Archive for the ‘Friends’ Tag

Storyland 2014

Sunday, September 14th, 2014 by Jen

This August we got to make a fun trip up to storyland with our friends Sarah, Alex, Anna and Sophie. We drove up on Friday afternoon and the kids did pretty well, Ewan slept almost the entire time and the girls made it through the long drive with only one stop for Panera. We checked into the condo hotel and headed right over to storyland to blast off for some awesome rides. This year Celia was much bigger than two years ago and so she could do almost everything, and Josie was big enough to do every ride she wanted to do, most of them she could do alone even.

Us five in the classic frame

First off Celia was mesmerized by the animatronic fruit and vegetables in the front. Sophie and Anna decided to spend their money on storyland drivers licenses. Up we went to the clock-cups ride. The first time we took the bigger kids, and then I tried with Celia and Ewan. Ewan tried to explore the door, Celia grabbed him because she didn’t want him to do that, and then bonked his head on the black center wheel. So before we even got moving, he was off.

Jen, Ewan and Celia in the cups

The train was interesting for all, just Ewan’s speed and helpful for getting around the park for those who didn’t have to push the stroller!

Riding the train!

On the way out of the park we met up with Cinderella to say goodbye!

Girls meeting Cinderella

That first day was short because we went for the deal where you buy a ticket in the last three hours of the day, and you can come back the following day. The next morning we were up bright and early and got to the park way before everyone else. Because I mis-read the opening time, oops 🙂 So we had a bit of time to kill and muddled around outside the gate.

Once we got inside we ran for the antique cars and enjoyed a shared loop around with Josie and Celia driving. For some reason this is the only ride that their height charts are messed up, every other ride Josie was over 48 inches, but apparently she had shrunk overnight and then grew again. Soooo some of the favorites of the day were the polar coaster (Celia and Josie), the new roarosaurus (my favorite) and the farm cars (Ewans). Josie has also taken a new liking to the tilt-a-whirl (called the turtles here) which was a favorite of mine as a kid. Now apparently my inner-ear fluid is solidifying and that ride comes close to making me sick. But of all four adults, I was the only one willing to go on spinning rides and roller coasters, so I got to go on a lot of rides! I let Jordi do the wet rides though, and went with Ewan to have some fudge and explore the nursery rhyme section.

In the early afternoon we also had booked tea time with Cinderella! She had a whole lot of tables all set up with tea and a rice krispie and talked with all her guests before reading them a story, taking a picture, and giving out a coloring book. It was very sweet

All of us before heading home

At the part and all weekend we had a great time, ate some ice cream, and took it easy back at the hotel. The less fun part was coming home, Ewan came down with a fever later on Saturday which came back on Sunday. When we stopped for lunch at a brick-oven pizza place, and were seated right next to it, it made his fever spike even higher and caused a febrile seizure. I had the hostess call 911 and I went with Ewan to the hospital in the ambulance where it took him a long time to feel better. Eventually Jordi and the girls caught up with us after finishing lunch and we kept waiting for him to smile but the poor kid wasn’t feeling so good. About 3 hours later he did finally get his fever down fairly low thanks to tylenol and motrin and we were able to bring him home. So the memories of the weekend are a bit overshadowed by the big scare, but they said that the fevers won’t hurt, and aren’t likely to happen again.

Lovely summer evenings

Friday, July 11th, 2014 by Jen

Spent tonight on an impromptu picnic with the neighbors in their yard. BYOD – bring your own dinner and had some fun times.

I'm gonna get that camera!

Testing out the scooter

The whole gang

Cape Codder 2014!

Saturday, March 1st, 2014 by Jen

A few weeks ago we got to enjoy our regular mid-winter weekend  break with our lovely neighbors! We head down to the cape codder resort and enjoy a weekend of swimming, eating, sleeping and more swimming. Our trip down was nicely uneventful with Celia and Ewan sleeping most of the way, so we didn’t stop. We had picked Josie up right after school and made it down there by 4pm. After setting up the room it was 5 and so we headed out for an early dinner to Olive Garden which Josie and Celia thought was absolutely fantastic. Jordi and I were generally reminded as to why we don’t go to the olive garden. After dinner we went home for a late swim in the pool before bed. Christina and family arrived after our kids were already in bed, trying to avoid sleeping.

