...And Lived To Tell The Tale
Product Review: Hormel Compleats Kids Meals

It's Amazing No One Got Sick.

Often, one or more of the kids are enjoying something so thoroughly that they'll declare it the Best. Day. Ever. Today was one of those days. Sophia had a miserable sixth birthday yesterday, because she had to spend 3-4 hours in the ER waiting room while I was seen, and then on the way home, she got a migraine, had to puke into a full bag of Chex Mix that was the only receptacle available, and promptly took a many-hours-long nap. She woke up feeling much better, so today, we celebrated and did the fabulous, fun, free things that were meant for yesteray. To-wit:


Okay, so the bruise on poor Chloë's cheek is not part of the Best. Day. Ever. It's just part of today. It's where we started out. See, Chloë's getting the first of two rounds of braces, and they tried to put her appliance in on Tuesday. It didn't fit in her mouth, and they accidentally jabbed her cheek with it, and this bruise (and the accompanying swelling) are the ugly result. Poor kid! On the upside, Sophia did get to sit and watch a cute puppy movie in the waiting room that she'd never seen before, and she got a sticker from the dentist, so maybe we can count it as part of BDE fun.



I think she looks so beautiful in this picture... after the dentist, we headed over to the local mall to ride the carousel. Every year on Sophia's birthday - and only Sophia's, for some reason, even though they're all signed up for it - she gets a postcard inviting herself and 9 friends to go ride the carousel for free. I tried to get a group of friends to go with us yesterday, but none were available, so we just went ahead ourselves today. Since there were only three kids, I talked the attendant into letting them ride twice. They were beyond thrilled about that, like they'd won the lottery.


You gotta embiggerate this one, since it's so rare to see genuine joy on Jack's face! (He almost never rides a horse when we do a carousel ride. Doesn't like the up-and-down part of it, and he never believes me when I point out one that will be stationary.)


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(Click collage to enlarge)

I'll probably do a bunch of collages for this post, because there are so many pictures from this day that I like. The post would be enormous if I included them all individually. 

To my surprise and the kids' delight, the carousel attendant presented each of them with a free punching balloon after their second ride. They went punch-crazy for about five minutes. Now, because Jack decided he didn't want his and both girls' popped before we got home, we have none of them. I'm disappointed, because I get a kick out of a good punching balloon. Simple pleasures, you know.


After the rides and balloons, we headed down the mall hall to Build-A-Bear, where Sophia had a $5 gift certificate. They all get one for their birthdays, and I only ever let them pick out $5 worth of merch, never more, because the whole fun of the freebie day is seeing how much fun we can have for nothing, ya dig? Anyway, she picked out this cute little backpack for her pink poodle, which she made for her birthday two years ago. It's hard to see in this picture that I love, but you'll see it again later.

Bunny collage

An unexpected detour through the mall occurred when we ran smack-dab into the center court where Easter Bunny photos were being advertised. The sign showed real, live rabbits, so I figured, duh, there would be real, live rabbits in the pictures. No such luck. It was just a dumb bunny suit (obviously, heh). But, the girls were already excited to have their picture taken with him, so we went ahead and did it. They had no problem letting me snap a few pictures for free without buying their pricey packages, or I wouldn't have done it. Jack did NOT want to be in the pictures, as evidenced by his horrible grimaces in all three captures! Little stinker.

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The girls, on the other hand, had to be dragged away from thar! Each one was given a "crown" with bunny ears, and a chickie mask, too. Jack didn't want those, either. He was being a little punk. I think he was being a sore loser because much was being made of Sophia's birthday, and he was jealous. Not that he didn't get his share of freebies (did I post his birthday stuff yet?); he's just a whiner!


I love this photo, too... Sophia had noted the sparkly lights on the trees on her way into the mall, and she ran to examine them more closely on the way out. In the end, she insisted I take her picture with the "sparkly tree," and I love how it came out.



