Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall Fun at the Apple Orchard

Fall is here!  Even though it doesn’t quite feel like it some days.

Last weekend didn’t quite feel like fall – it was actually pretty darn hot, but we had some fall fun anyway.

My parents are here visiting, and we decided to take a trip to Paulus Orchards for some apple picking.  We went to Paulus last summer to pick blueberries, but we hadn’t been back since.

It didn’t take us long to fill up our bag tip top full of apples.  Of course we had to taste test each of the different varieties too (honeycrisp, fuji, jonagold, golden delicious, crimson crisp, and a couple others).  We all agreed that our favorite were Crimson Crisp (at least those of us who can talk).  I loved that the trees were small enough for all of the kids to be able to pick apples on their own.

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After picking 20+ pounds of apples, we bought wristbands for the play area.  Both the little kids and the big kids had fun!  We had fun with pedal cars, giant lincoln logs, giant checkers, rubber duck races, pipe slides, pipe runs, a cow train, and more.  That cow train – let me tell ya – Evelyn and I rode it together, and if I were farther along in this pregnancy, I’m pretty sure it would have sent me into labor.  That thing was BUMPY!!!!

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We also tried our hand at the corn maze.  The sign said that it should take 20ish minutes to make it through.  Well, after 30-45 minutes, we finally found our way out – back out the entrance the same way we came in!

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It was a great day full of family fun and good food at the orchard!  And no, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get pictures in our coordinating Aggie maroon!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

“I thought one of my popcorns was kind of crunchy!”

Trenton has been sporting “shark teeth” since last spring.  For the longest, his baby teeth in front of his permanent teeth weren’t even loose.

But they finally started loosening up.

The past two weeks, one of them has been extremely loose.  But Trenton refused to let us pull it.

Yesterday he and I were sitting around talking after getting home from church.  All of the sudden I realized that his tooth was gone!

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After backtracking, we realized that he lost his tooth sometime between leaving for church and when I noticed it was gone.

Then it dawned on him.

”It was when I ate my popcorn!  I thought one of my popcorns was kind of crunchy!”

Yep, he had swallowed his tooth while eating caramel corn!

I told Trenton that since he didn’t have a tooth to put under his pillow, he’d have to write the tooth fairy a note.  I had done the same thing when I lost my first tooth – it fell down the drain while I was brushing my teeth.

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The note must have been okay with the tooth fairy because Trenton woke up one happy little boy this morning (albeit, with some crazy bedhead)!

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Now Trenton is working on loosening up another tooth so that he can be even with Charlotte!  All while she’s hoping to lose her third tooth soon!  They are growing up too fast!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Our NYC Mini Vacation–A MONTH After the Fact

Okay y’all – so having two kids in school all day definitely does NOT equal having more free time on my hands!

It has been a month since we went to New York City for a little late summer getaway, and I’m just now getting around to putting this together.

Anyway, as some of you probably remember, Jarrod, Evelyn, and I went to NYC on a one-night trip at the beginning of summer while the big kids were back in Texas with my parents.  We never even made it out of the financial district, and there was so much left that we wanted to see.  So we decided to make a little last minute trip to the city before school started.

We drove up to Manhattan on a Wednesday afternoon after Charlotte saw her doctors in Philadelphia (no real new news there – but we did just finish a 12 hour urine collection (so fun!) that will hopefully tell us why she has kidney stones and calcification at such a young age).

For our trip earlier in the summer, we stayed on Staten Island.  It was nice, but I knew that I wanted us to be in the city for this trip so that our commute times to attractions wouldn’t be as long.

So we stayed right smack down in the middle of Times Square.  We were luckily on a quieter street in Times Square, so we didn’t have any night-time noise to contend with while we were trying to sleep.

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Not a view from our hotel

Anyway, our first evening we dropped our bags at the hotel and ventured out for dinner.

My little pizza lovers knew that NYC was famous for pizza, so pizza it was for night one.  Then I had a little surprise for them – a visit to the biggest Toys-R-Us in the world!  On our walk from the pizza place to Toys R Us, the kids were excited to encounter many of their favorite characters.  We also encountered a painted girl.  She was wearing thong undies and nothing else other than paint.  Thankfully the kids didn’t even notice her. 

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Toys-R-Us was crazy huge!  Three stories!  A gigantic T-rex.  An indoor ferris wheel.  Enormous Lego creations.  Even the candy in the candy shops was oversized!  The kids liked looking around, but I was very surprised that they didn’t find anything that they just had to add to their Christmas lists. 

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After a couple hours in Toys-R-Us (yes, it’s that big), we walked back to our hotel – stopping to get on the big screen and then a quick stop at a CVS to get milk for Evelyn.

