Wednesday, August 3, 2011

how i spent my summer vacation...

sometimes i wonder exactly how my kids will answer this question this year.  will they admit that they whined and argued and fought with each other every five minutes driving their mother close to the brink of insanity?

somehow i don't think so.

what i hope they remember to talk about is the fabulous time we had last friday participating in an "amazing race" kind of event.  we were all thrilled to be included in the gm family quest event.

let me just say that if i ever were asked to participate in the amazing race, i don't think i could do wrong by picking zoe to be my partner.   i'm not sure who is more competitive, me or zoe (or possibly our gm buddy, jenny, who accompanied us on our adventure and who was secretly pulling for us to win the entire time (in a very unbiased and nonpartisan fashion)).  tessa and tate quickly and easily lost focus in accomplishing our objectives at each stop, but zoe made sure to check off each item very diligently before taking time to play and explore.

gm planned an absolutely fabulous event for us that was completely kid-friendly.  when we arrived at our first destination (morton arboretum), we had our choice of a chevy suburban, a gmc denali or a chevy traverse.  as much as the kids wanted to try something different, i was eager to drive the traverse again, knowing how easy and enjoyable it was to drive.  i was ready for a repeat performance.  thankfully they were intrigued enough by the second sunroof for the back rows that they were willing to use that vehicle again.

after we chose our vehicle, we received our objectives to accomplish at the morton arboretum.  i have to admit, i have been a little hesitant to take the kids to places like the arboretum.  can they really enjoy spending a day looking at plants?  giving the kids a scavenger hunt definitely made the place more exciting for them.  first, we had to find our way through a hedgy maze, very reminiscent of the hedgy maze in harry potter (don't ask me which one because i can't remember).  zoe raced through the maze as though the dementors really were after her (or at least a boggart).  we accomplished the maze in absolutely record time.

unfortunately we lost our advantage when everyone suddenly needed a bathroom break.  we made up for lost time when we entered the children's garden.  if you are in the chicago area, the morton arboretum does a nice job making plant life accessible for children.  i think my kids favorite part was actually wading in a real stream.  we were supposed to skip a rock two times on the pond.  it was only after we threw a rock at the water about 20 times each that we discovered that the rules say no one should throw rocks (no wonder the little old docent seemed so intent on telling us we would never find a good skipping rock). 

our next objectives were to be accomplished in our vehicle:  find all the snacks hidden in your vehicle.  can there be anything more awesome for kids?  combining snacks with a treasure hunt?  our kids were very thorough!

next stop:  a splash park in the area.  since it was a pretty hot day, we were glad for an opportunity to cool off in the various fountains.  lilianna and tate were so caught up in cooling off, they weren't around for our some of our objectives.  here you see us spelling the word, "park" (you can clearly see it, can't you?)...

our gm buddy had an ipad with her that was helpful for accomplishing several of our objectives (sadly that wasn't the prize for winning the adventure!). here the kids got to pick a photo feature on the ipad and have their picture taken. can you guess which feature they picked?
i am forever grateful to my friend, leah, for her willingness to accompany us on our adventure.  she was even willing to kneel on the hard concrete so zoe could say we made a pyramid and cross that off our list.  isn't she amazing?
finally, we loaded everybody up and headed for the dupage children's museum.  this truly was the best children's museum we have ever attended.  zoe liked making a body bubble that she fit inside.  tate liked driving the space ship (although he didn't get a chance to build something with hammer, nails and wood that he could take home--we definitely need to go back for that).  tessa really liked the wind tunnels that sucked the fluffy balls right out of her hand.  plus, she was our hero for building a shape with giant tinker toys.

we finished our day with a pizza lunch (did i tell you that these gm/gmc people really understand kids?).  two of the three teams had tied for the win, so the pressure was on zoe, as representative of our team, to answer correctly the most trivia questions.  i don't know who was more stressed, me or her!  thankfully, she had a good memory (and made some pretty good guesses) and we won!  we will definitely be able to go back to visit the dupage children's museum since our prize was a yearlong membership to the museum.
here is our winning team next to our fabulous vehicle.  you may also want to take a look at the lisle news page over here to see if you recognize anyone.

we would like to thank zoe, for answering so many difficult questions well, and, more importantly, quickly.  thanks to tessa for her flexibility in running around like a crazy person doing whatever zoe and i frenetically asked her to do.  thanks to tate for not throwing any major tantrums and carefully building a flower on a magnetic board at the museum.  thank you to lilianna for hanging in there long past the point of exhaustion so the rest of us could have so much fun.  thank you to leah for taking care of my kids when i was distracted by winning, poopy pants and making conversation with various pr people who may or may not have other opportunities for me in the future.  thanks to our gm buddy (why do i hear music starting to play?), jenny, for noticing that i was in danger of losing half our party at various times.  i promise you i have yet to lose a kid for more than a couple of minutes.  and, last but not least, thank you to gm for hosting such a fabulous day for us.  i'm sure this will stick out for my kids as one of the highlights of their summer.

we received free admission to the arboretum and the dupage children's museum, as well as the use of a chevy traverse as part of our participation in the gm family quest event.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.


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