Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking NYC by storm!

Grandmommy picked up Jessica on Friday night for their big London Adventure!

Justin and I decided to have our own mini-adventure while they were gone. We headed out to NYC on Sunday morning. We decided to take the train down- which was very easy and enjoyable. Then we had to take the Subway to our hotel- here is Justin just outside the yellow zone of danger- but he really liked to keep a toe or two inside the yellow zone of danger.

Here is our little hotel room. We got a great deal on Hotwire.com, it was small but in a great location.
See? There is Radio City Music Hall and way down there you can see the theater for Wicked.
Our first stop was Nintendo World. Our hotel was only 2 blocks away from this fabulous place and Justin has been asking to go back since he was first there almost 2 years ago. He REALLY wanted a Luigi hat to go with his Mario hat but sadly they are no longer selling that item. We played some Donkey Kong Country Returns and a little of the new Kirby game.
And he bought a Mario too..
Then we headed to Times Square- after our lunch of pasta a Sbarro- just like Michael Scott. We went to M&M world and Justin really like that. Maybe because I got suckered into paying WAY too much for some M&Ms.

Next stop Toys R Us. We did ride the Ferris Wheel that is inside the store and got this cute pic- taken by the young girl who was riding with us.
Our hotel offered free bottles of water- which we thought was cool. You grab an empty bottle and then you fill it yourself- and refill it yourself.

We went to dinner at Pasta Lovers! I restaurant made for Justin.

Monday morning we headed out to go to the Museum of Natural History- but window washers were quite facinating.
We took the subway again. Justin loves spinning around the pole in the middle- well until he noticed that the gentleman next to me was playing some game on his phone....

We got to the museum at 9:40 but it didn't open until 10 so we went across the street to Central Park to play around. And this is where Justin's cooperation and interest in posed pictures began. woo hoo!

Then we went into the museum. This was Justin's idea- he wanted it to look like he was holding up the exhibit.

Then we went to go see Dum Dum from the Night at the Museum movie. We did not bring him gum gum.

After we left the museum we headed into the Park. It was a such a beautiful day and the park is just gorgeous and so many people were out. Justin had to go to the bathroom so we were consulting the map to find a restroom, when one of those bike guys came up and offered us a ride. Justin jumped in and then the guy announced that it would only cost $7. Justin was shocked that we would have to pay someone. We agreed and I jumped in too- it was a quick ride but a nice way to see the park.

We continued our walk across the park towards the Central Park Zoo. We stopped for a Spongebob frozen treat from an ice cream cart. We came upon the statue of Balto. Justin knows that Jessica loves the story of Balto- so he wanted to have his picture taken here as well.
[notice how weird Justin's pants look? it seems he put them on backwards that day.]
We got to the Zoo and decided to go to the Children's Zoo first- which was a bit of a playground and a bit of a petting zoo. Justin wanted his picture taken EVERYWHERE- this is only a small sampling of the pictures I took. I think this might be one of my favorites.

Finally we left the Children's Zoo and headed to the real zoo. Justin took this picture of me!

Justin took this picture of one of the see lions.

Justin in the Penguin Exhibit.
I just love this image- the zoo and park right in the middle of this incredible city.

On our way back to the hotel we came across this bizarre sculpture. While officially unnamed it had the name (teddy bear/ lamp) next to the title- yeah. But someone wanted to pose!

Here we are at Penn Station waiting for them to announce from what track our train would be departing.
We had a good time. But there are a lot of Don'ts in the city. Don't run ahead. Don't touch everything in sight (like running your hand along every building, car, pole etc). Don't talk to everyone and share your inappropriate opinions (you know like telling strangers they shouldn't smoke). He really liked hanging in the hotel and watching Dora at night. I would say M&M world and the Zoo were his two favorite things we did.

But he is back in school for 3 days this week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jessica is home sick...

... and Buddy is thrilled!

The Invertebrate Fashion Show

Ok, I lied- oops forgot about these pictures. Jessica's science teacher- whom she ADORES- had the kids each create a costume for the invertebrate lesson. They were only allowed to spend $5 on their costume, and mostly try to use stuff from around the house. Once they were complete they invited the parents to come see their Invertebrate Fashion Show. Jessica chose the Portuguese Man O War Jellyfish- click here to see what one looks like.

