Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Off to See America: Last Stop, Kentucky!

We arrived at our friends’ house in Louisville pretty late, but for some reason, we were pretty wound up. They have two nice dogs, and Turner and Hazel were pretty excited to play with them when we got there. I was tired so I went to bed, and eventually Mom and Dad decided it was time for all of them to hit the hay also.

The next morning, we donned our swimsuits and headed to a splash pad. It felt great to be outside after being cooped up in the car the past few days.

Next to the splash pad was a huge pedestrian bridge that crossed the equally huge Ohio River. I really wanted to walk across it, but we needed to get the smaller kids down for a nap, so Dad promised me we could do it later.

After lunch, Dad and I headed to a walking bridge over the Ohio River for more outside time. On the way over, Dad told me it looked like it was going to rain and we might get wet while walking, and I told him I was okay with that. It thundered the whole time we walked, but it didn’t rain.

I read the sign at the bottom of the bridge, which talked about its history – it used to be a train bridge. I figured out how old it was based on the year it was built. We started walking and when we were halfway across, looked down into the big old Ohio River. We walked all the way to the Indiana side of the bridge but Indiana hadn’t finished their side of the bridge, so we had to stop just short of the end. We could see the end but couldn’t walk to it. I kept asking Dad why Indiana was closed. We turned around and walked back. Dad thinks it was about 3 miles. It’s a good things taking walks is one of my favorite things to do!

We got back in the car, headed for the grocery store. Like Dad predicted, it started to rain. Then it rained harder. And harder. We pulled into a parking spot at the grocery. While Dad thought about whether we should brave the rain to go into the store, it started hailing. Dad decided we were not going anywhere, so I climbed into the front seat and we ate snacks Mom packed for our trip while we waited out the storm. After about half an hour, the storm passed. We went inside, did our shopping and headed back to the house.

Meanwhile, Mom and Tabi were at the house braving another type of storm – the wrath of three little kids who refused to nap. By the time we got back to the house, the kids had won the fight. So we were all in for an evening of grumpy kids and moms.

We tried driving around for a change of pace, then once Mike came home from work, met up with him, Tabi and Bowman for dinner. But Kentucky’s laws are different and it turned out the restaurant was too full of cigarette and cigar smoke, and Turner and Hazel were screaming non-stop, so we headed home for mac n cheese and bed.

The next day, we started out with playtime at the park. Right in front of their house, Mike and Tabi have a park with swings and a fountain where kids can play, and we headed down there for a bit. Because of lack of sleep the day before, Turner was wiped out. So he headed off for an early nap. Hazel and Bowman also took great naps and everyone was in a happy mood for an afternoon trip to the Louisville Science Museum.

We had a great time at the museum. Our first stop was the water table, our usual fave. After a while there, Bowman was soaked and the rest of us started fighting, so Mom and Dad put an end to that. Next we checked out the rest of the museum. The highlight was really the kids’ section, where they had a huge pretend airplane that we really liked.

When we got back to the house, Hazel and Turner took a bath in Tabi’s Jacuzzi tub. They really loved the bubbles. Then we had a relaxing evening. We walked to a nearby pizza restaurant and ice cream shop. We had so much fun we had a pretty hard time settling down for bedtime, but we knew we had to rest for the long drive home ahead of us.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Off to See America: Midwest, Here We Come

Early Monday morning, we said goodbye to Grandma, Grandpa, Little One and Bruiser, and loaded into our car once again, this time with our GPS set for Ohio. We enjoyed the amenities the PA Turnpike had to offer. I couldn’t believe a toll road could cost $15! The PA Turnpike rest area bathrooms definitely won the award for nicest public bathrooms on our trip.

Once we hit Ohio, it was a different story. We stopped to stretch our legs at a restaurant playscape, where we witnessed a drug bust and a playscape and bathrooms so crowded and dirty, Mom broke out her hand sanitizer to use after we washed our hands. In an attempt to speed up the day, we skipped lunch and just kept going – aside from a diaper explosion inspired hotel bathroom visit -- until we hit Dayton.

