It is January and you can still find some warmer days perfect for a fall park day or stroll. So if you have been wondering what Robious Landing Park in Midlothian looks like and why it has not made it on our playground list. Here it is:
It is actually two little playgrounds in one
The closer to the road one is for older kids
With a one slide/walk contraption
Which includes wall, spiral climb and slide
This side also includes two older kid swings
The younger kids side has few structures, first one is a simple slide
The second and third can be described as sailboat and another ship
geared towards 2-5 year old crowd
The swings on this side have bucket seats
Even though the playground is small and does not offer too many structures it is great for kids imagination. The paths around Robious Landing Park are fun and include not only scenic views of the river but little streams and bridges. If you happen to go to this park in the spring you may see James River High School Crew Team practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school or on Saturday Mornings. On April 14, 2012 the High School will host James River Regatta inviting area high school teams to compete, starting 8:30 am.
If your New Year’s Resolution consisted of spending more quality time with your kids (hey, you never know?) or if you are just thinking of something interesting to do on a chilly day Bevell’s Train Display is a place to be. Believe ME !!!
When you enter the store first you see this Amazing Carnivale/Circus.
It is not a plain circus, the merry go arounds spin, the tight rope walkers move
The horses race in circles. You could spend hours playing I spy with this train alone.
But of course this is just the begining. There is a movie theater with a REAL movie playing (in our case Toy Story)
There is a baseball field where the players move and the game is hopping, please note of of the sponsors (Bevell’s Hardware itself)
There are roller coasters
and Disney Character Train, perfect for excited girls
Winter Lanscapes…. I spy a guy cutting ice
There are Indians
Tracks and Roundabouts
There are people in the summer swimming and fishing
and two guys being chased by aligators (the one in the water is actually swimming away)
There are even few people putting up a house wall
For over 30 years Bevell’s Hardware has been putting up their Holiday Train each year adding something new, not forgetting about the Fort Pickett’s Navy Seals
and local farms
When we visited there was even a whole block on fire, with smoke and later water to put it out.
There is however much much more
Even the controllers have trains on them, and there are trains diplayed on the walls.
The train is Free to view open to public starting Thanksgiving till this Sunday, Jan 8th. So if you still have not done so take the hour ride to Blackstone and Enjoy the show.
If you are not convinced look at what Bevells Hardware has to say about their display HERE.
When my friend Pam asked me to write a post about Polish Christmas Traditions I really did not know where to start. There are so many of them, many more then I can remember since Christmas is a Polish national holiday celebrated since it became Catholic in 966. There are family traditions, regional traditions and polish traditions that have been around for over a thousand years. The only way I could narrow it down was to make a top 5 list.
Here are my top 5 Polish Christmas Traditions.
Kulig (coo lee gh) or a sleigh ride party is a winter tradition celebrated during Carnival time from Christmas till Ash Wednesday . The tradition dates back the time when Polish Nobles would travel form manor to manor celebrating. Each host throwing a feast worthy of the best wedding. Imagine bar hopping Polish Aristocracy style, or if it helps you imagine your old Russian Dames clad in fur traveling at night in a horse drawn carriage and feasting from house to house and spreading Holiday wishes. In modern times Kulig could refer to a party pulled by a tractor or car but always with lots of signing, merriment, bonfire and good spirits to keep you warm.
4. SWIETY MIKOLAJ (St. Nick)
Though as important as Santa Claus himself Saint Nick is not originally a Polish hero but Nicholas of Myrna, a 4th century Greek Bishop of Myrna who because of his numerous miracles and generous gift giving became the original Santa Claus. He had a reputation of secret gift giving by placing coins in shoes of strangers. The celebration of Saint Nicholas is on December 6 when children receive their present. For more about Swiety Mikolaj click here, and for Saint Nick traditions around the world click here.
American kids have Halloween and Polish kids have Christmas. This is the time when we dress up and walk from house to house asking for things. That is where the similarities end. We don’t dress up as scary or cute things but instead as Shepherds, Angels, Wiseman or anyone else you may find in the nativity scene. We don’t carry pumpkins but a Star of Bethlehem. Yes you may find Grim Reaper (Death) with a Scythe in our group but he is only there to remind you of how fragile life is. We walk from home to home wishing best wishes for New Year and singing Christmas Carols. Some wear more elaborate suits while others do not, but none will receive a coin (instead of candy) unless they sing.
During this time the Parish Priest will visit his Parishioners to wish them Happy New Year and to inquire about the household. It is the time to bring out and polish large crosses that they can be in plain view and be prepared to explain some of our “modern” ways. He is often accompanied with a altar boy with a bell and will bless your household before leaving. He will however give you a heads up about his visit just in case you need to plan a vacation or appointment during that time.
2. SZOPKA (JASELKA)
Szopka (Shop Ka) or a Nativity Scene comes in numerous shapes and sizes. It can be purchased as paper cardboard pop up and displayed under the Christmas tree or be very large. elaborate and even mechanical. The most ornate ones come from my home town of Krakow, which on the beginning of December hosts a Szopka Competition.
The Krakow’s Szopka are spectacular, very colorful and sparkly often depicting city’s landmarks and characters (HERE are the photos of this year’s competition held on Dec. 1) Even though the competition last only one day the Szopka are on display in the local art museum till the end of February.
These are not the only Nativity Scenes around, almost every church in the city makes their own detailed Szopka. They are huge, usually taking over one of the side chapels. They can be mechanical or if not the is often Christmas music played in the background. I remember as a child spending each Christmas season walking for church to church and comparing them with my friends.
Then there are Jaselka, a tradition that started by Saint Francis of Assisi and made popular by Franciscan Monks. They are theatrical stories about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and King Herold. Originally they were shown in churches only but since they included some ordinary life and language they have been moved to secular places like schools or clubs. In a picture above kindergarten kids from Piaseczno perform Jaselka to family, friends and community.
Wigilia and December 24th is the most important day of Christmas in Poland. In the morning when mother puts finishing touches on the meatless feast the children decorate the Christmas Tree. The tree traditionally was adorned with apples and reminded us of story of Adam and Eve and their fall of grace. Now the apples have been replaced by ornaments (Poland makes the best hand blown ornaments in the world) and topped with a star. Sorry no Angels the Star Represents the Star of Bethlehem. There are gifts under the Christmas tree but they are from an Angel and are opened after the feast.
The table is adored with white cloth, symbol of the cloth Jesus was wrapped in, and a piece of straw is placed underneath. When the plates are placed on the table the host always includes an extra setting and a chair for a wanderer or a lost family member.
So if you find yourself hungry or bored on Dec 24 knock on the door of a Polish friend and you will certainly find a seat waiting for you. You must however like the 12 dish meal (which is a post in itself) that consists of fish (mostly Carp and Trout), Sauerkraut, Dried Mushrooms and Fruit, Nuts and Poppy Seeds. The traditions are very old the food used was something that was easily obtained during winter time liked dried mushrooms which after soaking can make incredible Mushroom Soup, Sauerkraut and Mushroom Piergi and Uszka filling as well as sauce. Most families serve Barszcz (Beet Soup) with little mushroom stuffed dumplings called Uszka (little ears, Italians have orecchiette pasta). I have been told that what soup you serve depends on where your family comes from Mushroom means it came from the west (Germany) and Barszcz means from the east (Russia). My family always served both so I guess I’m a mix.
There are a lot of traditional Christmas food variations between the regions. In my family and with many families in Krakow it is a custom to serve Jewish Style Carp. It is a Carp that has been boiled with aromatics, served in its own aspic (a la gefilte fish but whole) and adored with almonds and raisins. It is an acquired taste but believe me after years of “just try it you will like it” you expect and wait for it all year long.
The word “Wigilia” comes from Latin word vigilia meaning an occasion for devotional watching, since the feasting traditionally begins once the first evening star appears in the sky. Christmas is often referred to as “Gwiazdka” or little star, and symbol of Star of Bethlehem that lead the Three Wise Men (Magi) to Jesus. This is the time when the candles and Christmas tree are lit for the first time, traditionally.
With the First Star the family says a prayer for souls of lost ones who are believed to participate in the feast. The family members then share Oplatek or a Christmas Wafer and offer each other best wishes for the upcoming year. Oplatek symbolizes unity and reminds us to share our last piece of bread with others. They are very thin and similar in composition to a Host during a traditional Catholic mass but lack sanctification by a priest or pope.
It is finally time to sit, eat and be merry. When the feast is over Poles traditionally sing more Koledy and prepare themselves for Pasterka (literal translation Shepherd’s Mass) or Midnight mass. However it is not just a mass it is filled with music, songs and decorations.
So there, Polish Christmas Traditions in a nutshell, yes nutshell, for more you will have to pack your bags and see for yourself and Merry Christmas.
Note: Since I am unable to use some of the Polish letters not available in the English language some names have been simplified to fit the English keyboard.
You have heard me on numerous times complain about how I just can’t buy things or serve dinner on paper plates. It is really hard for me, so hard that in some very exhausting situations I even wondered if there was a pill I could take. Even though I do not know how to cure my sickness I certainly know where it came from, just like anything else wrong with me. It is my parents fault. Below are images of my Mom’s Thanksgiving Party, yes it is not a restaurant but a house, to be exact my Mom’s flower shop.
Appetizers of cheeses, fresh fruit and nuts with fresh bread served on leaves
Large Leaf arrangement in the middle of the serving table, and artistically placed cloth.
Pumpkins pumpkins everywhere
All sides on its own exotic leaf
Amazing easy creations for people like my Mom, not I. Thank Goodness my daughter is exactly like her, an artist which means soon (give or take 10 years) I can count on her to do the arrangements.
How about the dessert and coffee table?
Here is a closer look at the Pumpkin Mousse, Caramel and See Salt Cake, Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Cake and Numerous Cookies, traditional Pecan and Pumpkin Pie in the background.
It was so beautiful
Of course I helped in my non artistic, I’m out of town excuse way by setting up the kids corner with some fall lacing cards and pumpkin you can nail with golf ts. I also brought a tent if the kids got too tired and needed a place to relax. It had the opposite effect and even though the kids loved it they used it for watching movies or shaking and creating an earthquake for others.
At the end we dressed the kids in matching Elf Pajamas so they can be ready for bed, even though they still had to get in their cars.
So maybe there was some creative process there but a far far shot from Mama Maryla I love so much.
I have been meaning to write about out County’s wonderful children programs for a while now. In the past year we have seen: Scenes from the Nutcracker, local animals and snakes, a magician, a juggler, numerous puppet shows and silly acting all for free. Yes free. There is really no better way then to spend a weekend then participating in one of these amazing boredom busting opportunities.
This past one involved wild animal petting zoo, which was the same petting zoo that we used for our birthday party few years back.
This time however they (Animals Unlimited) did not bring their almost domesticated animals but wild and strange ones.
Like this hedgehog that you could have looked at closely or touch with gloves provided.
There was a snake
A bunch of reptiles out of which the bearded dragon got the most petting
Kangaroo, Lemur and Everyone’s favorite Capuchin Monkey that spent the entire time eating a lolly pop. Fortunately for me and the kiddos those animals were out of a petting reach but could have been started at.
So open up your local library program guide or county program list I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at all it has to offer no matter where you live. Next for us a theater production of the Christmas Carol.
My kids have turned 4 years old this past weekend and it seems like their birthday celebration lasts for at least two weeks. Between the preschool party few days before, family celebration on their birthday and their birthday party a week later it keep going and going and going. Which has got me thinking about all the things that made them 3.
3s were all about flooding the bathroom
running to the edge of our property and standing right before the road knowing he can’t step on it
making angry hands and saying Co Co when agitated by his sister
playing football which consists of knocking down his mother
being the first one up, and crawling next to his mom every morning
liking his milk hot
pretending he is a race car and running in circles
running period, he would rather run everywhere
going to bed when tired and falling asleep within five seconds
using his favorite words like humongous and carnivore
singing “raindrops keep falling on my head” when it rains and believing that they chase away the rain
telling our 17 year old shih tzu to “shut it down godzilla shut it down”
upset that it is not just her birthday but her brothers also, spending all day trying to convince us otherwise
liking her milk warm, not too hot not too cold
spending hours snuggling with her mom
coloring like crazy
getting frustrated when coloring pass the line, ripping the page apart saying “it is not perfect”
liking girls that are blond haired and blue eyes just like her, automatic best friend
cooking with her mom and not letting mom cook without her, calling herself “a great cooker”
calling her grandma Baska (instead of babcia in Polish) which is short for Barbara, not her grandma’s name
dancing in circles when tired sometimes crashing into walls, refusing to go to sleep
using words like wormaid (mermaid) and macaroni pizza (pepperoni pizza)
I would be lying if I said I did not like Virginia. I do miss Chicago and everything that the big city has to offer, including my family, but the history and weather almost make up for it. For example last weekend, that is the week and a half ago since this past week and weekend I have been slammed with sick kiddos, we went to the Harvest Fest. I believe Harvest Fest is an annual event made extra special this year by the 400th anniversary of Henrico County, Va (more on that in a minute).
And continued with some friendly bother sister competition.
Then to cool off a bit we milked some “cows”
But what really set this Harvest Festival apart from any others was its rich history.
Henrico being the second successful English settlement in the New World in 1611 became of of the eight original shires (countries) made up of 10 current Virginia Counties and three cities. It was named after Henry Fredrick Prince of Wales and son of James I, King of England.
Therefore the fest was as much about fall fun as it was about learning what life in Virginia was like in the XVII Century. Or if you want to put it simply how to do make something out of nothing..
After making candles we learned the technique for blacksmithing and got a whiff of some burning metal
We learned about basketweaving
Wondering about how many baskets can a woman weave in one day
You would tie cut apple pieces on a sting and hang outside to dry so they can be available during winter months
We learned about Sorghum Pressing
Some learning it the hard way
I stayed away from bee keeping knowing well that bees and I do not get along
But stopped to admire the costumes
The fest was exactly what I love, fun, educational and just in case my kids find themselves in the middle of nowhere sometime in their lives well maybe at least they will know how to make a candle.
For more information about 400th anniversary of Henrico click here. Now it is time for me to read some more about Virginia history.
As if the Earthquake post was not enough now I am following with a hurricane. In a span of a week I experienced both and I have to say that I have a favorite. When forced with a choice of Earthquake over Hurricane I definitely choose the former. It lasts only few seconds, minutes at the most and even though it may leave you shaking for days and crack few walls it is nothing in comparison to hours, days and for some weeks (week plus) without power.
There is however nothing better then a kindness of strangers at the time of crises, opening their doors, fridges and laundry rooms to whoever needs help.
With few friends of mine without power for a week you could not imagine the amount of invitations that were given out to use anything they needed. It would be nice to be out of my place for a weekend, almost like a vacation, under any other circumstances.
We are however very practical, and living in a wooden subdivision decided to pack ship to a nearby hotel before anything fell on our head. Nothing did of course because we were not here but if we were I am certain it would not be pretty.
My neighbor to the left lost part of his fence as the tree fell down
5 houses down another neighbor lost 3 trees one blocking the road
So when some laughed at our sudden escape I told kids to back up their stuff and to choose 3 books to take with them, in case we get really bored in the hotel room
My son chose three from the list above and I was eagerly waiting for my daughters favorites.
She on the other hand omitted the list and climbed herself on the chair and picked these:
Better known as New Testament Psalms, Polish Phrasebook and a Podrecznik Madrosci Tego Swiata (loosely translated as The Book of Worldly Wisdom).
