Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Bucket List- Valentine's Weekend

In light of Valentine's Day being last Friday we did some of our bucket list things themed around it.  To make sure that our friend's received their Valentines on Valentine's Day we marked off Secret Valentine on Wednesday. This was another great idea I found on Pinterest and it was another Pinterest thing that lied. According to the page I found it on a box of candy weighs the correct amount to use only one postage stamp to mail. With that in mind we chose to do this as our secret valentine gift. Knowing that the recipients of our gifts are also dye-free or dye limited we bought Snocaps and Junior Mints to mail out. Joey wrapped each box with such care using blue paper because we forgot to buy red. Jordan wrote out the return address which was 123 Love Street, Heartland USA, 98765 (which I thought was very creative of him). Jacob wrote Happy Valentine's Day on the front of each one. We managed to get them all wrapped, addressed and get to the post off just minutes before they closed for the day. I held off on placing our cool Disney stamps on them until I was sure it would actually only cost one stamp. Good thing that I did, if I would have stamped them our Valentines would have owed the Postal Service about $2.00 for each of the gifts they received. While it was the correct weight the boxes are not bendable and count as parcels. So after all the boys hard work of preparing the packages and contacting the parents of our recipients to ensure they knew where the candy came from and that it was safe for their kiddos I couldn't just not mail them. So this simple activity ended up costing me just over $15 instead of just under $3. I think for now on I'll stick getting general ideas from Pinterest and tweaking them to better suit our needs (like I did with the ice candles). We had heard from the mothers of our Valentines that they were very surprise to receive the treats and still have no clue who their secret valentines are, so it was worth it in the end.

The kids' winter break started on Friday so we had Valentine's Day to spend together. Jordan and I had set up appointments early in the week that took pace on valentine's Day. Our first stop was a visit to the fire department. Our local fire department is run on a volunteer basis which makes it difficult to arrange a tour, we chose a neighboring city's firehouse for our tour. We were allowed to climb around on the fire trucks and the boys opened every compartment and asked questions about every piece of equipment. The Captain was there and allowed us to try on almost their full gear (even mom wore the coat and hat) and a couple of my kids tried on an air mask. We recently have done a couple fire drills in our house and review fire safety; I try to do this a couple times a year to keep it fresh in their minds. The Captain talked about not hiding during a fire and explained that if a firefighter had to get them during a fire that they would like and sound like Darth Vader and not to hide. I loved the analogy he gave.

My boys are very comfortable being in the fire station and with the equipment they use. When Joey was younger his dream job was to be a fire fighter and we had visited many stations frequently. Also we never pass up the chance to check out fire trucks whenever they are at an event we are attending. Jordan made a point of asking what to do in case of a grease fire as he has been getting more comfortable cooking and has be expanding different cooking styles and meals.

We had a short break between the fire department and  our next stop and grabbed a special Valentine treat of fast food for lunch (we rarely eat fast food). After lunch we set out to share our love with others by volunteering at the Assisted Living Center during their Valentine's party. When we set up the appointment to help out Jordan had asked if he could bring a treat and was told chocolate chip cookies were a favorite around there.  Our original bucket list idea was to make cards to take or bring a craft to do with the residents. We didn't know how many cards to make and finding a craft that the residents could do without it being childish proved to be challenging, so helping with their party was a great alternative. The party was real basic and straight forward just pass out cake and ice cream and make sure everyone had something to drink. I was surprised to see Jordan being more reserved and mainly hanging out in the kitchen preparing the dishes. Jacob jumped right in and started taking orders of who wanted cake, ice cream, or both. The residents were getting a kick out of Jacob, while taking orders he was only asking one person at a time instead of getting a total for the whole table. I was so proud of Joey, there was on gentleman sitting at a large table all by himself (we were told that he was a man of few words) and Joey pulled up a chair next to him and just sat there with the older guy. While he didn't talk to Joey, Joey smiled frequently and just sat there until the guy finished his cake. The guy thanked Joey for sitting with him before he went back to his room. Jordan wrapped up the cookies he made and Jacob and Joey passed them out for the residents to have later for an after dinner snack. After cleaning up we were offered to help "on the other side" but didn't have to, he "other side" is where the dementia residents were. We were more than happy to help over there and while the party goes were gathered up I had a quick talk with the boys about what to expect and that we could leave if they were uncomfortable. The boys were perfect gentleman and helped out the same as they did for the first party. The ignored the weird mumbling yelled out and made small talk with those who spoke to them. By the time we left the boys all had their favorites from both parties and had asked to go back and help out again soon. I was very impressed with how well the boys presented themselves and their eagerness to help in the future. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to show love and understanding than spending our day at the center.
*Due to privacy I didn't take any pictures of the boys interacting with the residents.

The following day we marked off board game day. This was a difficult activity in the sense that it was the first one we did that Jordan had opted not to participate in. Jordan has expressed that some of our activities he feels he's "too old" to do. I try to encourage that we do our list as a family but try to be understanding that he is 13 and expressing his independence. While he normally enjoys playing games with us, be had receive the privilege of his IPod and was totally consumed with catching up on YouTube videos. We started our game day with the hopes that Jordan would soon join us, which he did not. The younger two had learned to play chess that morning which sparked the board game day. We continue a few games of chess throughout the day along with Scrabble Junior, Disney Sorry, Skylander Trouble, ending with a two hour game of Monopoly. While trying to determine which games to play Jacob realized we have many games that aren't technically board games and has requested that a non-board game day take place soon or be added to our
next bucket list.

We are slightly a little more than half way through our chosen activities, with 12 1/2 left to complete. Feeling very confident that we will be able to complete our whole bucket list on time, despite the weeks we did little or nothing from our list.