en Cinemex La Paz Platino

I never wanted to be one of those people who you hear of, who go to the movies on holidays. It seems like a waste of time. Why would you do something that can be done at home?

That was my more productive, goal oriented and rather uptight self. The person who judges the quality of the activity, not how much it is enjoyed. And who am I to judge, if I never take part?

After 12 days of relaxing in the sun and slowing down to the pace of life in the Baja, my mind has started to relax. There are so many things different here, that even a movie, surely, will be quite different.

To start, paying for movie tickets in Spanish is a walk on the wild side. Particularly when we wanted Platino, (Platinum) service and were not standing at the correct ticket counter. We just about got frustrated enough to walk away at that point. The young woman at the counter did not want to speak into my husband’s iPhone translator. But, she summoned someone else to help, who spoke a fraction more English and practically held our hands, walking us over to the “back” ticket counter.

Tickets paid for and seats selected, we were through the sliding doors to the VIP room. Full bar and menu, where the order is placed and then waiters bring everything to your seats. This took awhile with the iPhone translator. I went with empanadas and cerveza. That is something we could not get at home. (My old self is still lurking there, close to the surface).

Cinemex lounge

Off to the theatre. We were the first to arrive and instead of the room smelling of stale popcorn, it smelt like leather. The seats were plush, with foot rests and reclining backs. A glass table swings in front for eating and holding drinks. There is a call button. When the movie started, I almost felt like I was on an airplane and should be buckling up my seat belt. (If only I flew in those kind of seats!)

Cinemax seats

After the movie, I marvelled at how amazing the experience was. And to think, I was not even sure I wanted to do it in the first place.

Family time

It is one of my goals this year to spend more time together as a family, doing stuff. We try to be together now, but I don’t think individual play on a computer, all 4 of us in the same room really counts. Or at least, that should only be one of the activities we do together.

Sunday we skied together. It has become such a fun way to spent the day as a family. The kids are old enough and competent enough to ski on their own, but they like to be with us. I know this will not last, so it is with immense pleasure that I hold on to these days as long as possible.

So far, I have come up with the following activities:

  • games
  • movies and live theatre
  • skiing and swimming
  • bike rides
  • walks
  • reading aloud
  • cooking and eating
  • volunteering
  • camping and fishing
  • arts and crafts

I have found that, by spending time together, we discover what is going on in each other’s lives. In a chance conversation with my son on Sunday while sharing a plate of poutine, he mentioned a ski club at his school. We come to find out that registration is almost closed and the club only had 6 spots left. To think he almost missed out on night skiing and taking lessons in the dark!

Friday night in the ‘burbs

We participated in 2 of the hottest social activities on offer in the Peninsula Friday night. Of course, that is tongue-in-cheek, but for my daughter especially, there were no other places she would rather have been. I remember what it felt like to have so much fun packed into a few hours that you could hardly stand it. The novelty of it, breaking with routine, having fun with your friends, running a bit on the wild side.

First up was the annual “Welcome back BBQ” at our kids school. For the students, this is like a penny carnival, mini midway and sugar eating feast rolled into one. For the PAC, it is one of the first big fundraising initiatives. For the parents, it is fun to watch the kids start out excited, planning their fun strategy, then end up completely wound up on sugar.

My husband volunteers to BBQ, and we were really fortunate to have hot and sunny weather. To contrast what September can be like, Sunday morning we woke up to the power being out from the wind and rain overnight.

The “jars” however are the most anticipated part for the kids. We created 5 of our own for the donation. Then for $2 each our kids bought 4 in total. My daughter was super disappointed when she got one of the jars we donated full of action figures. But my son found one of his friends that gladly traded a mixed jar of odds and sods.

Then at 6pm, we had to round-up the troops and head over to the belt ceremony. I finally found my son, just about to have his face plastered with a pie! That would have been interesting to try to clean up with napkins from the car.

Our children are learning a unique blend of mixed martial arts offered by Tong Moo Do. http://www.tongmoodo.com/ It has been a real pleasure to watch them advance through the ranks. There are a series of belt colors, starting with white. Testing is done frequently and the members perform their routine as a group in front of family and friends. Our daughter was advancing to a blue belt. This is the big time, as she will now be sparring and grappling. But for us, we have both kids in the same class, so for at least the next 6 months we are only going to the studio 2x per week instead of 4.

There is a new TV show on NBC called “Up All Night”. http://www.nbc.com/up-all-night/  The new parents are fairly young, hip professional types and are having a tough time adjusting to family life and all the constraints and changes that go with. I think it is safe to say that we have fully adjusted to life with kids. Which is probably why we find the TV show pretty funny. We are the older and wiser parents cringing at the situations these new parents are finding themselves in.

So this Friday night of fun is not young, hip or cool but for me it was the good stuff. These are the times when we look at each other and our children and really enjoy the whole experience of being a family.

Organizing LEGO

It was not all bad.

I like to organize most anything, but going through LEGO is a good deal more fun than other kinds of stuff. And it has been awhile since I helped my son get a little control over his collection.

For awhile now, the pieces that are most sought after are the mini-figures and everything to do with them. So we started there, with a small cabinet and tiny drawers for all the little pieces. A drawer for heads, legs, hands, hats, visors, etc.

Our system has changed over time with the ever-increasing quantity we seem to have taken custody of. The 2 tower clear bin system was at its limit. There were probably 4 to 6 other smaller containers stacked on top at any given time.

The breaking point was this past week, when I went into my son’s bedroom and there was little bits of LEGO covering every surface. Floor, bed, every shelf on the bookcase, window ledge and it was spilling into my daughter’s room. There was no room to walk, read, go to sleep, etc.

Something had to be done. It was a complete set-up for failure to send my son down to his room to do anything and expect that the millions of pieces were not calling out his name in a far more charming way than I was.

So just like the TV show called “Hoarding”, we moved all the LEGO out into the living room. A clean, controlled space to sort it all out. You can see though, that a fair amount of playing was going on as well. But, my son diligently marked each new bin and decided what would be stored in each one. Then they were filled up.

Of course, his room had to be moved around a bit to accommodate the new shelving system. But thanks to IKEA, (what is it with these Scandinavians?) and less than $200, we are sorted.

And I will sleep really well tonight with one room in the house, just the way I want it, for now.

Trades

There a bunch of things that kids are trading these days. The old standbys like hockey cards, (I live in Canada) and some newer ones. Pokemon cards and the latest at my son’s school Yugioh cards. These new trading games are the invention of very creative people who have devised a way to continually make new cards that kids “must-have“, but have no basis in reality. (Only so many players on a team!) But, the kids relish making the trades, keeping track of what they have and coveting the next addition.

The best trade that my son is dabbling in, is also one of the oldest around. But instead of trading healthy food from his lunch for junk food from a buddy, he has a new twist. My husband and I overheard a conversation between our kids the other day. They were getting their lunch organized and my son was happy to see a large supply of bits and bites. He informed my daughter that he was trading them for seaweed snacks. And my daughter was wishing she could make such a trade! At other times, he has traded a single mini cookie for a piece of sushi.

It was quite funny to listen to this discussion between my children. It was one of those times when you get a glimpse of the independent little people they are becoming. And it is all these moments strung together that make parenting a rewarding experience.