The girl can not read and these where her choices. I guess I know who to put in charge of packing in case of real emergency.
I was suppose to write about something silly, something everydayish but in fact my day has not really been everydayish at all. Like most of us East Coasters I have experienced my first Earthquake. I don’t think I ever lived anywhere that was remotely earthquakey. Europe in general is tectonically steady, so is Chicago (till this year) and so was Virginia.
According to the US Geological Survey Virginia has been experiencing small infrequent earthquakes since 1774. The largest earthquake occurred in 1875 with a magnitude of 4.8.
Today’s Earthquake #1 measuring 5.8 was felt from North Carolina to the Coast of Rhode Island and Upstate NY, even though it originated close to Mineral, VA. Where exactly is Mineral you ask?
Right smack in between of Charlottesville (home of University of Virginia ) and Richmond, VA thank you very much. Meaning a MERE 30 some miles from my house, I could have run that distance when I was in shape. Way way back when. When I did not fear about earthquakes but instead I would RUN.
Since an Earthquake is a Wave, not much different then the one you make on the lake on your jet ski. The epicenter is the source of the wave and the quakes further is what causes more issues (even if they are just a few overturned lawn chairs). So in reality what you felt it Raleigh or DC was much greater then what we felt in Richmond.
The scale is called the Moment Magnitude scale meaning the amount of energy released. The quakes larger then 5 are reported for the entire globe while smaller ones can be reported on a local magnitude scale called Richter Scale.
The first earthquake in Virginia recorded was 5.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale not a Richter Scale. The two scales are very similar with one using the power/force of the quake and other measuring body waves magnitude (richter).
What is an Aftershock you wonder when you look a the Geological Survey are realize that you have been hit with 4 earthquakes today, 4 more then yesterday, 4 more then in the past 10, 20, 30 years of your life.
An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that happens in the same area, forming a cover (or a crust) over a fault line (wall of two opposing lines or a crack). So just like a crack in your wall the first is a shock of cracking while the aftershock is the shock of having it covered.
As of today (according to the US Geological Survey) we have experienced Shock (quake, rapture) of 5.8 and numerous quakes to patch the space. Does that make sense?
In reality It is all new to me and the only reason I am putting in on paper (wordpress) is so I can understand it and not worry about my dryer drying and the trees moving, since at this moment everything feels like a quake.
If you are in fact a geologist and I got anything wrong (my father Wojtek for example) please let me know.
Recently I was honored to receive the “One Lovely Blog” award from the beautiful blog Cook and Be Merry. I seriously am not sure what Lynn was thinking, she is the one with exceptional culinary talent, years of schooling in the field and amazing camera skills. The only thing I can think of is that she was tired or maybe just thankful for endless Uhhs and Ahhs that I keep leaving on her blog.
I have made her Chicken, Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta for dinner at least 4 times this past spring and it would have been more often except my family is really picky and can’t seem to eat the same dish over and over. Me I could eat it every day. Today I would have made this amazing salad but my shopping was cut short by very energetic preschooler dancing in the grocery isle.
There are some rules to abide by in order to accept this award and they are:
1. Post a link back to the person that gave you the award.
2. Share 7 random things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to 15 recently discovered blogs.
4. Drop them a note and tell them about it.
I hereby present the One Lovely Blog Award to these absolutely brilliant, astonishing, wonderful, terrific and beautiful blogs which I have found incredibly lovely, some newly discovered some my Loves that I visit daily (even when they had nothing new to post). From funny mommy stories to tasty foods from all over the world.
I do not watch TV. Have never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives (didn’t even know how to spell desperate and had to google it), The Real Housewives or anything to with housewives, Mad Man, humans and animals. I do however by proxy am forced to watch numerous cartoons with strange sounding names like Backyardigans, Word Word or Dinosaur Train.
I have lists. Long Lists. Lists that I can never finish. Pile way too high and not reachable in a day.
To the lists I add projects and things I want to accomplish this year some are small like read 12 books this year, some are larger like run a marathon. There is always some project or two that I am working on.
I speak a couple of languages and used to speak few more. Have even tried to take Chinese and Arabic but didn’t get really far. The extend of my Chinese could be learned on one episode of Ni Hao Kai Lan, should have watched more TV.
My friends thought I was crazy when I told them in college that I would have twins and that I was clairvoyant when I gave birth to them ten years later. In reality it was genetics since my mom is a twin my chances were much higher.
On my bucket list right now: Bike across US, now if I can only convince my husband to do it with me.
I have dark hair like my son and husband and I am still trying to figure out where this little preschool Blondie came from.
In case you have not noticed Summer is slowly winding down and even though there are no signs of fall yet we are all thinking about school. If you have not had a chance to take a vacation, planning a staycation or only a day away Little Island Park is a perfect. Located on the Atlantic Ocean south of Virginia Beach and adjacent to False Cape State Park, it is the southern most ocean point of Virginia.
It is about 2 hours drive from Richmond therefore far enough from the office but close enough for a day get away.
What else can make you forget your worries like sand beaches and waves.
Being swept away
Personally I know I do not take advantage of my ocean proximity. I was much better at getting away from the city when I lived in Chicago.
So I made a pact with myself that I will make sure to schedule appointment with nature more often.
It has an amazing rejuvenating effect
and for others spending a day at the Ocean Side means catching some fresh crab for dinner
We just stuck to sand
So even if you are no where near the ocean do not forget to take advantage of the State Park near you.
There is a fee of 5$ (3$ for VA beach residents) to enter Little Island Park but in return you get a life guard on duty, bathroom/changing facilities and if you want to play in the sun, amazing playground. Which I had lots of pictures of but they disappeared.
The only showers are outside so pack lots of towels and be prepared to bring some sand home.
If you are more into fishing and critter watching then swimming, skip Little Island and continue to False Cape State Park.
Another summer day means another playground and just in case you missed our park list here is a link. This park is for my Chester friends who may find it a hike to go all the way up to Richmond for a day of fun.
The best thing about this park is that is really shaded, just look at all these dark spots at 1 pm
Here is another view: Shade, Shade everywhere SHADE, which can make this afternoon a little bit more bareable
The park has two structures this one for younger kids
with two big slides
easy climbing wall
and binoculars that were really popular with this crowd
The other playground is geared for 5-12 year olds
with a funky teeter todder
Climbing wall and more slides
There is a bathroom very close to the playground. See the wall on the right? That is the entry bathroom wall from which you can see the entire playground just in case your kids kick you out of the bathroom for some privacy.
Mine have a tendency to do that, unfortunately.
I am not sure if you noticed but there is something lurking on the horizon, from the first playground.
In case you did not notice but are now wondering it is more playgrounds.
Goyne Park is adjacent to Ecoff Elementary so there are additional 4 structures you can explore
First one being called the Exercise Station by my kids since it reminds them of Huguenot Park trail.
Second with two slides and a lot of upper body workout, for those monkey bar fanatics.
Third was a balancing act
and our favorite.
It also had this interesting foot biking wheel, which I would not even know how to work unless you use your hands.
The last structure had more climbing and more slides.
In case that was not enough the park also offers more “parky” stuff like this Disc Golf Course, which after detailed reading it is best described as Frisbee Golf. There are numerous basketball courts on the school property. Soccer fields next to the Goyne Park Playground. Baseball fields and much much more.
Westover Hills Park is a part of United Methodist Church Preschool and even though I said that I would not show private parks on this site, I am not quite certain how private this park is. I am sure that you should not use it during preschool hours, but since it is summer and the school is closed, the park is open.
Personally I do not understand how all the churches do not open their playgrounds in the summer, since they are supposed to be giving, but with all the legal mambo jumbo I can see their shortcoming. Plus this post is supposed to be about playground not about not having more of them. Just wanted to say Thank You to United Methodist Church.
This playground is a little bit funky. It is fully fenced in and whatever it lacks with structures it makes up in toys. Tons of toys. It feels like anyone who ever needed to get rid of the toy while purging their house in the middle of the night just dumped them there.
Let’s face it for you and I this may look like a dump but for a little kid this is a junkyard paradise. Since I would never allow my backyard to look like this, I am happy someone else did, plus it is the perfect place for little ones not quite ready to climb and slide.
Where else will your child be able to set up his/her own biker gang or pick from numerous slides and houses all barely standing toddler appropriate?
There is a shaded sandbox with toys and few benches for moms to rest. There is also a larger table or two for snack sitting.
Two older kids swings and another house
Wooden Car to hide in is always a blast
As well as playing in vintage cars.
Pluses: Perfect for younger kids. Lots of toys provide lots of nooks and crannies to hide from the sun.
Negatives: No potty in site. Street Parking.
For directions to this playground click here. The playground is a little tough to find so be patient. If you are coming from Forest Hill Ave take left of Westover Hills Blvd, if you have gone to the bridge you have gone too far.
For list of all fun Richmond area playgrounds click here. and for other kids fun Richmond has to offer click here.
Cheswick Park may not be the pretties park on our list but it has something very pertinent to any business: Location, Location, Location. It is located right across the street from Henrico Doctors Hospital Forest Campus. We have all been in a crowded waiting room trying to entertain or calm down an energetic kid while mommy or daddy get a check up.
If you have not been there lucky you for now. Let’s face it we are not getting any younger here and little tune ups and check ups are becoming a necessity.
So now instead of meeting in a doctors office you can meet at the Park and exchange glaces while the other waits for the phone call.
Surely beats driving circles for an hour in a parking lot, which my husband did once during my dermatology appointment.
The park in itself is really nice too with two climbing structures each including at least one climbing wall. One above is for smaller kids, or ones not wanting to climb so high.
Then there is this one for ones that are fear free, which unfortunately includes my own.
There are four regular swings
and two baby swings, in case you need to swing your kiddo for an hour. I know at least one of mine would love it.
Lately however my kids (age 3) have become little hikers and love to take any path they see
Cheswick Park is good for that too. So if you want to run your kids or take a stroll with a newborn take a scenic path.
with and a little (not so clean at this time of the year) creek, full of wildlife.
It may (depending on the time of the day) include one eager nose picker.
There is also a shaded lunch area and restrooms so you can escape the heat. Keep in mind this is where a group of squirrels hangs out so there will be plenty of nature watching.
For Directions to Cheswick Park click here, and if you are still searching for a perfect Richmond Playground click here for our list.
It is officially August and the summer is winding down, meaning if you are like me you have already exhausted all the to do kids activities in the area. If you are like me you are tired of the same old playgrounds and pools and need somethin’ new. So this past week I looked into my computer and found photos of playgrounds I have not posted yet.
I know some of you may call me lazy, some may call me disorganized, some may call me a mother of twins and a teenager (she just turned 13 few days ago, so help me God). So I am pulling up my sleeves, tying my kids to the couch and giving you a new area playground each day of this week so they can too be included on the list.
First on the list this week Merry Munford Community Playground, which I just found out about last week. I have no idea how this amazing playground came under my radar, but it did. Which makes me wonder, what else is out there?
The playground is set up of two areas, the first one being an old wooden fort.
Perfect place to take your princess or knight for some outdoor fun
Repunzel, Repunzel Let down your hair !
Our let yourself down the slide
There are lots of nooks and crannies
and a perfect place to play hide and seek
or a Nutcracker theme obstacle course
This hideout is mine, sorry first dibs.
All I need now is a good book, cooler weather and I will be officially moving into Mary Munford.
The other side of the playground is a lot more modern.
Climbing walls, funkier slides, balancing beams
Even the swings are more comfy and fun compared to the ones on the wooden side
This part is also handicap accessible
So there is no reason why anyone should stay home.
Unless it is too hot and you are afraid about frying your tushie on the slide
It is August in Virginia after all
The playground is fully fenced in which makes it even easier to kick back and relax. Unless of course you love obstacle courses, knights and princesses.
For directions to Merry Funford click here. You will pass by one little playground, not really a playground right before seeing the fort. Do not be discouraged that’s not it, the real playground does look like the pictures above and is not a figment of my imagination.
I love summer and all the fun outside activities for everyone. I especially love all the fairs. Where else can a city kid, we are talking about me now, can experience a semi country life? Where else can you eat fried overpriced foods and blame it on that fact that it all happens at the fair? So when I heard about Caroline County Agricultural Fair I just had to go.
Of course I dragged the kids with me so I would have an excuse.
When we walked it we were automatically taken by these blown up floats walking on water.
Since my hubby and I were probably too heavy for support we decided to send our son. The daughter stayed safely behind and did not want to come anywhere close to the water.
The one thing that we forgot is that my son is extremely sensitive to sound so the blow up process was tough on him.
So tough in fact that he only walked the plank and then decided to walk back, never touching the water. So much for a bubble.
So we just gave up on any other crazy ideas we may have and concentrated on the animals.
Of course that made us all dream about having a farm.
A farm where someone else would do the hard work.
Like feeding and cleaning up.
We could just sit and stare, or cuddle.
So if you know of a farm like that please let me know and I would gladly buy it.
The great thing about smaller Country Fair in comparison to the State Fair is that it is far less crowded.
The rides are just as much fun but less waiting.
In case of the Caroling Country there was no waiting at all and most of the rides were geared to a younger preschool crowd.
Which was perfect for us.
The neighborhood business is better represented also so you may be able to find a local restaurant or an ice cream shop selling food over trucks that have traveled from state to state.
There are of course some trucks or tractors that do travel everywhere for display and since my kids are on a Cars Movie kick there was nothing better then seeing an old truck.
So next time, even if you are iffy about fairs, opt for neighborhood or country one and I can assure you both you and the kids will enjoy it.
We have a seven year old cat named kitty at our house. She stays at home is totally fixed proper lady but there is always neighborhood free cat that finds his ways close to our house. So when we say a black cat lingering around we figured it was one of kitty’s boyfriends trying to make a way into her heart by serenading in the middle of the night and spraying our house. That’s what cats do.
So you can imagine my surprise when I received a phone call on my road trip to Chicago and was told that the male was actually a female and she gave birth to a litter in a crawl space under our house.
I have no idea how she got into the crawl space but once she was there we knew we could not lock her in.
So weeks passed and kittens were properly fed by us and our cat loving neighbor Dee but we never really saw them. A little peek of shiny eyes through the opening. A little look though the glass to see them play outside.
So today I parked myself under a bush with a camera and pretended to be one of those National Geographic photographers.
I was not in the jungle but in my front yard.
I did not have state of the art photography equipment or knowledge, but after few tries I found the right lens and setting.
I was not worried at all about being eaten by these adorable kittens
Even though I was still covered in mosquitoes after many deet applications I did not have to worry about malaria.
Oh and most importantly I had snack which was a great idea because this gray kitten above loves fries, well at least the smell of them.
He followed the smell away from the others and I wanted to throw him a piece but he ran away before I had a chance.
I call him Tigger because on numerous occasions when I saw him playing with his siblings he would jump up and down with excitement. Almost like a little fluffy ping pong ball.
There is also this other sibling that blended into surroundings a little bit more.
I just love his/her markings such an interesting combination.
The third one was the hardest to photographed since it is so black my camera did not even want to focus on him/her.
Beautiful black cat just like his mama. Who must have come from somewhere. Anyone missing a pregnant black fluffy cat?
This week the plan is to trap them and take them to the vet to get vaccines and fix ups. Then it will be time to find a proper home. As much as I like them living under my house it would be nice to close that trap door. So if you are around Richmond Virginia and interested in a a little kitten let me know.
