Monday, August 18, 2014

Buffalo Day 2

For our first day in town, it was a Mommy and boys day, since M was at the college presenting.

I again turned to Yelp for breakfast ideas, and discovered Sweetness 7. I am so glad I did, because this place was awesome.  First piece of awesome was the food... the boys each had a bowl of oatmeal, which was loaded with brown sugar, nuts, and fruit, for $5 each.  Next piece of awesome was the free refills on coffee.  For my food, I went simple with a ham and cheese omelet, which was quite tasty.

The next piece of awesome was that they had games.  This is one of those places where people clearly go to camp, and it made me happy to introduce my sons to pick up sticks, which they'd never played before.  The atmosphere was funky and cool too; another piece of awesome.
We took our time getting out, before we headed to the Buffalo Museum of Science. On the way up, I saw they had an exhibit on Mummies, which I thought they boys would enjoy, and the deal was even sweeter when I found a Groupon. 
His name is Stuffy!
This was the boys' favorite part, made even more fun by Google's Auto-Awesome.  As we were in the museum, they kept asking to go back to the rockets.




The boys really enjoyed this, but of course it transferred sideways.  It was a game to get your heart racing and to test your reaction time.  E loved pressing the button.  Over. and Over.
The museum had a typical Natural History museum feel, with the in the case stuffed things, exploring the history of western New York.  But it also had a ton of interactive science areas, like this section all about weather and the earth.


This design thing was so fun; you had to figure out how to move the ball from place to place using the different tubes.
We discovered the downstairs, which had a play station with water tables and a simulation of the moon landing.





In the end, we could not take photos in the Mummies exhibit, but you probably wouldn't want to see photos of them anyway.  It was really interesting, but the boys got pretty freaked out about halfway through.  When they told M about their visit, they kept telling him this or that happened before or after the part with the zombies.

I have a friend from Buffalo, and we were able to get together for lunch.  The kids had fun playing and making funny faces for the camera...



And it was so nice to see my friend1

For lunch, we went to Ted's Hot Dogs, since she said that's one of the things people like to eat when they come to Buffalo. I read some Yelp reviews, which recommended the Loganberry drink.  I'd recommend SKIPPING this, unless you like drinking the sweetest thing you've ever drunk in your life.  I can't remember what comparison I made, but it was a sweet one. The fries were pretty good, and the hot dogs were... fine.  They have a skin, and I'm not a fan of skin-on dogs, but it appears you can order without.

For dinner, we met M and his presentation partner for The Pearl Street Brewery. We all agreed that the beers were good while the food was... fine.

A fun day all around, though the food was pretty fine.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Buffalo trip day 1

Long time no post.  Again!

What's better to get back into it than documenting our recent family trip to Buffalo!  M again had a speaking engagement, and this time we tagged along for the whole trip.  We left home around 9:30 and got on the road.  
Somewhere in PA....


Seven hour trip, including a stop for a delicious lunch and a few bathroom stops, makes one very punchy.

As I mentioned, our first lunch stop was delicious.  We started to get hungry so I turned to Yelp and we selected The River Rose in Owego, NY.  We were able to eat on their patio and enjoy our delicious and interesting sandwiches (I was too hungry to take any snaps first).  Inside was an antiques store of sorts, with different themed areas like Halloween, the sea, and Christmas.


We finally pulled into Buffalo around 5pm, got settled, and went to the famed Anchor Bar.
We were pretty happy with our Rusty Chain, and the wings were good but not really anything one would "write home about."  Again, no photos, but in comparison to the wings we had at Gabriel's Gate on our last visit, these seemed small.  Our wing hunt for B-lo must soldier on.

After dinner, M needed to do some work to prepare for his presentation the next day, and I took the boys to the pool.  Despite being billed as a heated outdoor pool, the gloomy and chilly weather meant this pool was too cool for me.  The boys had a great time, though!
 

Sadly, this is where I was when I heard of Robin Williams's death.

We then moved to the room to get ready for bedtime.  When we purchased our Chromecast, this was the exact situation M used to justify the purchase to me.  When we travel, he said, we can just plug it in and show them Sesame Street or whatever and not worry about what tv the hotel has.  Well, we now know that Chromecast does not work in a wifi that requires sign on.  So, luckily, M had also loaded movies onto his computer, so they were happy just watching that.