By the time we got to the city, we all were desperate for a break so we could stretch our legs and get rid of some energy. We were meeting up with Dad’s cousins, Norman and Mary Rita, and had to wait until they were ready for us, so we stopped at the Boonshoft Science Museum. It was a blast. They had an indoor zoo, where we watched them feed two otters, and where we watched real live meerkats and a bobcat. We also really liked the playscape, water table, grocery store and recycling truck. While we were there, Hazel decided she wants to be a judge when she grows up instead of a farmer. It was a quick visit because of closing time, but we had fun and the people there were nice.

Next we headed to Norman and Mary Rita’s house, which we tried not to destroy before heading to a nearby restaurant, Max & Erma’s. Hazel had sliders, Turner had macaroni and cheese, and I had chicken fingers, but the real attraction was the sundae bar. We liked the sprinkles and cherries the best. Mary Rita was a lot of fun, and Hazel especially liked talking with her. Hazel told her all about her best friend, Ethan. It was great to be able to visit cousins on the drive.

After saying goodbye, we put on our jammies and set out for Indianapolis to see Auntie Ann and Uncle Bob. Mom hadn’t seen them in a long time and Dad only met them once before, so we were pretty excited. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Off to See America: Snowballs in July

Wednesday was a pretty chilled out day. After our long haul Tuesday, we were ready to blow off some steam, and Grandma and Grandpa’s house was a great place to do it. It was a beautiful day so we headed outside with Turner’s best friend, Bruiser, whom Turner played with the whole time we were in Pennsylvania, when he wasn’t busy playing with the cat, Little One.

Uncle Daniel showed up with a slackline he tied to a tree, so we worked on our balance as we walked across it. I really liked riding on the swing while Hazel and Turner played in the sandbox with the apples from the trees. Hazel also buddied up with Mianna and decided she was going to build a treehouse out of sticks. Grandma, Grandpa, Gigi, Aunt Lauren, Uncle Ryan, and Mianna joined us and we just enjoyed the day. We finished it off with some amazing lasagna Grandma made, a great end to a fun day.

When we woke up the next morning, it was the Fourth of July and we were ready to party. We were happy to find that everybody spent the night and they were all ready to play with us. Aunt Lauren and Mianna made delicious waffles, then Grandma and everybody plugged away at getting ready for some company. Hazel spent much of the day following Mianna along with a look of adoration on her face. Dad cut up a watermelon, and Hazel ate so much of it, Uncle Daniel finally sent her inside to ask Mom if it was okay for her to eat any more.

When we woke up from our nap in the afternoon, lots more people were at the house – Pop and Mom Mom, Gigi, Aunt Chris and Uncle Larry, Uncle Jim, Aunt Megan and her friend Mike. We were also excited to find that Grandma had set up a few pools for us and Bruiser outside, filled with lots of fun toys and a slide. We played there, with a break in between for some yummy food, for hours.

At bedtime, Mom put Turner to bed and the rest of us loaded into the car and headed to Gigi’s house in Hanover for swimming and fireworks. After a quick dip, we walked a few blocks to Moul Field with Mianna, Aunt Lauren, Uncle Ryan, Aunt Megan and Mike. We shared our snacks with everyone and really liked the fireworks, especially one that looked like a smiley face.

The next day was designated eating day. Our first stop was the Famous Hot Weiner. Pop, Aunt Lauren and Uncle Ryan met us there and we were excited to have milkshakes and french fries. The grownups also ate burgers and dogs with chili, onions and mustard. After our nap, our next destination was Mom Mom and Pop’s house to pick up our cousin Molly. We were excited to talk to Pop about the ghost that lives at his house, JJ. We went on a ghost hunt all the way up to the attic, and even Turner crawled up the massive staircase yelling, “JJ! JJ!” He also seemed pretty attached to Pop. Ever since we left, once in a while he grabs Mom and yells, “Pop! JJ!”

Once we left, we headed to one of Mom’s other favorite haunts, the Tropical Treat. We ate outside and had burgers, pizza, chicken strips and most importantly, ice cream. Dad skipped dinner altogether in favor of a banana split. Mitch and Turner shared a banana split. Mom got a butterfudge sundae and Hazel got a raspberry vanilla swirl cone that she liked because it was pink. The other exciting thing about the Treat is it backs up to a farm. So that gave us a fun chance to dine with ducks, goat, a sheep and chickens. Turner and Grandpa were very brave because they pet the goat.

