We decided we were finally ready to take care of the Mother's Day gifts we promised our moms over a month ago, so this afternoon I got the kids cleaned up for their first professional photo shoot at Picture People. Of course, after spending a lot of time choosing coordinating outfits for the 3 kids this morning, I put them on an hour before our appointment only to find that Garty had outgrown his shoes since the last time we put them on and Joshua's shirt shrank or his gut grew since last week. As a result, I frantically threw shoes and clothing around until I had 3 outfits that didn't look terrible together. In the process, Garty got upset and started crying (which was not shocking since he only napped for about half the normal time). I was pretty sure the whole picture taking venture was doomed, but I packed the kids up anyway and headed to the King of Prussia Mall to meet Peter.
The actual photo shoot was crazy since Garty insisted on chewing on his hand (which he almost never does). When we would distract him from his hand long enough for a picture, he usually decided to to crawl away. The few times Garty cooperated, the other 2 weren't paying attention. The photographer persisted long enough to get a few decent shots and told us to come back in 30 minutes to check them out.
Having never done anything like this before, we didn't anticipate the 30 minute wait. We didn't have a stroller or the baby carrier to put Garty on our backs, so we gathered our things and set out to explore the Plaza on foot. First we hit the Lindt chocolate store looking for free samples. We scored and gave Joshua and Patience a very small taste of our limited edition truffles. Joshua decided they were good and wanted more, leaving me to explain that at $21/lb, he would have to wait until dinner for something else to eat. We rode up and down the escalators a few times and then upgraded to the glass elevator. We each threw a penny in the fountain and made wishes. 30 minutes passed relatively quickly, and we went back to find one decent pose of the kids.
While we were out, we planned to go crazy and eat dinner in a restaurant for the first time in ages. (One of us really needed to be out of the house for a while.) We were planning to go to Peace A Pizza, since it would be cheap, yummy, and easy to make a quick exit if things turned ugly. However, on our tour of the mall, we discovered Ruby's Diner. If you have kids and live anywhere in the area, Ruby's is a great place for dinner. They have 2 trains that run around the restaurant on a track suspended from the ceiling, they're pretty cheap, and they have a very cool kids' menu that turns into a car and comes with stickers for decorating it. Our kids were very well entertained, and we were completely refreshed by being out and about. We almost had a tantrum when Joshua picked up all his apple slices, told us "I have plenty apples," and then dropped 2 of them on the floor. Fortunately, he decided that sulking for 5 minutes was sufficient and screaming wasn't necessary. Overall it was a great $29 first restaurant experience except for one unforseen problem. When we were leaving Joshua declared, "I want to eat," drawing our attention to the fact that kids' menus weren't created for kids who eat like ours do. Joshua ate his chicken breast, every drop of BBQ sauce, his clean apples (plus the ones Patience shared), and the lettuce they used for garnish without being anywhere near full. On the way home he asked, "Oh, Mama-o, when we go to the house we will eat lunch?" (He often confuses lunch and dinner.) I explained that we ate dinner at the restaurant, but they could have a snack when we got home. We're hoping they don't wake up at 5am because they're famished.
The kids were pretty tired from our adventures. We're pretty pleased that we survived a major outing without any crises. We're also a bit depressed that a 2 hour trip to the mall 10 minutes down the road is now a major outing. Check out Patience and Joshua with their Ruby's Diner cars.