The next morning we were up early and after a quick breakfast provided by Dunkies, we headed over to the pool, where I cruelly force my children to take pictures for 3 minutes once during the entire weekend.

Celia, Josie and Ewan

But I must say I do always love the bright unidirectional light plus white sheets that the lovely beds provide for us and take advantage! My kids all have new headshots from this weekend for our walls!

Ewan and a ball

Ewan, playing with some swag.

Celia in her suit

After our morning swim, we head back to the room and get ready for lunch at Not Your Average Joes and check out the carousel at the mall. We’ve got this trip down to a routine at this point, and despite efforts to change it, it turns out not too much is open on the cape this time of year and so it just stays low-key.

Josie, Ewan and Celia

After lunch we have a rest back at the hotel before more swimming. This is the first trip Josie’s been tall enough to try the slides at the pool, and she was super brave and decided to try them! She can’t swim yet but she managed to get her feet down at the bottom of the slides and did them again and again and again. It was so much fun to see her try something new and out of her comfort zone.

Celia had a blast all over the pool with her floaties but she tuckered out quicker than usual. Ewan enjoyed his first time in a pool in a while and liked to splash himself while walking around in the pool. He found it fascinating and exhausting.

Later we went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant that with all 9 of us we take over almost half the restaurant. But it is oh so tasty and nice and cheap too. Josie and Celia were both a little under the weather as it seems someone always has to be when we’re down there. It’s the time of year for colds for everyone! After dinner we went out to roast marshmallows around the bonfire (in the background below is the wave pool).

roasting marshmallows

The next morning we eat, swim and pack up again before heading home. We took a detour and visited IKEA and Jordan’s furniture to try to figure out how to shift up the girls bedroom and didn’t make it home till late. Overall though it was a great trip and so much fun to see them all enjoy themselves.

Everyone all together!

Summertime 2 or good, not so clean, fun

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Jen

Jason spraying Charlie and Grant

Adelaide, Celia, Grant and Josie in the mud

Josie digging in the mud

Josie and Celia in the mud

Josie’s 5th birthday party

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 by Jen

After having to be postponed twice, once for a rescheduled trip to Miami and again for rain, we finally got to execute Josie’s 5th birthday party! She picked rainbows as the theme for this year. We painted rainbows on paper and made a rainbow of cupcakes! To keep the party numbers reasonable we kept to school friends and neighborhood friends and Josie had a blast. She was so very pleased that almost all of her school friends could make the date.

rainbow cupcakes

For fun we had the regular bounce house, an art project and a quick game. Our art was decorating pillow cases which also became the goody bag to take home. I bought fabric crayons which the kids drew on regular paper with and then my dad helped by spending half the party ironing them onto the pillow cases. The kids thought they were great and Josie enjoyed making two of them.

Daniel and Melissa working on a pillowcase

Josie chose the menu of some basic snacks, hummus, strawberries, carrots, chips and guacamole. Her one fancy request were some chocolate dipped strawberries which I made. Nothing nearly as fancy as last year but I was exhausted none the less. (note one rainbow on the basketball hoop above). After snacking and bouncing the kids were definitely looking for something else to do so thankfully I had one game planned. They played ‘musical towels’ which would be very similar to musical chairs except that no one actually get’s kicked out of the game. We just watch the kids struggle to get themselves onto progressively fewer and fewer towels with less space. They enjoyed the running around in circles to Glee’s take on the Hairspray song “You Can’t Stop The Beat.” They got the hang of it by the end, they had trouble fitting onto all of the towels to start with, but by the end they were all on one all snuggled in together.

Josie running through the towel game

Right from there I directed everyone to enjoy some singing and cake. We had way too many cupcakes. A number of people couldn’t come at the last minute unfortunately and I had the choice of making it ‘really close’ to enough cupcakes or just make another batch. So you know I made another batch. They were chocolate, strawberry and vanilla frosted with a rainbow of colors.