Saturday we set off for an adventure within an adventure, down to Essex, Maryland, to stay on Grandpa and Grandma’s boat. One fun thing Turner and Hazel liked on the ride was finding corn fields and yelling, “Corn! Corn!”

Once we got to the boat, we were all shocked to see how big it is – it has three bedrooms and Mom couldn’t believe it has a washing machine. We spent our time Saturday at the pool at the marina, and Dad rode a jet ski for the first time ever. He said it was really fun. He also wishes he would have worn more sunscreen that day.

That night, we had another surprise – Grandma had a movie night in store for us, Turner’s first ever. We tried to watch Lady and the Tramp but I was so tired, I put myself to bed. Then there were fireworks outside and we tried to watch those. Turner was scared, so Mom tried putting him to bed. Hazel watched for a few minutes, and then ended up going to bed too.

Sunday was an exciting morning. Grandpa pulled his dingy out and took us kids and Dad for a ride. Dad, Turner and Hazel really liked it. Turner and Hazel liked the speed involved. Turner was so comfy he fell asleep in it. Then Mom took me kayaking. I told her I prefer the kayak because it is slower. It is quieter too. We finished our day with more pool time, then headed back to PA for our final night.

When we got back, we found Aunt Lauren, Uncle Ryan and Uncle Daniel at the house. They had put out yet another great spread Grandma prepared for all of us ahead of time. We had brisket, mac n cheese, and broccoli.

After the feast, they surprised me with a birthday party! Mom said for a boy 10 days away from his birthday, I was doing pretty good having my second party already. Grandma brought me a birthday cookie with a 6 candle in it and I got to open lots of great gifts. It was nice that everyone thought of me.

Grandma even had gifts for Turner and Hazel – we all got wooden carved name signs for our rooms. Turner was especially excited about his, which had his favorite character, Llama Llama, on it.

We were sad to say goodbye but it was nice to see everybody and we were excited about the next part of our adventure.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Off to See America: Traffic and Lightning Bugs

Tuesday morning was a change of pace. For once, Dad and Mom woke us up early –at about 4:45 a.m. -- instead of the other way around. Normally we have to climb into bed with them to get them to rise and shine. They wanted to set out early to beat the Atlanta rush hour traffic as we set out for the next leg of our adventure.

En route to Pennsylvania, our first stop was the Children’s Museum in Charlotte, NC. There was a great water table, where Turner and I would have been happy forever. But there was more to see. Hazel and I took off with Dad and Turner went with Mom to the toddler area. She had to drag him out of there eventually, and they moved on. They passed some realistic, life-sized stuffed bears that Turner really liked while they walked to the aquarium section. They saw lots of fish, jellyfish and an octopus. Turner loves fish, so he was very happy there.

Meanwhile, Dad, Hazel and I found something that took advantage of my excellent jumping skills. I had to jump on a circular platform that made air pressure that pushed a ball up. For most kids, including Hazel, it was challenging. But I got it up to the top, no problem.

We also found a tank where we could pet starfish and a horseshoe crab, and a fun playscape to climb. We crawled through a tunnel and went down slides.

After a couple hours of playing, we had a great lunch before hitting the road again.

The rest of our day was not so great. We hit a bunch of traffic on I-81. We were at a standstill for almost two hours because of an accident, so we made our own party. We rolled down our windows, blasted some fun party music and danced in our seats. A guy in another car with a different kind of loud music looked at us like we were crazy but eventually cracked a smile. 

Eventually we stopped for dinner at Pizza Hut and after hours and hours of driving through Virginia, we flew through West Virginia and Maryland, where there were so many lightning bugs they looked like fireworks, before arriving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Pennsylvania at about 10:30 at night. It was a long day, and we were glad we finally made it.

All of us kids were asleep when we got to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Grandpa came out to help unload the car and ended up carrying Hazel in.  She talked to him non-stop, even though she was still half-asleep, until we all went inside and said goodnight.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Off to See America: Atlanta, GA

The next part of our road-trip was Atlanta, GA to visit Bubbe.

