Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A bit more from the visit to El Paso ...

Since the children were on spring break when I arrived in El Paso last week, we had all day long to play and hang out together. I brought a set of rocket balloons that came with its very own pump so that we didn't have to use our own hot air to try to inflate them!
We took the rocket balloons and pump over to the playground across from the kids' school and we shot them off for a little while, never forgetting to use the official countdown: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-ZERO ... ignition ... blast-off! It was really fun to watch the balloons go zooming through the air, twirling and screeching the whole way!
This is a really nice playground that is conveniently covered with a blue canvas to provide some shade. Living in Michigan, it doesn't seem as though anyone would NEED shade in the middle of March ... but El Paso? Definitely! Every afternoon I was there was in the 80's and the sunshine is SO bright (and wonderful) ... but it does get almost too hot rather quickly ... so the shade comes in handy!
Diana also had lots of games in their game closet, so when we got tired of playing outside, we'd try a game or two. We especially enjoyed playing "Kerplunk" and "Trouble" together, although someone always has to lose, which is ... a good way to teach about being a good loser!
We also folded many many paper airplanes ... because I LOVE folding paper airplanes. Emma got out our thumbprint book and decorated her airplanes with thumbprint people ...
Matthew thought that was cool too, so he just drew windows on the side of his plane with people looking out. These particular models are NOT the ones that I folded. The children were showing me that they knew how to fold an airplane without my instructions (!). We took them outside and tried to make them stay in the air, but these ones didn't fly very well. So THEN, they asked me to fold MY kind of airplane and we flew those all over the place. The kind that I fold are difficult for little hands and there are too many tricky tucks and folds for them to remember, so it gets frustrating for them. So I just end up doing all of the folding and then the children decorate each plane so that it can be distinguished as theirs.
When I was in St. Petersburg a few weeks back, my sister-in-law (Carol) had the coolest bubble wands for her grandchildren and ... I wanted them! Amazingly, while Jesse and I were shopping at Walmart, I found the exact set of bubbles and wands! We got them out and were immediately inundated with neighbor children wanting to try everything out, and so we did bubbles with about eight children who were having a real difficult time sharing ... we finally brought everything back up into the house. The next time I visit, I'll try to figure out a better way to share the wands and bubbles so that everyone isn't so crowded and frustrated. Most of the children in this picture are next-door neighbors and are really nice little kids.
We did a lot of chalk drawing again ... because it's so much fun! This is Christopher just talking my leg off while sitting under the car port ...
We also did our usual watercolor paintings because the kids love to paint and they do such a great job! Look how pleased Matthew is with his little bear painting!
Christopher wasn't quite finished with these pictures, but held them up for my camera anyway ...
Emma likes to do a real careful job with her pictures ~ she's at that age now. So Emma and I only got one painting each accomplished, while the boys did three (I think)!
With my rocket balloon kit, there was also a supply of those skinny kind of balloons that talented people are able to put together and make cute animals with, etc. We used our pump to inflate them, but there were NO instructions as to how to make them into cool animals and no matter how hard we tried ... we couldn't get it to happen!
There were also a couple of punch balloons that we played with and enjoyed a lot ...
I'm always amazed at how much children enjoy playing with balloons. They aren't very expensive and there are lots of fun things you can do with them. Sometimes, we have taken markers out and drawn faces on them and made them into little people even!
I forget which day it was (maybe Saturday?) that Jesse brought home a new pool for the kids. It fit nicely under the carport so that they didn't have to worry about being overly exposed to the sun. But it was such a windy day! So even though the temperature was 80, the pool felt a bit cold. Emma didn't want to be in the pool with her brothers splashing and was rather mopey about the whole ordeal. I didn't include the pouty pictures of her for you to see!
Emma kept busy making chalk pictures while her brothers splashed away in the pool.
Since Matthew's sixth birthday is coming up in early April and I can't be in El Paso at that time, I shipped his birthday presents ahead and we opened them early!
I bought more Hotwheels stuff because it's so much fun, it doesn't cost very much, and even Jesse enjoys it! I didn't take a close-up picture of it, but Hotwheels even makes a cool Sirocco vehicle and I purchased one for Jesse ~ he's looking at it in that top picture (above)!
We made a "crash track" and crashed cars for awhile ...
There was an airplane launcher too that had to be connected with rubber bands. Christopher is showing Matthew the mechanics of it.
Matthew was quite pleased with his gifts. He also got a bat and some whiffle balls and we hit those around the back yard for awhile later in the evening. It surprised me that Emma still knows how to really slug a ball ... she attributes it to her Uncle Adam and all of the time he spent teaching her how to hold a bat and hit a ball when she lived here in Michigan four years ago now!
A really nice coloring book for children in this age group is "Color by Dots" by Melissa and Doug. For $4.99 you get 40 nice-sized (8 x 8) pictures that are color-coded. We used markers the first night we colored with this book, but the next day we actually found that crayons and colored pencils gave us a better result. By the time my eight-day visit had ended, all but four of the 40 pictures had been nicely colored! I think I'm going to re-purchase this book because it was so much fun to use!

I have more to show and tell you about our time together in El Paso, but this is enough for now! I still have to tell you about all of the great stories we read together too ... but that will have to be in another entry.


sabrina said...

I love all these pictures!!!! It looks like such a fun trip!!!!

judy and larry hand said...

What great ideas and fun. The smiles
on those precious faces says it all.
This time Chris looks more grownup.
But they all still have their own
wonderful personalities which Larry
and I love so very much.