Happy Birthday to Josie!

After cupcakes, a couple per kid generally, which also had an extra toppings bar for more frosting plus sprinkles, jimmies and other goodies, they played some more and it was quickly time to head on home. We did a little clean up and Josie actually suggested a family picture at the end for all of us who worked hard on her party.

Karen, Josie, Jen, Celia, Mike and Jordi in May 2013

Once we cleaned up we cooked an easy dinner and Josie enjoyed opening her presents from friends. She got a lot of art supplies which is great as they’ve kept us busy with all the rain this month.

Photo credits go to my dad except for the last one.

Cape codder resort 2013!

Saturday, March 16th, 2013 by Jen

In the beginning of February, we took our annual pilgrimage over Jordi’s birthday weekend with our lovely neighbors Christina, Chanh and kids to the cape codder resort in Hyannis. We got down there Friday afternoon and got our first dip in the pool after setting up the beds and clothes. Josie and Celia jumped right in this year, Josie was even brave enough to walk herself under the umbrella/mushroom/water-spraying thing.

Josie walking under the water spray

We enjoyed many nice dinners including a thai restaurant that was tiny but the food was oh so yummy. It’s basically a weekend of good clean fun in the water, and eating three meals a day where I don’t have to clean or cook! We also celebrated the dad’s birthdays with a yummy cake.

Our families in the water

We didn’t make it to the outdoor pool this year (yes we went last year!) as the time just flies by. Celia jumped right into the water, not quite understanding it’s power the first time. It took her a few times of getting knocked under the water to understand just how strong the waves were and why she needed to stay close to us. Both Josie and Celia preferred when the water was calm.

Jordi, Jen, Christina, Chanh (front), E, Josie, Celia, Z (back)

Looking forward to taking the new little one next year as part of our  traditions!

My attempt at some more maternity photos

Monday, February 18th, 2013 by Jen

My friend Saralynn was pregnant last month and graciously allowed me to take her picture for some maternity picture practice. We headed off to the library here in town and found some nice light. I need some more pregnant friends though to practice on! I was definitely happier with these than some of my previous attempts, but I certainly am learning more each and every time! And since I’ve been so slow to post, Saralynn had her new lovely baby Eric last Tuesday and I can’t wait to take some fun pictures of him and their whole darling family too.

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The tea party

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 by Jen

This morning we hosted an end of the summer tea party for the girls and a few of Josie’s friends. Nothing says girl like fancy dresses on 4 year olds. We were lucky to have Blake join us too, Bronwyn’s little brother in addition to Bronwyn, Sophie, Adelaide (her little brother Grant), and Lucy). These pictures are not up to my usual quality standards, I was just trying to get some snapshots where ever and whenever I could given that I was also hosting a party and had to watch my own kids as well. But it gives the timeline for what we did and all.

The party started as all do with the food! Yesterday we took some pound cake and cut out hearts, circles and squares and glazed them to make tiny petit-fours type things, they were popular. Plus my pumpkin muffins and some scones from the store, grapes, cheese as well as cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches. In our search for inspiration online, we found a lot of pictures of people doing alice in wonderland tea parties so while Josie doesn’t really know the story, she loved the ‘EAT ME’ signs. We had a few moments to spare this morning so she made some signs for our cakes as well. Saralynn brought us some yummy iced tea and I put it in a little tea pot the girls could pour from themselves.

After eating the sand table was a big draw. That worked for a while and then when it started to fall apart we enticed them to eat more and then got them onto the hammock.

Then we brought out the big entertainment, the bounce house.

Unfortunately because of the time of day it was super sunny on the house, and it was upwards of 85 degrees outside so it was a little tough to keep the girls happy. But it wasn’t meant to be a long morning, quick as anything it was noon, time for our guests to go home and time for our lunch! I hope everyone had a good time, Josie is already asking for another one! Maybe in the spring on a cooler day.

