Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I Finally Made it to Crapstone

That's no euphemism.

I actually made it to the town of Crapstone, the one that I blogged about so long ago, when contemplating where we might end up if and when we moved to England.

 My week away with mom and the kids in Devon and Cornwall has been touch and go. (At least pretend to be surprised, would you?) CC made me promise that we would use Saturday as a day to simply "chillax," so we spent all day lying around reading, playing on our computers, and getting the rental cottage in order, i.e. getting it well-stocked with junk food. Totally chillax-ed. By nightfall, however, it became fraught with bickering, so I vowed we'd be out bright and early on Sunday to some physical activity.

*** Then mom and I stayed up until 1:30am watching five Downton Abbey episodes back to back. And then after sleeping in 'til 9 o'clock, we watched the final episode while drinking our coffee and eating the last of the chocolate chip cookies. ***

Nobody can claim we don't know how to take it easy.

We finally made it out to Buckland Abbey, the former home of Sir Francis Drake (and current National Trust property), the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe and the man responsible for really pissing off the Spanish when he figured out all kinds of ways to steal the treasure they were bringing back from the South America and would then give to Queen Elizabeth.  (Sorry, that's about the best I can do history-wise. I'm no scholar in this department.)

The kids were f*cking insane in first the gift shop, then the great barn, and finally in the house. The Animal, in particular, seemed intent on shaming my parenting skills. Actually, I exaggerate. Clearly they weren't goofing around with the intent to embarrass me. They weren't thinking of me AT ALL. They were just being loud, noisy, borderline obnoxious children. Nevertheless, I sought revenge when we came upon a rack of period costumes and made the Animal pose as a Fancy Lad. *smirk*

He was appropriately chastened.

Imagine me trying not to laugh while snapping this delightful subject.

Actually, of the many National Trust properties I've been to with the kids, Buckland Abbey is one of the few that has kid-friendly exhibits in the house.  And when I say "kid-friendly," I really mean "energetic-boy-friendly." They can touch lots of different things, the rooms aren't all filled with antiques that are only to be seen and bored by, and there are lots and lots of steps to run up and down. I have to hand it to the staff there because they actually got all three of my boys to stop for a few moments to try and figure out how to fold a napkin into a Mitre's Cap. I was, frankly, astonished.

It has beautiful meadow and woodland footpaths to enjoy, so we went for a walk to try and wear them out.  Sadly, all we did was wear ourselves out and I distinctly remember begging the the Animal and Destructo to "please, for the love of God, just STOP TALKING." before we even got back to the car.

Things overheard in the forest:  Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Gramma! Mom! Mom! Mom! Idiot!! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Stop picking your nose! Mom! Mom! Mom!Keep your hands to yourself! Mom! Mom! Mom!

Tomorrow we're going to concentrate on home-time in the morning with no screens.  I brought along our few of our favorite games, Jungle Speed, Sequence, Batik and Uno, so the boys will be able to keep themselves entertained until it warms up later (the mornings are still pretty frigid here).  It might even be a beach day, if we're lucky!

FYI: Jungle Speed, if you haven't played it before, is a great card game for boys as it involves a physical element of snatching a totem in the middle of play if there is a certain combination of patterns on the cards that are played. Once you get the hang of the rules and symbols on the card, it is very fast and fun. One of my favorite rules is that there is a huge penalty if anyone accidentally knocks over the totem, so it keeps the kids from getting too wound up and aggressive about grabbing it. ;) I'm so mean. Mwaaahaaahaaa!

Discolsure: Esdevium Games was kind enough to send me a couple games to review with the boys. I was not paid to write my opinion, nor were the boys compensated to put Jungle Speed into their regular game rotation.

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