Our Kids' Blog

Photo-less Fun Day

July 20th, 2011 by Mommy

We went to the waterpark again today and again there was no camera to document our memories. That doesn’t mean I can’t write them down. We do need to buy a waterproof one-time-use camera to take with us sometime. We tried going after naptime and it seemed to work for us.

Both kids had fun and Julia kept doing funny and impressive things. For one thing, she walked most of the time. My back has been hurting lately, so taking a break from kid-lugging was important. We had to go pretty slow and make up games for staying inspired, but we made it and she did great. Julia must have grown or I haven’t been watching. She suddenly passed the 36” height marker. Because of this we tried one of the big rides with her. The three of us came through a tunnel float ride with excited girls. Julia was a bit overwhelmed, but when I asked, she said she liked it.

The funniest thing of the day was how excited she got when she saw Emily come down the slide. She was excited and wanted to give Emily a big hug and then she floated around hugging and kissing her. Who knows what is going on in her head? It was so sweet and Emily loved it. For all the impressive things, she did she would not go down one slide despite really wanting to. We tried three times and each time she balked. The lifeguard was great to encourage and try to help the mom with two little girls. We even saw him in the parking lot at the end of the day and he checked with us to see if she ever made it. I wasn’t allowed to go down with her and she just couldn’t do it by herself.

Emily likes the waterpark a lot. She is a fun age for doing these things. She notices interesting things and is able to do a lot more on her own. Her comfort level in the pool has grown too. She asked to go to a deeper section to “swim” and is still enjoying putting her face in the water. When we rode the “big” ride she used the tower we climbed to scout out the park. She was really sweet with her sister. About the only thing she wasn’t interested in was the big kid safety discussions we had to have.

Mama was sad that Julia fell asleep in the car on the way home and missed out of telling her Daddy about her day. She was exhausted though and needed to get her sleep. Emily got keyed up just in time to see her father. She seemed to go to sleep quickly when it was time. Playing is hard work!

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Travel Truths

July 11th, 2011 by Mommy

Just a few thoughts following our latest trip. We traveled to Connecticut to visit with Uncle Philip, Aunt Jennifer, and cousins Caleb and Nathaniel.

– The slowest moving kid gets most of the photos taken of them.

The number of photos we have of Julia outnumbers the photos of the other three kids combined.


– The camera welding Mama has the least photos taken of her.

Daddy did get the camera a few times and snapped a few shots. Maybe Aunt Jennifer got some too.


– When in doubt, add water.

Hose, pool, or ocean it didn’t matter they got excited with all options.


– Do boys and girls mix like oil and water? No

They all loved to run and chase each other. The boys favorite game was to make Aunt Rachelle into the “Tickle Monster” and run from her. Everyone wanted to sit next to a cousin when we sat to eat. Need a chair? Sit on a kid.


– Are Star Wars Legos only for boys? No

The girls played with Caleb’s Legos and he was so patient to let them even though they majorly rearranged his setup. The Princess Storm-troopers can sure move fast when evading photographic capture.


– If you are bored with your own toys, go on a trip and when you get home they are fresh and new again.

– Is grocery shopping hard work? Not when there is free samples and singing displays around every new corner.

We had our first experience with Stew Leonards. The kids and parents ate free samples – cookies, popped rice snacks, fresh donuts, sparkling drinks, chicken salad, fruit, and juice. It felt like a meal, but we also got lunch at the end. Everything was good and it was lots of fun to see all of the displays and be entertained by dancing veggies, fruit, butter, trains, lighthouses, talking cows, and much more.


– Did you pack an extra outfit? If yes, then all messes will be controlled. If no, a tumble into the ocean will occur and a child will have to be wet for the evening.

Yes, Julia took a tumble into the ocean while we attempted to get a 4-kid shot taken. No, her Mama had not brought her a change of clothes. Thank goodness her Mama did have a beach towel. It wasn’t long before the damp and still sandy girl was running around playing with the other kids again.


– When given the choice between a real animal to watch or an animated one which will a kid choose? Depends on the kid, but if the animated one has a button to make it talk the real animal might lose out.

Outside of Stew Leonards they have some live animals for viewing. The day we were there it was two older calves, sheep, and turkeys. We looked at the animals and read the information about them. What kept the kids most interested were interactive exhibits of pretend animals making noises. I guess they liked pushing the buttons.

– Do all hotels have free breakfast waffles and heated indoor pools? No, but when we stay at one we will have very sad kids.

While we drive down the road now, Emily is reading all the billboards and hotel signs for ones she recognizes. She loves staying at hotels and we have been careful to stay at ones with pools and breakfasts. She is now considering the name of the hotel that she wants to run when she grows up.

– Who gets most excited at a Toy Museum? The parents remembering their childhood toys.

We stumbled into a Toy Museum while we waited out a rain storm at Natural Bridge in Virginia. It was interesting to see the displays of toys that we played with in our youth. The girls loved looking for things that were familiar to them. It was tough to keep the girls’ hands off of the fun looking toys.