I am really behind in my posts since my kiddos are taking a lot of time and energy this summer. Now that they are 3 they want to be entertained, played with or fed which means that I can’t seem to do anything anymore. If I ignore them then they beat up on each other which is really never a good idea. So all I have left to do is to make sure we explore as much as possible.
Exploring makes them focused, entertained and educated and it keeps me with constant ideas about my posts, only if I had time to write them. At the end of the day I am not really sure who is more exhausted me or them.
About three weeks ago we took a road trip to Chicago and upon arrival dug into all the things the city has to offer. First stop was the Field Museum.
That quickly became our favorite partially because of Sue, largest and most extensive T-Rex specimen ever found.
Since we LOVE Dinosaurs, Sue really made us excited and to touch a replica of one of her teeth (the size of my son’s arm) was even more amazing.
Then we decide to venture into one of the side rooms and take a trip through evolution time.
Which started with simple organisms and continued on through more dinosaurs and fish.
My favorite being the Maiasaura
This Maya-saura trying to make noises
The Maya-saura that made me (together with her brother) watch a movie about biodiversity at least 5 times. I had to pull them away from it. Yes the cartoon explaining different features and how they develop was cute but also full of huge scientific words that I was afraid my 3 year olds would now use on daily basis. So after at least 20 minutes I cut them off, and took them to the Ice Age.
Filled with Mammoths and other creatures you find in the movie, even though they have never seen it.
Then we saw horses, which they have seen and ridden before.
and humans that did look different and interesting to touch
and compare, when we realized that it was time to visit real humans
and traveled to Senegal.
Where we had lunch with the locals
and enjoyed the local architecture.
To travel to our next location we passed by taxidermy zoo, which for me is extra cool but for others can be a wee bit creepy
I loved that you can experience anything from African savannah
To your local fox population.
There was so much more there, like Tibet
Where you can stare at local costumes and daily wear. All those tee pots got us motivated to single a little jingle about being short and stout.
Then we looked at our DNA Lab and since we are young and our Mommy can’t even imagine how to explain DNA to a 3 year old we headed to Children’s Play Area.
Located below and slightly secluded, meaning it will be hard for your child to leave without you (big thing with twins), it was a perfect place to play.
So we help some Pteranodons hatch
and dig for some bones
played with some instruments
picked some corn, and headed home. Mommy was pooped.
The Field Museum is located right next to Soldier Field and offers other Special Exhibits that we did not see. We were lucky since we came during the Free Days meaning the general admission was free, not including any special exhibits.
Also you will have to pay for parking which is 18$ unless you decide to take the public transportation.
When is it too early to teach kids about History? To teach them that 4th of July is not just a date and Holiday but a time to Celebrate our Independence not just from the British but from everyone else who throughout these past four centuries have tried to take it away.
That the day is not just about celebrating with parades
but respecting the flag
and the people that fight everyday to protect it
That is it not about sweets and candy
But everything we owe them to have the freedoms that we have.
Maybe it is too early
Maybe they are too young
or maybe if they learn how to respect and love each other it will be easier to explain everything else.
I love road trips but until now I have never taken a road trip by myself with kids. I had an amazing side kick last year during our impromptu trip to Canada who could answer all the pressing questions that a 2 year old could have like:
Mommy I want my monkey (which have fallen outside of reach)
I want to watch Dinosaur Train
Could you please write this letter for me on my Leap Pad (most annoying request)
I’m Hungry, I’m Thirsty etc
This year, a year later, they are more mature, more calm so I figured that I can do it. So I packed up the car and decided to drive to Chicago, a mere 15 hours away. I figured that to do it right I needed to allow for too many potty breaks and overnight stay in Cleveland or Pittsburgh.
I also found a really nice playground about 3 hours north of Richmond
in Winchester Virginia
It was right of highway 81, so no detours were needed and the kids can play and get rid of some stored up energy
Winchester is a perfect stop if you are heading North/West from Richmond, or South from NW and want to eliminate all the DC/Baltimore traffic.
This playground is amazing. It is really two playgrounds in one.
One for smaller kids
and another one for kids that are a little bit bigger
The older kids playground is only 40 yards from the smaller one
and includes not one but two climbing walls
There are plenty of places to sit down and have a picnic
or sit down when your kids run around
When we were there the place was full of butterflies and my daughter spent an entire hour chasing them instead of sliding down the slides
The park also has a creek where you can sit next to or fish out of.
There is also a put put course next to the playground. I am assuming that you can rent the clubs, or whatever put put equipment is called. We never tried. Instead just stayed and played for an hour and then continued on.
There are bathroom facilities in an enclosed building (with more sitting area) which where in par with any gas station. Not too clean but not awefull. In order to enter the playground turn into the first Jim Barnett Park entrance into Lowry Drive or for easier directions click here.
My kids have officially finished school and came home with an arsenal of preschool things. Photos, drawings you name it are now covering the floor in their tiny room and making me wonder what to do with it. I want to keep them all but just like most parents I do not have the physical space in my house to keep it all, year after year. I know this is their first year but I am forward thinking, yes I am. I can predict the future when it is impossible for me to enter their room without swimming through coloring pages and crafts.
S0 what is there for mom to do other then learning to swim?
For me it was easy. In this digital age I will take photos, write a story and then when my kids get married and leave the house give them a little thumb drive, by then it may even be a little chip, filled with all their work. So much less space, so much less clutter. Well if you do not count the one on my computer.
First I took a photo of tulips that the twins made in school. They were allowed to use any color from many choices and have not seen the others choice. Since the tulips were for me they both chose yellow.
I do not ever wear yellow, nor am I blond.
No yellow in my cupboard or on my plate can ever be found.
The only thing that’s yellow is my shiny personality
or maybe it is their love reflecting back on me.
The kiddos also made little people that were a part of their classroom duties. They were suppose to find them in a room and place on the board. All kids people looked like the one above.
All except for one.
One of these things is not like the other one of these things does not belong.
Yes, she may talk less then him, be harder to potty train or train in general but she is definitely artistic.
He likes to make a mess
she likes to cook and be creative.
But there is something there that makes them think the same. That makes them view me in the same colors and the same shades, no matter what their differences are. I certainly think that is strange, or should I say neat.
Few weeks ago we took the kids to their first Symphony. I was a little reserved even though the program was geared for kids 3 and older with a theme of Animal Carnival. First I was not sure if I could con my husband to go see a Symphony and with kids. He is not huge fan and on his scale symphony ranks on the same level as picking flowers or walking through the botanical garden. He did use this time to relax well and I learned that some can nap during the Flight of the Bumblebee.
Second I was not sure how I can control two three year olds if they in fact decide it is a bit too boring for them, and they do like picking flowers in the meadow, or at least stepping on them.
Just to make sure they knew what was going to happen we had a little refresher course at home.
We read Zin Zin Zin a Violin a cute introduction to orchestra instruments and what makes them similar or different. They were prepared.
Excited and thrilled
Holding their own tickets for the first time. It is all about me and I doing things myself.
The great thing about the kids series is that it included arts, crafts, introduction to ballet cast
and our favorite. musical petting zoo
Where you could touch and try all different instruments
and ones that were just about the right size
From strings to brasses (sanitized after each use)
and after all the hands on excitement we could sit back in our seats and see the orchestra unfold.
My daughter loved it, my son was getting a little antsy but really enjoyed the ballerinas (boys).
For more information about Richmond Symphony Lollipop Series click here or contact your local Symphony regarding family friendly series.
To say it has been a weird year is an understatement. This year for me has been especially trying. Not only did I loose a brother in law, deal with my father’s heart surgery but also stare at my daughters broken leg daily that is refusing to heal after over 3 months.
In reality though it is really nothing in comparison to my friend who lost a husband and a father the same year, or the turmoil of people of Japan, Haiti or Alabama.
So I will give you a more tangible excuses:
Remember when my computer took a bath in paint water. Well it is still recuperating even though I have gotten smarter and purchased this water proof keyboard. It is washable so it should do some wonders for now on. So it is detached from my computer and has to be plugged into the USB port, but that is what I get for being sloppy, or having kids. Until they make waterproof and throw proof computer I am cut of from any new technology.
About 2 weeks ago my super duper camera refused to work correctly. There was a little tab of black “paper” that was showing up on the corner of every photo. So my amazing husband decided to fix it by opening it up and removing it with pliers. Yes the “paper” was removed but now my camera is not working at all and shows an error. I guess after about 3 years of over 500 photos each and every day even a camera needs a break.
#3 Photo Storing Software
I could still post since there a lot of recipes hidden on this computer, if I could find them. If the program that I am using would not crash every time I would like to open a file, crop a picture or even look at one. I guess I could just erase it and load it up again, but knowing my luck lately it would probably erase all my photos associated with it too. I could ask my husband’s help since he was so helpful with #2… but then he was so helpful with #2 and #4.
When all fails there is a phone, that now a days does everything. It takes photos, videos, tweets, facebooks and even writes blogs for you by listening to your voice and reading your mind. Well maybe not the last one but it only a question of time when you find an app for that too. But when you do not have a iphone, well you don’t have it.
#5 The Dog Ate My Homework
Even though is tough to write a blog without computer, camera or phone I do realize that these are bad excuses. I should have written, even about the bad stuff, found the silver lining in it and laugh. But instead I took a break, had fun with my kids and sang.
I hate when my kids sit at home, they fight or watch TV, which I despise almost equally. Not that TV is bad, without it I would certainly be submitted to looneyville. Plus, according to my husband, my kids would certainly not know how to read simple words without educational programs on PBS.
There is another added bonus the less time I spend at home, the less is there to clean up after later. So if I had it my way we would never be at home, well maybe for dinner, bath and sleep, or occasional snuggle on a rainy day.
I try to dig up things to do in our town with time always finding most unusual and interesting shtuff. So this past Saturday we had a blast going to an amazing puppet show performed by Barefoot Puppets, sponsored by county library system.
After we drove 30 minutes across town (I know it is not LA), to see sheep shearing at Meadow Farm Museum, an 1860 living history farmsite and museum about rural South.
Personally I was not sure what to expect. I have never seen a Sheep being Sheared, not really sure what it meant, but it sounded cool. I got even more excited when we arrived and we saw a guy holding a sheep with some really sharp objects in his hand.
We all piled into a shed and the the sheep proceeded to get her haircut, not that much different then the one I give my dog when I forget to make a grooming appointment and get tired of looking at him with long hair.
The sheep just like my dog actually likes this experience and lays there just as it would getting a massage, unless it is nicked (but that happened only once)
Apparently (to most, I didn’t know so I asked, making me look super stupid) sheep are sheered only once a year, in a spring, allowing all summer and winter for the hair to grow back. Did you know that? Sure you did, how often do you get your haircut?
Once one side was done the sheep was flipped on another.
By then (actually much earlier) my kids lost their interested and became much more interested in the loose sheep in the pen with us. My son particularly tried to have intellectual conversations with her, even trying to feed her some hay, to which she only answered Baa. Loud Baa, like an alarm clock, which woke up everyone and got kids even more excited.
My daughter enjoyed the proximity also.
When the sheep was almost done we had enough and decided to walk around the grounds where we found the most amazing sight.
Baby Lambs, just enough to start thinking about Easter.
For those of you in Richmond Meadow Farm has three more dates available for Sheep Shearing and the participation is free. On April 16 they Farm will show you the process of turning the wool into shawl. Spinning, weaving and natural dyes are all part of this process.
For those all over the country looking for fun free things to do with your kids check out your local libraries, bookstores, county/city websites, community associations. I bet you will find a lot more then you ever knew existed.
This week has been rough on technology in this house. Of course it was rough on my technology not my husband’s. I am very bad with things, things in general. I break them easily and should not be trusted with most things breakable. Kids are fine, computers, phones not so much. But it gets even worst when you add to it my lovely toddler twins who are always in close proximity to my things.
So it started with my son using my Iphone, which he does a lot. Unfortunately he decided to take it to the bathroom with him instead of the newspaper. I know he can’t read yet but how else can I tell you gently that he was going number two. Of course he has to be potty trained and has to go on the big potty, diaper no longer cuts it. So in between balancing his little tushie on the seat he tried to balance the iphone on his knee, and he did not do a good job since few minutes later he ran to get daddy saying “mommy’s iphone fell”. Of course daddy when noticing what it fell in decided that it was not his job to fish it out (which may have saved its life).
So after getting it out, cleaning it, taking it apart we tried all three tricks:
Cleaning it with Rubbing Alcohol
Putting it in Rice
Drying it with Hairdryer
No luck, nothing worked… or to quote Trumph “for me to poop on”
So I have been without a phone for a week and you really do not know how much you rely on it for everything until it is missing. I can definitely tell you that I do not appreciate these commercials that say “if you don’t have an iphone, you don’t have an iphone.” As if I needed a constant reminder.
But that’s not all. On Wednesday my computer got a virus. I really do not know how. I am so extra careful, never open unknown emails, attachments, only go on reliable sites. This is the second time this computer got a virus first time from Stumble Upon and I thought I have learned my lesson. Not so much I guess. It took a day to fix but not without all my pictures being scattered all over the computer no longer neatly organized by name, date, time. To help it even better my photo software refuses to cooperate. I did however get a chance to play hide and seek for a bit and scramble enough to get one recipe out... Before
Before my son (painting next to me) decided to pour his painting water all over my keyboard. Wait not my keyboard. My keyboard has already been replaced once when my daughter spilled my coffee on it and deemed unusable after she picked most of the keys and I added some gin (with lime) to the coffee. So this time the water was spilled on extra keyboard that is now permanently attached to my laptop, or should I say a desktop now.
The keyboard was toast. I could not write posts, respond to my friends emails unless I wanted to pull an on screen keyboard and pick every letter one by one with my mouse. I can only imagine how long it would take to write something. My husband refused to let me near his computer, I can’t imagine why?
However he did take the keyboard apart, this time the rubbing alcohol worked (I guess this keyboard decided that if they other one had a drink why shouldn’t he) and I am now functional. Not before I went on ebay and bought a silicone one. The one that is not only bendable but almost machine washable. I wonder how long it will take me to destroy that one.
The other day I was trying to have a conversation with my sister in Poland via Viber, an iphone application that lets you talk to other users for free all over the world via WiFi (Voice over Internet to be exact), when my authoritative daughter starting yelling.
“Don’t say that !!!… Stop it !!!… Please don’t say that !!!”
“NOOO.. You can’t say that !!!”
“Just Don’t say it.. NOOO !!!”
So I stopped my conversation and turned to look at her:
“What’s the problem honey? Your bother is sleeping and I am trying to have a conversation with your aunt. We will go home shortly but I have to sit in this parking lot for fear of loosing WiFi and the call (the only bad part of free calls)”
“But Mommy… He can’t say that.. He just can’t say that”
“What is he saying honey?” I say staring at her sleeping brother
“He says that !!! He just can’t he Can’t say it !!”
and then I realized what was really making her so upset.
I guess I could have explained to my daughter that most likely she will have to deal with a snoring male at some point in her life and it is better to get used to it early, and if she is lucky she will not snore till her 60s making her undesirable to the rest of the family.
But I didn’t instead I laughed and explained the noise to my sister, who burst out laughing herself.
Sometimes I wonder why I even teach my kids things? What is the point? Yes they are getting smarter and more independent but in reality it only makes my life harder. Just like teaching manners in not a great idea, I beg you from teaching kids how to read too early. I know it is tough with all the television programing geared to learning letters and sounds but it can be problematic.