Most of the Jellyfish chose to use an umbrella (wow that would have been SO MUCH easier). When I asked Jessica why we didn't go the umbrella route she said, "everybody does that!" Later when the whole fourth grade did a the fashion show for the fifth grade Jessica came home and said she was so glad she did not do the umbrella idea. Kudos to Jessica for not taking the easy way out and for taking pride in her project.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jessica's 10th Birthday

As many of you know Jessica is a HUGE Harry Potter fan. This year for her birthday we decided to do a Harry Potter theme party. When we sent out the invitations we included some questions from the Sorting Hat so that we could figure out in which houses each of the girls belonged. Jessica had a lot of ideas for the party so we took some of her ideas and I included some of my own so that she would be surprised.

We collected some sticks and then spray painted them with paint and added glitter so every girl got to choose her own wand. Here they all are- just waiting to be chosen.

Our Sorting Hat waiting patiently for students to sort into the houses.

Our great feast was set.
Each place had a cake waiting to be decorated.
We made pretzel wands!
We made our own carmel corn.
And then we had to wait for our friends to arrive.... that was SO HARD!
Upon arrival each girl had to sit on the stool and put on the sorting hat. Justin was still here at that point so every time each girl put on the hat he would say, "hmmm VERY interesting". A few of the girls were borderline between two houses so the hat let them decide which house they wanted. We ended up with 2 Ravenclaw- Jessica and Katelyn, 2 Hufflepuff- Neve and Cailin and 2 Gryffindor- Addie and Gabby. They were dived up into 2 teams. Each girl was a given a sticker to wear with her house crest. After being sorted each girl had to choose her wand.

Once they all arrived it was time to follow our schedule. Our first class was Defense Against the Dark Arts. Since the weather was fairly nice and since Jessica never gets to do this for her birthdays, we used the water balloon launcher to attack Dark Wizards. They earned gold galleons depending on how well they shot the water balloons. They also received gold galleons for all the balloon remnants they collected and returned to me.
[of course Jen joked that it doesn't matter what we call it we will always find a way to work in the water balloon launcher- so true.]

After Defense Against the Dark Arts the girls unfortunately received a detention from Mr Filch and they had to go into the forbidden forest with Hagrid. Here they all are before they reported to Hagrid.

Hagrid has a weakness for Dragons eggs and as luck would have it there were a ton of Dragons eggs hidden in the forest for them to collect. Each team was allowed to keep the treasure inside the eggs (Harry Potter themed silly bandz and more gold galleons) but Hagrid wanted the eggs!

After all the eggs were collected we headed inside for Divination. I told the girls that like Professor Trelawney I could tell their future by the beverage they drink. But I don't read tea leaves. Each girl chose a cup. I poured Sprite into each cup. If the drink changed to Yellow- then happiness was in their future. If the drink turned Green- money was coming their way. If the drink turned Blue- they would be successful at school. BUT if the drink turned Red- LOVE was on its way- and this one got the most screams of horror!!

After the futures were secure they needed to guess how many Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans I had in a glass. (then later they dared each other to eat the gross ones like ketchup and onion).
After Divination we had Muggle Studies. For this class we played one of my favorite party games when I was a young Muggle. It involves a BIG Hershey bar, hat, mittens, scarf, dice and a plastic fork and knife. The amusing things is that muggles these days all want their own plastic fork and do not want to share a plastic fork with others- have to say it did not occur to us at all in "my day". The girls had never played it before and they LOVED it! Much screaming and hysteria.

Then it was time for Care of Magical Creatures. This was our most complicated game. One girl from each team searched the TV room for hidden magical creatures- snakes and spiders. They passed off their loot to another member that traded them in for gold galleons. They took their galleons to Gringotts and the head goblin (Marc) and he exchanged their galleons for envelopes which contained the pieces of the puzzle they would need to solve. The winner of this game would win the House Cup!

The winning team placing the final letters in the puzzle- "Dragons are not pets".

The losing team without one letter placed....
After Care of Magical Creatures we headed to Potions where we made Butterbeer. Cream Soda which Butterscotch sauce stirred in, and whipped cream on top.

After Potions we headed to The great feast and celebration! Jessica opened her presents. Then I had to give the girls the bad news that Hermione Granger had been working for House Elves rights again and now they were on strike and the girls had to all decorate their own birthday cakes for the feast. They squealed with delight and ran to the table.
Calin and her smiley face cake.
Then she added pimples...

Addie casting a spell upon her cake.
Not sure what happened here....

All in all it was SUPER fun and everyone had a great time- especially Jessica. It is often said that Mom's seem to be competitive about B-day parties always trying to one up each other. I haven't really found that to be the case- most people just go to the standard locations. Dee and I were joking that the only Mom I seem to be competing with is myself! I know that Jessica really liked Justin's survivor party last year so I was trying to give her something similar. In the end Jessica had a great time and LOVED it.

And with that folks I am all caught up- didn't think I could do it did you???