Got a call from my mom bright and early that Rudy's party was being postponed until a later date. He took a fall Saturday evening and ended up with a concussion and had to go to the emergency room where he got some stitches. Apparently he lost his balance in the hallway and fell down, hitting his head against the wall. Hopefully he'll recover quickly and he'll be back to his old self. Right now, the party is scheduled for next weekend. Unfortunately, we won't be able to make it as we'll be out of town.
So, with the afternoon suddenly freed up, we no longer have to worry about making it to 1045a Mass. Instead, I suggested to M and N that we go for the bike ride we were supposed to go on yesterday (but were unable to due to everything else we squeezed in). M was excited about it, but N was not. He ran up to his room and started crying. After a few minutes of trying to calm him down, I was able to talk him into going. The three of us got ready to go, prepped our bikes and hit the road. I had planned on taking them to the end of the trail (by Fairfax County Parkway), but this changed not 10 minutes into the ride.
"Can we stop at the playground?" asked M.
"No, let's keep going." I replied. "Maybe we can stop on the way home."
"But my legs are tired!" cried M.
"We haven't even been riding for 10 minutes, M, your legs aren't tired."
Cry moan fuss.
Great, it's already started. I tried to calm her down, but it was no use. It continued for the rest of the ride. Finally, it got to a point where I couldn't take it anymore, so I told her that if she complained one more time, she'd spend the day in her room. That did the trick. She sped off ahead of N and I (who was enjoying himself to no end) and stayed ahead of us for the rest of the way home, save for when she stopped to wait for us before crossing Stringfellow. She finally acknowledged what was wrong with her behavior, but not until I had to talk it over with her. I tried to explain that we were out for a bike ride and that I was going to stop at the playground near Greenbriar Pool. However, since she started pouting, crying and generally acting like a pill once she didn't get her way, there was no way I was going to reward that behavior (that and the fact that we had to get back for 1230p Mass). I guess the discussion we had the other day just didn't sink in.
We finally got home and we all got ready for Mass. During Mass, M sat next to me and tried to make up for her behavior earlier by holding my hand, sitting as close as possible, etc. I find it hard to hold what could be called a grudge against her for too long, especially since she's still only eight and doesn't quite get it just yet. Well, that and the fact that she's my daughter and that tops everything. While I don't like her behavior at times, there's never a time when I don't love her.
One of the announcements that Father made at the end of Mass was to not forget to get the weekly bulletin -- it contained lots of interesting reading materials! That got a chuckle from the congregation and it seemed lots of people took him up on his advice, including us (not that we don't get a weekly bulletin anyway). Reading it in the car waiting to exit the parking lot, I noticed a blurb by Fr. Beres announcing that he was giving away an HO scale train set. That would be right up N's alley, seeing as he pretty much lives and breathes trains. (After calling him the next day, I found out that someone had already claimed it. The called Sunday morning. It was already gone by the time we read the announcement.)
When we got home, I changed, ate my lunch and N and I took a trip to Lowe's (after another tantrum by M, this time over her lost government project). I wanted to get another hanging basket for the deck, as well as another shepherd's crook from which to hang the flowers. While we were there, I decided to get a few perennial flowers for the backyard to plant along the tree line. I picked out some Jethro Tull Tickseed for their bright color and am hoping they're deer resistant. (I later found out they are when a family of deer made their way through the backyard, stopping briefly by the plants, but passing them by for other greenery) N, seeing that I was picking out a plant, also wanted to pick out a plant of his own, so he picked one out too. His isn't nearly as colorful (at least at the moment), but we'll find out in time I suppose. After very little debate, he decided to pick out a Palace Purple Coral Bell (actually, I tried to offer alternatives from the flowering perennials, but he wouldn't change his mind).
On the way out to the parking lot, N saw a plane landing at Dulles and asked if we could go to the airport. Since Dulles is only 10 minutes up the road (and we had nothing better to do the rest of the afternoon), I pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the airport. After leaving 28, I found the toll road was a parking lot. Typically I'll make a few passes around the arrival/departure circle and then call it a day, but with the traffic, we were only able to make one pass. On the way back to 28, I decided to make a detour to see what the general aviation terminal held in store. Boy, were we in luck. No only could we see the planes (sort of) up close, we also saw two "Army" planes (I say "Army" as that's what N calls them because they had a camouflage paint scheme). Turning around, we made our way back to 28 and headed home. On a whim, I stopped off at the Air and Space Museum to see if we could see any planes landing up close and personal. (The entrance to the museum takes you just past the end of runway R36, so the planes are pretty low.) We didn't see any planes landing on the way in, so on the way back out, we paused for about 10 minutes at a stop sign and watched 4-5 smaller planes land. We rolled down the windows to hear the roar of the engines as the planes made their way towards the end of their flight.
On the way home we saw a few Canada geese goslings on the exit ramp to Westfield Boulevard. N was quite impressed with them (and even mentioned them later on at dinner). All in all it was a great outing. It's not that we did anything exciting, but just sharing in the wonders of the world around us made it all the more memorable.
When we got home, I planted the flowers, as well as N's plant before starting dinner. Since we were originally supposed to have gone to my mom's for dinner for Rudy's birthday, I didn't shop for anything for Sunday dinner. Once those plans were changed, I decided I was going to make dinner with what we had, regardless of what that was. As it turned out, there were a couple of steaks in the freezer from Christmas, as well as some stuffed baked potatoes (both thanks to D's brother). I cooked these, added some fruit salad and D made some corn on the cob. It was a good dinner for all (except for N, who had his standard CN, FF & K -- chicken nuggets, French fries and ketchup if you must know).
After dinner, since it was still somewhat early, I suggested a family bike ride. I meant it to be a quick trip around the block, but M had other plans. She was determined to make it to a playground and since she couldn't earlier, I agreed with her on this trip. Making the turn, however, N hit a rut and lost control of his bike. He wiped out and re-skinned his knee (the same one he skinned earlier when he imitated Jimmy and tried to ride his bike without hands while clapping at the same time). Not to worry, though, this is N. After hugs from D and I, he was back up and on his bike in no time. As I said earlier, he's not easily injured and, when he does wreck, will almost always get right back on and keep on going. This will probably give me an ulcer from worrying about him, but I guess that's what parents have to do as their children grow up and learn to navigate the world around them.