Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here Fishy, Fishy.

Yesterday we met George's friend from work, Frank, along with his wife and 3 month old baby at a nearby park. The boys wanted to do some fishing. Of course, Olivia and Nate wanted to drown a worm or two also. They even have their own special poles: Scooby Doo for Livy and Spider Man for Nate.

George caught two fish with the Scooby pole as soon as we arrived. It was very exciting.
Apparently these are some smart fish though. No one caught a thing after the first two that were reeled in. They were not going to be fooled. Olivia was getting increasingly frustrated. She'd walk along the bank of the pond saying, "Here fishy fishy."

Per usual, she seems more interested in inspecting the bugs. You may remember our first fishing trip to Lake Como where her love affair with worms began.

What trip to the pond would be complete without at least one child falling in? Nate decided to take a slightly more direct route to catching fish: jump right in with them. George's back was turned to the tackle box as I saw it happening from a few feet away. Per MY usual in an emergency, I can't speak. I just blurt out nonsense sounds. Yesterday it was "WOOT WOOT!" Seriously. No joking. Everyone knows I have something to say about everything. But when it comes time to sound the alert, I become a mute. This is highly aggravating to George of course, who slid into the water to rescue Nate. "Why couldn't you have said something" he asked. "Well, you heard my alert sound, then a splash. You're a man of science. I knew you'd figure it out."

So, Nate was soaked and scared, but uninjured, except for any pond scum he may have injested that is incubating into some sort of superbug by now. Sure to win the "mom of the year" award, I didn't even have a spare set of clothes for him. I did have diapers though! Do I get points for that?

Nate loves geese and ducks. He caught sight of this one and began chasing after it, calling "bawk bawk!"

We sat patiently and waited to see how close Mr. Goose would get to us. In this shot, I wasn't using any zoom. He was very brave and curious. I kept hoping he wouldn't turn and nip at one of us. I'll never forget getting chased down by a ferrell goose at the KOA when I was a kid. I didn't want Nate to be emotionally scarred for life like I am. I was ready to take that bird down if he got too close with that beak.

Back to try our hand at some more angling. Nate loves to pretend to cast like Daddy. It's really super cute. Here he is looking like a little Huck Finn, sitting on the shore just waiting for a fish to bite. I wish Grandpa Dan could see his little anglers in action. He'd be so proud!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Panty Raid

I think it's time to buy Nate some big boy drawers. For one thing, I can't keep a diaper on him. He's constantly pulling it off. He's also frequently trying to put on pairs of Livy's panties that he finds laying around. (Sorry for the blurry picture. Nate had smudged my lens.)
A big fan of hats, he's also been caught with a pair on his head.

Twenty months is probably too early to start serious potty training, but he's definitely giving us signs that he's interested. He hates to wear a dirty diaper and will tell us if he's pooped. He also likes to sit on the big boy potty. I am looking very forward to the day that we say "bye bye diapers" with both kids for good!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It Was a Hot One!

We spent a few hours today at the Whitemarsh Township's 10th Annual Township Day. By the time we got there at 1:30pm, it was already in the high 80s and not a cloud in the sky. With the kids lathered in sunscreen and ride tickets in hand, we headed towards the inflatable attractions. Olivia patiently waited in line, gave the man her ticket, and crawled cautiously into the bouncy structure. She then promptly decided there were too many kids in there and backed out. She was brave enough to try the next bouncy thing but stayed right at the front by the door where she could see me. She's very cautious about these kind of things.

We stopped by the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game and Olivia wanted to try. Olivia's instructions were to close her eyes, turn around three times, and then try and pin the tail on the donkey. Instead, she maybe closed one eye, turned about 1/4 of a turn, and then walked right over to the donkey and stuck the tail on the perfect spot. It was cute, and she won a prize. She picked out a pink inflatable ant!

While Livy was bouncing and playing games, Nate got to spend some time looking at the fire trucks and police vehicles. George said he really enjoyed that. By the time we met back out, George was worn out and sweaty from chasing Nate in the intrepid heat. We decided to wait in line for a pony ride and then call it a day.

