Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hershey Park

We heard there was a lot for a toddler to do in Hershey, PA so we seized the opportunity to take a long weekend trip when Brent signed up for an educational conference in the area. We drove straight there on Thursday, checked in and had a quick lunch, and headed straight for Hershey Park.

All the rides are based on height, and I could have told you before we even left there was no way we had a "Hershey's Miniature" on our hands.

I think Peanut Butter Cups may have to be one of our new treats, even though I'm partial to Twizzlers myself.

Much like Dutch Wonderland and Sesame Place, there's a plethora of toddler rides that pretty much just go round and round. Joseph loved every last one of them and got to ride them as many times as he wanted with little to no wait - the perk of going on a weekday.

Joe Joe even braved his 1st rollercoaster, the "Trailblazer!" He looked like he wasn't so sure during the 1 minute and 15 second ride, but the moment it stopped he said, "Let's do it again!!!" So we did.

There's also a giant water park area called "The Boardwalk" where Joseph played for hours on our 2nd day there. I lost track of how many times he came down a water slide and ran right around to go down again. He even tried copying the older kids going down sideways and backwards.

Part of the fun in theme parks is finding the goofy characters and getting pictures with them. Those poor souls who have to do that for a living!

From the top of ferris wheel you could see directly across the road to where we were staying at the glorious Hotel Hershey.

Will have to tell you more about that next!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Good to the last drop!

Vacation is all about indulgences, right? If he could write a review, Joseph would give 5 stars to the penne with meat sauce and caramel gelato at Trevi 5 in The Hotel Hershey. I have never seen a person eat with such enthusiasm.

And then there was our 1st milkshake ever - cookies & cream - at Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. He did let us try some.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chocolate World

Check in time at The Hotel Hershey: 11:46 am.
First Hershey bar: 11:47 am.

Ah, but there was so much more to come!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Have Cars, Will Travel

Cars 2 opened this weekend but we didn't get to see it due to our vacation plans. We are huge fans of the Disney Cars franchise over here, so much that we always pack a few of our favorite characters with us and bring them along whenever we travel. Along with the movie. Can't take a road trip without the Cars movie. It's sent from heaven to help parents of little boys survive the open road. The trifecta that we never leave home without is made up of none other than Lightening McQueen, Mr. The King, and Chick Hicks.

They are pictured above at The Windsor Court in New Orleans, and are joined by some new friends below at......any guesses?

The logo on the brown Hummer should give it away. We just returned from a long weekend in Hershey, PA. Great fun! As usual, there's quite a large number of photos to organize and eventually post.

By the way, I swear, it's pure coincidence that Joseph is wearing a Cars shirt!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life is a Highway

Joseph, Zara & Ethan got to have a spontaneous dinner date last week when we convened and decided Chinese takeout was in order. We were rewarded with a spontaneous after dinner performance of "Life is a Highway," which they only know from the Disney movie Cars. Perhaps not terribly entertaining for most people (outside of Zara's moves....and the funny way Joseph holds the guitar....and the fact that the drummer is in a cast....) but they're our kids and we think they're adorable!

Monday, June 20, 2011

For a limited time only:

The National Building Museum is still free - but only for another week. Then it's $3 general admission for the kid zone, more for the actual museum. Government budget cuts, what can you do?

We went again last week to meet friends for an afternoon playdate. Getting there is half the fun! Joseph is so nuts for the Metro that I almost agreed to have a Metro themed birthday party for him next month.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wonder Wall

Development is an amazing thing to see in action, even for a pediatrician. For longer than I can remember I have been encouraging Joseph to keep trying the climbing walls that are pretty standard at parks and on most swing sets these days. In general he gives up pretty easily or I have to literally hurl him up the wall myself.

And then at our preschool picnic last week he just kicked off his shoes and zipped right up in no time, with no help at all. Then down the slide and up the wall again. And again and again. When did that happen?! How?!

