Since I was primarily focused on having a baby this Summer, we haven't spent a lot of time planning extra activities for the kids. Several things have been a life-saver, then, with 10 potentially bored folks occupying my household. The first is Ben. Shortly after Tali was born, Ben took it upon himself to start "the club". The Club meets every evening after evening chores are done. Any household child age 3 and up is eligible for membership and every eligible child, with the exception of JT, has jumped enthusiastically onto the club bandwagon. Club activities have included various crafts, games (group games were a popular choice while Ben was attending scout camp each day), baking cookies and selling them to the neighbors (the second night netted the club $5 and some odd cents which was first tithed and then split among the members) and most recently a play is in the works. The club has cleaned off the stage, recruited the neighbors and been diligently practicing and creating scenery and other effects. I believe it debuts sometime next week.
The other regular activity is the library. Now normally I am banned from library usage due to the incredible amount of fines I tend to collect (and yes, I know I can renew materials on-line). So this Summer I have committed to Thursday library days, the children are only allowed 2 books per child and I have been (mostly) faithful in meeting the commitments. (Meaning only one lost book so far which has been found and I think this past Thursday's library date is going to happen today - so it's Saturday, I'm trying!) The library dates have been boosted by the Barnes and Noble book club program which gives out a free book in exchange for a completed book report form from each child. All but one of the offspring have now completed the form (go figure - the one who reads the most has yet to read enough books to finish the form?!) so we should soon be going on a field trip to the bookstore to select our free books.
The last free entertainment is free movies at the Regal Theater. This has been great for doing individual dates. The movies are on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. This past week Adora took the 4 littlest ones to see Clifford. Last week was the girls' turn for girlie horse flick Running Free. We also got to see the Veggie Tales Pirate movie which has been out forever but yet to be viewed by our family. This coming week will be Mr. Bean's Holiday (or something like that) which comes highly recommended by Benjamin.
Although not free, Tad and I took advantage of an Adora-enforced date night on Thursday evening. We had dinner with the family then enjoyed ice cream at our favorite local hang-out and headed off for a 9:15 showing of Wall-E. We arrived at the theater just in time for the release of the 7ish showings and a flood of teenagers out of the the theaters and onto the sidewalk. Not up for wading through the flood, Tad and I sat in the car looking at the movie posters and deciding why we didn't want to see any of the other movies. (What, by the way, comes after HellBoy II - HellTeen? HellYoungAdult? HellGetsMiddleAgedandMeetsHellWoman?) Space Chimps looked artistically amateurish, I still haven't ascertained exactly Tad's beef about Journey to the Center of the Earth and the rest of the options touted too much sex or too much violence for our taste, (The Dark Knight looked just that - too dark). As soon as the coast was clear we got out of the car, went to the ticket booth and requested our tickets. The girl at the window looked at Tad sideways and said to him,
"But we no longer have a 9:00 showing of Wall-E."
Well, it's right there on your window sign and it was on the website.
Oh, I am so sorry. We're going to have to fix that. I'll tell you what, pick any other movie and I'll let you in for free.
We sighed and looked at each other knowingly.
Come on, it's free! How about Space Chimps?
It's just like Wall-E! Well, except Wall-E is hysterically funny and, well, I've never seen Space Chimps.
I think you just answered your own question there...
Or Dark Knight?
Nah, too dark.
Journey to the Center of the Earth?
I just looked at Tad - didn't know our objection to that.
A line was beginning to form as we contemplated our dilemma so we stepped aside for a while, put our heads together conspiratorially and finally decided on Space Chimps simply because someday the kids may ask if they can see it so we condescended to use our free movie on an offspring pre-viewing.
Ok, we've decided on Space Chimps.
She handed us a hand-written note which read: "Admission for two to Space Chimps. Sorry about Wall-E", a smiley face and her signature.
Now, if anyone asks for your tickets give them this and if they give you grief tell them I will beat them up.
We made it into the theater without the need to make real her threat and found ourselves alone with the screen. It was, as predicted, artistically amateurish. The editing seemed as if one of the main characters of the movie had escaped and monkeyed around with the film footage in the middle of the night. The script had a very few bright moments and the characters were somewhat likeable. It wasn't a total wash - we decided we could let the kids see it if it ever makes it out on DVD. At any rate, it turned out to be a cheap date and, hey, you get what you pay for.