Somehow, without any of my input I assure you, my kids have learned to read the word Stop. I know geniuses right? STOP, I thought you are going to say something more profound, STOP everyone can read stop. Anyway they have, and it is offically ruined my life.
Now every time I am in a car or on a walk and there is a stop sign anywhere I hear a little voice saying “S-T-O-P… STOP… Mommy STOP… You have to STOP Mommy”
It makes no difference if they sign is 40 yards away.
It makes no difference if the sign is pointing another direction.
It makes no difference if it is upside down the outcome is always the same…. MOMMY STOP
So I try to explain to them that the sign is too far, that it is for the people crossing on the other side of the road, that it is upside down, that it does not pertain to residents, but they don’t listen.
S- T- O- P…. You have to STOP Mommy.
I guess stop is not that bad, I have to pick my battles and I am pretty good with stops, but once they start understanding that speed limit and telling me to slow down, there is going to be some trouble. There is no outspoken three year old that can keep this Mario Andretti from keeping the pedal to the medal, unless they want to walk home.
There is something magical, beautiful and haunting at the same time about the old European cemeteries. The portraits of faces that passed staring into eternity. Maybe it is my morbid sense of beauty but I think you can learn a lot about a country based on their cemeteries.
Why do you hire famous architects to build your families last house?
or a famous sculptor to make you an angel?
or a sculpture dedicated to victims of communism?
There is no doubt that Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow is one of the most beautiful ones out there. Just in case you are an enthusiast like me. Oh just wait a minute there are definitely few resting places that can not be missed.
You certainly can not visit Paris without stopping at Père Lachaise the most celebrated cemetery in the world. Not only will you find out notable french scientist, musicians, statesman and painters but you may even find some British and American ones. Of course most American students visiting Pere Lachaise do it in order to find the Jim Morrison’s grave. I personally spend my time walking down beautiful hills singing Carmen (Bizet is buried there), reciting La Fontaine’s fables, snickering about Moliere’s plays, or humming Polonaise by Chopin.
Just like Pere Lachaise, Rakowicki cemetery was founded in 1803 and is a final resting place some notable Krakow’s scientists, statesman, artist and musicians like Jan Matejko, a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical and political events.
Now a days most notable Krakowiaks are often buried in the crypts of Churches and Abbeys.
But for foreigners not knowing much about Krakow’s art and history sometimes a stroll is enough to make you think about the people that resided in Krakow
and what made them built mausoleums that were more elaborate then most people’s houses
as you learn cities history though its ghosts
do not forget that the history is really everywhere
even if the people that frequented this cemetery the most are no longer here, their bodies residing somewhere else, their soul will still linger.
There is a Legend behind the building of St. Mary’s Church (Kosciol Mariacki) and since I am sick in bed what is there better to do then tell you about it as I take a swig of my codeine loaded cough syrup.
Once upon a time…. between XIII and XIV Century the citizens of Krakow decided to build a beautiful Cathedral under the name of St. Mary. The entrance to the church was going to be made of two towers. The commission of these columns was given two extraordinary builders that finished notable Italian Universities and were know for their beautiful work. These builders where also brothers.
When the main building was almost ready the brothers started their work. The older brother worked on the southern tower and the younger one on the northern one.
As the brothers started their work and the towers were rising the younger brother realized that he did not build a foundation strong enough to support a tower that was as high as his brothers.
He became envious of his brother until one day the older brother disappeared while the younger one still continued to work. He closed of the south tower and covered it with a small dome. When he finally finished his northern tower he topped it with a crown made of towers.
When the Cathedral was finished and the King came to visit, the younger brother opened one of the high windows in the North Tower and told the Krakow citizens that it was him that killed his brother but he could no longer live with the guilt, and upon showing the knife to the crowd, he jumped.
To this day you can find the knife hanging on the wall of the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) as a harsh reminder of what can be done by envy.
As a child I remember the knife missing most of the time since people would actually steal it thinking it was the original. In the XXI century however there is a nifty camera pointed to it just in case someone decides to take it, not that it would be an easy task to do since it is hanging really high.
It has been almost a week since I posted, since I have spent it in Krakow, Poland instead. I was thinking of being a good blogger and bringing my computer, but since it has to survive with me and little kids it is a really sorry case. It had few baths in coffee, replaced keyboard, missing keys on the new keyboard, and even more stuff spilled on. It does operate but not without a nifty keyboard that I attach to it. I could only imagine how classy that would be to even go through security with. Oh well maybe it is better since I could instead take in this beautiful city instead.
I started in the Main Square which holds Sukiennice or Cloth Hall named because it traditionally hosted merchants selling textiles. As early as 1257 merchants set up stands along the center of the square, replaced by a stone protective structure in the later part of the XIV century.
It burned down in 1555 and rebuilt to the design on Giovanni Maria Mosca just to be remodeled entirely in 1875.
Today the Hall sells traditional Polish trade and folklore, proudly displaying the shield of Polish cities above the booths.
I am sitting on a plane alone. No preschoolers that have been tied to my hip for over 3 years, no husband that has been at my side for over 7. It is quiet.
A child is crying kicking the back of my chair. I want to tell him to relax, take a breath, take it easy. Then I realize he is not mine. My kids are not here. I am all alone. No one knows me here. No one even knows that I have children and that my other name, Mom, is being called out thousand times a day. It is still.
I am on my way to Poland, to a funeral, where even the quiet, still sounds of a person are being missed. Where you do not enjoy being alone.
Tonight I kissed my husband a little bit longer. I hugged my kids a little bit stronger and I splurged on dinner. Because you never know when all you have is silence.
Since it has been getting nice and warm here in January I decided to go back to rating or reviewing Richmond area playgrounds that I may have missed in the past winter months. In case you are looking for a different park or for a list of Richmond area fun click here.
Harry Daniel Park is located just across the street form Chesterfield County Airport, or just down the street from Chesterfield County Court and other offices, in other words a perfect location. As you do your civil duty by trying to get out of sitting on jury duty your children can enjoy some fresh air just down the street. Attended of course.
The park is fenced and away form a busy street, even though it is right next to the parking lot which could get pretty busy. Hopefully no student drivers there.
It consists of one large structure that has numerous slides
My kids favorite climbing wall
Nooks and crannies
and what I assume is a sandbox
which is partially filled with sand and partially with leaves. Which makes me wonder if it will ever be cleaned and maybe even filled up before the spring.
There are always the swings and path to take a stroll in
Who knows you may find some wild animals, like a huge population of cats. Yes, Cats that all took up their residence at the park. Why I don’t know you will have to talk to them yourself.
Remember when your parents got their first VCR or Microwave but did not know how to use it? They were afraid to touch the buttons because they were not sure what they would do. As a child you stepped in when “someone broke the vcr” realizing that instead they pressed power or mute button.
Children often embrace technology a lot faster then adults and there is no denying that my kids love to play with my phone. Why wouldn’t they? With thousands of applications geared especially to children, sesame street podcasts, youtube, netflix and their own movies at their fingertips they do not even need to leave their crib. I do mean a real crib.
I have been saved so many times by placing it on the back of the driver seat and allowing my kids to watch movies on a long road trip. Even duck taping it to the wall of a cabin while camping so they could relax before taking a nap.
But there is a problem.
The problem is that I no longer have a phone “Where did you put my phone Mama?”
When I am lucky they will answer the phone when someone is trying to ring in by saying “Hi this is me, yes Mommy is in the kitchen I will get her for you,” but that is rare. Mostly I hear a ring for a second, and then silence. Was the ringing in my ear? Was someone trying to call in? Where is my phone?
Then a house phone rings and I hear my mom on the other side:
“I have been trying to call you all day, it rings for a second and then there is no dial tone”
“I’m sorry mom I am sure one of them is watching a movie or playing a game and they have already learned how to press the ignore button”
“That is what I figured and decided to call the house”…. Great !!!
This phone is so user friendly even a toddler can do it, one that does not even know how to write their name. Let’s just hope they know how to fix it if it breaks, without the temper tantrums.
You know those days when your house becomes a pharmacy? I seem to have officially entered these days. My children in the past two weeks have had case of bronchitis each, double ear infection each, flu and who knows what else, of course never at the same time. At this moment a sleep deprived mother like me is seriously thinking about keeping charts of who got what and at what time. Especially when the other half decides to ask at 5 am:
“What pain reliever did you give her last?”… “You know it was the orange one that was over there..”
“Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen?” “Which ever one is orange, over there…”
“Is that the last one you gave her or the one that you are suppose to give her?”
“Seriously, it is 5 am how many times do I need to answer the same question?”
So know I am starting charts when the kids have taken:
their food and liquid intake
And I only have 2 children that are sick right now. How do those mothers of 5 or more do it when everyone gets sick, especially when they are not old enough to administer or remember what they have taken? How do you in your sleep deprived self even able to recall who was given what and at what time?
I am assuming on those days any other questions like: Do you know where my wallet is? Where did you put my keys? or what is for dinner are answered by a blank stare and a comfy couch, bathtub or in some instances a spare bedroom. In reality who has 5 kids and a spare bedroom, and with all sick I am sure there is no room in marital bed anyway.
Mommy, mommy I am a humongous Tyrannosaurus Rex and I am a Theropod, says my 3 year old boy.And I am a Pteranodon, and I live in the Cretaceous period, chimes in his twin sister.Could you draw us a Quetzalcoatlus?
I am sorry a WHAT? What is a Quetza blah blah?
Quetzalcoatlus is a flying reptile from the Cretaceous period.
I am sorry honey I have no idea what they look like, can you show them to me? Let’s have a snack ok? (I am getting a headache).
Yeah Mommy strawberries, they are delectable
I’m sorry what did you say?
delectable mommy, you know delicious
Great how did the foreigner ended up with two talking dictionaries? Yes I thought it was cute when my sons favorite word at 2 was humongous but this is getting to be a little too much. I am the person that opted out of taking SATs and instead concentrated on ACT because of my limited English vocabulary. I arrived in the States half way in my freshman year in High School with a vocabulary of what till now I described as 1st graders. But this puts an entire new perspective on my knowledge of English language. Apparently as a Freshman in High School I had a vocabulary of a two year old… PERFECT…
This may explain why I didn’t get to Harvard
No not really.
In any case I am sure I am not the only one. With shows like Ni Hao Kai Lan I am glad that my kids are talking to me in English, even though it surely does not sound like it.
So what is your preschooler favorite big word, or one that surprised you the most?
I can imagine how hard it is for pragmatic thinking parents to have a feeling child. You know an artist an individual. It is hard for me even though my brain is lingering somewhere between the artsy and pragmatic functions. I also married an architect which for me was a perfect balance of artsy and brainy. God knows I would never be able to do what he does. I am not that analytical. So of course when it came to babies it was only a matter of time till one was artsy, independent, beating to her own drum. Even by a mere age of 3.
It does not take her long to put her hand on her hips and state clearly that not only this is not what she wants.
but she also demands to know where you hid her doll right here right now and because of that she calls you Mama
She will not be persuaded by arguments, unfortunately she is way to keen for that. “Momma where did you put my doll” is the question and it only deserve a specific answer
What did I expect. I come from a family of Independent Eastern European Women. The Eastern European part may not matter that much if you do not take into consideration that my Grandmother was one of the first women to receive an equivalent of American CPA and work as Accountant. Her mother in 1800s owned her own Restaurant and drove her own Carriage.
I know those accomplishments are not much in this day and age, but the blood that runs in this girlie is enough to make me and the entire establishment gray, even though right now she only rolls her eyes and puts her hands on her hips.
My son loves puzzles and if you come visit chances are there will be puzzle pieces, or completed one laying on the floor. Sometimes it is both since there is not point of cleaning up if he will just dump it and start making it again. For me the puzzle making is a a gift that keeps on giving. My son is a early morning riser, unlike his twin sister that loves to sleep in. On a typical day he comes to my bed at 7 squeezes gently in and says “mommy I wanna make a puzzle”. Perfect, this way he can occupy himself why I rest my eyes, almost like a human snooze button.
He can make the Gabagaskar Puzzle in couple of minutes
The Sweck one takes longer since it is made of 100 pieces and technically geared for 5+ year olds.
Those used to be tough. His attention span would not last long enough to complete it. The small pieces would be easily pushed out of spaces which caused a shriek (alarm sound) and statement “mommy I gotta be careful”.
But now since he is getting used to the set backs it is getting easier. Today he made the Dingle Bell puzzle, which he really wanted to finish before school. He sat and sang “Dingle Bell Dingle Bell Dingle all the way”.
Maybe I should show him some Disney movies, I bet his sister is ready for princesses and fairies.
I have been slightly slacking for the past week but I do have a wonderful excuse. I had a visitor. A visitor that I rarely see, come to think of it this is the second time I saw her in the past 20 years and the last time was a year ago for three days. We do have a lot to catch up on. Why would I want to catch up with someone I rarely see? Because she is my sister and the stroke of chance has scattered us all over the globe, with each of 3 sisters ending up on a different continent about 7 hours time difference from each other. It does sound like a fairy tale but in reality we do miss each other and wait for those times when we can be together. Then we sit and catch up, analyzing every word, gait and move. Does she walk like me? Our noses are just the same. We like the same food. Do I hold my head when talking?
No matter how much time passes when we see each other we know we are sisters that have been separated way too long.
Last week I took my kids ice skating for the second time in their lifes. The first time was when they were two years old and it is safe to say it was a disaster. The kids refused to put their feet on ice even though they enjoyed walking and balancing on their ice skates. This time it was a bit bettter.
At least 50% of my three year olds enjoyed the ice. She even pushed the bucket by herself
The other 50% still refused to be on the ice, he fell once and that made the entire experience not fun, forever and ever. No Apolo Ohno here.
He sat in the penalty box watching or playing with the phone.
I figured maybe there is a chance but it was my daughter that ended up playing with the penalty gate.
Apparently no Wayne Gretzky either
There is always the other clown
or candy which can make any experience a lot sweeter.
The fun of having kids the same age, or almost the same age is to watch them play together, make up silly games and execute them. In this game the speaker acted as stage where various animals were taking turns performing. I sat, watched and filmed. When I watched it again later, I realized the dynamics of their conversations. In this one my son is waiting for Monkey to be called onto the stage. He has to wait a while and even tries to squeeze in few times:
Monkey was certainly not have a good day.
My daughter on the other hand does not leave the stage at all. She pretends like she is going back to her place in the waiting line but in all reality she is on the stage.
Apparently this blue eyed blondie already figured out how to get what she wants from her brother way before him and his mama ever noticed. She is good, too good. At least this way Monkey and Grandpa Monkey could at least share some stage time.
I love New Years Resolutions. I make them all year long, which will make them not really New Year’s resolutions but resolutions period, or as I like to call them goals. Right now this blog is a 4 year goal and its final review will come the summer before the kids start school. I am continuing on my last years goal of reading 12 books in a year, which I quite frankly cheated on already finishing a book on January 1st. This gives me a head start just in case.
Personally I think that New Years Resolutions can be put into two categories I want it or I don’t want it anymore.
For example on of the top 5 New Years Resolutions is to Enjoy Life More. It is a broad statement, but in reality it goes totally against the other top choices of drinking less, quitting smoking and getting out of debt. The only way to Enjoy Life More is to get into the habits of people that are trying to quit them. The way I see it drinking more + getting into debt = enjoying life.
The top New Year resolution is to spend more time with family and friends, which is for the people that like spending time with their family and friends. For others there is number 8 and 9 on the list meaning Learn Something New, giving you an excuse to get away from friends and family on continuous basis. Helping Others (9) specifies others, not family/friends since that would be in number one. This is another excuse to run away from family obligation when you don’t want to blame yourself or your need for improvement, but instead you blame others. I can’t show up today I am sorry they really need my help.