When we got to Bubbe’s house, we quickly said hi, unloaded the car, went potty and left for a picnic dinner with Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jonathan at a nearby park. They had lots of food trucks with yummy food, live music and a playground. Hazel climbed everything she could find to climb. I made friends and a new game yelling back and forth up and down the tunnel slide with other kids. Turner liked saying hi to all the dogs and babies and collecting rocks, sticks and pinecones. It was a nice chance to climb and run off some of the energy we saved up riding in the car all day. Right when we got home, it started pouring down rain. Mom took us all out to run in the rain. It was really fun.

Despite staying up late and the time-zone change, Turner, Hazel, and I all woke up early Friday morning.  Mom and Dad were very thankful that Bubbe got up with us kids so they could sleep in. After a leisurely breakfast, we drove down to the Atlanta Zoo. It was a hot day at the zoo, but it was fun to look at all of the animals. Turner and I liked the parakeets best. Hazel liked the smelly elephants, Bubbe liked the panda bears best, and Mom liked the Oragutan mom and baby. Dad liked the meerkats.

After the zoo, we came home and napped. As soon as we woke up, it was time for a pool party at the J. We got to show Bubbe what good swimmers we were while Turner spent a lot of time running around the splash pad. Turner held his ground when another kid tried to take a toy from him. Mom and Dad thought it was strange that Turner had gotten in two little fights on this trip already. When we got back to Bubbe’s house, we took advantage of the perfect weather by eating al fresco.

Saturday was super fun as well. We got up early with Bubbe again while Mom and Dad slept. They were very grateful and said it really felt like vacation. It was a nice warm day, so we stayed at Bubbe’s house and played in her kiddie pool and sprinklers. Turner played with the rocks in Bubbe’s landscaping while I watered her flowers. Right before lunch, I decided to also wash Bubbe’s wood deck with my hands. Unfortunately, that resulted in me getting a pretty big splinter. It hurt pretty bad. Fortunately, Bubbe is an expert at getting splinters out, and she and Dad got mine out in no time. Bubbe used the same needle that she used to use to get Dad’s splinters out when he was my age. Dad said he was proud of how brave I was.

We spent all day outside including lunch, then took a well-deserved late nap. When we woke up we found out that we were getting a treat – movie night with Bubbe!  Mom and Dad put Turner to bed and then went out to dinner with Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jonathan. Bubbe let us stay up late to watch Monsters, Inc. The movie was a little too long and complicated for us, but we sure loved the popcorn and the time with Bubbe.

Sunday morning Mom went running and out for errands, so Dad and Bubbe took us to an ice cream party at a playground at Dad’s old synagogue from when he was a kid. It was very hot, but we loved the ice cream truck. Dad let Hazel and I stand in line ourselves to get our own ice cream; we were very proud. All three of us picked out Pink Panther creamcicles.  We came home and helped Bubbe make chocolate chip cookies. Bubbe thought we were great kitchen helpers.

After nap, we had another treat in store for us. Mom and Dad took Hazel and me to Stone Mountain while Turner got a night all to himself with Aunt Laurie, Uncle Jonathan and Bubbe.

Turner loved the time he had to himself. He got to play with all of the toys without anyone grabbing them. He had everyone read him books. He ran around outside and played with all of the outside toys. He took a bath and had the bathtub and all of the bath toys to himself. And when bedtime rolled around, he had Uncle Jonathan read him a bunch more books. Uncle Jonathan also taught him to fist bump. That confused Mom the next day when Turner kept coming up to her and saying “bump.” He wanted to fist bump, but Mom thought he hit his head or something.

In the meantime, we had a blast at Stone Mountain. We rode a cable car all the way to the top of the mountain. Hazel, Mom and I leaned up right against the cable car window so we could see the whole way around. The top of the mountain looked like the surface of the moon. We were excited to run around. Dad took us right to the fence at the edge of the mountain. It was an amazing view. After looking down at the city of Atlanta way below us, and enjoying the nice mountain air, we headed back down again on the cable car.

