Archive for July, 2009

Birthday celebration at camp

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I went out to an event called Blog Out Loud Ottawa last Thursday night. It was as fun and interesting as it was poorly timed for me. I left an hour before it wrapped up to bake cupcakes for Reid to take to celebrate her birthday at camp. I planned for her to attend camp at her school this week so that she’d be able bring the cupcakes – every time one of the other kids brought something during the school year, Reid had asked if she’d be able to do so, too. All this being said, I left and caught a bus in a strange part of town but still made it home within the hour. Except the “hour” was 10:00 and I rarely stay up past 9:00 and, lately, have fallen asleep with Reid by 8:00.

I located the vegan cake recipe on the Instructables web site on the way home, just in case I was missing any ingredients. In addition to answering the “no eggs, no milk, no nuts” requirements for bringing food to school, it is a scrumptious chocolate cake that is super-easy to make. I made 32 mini-cupcakes, thinking the kids would like to have a couple each. One didn’t come out as it was supposed to and so I had to eat it. 31 wasn’t as good a number but I was too tired to make more. I did wait until they’d cooled completely before trying to take any others out of their spots. I piled them artfully on the base of my cake taker and sprinkled them with icing sugar. It looked pretty and was much less fiddly (not to mention faster) than icing a those mini cupcakes. Plus, my soy margarine has milk solids in it and it was too late to buy anything else for the frosting. Mostly I was going with the prettiness of the sugar dusting.  When I showed Reid in the morning, though, all of the icing sugar had been absorbed by the cupcakes. They were just too moist!

I’d promised Reid that I’d buy a candle in the shape of a “5″ but forget to do it. On Friday morning, I told Reid about my mistake and said we’d stop at the Metro on the way to camp. They had one “5″ candle on their rack but it was broke into two pieces. We checked at the Zellers and Food Basics in the same mall but they were both closed. Finally, I told Reid that we could wait and * maybe* find one at one of the other stores or she could use the five stick candles that we’d brought. Reid thought a moment and then said, “We should go to camp now, right, Mama.” I agreed that we should and we did. I was proud of her reasonableness in the face of disappointment. Maybe 5 is different than 4 (though she has been increasingly able to manage her disappointments over the last while).

After school on Friday, Reid reported that the kids and teachers had sung “Happy Birthday” and “Bonne fête”. They’d all had a cupcake but Reid said that none of the kids got a second one. I didn’t think to ask if she liked hers but, now that I know she didn’t eat her birthday cake or birthday pie, I probably should.

Happy birthday happenings

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Reid’s birthday was a celebration from start to finish. I brought her breakfast in bed as I read about a Andrea at A Peak Inside the Fishbowl doing for her children. I’m particularly proud of myself for remembering the idea over the last couple of months. Reid, who had already cuddled into bed with Ken, was tickled to see me with the tray. She said that it was good that she was in daddy’s bed so that her bed, with it’s new sheets and quilt, wouldn’t get anything spilled on it. I’m pretty sure that this was the sort of thought she should have kept to herself, no matter how true it was. Reid was careful as she ate her Cheerios and banana and drank her orange juice from its wine glass. Only one Cheerio got away from her. Given the number of Cheerios that end up on the dining room floor in a given week, one was a good number. After breakfast, Reid opened birthday cards from Aunt Karin and Uncle Dave (and Shea, Adam and Sulienne), Uncle Rick and Aunt Stephanie and Grandmama. She was excited to hear what each one said and who they were from. Separating the card opening from present opening made the cards seem more special and brought excitement to breakfast.

Reid went to swimming lessons wearing the birthday cake hat that I got her from the Dollar Store. She took it off before she got to the pool deck but she told her teacher it was her birthday. He’s a bit odd. He didn’t wish her “Happy birthday” as I do reflexively when I’m told about someone’s birthday. Maybe I’m odd, too, but he is odd in other ways. The other little girl in Reid’s class was absent and so Reid enjoyed a private lesson, almost like I planned it. We stopped at the Dollar Store on the way home for a few more balls for loot bags. Parents replied to the invitation as late as Thursday and so I scrambled a bit at the end. I was ever so grateful that Grandma Joyce insisted that she should make as many cloth bags as kids that we invited, even though people say attendance at summer birthdays is low. We had two left over but it was a near thing.