Despite my dread over our first shared hotel room experience, it worked out quite well.  The first night was tough after traveling because they boys were way more fidgety and not very tired, but the room was quiet because M went down to the lobby to work and I just read my book.  It ended up working out pretty well, and we all got a pretty good night's sleep! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Toothless Joe

It took about a week, but we've successfully gone from a wiggle to a hole.  Tonight, as we were leaving the house, A wiggled his tooth right out in a bloody mess.

I don't think I've ever seen him so proud!
Looks painful to me.
In case it's not clear, he lost the front center on our right.  The front center on the left is being pushed to the center by the clearly protruding permanent tooth. 

I recorded this in his incredibly blank in so many spots baby book, and mentioned to him that now that he grew all his teeth, he gets to lose them all, or something like that.  This, of course, led to his wanting to see himself as a teeny tiny baby and comparing how small he was then; this photo got an "I was so cute."





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

End of summer fun

Here's a post I just found that never posted!  Oops.


This week, E filled his whole potty chart,  earning a special treat (a big one...I wss thinking Sesame Place).  M said he was taking us somewhere that was a surprise!
We ended up going on our first family trip to Hershey.
It was a fun filled, incredibly frustrating day.
We hit no traffic until a long line to get into the park.  We followed parking signs, bearing left because the signs said "RV Show" to the right.  First mistake.  This took us to Chocolate World, where we were told parking is closer but double the price (I guess this happens a lot since we were given directions from here to the real lot.)  We turned around and followed these directions.  Second mistake.  Because (maybe) of the RV Show, we hit more traffic; it took an hour in total from the first park traffic we hit.  We were now hungry and frustrated.
Hershey allows kids on way more thrilling rides than other places we've been (the boardwalk namely).  E could go on all the kiddie rides and some rides considered adult elsewhere:
A could even go on an upside down roller coaster, which he's been asking about all summer.  He refused, preferring the tradituonal kiddie rides (though he did gp on the runaway train style ride his brother went on).
For the first time, we did Parent Swap so we could go on a big coaster too.  It always seemed unfair to make the boys stand In a long line to not even do a ride, but the boys were great in the line and doing this turned my mood around a ton.
But the comedy of errors wasn't over.  We had to eat.  We (foolishly, in hindsight) left the park for dinner.  Red Robin looked packed so we went to a smaller restaurant in town.  I called ahead to ask about the wait and put our name on the list, which did absolutely nothing.  After waiting 50 minutes, we took our hungry boys for drive thru.
But, despite all this, we had a great family day at a new theme park!

Ziggle Review and Stories

We've had so much fun playing with the Ziggle we received to try out from House Party, that I just wanted to share some of our videos.

 
(I thought he was taking a picture, not video)

Here's the boys, getting clever on how to stop fighting over the Ziggle:

(If that video had continued, you'd have seen their favorite thing to do with the toy:  crash into their toys in the living room)

And here's what I thought of it in my review for Chatterbox:
We have predominantly used this inside the house on hardwood floors.  The kids zoom through our open floor plan.  They've tried it as singles (which usually results in arguing or a parent having to set a timer) or sometimes they work as a team to get the thing going in a totally wild manner.

Mom tried it out to serious giggles for all; it was so much fun that I can understand why the kids fight over the Ziggle.

It was pretty easy to put together, though one of the caps has fallen out a few times (perhaps because of the repeated banging on the door moulding it has taken as corners are taken too narrowly...  serious fun sometimes requires makes some serious damage!).

I can't say enough good things about this toy.  It makes me want to have a home with a flat outdoor surface; this would get so much use without the previously mentioned moulding damage!  I love that this accomodates both our boys (it's listed for ages 3-8) and will do so for a really long time.





And here you can see why and where our moulding is getting damaged!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Counting man!

Look what E can do!  This evening.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A, age SIX! Twenty Questions

Last year, I asked A some questions.  Heres the same questions, with a few diferent answers!


