Thursday, June 28, 2012

Time to Write

Alex has jumped into the fray of being a writer.  His first note to the world?  "Hello?" Of course not.  

My Room
Alex and Will
Mom no You
Not can
not come inn

The reason behind this?  Oh Alex is a super sleeper. He let us get sleep when he was a baby.  He would let us sleep in on weekends if he could. And when he is a teenager, I'm sure it will be the same.  We will be dragging him out of bed for many years.  

When it is time to get up and get ready for school or summer camp or something else going on in the morning, Alex grumbles.  Or he wakes up and is dazed for a while.  So, I offered him the choice: he could either wake up early and eat breakfast at home with us OR he can sleep in until it is time to leave and eat his breakfast in the car.  The day he wrote this, he was opting for the sleeping-in option.  And it made him a happy morning guy.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Visiting The Cousins

During the brief break between the end of school and the beginning of summer camp, we took a trip to go on some adventures in Virginia and Washington, DC.  Originally we were going to attend Tim's college graduation in North Carolina and let our boys hang out with their three cousins at their Grandparents house.  However, we missed the good airplane ticket price window, so opted to make a trip to visit Caleb, Josh, and Andrew at their house.  

Of course, we attempted to take a picture of the five boys together.

That's not right!

Somebody is missing...


The best of the bunch!
The first day, we let the boys play at their cousins' house.  This worked out reasonably well.  Will even stayed to hang out while Alex went with me back to the hotel to take a nap until dinner time. After dinner with their cousins (I use dinner in the loosest terms since my boys wouldn't eat at properly defined "mealtimes"), we headed over to meet up with Joanne and swim in her pool.  The boys were cool about hanging out with a girl, Joanne's daughter Cara, but I think they were using her for her pool. 

The second day, all of the boys went swimming in the hotel pool, then we went to Chik-Fil-A for lunch.  After that, my boys were exhausted.  They couldn't quite come to grips with the time zone change, so we hung out at the hotel that afternoon.  As Dan seems to have shifted away from TiVo obsession and replaced it with AppleProducts obsession, he had the AppleTV setup in the hotel room.  We used this to pick a show off streaming NetFlix.  The boys picked Mario.  It seems that NetFlix has made available "The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!" from 1989.  Combining live action Mario and Luigi with cartoon versions, it is fascinating to watch for the 4-year old and 6-year old who want a break from being in a different timezone.  With rapping plumbers and references to 1980s technology, how can you go wrong?

Day three it was time to do something in DC.  We drove to the metro, then took the train to the National Zoo.  Will and Alex were sick of each other at this point, having spent most of the prior 72 hours together non-stop.  They insisted on not being separated, opting instead to bump into each other, then complain loudly about it.  We met up with their cousins at the zoo, had some lunch, then went to visit the small mammals.  

Will explains to the meerkat what he should be doing

Meerkat complies
Near the end of the small mammals, Alex insisted on having to use the restroom, so he and I set off on our own, leaving Will once again with his cousins.  

We weren't able to re-connect with them due to the poor cell phone coverage at the zoo, most likely.  So we texted them that we would be in the Reptile House and decided to try to call again later.  Amazingly, this was the best thing for Alex.  He calmed down and loved visiting the reptiles, playing "locate the reptile" in each of the displays.  Some of them were obvious, some camouflaged.  Then, at the end, TURTLES!  Alex had been hoping for turtles.  

Alex with turtle

He took some pictures (some turned out pretty good):

But we did end up with a couple of escaping, turtle tail pictures .  They are fast little buggers!

To get back from the zoo, we got a ride from Angela, or as I explained to the boys, Angela #2.  They got a bit confused between Angela #2 and Aunt Angela (who I explained was Angela #3), but fortunately, they didn't get me confused as I typically go by the title of Mom.  We went to Starbucks with Angela, then back to the hotel to hang out for Happy Hour and snacks in the atrium.  We finished off the day with tasty Indian Food before Angela #2 headed back to Philadelphia.  It was awesome that she came by!

Sunday was Father's Day
Sunday morning we headed over to The Smithsonian Air and Space Annex, the Udvar-Hazy Center.  

 The last time we visited, we saw the Shuttle Enterprise.  This time, they had swapped it out with the Shuttle Discovery.  Discovery was the one that put Hubble up in orbit, Will was interested to find out.

Shuttle Enterprise in 2008 (very clean-looking)
Another picture from the last visit (that's Will on Dan)  

Shuttle Discovery on Sunday
Sunday afternoon we went for another swim, or at least Alex and Dan did.  Will and I hung out poolside.  

Alex the Turtle

Then, it was back to the cousins' house for one more avoidance of dinner, and back to the airport for the return flight home.  

It seems that I am now an expert at flying with kids.  The biggest challenge is getting them to not inadvertently kick the seat in front of them since they are getting so tall.  I attribute my success to their addiction to games on their iPods as well as their use of activity books and cool games such as Perplexus and this Maze Game (very quiet while Perplexus has a little noise related to the ball rolling around inside).  Originally they had the Perplexus Rookie game, but it got broken during this trip, so we upgraded to Perplexus Original which they are enjoying quite a bit.  We had purchased Perplexus Rookie for their cousin, Josh's, birthday which he enjoyed.  However, it seems that the cousins needed even more of a challenge, so they upgraded to Perplexus Epic.  Perplexus is a self-contained 3 dimensional maze inside a plastic ball.  

Good when you are stuck for an hour on the runway after you land
We survived our trip, even had a bit of fun, and met our primary goal of seeing the kids' cousins and going swimming. 

Another trip?  None are planned for this year, but we hope that people may come visit us here.  The weather is nice all of the time.  You know you want to visit!  See you in our guest room soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ready for Summer Water Fun!

Summer is here and with it many plans for fun and learning!  Fortunately for me, the boys enjoy learning and discovering even the most academic things.  Of course, they also enjoy playing, especially if it involves water. 

This summer, the boys get to return to Beach Camp for a couple of weeks, perhaps Alex may even go in the ocean this year.  During school summer camp weeks, Will gets to swim in the pool every day while Alex can't wait until Friday, his class' day in the pool.  Earlier this week, Alex requested shark swim goggles since he is fascinated by sharks.

Alex in Shark Coat watching Sharks

His great idea was that we should buy some goggles that come in a box (referencing delivery of Amazon packages to our porch in brown boxes).  So, we went on-line to try to find shark goggles.  None seemed satisfactory until he saw these.

Wearing Swim Goggles from Amazon

They are supposed to be manta ray goggles, but Alex has dubbed them, "Red-Eyed Tree Frog Goggles!"  I think it makes them look like mad scientists.

We also plan on putting our small pool up this weekend.  It's about 3 feet deep and the boys are very excited to get it up.  Will is especially interested as one of our summer goals is to learn more about movie filming, editing, and posting.  Given that I have two boys who are usually in or near water most of the summer, we opted to get a waterproof camera.  We have talked about the unusual aspect of this particular "electronic' that it, and only it, can go in water.  Will wants to have friends over for playdates so he can take pictures underwater with them. 

We plan to post our water pictures and videos on Will's blog and also on mine and Will's youtube channels.

Have a great, wet summer!