– Kids rarely take nap in the car at the same time. Their naps almost always happen right before arriving at a location.

The point of this trip was to visit with family, not a bunch of stops along the way. But, we had planned on a few stops. One of our “planned” stops was hampered by Julia falling asleep two exits before the destination. If we had woken her up she would have been grumpy and not fallen back asleep. Instead we stopped for gas and food and kept on going.


– First-Aid kits are necessary for two-year-old’s knees.

Goodness, it seemed every time we turned around Julia was coming to us with a skinned knee. The poor think kept skinning the same spot too. Good thing she doesn’t mind the band-aid process.


– Top bunks are cool!

The top bunk was a favorite indoor play place. They would drag all kinds of toys up on it and play pretend games. Julia did a great job of obeying the rules of the top bunk. She would wait until an adult came into the room and then she would bolt up the ladder to the top. Emily was privileged to spend her naps on the top bunk. How we didn’t get a photo of the top-bunk play is a mystery.


– If you are taking a tour of a cave, take a flashlight with you. It will be the envy of everyone who forgot theirs.

We took some kids flashlights in the car for when we were traveling after dark. They enjoyed playing with them and for the most part obeyed the rules. When we went into the caverns at Natural Bridge, we noticed that they were selling (very expensive) kid flashlights. Robby fetched ours from the car and the girls got to take them on the cave tour. They were really handy for all of us to see better where we were walking.

– Check the hours for the dining line before you make plans to eat there. Addendum to rule, ice cream is always a great substitute for missed meal.

Perhaps the opportunity for most fun on a trip is willing to be flexible and do things out of the norm. Would we not normally have ice cream for lunch, but what a fun thing for us to do. It gave us a fun rainy day activity and we ate and laughed.

natural bridge

– Getting a “staged” photograph of a bunch of kids is never easy.




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Love This Smile . . .

July 9th, 2011 by Mommy

There is just something about a smile. This one is just saying so much. It reflects the sun, offers joy, and infects it’s neighbors.

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Summertime Picking

July 2nd, 2011 by Mommy

We joined our friends for some fun blueberry and blackberry picking. It was a sunny fun way to spend the afternoon with picking and a picnic. We picked blueberries first. The kids were fun to watch together. Some picked and filled their buckets, some picked and ate, some picked rocks and filled buckets, some watched after the babies, some ran and played games in the field, and some ventured around the bushes like a maze. Poor Julia had a rought time with a busted lip, the second of the week.

Then we went up to the blackberry rows to pick. I love to see how the kids gravitate to play with each other and which Mama they end up with. Ms. Sara was the hit with my girls, then Ms. Ashley, and only last did they come to the row with their own Mama. The girls did a pretty good job of picking the darkest of the blackberries. Emily pointed out a red & black one and told me that it was not sweet. I think she learned this by experience.

We have a little goat story to go with our blackberry picking. We picked next to a pen of goats. When we were almost done we noticed that one of the goats had gotten out of the pen and was grazing on the blackberries. As we finished up and started to walk out he moved over two rows to share our row. Emily was very curious about him. When we weren’t watching our buckets closely enough he ventured over and ate out of Ms. Ariaun’s bucket. She fought him for it and won. It reminded me of the little black bear eatting out of Little Sal’s mother’s blueberry bucket in “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey.

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Summer Swim Class

July 1st, 2011 by Mommy

We just finished our two week swim class for the summer. Emily was in the Level 1 swimming class with Lauren and Julia was in the Mommy and Me class with Kate and Mommy. Both girls loved their class and teachers.

Wow, what a class – somewhere in the middle Julia decided that she wanted to be just like Emily. All she had to do was see Emily do some swimming activity and immediately she wanted to do the same thing. She was willing to do bobs, elevator rides, swim with a noodle, swim with boards, and “jump” into the pool. She loved it once she found some independence.

Emily was in her own heaven in her class. She found a new friend. When they weren’t doing something the girls hung on the edge of the pool and just chit-chatted. Emily is very proud of her kicking and swimming to the other end of the pool (with a board). She also enjoys the elevator game (a bobbing game). She was very brave to try whatever was asked of her.

Yesterday was the last day and Daddy got to come and watch the girls swim. Both girls were thrilled to have him there. They also seemed to “show off” their best tricks for him. What a sweet day.

The girls have graduated to the next classes for next time. Julia will join the pre-school classes (the only change from what we were learning now is no Mama) and Emily will move to the Level 2 class. The teacher said that Emily needs the kids from the next group to challenge her to new skills. We are so proud of our swimmers!


Happy Swimming Emily!


Our sparkling eyed, about-to-go-under Julia


Emily with Lauren


Julia with Kate


Floating with Mommy, she didn’t really like to do this and relax.


Emily with her new poolside buddy.


Kicking to the other end of the pool and happy to show Daddy her trick.



And she did it ALL by herself!

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