Like a model; last day as a 5 year old!
Compare to last year's height!
1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy? My Transformers
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Octonauts
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? "Peanut Butter and Jelly; Shocker."
6. What is your favorite outfit? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt
7. What is your favorite game? Chess
8. What is your favorite snack? Munchkins
9. What is your favorite animal? Cheetah
10. What is your favorite song? Laurie (Berkner)
11. What is your favorite book? Captain Underpants
12. Who is your best friend? Brennan
13. What is your favorite cereal? Kix
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Practice Soccer
15. What is your favorite drink? Juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Birthday
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Nothing.  Oh yeah, I take books and kiki
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pancakes
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Ninja



Thought it would be a good idea to record his signature at this point; hope this doesn't result in privacy issues after so many years of calling him "A"!

Sadly, it's the  most low key birthday EVER; M is working and we have to stay home because E is learning how to use the potty.  We are doing absolutely nothing.  We do plan to go to an amusement park for A's birthday, once this potty thing is under control, but who knows when that will be.  We also celebrated by getting Dunkin Donuts for breakfast; a first, I believe (not that they haven't HAD DD, but we've never gotten them as breakfast at home that I can recall)

We did have a few of A's school friends over for a birthday party on Saturday.  It was a drop off party and we just pulled out the pools and got some water cannons and had a ton of fun.

At 6 years old, A is kind yet bossy to his brother.  He takes great care of him, but loses patience with E's inability to share.  He loves baseball and soccer; we signed him up for karate due to his excitement about it (he chose his summer sport) but when he learned he'd have to choose between karate and soccer in the fall, he stopped wanting to go.  His reading amazes me; he is excited to read and says whatever he can read on signs, notes, etc.  He often guesses based on the first letter of a word (Sasha might be read as Santa, for example), but overall, it's really impressive.  He still needs afternoon naps, but almost always resists them.

A few weeks ago, we went to the beach and he tried Boogie boarding.  He was so excited about it, but today told me he doesn't want to do it anymore.  He also said he doesn't want to go to the beach anymore.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Birthday Stuff!

Being horrible at keeping up with this has been hard for me.  So, I took a note from Google's commercials and instead sent E a birthday email.  Here's what I wrote:

Dear E,

How is it possible that you are almost three?  
 photo 20130410_061724_zps05104237.jpg

You have been so good about learning to use the potty!  You stay dry almost all day, and USUALLY will go sit on the potty when we tell you it's time.  This weekend, you sat on a public toilet without your special seat for the first time (with lots of help from me!)  We just need to work on... well... number 2.  (Sorry to be gross and embarrassing).

Yesterday was your first swimming class in the pool without me.  I was so nervous that you would freak out, but no.  You went right in and seemed to have a great time.  I caught your eye in the door (I have to sit in the lobby) and you had a big smile on your face.  This isn't the best photo I'm sure, but it's what's handy.
 photo 20130414_084702_zps6eb2f345.jpg

Your language has EXPLODED in recent weeks.  You are so much easier to understand, but I love the little "E-isms" like how you say "What's that noisy" instead of noise, or "I got dressed beoutyou" instead of without you.

I've attached a video of you running around in the morning from April 7.  You've taken a liking to waking up early.  I usually wake you around 6am to get ready for school, but last week you started waking around 5:30.  It got pretty annoying when you were up at 5am on Sunday morning.  Luckily you slept in a little bit today so Daddy and I were able to get ready without too much trouble.

You make me so proud.  You are such a great helper, always wanting to help with cleaning or cooking, or just doing whatever I ask of you (as long as it's not putting away your toys; this one is a struggle, I think, because you don't know where things belong).  You have a great sense of humor and are a total show off/ham.  You love to give hugs and kisses and are very generous and usually are a great sharer.

I'm so happy to know you!
Love,
Mom



For his actual birthday, E posed for this picture:

We went to the Dish Cafe for breakfast:

And then we went to another friend's birthday party!


We had a really fun day!!

But things got REALLY special yesterday for E's THIRD birthday monster bash!

I'll add those to a slideshow soon!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Interest

This weekend, old friends came over to hang out with the boys.  They asked A what he likes to do.  A swimmer, our friend asked him how he likes swimming, and he replied that he likes it a lot.  I was flabbergasted, but he really is starting to come around to it.  He does not jump into the pool still, but as he gets better and stronger with the actual swimming, he seems to enjoy it more.

He loves baseball, though.  I can't even explain how I know that, but I'm certain he does.  It's something he just gravitates to and enjoys.