Storyland on Saturday

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 by Jen

Saturday morning we got up early, had a quick breakfast and the girls humored me with some pictures outside in the nice light since we couldn’t go to the park till 9am anyway. I’ll show those later with some other pics though. We headed out to he car and go to the park before they even opened the gate! We got into a decently long line, but it moved fast once it was 9am and we were off to the races. Most importantly on Josie’s list was meeting up with Cinderella so we wanted to do that early on in the day so we wouldn’t miss her. We walked up to her castle and got the required meet and greet.

Somehow her castle is extremely dark, with no windows, so its super hot too. Poor girl is taking tons of sips of water and standing in front of a giant fan most of the time, not exactly the best set up for pictures, but it’s what we get!

On the way back from the castle, Josie and Jordi got to ride in Cinderalla’s coach that actually moves! Celia and I got to walk down the hill. Celia was very into the rides herself, loving the carousel.

By this point she had gotten used to the idea that we’d get off one ride and get to go on another, so she didn’t put up too much of a stink every time we switched rides. She was afraid of a lot of the rides though, refusing to get in Cinderella’s coach, or even the flying shoes. She did try the whales and actually she even went on the turtles which is one of the most intense rides in Storyland, but she didn’t want to do that one again. Next year will be a bit more fun as she will be able to go on everything, and maybe she’ll want to do it too.

We were there with the two other families, but our kids had divergent interests so it was tough to stay together. The boys mostly wanted to go on the water rides, and Josie does not enjoy being sprayed in the face with water at all. We all had lunch together and eventually went on this safari ride together, riding in the cage up front! They were all pretty hot and tired by then.

We also did some ‘home-style’ face painting as last years face painting caused many tears as we tried to get it off. It doesn’t look nearly as good as the real thing, but it was fun nevertheless.

This is just a pretty picture I like of Celia from the hot air balloon ride!

We revived in the afternoon with some ice cream. I think Celia’s favorite ride may have been the train. Towards the end of the second day Josie started to get much more brave and went on the biggest roller coaster and the bamboo shoots water splash ride. For the last ride of the day Josie went with me on the water raft ride which has lots of surprise sprays all over and mostly enjoyed it. Celia also enjoyed the ball room which has random vacuums and holes to shove balls into and then it pops them back out later with the push of a button or a timer.

I got to do a lot of the rides with the girls as Jordi has a much lower limit for spinny rides than I do, and they’re mostly spinny since they can’t do gigantic coasters or anything. We stayed until the very end, enjoying some funnel cake too, although neither girl really seemed to like it. We went back to our condo and had tacos together with the whole group for dinner before the kids totally melted down and we put them to bed. The trip home the next day was not fun, they were not good travelers and I think we are greatly considering driving home on Saturday night so we don’t have that trip home with a bunch of fun-hungover kids, if we manage to go at all.

Storyland 2012 – Friday

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 by Jen

In the beginning of August we took our now annual trip to Storyland in New Hampshire. We are joined by our next door neighbors and some friends of theirs (who went together before us joining, so we’re really the party crashers here but we got invited back again this year). This trip was also within a few days of me getting my new 85mm lens. I took a lot of pictures, with my 85mm the first day and my 35mm the second. We drove up on Friday afternoon, stopped at a Panera and grabbed some food at a grocery store along 93 in New Hampshire. There isn’t much in New Hampshire most of the drive so we end up stopping early. Celia slept almost the whole way which was good for the ride, but bad for her sleeping at night. We got to storyland right about 3pm after checking into the hotel and the kids were off!

Josie had just gotten some new shoes which she was extremely excited about, and our time spent in line allowed me ample time to do a photographic study on them. When she stomps on them, they light up on the sides.

We rode the antique car ride first, Josie wanted to go with Ethan so Celia drove our car for us and she was tickled pink.

We enjoyed some ice cream treats, rode on some more of the smaller rides and checked things out. Josie was feeling cautious and didn’t want to go on the roller coaster or other fast rides. They always do love to milk the cow.

We took it pretty easy and did the flying fish which Josie loved, but the time went fast with only three hours and we knew we’d be back the next day. We picked up takeout from a local restaurant, ate and headed to bed pretty early so the girls would have enough energy for the next full day!