Reid’s party started at 10:45 at Cosmic Adventures. Unlike last year, when I dallied a bit and Ken was forced to speed across town and we were still later arriving than the first couple of guests, we got there before anyone else. We milled about in the lobby, collecting 12 of the 13 kids who were coming in the first 20 minutes. Each person entering the play area required an wrist band and I asked people to fill in “Hello my name is” stickers. It gave me hope that I’d be able to call the other adults something other than “M’s mom” or “J and L’s dad”. Unfortunately, most provided the kid’s names only. Still I did learn the names of 2 moms and one dad as well as one uncle. That uncle had never been to Cosmic Adventures before, was doing his sister a favour, and Ken told him that it was going to be very loud and that his sister would owe him big! (Sort of like I did last year, when Uncle Roger helped out at Reid’s birthday party.)

With all but one straggler accounted for, one of the party people led everyone to the little arcade to explain how the debit card thingys worked in the games. It would have made more sense to gather the parents close as most of the kids – the ones close enough to hear – didn’t understand the directions and the parents who probably could have understood, didn’t hear. Not that it’s rocket science; there are a finite number of ways to swipe a card. From the point of view of the kids’ experience, I think it was better when they got to feed tokens into the machines to play and then received a ribbon of tickets when they won. Environmentally – and economically, I’m sure – the debit cards are a better choice. As a parent who isn’t keen on the arcade, I missed seeing the supply of tokens dwindle, to mark the time I’d spent in that area. Our last guest arrived while we were still in the arcade and so we had 14 kids in total. Reid finally left the arcade without redeeming her card for the little plastic and rubber doodads that we absolutely don’t need in our house. All of the kids had some time in the climbing structure before we were called to the Mars room for lunch. Ken told me that at one point Reid went into the area reserved for kids 4 and under and he showed her the sign and told her she was too big. I bet that she liked being too big for something since she is still too little for many other things.

In the party room, everything runs with a military-sort of precision but the kids don’t seem to notice. They were enticed to all sit down by our party host who pointed out the crayons on the table that could be used on the paper that covered it. He got them to choose apple juice or Fruitopia by touching their nose or raising their hand, respectively. He made a crown for Reid out of balloons but involved all of the kids in stretching out the balloons and letting some filled ones go zooming around the room. No one seemed to mind at all that Reid was the only one with a balloon hat. The pizza was passed out efficiently – there’d been a choice between pizza and hot dogs but I’d decided it was too complicated to have both and ordered cheese pizza for all – and then another party host arrived to start painting faces. Each of the kids that wanted to got a small design on their cheek and didn’t mind interrupting their pizza-eating to do so. The party host gathered everyone together to show them the cake, a rectangle with a green and purple alien in one corner, and then asked if they were still hungry for their pizza or if they wanted cake. Reid went against the crowd and went back to eating her pizza.

We sang, “Happy Birthday” and passed out cake. Reid was excited to receive the first piece (told her dad about it later, even, though he was right there) but didn’t even pick up the fork to try her cake. This worked well because it meant we had time for a group photo and the present unwrapping. The party host sat next to Reid as she unwrapped her presents, recording who gave what on an official Cosmic Adventures form. It was like we rented a maid-of-honour. Once presents were unwrapped it was 1:00 and time for the official part of the party to end. The kids were welcome to stay with their parents until the 8:30 closing but we weren’t responsible for them. The moms were impressed by the cloth lot bags (I confessed Grandma Joyce had made them when asked) and the kids seemed to like the smiley-face ball, funny pen, notebook and Franklin story that was in each.

A surprising number of the kids had to leave immediately. I’d have been taking advantage of the no-admission-fee chance to let my kid run a bit more. A tired kid is the kind one wants at bedtime, no? Of course, there was the one kid whose parents had delayed the start of their family vacation until after the party and the others who had stayed home from the cottage in order to attend. Cosmic Adventures is a very popular birthday party location! We ended up staying until about 2:30 when the four who were allowed to stay longer left. We picked up the left-over cake and bag of presents at the desk on our way out. Birthday party packages are pretty expensive but the service is excellent.

Reid and I dropped Ken and the presents off at home and then went to buy some food for our planned picnic supper. It’s been raining so much and so often that I hadn’t wanted to commit to buying what we needed until I knew that we’d actually go. Sandwiches, cheese, veggies and the like are good for a picnic but seem weird as at-home birthday dinner offerings. It’s popular wisdom that you shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach and I can attest to the fact that it’s even worse to do when your stomach is empty and you’re tired. Everything that took *no effort to prepare* looked good. The only thing I was willing to buy that required me to expend energy were the cherries that I had to wash.

