Thursday, July 12, 2018

The 4th of July Slide

Most kids can only think fireworks when talking about the 4th of July. My kids on the other hand can only talk about doing "the greatest slip n' slide ever" every 4th. This year, we got fireworks out of the way a couple of days before the 4th when we went to Yankee Doodle Pops at the Iowa State Capitol, which only left my three fully focused on doing the "epic slide." Since I knew we'd be up late multiple nights in a row, I took the day after the 4th off to have a restful day (that we all needed).

All of our 4th fun started on July 2:


We parked downtown and walked by the river to see the flooding. Then we found ourselves at Zombie Burger for apps and milkshakes.



It was a gorgeous night for the patio!



We found our spot on Capitol grounds and spread out our blankets. The next hour and a half we were treated to the symphony, Simon Estates baritone voice, and the cannons shooting. Then we got to see the fireworks. Having never been to Yankee Doodle Pops previously, I mistakenly thought they shot off fireworks from behind the Capitol building. They actually shoot them off of the Grand Ave. bridge in downtown. Great view from the Capitol, but not exactly our spot, so we stood in the middle of the street to see them clearly. 

We've already stated when we go next year, we'll either sit along the river in downtown to have a perfect view or get to the Capitol grounds early to claim a spot.


So, earlier in the day, Miss E had a flip out moment and bit her shirt because it wouldn't go on properly. She managed to rip her gums in that whole ordeal and caused her to have her first loose tooth. A tissue sticking out of her mouth helped for some reason.



We were right by the potties. It didn't smell the best.


Waiting for fireworks can be tough. My minis brought workbooks to keep them busy (their own idea, not mine).


Cartwheels and handstands




Thankfully July 3rd was an incredibly relaxing day at daycare because we were beat from Yankee Doodle Pops. The kids played volleyball and badminton on and off throughout the day.


Elizabeth requested to "make somethin' in the kitchen." Um, okay? I pulled out baking soda, water, and lemonade. She concocted Lemonade "Snow" for the kids to play with outside. Sensory activities are such an easy way to keep the kids entertained.


We didn't have anywhere to be until early afternoon on the 4th, which meant we got to sleep in and have a relaxing morning. It also means we got to start our day with these Star Kiss pops from DQ. I hadn't had one of these since I was a kid!




The Des Moines Children's Museum partnered with the Windsor Heights Parade to do the Kids' and Pet portion of the parade. It was a HOT day so there wasn't a big turn out, but the job was easy enough that the minis stuck around to watch the parade. Thankfully, there was plenty of water and popsicles handed out that, despite being hot, they were happy.



It wouldn't be a family outing without at least one sibling squabble.


After the parade we cooled off at home before stopping for last minute necessities at Walmart. It was going to be a quick trip in and out, but the minis discovered LOTS of sales. One being these "amazing" mask heads (pictured below). Those were not purchased, but we left with new beach towels, drink bottles, and a few other things we didn't know we needed.


Then it was time for what the minis had been waiting for: the giant slip n' slide at my aunt and uncle's house! Most kids are excited about fireworks on the 4th. Mine eagerly anticipate the giant slide every year!


Dish soap, bug spray, and beers. Pretty good description of the night.








After dinner, the minis got to do sparklers and fireworks in the backyard. Most were roman candles, but the minis had picked out a few other specialties that included one that screamed when it was lit. That one was not my favorite.





An accidental selfie. I was trying to get a picture of Elizabeth cheering on the chair for more fireworks. I wished all of my accidental selfies looked this decent!





I was smart enough to take July 5th off this year, since I knew everyone would be beat after another late night out of the house. We had a very low key day at home that involved naps, McDonald's delivery, and opening night of Ant-Man and The Wasp. That's right, OPENING NIGHT. I haven't made it to an opening of a movie in over ten years! This was a big night for me.


When I rolled out of bed an hour after the minis had been awake, I discovered they had opened all of our new goodies from Walmart and were playing with them (including these hot dog baskets and corn on the cob holders). This is what I get for sleeping in.





This was a great Independence Day! The minis got their slide, I got some relaxation, and memories were made.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Max's Birthday Weekend

Max's birthday weekend turned into a weekend we'll never forget. He had his list of what he wanted to do ready to go: Greenwood Park and spray grounds, Sweet Swirls ice cream, Spaghetti Works, Barnes and Noble to pick out new books, and Adventureland. What he didn't plan for was flash flooding while we were out and about and getting caught IN the flood waters! There will be no forgetting this weekend any time soon!



Friday night was Max's turn for his day and night with Grandma and Grandpa. The younger two had their own sleepover, but stayed up waaayyy too late. We treated them/ourselves to breakfast at Waveland Cafe before picking up the oldest mini, stopping for coffee, and heading to Greenwood Park.





It takes this girl sooooo long to eat. She struggles during the school year with limited time for lunches and breakfast (in the morning).



