Living room campouts, again

I’m pretty sure that if we’d never left the US, we would have taken the kids camping by now, at least once, even if we’d only gone as far as the wilds of Grandpa’s backyard.  As it is, we haven’t yet, not really.  But we have gotten a fair bit of practice, having sleepovers in the tent in the living room.

It’s a habit we got out of over the winter.  Mostly, I think, because the boys are now sharing a room, so now every night is kind of a sleepover for them.  But last weekend, the boys requested another campout sleepover in the living room, and Dan camped out with them.  This past weekend, they wanted to do it again, and I took a turn.

It was really great fun, and it made me sorry we’ve gotten out of the habit.  After our usual Friday night movie night (which has sometimes turned into Friday night TV night, because it’s a constant struggle to find appropriate yet engaging movies for a 2 and 4 year old), for which we did as camping themed TV shows, we got the tent all ready.  The boys snuggled up in their sleeping bags (actually fleece lined buntings intended for the stroller — I wish I had one myself) and we got out the iPad to do some stargazing.  We looked up stars and planets and imagined what it would be like to actually be camping outside.  Then the boys curled up for sleep and I got myself situated on the couch.

Not surprisingly, it took a while for them to settle down (because camping is fun!) but they did, and drifted off peacefully, although I realized, prior to falling asleep myself, that both boys had wiggled out of their “sleeping bags” and out of the tent entirely — they were actually cuddled up together out on the carpet.  But they were happy.  Liam woke once in the middle of the night unsure of where he was, but I helped him get back into the tent, back into his sleeping bag, and back to sleep.

We had a great night.  And waking up to my boys snoozing peacefully in their tent was pretty fantastic.  I’m glad we’ve revived the living room campouts.



Going out

So, a Canadian, an Austrian, a Brit and two Americans walk into a movie theater . . . But it’s not the beginning to a bad joke, it’s actually what we did this evening when we went out with a few of Dan’s coworkers to see a movie.

We almost never go out. Before leaving the U.S., we relied on my mom as our main babysitter, but since we’ve been here, we’ve only had a few chances to go out, just Dan & I. With Jo being here, we took the opportunity.

And we had a great time. It was nice to go out, it was nice to be with other grown ups. It was so nice to watch a movie whose stars weren’t animated cars (nothing against Lightning McQueen). We saw the new James Bond movie, we had popcorn, and we got to see the whole movie (in English, even!) without interruption. It was a fantastic evening, and we are really grateful to Jo for helping us make it happen.

Calle family movie night

I love Fridays.  I like to do special things on Fridays to mark the beginning of the weekend:  on the way home from school, Benjamin is allowed to pick out a treat to have with his lunch; we try and do something special or easy (or both) for dinner; I go easy on the housework (even easier than the other days).  But I’m always happy to add something new to our repertoire.

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Sleepover Saturday

Last week, when my mom was visiting, she and Benjamin had a sleepover in the living room.  It made me a little jealous, so tonight, Benjamin and I are having one too.  Although I don’t know how well either of us will sleep, I’m really looking forward to the chance to curl up with my wonderful baby (who already isn’t really a baby) and have a camp out/sleepover.

It’s already been a great day — we took the boys to see their first movie since we’ve been here (Liam’s first ever).  It was really fun, although we probably won’t repeat it for a while.  (Liam got charged full kid’s ticket price of 9 Euro, making it a rather expensive adventure.)  I think we’ll probably wait to take Liam again until he’ll actually appreciate it and not sleep through most of it.  That said, of the four children in the movie theater, he was by far not the most disruptive, so it was a success.

A movie and a sleepover in the same day — sounds like a good Saturday!


Going to the movies

I love going to the movies.  Before kids, Dan & I went all the time.  It was one of my favorite leisure activities — we went for birthdays, anniversaries, with friends, or just because it was too hot to do anything else.  Sometimes we’d even stay and see a second movie after the first one ended (and that way, no one has to compromise — you both can see your first choice).  Ah, the good old days.  There aren’t a lot of things I really feel like I’m missing out on since becoming a parent, but the ease with which we used to go see movies is one of those things that I know we’ve lost for a while.

005Today, I went to the movies for the first time here in Austria — by myself.  It’s an “OV” (original voices) theater, so whatever American movies they play there are in English, which is a nice thing to have found, and it’s really close to our apartment (bonus!).  It was great, if different from what we’re used to at home.  First, you have to choose your seat when you purchase your ticket — they have assigned seating in the theater.  I didn’t have a preference, so I asked the ticket seller what her favorite was, and she chose a seat for me.  She chose me a seat in the third row of the balcony, right on the aisle, which was excellent.  Yep, in the BALCONY.  There was a whole upstairs seating section — very cool.  I guess partially because there is assigned seating, the theater itself was only opened up 7 minutes before the show started.  There’s no real need to open the theater earlier, because no one has to stake out a spot.  (It was a little weird just standing around in the lobby until the theater opened . . . and that was with only a dozen or so people attending this showing.  I imagine it would be very crowded and awkward if the theater were nearly full, although maybe then they’d open it sooner?)  Also, the theater wasn’t super air conditioned — they definitely have a/c, but it was still warm inside.  It was cool here today, so I wonder if it would be better or worse on a really hot day (maybe they didn’t have it on very much because it was cool out, or maybe that’s as much as it turns on and it would have been like watching Harry Potter in an oven if it had been 90 outside today).

There’s a concession stand, with popcorn, soda, nachos and candy, but with a few important differences.  First, no Cherry Coke (gasp, horror).  Second, no ice (boo).  Third, the cashier talks the customers out of the large size — talks them OUT of it.  The guy behind me in line wanted to order a large popcorn for his family to share, and the concession vendor girl told him that the large size was too big even for three people, “It’s much too big”, she said, “you’d be much better off with a medium”.  Then, he decided maybe he’d get two mediums for them all to share, and she talked him out of that.  Bizarre.  I’m guessing they don’t get bonuses for how many larges they sell.

But, it was great.  I got a Coke and a popcorn (not a large of either) and got to watch Harry Potter in 3-D in English.  It was a good time — I’ll definitely be going back.