In the far end of the mall parking lot, there is a Toys 'R Us store. How convenient, since that was our next freebie stop! Kids signed up with Geoffrey's Birthday Club get a crown, a balloon, and their birthday announced over the loudspeaker. They also get a $3 gift card in the mail. Again, I only ever let them spend the $3, never more. It's a game. So the lady made her announcement, after confirming that it was ONLY her birthday and not, in fact, all three of my "triplets" (I get asked that a lot lately, which bothers me not at all, compared to all the "twin" questions I used to get).


Sophia may be a naughty girl, but she has a generous soul. She's always the first to share. So when she spotted all the Easter candy, and then her "favorite thing in the world," the Peeps, I pointed out that she could get three packages with her $3 card. She immediately asked Chloë and Jack which kind they wanted, because she was going to share her money with them. Isn't that sweet? Jack, who had been grumpy up 'til then, immediately brightened. See? Little sisters aren't so bad, hon.



Down the road a small piece was Chuck E. Cheese, for which Sophia had a coupon offering 20 free tokens. I warned the kids that that was ALL we were getting there, and when they were gone, they were gone. I figured it would take five minutes, but they managed to stretch their time there into about a half-hour. Not bad. And definitely worth it, for the fun-to-expense ratio was quite huge.

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They had a lot of fun for their free 20 coins. And that's total, not each! And yes, Sophie does always, always throw us the "I love you" sign!



They only earned 29 tickets with those tokens, but it was just enough for them each to get a roll of Smarties. They were satisfied with that, so I was, too.


Our next stop: Sonic, for Sophie's free Wacky Pack lunch. She shared all her fries with the rest of us, passed her cherry slush around to her siblings, and gave Chloë the cheeseburger her belly couldn't finish.


I'd had these three coupons for a free kid's ice cream at Chick-Fil-A in my wallet for eons, so I finally decided to go ahead and cash them in for Sophia's fun freebie day. Were they ever pleased! And of course, CFA has a play zone, so we had to go in there, too. But seriously, what's a kid's birthday without ice cream?


Ahh, there we go. No, it's not a sneeze - I caught Sophia mid-huge-yawn. Good deal, Mama was wearing her out! (And it's true; she's zonked out on the couch right now, because she was too tired to carry herself up to bed. Hee.)



Another photo to love...!


Ice cream collage 

Lick, lick, lick

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As I was in ever-increasing pain from an apparent UTI and possible kidney infection, I limited the kids' time in the play zone to about 20 minutes before I just couldn't sit there any longer. They were fine with that, as they were growing quite tired themselves. Plus, they all wanted to know, "What's next, Mom?" in our Best. Day. Ever.


A quick stop for Sophia to smell the flowers, before we headed on to our next stop: Home. Well, but not for long. I had free birthday meal coupons for Jack and Sophia for the Silver Diner in town, but I had left Sophie's at home. And I had to pee. And get the mail. 

And, by the way, the entire time we were driving around to all these things, the kids were watching the DVD of Tangled in the car, which we'd finally managed to snag from the Redbox after days and days of finding it checked out already. Just in time for Sophia's birthday!


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At the Silver Diner, they each got a shake - with a cherry on top, a must-have, natch - and an entrée. I didn't eat anything, as I was in serious agony by then. The kids ate quickly, and not much, since they'd been doing a lot of eating recently. I boxed up their leftovers, and we skedaddled on home to meet Dadddy. He'd come home from work to take me to the ER for the second day in a row. 

{And so, we went. I was nearly in tears by that point, so they took me right back for tests. Daddy and the kids left to return the DVD while I sat in the back and ached. I got my Rx for antibiotics and met them out front. To my chagrin, Rob returned to work for another few hours. I was in so much pain by that point, I wanted to die. However, my sometimes- (okay, often-) unruly children seemed to sense that Mommy wasn't up to any shenanigans tonight, and they behaved like angels for me. It was a major blessing. Meantime, I popped a pain pill and put on a ThermaCare Heat Wrap and waited for the horrendous pain to subside. Thank God, it has. It's like night and day; I feel so much better now!} 


After a nice bath and PJs, Sophia brought down her pink Build-a-Bear poodle, with her new backpack from earlier in the day. She lay down on the couch with her poodle, Toys-R-Us balloon at her side, and read a book until she drifted off, with memories of her 6th birthday fun no doubt dancing through her head...