Saturday, May 12, 2012


Last night we went to BYU's planetarium. Andrew first suggested that he take Rachel there on a daddy-daughter date but over lunch we decided to make it a family outing. For starters, Andrew just got home and Miriam and I were feeling a little left out—if he had been home a couple of days longer we might have been able to suck it up. More importantly, Andrew's parents hosted the ward empty-nester party last night and their nest isn't really empty if we're here, is it? We figured it was best to vacate for a while.

Rachel asked if we'd be going to a movie. Andrew told her that it was...but that it wasn't. It was something at BYU. Something exciting.

"Oh, is it a space show?" Rachel asked casually. "Because mom told me that there's a space show every Friday at BYU. And today is Friday, May 11th!"

"Wow. We looked that up like last week or the week before," I said. "She's not two-years-old anymore. There's no pulling the wool over her eyes!"

"Yeah! There's no pulling the woods over my head!" she laughed.

We were all laughing so hard over both comments (the date and the "woods over her head") that I excused myself from the table so that I could go jot it down.

"She's just going to the computer to write that down," Rachel told Andrew.

That made him laugh even harder. There really is no pulling the woods over her head, is there? Her little antics got 30 "likes" on facebook so apparently it was rather funny.

We decided to tack the planetarium onto the end of an afternoon of running errands. Andrew mentioned, while the kids were down the hall in the bedroom and the grown ups were in the kitchen, that maybe we'd stop at McDonald's for dinner or something (because that's our idea of being fancy). Rachel came streaking down the hallway.

"We're...we're...we're going to eat at McDonald's?!" she panted.

"We haven't decided. We'll see," we told her.

And then we had to deal with questions of whether we'd be going to McDonald's or not for the entire afternoon. We hit the bank, deposited a check, voted for the board of directors, collected our swag. Then we went to the library where we checked out so many books we could hardly carry them, including several on astronomy and North Carolina. We went to Target to buy a new pair of Sunday pants for Andrew since the last time he needed Sunday pants (two years ago) we got him a cheap-o pair of black pants that are now fraying at the heels, have a hole in one knee, and are faded beyond belief. They weren't even really dress slacks but we pretended that they were because the price tag for an actual pair of dress pants seemed too daunting at the time. This time we got an actual pair of dress pants...but didn't get a belt because we couldn't find his size for the price tag we wanted and his isn't too thrashed yet. We also had to buy new shovels and buckets for the girls because our last shovel broke at the park the day before Andrew got home and the girls have been stressing out about it ever since. Good thing you can get a shovel and bucket for a dollar...

All this time we avoided answering the question of McDonald's.

Miriam finally put her hands on her hips and said,

"So are we going to Old McDonald's or what?"

Andrew and I called a parental huddle and ended up deciding, for a variety of reasons, that we could go out for dinner. But we went to Wendy's instead of McDonald's. This decision—upon being reassured that Wendy's kid-meals also came with toys—delighted the girls.

We ordered our food and then I took the girls to the restroom.

"I ordered apple slices instead of French fries," Rachel proudly announced while she was washing her hands, "Because they are healthier. That means they're better for you."

When our food came, though, she said, "Can I have some of your fries?"

Apple slices might be better for you but I suppose there's no denying that the occasional French fry is delicious. We don't have French fries often enough to consider them a health issue, in my opinion. Though I suppose some people do...and can grown-ups substitute apple slices for French fries in their meals? If not, why not?

Anyway, dinner was good enough, I suppose. But the girls were certainly anxious to get to the planetarium. They were asking questions about it all the way to BYU.

"What's it about?" Rachel asked.

"The sky..." I said. "I think they're actually doing a lecture on the sun. I think I remember reading that..."

For some reason it was strange walking across campus today. The trees by the JFSB just looked so big compared to how I remember them looking when the JFSB first opened—my senior year—and I began attending classes inside of it. I mentioned this to Andrew. He said he hadn't noticed...but he has been walking across campus everyday for the past two years and I have not. Still, it wasn't like this was my first time walking across campus since we first "left" BYU four years ago.