Melissa, Peter and Ben picked us up about 5:00 and we headed down to see Natalie MacMaster and the National Arts Centre Orchestra playing at one of the Orchestra in the Park concerts. We were early enough and lucky enough to find a picnic table to eat at and we enjoyed our supper and then I put a candle in the pie Reid had chosen at the store. We sang “Happy Birthday” and Reid tried to blow out the candle but the wind was so strong that the candle went out as soon as I lit it two or three times. Finally, I asked Reid to pretend to blow out the candle so that I could take the standard photo. (I’m such a cheater.) Reid refused the piece of pie that she was offered and also the ice cream that was all soft and creamy from its time in the cooler without ice). We offered extra pieces to the people sitting near us but most looked more than a little surprised that we offered and declined. One lady accepted and then her friend did, too. It was nice to share our celebration.

We tidied up and then left Peter and Ken to guard the chairs while Melissa, Ben, Reid and I went to see what else was going on. We found a water fountain that had way too much water pressure and a misaligned spout. The water’s arc was twice as large as it should have been. (I mention this only because there is a very good thing that Reid and Ben would say that it was the most memorable part of the evening. When we were walking, Reid asked me to carry her. I said “no” and noted that she is getting big and soon I won’t be able to carry her. Reid said, “Probably when I’m 20, I’ll be too heavy and too long for you to carry.” I told her that I was thinking more like 10 or maybe 7. I don’t think Reid believed me.

We saw some modern dancers (from The Dance School – Dancing in the Streets) performing on the grass. Reid watched a bit and then began emulating their poses and movements. We also went into a tent for the kids to try a guitar, ukulele (I think), drums and a violin. I’m pretty sure the Ottawa Folklore Centre provided the first instruments but I’m not sure from where the violins came. Having whiled away an hour, we headed for our seats. Reid couldn’t walk by the porta-john, despite our visit to the posh facilities (by comparison) of the Canadian War Museum. While standing in line, we got to see two people dressed in historic costumes and so it was good all around. We had to pick our way carefully to our chairs as the crowd grew dramatically while we’d been away. People were good natured about shifting, like they *should* be at outdoor concerts but sometimes aren’t. Reid and Ben had their chairs in front of ours. Reid has discovered, or maybe more accurately, finally noticed that Ben isn’t a fan of PDA (public displays of affection). He defines “public” as any situation involving more than himself and his parents when it comes to hugs or kisses. Reid likes to threaten to kiss him, she may actually carry through if she were able, and I have to tell her that everyone has the right to decide what happens to her/his body instead of smiling and remembering when little girls used to chase little boys and vice versa and it didn’t mean anything.

Once the concert started, Reid had trouble staying in her seat. She wanted to dance, had to dance, in fact. Unfortunately the closest good place for dancing was in Ben’s sight line of the stage. Still Reid listened some, danced some and talked some (it’s Reid, the talking was inevitable) for the 90 minutes the concert lasted. The sky looked increasingly ominous as the time passed. By the time Natalie MacMaster came out for her encore, people were getting antsy. As the last notes died away, the crowd began packing up their chairs and heading out. We got to the van – carpooling saved such coordination headaches – and Reid and Ken each got to open their presents before we went to out house. I was amazed that Reid didn’t fall asleep on the way home but I guess it’s hard to sleep when you’re talking non-stop.

Reid went to sleep quickly at home, or I think she did, I was out in no time flat, myself. She even slept in an hour on Sunday. It was a birthday full of happy happenings. I’m so glad that Reid had fun (and also that we only do it once a year).

Camps Songs 2.0

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Reid has been at camp two days and this is what she had to share (once she’d coached me a bit):

Me: Hey, Reidie.
Reid: Hey, what?
Me: Hey, Reidie.
Reid: Hey, what?
Me: Show us how you disco.
Reid: First, I slide. (Slide arms out)
Then, I bat my eyes. (Motion with hands on either side of head like exaggerated blinking)
Then, I do the Freak. (Think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever with his arm in the air.)
Then, I do the Super Freak. (Arm in the air again, this time the hand turning a circle with the pointer finger extended)
Me: D-I-S-C-O. That is how we disco.

