Our Kids' Blog

Riding the Rails

September 30th, 2013 by Mommy


All Aboard!

We rode Amtrak’s Auto Train between Virginia and Florida to skip a bit of the driving on the trip and to have a cool experience. We boarded in the afternoon on one day and got off the next morning enjoying two meals and one night on the train.


The girls waiting outside of our car to board.

We had two rooms reserved for the trip and they were across the aisle from each other. We discovered, as a great side benefit of this occurrence, that the girls could play in one room with the door closed and the parents could relax in the other room in quiet. It didn’t seem that we got to spend much time in the room just hanging out because of the early dinner reservation and early bedtime for the girls.


Mama and Julia were room buddies. She enjoyed setting up all of her toys just the way she wanted it. We were given small water bottles which she thought was just her size.


Daddy and Emily were room buddies. Robby decided to let Emily have her wish to sleep on the top bunk. This way he got to enjoy watching out the window as the world sped by.


We caught Emily just watching the world go by from the dining car. It doesn’t look like she ate much food, but she had eaten her salad and bread first and was waiting for dessert. Julia was so tired from skipping her nap that she fell asleep eating dinner and got her dessert later in our train car.


Julia slept on the bottom bunk and felt like a queen doing it. Only once did she check on Mama. She slept the whole night like it was nothing. This proved to be a great experience and was a nice way to cover the miles. The girls want to know why there are no other auto-trains that go places that we can visit. Mama and Daddy would be ok with that too!

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Brief Stay In Washington DC

September 23rd, 2013 by Mommy


Our trip took us through Washington DC on our way south and we took the opportunity to give our girls their first introduction to our nation’s capital. We only had one evening and one morning to explore, so we packed as much in as the sun would allow. For the evening portion of the visit we went to the Smithsonian’s American History Museum until close and then explored until sunset. This took us by the Washington Monument and White House. The next morning, we were walking around more monuments as the commuters made their way into the city. We saw the Jefferson Monument, World War II Monument, and Lincoln Monument. The rest of our visit was spent in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.


While everything around the mall seems close, it is farther than the girls could cheerfully walk so we rode around a bit stacked up. You would think they would be grumpy, but they were so glad to not be walking anymore. The sun shade was a bonus when it decided to rain and both girls could hide from it.


Emily decided to be quite a ham for the camera while we were in town. Lots of smiles from the big girl.


Emily assisted Robby in giving a presidential speech. When we picked the exhibits that we felt would be most interesting to the girls, high on the list was the First Ladies Exhibit. It was a hit! In fact the idea of the presidency was something the girls seemed to understand a lot better because of the visit. We walked past the White House, we visited several presidential monuments, we toured some exhibits, and talked a lot about the job.


When you don’t get your nap, stay up late, need a snack, and are tired of dealing with your family, it is hard to keep grinning for the camera. At least you get a cool view of the world.


daddywithgirls jeffersonmonument


Some “monumental” moments – the monuments were interesting to the girls. We would have liked to walk over to the Jefferson Memorial, but had to satisfy ourselves with a cross-lake view. The other monuments we visited sparked a lot of opportunity to discuss what they were and some historical perspectives.

cartoonsairplane     upsidedown

The Air and Space Museum is a bit overwhelming for a little person. There are things everywhere! Hanging from the ceiling, sitting in the walkways, and through doorways. We moved fast trying to introduce different experiences and ideas. Emily enjoyed the solar system exhibit because it was something her class studied in school last year, so she had some perspective. In the early air travel area they found a video with cartoons and didn’t want to move. But we weren’t there for cartoons, so we moved on. Julia seemed to enjoy most the things that allowed her to touch or interact.

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Lady Liberty

September 8th, 2013 by Mommy

skyline-sailboat2 liberty-girls2

We took a day and explored Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty. The weekend we were visiting was the official reopening of the statue after damage from a hurricane. Because of the re-opening there was high visitation, but we found that we could visit from the New Jersey side and get on and off the island easier. Julia had a hard time imagining where we were going although we described it. When we parked and she could look into the bay to see the Statue she pointed it out and exclaimed “I want to go there.”


The day was pretty hot so the girls were not excited about walking around the island to see the statue from different angles. Once we got inside and had some air conditioning they were more interested. We went up to the statue’s base and enjoyed the breeze and the view. After coming back down, we toured the museum and learned some cool facts about the statue. Emily was most fascinated by the repairs that have occurred over time. Julia enjoyed finding the life sized foot and face replicas.


We ended our visit with a bit of shopping and got our National Park stamps. We promised the girls each a “treasure” from our trip and Julia found hers here. The National Park has made a bison stuffed toy as a mascot for a conservation program. Julia fell in love and named it Honky. Honky the bison enjoyed traveling with Julia for the rest of the trip.


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Visit In Connecticut With Our Cousins

September 7th, 2013 by Mommy


We spent several days visiting our cousins in Connecticut. There was LOTS of swimming time with jumping, flipping, splashing, and just fun. The girls wanted to keep up with their bigger cousins in the pool. There is no motivator to encourage swimming than trying to keep up with active and fun cousins. The weather was warm and sunny and made it a great time to hang out at the pool. We had several meals poolside so we could enjoy our time playing a little longer.


Monkey bread breakfast with four extra helpers!


The boys were great gentlemen to the girls. They were always great to open doors for the girls and to carry whatever the girls were holding. Very sweet! Together they built forts in the living room, played dress up, spy games, explored Lego sets, built with clay, and drew photos. Lots of fun just to watch their play with each other.


Loved this moment of Emily just hanging out with Caleb and him just letting her invade his space. Caleb is not fond of kissing and we discovered this when he exclaimed that Aunt Rachelle and Uncle Robby kissing was “unusual”. For the remainder of the trip we referred to all kissing as “unusual”. Maybe one day he will have a more favorable opinion of kissing.


We made a trip back to Stew Leonard’s to do some grocery shopping and just enjoy the fun store. Emily’s favorite activity in the store was dancing to the Chiquita Banana woman singing. The kids replayed her singing nine times dancing in the aisle each time.


This photo of the kids is from the last visit to Stew Leonard’s. It is great to see how all four kids have grown so much in the last two years.

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The Double Decker Carousel

September 6th, 2013 by Mommy


We needed a stretch-your-legs stop and knew there was a large mall that could meet our needs. We were delighted when we discovered a double-decker carousel. For as much as the girls love carousels this was double the fun. Of course they wanted to ride on the upper level. The mechanism that moved the horses was a bit different than they are used to and Julia opted to move to a stationary horse instead of a rocking one. We were all decked out in our red, white, and blue to celebrate Independence Day.




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Summer Vacation 2013

September 5th, 2013 by Mommy

from the steps of lincoln

What did you do for your summer vacation? We really hope someone asks Emily this question when she starts school in the fall because she has a lot of cool things to pick from. We combined visiting two sets of family into one vacation and a few sightseeing things between them.

First we drove to Connecticut to visit cousins. We did lots of swimming and a few sight seeing adventures including the Statue of Liberty. After leaving Connecticut we spent an evening and morning in Washington D.C. taking in a two museums and several monuments. Then, we caught a train in northern Virginia and travelled to Florida, sleeping one night on the train. The next part of our vacation took us to the kids’ Grandparent’s house in Miami and a visit with more cousins. We made one trip into the Everglades between rain showers. The last stop of the trip took us to Orlando to play and swim a bit more.

In total we traveled for two and a half weeks and saw 14 states and cousins. Julia traveled through two states for the first time. The best thing we collected in our travels were great memories of time that we spent together.

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