Then there is the Get Fit Loose Weight crowd which I totally do not understand since January is the worst time ever to make that commitment. When it is freezing outside and the wind is blowing icicles the last thing you want to do is eat salad for breakfast lunch and dinner. Yeah I can see that diet lasting till the next fast food joint when you order hot chocolate and potatoes (fried or mashed). Same with fitness, running or exercise in the snow or ice can be hazardous to your health. Yes you can do exercise at home, next to the space heater or furnace, breathing in the hot dry air. You can join a gym for a year and show up the first week, or you can just wait till March to walk outside and hear the birds chirping. Enjoy the spring fresh air and give up all food for lent. Unless you live in Virgina or this past week in NYC where I think the spring has already come.
The last one Get Organized is totally on my list even though I am still uncertain how to do it. I have never really been good at math but this really does not make any sense at all. 24 hours in a day. Kids awake, breathing need to be watched all the time from 8 am to 9 pm. 13h daily minimum not counting night walkers, early rises, late fall asleepers, Thank You Lord for giving me twins and bags under my eyes. Cooking 1 hour a day (more if counting blogging), Cleaning 2 hours a day, Blogging 3 hour day, Grocery shopping 1 hour a day (average), Laundry 1 hour a day (minimum), helping out other members of the family (driving) 1 hour.
So the way I see it this gives me 2 hours to sleep, shower, put on makeup (this year resolution), exercise for 45 min a day, read or even get dressed. However much I play with this math, no matter how much I try to get organized it is not going to get better without any help. So if you are in the area and your resolution is to Help Others come on by, I will have plenty for you to do.
We live in Richmond Virginia when on average we receive one snow fall a year. Well for us it is a snowfall for others it is a sprinkling or dusting of snow. The schools close the kids are happy hoping to gather all the snow in the neighborhood into one measly snowball.
So you can imagine my excitement when a huge grandparents Christmas gift revealed a sleigh. Beautiful wooden sturdy sleigh I remember from my childhood.
Why? We don’t have enough storage in our house to keep that thing locked up for 364 days a year. What were they thinking? Am I being ungrateful I turned to my husband?
Yes you are – he answered eager to point out my faults. It is a beautiful sleigh.
I guess my mom wanted to chime in, or pulled some stings with someone out there because it began to snow.
Really snow. Enough to make snow angels
and go sledding.
So we packed up the kiddos and went outside enjoying a beautiful Virginia winter day.
Thank you mom and next time you are scheming could I please please get a beach umbrella too and maybe one of those tropical drinks.
It is winter break and our Mommy and Me group decided to do something extra fun, go bowling. Why not I thought? The kiddos are 3 years old they should be able to grasp the concept, especially after bumpers where in place. I mean how tough is it, they are really two rules:
1. Wait your turn
2. Throw, roll, kick or push the ball down the lane, twice…… Repeat
The process however may not be that easy for preschoolers. First of all our bowling alley did not supply shoes small enough for the kiddos, which should have been my first sign to wait. At least to wait until their foot grows a little bigger, which as we all know can be next week.
The caring process was a little tough too. When you deal with bowling balls as big as your head and as heavy as anything you have ever carried it gets tough. Thank goodness for rubber boots, next time I need to buy steel toes, but by then they will fit into the bowling shoes for sure. Do they make steel toe bowling shoes? They should really. Bowling is really the only sport I can think of that can really use some steel toe shoes.
Just to be safe I would run to each child and hand them the ball. This way they could look a little more graceful as a bowler.
Then there was an issue with actually rolling the ball. I have never ever seen a bowling ball take at least 2 minutes to get to pin part. There was one time in particular that it took too long between crossing the gate line and reaching the pins that the gate closed as the pins where being knocked down. I tried to help by giving them an extra push. I am not getting any younger here and I certainly do not have time to spend a week bowling one game with toddlers. Plus I am not sure if they are still toddlers, they certainly would not be once we got out of there.
They did get the concept though and on occasion even jumped, or maybe they just felt like jumping
The toughest part by far was taking turns and understanding the turn process. There were five kids playing our game and that was way too many for 3-5 year old attention span. Bowl twice and then go back to your seat and stare at the wall for the next 4 rounds. Especially since those rounds took forever knowing the speed of light of the bowling balls.
There were a lot of melt downs and after about 5 rounds all kids lost interest, which gave the parents a way in. Just to get few balls in, for practice sake. You know, just in case we ever do an adult bowling night.
So after sleeping on the machines, even though it was only 11 o’clock.
Giving them hugs, or sleeping, or “resting my arms”
Trying to adjust her score on the board, we called it quits.
I do not believe any of the moms in our group had officially succeeded to have their kids bowl an entire game. We did still have fun but bowling may not be something that I will try again until this summer, or at least until they can officially wear bowling shoes.
We finally got a Christmas Tree this past weekend and I thought it may be fun to involve the kids in decorating. What was I thinking? The moment they saw the tree they wanted to decorate it. Way before I got a chance to put any lights on. So we decorated.
I mean they decorated I sat there saying: yes you can touch this. No don’t touch that one. No not that one… That one is your grandma’s, it is old, I don’t want you to break it.
ups you broke one, step away. Don’t move mommy will clean it up. No stop don’t move don’t touch it.
be careful, don’t step on that. Don’t fall, don’t don’t don’t
After about 5 minutes I was tired, really tired of telling the kids the dos and don’ts of tree decorating.
When I finally got a chance to put them to bed, take down all the ornaments and place the lights on, I placed the lights the wrong way with the plug on top of the tree not on the bottom next to the outlet, uhh.
So I took them off again plugged them in to realize one of the strands on the tree burned out, so I took them off again and come to realization that I was out of clean lights.
Then I did something unprecedented in my house, you will never believe it. I put colored lights on my tree. The colored lights that my husband and tween daughter have been fighting each Christmas with me about. Me a purist at heart only allows clear lights on the tree, but they always wanted them colored. This year for kids sake the tree has colored lights and a huge gaudy colorful star on the top. My preschooler looked at it and smiled “oh mama, it is beautiful.”
100-150 cake pops for my other daughters Middle School family tradition fest. I guess cake pops are now officially out family tradition.
Of course this does not include the meat loaf that I made yesterday, twins that need constant attention, dentist visit, middle school pick up, posting things on this blog, preferably a shower before the party and the potato leek soup I was planning to make.
Which makes me wonder, How in the World did I get myself into this? Again.
Why can’t I go and buy snacks, prepackaged cheese dip for the adult party? Napkins or favors for the kids? That’s easy right? Only requires one stop.
I do love to cook and highly enjoy it but I have found myself too many times making 2 am cupcakes or cookies for something I signed up for.
I do thrive in busy days and like them, having the feeling of achieving a lot at the end of the day but today is quite frankly a little ridiculous.
Now if I could just find an underachiever pill so I can get rid of this show off thing I have going with my food. The worst I start looking the better my food does. Tomorrow I will show up disheveled on the way to preschool. Who knows if I will even have time for make up today.
I would just take a half I swear, enough to take me to a store (even gourmet) and buy ready stuff. That would be great. I can then pretend that I made it, yes even lie and not feel bad about it. Yes I made it stayed up all night and got a massage, facial and a manicure.
Do you know of a pill like that? Are you a show off overachiever, what do you take?
I woke up to winter wonderland outside my front door, which is really a rare case in Richmond. Even though I was suppose to continue with decking the halls the day just got the best of me. The kiddos were too overtired and cranky to pack up and play in this sprinkling of snow.
Maybe it is the ex Chicagoan talking but what can you really do with less then a foot of snow? Maybe make a few snowballs and throw those around. Plus the snow started to turn into slush throughout the day. Which really means that it will turn to ice tonight and the kids that were so disappointed for going to school today may in fact get the day off tomorrow.
In Richmond the sight of snow means that there will be no school or at least a delay since the city is not equipped to remove it fast enough. But not today, everyone went to school on time disappointed and angry.
As for me the garlands that I spend hours wiring together last night and left outside in a colder weather are now covered in snow. So I have a perfect excuse to call it off and have a snow day. Just sit inside and enjoy preferably with a cup of hot cocoa. Maybe imagine what would it be like to finally have a White Christmas.
I am sure that I am not the only mother to admit that she would rather sort socks for 3 hours then to go buy new ones.
No I don’t enjoy sorting socks, well maybe I do a little, it is almost like playing solitaire especially since most of ours are white and come in various shapes and sizes.
No I am not that penny pinching, my husband may disagree, and in most circumstances I would just forget the whole thing and buy everyone new ones, until next week, when you have to do laundry again.
The problem in reality involves my entourage, who are following me (thank goodness) because they don’t know any better. In about 10 years they will run the opposite direction pretending they don’t know me.
The thought of getting out of a house with 3 year olds in a 30 degrees may even force me to start knitting our socks.
I don’t think I am not the only one there. There is a reason for creation of food delivery service, grocery delivery service and even laundry delivery service, and that is lazy moms like me.
Even though lazy is the far thing from it. Imagine dressing two kids in layers of clothes. Kids that complain about that sock not being comfy, that shoe no longer fitting, not that jacket, no I don’t want to wear that.
When you get through with one of them and start the other, the first one usually starts taking something off, or all of a sudden decides that they are hungry, thirsty or really need to go to the bathroom. When you are done with that one the other one starts.
Hopefully after about 45 minutes you are ready to strap them into the car seat. In between you run back and forth for more milk, snack, diapers and whatever else you think you may use and off you go.
Then you decide on the store that actually offers double carts, or those fun cart mobiles (which usually have buckles broken) and enter the store surrounded by kids.
The only way you can get through the grocery store shopping with the kiddos is to allow them to get what they want and eat it in the cart. So you usually come home with things you would never buy just so your kids act properly and do not throw fits in the middle of the isle.
Oh so deceiving I know meanwhile they are stuffing their faces with sugary cereal thinking “this is great we never eat stuff like that.”
But even though you get home safe and sound, and slightly on sugar high it doesn’t stop there.
Your hubby gets home from work finding sugary cereal on the counter says:
What is that? How did it get here? You bought it? Are you kidding me? You the mother that made her own baby food because Gerber was not good enough? You let them eat that?
Then for weeks after he brings home a new box. If it was good enough for you to buy then we will eat it.
So as you crunch on some Trix you will keep folding socks till you really really need to buy more.
Happy Saint Nicolas Day !!! As I try to figure out how to present Santa Claus into my kids lives while taking into consideration two cultures and some calendar miss haps. You see in most of the European Countries Santa Claus traditionally comes baring gifts on Dec.6. Yes Today not on Christmas Eve. In Poland he sneaks in at night leaving “gifts” (usually small candy and gifts) under pillows, in shoes or socks.
He also looks a bit different with a pointy Bishops hat, round tip cane and robes since he is meant to ressemble Saint Nicholas the Bishop of Myrna, known for his gift giving.
So today we have celebrated a Polish feast which included Swiety Mikolaj, who did not speak Polish, to make it funnier
The kids told them their wants
which were suprisingly the same.
Then we sang some Polish Christmas Carols
and received small gifts.
I was lucky they did not ask any questions. Maybe they are two young to see the differences, not remembering the Santa Claus from last year. We didn’t even watch any Christmas movies yet to make their memory easier. Maybe they will never put two and two together and I can just worry for nothing? Which is a parent trait anyways. Or maybe I can just tell them that there will be no gifts if they don’t believe. In other words I better have my story straight by next year.
If you culture celebrates St. Nick and you live in the US what story do you tell?
Beautiful Avery’s Branch Farm in Amelia opened its doors to public this weekend and I could not think of a better way of spending a weekend before Thanksgiving. The weather was beautiful and fall air really put me in a Thanksgiving mood. I am sure that my perception of the farm was a lot different from my kids.
Take for example these beautiful, smiling happy calves. My kids thought they were cute and adorable. I was thinking veal marsala, veal lemone, man am I getting hungry.
We both though that the hay ride was fun. Not only did the kiddos have to climb the latter
They also put their feet in the hay. I was thinking of hitting the hay instead.
As we enjoyed the scenery and cider, I was secretly hoping it was spiked. I had a chauffeur with me. He is commonly known in our household as daddy.
I went especially crazy when I saw chickens. Not only did my hunger increase but I got a flashback to her childhood and started screaming frantically “go catch those chickens, run buddy run”
this one didn’t listen but the other one loves to run, anywhere anytime
she views her world while running
she runs past chickens and cows and only at times does she stop
to breathe in the air, or maybe just catch her breath
Her next stop was the pigs, and watching them pork up.
After a few tire swings
and few breaths of fresh air. We have collectively decided that we were really really hungry and we needed to get something to eat really soon. I think you can count on us not becoming vegetarian anytime soon.
One of the things that I miss about Chicago is trains. Is it weird? The old towns that center around train stations that lead to the Big City. The shops, the restaurants and the coffee houses surrounding. The trains and the elevated trains all over the town that make Chicago so special. So whenever I get a chance I visit a train town like Ashland, just to feel a wee bit like home. This Sunday the trip was extra special because of the annual Ashland Train Day, perfect for someone needing their train fix. Maybe I should say that it was focused on children not adults that can’t let go.
The trains came in all shapes and sizes…. Amtrak Passenger Trains
CSX freight trains
CSX freight trains viewed from a moving kiddie train
Train stores, Train Restaurants
Bear Train Conductors, and enough train stuff to make Bubba forget about Shrimp and move unto Trains
The Hanover Arts Center provided the creative arts
like this idea of hammering some pumpkins with golf ts… I love it…
The building was a great venue for more… trains
Old time trains that drove through circus and Ferris Wheel
which was enough to mesmerize a two three year old
Americana Train which represented most familiar products being pulled and plastered all over the town, including Spiderman
and Ashland Train station
Then there was an amazing Lego Train, with two or three trains running though and enough other pieces to make everyone happy
planes, pirate ships everything was included.
and in case that was not enough you could have taken a ride on the “autobus train” was my son called it. So if you missed it this year make sure you make it the next. I know people in Ashland are already working on making 2011 memorable. For more information click here.
Once upon a time there was a brother and sister that could not look more different. She was a blond with blue eyes he was a brunette with brown eyes and they also shared a birthday and where only 6 minutes apart. You would never guess now that the blondie was older and that she in fact pushed him out of the way to get out first. She still pushes him around but not as much anymore. He is much taller and bigger then her. Their mommy always says that they will need to explain the twin thing to everyone they meet. At times she sits them together and takes photos imagining different scenarios. Like this one:
Come here schnookums give me a kiss
Oh don’t push me away, you don’t want a kiss or hug
but seriously there is no reason to wipe your face after my kiss. What am I chopped liver? I need to make sure he pays for this.
So for now I will sit and pretend like nothing happen and try to lay another one on him
here it comes…. kissy kissy kissy
Oh man… he turned around…
What? you don’t want to be kissed? It’s FINE with me
Ohhh… Maybe I should have let her kiss me.. She can really make me pay for it. Maybe just maybe I should be a bit nicer, just in case… You never know what is going on in that head of hers
Few days ago my kids log books arrived. They are the books that pilots use to record their learning and flying progress. They keep them meticulous so they can answer silly questions like how many hours do you have in up to the minute precision. Thank Goodness we don’t do that with cars. Personally I don’t even know how many miles I have driven and really have to think to come up with how many years I have been driving, even though I started my driving carrier really late.