Sometimes Ken or I got to do the disco part. Reid was so obviously proud of us when we got the words and actions right that I felt a bit insulted. How can she think we’re dumb and uncool when she is only 5? I thought that we had a couple more years of being taken seriously.

By the way, Google tells me that this is a variation of a cheerleading call. Who knew?

Me, pack a lunch for her?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Reid has always attended day care, school and camp where lunches were provided. Today, though, is the first day that I’ve had to pack her a lunch. I wasn’t quite sure how what to send or how much of it to send, for that matter. Reid was super-excited to take her lunch and eagerly gathered cherries – 9 of them – to put in a container and asked for a Babybel cheese to accompany her tortilla with cream cheese, lettuce and ham roll-up. I added a container with cucumbers, cauliflower and carrots, a Clementine and a peeled, hard-boiled egg as well as water. I’m quite sure that there is twice as much food in Reid’s lunch bag than she could possibly eat at lunch – they provide morning and afternoon snacks – but I didn’t know what to take out. I told Reid to eat at least half of her sandwich and three pieces of the vegetables. I’m going to have to visit the Vegan Lunchbox blog to get a better idea of how much to send and whatever comes again. Of course, I’m not sure whether Reid can open the containers that I packed her lunch in. She might bring it all home…

Cosmic Adventures is pretty much around the corner from our house and so we walked over this morning. As we walked, Reid said how this was a VERY GOOD day. She was bringing her lunch for the first time ever without me AND she was walking to camp for the first time ever! We observed the universal rules of kids walking: crossing with the walk signal and not stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk. Reid said the latter was to ensure that we didn’t come into contact with poison ivy. Not that we knew there was poison ivy there or not. “We don’t know, right, Mama?” Nope, but I like that better than contemplating a broken back for either me or *my* mother. Maybe I should’ve taught her the rhyme about cracks and mother’s broken backs. It’s the sort of thing she’d pick up if she walked to school with neighbourhood kids. Not that I’ve ever seen that happening in our neighbourhood, what with the 4 school boards.

All in all, a momentous day in a very small way.

Playing baby

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Reid has been refining how we “play baby” over the last while. Fortunately for my sanity, the baby – almost exclusively Reid – no longer cries as much as it used to do. I don’t know that I ever convinced her that she didn’t cry all that much as a baby or if she just tired of it. Either way, I’m glad the baby babbles more than she cries.

But we don’t start with a babbling baby anymore. We start with Reid curled into a ball and nestled against me because she is a baby in my belly. Given what a tall, almost 5-year-old she is – not to mention that I’m am somewhat vertically challenged – her head is on my chest and her feet are at my knees. While the baby is in my belly, I wonder aloud about whether I’ll have a girl or boy. I say, truthfully, that I hope that I have a girl so that I can call her “Reid Elizabeth”, just like I dreamed of doing since I was a teenage girl, Danielle and Shea’s age.

At a certain point, but not before I’ve said my part about hoping for a girl, Reid turns herself upside-down. She announces that she is in the birthing position and I should go to sleep. For reasons that I’m not clear on, Reid is convinced that babies are born while the mamas are asleep. Every now and again, I explain that mamas are usually awake when babies come, that mamas push the babies out of their bodies. We need to find a book that shows body parts because I’m not sure that I’m doing a good job explaining things. At least she knows about the birthing position, at least.

Our adventures at Cosmic Adventures

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Ken and I took Zachary, Dylan and Reid to Cosmic Adventures, an indoor playground last Tuesday night while Melissa and Roy went out for supper. The evening convinced me of something that I’ve long suspected and taught me something else:
1. Reid is braver than I am.
2. Zachary is fearless.

When I first took Reid to Cosmic Adventures, she was 3 and content to play in the area reserved for children under 4. We even spent a bit of time upstairs on the equipment reserved for the under-3 crowd. As soon as we entered the facility last night, Zachary headed for the nearest entry to the main structures. He had to execute a gymnastics sort of maneuver to hoist his body onto the next level of the climbing structure. It seems Zachary is used to finding work-arounds for being only 2.5 years old. I was scrambling to keep up as he went through the hard plastic tubes, rope bridges, etc. Once in the tubes, Zachary’s size was a definite advantage. He could run full tilt while standing upright in places where Reid had to hunch and I had to crawl. My knees were still tender two days later. (Poor me ;+) A friend from work later told me that you can borrow knee pads from the front desk. Next time I’ll know!

