurry, but cute, photo
One nice thing about the Drafthouse is that they create their own pre-movie entertainment that is usually themed to the movie itself, so for the first thirty minutes before the previews, we got to watch a lot of LEGO videos. The boys were so enthralled wiht the pre-show and the movie itself, I needed not worry about getting kicked out.

Group picture after watching the most awesome movie ever!

Then it was home for cake and presents.

The goody bags:

And the contents of the goody bags: a LEGO Movie mystery minifigure, a LEGO pencil, a LEGO eraser, some LEGO movie stickers, and a candy bar in a LEGO wrapper made by Carl.

One happy birthday boy.

And then it was done. We had a ton of fun, and we felt very blessed that the LEGO gods decided to open their movie so close to his birthday.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

There's a reason I haven't done this in almost forty years

For some reason I have yet to recall, I thought that taking the boys to the circus for the first time might be a good way to spend the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

I know I went to the circus as a child, but I was really young, and most of my memories are I think, actually from the rodeos we attended much more frequently. What can I say, we live in Texas.

As part of my job, I handle the animal cruelty seizure cases. There are often a lot of complaints filed when the circus comes to town, and while we've never had to seize any animals, I've always been afraid I'd get stuck with a dozen or so elephants for which I'd have to find placements. This particular circus was in an adjacent county, so I decided I could be conflict-free.

Which is how, when the Scouts send me an email with discounted circus tickets for that Monday, I decided to do it.

This circus was put on by the Shriner's, an organization I don't quite understand and don't think I really want to understand. Nor do I understand what they have to do with the circus. They wear silly little beanie caps, and I couldn't explain why to the boys. All I really know about them is that Mr. Cunningham was a member (or of something like the Shriners).

Maybe the hats are circus hats? Anyways, we walked in and were greeted by some clowns. We

We don't have clown phobias, but some of these clowns were strange enough to perhaps start one for me. I mean, this one is freakishly small. Is it a child? A midget? Ryan wasn't quite sure about this clown, either.

Or this one. I had to "donate" money to the Shriner's to get these autograph books for the clowns. Wish I'd been better prepared, because they spent the bulk of the day in my purse, only to go ignored until they found their way to the recycle bin.

There's a pre-show on the floor where you can donate even more money to the Shriner's in exchange for camel rides and elephant rides.

I was glad the boys weren't excited about this.

Finally, it was time for the show to start.

The first big opening act involved tigers.

This was not a good way to start the circus off for me. Some of the tigers were less than thrilled at leaving their cage and making their way into their enclosed tent. It took a couple of different guys and some forceful prodding with large sticks to get them into the arena. And even when they were there, you could tell they weren't really into performing (I'm guessing they also expected a federal holiday meant time off)

Fortunately, the circus improved and I didn't see any other possible animal abuse while we were there. Most of it was acrobatics and stunts.

After almost two hours, I was very excited when it was clear things were winding down. Oh, no... it was just a thirty minute intermission, before the second half started.

I personally found the very lengthy circus excruciating. However, there were motorcycle stunts, and people flying out of rockets, and Team Danger just ate this cr@p up.

Which is why I suffer through things like this, right? I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love...


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