Not for the pilots they know it, sleep and dream about those numbers. Now this aviator accounting book is owned by my toddlers, and they don’t even know how to add.
Do you remember when we went to see the Flying Circus and the kiddos have practiced their landing and control of the yoke?
Well apparently this excursion came with a log book in which it clearly states that they landed the plane 3 times
I know that .1 hours is way too low to fly solo or even be allowed to breathe at the airplane without a pilot or instructor.
But since I already have one person who is highly addicted to flying, I am worried that others may fallow. Isn’t addiction hereditary? I certainly do not want them to start flying on the weekends even though they can’t fly solo for another 13 years. I have known people in high school that have gotten their pilots license when 17 but do they have to be my kids? I seriously hope that my kids forget about this experience for at least the next 10 years and that the ”mistress” just sticks to my husband for now. Unless you know of any countries that do not allow planes? I will be moving there asap.
For the past couple of days I have been missing. I have been chasing goblins from my kitchen and playing paleontologist to the family of Pteranodons that has been blessed with a one random TRex sibling.
In order to understand you must have small kids that are glued to Jim Henson Company’s Dinosaur Train. Yes, Dinosaur Train. A series that combines two of the most important toddler boy interests dinosaurs and trains. My little girlie is just an innocent bystander. I swear on her 3rd birthday she is getting barbies and may be introduced to the world of Disney Princesses. I sure hope that this influx of girlie imagining in our household will not make my son dress up as Sleeping Beauty next year. So far I have been good at keeping the household gender neutral, so I thought. Not too many dolls, not too many cars, educational programing that pertains to both.
Yikes… so now on the day of Halloween my older 12 year old daughter, better known as Alice
was visibly upset that her almost 3 year old sister was not a princess like the rest of her age group but female dinosaur figure.
Its not like my toddler minded. She loves Tiny the character she was dressed as and quite frankly knows her a lot more then Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella combined.
How long will I have till the great gender schism? When will my boy girl twins decide that they no longer want to live this ambiguous lifestyle and they want to create male and female roles. My son so far is getting the better end, since anything that is more neutral is now considered boyish. No more He-Man and Cowboys and Indians. Now in this politically correct enviroment boys learn about trains and dinosaurs not swords and guns.
I guess I should bring all that back. Next year she will be a Princess, with a crown and sparkly shoes to match, and he a sword carring knight….. Of course to go with tradition I will be a Witch.
I seem to be cooking all the time and my toddlers seem to be getting better and better at helping and not helping me with the cooking. By now they have figured out how to sift flower.
And how to steal sugar
and how to do it in large quantities
They are great in sharing, sometimes even forcing the other to try some
and even better at sticking their fingers in my perfect shots
But there is nothing better then cookie dough, or licking the cake pan or whisk. I know that their mother should pay more attention to things like salmonella, but she can’t seem to find the right balance between this beautiful childhood memory and health. How many of you remember licking bowls from your mom’s cooking?
Somehow I just can’t find the rational to not allow my kids do to so. I know it is logical there is proven evidence, but but but. I remember my favorite dessert as a child called Kogiel Mogiel (ko gyl moe gyl) where you took raw egg yolk, sugar and cocoa powder and whisk it till creamy. We all ate it survived and never got sick. Who knows maybe we had stomachs of steel or maybe we just train them that way. Or maybe there is a reason that in Germany, where every Salmonella case needs to be reported, is estimated that every 5th person is a carrier of Salmonella.
Where Salmonella has to be consumed in large quantities in adults, children are much more susceptible. Which officially gives me a Mother of the Year Award.
But, but, but
How could we miss out on this?
With so many carriers living and healthy should we even be worried? What are the chances that even though you omit any fully uncooked eggs, onions, scallions etc. from their diet they will get Salmonella from your next European Vacation, or trip to Chinatown (where they sell turtles).
Ahhh… Parenting can be so tough….So what is your opinion?
Meadow Highland Games and Celtic Fest is a mouth full but what it really stands for is a fun place where you can see more men in skirts then women, feel bad when you are not drinking beer or whiskey, find out about your heritage and watch large and skinny men throw big heavy objects.
Just in case you are not wearing a kilt there are plenty to buy and if you are not sure which pattern there is a lot for you to learn
You can walk through Scottish row and look at all the tartan plaid
If you are not any of the Buchanans, try this?
if that fails
it is time to consult the map
and if that fails
Buy yourself one that matches most of your clothing
There are much more things to do, so don’t be discouraged take our your anger with some
Heavy cowbell throwing
or sword fighting.
After you have calmed down for a bit it is time to get your heart pumping (I almost spelled pumpkin)…. get your heart pumpkin again
by admiring some old cars… my husbands love a Triumph he had or wished he had… I’m sorry I’m not big about cars so I really stopped listening
This was my favorite 1938 Bentley, and not for the fact that it is a Bentley since as I mentioned I don’t know anything about cars but for the fact that it was 1938. Six years after the end of Prohibition, a year before the Start of World War II. Oh the stories that car could tell.
But it didn’t want to talk. I guess it knew better and kept its trap shot. So I moved on with bag pipes blaring
Irish dancers dancing
and soda being sold to look like beer just to make the teenagers happy
We went straight to the kids section at which entrance the organizers parked an Irish Coffee Station. They knew what they were doing, Mom+Kids= Irish Coffee
or the second version two feet down Dad+Kids= Whiskey tasting… or was that the other way around
Well just in case you missed both and ended up skipping the kids area you will be found in the axe throwing area
yep axe throwing that even kids can participate in, which may not be a great idea after all that whiskey and Irish coffee
So you can have the little kids skip the axe throwing and try fencing instead
Or learn how to train your dog to herd sheep
or maybe just let them blow off some steam by jumping in the moon bounce
or go on pony rides
But stay away from the Ram, he could mean trouble
King, who can also be fickle
And freshly captured hawks, who are still wild animals to me
especially with those talons
The food was great in a State Fair Fashion
but if you wanted some English Isle foods, jewelry, clothing or ware there was certainly plenty to go around.
Last weekend we went to Ashland Berry Farm to pick some pumpkins (as you can tell I am a little behind on my posts). I have never previously been there since I live really close to Chesterfield Berry Farm and usually end up there. But this seemed like a logical choice, with some older kids entertainment and a chance to get all you can carry pumpkins for 20$, I was sold.
and obviously so was most of Central Virginia
Ashland Berry Farm is a nursery that not only sells beautiful plants but also garden supplies and structures
and aquatic equipment
it was great to look at but we were there for the scary stuff
my son’s head next to the skeleton , scary stuff
my son channeling Paul McCartney, scary stuff
and scary ghosts and goblins being shot with a paint gun,
and we didn’t even go to the boo house
we did however stand in the long line for doughnuts, of course
and admired big as your toddler pumpkins
the pumpkin selection in the shop was extensive
different sizes, colors and textures would make any house decor amazing
it would be heaven for Martha Stewart inside all of you.
I am just trying to figure out how many famous names I can casually drop in a boring post about pumpkin picking.
Since you see we really did not pick any pumpkins. The line to the hayrides and pumpkin patch (where you can check your skills at pumpkin carrying/balance) was long. I don’t just mean long. Very long line. Over the hills and through the woods type of line where after 40 min you realize that it may be at least an hour before you even see the end of the tractor.
So if you come to Ashland for the deal and do not want to pay for already picked pumpkins, get to the line first and allow the kids to play and venture as you take turns waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
There is a lot to look at since the Christmas shop has everything imaginable for sale. Or you can try to come on a week day. Or you can skip the pumpkins and head to the city of Ashland park yourself in a little cafe or restaurant near the train tracks and watch the excitement in your kids eyes when a train zooms by.
My husband loves flying and planes. He would rather spend his time up in the air then doing most things on the ground. So when he mentioned that we were going to see a Flying Circus Air Show I was skeptical. Very skeptical.
What? What the heck is a flying circus? Are we just going to watch bunch of planes in the air that’s not fun for a two year old? It is up as high up in the “fun” category as watching planes around the airport.
But he said it will be Fun, and against my judgment I said FINE.
It is almost like OK but not exactly, especially when it comes from your wife.
I now have to say that he was right and it was a lot of fun for everyone.
Flying Circus is a show that incorporates air stunts and comedy in a 1940s setting.
Transport yourself to 1940s aviation filled with aviator glasses and German and American Characters
Your children can participate by becoming Amelia (prior to 40s)
or Howard Hughes (hopefully without the mental issues just terrible twos)
By taking their first certified solo plane ride, what fun
Adults can watch plane formations as well as mail plane pick ups. Where a plane picks up mail while in flight.
For the air flights enthusiasts the show is stunt filled. My favorite was when a pilot shot off his engine, spun his plane in a few loops and landed safely on the runway. I know that you train for that as a pilot but why on earth would you actually like to try it?
And why would you do this? This is called wing walking when a person gets out of the cockpit and stands on top of the plane. I think it is great on film or in a cartoon, but in real life?
The show sells lots of fun foods and provides kids rides on various plane toys
After the show you can talk to pilots, take photos and get autographs. If you are really hardy at heart you can choose to take a biplane ride or take one while the pilot does tricks.
The show operates every Sunday from May-Oct and often includes Balloon Show. For more information about the Flying Circus click here. For discounts and links just scroll down on the first page since the information is slightly hidden.
When Apple Picking last week we found yourselves in beautiful Monticello. No I don’t mean Monitcello California heart of Napa Valley or Monticello Indiana home of Madonna Resort. We are talking about Monticello, Virginia the home of Thomas Jefferson, the author of Declaration of Independence and third president of United States of America.
The guy that proclaimed that all man are created equal, regardless of birth, wealth, or status, and that the government is the servant, not the master, of the people.
In any case if you ever find yourself visiting his home or around the area following Jeffersonian Studies or Apple Picking like me.
You have to come visit the Meadow Run Mill and General Store
The store is fun for kids and adults and I certainly understand why it is called a mill
Since it is located in still functioning Mill
However I am not quite certain about the General Store Statement
Was it called General because it sold absolutely everything you ever imagined
Or was it called general because
It housed absolutely everything you ever needed to buy from Confederate History and its Generals.
Either way, or whatever your reason to be there…
It is a pretty cool place and my kids can find themselves lost in some old time games
To this whatever you call drop game
When my husband as usual was lost in the candy isle…. me …. well I liked these
and of course these….. which I am thinking of proudly displaying in my kitchen.
It is Apple picking time so we headed back to Farmville to pick some apples. It was also an apple festival so it was a lot more crowded then last time we were there for peach picking. In fact it was so crowded that there was a line to get off the highway. At first we thought that maybe just maybe our time to arrive in Charlottesville was coinciding with a UVA football game, but we were not so lucky. Carter Mountain was so full that the police decided to limit the amount of cars that were able to enter the orchard. Heck they didn’t even let anyone visit any attractions that required you to pass by the orchard. But we got lucky and after looping around we were one of the first cars let it.
We started off with the most important stuff….. FOOD… so frozen cider
I am sure at this moment you are wondering what the heck I will be talking about. See in Polish we often use the phrase “spitefulness of inanimate objects” (Zlosliwosc rzeczy martwych) to describe the instances where all those objects we live with decide to take their revenge. It is as if all of a sudden they become animate and no longer want us in control.
On this occasion the matter is a little bit more complicated. This matter has to do with binky, nookie, paci or whatever you call it. My daughter loves her pacifier she always did.
Always more then her twin brother, who could care less about a binky
She had to have it when she went to bed. When she just sat there flipping through colorful books or when she “read” some pretty heavy stuff.
She learned how to accessorize it.
However for the last week her mom said no more. You know she is almost three. When asked “Mommy where is my Binky?”. The answer was always the same “I don’t know where did you put it?”
This is the situation where those darn inanimate objects decide to get involved in. All of a sudden binkies have been coming out of the woodwork. We find them everywhere. Under the couch, stuck between the sheets, jacket pockets, car seat cushions. Its like a night of the living pacifiers.
Where were they where year or two ago when in the dead of the night I was searching all over the house to find one in order to help pacify a crying baby. I had to get in a car in my pajamas and barely living myself drive to the closest open store.
Yes they were no where to be found… and now guess what? I am thinking of opening a binky store.
OK. First of all I am a foreigner. I was not born in this country nor really raised in it. My up bringing was not only foreign but it was also communist, which means I was being tough English behind the veil of secrecy and deceit. So you can now understand my struggle when I hear this perfect language misused.
My biggest problem JEALOUSY. Seriously I am about to go on a Jealous hunt. I am about to fight every friend, neighbor, family member whoever who posts on their Facebook or Twitter that they are Jealous of something. I know they will think I am crazy trying to stop their perfectly normal conversation with an English 101 class, thought by a foreigner who doesn’t really speak good English and I bet makes at least ten gramatical mistakes in this post. Or should this be English 001 class?
The jealous conversations have become perfectly normal and accepted way of using the English/American language. So what is wrong with me? Why can’t I just let it go? We all know that language evolves and sooner or later Webster will publish a dictionary with our common way to use JEALOUSY and saying things like “I’m jealous of your vacation, new job or car” will be accepted by this self appointed member of language police.
As for now just please try to use it correctly at least around me, or even if you can’t at least know what you are saying is well, wrong. You see JEALOUS is a boyfriend who can’t deal with competition or infidelity or both. A fear of loosing something that you have to someone else.
What you are feeling my love is ENVY. Can we say it again ENVY !!!!… ENVY a pain and frustration caused by someone having something that you want, admire and do not have yourself. It is true look it up. HERE. And stop driving me CRAZY !!!
What is it with ENVY that we can’t use it correctly. Is it the fact that is it one of the 7 deadly sins. Is it that JEALOUSY just sounds better. We all want to be a little jealous but none of us want any of that envy… oh no… that just sounds so grave…. and did you know it takes you straight to hell?
So I will be first: I am so envious of your beautiful house, Envious of your exotic vacations and smart children, and as far as I know “I’m not the jealous kind”.
So today my lovely girlie decided to go through my purse, again. It is one of her favorite pass times, especially when opening my goody bag of make up. This time however she found something else.
“Money”- she explained
“Money. Money, Money, I love Money”
Then decided to do a little funny dance and left with the money to her room me fallowing her dumbfounded. She proceeded to open up a register and press the money into it. What?
Where does she get it from. We have never ever talked, discussed, watched or read about the concept of money. We have never even played with her cash register with pretend money. Could she actually be watching and learning though other means? That darn Mr. Crabs. Not only do I have to worry about my son ordering chicken nuggets from Spongebob, now my daughter is learning about money from Mr. Crabs? I mean really who else would teach her this:
We took a road trip to Dulles Airport today to say Good Bye to my niece that has spend the last two months, give or take her other excursions, with us. We have been through a lot. We discovered the wonders of Canada, been sprayed by Niagara Falls, Baptized few babies and even encountered a possum on our back porch.
This does not count in the massive amounts of diapers changed, tamper tantrums and toddler fights we had to go through.
She will be greatly missed especially by the twins who expressed their remorse and love for her the minute she left.
“Where did Talia go?”
“Natalia went home”
“Oh noo, Talia went home I’m so sad and she is sad too”
“I’m sad also guys”
“But Mommy stop sadding anymore”
By then I decided to change the conversation, since I couldn’t sag sad anymore:
“Look at all these cows !!”