At some points, I had to have Reid stay with Zachary – calling out direction changes as they went while I tried to catch up. I’ve never been so glad that Reid learned left from right. I thought I needed to stay close to Zachary, just in case, but Zachary didn’t think he needed me for anything.

After a trip to the water fountain, Reid and Dylan went into the under-4 area and Zachary and I followed. It was lovely to sit back and observe as all three kids were contained and visible. Zachary was the first to tire of the “little kid” area and go back to the main area. I took him up to the toddler area after a while but it was clearly too tame to interest Zachary the Brave.

We went back to the main climbers and spent our last while going to the highest possible places. I had to fight my own personal boogeymen throughout the evening – vertigo and claustrophobia – and so I was awfully proud to make it to the top in those ridiculously small tunnels. Proud but not 100% comfortable. I learned a bit from Zachary the Brave. Not that I’m sad that Reid won’t ask me to climb with her at her birthday party. But I know that I can go rescue someone if I need to do so.

Birthday present investigation

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

When we were in Wheatley, Sari was taking her big cousin role seriously as she tried to decide on the proper gift for Reid’s birthday. I’m told their conversation went something like this:

Sari: What’s your favourite thing?
Reid: Mama.
Sari: What’s your second favourite thing?
Reid: Daddy.
Sari: What’s your third favourite thing?
Reid: Dylan.
Sari: What’s your favourite colour?
Reid: What is Dylan’s favourite color?

I think Sari gave up at that point and resorted to observational gift research. Reid certainly liked the gifts that she ultimately received from Sari and Jay.

Choosing her own outfits

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Whenever we’ve travelled with Dylan, he has put on whatever clothes we’ve given him. Reid is an entirely different kind of kid. This morning, for instance, I chose a pair of capris and a t-shirt for Reid for her first day of Kinderfarm camp at the Canada Agriculture Museum. She refused the outfit and went to her closet to choose a dress. I had to exclude “princess dresses” (meaning the ones with tulle, etc.) and said she needed a play dress. Reid’s first choice was an ankle-length dress, complete with wiffle, and I said “no” and redirected her to the cotton dresses. She chose one and added a wine-coloured shoulder-length cape that has white faux fur around the hood. She added the capris that I’d originally proposed – they were made of the same material as the dress.

When Reid came downstairs from dressing, everyone was awestruck, or maybe dumbfounded. I suggested that she’d need a jacket but she was sure the cape would suffice. Melissa came to my defence and said Dylan would have to wear a jacket. I left before they worked it out. Melissa may have talked Reid out of the cape before they left for Kinderfarm camp. If not, I bet she’ll have been the only one in faux fur ;+)

Updated to add Melissa’s comments:

Reid wore the cape to register and then we saw a sign that said the kids need hats…so I asked if she was just going to use her cape or Hoody ORRRR if she wanted to wear my hat that I had packed (a girly version of a baseball cap) and she chose my hat.  For those of you who haven’t been around the Reid/Dylan combination lately, they have to one-up eachother occasionally, sooooo this morning Dylan begged me to wear my hat to Kinderfarm camp!!!  Again. Very girly….but we talked him into Spiderman instead…… 

The kids got their Kinderfarm camp shirts today so we’ll have to get a good photo of them in those to share! 

Also, being a mom of 2 boys, it’s nice to see a girl who wants to express her femininity.  Reid really likes to prance and dance (vs. running full tilt like our boys) and a dress like the one she wore the first day of camp ACCENTUATES the dance moves very well!  Perhaps she is aware of this and that is why she chose it… show off her MOVES!! Roy called her Paula Abdul, which is a bit out of date, but I suppose is FARRRR better than calling her Britney (EUCH!!)  LOL! 

Playing .. with reality mixed in

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

A while ago (obviously, since Reid is in Wheatley and I am not) we had the following conversation.

Reid: You’re sick. You’re the patient
Mama: If I’m sick, why am I unloading the dishwasher.
Reid: You’re the mom.

Glad we got that straight.

