Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trip to DC!

This past weekend the kids and I traveled up to Washington DC to spend some time with Aunt Lynn, Uncle Ed, and "Aunt" Jennie.  (Note to "Aunt" Annie -- You were missed dearly!) Jack, along with every other boy  his age, has an obsession with dinosaurs.  So I thought it would make a fun trip to take him to see the real thing at the Natural History Museum.  After an uneventful drive up on Friday afternoon, we woke up Saturday to scattered showers and clouds.  But, undeterred, Jack, Jennie and I headed off to catch the subway to the museum where we met up with Uncle Ed.  Jack LOVED the subway and if you ask him today what his favorite part of the whole trip was he'll say riding the "underground train" (aka: the subway)!  The Natural History Museum was very crowded so I'm glad that Aunt Lynn volunteered to stay at home with the twins....people were having trouble maneuvering single strollers so I don't even want to think about the trouble we'd have had with the double-wide!!  Jack was surprisingly hesitant about checking out all the dinosaur skeletons and only reluctantly ventured into that portion of the dinosaur exhibit.  I think the actual massive size of the bones caught him off guard and may have scared him a little.  But we checked out some other fossils, watched a paleontologist dust off a real T-rex bone, and then ate lunch in the museum's main cafe. Now, the day prior, Uncle Ed discovered in the paper that the new hit PBS kids' show "Dinosaur Train" was going to have a special showing of a never-before-seen episode at the museum followed by a live appearance by the show's cool paleontologist "Dr. Scott."  Jack also LOVES this show and we have seen every episode many, many times so when we told him that Dinosaur Train would be at the museum he could hardly contain himself.  We came to discover that it was an RSVP event but were able to snag wait list wrist bands which would get us into the show if there were enough no-shows from those who had RSVP'd.  After lunch and while waiting for the Dinosaur Train showing, we had the treat of experiencing the butterfly pavilion (thank you Uncle Ed!).  This is a fantastic enclosed butterfly habitat where literally hundreds of the most beautiful butterflies you have ever seen are just fluttering around you!  It's a climate controlled environment filled with gorgeous tropical flowers and fruit all for optimum butterfly enjoyment.  It was truly fascinating to watch them and observe them up close!  Finally, we made our way to the auditorium and as luck would have it we were able to get into the Dinosaur Train show!!  Jack had a ball watching the newest show live on the big screen and seeing Dr. Scott in real life!  What a treat!!  We also checked out the Hope Diamond but Jack was largely unimpressed with that display.  :-)  Jack wanted to ride the subway home and of course by this time it was pouring rain so we got a little wet on the way home, but otherwise it was a great day!

Sunday, we had an early lunch and then packed everybody up for a trip to the National Zoo.  It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid-60s and plenty of sunshine to accentuate the stunning fall colors...I think DC had just hit its leaf peak!  I always forget too that all the museums and the zoo are FREE!  You can't beat it!!  The zoo was much less crowded so we were able to meander all around without any problems.  The twins spent the entire afternoon in the stroller but never even so much as made a peep.  I think they too enjoyed being outside on such a great day checking out all the amazing animals. 

Monday morning we, sadly, headed home but had a speedy and again, thankfully, uneventful drive home.  We had such a wonderful visit and although we came home tired, it was a good tired - one that comes from spending time exploring a fantastic city with our family.  :-)

Immediately upon our arrival, the twins made a break for the stairs and managed to get pretty high up!  Too bad they still have no idea how to get back down.

Jack on the subway...his new favorite thing!

Washington Monument.

The one and only picture I could get of Jack with the dinosaur skeletons (this is Stegosaurus....one of the smallest on display and I guess less threatening).

Checking out the butterfly guide in the hopes of identifying a few.

First of MANY butterfly pics...sorry! But they were spectacular!!

Dr. Scott the paleontologist!!!  In real life!!!!

The twins wreaking havoc on Aunt Lynn & Uncle Ed's house.

Checking out the rain.

Try as he might, Matthew could not get the freezer door open.  So he resorted to eating the handle instead.

At the zoo!  They were all decorated for their annual Boo at the Zoo event.


and tigers,

and bears...Oh My!!

Jack entertaining the twins at the zoo as he so loves to do!

These are NOT fake leaves....see what I mean about fantastic color!!

Yay for the zoo and a beautiful fall day!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Today was Jack's preschool field trip to a local farm/pumpkin patch/petting zoo (Hunt Club Farm).  We had a great day - partly sunny with a nice cool start to the morning.  Welcome fall!!  The farm was so much fun for the kids!  They started their trip with a hay ride (which, due to the stroller, the babies and I had to watch from the sidelines), then they were able to play in a large area that contained chickens, rabbits, goats, ducks, pigs, donkeys, and peacocks most of which you could get right up to and pet.  There was also a gigantic mountain of hay bales that all the kids loved climbing, falling, and sliding on.  Even better, they also had several large swing sets/slides (the really nice wooden kind with tunnel slides and rope ladders, etc.) which kept the kids occupied for a long while.  After they all played and petted to their heart's content, we had our snack, a few coordinated photo opportunities with the respective teachers, and then all the kids were able to wander through the pumpkin patch and pick out their very own baby pumpkin to take home.  As usual, the babies were confined to the stroller the whole time but they endured it fairly well.  They're such good sports (most of the time)!  I can't wait, sort of, until they are walking and can explore all on their own without having to sit back and watch everyone else have all the fun.  :-)

Hay rides!!

The twins waiting with me for Jack to return from the hay ride.  It will be your turn soon enough little ones!

One of the wagons all decorated for photo ops.

"Driving" the tractor.

Jack's "perfect pumpkin."

Children's Festival

The Virginia Children's Festival

On Saturday, I made a last minute decision to take the kids downtown to the Virginia Children's Festival.  This is an annual event that looked really promising in the entertainment department - plus, it was only a $3/person admission so it was cheap too!  So, we ate an early lunch in order to wait out a passing rain shower and then I packed everyone up and headed down to the waterfront park where the festival was taking place.  Unfortunately, once we arrived downtown we quickly discovered that there was NO WHERE to park.  We finally found a parking garage (many, many blocks from our destination) that still had spots and, of course, they only took cash....and do you think I had cash?  Of course NOT.  Thus, we made a speedy exit out of the garage in a frantic search for an ATM so that we had some hope of making it to the festival before the next rain shower hit.  Finally, I located an ATM and made it back to the parking garage so we could actually start our adventure!  After walking what seemed like about 10 blocks, we were approaching the entrance when, as luck would have it, a man with his son gave us re-admittance wrist bands that they did not use - score two free passes to the festival!!  Yay for us!  A good thing too because the weather was looking ever threatening as the afternoon waned.  It was worth all the trouble, though, because the festival was fantastic!  They had tents with all sorts of fun activities for youngsters (from cooking, to painting, to building, etc.).  Jack had a blast and we managed to meander around for about an hour and a half (with spotty rain most of the time) before the rain became too much and we headed back to the car.  The twins were good sports the whole time too despite being restricted to the stroller and enduring the wind and wet toes.  :-)

Jack standing in front of the "toddler zone" which will be perfect for the twins....next year.  :-)

Play-doh everywhere!!

Jack really loved all the physics experiments (part of a display by the ODU Physics Dept).

And magnets are always a hit!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Three Little Munchkins

(from left: Nathan, Jack & Matthew)

I posted this pic on Facebook but then forgot to put it on here as well.  It's increasingly difficult to get everyone to sit still (which is why Matthew is blurry) but this is still a pretty good shot of all three boys that I thought those of you NOT on Facebook might appreciate. :-)