Next we went on a train that went all around the mountain. It was a fun train ride, but Dad thought it was more fun when he was a kid and they did a whole show during the train ride. After the train ride, we played a few quick holes on mini-golf – just enough to realize that we aren’t quite ready for mini-golf yet. Then we went to the main part of park in front of the mountain, sat on our picnic blanket, and ate the delicious dinner that Mom had packed while we waited for it to get dark enough for the laser show. We ate a lot of the cookies we made with Bubbe earlier in the day.

The laser show was really fun. It had fireworks, lots of fun songs, bright lights, and neat pictures. By the time it was over, it was very late, and we headed back to Bubbe’s house.

Bubbe had to go to work on Monday, so no more sleeping in for Mom and Dad. Monday morning, Dad got up with us and gave us some fruit salad. Yum! Then we brushed our teeth really good because we were visiting Bubbe at work to get our teeth cleaned.

The dentist told us that we had very clean teeth and had the right amount of space in between our teeth so they will hopefully be straight later on.  He also noticed that I have another tooth that is getting loose! After our successful teeth cleaning, we went to lunch with Bubbe, took another nap, and went to our last dinner in Atlanta with Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jonathan.  We were very sad to leave Atlanta (especially Turner, who had really enjoyed pointing at the floor and saying “Bubbe’s house”), but it was time to move on to our next adventure.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Off to See America: Panama City Beach!

On the next part of our road-trip adventure, we visited our Aunt Jen and Uncle Ben in Panama City, Florida.

We arrived late and exhausted, so we ate a nice dinner Aunt Jen made us, followed by pie Uncle Ben made, then hit the sack. I made sure to put my tooth that had come out in the hotel room that morning under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

Monday morning, I woke up to a dollar in my Tooth Fairy pillow and a note congratulating me on my loss. I told Mom and Dad I was going to spend my loot on milkshakes for everyone.

After breakfast, we put on our swimsuits and sunscreen. Dad let me put sunscreen on his back which was really fun for me. We grabbed our beach chairs and sand toys and headed to the beach. Unfortunately, Uncle Ben had to work so he could not join us, but we got some quality time with Aunt Jen.

The beach we went to was on a bay. That meant the water was pretty calm and shallow, a great introduction to the beach. Hazel’s favorite thing was collecting seashells. I liked making “dirty water,” mixing sand and ocean water in my bucket. Turner liked playing in the sand and going out into the water with Dad.

When we were all tired, we headed back to the house for a good, long nap. Dad realized that his back was very sunburned. We were all shocked.

We had dinner when Uncle Ben came home, then went out for dessert. We went to a frozen yogurt place called Sweet Frog. We liked it because we could top our treats with rainbow colored gummy frogs and we could eat outside.

The next day we went to the beach again. Dad let Mom put sunscreen on his back instead of me this time. We went to a different beach that had more waves and no seaweed. Hazel made a friend she played with all day. They dug a big hole they called a swimming pool. We really liked jumping over the waves that day.

That night we took it easy and went out to dinner at a little pizza restaurant. Our food was amazing and we had a relaxing dinner on a nice big outdoor porch we had all to ourselves. We finished the evening with ice cream and pie back at the house.

We spent our last day in Florida at another beach. This one had nice waves but a little more seaweed, and we were starting to feel just a little beached out. Mostly we hung out playing on the sand and we didn’t stay quite as long as the other two days, but it really was a lot of fun.

After another relaxing afternoon, we had a delicious grilled chicken and steak dinner made by Aunt Jen and Uncle Ben, followed by a birthday party for me. We had waffle cone bowls with my favorite ice cream, Moose Tracks, topped with six star candles, hot fudge and whipped cream. Everybody sang to me and we ate our desserts. Hazel finished hers and asked Uncle Ben for more. Hazel looked shocked when Uncle Ben brought her back another giant waffle cone full of ice cream, whipped cream, and hot fudge. She ate it all and is forever in love with Uncle Ben.

After dessert, I opened my present from Aunt Jen and Uncle Ben, a cool construction set with a motor and remote control. Aunt Jen helped me build a dinosaur with it, which was fun, and Uncle Ben read us a goodnight story. The next morning we said goodbye, which was sad, but we looked forward to our next adventure.