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Can you find us?

Our first full day in NYC was spent visiting Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.  Charlotte has been really big on the Statue of Liberty lately, and it was at the top of her list of things to see on our vacation.

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I was a little unsure of how our ferry ride over would go because the water was very choppy.  Charlotte and I both get motion sick, and I hadn’t even thought of bringing arm bands along for the ferry.  Thankfully the ride didn’t bother anyone.

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Our first stop was Staten Island.  I think I could have spent a whole day here.  But with young kids, it just wasn’t happening.  Instead, Trenton and Jarrod went and watched a short film about Staten Island and immigration while the girls and I explored the registry room.  Getting Evelyn to stand still is a little tricky….

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Then we went to the kids area where Evelyn colored and Charlotte learned about kids like her rode on ships to cross the ocean and come live in America.  She had a workbook to go along with everything she was learning. 

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After Trenton and Jarrod finished their movie, we looked around a bit more and then caught the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. 

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It was lunchtime by the time we got to Liberty Island, so we grabbed a bite, found an open table, and sat down.  We hadn’t been sitting long when we had a very nice man ask if he could sit with us.  Frederic Auguste Bartholdi – the designer of the Statue of Liberty (a costumed interpreter)!  We had read about the week before our visit about Mr. Bartholdi, so the kids were excited to ask him questions.  He sat with us for a good 20 minutes.  He was so nice, and we learned so much from him.  What an unexpected addition to our trip!

After lunch, it was time to climb the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.  The only problem was that Evelyn was asleep in the stroller.  So, I took Trenton and Charlotte up myself while Jarrod stayed back with Evelyn.  We walked through the museum, learned how Lady Liberty was constructed, how she got to the United States, and why she isn’t copper colored if she is made of copper.

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The original torch

Then it came time to go to the top of the pedestal.  There were two ways to get up.  A whole bunch of stairs or an elevator.  Of course the kids picked the stairs!  The views from the top were amazing!  I did a lot of squatting down to let the kids climb on my leg so that they could see over the pedestal wall, and they thought it was really cool too.  Then I got my weight lifting in for the day – holding both big kids to get a picture with the NYC skyline in the background.

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By the time we got back down to the bottom, Evelyn had woke up.  Trenton and Charlotte asked if they could go back through the museum and up to the top of the pedestal again with Daddy.  So Evelyn and I had a snack while we waited for them.  Jarrod told me that Trenton and Charlotte chose the stairs on their second trip too.  They got their exercise in!

And good thing.  Because after we took the ferry back to Manhattan, it was almost dinner time.  We walked around Battery Park for a while, and then caught the subway up to Union Square.  Dinner was at Max Brenner – a restaurant whose chocolate themed dessert menu is bigger than their dinner menu!  After a long day of sightseeing, everyone deserved some chocolate!

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We really weren’t sure what our second full day in New York City would include.  The weather forecast was pretty iffy and we thought that it would be rainy.  Thankfully the weather forecasters were wrong and it was a beautiful day!

We started out at Central Park (where I couldn’t get “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted out of my head).  We played on a playground, went to the zoo and children’s zoo, and watched a puppet show.  Jarrod and I both agreed that the zoo was really good.  It was small, but they had wonderful animal exhibits and some animals that aren’t seen very often in zoos – grizzly bears, snow leopards, red pandas, etc.  Evelyn’s favorite was the children’s zoo.  She crawled into everything she could, fed animals, and played on the big spider web. 

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The American Museum of Natural History isn’t far from Central Park, so it was our next stop.  We all loved the museum and couldn’t get over how BIG it was.  Room after room after room of amazing exhibits.  The elephants were a crowd pleaser amongst the kids, and Daddy liked the bears of North America.  Trenton was also really interested in the rhinos.  I always thought there was just the Black Rhino and the White Rhino, but apparently there are five different species of rhinos (Trenton taught me this, and google confirmed it), and the museum has four of them on display.  The dinosaur fossils were also a big hit.

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We stayed in the museum as long as we could.  They were herding everyone out the doors, so it was time to go.

After a subway ride back to Times Square, we grabbed dinner, went to a cupcake bakery for dessert, and then headed back to the hotel for an early night.  We had walked A LOT, so we were all worn out.

We were checking out of our hotel Saturday morning, but that didn’t stop us from doing some last minute sightseeing.  We walked from our hotel over to Grand Central Station, then to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, then back to the hotel for checkout. 

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After a very busy few days in New York City, we had a nice quiet drive back home.  Everyone was exhausted!  But we all want to go back to the Big Apple again!