Olivia made fast friends with this little boy who was in line behind us. She was very interested in the prizes he had collected, particularly a little sticky octopus. She waited very patiently for her turn to ride and appeared so confident that they gave her the biggest pony they had to ride!

Here she is looking like a pro on Gem the Pony.

We decided to let Nate take a ride too. He held on like a little champ and didn't seem scared at all. When I asked him tonight if he enjoyed his pony ride, he nodded his head emphatically "YES!" and then kept pointing to outside. I think he's already looking forward to his next pony ride.

Despite the unexpected heat, Whitemarsh Township Day was a nice way to spend a few hours with the kids. On the way home, Olivia asked if we can go to Sesame Place next. So many fun things to do! We need to plant a money tree to fund all these activities. Or win the powerball.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Please Touch Museum Finale

It was all about making music in Rainforest Rhythm. As you can imagine, it was a dark and mysterious area with noises coming from every nook and cranny. I missed taking pictures of a few of the coolest features. One of them was this big tree with different instruments like cow bells hanging in it's branches. The instruments were all connected to long cables that were attached to the floor. Olivia had fun standing under the branches and moving the cables to make music.

Olivia hopped from frog to frog on this log while Nate was more interested in inspecting the frogs close up.

It's no secret that Nate loves music and instruments. He looked like a mini Beethoven sitting in front of this little piano. He really enjoyed playing and took it very seriously, not banging on the keys like most 19 month old boys would do.

They also got to play on mini xylophones and bongo drums before heading home. It was truly a wonderful time and we can't wait to return!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Please Touch Pt. 5

I'm sure I've read Alice in Wonderland at some point but being of the MTV generation, my most prominent Wonderland memory is of a trippy Tom Petty Alice in Wonderland themed music video. I'm bad about books anyway. I love to read, but rarely remember much of the books I've read. This area in the museum was really neat. It made me think that I need to read the book again. I'm sure some (or most) of the magic of the story was lost on me. Olivia and Nate had fun in this imaginary land though!

Olivia had a spot of tea in the Duchesses' Kitchen before stopping by the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The toddler area in Wonderland was Fairytale Garden. Young and old alike revisit their favorite fairy tales. Olivia was milking a cow with udders that felt life like and when squeezed, caused the cow to moo. This scared Nate. He wanted no part of that. He did like the goose and her golden eggs though.

There was a wooden replica of a boat that Nate really enjoyed. He liked to be at the helm steering. It was funny to see the little boys gravitate to this area while the little girls were more interested in the play house.

My favorite part of Fairytale Land was the "Three Little Kittens" area. There was a little clothesline with a basket of mittens and clothespins below. Olivia had fun hanging up the little lost mittens while I read the nursery rhyme to her which was stenciled on the wall behind the clothesline. It's just really neat to see how they were able to bring the fairytales to life in an interactive way for the kids. Again, they thought of everything!

We finished our day with a musical Rainforest Adventure. Check back for that post!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Please Touch Museum Pt. 4

In City Capers, the kids got to explore different attractions commonly found in a city. There was a mini McDs where Olivia practiced putting together a burger. "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, on a sesame seed bun." After constructing her burger, she slid her tray over to the cashier and paid. As most of you know, Olivia loves to play "McADonald's" at home so this was a big hit.

Then she was off to work her shift at the local children's hospital. She gave the baby a thorough exam before putting her in a crib for a nap. This might have been her favorite part of the city. She kept running around the ward inspecting other kids and their "patients" and making sure her baby was covered up in the crib properly.

After finishing her shift at the hospital, Olivia hopped on her scooter to visit the community gardens across town. After all, it is Earth Day and smart girls live green by conserving fuel.

She busied herself planting flowers and Nate helped her cart the plants from one garden to another.

One thing I was really impressed by throughout the entire museum were the 1) enclosed toddler areas with plenty of things for the 3 and under crowd and 2) the abundance of thoughtfully placed seating for the adults adjacent to the play areas. They've artfully included the seating in a way that blends right into the exhibits. I kept thinking, "they've thought of everything!"

The last stop in City Capers was a Construction Zone. This was so cool! Nate and Olivia spent the majority of their city time here. You'll see there is a big dump truck with a bed full of foam bricks.