A few hours into our drive Thursday morning, we noticed a whole bunch of spray painted signs along the road for a store with candy and boiled peanuts. There were a ton of signs every 50 feet or so, each one with a different colorful message. Dad was intrigued, wanted to try the peanuts and we all wanted candy, so we stopped. The place was an old house with a creaky old porch on the front. Dad took Hazel and me in and the place was packed with all kinds of candy and weird foods from floor to ceiling.

There was also a lady who looked like a witch who ran the place. She took Dad to the place where she cooked the boiled peanuts and Dad noticed a big oven, while the witch lady eyed Hazel and me. Dad told us to get some candy and he got some fudge for Mom. Dad realized he left his credit card in the car and ran out to get it from Mom. I didn’t like the way the witch was looking at us, and I thought I remembered a story about Hanzel and Gretel.

Fortunately, Dad came back quickly, and we paid and left the store before anything strange happened. Mom is still mad at Dad for leaving us in there with her, but Dad, Turner and Hazel really liked the boiled peanuts so it was worth it.

Our next major stop was in Columbus, Georgia. We went to the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. We rode in some jet simulators, looked at rocket engines, an infrared camera, moon rocks, space suit, and little Mars rovers. There was a green screen that looked like a weather forecaster’s background on a nearby tv, and Turner liked seeing himself on that.

 We followed up with lunch at Dad’s favorite restaurant, Krystal, where we tried every milkshake flavor, then headed to Atlanta to visit Bubbe.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Off to See America: Road Trip!

This summer, we set off for a three-week road trip across about half of America. Mom and Dad started packing up our new car Friday night, then Saturday morning, Hazel, Turner and I went with Dad to Einstein’s for breakfast while Mom finished the job. Hazel decided to start our trip with some excitement. She stepped in an ant hill and got about six or seven bites. Her foot swelled up and hurt. She cried and yelled, “Ants! Ants!” Dad bravely pulled her away to the safety of the sidewalk, brushed her off, and on the way back to the car after breakfast, smashed the ant hill.

When we got home, we found out that not only did Mom finish packing, she relocated our fish, Frank, who as of July 5, we have had for a year. We bought Frank an automatic feeder so he wouldn’t get hungry while we were gone, but it didn’t work. Luckily our friend and his parents were willing to take Frank while we were gone. Mom had to run him to their house, tank and all. We are grateful they were able to do it.

With our fish secure, and Hazel’s foot properly medicated, we set on our way. Our first stop was Brenham, home of the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory. The factory tour is closed on Saturdays, but the ice cream parlor, where they sell ice cream for $1, was open. After we each had one flavor, Mom and Dad let us try another. But we had to share. In the end, we had six bowls of ice cream: red velvet, Italian cream cake, cookies and cream, blueberry cobbler, and crazy cookie dough – 2 of those! We had to drag Turner and Mom out of there kicking and screaming.

Our next big stop was the Houston Children’s Museum. We had a picnic lunch there and played for several hours. I liked the water area best. Turner liked the phone section and putting a rock in a ramp made for golf balls. Hazel liked a pretend veterinary office, where she diagnosed and treated several sick dogs and cats. We also liked the pretend grocery store until Turner got into a fistfight with another kid over some plastic produce. Having two older siblings has made Turner one tough cookie. After that we hit the pretend restaurant. Our favorite thing may have been some real baby chicks that were in an incubator.

After lunch and playing at the children’s museum, we got back in the car and drove to a hotel in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Dad put us in our swimsuits and we went down to the pool, but when we got there it was broken. So we went back to the room for a nice dinner of veggies, crackers and homemade hummus, then played in a whirlpool tub in our room. Dad turned the jets on before the water covered them, so they shot out water and air in all directions across the whole bathroom. Dad yelled and ran out to get Mom and we all cracked up. We loved playing in it.

The next morning, I woke everybody up with some big news – my wiggly tooth fell out! When I woke up, I started wiggling it and it just popped out! Dad assured me that the tooth fairy would find us even as we moved across the country.

