August 1, 2012

Willow Park Zoo Benefit

I've all but completely neglected the kids this past week.  The roofers and the kitchen floor guys all descended upon the house at once.  The first couple of days, I had attention to give the kids, but they were so enamored with what was going on on the roof and in the kitchen that they had little desire for my usual guidance.  We did minimal school work and just milled around watching the circus and listening to the roofers bicker with the tilers and then whine about each other.  

By day 3, the roofers were gone and the tilers became the tiler who needed my help if we were ever going to get things done.  He taught me how to grout my own floor and I set about grouting sections that had already been cut and glued while he measured and cut the tiles for the edges and around the bar.  Grouting was fine at first, but its boring and by day 3 the kids were over being neglected and ready for some attention again.  I had to give my full attention to the floor, so they slipped into full grump mode and remained there for days.  

Yesterday, by noon the tile guy had wrapped things up and by 6:30I had sealed the grout twice, put pads on the bottoms of the chairs to protect the floor, painted the baseboards and doors so that they didn't look all shabby and dirty against the bright new floors.  I can now officially call the kitchen remodel done!  

And it was done just in time to go to the Willow Park Zoo benefit at the Aquatics Center.  This was a big deal because it didn't even start until after bed time AND everyone who paid for entry got a free soda, a free snow cone, and a free Chick-fil-A sandwich.  We go to the pool almost every Monday for family swim night, but we never ever buy food there.  Ever.  As we walked over to get our sodas (I kept the kids to Gatorade because, let's face it, no kid actually needs a soda and red Gatorade is still pretty darn great!), Haven grabbed my hand and said, "This is a really special night, isn't it Mom?"  My heart melted.  It was special getting to spend time with them finally after 5 days of kitchen related neglect.  But I'm pretty sure he was talking about the soda and snow cone.

There was a boat race across the lap pool for anyone 12 and up who wanted to build a raft out of recycled materials, make it animal themed, and race it.  Our favorite was one with little coke bottle penguins all over it.  And it was our fave before we even realized that the girl riding it was dressedlike a giant penguin too.  She was awesome.  And she won!  

In addition to the included grub and recycled raft race, there was a live band poolside, which was totally cool.  They played old standards that every one knows and as the sun set behind them, dancing and singing with the kids under the pink and orange sky felt like the most perfect summer evening of the year.  Me and Hannah Jane dancing to My Brown Eyed Girl in the pool under painted clouds? Yeah, it doesn't get better than that.

But then it did!  There was a silent auction and a drawing to win a free family pass to the pool for next summer.  Joe bid on a few things for the kids, but was outbid before things wrapped up.  The kids were out of the pool and shivering and ready to go before they announced the winner of the drawing, but I convinced them to hang around for just a few more minutes to see who won the pool pass.  And I'm glad we did!  It was us!  Whoo-Hoo!  I ran over to the stage and the band guy kept saying, "I guess they aren't here.  I guess they don't want it!"  So I kept screaming as I made my way over.  Several people congratulated me and one little boy about Haven's age asked, "Did you win that penguin boat?"  Haha!  That's what my boys would have wanted to win.  

As exciting as it was to win the prospect of going swimming any time we want next summer for free, the boys were cold and ready to go, and as I followed the lady to the office to claim my prize, I glanced over and saw Haven whining big time about being freezing cold at the table with Joe.  Joe took the boys to the van while Hannah Jane and I filled out paper work for our family pass.  It took FOREVER for them to enter every one's birthdays and ages and addresses into the computer.  Joe even checked back once to see if we were okay because it was taking so long.  But 20 minutes later we were on our way home and the kids were happily going on and on about all the swimming we're going to do next summer.  Hannah Jane said, "Mom, just once, only once, can we go every single day of the week?"  Why not?  I told Joe and he said that while I was filling out paper work, he told the boys, "This means we could go seven days a week if we wanted!"  To which Haven replied, "Or we could even go every single day of the week!"  Okay, I guess we have some work do to on this days of the week business.

So, it was a great evening.  I was sad to see so few people turn out.  Willow Park Zoo is darling and it just wouldn't be the same without it.  Apparently they've been operating in the red for quite some time now and it was kind of a last ditch effort to raise some funds.  I don't think they raised much.  There were very few families there despite all the freebies and extra events.  But that was nice for us, because there was never a line at all for the water slides, no rowdy kids splashing us in the face because everyone could really spread out in the pool, and less competition for the family pass drawing.  But really, with all of that, the highlight of my summer so far were those precious sunset water dancing moments with my kids.  Life is good.

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