“They are not cows they are elephants”….. “wait a minute they are not elephants they are cows”
*Note to self do not try to have a meaningful conversation with a toddler
It is so tough to figure out where you want to raise your kids. Do you want them to live in the city? suburbs or country? Each of them provides different types of experiences and development. Yes in the country and suburbs you don’t have to worry about cars, crime or schools but will your child be able to experience a playground like this?
When do you get a playground that is not just a playground but instead it provides your kids with the view of the tallest building in United States and one of the tallest ones in the world?
When does a playground provide you with a view of a passing boat? Commuter train and a construction site? All ideal for a little toddler boy.
When is that playground a short hop away from a free zoo with views like this?
Where you can play framer for the day, petting goats, feeding cows, even watching them being milked
You can climb tractors
watch other zoo animals and remind yourself and your mother that you really are a monkey, even though you have no idea what that means.
ride merry go a rounds and
trains all day, just to end up exhausted on your grandmothers couch.
However much we love having the suburbs, the country, the southern climate there is nothing that will take away our love of Chicago and what it has to offer, even if it is only the couch and Grandma.
I really have no idea how this has started but lately my toddler twins sometime decide to answer me by signing. Usually it is a monotone syllables ending on a high note like “mo my i would like a coo kieeeeee” but lately it has become more show offie.
Once when visiting Colonial Williamsburg they decided to climb up to every house that was unoccupied, tell me that they need a key and sing ABCs on the balcony for everyone passing to hear. After about 30 houses I was really tired of ABC.
This time we were in the airport awaiting to board our flight to Chicago. When the kids got bored looking at planes and playing stop and go they decided to play another game that can best be described as toddler edition of West Side Story. The twins positioned themselves on the opposite side of the terminal walking isle, each standing by opposite sitting areas facing each other and started first humming and dancing.
The airport was not very crowded but the attention they were getting was clearly getting into their heads because they started dancing and signing a la Broadway:
“Come and get MEEE” hands extended to the sky
“You can’t geeeeeeettt meeeeee” hands go up on the other side of the isle
Oh Geeze. Most people clearly enjoyed the spectacle most likely bored, tired and annoyed by the fact they are not boarding their planes yet but as for me I a certainly hope this will not happen in a grocery store.
There is a reason why most Christian faiths Baptize infants or wait till an adult- believer age to do so. Baptizing talking and walking toddlers, especially twins is tough, funny, inappropriate and exhausting.
My husband and I arrived with overtired kids to mass prior to the baptism. In all honesty what where we thinking not even half way through the mass our vocal cords were dry from: sit down, don’t touch that, don’t sing (when others are not signing), sit down, don’t kick. We continued to take routine isle trips outside, where my almost 3 year old son was forced to look at the wall in time out for not behaving in church. And that was all before the ceremony.
When the mass ended the teared up, even more exhausted kids seemed to be elated to be able to walk in church and look at things, oils, water and potions but that did not last long. The real problem became their vocal cords. No, not running away from the priest while he is chasing them and driving head first into the baptismal water (which I imagined so many times in my nightmares).
All of a sudden they started talking:
“No Mommy, I don’t like it. I don’t want that”
“Please Mommy No”
“Mommy, I don’t like it, it hurts”
It is so nice that I live in a century when those comments are taken lightly cause I can certainly myself being excommunicated because of my kid’s reaction a few centuries back. Maybe that is why parents decided to do it earlier they just could not take that risk.
Just in case you are like me and refuse to except that summer is over even though they kicked you out of the outside pool, the school bus has picked up your older children and the temperature dropped about 10 deg. Nope its not over and if you are like me this place is perfect.
The State Park is located about 30 minutes west of Midlothian or 1 hour west of downtown Richmond VA. Situated just off route 60 (Midlothian Trpke), you can’t miss it ‘s a straight line. Plus its gorgeous. Sandy Beach, Lake, Boats for rent, Lifeguards on duty
Volleyball courts for those that decide to become sporty all of a sudden. I gave up, not planning to get into a bikini season till next year. That is why this time its perfect for taking the kids to Bear Creek Lake Park since I can just sit on the beach with a dress on and no one will wonder (more like long sleeve top, 3 pairs of spanx and capris)
The lake is medium sized and its so much fun for kids
There are also two play areas
This little one on the beach side with 3 slides and few fun looking see saws
There is also a larger one with numerous slides and nearby swing set in the wooded shaded area next to the beach
The park provides benches, restaurant as well as cabins and boat rentals if you decide to make this a weekend trip. For me its a perfect get away for a day when summer still lingers on and I refuse to let it go.
So our last stop on the Canadian Excursion was Montreal. By that time my kids have been asking to go home the moment I packed them into the car. Can we go home mommy? I wanna go home? Obviously they are not at all good at traveling or staying in the hotels. Which is good because by the time they start loving hotels I am sure that hotel elevator and hallways will be terrorized by screaming twins, while their mother will be drinking her sanity away at the hotel bar, kids what kids?
Montreal is a mere 2 hours east of Ottawa, or just 180 km. By the time you arrive in the city you will certainly feel more European. First people drive like crazy and the roads are mismarked unmarked or the marker to turn right is placed approximately 40 yards after the turn.
They drive without any regard to speed limit or road rules. Maybe they are all practicing for the next Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada which takes place on Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal in June.
The radio blasts French music and European summer favorites like Papa Americano (hit summer 2010 everywhere else in the world but Americano)
There are smelly horse rides that reminded me right away from my home town of Krakow when the carriages and the horses smell of poop. Oh breathe in that fresh country air.
there were plenty of people out enjoying little cafes, and drinking their coffee or beer
But nothing, nothing reminded me of Europe more then the Biodome. I know that is a silly thing to remind me of home but you see it was on strike, so there was no way my kids can go and enjoy it. Just like any of my trips through Europe when you never know when you end up since trains, planes and boats can go on strike at any time.
But that’s ok since my trip was made for speedy gonzales not cultural excursion. I didn’t even get a chance to sit down and eat a traditional Poutine. See I sat at a Van Houtte coffee shop about 30 minutes before to steal some internet and devour at least 2 croissants, baguette, side salad and coffee in about 5 minutes and I could barely walk. Plus Poutine (french fries with cheese curds and gravy) sounds like a perfect drunken food which got me thinking. Next time we are in Syracuse we will leave the kids with their aunts and go exploring Montreal’s pubs with my hubby. I hope they are not reading this blog or else they will ignore my calls for the next year in fear they will have to take care of my cherubs.
Plus by the time I come back maybe all the buildings under construction will be fixed. It seemed like all the churches were being remodeled at the same time.
At least the olympic stadium and the botanical gardens were open and not under construction
We drove pass McGill University on our way to Mont Royal to get “the best view of the city”. After spying on the city through some overgrown bushes we were ready to head home, or to Quebec City or to Lake Chaplain, or to NYC. Except that the toddler twins really really wanted to go back home.
Out of all the cities that we visited on our impromptu Canadian trip, Ottawa was my favorite. My opinion is not based on a specific scientific study but on visual tourist attractions that can be seen while walking or chasing toddlers. My little butt did not make it into any museums, night clubs or fancy restaurants for fear that my little tushies will break, scream and run their way out of most predicaments. So this was not my preferred way to view the city, but none the less this will give me an excuse to come back.
And there is a lot to come back for. Ottawa, just in case you have not studied any Canadian history is the capital of Province of Canada which was chosen by Queen Victoria on Dec 31, 1857.
For me it really does resemble London’s traditional architecture adjacent to very modern sculptural art and buildings.
The parliament hill looks a lot like Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, at least from what I remember
Since the city has a height restriction of 25-30 stories there are no real skyscrapers and Parliament Hill can be visible from most of the city
You can also see most of the city from Parliament Hill
the modern structure on the left is a Museum of Civilization that I hope to visit. It celebrates Canadian and World Cultures and houses the world largest collection of totem poles. I can see my toddlers loving that…. Dominoes anyone?
Since Canada is a part of British Commonwealth, now known as Commonwealth of Nations,there are a lot of references of Britain and its Royal family.
Like this beautiful statue of Elizabeth II on the horse that my son admired
He also loved all the other great statues and monuments
I loved them too and have never seen that many in one city. I’ve never been to Rome but I can imagine that artwork in Ottawa is as predominant as fountains in Rome.
Of course one of my favorites is Maman (Mommy in French) by Louise Bourgeois in front of the National Gallery of Canada
It looks like a giant spider with its sac containing marble eggs. But you do not have to travel to Ottawa to see one, there are few more located in front of museums all over the world. The National Gallery is definitely on my to do list (sans kids) since it houses an extensive contemporary art (my favorite) collection with some of Andy Warhol’s most famous works.
There are also other museums like this Museum of War, or more politely Military History which exhists for two purposes education and remembrance.
If you need an excuse to come to Ottawa and I have not given you enough you can visit during Winterlude, North American greatest winter festival (enjoy while I sit in my cosy warm living room, remember its Canada), May’s Tulip Festival (getting warmer), or Summers Jazz, Blues and Chamber Music Festivals (just right).
We have just missed Rideau Canal Festival celebrating the waterway and its UNESCO World Heritage Site but even without the festival you can’t miss the beauty of Rideau Waterway.
So on your next vacation trip think Ottawa, can’t miss it. Its only 3.5 hours due north of Syracuse, 3.5 hours west of Lake Placid, NY or 4.5 from Burlington, VT or around that time from anywhere in the Adirondacks.
I have been to Niagara Falls numerous times. This was actually the second time my 2 year old twins have been there. I have however never been to the Canadian side. Actually I lied. I have been to the Casino on Canadian side once in the dead of Upstate NY winter, and at night. You could barely see anything even though the falls was lit up.
Since my husbands family lives in Syracuse/Buffalo area it is so easy to make that road trip every time someone from Europe visits. Everyone from Europe wants to visit Niagara Falls. I don’t ask why, just take them there.
The Canadian side is dominated by tourism since you can see American Falls as well as Horseshoe falls a lot better.
This is the view of the American side where you can see the viewing tower and standing area. The only reason one should not cross the bridge to the other side is if they are not sure if they can come back to the US.
Other then that reason I highly recommend getting on the rainbow bridge and seeing the beauty of the falls.
There are a lot more attractions like getting soaked by taking a voyage into the falls on Maid of the Mist.
You do however have to be prepared to get a little bit wet no matter what. Which is not bad with 90 deg heat but as you imagine that is rare in Upstate NY.
Thank goodness there is a barrier to keep the kids from jumping
You can always strap them into a strolled where a minute of calmness is sponsored by Apple.
Before that they were running on the street playing stop. Not necessarily a game which makes mommy feel safe, unless your parenting skill is closer to Michael Jackson’s.
So after holding them, saying no, having a heart attack and popping about 20 relax pills, they were strapped back into the car.
Even the drive around is filled with attractions, casinos, funky shops, indoor water park, wax museum even Marineland that features marine animal shows.
Anything and everything you want and imagine is there. So why you gamble your life savings while using the excuse you are sightseeing your kids can be entertain to the max.
Even normal Burger King is not that normal. So if you ever have a choice, Canadian side is the place to be, well at least when it comes to Niagara Falls.
Sometimes I feel like a College student who all of a sudden realizes that it is Spring Break or a 3 day weekend and they have a car. Which really means Road Trip. You open up a map and figure out where you can go on your limited budget. This weekend was not much different. I was visiting my husbands family in Syracuse, NY with my niece who is visiting me from Poland for 2 months.
The plan was to drive there for 9 hours on friday, my husband was going to play in a golf tournament for his favorite charity (a camp dear to his heart that he attended and was a counselor at) and I was going to take my niece to Niagara Falls. When we came back to Syracuse I realized that I really do not need to go back home just yet, my husband can catch a ride back to Richmond with his friend and I can continue on. So here we go. Ottawa is mere 3 hours north of Syracuse passing by beautiful 1,000 lake region (maybe my next vacation spot). Then off to Montreal for the night. Some walking around during the day and back to Syracuse to sleep and wake up to drive back to Richmond. That is all nice and beautiful if you do not count in one major factor: Toddler Twins.
No worries more details to follow but for now here are some things to keep in mind while traveling to Canada:
Your 3G network does not work in Canada (unless you decide to pay for super roaming) which means your kids will not get any youtube movies on your phone. It also means you can forget about your maps application, so be prepared to open a real one or call your husband frantically.
When my kids are overtired they spill stuff, and when that stuff is whole milk, it ain’t pretty, unless you decide to travel in the middle of winter (WHY?). Be prepared to wear a face mask or air out your car while driving.
I don’t know about your kids but the more tired mine are the more they act like drunken college students. Full of energy until they run or bump into something. Thank goodness no emergency trips this time
Make sure you call your bank ahead of time. There is nothing worst then waiting in the lobby of a nice hotel in Montreal with your toddlers running wild after last 2 hours in the car and having to call your Credit Card company to explain that you are you and you are in Canada. No one stole your identity and you made all the charges. It works with debit cards also my bank called me 3 times the next day letting me know that I tried to make purchases in Canada and was denied because of fraud protection.
Get your brain ready for some math: currency exchange rate, speed limit exchange rate, temperature exchange rate, gas mileage exchange rate and all of that with no phone application service.
Remember to get a note from your husband allowing you to travel with your kids, just in case. It is better to be safe then to have your car search with toddlers on board. No it did not happen to me I was over prepared.
If you think of teaching your kids proper manners, DON’T. Really there is no point. Yes their sweet voices telling you please and thank you will melt your heart. They will put a smile on your face and make you feel like you are doing a good job parenting. Your family and acquaintances may praise you with their head nods and ooos and ahhhs. They may even laugh when you ask your child to “say it properly” and he answers “properly”. It is all a hoax. Teaching your kids manners not only will deminish your role as a parent it may even depleat your bank account.
Take this scenario for example. You are in a public place and your child wants something and yells in Veruca Salt fashion:
“I want this, NOW !!! Get it for me !!!”
To which, if you are like me, you react by saying: “You ungrateful little beep beep beep you are getting nothing, NOTHING you hear me. Nothing until you get a job at 16, over the hills and walk for 20 miles to it each day in a snow storm”.
If your children are proper they will turn to you with a big smile on their face, charming you as much as they can and say:
“Mommy, could I please have some ice cream”
“Mommy, may I have this new doll, it’s biiiuuutiful, pleassseee”
“Mommy, I love you, could I pleeeaase have this new toy, dress, phone, giant TV screen, computer, car, crack”
Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes
The next thing you know their college tuition is invested in their stuffed animal collection and you still have no idea what happened.
P.S. But don’t tell Veruca. I am sure she would have done a lot better for herself with this information.
I think I am getting a little forgetful these days, if you can call it that. I think my memory bank is often running on empty. Why can’t you just buy an external hard drive for your memory?
Today I think I drove off with my phone on top of my car. I am not sure don’t really remember. I was trying to pack up 2 toddlers to go to the park. If we stay home they beat up on each other and fight for every toy. After few minutes of MOMMY, I am ready to get out of the house and quick.
So I got one ready, in the meantime the other one dumped the train out of its box and started playing. I parked the first one in front of the train (I can clean it up later) and proceeded to dress the second one while she dumped the entire content of a nicely folded closet onto the floor.
I still was fine, did not loose my cool, apparently only my memory. I put the kids in the car, strapped them in and quickly inputted the directions of the park into my phone. It was on the other side of town and I have never been there.
OK I was almost done.
Few more things: Diapers… check.. wipes… check.. water/milk.. check.. some sort of snack.. check.
I was ready !!
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, with a house looking like it just get hit by a twin tornado.