The kids got right to work moving the bricks from the bed of the truck to the nearby conveyor belt. Turning a crank on the side of the conveyor moved the belt up and into the adjoining structure.
Here you can see Nate climbing into the construction area where Olivia is in the background working with a team of kids to build a brick wall.

There was also a place to unload the bricks into a wheelbarrow for transport back to the dumptruck. Really, this was such a cool area. Kids were running around with little hard hats on moving the bricks back and forth like little worker bees. We had to practically drag them from the construction site. Afterall, Wonderland awaits.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Please Touch Museum Pt. 3

Flight Fantasy was next. In this area, the kids got to play cloud hopscotch, turn overhead whirligigs by pedaling (Olivia had to use her arms to "pedal" since her legs weren't long enough) and climb through a rocket. Livy made the cloud balance beam look easy!

The adjacent room had stations with foam pieces that the kids use to build their own airplane, hoist it up into the air and see if it will fly. Of course, Nate and Olivia aren't really old enough to be aeronautical engineers yet but Nate did enjoy turning the crank that hoisted the planes and Olivia just ran around like a maniac.

After soaring through the clouds, we headed downstairs where many adventures awaited us!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Please Touch Museum Pt. 2

The next area we visited was Roadside Attractions. There were pint-sized Indy cars that little mechanics could fix with removable parts. Nate had a ball driving his Indy Car, while Olivia seemed more interested in being a part of the pit crew.

While exploring modes of public transportation, Nate decided to drive a city bus and Olivia opted for a relaxing ride on a SEPTA train.

The picture below is Olivia climbing inside a real Scion with buttons and a dashboard that the kids can operate. There's also a gas pump and air hose that the kids can use on the car. I thought that was totally cool.

There was one roadside areas we missed: a construction zone where kids who are patient enough to tolerate the long line can operate a bulldozer and move balls around a pit. It looked really cool but the kids were too excited to wait and ran on to the next area.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Please Touch Museum Pt. 1

Well it's been awhile since I've posted (my apologies.) It's not like we haven't been busy doing fun things. However, I've spent the last two weeks trying to survive the binky removal process. I'm proud to announce that Livy has been without her beloved binky since Monday before last. It's been a rocky ride. I'll spare most of the gory details. She's finally napping and sleeping again without a 1-2 hour fight and a littany of demands including: Elmos, purple blankie, bug pack warmed up, hot chocolate, dinosaurs (all of them-don't dare forget one because you can't fool her) and her magical mask (an eye mask that I sometimes use to sleep.) Once she made sure we had gathered the entire assortment of items, the excuses began: "I can't do it! You didn't give me a hug. You forgot my kiss. My hands are sticky! I need to poop and my ankle hurts." When she finally relented and stayed in her bed, she refused to wear any clothes or a diaper insisting "they make me hot." So, no matter how hard we tried to keep her pjs on, when I'd go in and check them before bed, she'd be undressed and her diaper would be on the floor beside her bed. Invariably, she'd wake up in the middle of the night due to a wet bed. I have to admit, I kept ONE binky just in case. I almost caved a few times and wondered outloud many times if we were doing the right thing. We survived though! Hallelujah and Praise the Lord!

So, on to the good stuff!

George had today off and in the spirit of Good Friday we decided to make sure the kids had a good day with dad home from work. We traveled into Philadelphia's Fairmount Park and spent the better part of the day at the newly re-opened Please Touch Museum. We've been hearing great things about this place and it didn't disappoint. In fact, we took 150 pictures of all the fun the kids had. I think I'll split the pictures and stories up into a series of blog entries instead of trying to cover everything at once. Let's get started!

The first exhibit the kids "dived" into was "River Adventure" which is a series of water play stations. Boats, water wheels, faucets, wave makers and rubber duckies make this area almost more fun than a day at the beach.

There are waterproof smocks for all the kids to wear while playing (Nate still managed to get wet) and even automatic hand dryers posted at just the right height for little hands. That was my first clue that this place had thought of everything! Check back tomorrow to see pictures of our little pit crew enjoying all things automobile!