The tongue sticking out always helps with concentration, but it's no wonder he can finally climb so well - look at the size of those feet! They measure in at 13!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Triangle Madness Teacher Quilts

Sad, but true: I started thinking about end-of-year preschool teacher gifts right after Christmas. May have had something to do with my New Year's resolution to complete 12 sewing projects in 2011. Maybe I'm just a planner. Either way, I thought quilts would be something unique and personal that the teachers might appreciate, and I came up with a plan to personalize them as well.

Earlier in the Fall I had made a mental note of a great quilting project from Liz at Goddess in Progress - "Triangle Madness!" A quilt top made entirely of "half-square triangle" units, a common and quite simple block, that can be arranged in many different patterns. The idea was to draw from our stashes and utilize many fabrics left over from previous projects, but I did have to buy some background fabric and a few extra coordinating fabrics to supplement what I had on hand.

The beauty is that a small simple stack of squares when sewn on the diagonal can turn this:

into THIS:

or THIS with just a little rotation of the blocks:

And then to truly utilize all the leftovers they get sewn together to become the back.

The long vertical strips up the back were actually the labels. My sewing machine came with an alphabet stitch so I put it to good use here. Each quilt had the teacher's name, class name, and year,

followed by a very long stretch with all fourteen of the kids' names,

and lastly a little credit for me.

Miss Kasia's favorite color is blue,

and Miss Pina's is purple.

Anyone who has ever received a quilt from me with blue or purple in it may recognize some of their fabric in there. I astonishingly had been holding on to 3 yards of dark purple fabric from Glenn & Suthern's wedding quilt 10 years ago! I finally used it!

Hopefully these quilts will be loved and used for a long time. If not, I have the perfect place for them when next Fall rolls around.

A big shout out to Miss Kasia and Miss Pina for being wonderful teachers for Joseph and the rest of the Bears class this year!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Preschool Picnic

With the school year winding down I stole a great idea from my friend Missy (preschool room mom extraordinaire) and suggested The Bears have an end-of-year picnic playdate for all the classmates' families to get together one last time.

Jocelyn (Zara's mom) and I, as self-appointed "room parents" (i.e. the only suckers who volunteered to take the job), hosted the gang here in our yard yesterday morning. 11 out of the 14 kids came, along with parents and a few adorable little sibs. There was constant action in every corner of the yard! The kids were enjoying the swings and slide, "pirate ship" deck, rock climbing wall, sand box, and bounce house.

You may notice the bright green cast on Ethan? First bounce house casualty (OOPS!). Lisa, Steve & Ethan were over for dinner 2 weekends ago and Ethan fell while playing alone while the rest of us were still eating on the deck. None of us saw what happened (hey, it was a really good dinner!) so we figured it was just bruised. But he wouldn't really use his arm for 2 days because, well, it was broken. You can see below that he was traumatized from the whole incident - NOT! Hasn't slowed him down a bit.

We provided a little lunch...not that you really need to see the pigs in blankets here, but you'll notice my kid couldn't keep his hand out of the chips for 2 seconds.

Afterwards we celebrated all the kids who had summer birthdays with brownie sundaes for everyone! It was pure coincidence that both of the room parents' kids have summer birthdays.....

This bounce house has gotten so much use since the weather finally warmed up. It's out every weekend. Major thanks again and again to Mimi & Poppy for the awesome Christmas gift. Aneesh's dad was flat out hysterical playing with the kids. He'd pretend to hide and then literally hurl himself over the side and try to grab the kids, who would squeal with delight and get so excited they nearly fell out the back.

Once everyone was gone and clean up was underway, Joe Joe and Zara had some time to themselves. Joseph is such a follower, picking up dirty ice off the ground and eating it just because his friend was. That girl is trouble, and she knows it! I'm checking her backpack on Monday for cigarettes just in case ;-P

It was such a fun party and we could tell all the kids had a blast, but it's bittersweet to celebrate the year ending since some of the kids won't be back next year. We'll just have to keep doing this over again!