That day was also Mom and Dad’s anniversary. Dad took us down to breakfast so Mom could sleep in, and he gave her a nice card. After Mom got dressed, we went back down for breakfast #2 so Dad could get ready for the day. Then we packed up the car again and headed east, Florida bound!

Our second day of driving was not as successful as the first. We didn’t drive far before we needed a bathroom break, so our first stop was at a Louisiana welcome center. The ladies in the beautiful building seemed overjoyed to see someone. They pointed us to the restrooms, and when we came out, offered us bottles of water, highway maps and ALLIGATORS! It turned out they had two baby alligators in a tank. Mom was very impressed, so we sent Dad and Hazel in to see them when we came out.

It is good we saw gators there because the fun we had planned – a swamp tour, where we would have seen lots of alligators – was rained out. We did see four different states that day: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. We had to stop a lot for bathrooms and traffic, and we were slowed down by rain. So it turned into a long driving day. But it was all worth it when we arrived at Aunt Jen and Uncle Ben’s house in Panama City, Florida!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stats at Six

Today I went to my six-year well visit at the doctor's office. For the most part, it was an uneventful trip. We didn't learn much we didn't already know, except that a bump on my knee that Mom thought was a skinned knee is actually a fire ant bite. I bravely sat on the table while the doctor let some of the goo out of it. He said it'll help it heal faster.

While we were there we learned I am 3 feet 9.5 inches tall.  I was sure the nurse who measured me was wrong because I've been telling everyone for the last month that I'm 3'10.5", and Mom pointed that out to her and she measured me again. Anyway, that 3'9.5" is good for 55th percentile! Amazing! I weighed in at 47 pounds, good for 60th percentile.

When the nurse was checking me out in the beginning of the appointment, she told me she wanted to see if I could do some things like hop on one foot, and she wanted to ask me some questions. She asked if that was okay. I said, "Yes, but first I want to ask YOU some questions." She smiled and said okay and I told her, "I've been getting a lot of injuries lately. What are they?" And I showed her my scratched up knee. Mom thought that was pretty funny.

You can see my latest growth chart on the right side of the blog or by looking here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy birthday to me!

Today was a big day – my birthday! Today I turned six.

The celebration started first thing in the morning. I woke up to my first gifts – a street sign that I picked out that says, “Mitch Trail” and a Razor scooter. At first I was so excited about the sign I didn't even notice the scooter. I just jumped around with the sign for a few minutes.

Then our good friends Ethan, Travis and their mommy, Emily, came over with cinnamon rolls so we could have a breakfast picnic. It’s been raining the past couple of days so we couldn’t sit at our picnic table out back because of the mud. So we threw down a blanket and a couple of chairs and had a driveway picnic! It was a blast.

After that, we all headed to the movies. Hazel, Turner and I have never been to a movie theater before, so it was a big deal. Mom thought we wouldn’t make it through the movie, and Miss Emily wondered how Travis would do. But we all did great. Hazel and Ethan sat still and watched the whole time. Travis and Turner did okay. I thought it was fun, but it was a pretty long time to sit still and was ready for it to be over when it ended. For the most part, as long as Turner and I had popcorn, we did okay. We did leave in the middle for a refill, a stretch and to get our wiggles out. Mom and Miss Emily were really impressed with us all.

Next, Mom, Hazel, Turner and I headed for lunch. Because it is my birthday, I got to choose where we went, and I picked Waterloo, one of our favorite haunts. I like it because they have pancakes and a playground. I told Mom I wanted to eat and play outside, so that’s what we did. We missed the pancakes by a half hour, so that was a bummer but we had fun.

We were all tired out after that, and Mom had some birthday surprises to put together, so Turner, Hazel and I took naps and rested. Not long after Hazel and Turner fell asleep, it was time to resume our fun day.

We dropped Turner off with a babysitter and headed to a place called Foodie Kids to enjoy my birthday gift from Oma, a farmers’ market cooking class. When we got there I was surprised to see the teacher I’ll have for kindergarten was teaching our class! It’s her summer job. She said she called them up a couple weeks ago and asked them if she could teach until regular school starts because she’s tired of sitting around her apartment talking to her cats all the time. Hazel and I really thought that was funny and asked her a lot of questions about her cat, including, "Can your cats fly?" because of a song we've been listening to lately called "My Cat Can Fly."

