Friday, April 30, 2010

What a difference a year makes

By K.J. Cardinal

Today, Anna and I made our 2010 debut at Wood Park. We just had to take advantage of the spectacular weather.

I was pretty much blown away by Anna's progress since last year. She was dominant on the jungle gym. Climbing up ladders she'd never done before, holding on to monkey bars and swinging, motoring across the rickety footbridge and going down the slide backwards. Pretty impressive.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our Florida Trip -- Part II

By Tiffany George

Please scroll down if you missed "Part I" to our Florida trip :o)
Our Florida fun continues! Our other big adventure was to the Lion Country Safari. The first part of this expedition involved a safari that we could drive through in the van. It took about an hour and a half to make our way through the zebras, chimps, rhinos, and giraffes but the kids loved it! They loved the fact that they were allowed to get out of their car seats to peer out the windows!

Andrew and Natalie looking out the windows in Lauren's van. And we don't have a photo of our rental car, but it was the first time Natalie had ever ridden in a vehicle with a window that could go down beside her. She loved to feel the warm breeze and was baffled when it would stop at stop lights. She's say "it's not working"...cutie pants. Animals were in the road right in front of us. So cool!

Natalie enjoying some yummy cotton candy up on Daddy's shoulders. He had a new form of hair gel that day!
Andrew's animal feeding continued at the safari. First he fed those in water, and now those on land!
Look how happy he is as it eats right out of his hand!

Here we could feed the birds. We bought popsicle sticks dipped in what looked like honey and then bird seed. Andrew was so patient as he waited a good half an hour for one to jump onto his stick to feed.

Natalie didn't know what to think as a bird jumped on to her stick!

Here is Andrew mining for precious gems. We bought a bag of dirt that you put into this sifter. You dipped the sifter into the trough of water, then shook it to get rid of the dirt, leaving behind some colorful rocks. Andrew loved everything about it, and couldn't resist getting his hands in that water!

Our first trip on a ferris wheel, hot air balloon style.

The safari also had a mini water area. We were clearly the only tourists there, as the park was deserted. Here is Natalie showcasing her new bathing suit with her hula skirt hiked up to cover her belly! Natalie wouldn't dare run through the shooting water maze like Andrew did!

This is one of those water guns that you can aim and shoot around. Pete aimed it at Andrew and claimed that "Andrew told him to" shoot the water right into his face...and Pete managed the camera to get photographic proof.

Aside from the safari, the kids had the best time just being outdoors. They played on Wesley's swingset and in his sand and water table for hours. We also got to enjoy the playground and walking paths in their neighborhood.

More tree climbing!

And fun in their pool too! The kids loved it when I let them "water" me!

Natalie with her bud from the trip, Wesley's dog Ani.

Our trip was so much fun and we can't wait to do it again next year!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Florida Trip -- Part I

By Tiffany George

It's hard to believe we've been back from Florida for a month already! We took the kids on their first airplane ride to Florida back in March. We went to visit our friends the Alphonsos, whose son Wesley was Andrew's best bud in Rochester before they moved south last October. We had the best, most relaxing time and really had a chance to enjoy our kids and each other.

First of all, no, we did not go to Disney. The primary reason is that Andrew is terrified of dress-up characters, so a day at Disney would be torture for him. I also don't know if I'll ever shell out nearly $100 a day per person for a park....but don't mark my words! This vacation was more about enjoying the sunshine, playing with Wesley, and taking day trips to enjoy nature, which is what our kids are thrilled to do! Wesley had really trimmed down since we saw him last! He was great while we were there and shared his toys, home, doggy, and Mommy with us all!

Our flight departed at 6 in the morning, so we woke the kids bright and early to head to Manchester. They were so excited to go on the plane! Just as we stepped aboard, Andrew was invited up in the cockpit to sit in the copilot seat and check out the controls. He did take a look around, but didn't quite make it into the chair. He has talked about this ever since we got home!

We had a layover on the way down and the kids were great. We really couldn't have expected any more from them on the flights.

Here are some photo highlights of our trip:
Andrew at the beach on day 1, thoroughly enjoying being able to play in the sand!

Natalie being cute too!

Family photo on the same day!

Andrew, Wesley, and Natalie in their undies playing in the shooting water area. Even though it was FREEZING Andrew could not resist the fun! We went here on two days.

This photo captures Andrew's "real" smile. Pure JOY!

This beach and very fun tree to climb were right beside the water area. My adventurous kids climbed right up! Please notice my arm in the back there! I would not allow Natalie up that high without a prop :o)

One night we went to this restaurant for Family Fun Night. Kids ate free and they even had face painting!

Notice Andrew's teary eyes as he waits to have a bumble bee painted on his arm. In addition to the other events, they also had a dress up Barney. Andrew was on pins and needles all through dinner and had just encountered Barney first hand before this photo was snapped. So terrifying!

Wesley had a huge bin of dress-up clothes that the kids loved to paw through. Here is Natalie, the princess witch!

Here are my cuties just being themselves! They love to hold hands and we love it too! Here they are walking down the nature trail at the Florida Oceanographic Center, Andrew's favorite stop on our trip.

Notice Wesley giving Andrew a back-hug as the kids posed for this photo in front of the large game fish tank. We saw them feed huge rays and even a shark!

Andrew at the touch tank, admiring a shell.

Natalie at the touch tank, gently rubbing her shell.

The "plate" of food that Andrew got to feed to the sting rays. Fish, squid, and shrimp were on the menu. And even though Andrew was hesitant to pet the rays, he plunged his hand right down to the bottom of the tank to feed them. We couldn't believe it!

Here is Andrew in his sting ray feeding debut!

Andrew immediately after the sting ray sucked the food from his hand like a vacuum. That face is priceless! He couldn't believe he did it either!

Andrew and I witnessed this huge hermet crab move from one shell to another. Quite the lesson in Biology!

Florida is fun!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Biker chick

By K.J. Cardinal

A few weeks ago, Anna channeled her inner biker chick and took her new bike for its inaugural ride. She definitely needs some more seat time to figure her new ride out, but I'd bet by the end of the summer she'll be a pro.


Thanks Aunt Tiff, Uncle Pete, Andrew and Natalie for the early birthday present for Anna!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The cutest cook

By K.J. Cardinal

Anna donned her apron from Aunt Tiff for the first time this weekend and proved to be the cutest cook we've ever seen. She proceeded to wear it all day until we somehow managed to get her to take it off. Thanks Aunt Tiff!