Greenwood Spray grounds are our favorite in the metro. There's also a fun park next to the spray grounds. It was a hot day, so most of the minis time was spent in the water, but we usually play at both when we're there. I sat in the shade for a while, but of course I eventually made my way into the water.











Per Max's request, we tried out Sweet Swirls FOR LUNCH! We were all fans of the rolled ice cream, but agreed that it was A LOT of ice cream! Definitely opt for the smallest size. If we hadn't eaten this for lunch and got it for dessert instead, there's no way anyone would have finished their cup.






After ice cream we went home for showers and naps. Naps lasted longer than expected, so we didn't make it out of the house for our "early" dinner until 5:30. Thankfully we were all rested for our interesting evening we wound up having....


When we got downtown to Spaghetti Works, we discovered it was an hour wait time. A communication error made us realize no one made reservations, so we had to wait. The minis did a fairly decent job, but our early dinner turned into a 7 p.m. dinner. Max was happy to eat at his favorite restaurant, so that's all that mattered.


 A strawberry Italian soda for the birthday boy.



Notice those ominous clouds behind us in the top picture (and notice it wasn't raining yet). We all commented on those clouds and I suggested we head home, Barnes and Noble could wait. However, the oldest insisted we go to B&N because it was part of his birthday plans. As we traveled down the interstate a flash flood warning came on the radio for a portion on our county we live in, however not our area specifically. Well, we made it to the book store without incident. BUT....

As soon as we got inside, the rain came. It down poured. We could hear it on the roof as it rattled the building. We told the kids to quickly pick out their books. When we left several minutes later we were treated to flooded roads that we couldn't travel down to get to our house. We made it to a grocery store down the street and took refuge inside. Might as well do some grocery shopping while we waited, right? Then the roof started leaking, lights were flickering. The kind of stuff nightmares are made of as the rain only came down heavier. I had never seen anything like this!

We ran out to our car and dove in (literally) as we discovered the parking lot was flooding. Everywhere around us was flooding. It was then we knew we had to try to make it home.

 Free nighttime shower I guess...



We hung out in the car for a while as we listened to radio reports and tried to plan our best route home. We tried going three different ways only to discover all of the roads were flooded. We made it out of one area immediately before they started evacuations! Through it all the minis were calm as could be (it wasn't until it was all said and done that they had a million questions). As we made our way down a road, we noticed that the rain was letting up just a bit. This wound up saving us and we were able to find a single lane on a main road that didn't have water on it.


A new lake formed on one of the busiest roads in Des Moines. It was here that we witnessed cars driving straight into the water, cars completely underwater, people standing on top of their vehicles in the pouring rain waiting to be rescued....it was all completely crazy. I still can't believe we witnessed all of this firsthand. This is the kind of stuff you see in the movies!

So, as we made it through a non-flooded road the rain picked back up. Hard. The van began having electrical issues because something had gotten wet as we drove through the downpour and puddles. We were forced to pull over a mere few miles from home. Thankfully the area we pulled over in had no flooding around us and my father-in-law was able to find safe roads to come get us. Our drive home was devastating as we saw flooded roads, homes, and the worst, our former house (or the street we lived on). It was a complete river. I held my breath as we pulled into our driveway. 

While we were out, I received message after message from friends and neighbors about leaky roofs, water in the basement, and even a few people who's roofs had completely collapsed! I breathed a huge sigh of relief that we had no damage what so ever! Not only were we completely safe, but we had nothing to worry about house-wise. I was really able to breath when Hubs called me and told my minivan was just fine. Whatever had gotten wet had dried out and there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. To say we got lucky is an understatement!


Everyone was wound up from our adventurous night that no one could sleep. We watched the news until these three fell into bed after midnight. I didn't calm down and fall asleep until after 2 a.m. The only thing I could do was watch the continuous new coverage of this bizarre night.


The minis had soooo many questions about flooding and flash flooding. The next morning (after sleeping in a bit, but not as long as I would have liked!) we took the kids around everywhere we had been the previous night to show them that those areas weren't flooded anymore. However, the damage was everywhere. This completely broken us street is where we used to live (only a few blocks from where we live now). It was heartbreaking to see all of our old neighbors and friends in their front yards surveying the damage done to the neighborhood and their homes.



Elizabeth was too "scared" to leave the car to visit our old neighbors. She sat with her blanket and doll.



We had planned to spend our day at Adventureland, but our late night meant we needed more rest than usual for our Sunday. After our drive around, we stopped at a new Puerto Rican Restaurant (literally the name of it) near our house and got a 2 entree meal and 2 empanadas. This was more than enough food for the five of us to split for lunch! 


ALL of us took naps Sunday afternoon and then we treated the minis to a drama-less dinner. We happily welcomed an easy going Sunday after our wild Saturday night.



Never had I appreciated the simplicity of a Sunday night: cleaning, eating ice cream sandwiches, and playing with the cats.