She said she was thrilled to see one of her students, that it really made her day. We were super excited to see her too; it was a birthday gift in itself and made the class even more fun than it would have been anyway. We made hummus, pita bread and smoothies. It was a good time.

When we came home, we had a quick dinner and opened some of my gifts. It's good I had two parties and some of my presents early because I didn’t make it through all my gifts tonight. I was too excited to eat cake and play with the first things I opened, so we’ll spread the rest out across a few days.

It’s good to be six!

Friday, July 5, 2013

New ride

One night last month after Hazel, Turner and I went to bed, our friend Jerry came over to visit Mom and Dad.

He pulled up in an old Crown Victoria, and when Mom and Dad asked him why he had it, he told them he had bought it at a government auction. It’s a hobby of his to buy cars there, fix them, drive them for a year or so, then sell them.

He talked to them about it some more, and Mom told Dad she thought we should try to get a minivan there for our summer trip. If we didn’t like the car, we could just sell it.

Dad started researching and began coming around to the idea. He decided they’d do it, told Mom he thought they’d come home with a new car, and last Tuesday, they dropped us off with a babysitter for the day, the longest they’ve ever been away from all of us, and headed down to the auction in San Antonio.

Mom was excited but tried to tell herself it would be a fun adventure, even if they came home empty handed.

When they got there, they had to look at all the cars on their list, but they couldn’t test drive them. When they left Austin, it was pouring down rain, but when they got there, it was hot and sunny.

After looking at the cars, they went inside to the air conditioning to talk about them and eat lunch. While they were eating lunch, Jerry got up to grab something and a guy sat down in his seat. Dad almost kicked him out but then figured Jerry could sit in the extra seat at the table, and let it go. It turned out he was the auctioneer. Dad told him we wanted the car for a road trip one day.

Next up was the auction. It was crazy. Everybody went into a garage, where there was an auctioneer who talked really fast, lots of people standing around, and a guy on the floor who pointed at people who were bidding on the cars and made funny sounds and hand motions. Other people drove the cars through so people could see what they were bidding on. The cars were going for more than Mom and Dad expected and Mom started to feel a little bummed because she thought they wouldn’t get one.

Mom and Dad had narrowed it down to three cars. Dad won the first one he bid on! He was up against a dealer, but he didn’t want to lose. They were excited, and when Dad won, the auctioneer came up to him and said, “Now you can go on that road trip!”

I'm sure it was tough for Mom and Dad to be away from us all day like that.  Mom said it was a really fun date.  Dad said it was the most expensive date ever.  Mom and Dad came home very tired and said they used up all their adrenaline. We kids had a good day with the sitter, but decided that we like hanging out with Mom and Dad a lot more.

We all like the new car. It has a lot more space for all of us!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

We kicked off Father’s Day by giving Dad the gift of sleep.

As soon as we started waking up, Mom told us to get dressed, then we all headed off for an adventure. We started off with breakfast at Einstine’s Bagels, where we met another mom with three kids on the same mission and a dad who asked us how our dad got so lucky while he got stuck with “coffee and muffin duty,” with his kid in tow. He said he’ll even it up next Mother’s Day. That gave Mom a good laugh.

Next we headed to the grocery store and a playground we like but haven’t been to in a while. Dad gave us a call and we headed home to pick him up before heading to the pool.

The pool was a blast. We showed off our swim class moves to Dad, who likes throwing us in the air while we’re in the pool. The funny thing was, no one else was there but a few lap swimmers. So we had the kid side of the pool all to ourselves including our own personal set of lifeguards. After a nice picnic lunch we headed home for a nap.

Next we had a little business to do. Someone came over to buy our old crib. Mom and Dad were a little sad over it, remembering how each of us slept in it while we were babies.  It was also a gift from great-grandma Millie.  We are sure that Millie would be happy knowing how much use we got out of the crib.

We wrapped up the day at a pizza buffet, and it was nice having dinner together. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

To enjoy our early summer photos, click here