Chicago, day 2

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

We had breakfast and then a swim, just to start our second day in Chicago off right. I’ve been assured by some parenting magazine that you don’t need to wait half an hour after eating and, since I needed a prod to get the kids focused on eating their breakfast, I chose to accept this advice. We were kind of slow though and ended up rushing to the Adler Planetarium. On the way, Dylan said that he liked Chicago a lot but it had no swings and he really likes swings. I made a point of keeping my eyes on the lookout for swings but we never did see any.

We got to the Adler Planetarium at about 9:58 for Elmo’s 10:00 walk around. Really, he was standing at the end of a line-up corral waiting for kids to come and have their picture taken with him. We were behind only four other families and that made it worth that spurt of rushing. There was an extra fee for viewing the One World, One Sky movie, or I should say there was a fee since our admission was covered by a reciprocal agreement that’s part of our membership to the National Museum of Science and Technology. The 23-minute film, which was projected onto the dome-shaped screen, was magical from the kids’ point of view. There was enough motion that I had to close my eyes for a bit so that I didn’t throw up. Reid asked me a couple of times if our chairs had moved. She’s never been to a movie in a cinema since Aunt Karin took her to the first 90 seconds of The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. After the movie, I told Reid and Dylan that Elmo was a  newcomer to Sesame Street and they seemed dubious. Elmo, who was on his way back to his room for a rest, overheard and looked disdainful. Okay, he had the very same expression as he always does, since his head has no moving parts but I imagined he thought I was old school and not in a good way. I noticed in our conversations that Reid refers to the big yellow bird as “Big Bert”. I told her the correct pronunciation but she is having trouble making the change. Habits are hard to break.

We looked at a few displays, including one of the robots sent to explore Mars, and did a couple of crafts. First, the kids attached a view of the globe to a paper that showed night and dark to help them see that when it’s dark in Beijing, it’s dark in Chicago and vice-versa. It’ll be good to use the next time that Ken is Afghanistan. They also decorated tubes to represent new modules for a space station. It’s pretty close to how they add on to the International Space Station. We also spent time admiring ourselves in some distortion mirrors that represented the effects black holes have on the space around them. Or at least I think that’s what we were supposed to learn.

After lunch we walked along the steps near the planetarium and then along a lake front path, searching for the Field Museum of Natural History. We stopped at a small park that was astronomy-themed. The kids climbed and played while Uncle Chris and I rested in the shade.
Once we were seated, we noticed that the Field Museum of Natural History was just across from where we sat. In the Crown Family Playlab, Reid dressed up as a couple of different animals – she can’t walk by a costume, my girl – and they examined some artifacts, including a mask, chest plates, etc. Reid sat and filled in a scientist’s observation sheet about two different kinds of fossils. She had to record the measurements, the name, etc. and draw the fossil she was observing. I’m going to try to remember to make and take a sheet like that the next time we go for a walk in the woods. Reid and Dylan looked in some drawers that had some artifacts in them and then moved into the dinosaur area. Dylan, in particular, enjoyed the dinosaur puppets. We went to the main part of the museum to see Sue, the world’s largest, most-complete Tyranosaurus Rex, galleries of taxidermied animals in small tableaux – old school for a nature museum but I prefer them to newer displays which rely on computer screens and videos and less on the majesty of the natural world. (Like is being done at the Canadian Nature Museum)  Reid and Dylan flitted from one to next, tableau to the next. We would have spent more time if we’d started at the Field Museum and we’ll definitely go back another time.

We went looking for a bus but they were, rerouted due to Taste of Chicago and we ended up walking about an hour back to hotel. I suspect that we may well have spent the same time in a bus because of the heavy traffic. I encouraged the kids to sleep in their strollers while Uncle Chris and I pushed them along. Dylan resisted the motion but Reid succumbed and she napped with her head flopping around, poor thing.

We had supper at Heaven on Seven, a Louisiana-style restaurant. We started with bread with sweet butter or bean spread. Uncle Chris and I each had a bowl of gumbo and then shared a Taster plate of beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, bbq chicken with sweet potato polenta, coleslaw and black beans and rice on the side. We’d asked whether there was enough food to share and the waitress assured us we’d probably have food to take with us. She was right. Reid and Dylan each ordered cheese burgers and fries and got an ice cream sandwich for dessert, though Reid sent hers back unopened. I’d definitely go back to Heaven on Seven but I’d try to entice Reid to try some Louisiana food.

Everyone was ready for bed by the time we got back to the hotel. That’s a good way to end a day of touristing, isn’t it?