But I was shocked when we were discussing his sports selections for the spring.  He's already registered for baseball, so there wasn't a question there, but he was adamant that he wants to play basketball.  I'm pretty sure this comes from outside forces; his teacher coaches basketball and one of his friends apparently "loooooves basketball!  And football!"  Poor kid, though, the basketball class does not work well with our family's schedule, so maybe next time kid.

When offered his choices, E chose yoga.  Again, I was shocked.  This would be his first alone without a parent class, and M and I are not sure how it will go.  I believe this was A's first alone without a parent class (there are really few of these, for the kids of working parents at least, for three year olds) and it did not go well.

Next session, he will be going into a without Mom class in the pool as well.  Although it's technically a 4-5 year old class, his current teacher is willing to take him in her class since he's doing so well.  Last week, she took him away from me to see how he would do.  He did OK, but was having a rough day of not feeling so well.  Even with me, he did not really participate in the class, so I was pretty surprised he went with her at all.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Alas...

I have been in the process of re-organizing my Photobucket account, hoping to keep things in date order in some way.  I'm also running out of space, so I've been deleting duplicates, and it looks as though I've deleted or moved stuff posted to this blog.  Awesome.

So, to add to the very long list of projects to do, is to update all the photos that are now blank.

Which will probably never happen.

Sorry, future A and E, hoping to find great photos to go along with the stories.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a really big deal when you're in Elementary or Pre-School.

For school, A was charged with decorating a heart for the class bulletin board.  He chose to use this foam robot we made last Valentine's Day, crayons, and pom poms to decorate his heart, and was thrilled at Daddy's idea to make an arrow through the heart.


 photo IMG_20130208_064525_zpsf66fb18b.jpg

E brought home lots and lots of projects.  Here's one of them, about which he said, "look what I made!"

 photo IMG_20130204_172720_zpsabc3ab19.jpg

For the classmates and E's teachers, we made Valentines:

 photo IMG_20130210_122952_zps688a6e28.jpg  photo IMG_20130210_122657_zpsbb3770f4.jpg

..but SOMEONE played with and lost a bouncey ball, so we instead made Hogs and Kisses for A's teachers:


 photo 20130212_183008_zps5459eb1b.jpg

 I tried to make them a special lunch...
   photo IMG_20130213_213013_zpse1286a57.jpg

but A didn't eat his, saying "I don't like peppers!"

Speaking of lunch, A told M he HAD to make me lunch for Valentine's Day, and he did.  I didn't take a picture, but I had a heart shaped grilled cheese sandwich, grape tomatoes, babybel cheese, and yogurt.  When A told me what he asked Daddy to do, he said the lunch was supposed to be a firetruck shooting water all over the sandwich.

I hope you had a wonderful and fun Valentine's Day too!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sandy

As you no doubt know, Superstorm Sandy came to seriously mess up Nj and Ny at the end of October.

We have so much for which to be thankful in the storms wake-our home was undamaged, unlike many of our neighbors our power outtage was brief, and our parents and their homes are safe.

Of course the same is not true for many in our state; my hometown as well as much of the area I still call home has many uninhabitable homes (primary homes in most cases; while there was certainly damage to second homes and those of the rich, a lot of the devastation hit those with nowhere else to go) and the same is true in the town and area where M works.

We spoke with A about what happened; he now calls the red weather symbol for hurricane "Sandy" and seems to appreciate that there are kids like him who lost all their toys and books.  He donated a small amount of things on my first donation trip to Manahawkin but more importantly took two trips with his Dad and me to help.

Our first trip was disappointing from a helping standpoint; we arrived at noon and after some organization and directions happened, folks got on buses to distribute donations.  The problem for us was that we had to get E from school by 430 and the bus return time made that impossible.  But, we'd brought another carload of donations and supported a small restaurant in Atlantic Highlands in the process.

Since the boys were out of school longer than me, they went to volunteer again, this time organizing supplies at M's school.  A even got his picture on a school bulletin board!  He made friends with two of M's students, one of whom is becoming a penpal to him!

I feel there is so much more we could be doing, but childcare for E creates issues.  We plan to go to M's school again next week to help, and hopefully we can go down to the LBI area over winter break while E is in school.