Archive for the ‘Pics’ Category

Patience is a Virtue

Earlier this week, Tim and I took the kids to Michigan’s Adventure, a regional amusement park that we’ve visited every summer since 2004. We love it – the price is right, the park is small and easy to navigate, lines are short, etc. Even though Cedar Point is about the same distance, we’ve never seriously considered taking the kids there because the tradeoffs (trading the things listed above for bigger/better rides) just wouldn’t be worth it.

This year was great for Allie. She has just hit 48″, so she is tall enough to ride all but one ride. She told us on the way home that “This was my best Michigan Adventure day ever because I got to ride all the big roller coasters!” She’s turned into quite the a coaster fan, and I’m thrilled. I’ve always loved roller coasters, except for the especially rattly ones. (Tip: Don’t ride something called “Shivering Timbers” if you don’t like the rattly coasters.)

Our mistake this year? Taking Jenny.

We usually wait until a kid is four to take them to the amusement park. We intended to wait until next year with Jenny, but this trip was planned somewhat at the last minute and we didn’t have anyone to leave her with. Adam and Allie wanted to take her with us, and she wanted to go … so Tim and I said yes, against our better judgement. (We even turned down a night-before offer from my sister to watch Jenny – we’d been telling her for days that she was going with us, so it seemed a little cruel to change our plans at the last minute.)

Turns out we should have waited after all, and left her with Aunt Betsy. We were so excited about taking her, but it just didn’t go the way we hoped it would. Jenny had fun, but wasn’t interested in riding anything except the really little kiddie rides. So, in the interest of letting the big kids ride big kid rides, we split up almost immediately, and Tim and I pretty much spent the whole day trading off Jenny and the big kids. It worked out all right, I guess, except for the last hour, when I somehow ended up with both Adam and Jenny.

J tantrum 2

Yes, that’s my three-year-old throwing a tantrum in the middle of the sidewalk at the amusement park. For those of you who think it’s so sweet that Adam was “watching over her” – this picture was taken as he briefly looked up from holding his head in his hands, saying “Come ON, Jenny! MOM, can’t you DO something?!”

Ironically, this was the second time she threw a fit that day – in pretty much the exact same spot. I don’t recall her problem the first time, but this time she was mad because she wanted to go back to the helicopters (kiddie ride) and I had the gall to insist that we let Adam ride some big kid rides for the last 45 minutes before the park closed. (She and I had just spent about two hours in the kiddie area, and I even bought her an ice cream cone.)

So, we’ll definitely return next year, but Jenny may be visiting Aunt Betsy that day.

(She DID have some fun, as you can see in the pictures below. Adam even humored her by riding on the Winky the Whale ride once.)

kids in whales

J snoopy

J in boat

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OK, a kid of a different color. Or a shirt, really.

The day after Allie wore her “Go blue!” clothes, she got to wear her “Go green!” clothes. And so did Adam and I. More specifically, we got to go to a hockey game at my alma mater! (Which just happens to be another huge Big 10 university within easy driving distance – and oh, did I mention that it’s my employer’s archrival?)

Adam and Allie with Aunt Betsy, our benefactor for the evening.

Adam and Allie with Aunt Betsy, our benefactor for the evening.

How did that happen, you may ask? Well, it was another example of why I love Facebook so! I posted a picture of Allie in her maize and blue – and one of my college friends chided me (good naturedly), asking how I could let her wear those colors. I replied that we wear the colors of both schools, and that we’d even go to another (alma mater) hockey game if my sister Betsy could get us free tickets again. Two minutes later, I had a private message from Betsy saying that she had free tickets to the game that night, and would we like to go! Of course we would! So I got off work an hour early, raced to pick up the kids and run home to change (why oh why did I have to wear a maize and blue shirt for casual Friday?) and get to the hockey arena.

We had a blast, as expected. Our team lost (5-2, yikes) but it was fun. My friends and I had season hockey tickets all through college, and our dorm was directly across the field from the hockey arena (on top of which I had my first-and-only cigarette – just a puff, really) so it felt just like the old days.

I don't remember the band being this big when I was in college (it was usually about a third this size at hockey games).

I don’t remember the band being this big when I was in college (it was usually about a third this size at hockey games).

In fact, it really felt like the old days because of where we sat. Our ticketed seats were quite a ways from the band, and we couldn’t hear it very well. And what’s the point of going to a sporting event if you can’t do the silly chants/cheers, sing the fight song, etc.? We quickly noticed that the student section was only about a third full – because it was spring break. So after the first period, we moved to the student section, which surrounds the band. It was kind of surreal. On the one hand, I felt like I was back in college, because this is how I spent many a Friday night. On the other hand, watching Adam cheering and singing with gusto – I felt like I was getting a glimpse of my son in 7 years or so, a college kid rooting on his team. Weird. But cool.

I admit that I was a little disappointed that the student section no longer does a couple of the gags that we used to do. I mean seriously, if the other team has someone coming back in after a penalty, and you know the announcer is going to say “Western, full strength!” – why wouldn’t you shout “Hey Jerry (or whatever the announcer’s name is now), what’s that smell?” Or when the announcer is going to say “One minute left to play. One minute.” wouldn’t you shout “Hey Jerry, how much time?” Sheesh. Kids these days.

Mmmm, the traditional hockey game snack - Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich.

Mmmm, the traditional hockey game snack – Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich.