What was stranger was going to the planetarium. I took an astronomy class at BYU and had lectures at the planetarium occasionally. Andrew said the last time he had studied anything about space had been in Physical Science 100 his freshman year, which was ten years ago.

"The last time I studied anything about space was when I took astronomy. And I took astronomy before graduating from high that was ten years ago, too!"


It doesn't feel like it was ten years ago though.

We got into the Eyring Science Center and the girls went berserk, running amok to play with all the science experiments that are set up in the lobby. We pulled them up to the fourth floor so that we could buy tickets to see the show and then released them back into the lobby to play with experiments until it was time to start. On the way back to the lobby, though, we ran into a girl readying a big floor polisher.

It wasn't even turned on yet but Miriam melted into a pathetic mess on the floor, sobbing something about saving her from the big and terrible vacuum machine.

She hates vacuums. And lawn mowers. And anything that makes noise, really.

She gets that from me.

(Today, she was singing, "Planetarium, planetarium, planetarium!" and Andrew asked her what we saw at the planetarium. "A scary vacuum machine," she answered. Apparently the show had little impact on her memory. But that "vacuum machine" did.)

Rachel was fascinated by the whole show. Miriam, obviously, wasn't.

Andrew and I were fascinated as well. We learned a lot.

When the show started the lady giving the presentation said that this was their first run through their sun presentation so it might be a little choppy but they wanted to be sure and get at least one showing in before the eclipse next Sunday.

Andrew and I shot each other a look. Eclipse? Next Sunday? How did we not know about this?

She talked about how we'd need special glasses to watch the eclipse since it will be a annular solar eclipse so the photosphere will still be visible (with the shadow in the middle of the sun instead of covering the whole sun). But we'll be able to see it from here.

Yes, we've purchased some eclipse glasses, already. Rachel was squirming with excitement about this announcement and talked about it the whole way home.

And in 2017 there's going to be a total solar eclipse. Rexburg will be a good place to watch that. Unfortunately we won't be living anywhere near Rexburg when it happens. Bummer.

Anyway, the show was good. Rachel and Andrew will definitely be heading back there for a daddy-daughter date in the future. Miriam probably will be staying at home with me when that happens—she wasn't terrible but I'm just glad that when we were buying tickets and Andrew said we'd need four that the girl selling tickets said, "Oh, you only need to buy tickets for the number of seats you'll be using so if you hold her [pointing to Miriam] then you won't need to buy her a ticket. And if she happens to sit on a seat for a few minutes during the show I promise we won't hunt you down and make you pay."

She didn't watch enough of the show to warrant actually paying for a ticket, anyway. She danced in the aisle and bounced on my lap and jabbered but she didn't watch a whole lot. Her favourite parts (and Rachel's too) were when they moved the sky so that it felt like we were moving.

We're excited for next weekend!

Today Rachel asked if the woman giving the presentation was a scientist. We told her that she was. Then Rachel asked if she knew very much about dinosaurs. We told her that when you become a real scientist that you usually choose a specialty and that this woman chose astronomy, so she knows a ton about stars. A little about dinosaurs. But a ton about stars.

Then Miriam piped up and said, "Know what? Rachie is a scientist. To ants."

"I don't know, Meme. I only like black ants. I don't like red ants."

"Then you can just step on the red ants but you can be a scientist to the black ones," Miriam concluded.

Rachel's debating between astronaut, dolphin trainer/marine biologist, paleontologist and several other scientific careers right now. I told her there's no rush to find a specialty...she's only four.


  1. I know this is an odd comment, but I'd thought I'd comment on where I get my slacks for work. I had similar problems to Andrew, slacks getting frayed, developing holes and the like. So I started buying my pants here:

    These pants are affordable and so far (6 years, I think) I haven't had a fray or a hole or anything (though I did replace my khaki colored ones due to a stain). These pants are tough. I bike in them everyday, I've hiked in them, they are designed for blue collar type professions so they can certainly take a beating. Anyhow, thought I'd share.

    1. Not an odd comment at all. Thanks for sharing! I think we'll be trying them out in the near future.