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Go Blue!

The local Big University’s women’s basketball team was supposed to visit the first grade classes at Allie’s school on Monday. Unfortunately, the visit was canceled that morning. Allie was disappointed, but was thrilled when she found out that the team had sent ticket vouchers to the entire class. She insisted that Tim go with her.

BB 2-28-13a




















They had great seats. Allie watched for a classmate friend that she knew would be there, and she and Tim were able to sit right next to them. The pep band was there, and so were the cheerleaders. Tim might possibly have really enjoyed that part. Allie also liked the local baton twirling school that performed at halftime.

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Tim caught a shirt from the shirt-shooting cannon. It’s a little big for Allie, but she’s using it as a night shirt now.

Oh, and our team won, 50-55.

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Phil Was Wrong!

I never put too much stock in Groundhog Day, but it’s always fun to see what groundhog Puxatawney Phil. This year, he predicted an early spring. I don’t think so …

We got 8.6″ of snow last night – on top of 1.26″ of rain that fell earlier in the day.

Feb snow 2

It was beautiful, for sure. And Allie and Jenny had a blast playing in the snow. I may post pictures of their adorable snowman tomorrow.

Feb snow

But what a mess! t was a really, really heavy and wet snow. Tim nearly got stuck twice getting out of our subdivision (and we only live about 6 houses away from the main road). Adam and Allie were thrilled to have a snow day. And Adam might get another day off – his school was without power today, and it still hadn’t been restored earlier this evening (last time I heard an update).

Sure hope this is winter’s last hurrah.

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I’m Batman?

My mom says I have to post this picture from last week. It’s a terrible pic (taken with either my iPhone or iPad, neither really up to the task)  but you can clearly see that Jenny has gone to sleep in our Superman costume. When we put her to bed, she was wearing a pink dress. At least she went to sleep quickly after the costume change, which we didn’t even hear.

She was a little confused the next morning, though, and told me that she was Batman. When I clarified that she was actually Superman, she said “Tonight I’m going to be Batman!” I told her that the Batman costume is in the other room, and to change quickly after we put her to bed. (She hasn’t put the Batman costume on yet, though we have seen costume changes several times over the past week.)

At least she went to bed well tonight … perhaps we’re making progress!

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A Little Follow-Up

Just for the record, this is how Tim found Jenny when he woke her up this morning.

Tim’s commentary: “To prepare for moving Jenny to a big girl bed, we’ve started putting her to bed on her crib mattress on the floor. Last night I put her in just a onesie, put her to bed, shut the door, and didn’t hear a peep out of her. This is how I found her this morning. I can only guess that she got dressed up, snuck out to a party, got drunk, managed to sneak back in, and passed out under her crib. As punishment, I’ve taken away her driving privileges for at least the next decade.”

(I later noticed that she’s holding her phone. I hope she wasn’t drunk-dialing. That never ends well, does it?)

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Sticking With It

Well, Adam has officially joined the high-adventure Boy Scout troop that I raved about a while back, and boy does he love it! Tim and I had a couple of brief periods where we thought he might say “Screw it, I can’t do this!” and want to quit, but what we’re actually hearing are comments like “That was really hard! I can’t wait to go back and do it again next week!” (That particular comment came early in the series of 7+ canoe outings.) He didn’t even waver for more than an evening when one of his best friends decided to drop out. (He’d given it a honest go, but it just wasn’t for him.)

So far, since April, they’ve had seven canoe outings (including two overnights), three parkour outings, five swim nights, four campouts, and one enormous game of capture the flag. He’s keeping busy and learning a lot!

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Who is This Big Kid?

Adam is finishing up Cub Scouts this year, and is preparing to move up to Boy Scouts. Tim and I had kind of figured that he’d lose interest after Cub Scouts. Then we learned of the Boy Scout troop that several of his schoolmates joined last year, a “high-adventure” troop.* It sounded pretty good, so Adam went to a couple of their welcome events.

Yesterday’s outing was skiing. They skied from 9-4. Seven hours! (And the troop paid for all of the fifth-graders, too.) It was hard work, and not always fun, but the boys worked hard and by the end of the day, Adam had moved on from the bunny hill. (There are a dozen boys in the troop who are actual ski instructors, and Adam had his own instructor all day.) He had a terrific time and by the end of the day, committed to joining the troop. I was a little worried that he might change his mind after waking up very, very sore today. But when I mentioned it, he said “Are you crazy?” and said something about “the best day of my life.”

The troop is amazing, and I can’t wait for Adam to join – Tim and I both think it’s going to be very, very good for him. (Heck, I’d say it already has been good for him.)

But I ask again, who IS this big kid?

Heading down the slopes with his two (!) ski instructors.

Discussing how to approach the tow rope. It took him several tries, but he finally got it.

Getting ready to head to the chair lift …

… for the bigger hill. Adam was glad to graduate to this slope.
*I would dearly love to share the troop’s impressive website with you, but that’s just too much information.


















































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Happy Holidays to All!

Just thought I’d share our awesome holiday cards, designed by my good friend (and partner in crime for the Duran Duran concert), Amy.

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Best. Night. Ever.

Will post more tomorrow, but perhaps this will hold you over until then:

The Duran Duran concert was totally worth the 27-year wait.

(I only wish I had known how camera/video friendly they are – I could have brought my good DSLR camera and gotten some really good pictures. Next time!)

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