Only I need the phone? Where is my phone? PHONE? PHHHOOONEEE? I could not find it… called it bunch of times doing rounds in a the house, rounds outside, rounds in the car… no phone…
Oh well I figured I can find that park with the directions I have in my head. I don’t need no phone, I used to be able to live without it. Who needs a phone anyways. So after our way too long of a trip to get to the park (we took the scenic route times three) we got there.
The vampires kiddos played and fell asleep on the way home. Afternoon came and went. Hubby came home just in time to receive a phone call from my phone stating “I found your phone on a golf course”… HUH? Say what? … Apparently someone found my phone on the path by our house somewhere… no phone calls where dialed.. no household broken in..
The only thing I can seriously imagine is that Mrs Smarty Pants, you know the one that is telling you how to cook and raise your kids, the one that thinks she has all the answers, drove off with her phone on top of the car. YEP !! That seems to be the only logical explanation.
There are other non logical ones: there are ghosts in the house, my phone has grown legs and walked out, someone has broken into our house just to steal my phone but then decided not to use it and discard it a minute later.
To my defense the phone is in a white protective case (THANK YOU LORD) and my car is White and Black but still. You can call it a senile moment I call it a case of twins.
Through this heat and rain I am still looking at area playgrounds to give you a comprehensive go to site for your excursions. If you missed any of the others here you go. Really no reason to thank me, I just try to get my kids exhausted like any other parent. Based on their six packs and slender physiques I am doing a really good job. Now if I could just fatten them up a little, this heat certainly does not increase their appetite.
This time we went to Rockwood Park in Chesterfield or Richmond. Depending what kind of GPS you input your directions.
The playground is very small, what you see is what you get. One structure, few slides and some monkey bars.
It is fenced in from the side road
and there are a few learning activities included into the structure like this ABC easy as 123 map. (yes you can now blame me for making you sing Jackson 5 for the rest of the day)
We came when it was slightly rainy
but the playground is nicely shaded so you do not have to worry about getting terribly wet or hot
There is a nice bench that you can sit on while your kids are playing or take them to the swings (2 baby, 2 regular size)
Now those are some swings with the view. Rockwood Park in itself is amazing with numerous baseball fields (often occupied by leagues), basketball courts, 9 or more tennis courts, nature center, archery, arboretum, volleyball field even a dog running park. So they playground is not the best, but it is definitely heaven for school aged kids.
The Nature Center provides educational programs like Little Nature Sprouts program and Nature Story Time (free) on Sunday afternoon from 2- 2:40. You do not need to live in Chesterfield County to attend but additional fee may apply for non residents.
Summer is almost over and if you are like me you may be a little summered out of all the crazy things and ideas you constantly need to come up with to keep these kiddos busy. At least this Saturday you will get some free help. Henrico County is organizing a free Pirates Paradise fest at Deep Run Park.
What is better then dressing your kids as Pirates (there is a contest), getting their faces painted, bouncing and running all over the park.
There is a scavenger hunt that sends you into the park
Forces your kids to read and follow directions
in order to uncover pirates treasure
After walking the plank, signing chanteys on a hot summer day. Your kids and their sleep schedule will thank you.
The Fair is Sat, Aug 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Deep Run Park. Free. For more information click here.
Note: The pictures were taken at 2009 Pirates Fair therefore they may not be fully descriptive of this years celebration.
I have noticed a trend with my daughter lately. When she decides to flip through the channels she often lands on Spanish speaking one and can spend hours watching blues clues in Spanish. I guess that would not be a problem if her second first language was Spanish but it is not. As far as I can tell she does not understand a word of what she is watching. I mean she will be 3 in November so I hope she is smart enough to figure out this is not English or Polish.
Since she is also a great navigator on my phone better known in her words as “my IPhone” she also spends hours jamming to Little Einsteins in what I presume is Italian.
I understand that I am totally to blame and I should most likely start administering medications to her now or at least paying for therapy. Not only do I talk to her in Polish and she answers me in English but I also throughout our time together have on numerous occasions made her dance, sing and have fun to all foreign songs. Pappa Penguin in French being our favorite and if it doesn’t load correctly (thank you youtube) in German.
From my own experience I understand that being fully bilingual makes you slightly schizophrenic. In other words a slightly different person in each language you speak, since you not only translate the words but the culture also. With the way my daughter is going she will be Lord Voldemort by her 4th Birthday. I may even need a dictionary to talk to her. It is tough enough to ask her to do something now imagine if she really doesn’t understand.
From now on only Polish TV, no more Little Einsteins, World Words or Dinosaur Train until they are translated to Polish. Oh, OK, few English shows will not hurt, but that’s it. And give me back my phone please.
I packed up my kids and took them peach picking. I have been dreaming about picking peaches for about a month now and finally got a chance to do it. I didn’t want to miss out on the season. I did not want to miss out on getting my kids tired out. God knows we picked anything pickable this year, well almost. Plus this gave me an excuse to visit Charlottesville, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello , and the beautiful Carter Mountain. The views are amazing and I can get my kids used to attending UVA you know just in case they don’t like Harvard.
Carter Mountain is know for its apple picking but they also have a few peach trees there. Most of their other peach trees are in their Chiles Peach Orchard.
The views are amazing, roaring hills, wine trees, peaches, apples. You feel like Toscany, or Farmville in case you spend more time on line then in real world.
The barns are so similar to Farmville that an intent to keep your kids of computer to go pick apples may backfire. The moment they look at these beautiful houses they will remember the need to harvest their corn or grapes in Farmville.
The peaches were higher up the hill which was quite a walk from the parking area. Not far normally but with 100 deg heat on top of a mountain, stroller and overtired toddlers it was not fun.
Once we made it there the peaches were ready. They were amazing: sweet, moist and hard.
My daughter helped but my son refused to get out of a stroller and pick. He wanted to go home. I guess that is what I get for trying to teach my kids about their food. Any sweet words from his sister “Miyoush come here” did not help.
When he finally got out he was not a happy camper “I wanna go home Mommy”. He refused to even try a peach, or ice cream later on. What kid refuses ice cream? Overtired one that refuses to sleep.
My daughter loved her peaches
If anything fails there are some amazing views and you are certain to take in a lot of sun.
Or you can just drive up there for the views, doughnuts, wine tasting from Prince Michel, or a little shopping to take home.
For directions to Carter Mountain Orchard click here.
When I lived in Chicago summer meant that on Saturdays I could walk down my street to a farmers market and find the freshest fruits, flowers, cheeses and even honeys. Then for the rest of the week my little condo was filled with aromas of the things I picked. Not only do the Farmers Market bring the freshest ingredients into your cooking they also support the local farmers and artisans since these markets are the only place they can get a fair price. But if you don’t worry about details like that you should just think of them as FUN !!!
Forest Hill Farmers Market is definitely the most fun from all the markets I visited in Richmond. It happens on Saturday mornings until noon when bakers, artists, musicians gather, feed and entertain anyone and everyone from adults to children.
Just like with any other Farmers Market you never know what you are going to get from produce to animals. Last year we even got to hold and feed a baby piggy. She was adorable. Actually she was so cute I may not buy any bacon from that farmer this year. This was probably not the best marketing idea, which may be the reason why I did not see any piglets this year yet.
But we did see some bees at work,
busy buzzing bees, and tasted their wonderful honey
We browsed through jewelry
Drooled over cupcakes
and look at some beautiful artwork from paintings, pottery and wood art. In general you can buy anything there from non traditional clothing, even preschool materials to your traditional breads, meats, fruits and veggies
So if you are looking to grocery shop and want to skip the traditional super market head with your kids to Forest Hill on Saturday and eat, dance and be marry.
I have been researching the local Parks and Playgrounds this summer to give you more ways to exhaust your kids. You know just in case the 104 degree heat we have been having did not work. I know there are plenty of playgrounds to still visit in Richmond but chances are you will be venturing towards Williamsburg this summer.
You may have family visiting and will want to show them Colonial Williamsburg
You may choose to go shopping in amazing outlet mall that by the way has been having great sales lately. I do not however recommend going into any store with toddlers, especially twins, and no stroller. Unless you want your son to parade around J Crew wearing 10 bracelet and approaching people by saying “Would you like a bracelet? It’s biuuu ti ful”
Or you may be one of the lucky ones who’s family member or child can get accepted into the College of William and Mary and you decide to come up for a visit.
In my case my trips to Williamsburg are often caused by an urge to eat good Polish food. That is when I decide to venture out and drive for an hour to a Polish store conveniently named Kielbasa.
Whatever your reasons to go to Williamsburg with toddlers is, this is a perfect place to blow some of their steam. First all I do want to mention that if you can leave them home instead, I would really really really recommend it, especially while shopping. But if you are attached to your kids like me and have no other options, then exhaust them, and then go shopping.
I also want to mention that those “exhaustion” trips can backfire, which I think is happening to me. My kids are virtually inexhaustible. At the ripe age of 2 & 9/12 my son can walk run for 2 hours on hilly slopes (Maymont) and still refuse to take a nap.
In any case Kidsburg is wonderful. There are so many slides, walk ups, hanging things on which I could imagine making my kids do gladiator/team competitions.
there are two small theaters where your little ones can “perform” in their colonial attires
There is plenty of seating room
More slides, walk ups and tire swings, all wooden and sturdy
There is even a wooden swing
If you are not sure that your toddlers are ready for this much freedom
There is a perfect locked in smaller kids area,
With another theater
Cute bugs to sit on, check out the bee it is a double
And if that was not enough there are regular swings
and one super swing that gets your kids ready for the theme park ride in the area.
Unlike the Williamsburg theme park this park is free and there is plenty of shade, vending machines and a nice bathroom
There is even a nice climbing wall, tennis courts and a baseball field adjacent
If you are looking for a fun place to meet with kids or family reunion you can always reserve the park for yourself. It would be perfect and after you can take your favorite family members and venture out to the real Williamsburg or Busch Gardens.
This past weekend I decided to take the kids and participate in the First Annual Dragon Boat Festival in Richmond. I have never ever heard of Dragon boat racing before.
Dragon boat is a traditional long boat in various designs and sizes and decorated with dragon heads and tails.
This team paddling sport originated in China over 2000 years ago as a part of folk ritual, Duen Ng but now has become an international sport.
The team consists of about 22 people, 20 paddlers, one drummer (at the front) and one helmsman (at the rear). But they can vary in sizes the smallest consisting of 10 people.
The drummer represents the heart beat of the dragon and leads the paddlers in even, synchronized, rhythmic strokes. He sits facing the paddlers, which face forward. For my crew loving family this is the opposite of the coxswain who is the only one in the crew boat facing forward.
Now you know everything I know about dragon racing, which still means nothing,
Thank goodness there were people from all over the place to ask, participating in this sport. There were company affiliated programs as well as for fun teams. Which made me think what will we think of next ? We are so lucky to live in this country and think about different clubs and meet ups we can start or attend from book reading to dragon boat racing.
We can win trophies and proudly display them on our book shelve. It made me think how I want to con my husband in taking ball room dancing classes with me, or bike across USA.
It made my son dream about trophies and how he would like to snag one for display
There were performers that sang in Chinese (I presume) and we danced. I sure hope it was about something happy. I would hate to find myself silly dancing with a toddler in my arms to something describing injustice and pain. But what do I know. They didn’t bring the translator.
It was fun but not fun with toddlers. Definitely not fun with toddler twins. No parking space, even though I saw plenty of open spaces. If you go there with toddlers you will imagine yourself forcing your husband to join dragon boat racing with you. He will love it too. Really anything to have fun and be silly again.
Cobblestones Water Park in located in the north side of Richmond. It is made up of two giant pools each with slides that tend to kids in all ages. These photos were actually taken last year when my kids were 18 months old and they really enjoyed some of the slides, the smaller ones of course. The pool above is for the older kids.
These two floating animals are tweens paradise where you can hang out old with friends or meet some new ones.
There is also the sand area in case you do not want to feel like you are at the pool. In the background you should see two giant water slides. One of them the Python is a 100 foot speed slide that propels you into the water at 60 mph. The other giant slide The Yellow Snake is more twisty and relaxed.
If your kids, or you are not quite ready to send them down 60 mph slide path there are plenty of other slides they can take.
The second pool is geared towards much younger crowd.
It has two mushrooms
and a really cute turtle you can climb up and down, especially if you are a toddler afraid of water.
If you are a dare devil you can go down little slides located all around the pool.
from ship wrecks
swirly shells to pirate ships and frogs
For the scared toddlers there are a few cute fountains they can cool off at
There are plenty of life guards on duty and just like any other pool this one provides plenty of change places, bathrooms and food (hamburgers and french fries).
The park is opened 7 days a week from 10am- 5:30 pm. Kids under 2 are free, ages 2-11 are 10$ and 12 and over are 12$. There are also season passes that you can purchase for 55$/65$ depending on the age group. I am not sure if that is the case this year but last year season passes went on 50% sale after 4th of July.
For more information about Cobblestones Park click here. Go here for map and directions.
It has been hot to say it lightly. If hot for you means 105 deg. For me that means boiling and sitting home with AC on the max next to the fan. I know most of us do it but sooner or later our toddlers get a little crazy. Stir crazy, home crazy, or just plain nuts.
They need to blow off steam, we need to blow off steam.
They are tired of their toys and do not want to take their nap.
We are too tired off cleaning up toys and want to venture out somewhere anywhere that will take us. Movies are out of the question for me with toddler twins and two hands I can not imagine it just yet.
I can head to here or here but Stoney Point Fountains are free so you will not feel so bad for leaving after 5 minutes.
They are an absolute blast for kids but can get very crowded quickly, and little ones can get easily pushed down by running screaming toddlers or kindergartners.
The fountains are also conveniently located between ice cream shop, build a bear and
Starbucks which my kids nicely associate with ice cream/milkshakes.
So it is really easy to get conned into buying something. After all you are in the mall so if you can say no to a nice pot or pan at Sur La Table, mommy’s weakness located conveniently next to the fountain, you can’t say no to coffee or ice cream.
Pros: Free fun, water play on the hot day
Cons: No close place to change, crowded and shopping temptations.
For more reviews of the local play areas click here.
Yes I believe in child labor. If my kids want strawberries, blueberries, cherries or peaches they better pick them themselves. Unfortunately I do not have any growing in my back yard, nor do I have a second home in Chile so I have to buy them in the supermarket, a lot.
What I am trying to say is that I am full of it and I really do not make my kids pick their own food if they want it. I wish I did though, that would cut down on the park dates.
I do however want my kids to know where their food comes from and have been found driving for 2 hours each way to pick cherries. If I decided to drive 2 hours east I would be basking and dipping my toes in the ocean. But noooo.
I want my kids to know that strawberry plants are on the ground, cherries grow on trees and blueberries in the bushes.
I don’t know why I found this stuff important? Will that make them healthier or better eaters, probably not. Better farmers, not so much. I don’t think they will never be conned into buying a strawberry tree, so I guess they will make a better consumer. They will know how to pick fresher and tastier fruit in the supermarket but that knowledge will not make it easier for them to get accepted into an ivy league school.
I do it for personal reasons only. First I want to exhaust them and playgrounds can get boring at times. Secondly I can skip the fruit section of the supermarket for few days. Thirdly it forces me to cook with these goodies, sometimes thinking up some crazy things.
So if you live around Richmond, VA and want to go blueberry picking head to the Swift Creek Berry Farm. The blueberry season is amazing this year and the site has some really good blueberry recipes if you happen to live somewhere else, just click here for more information.
It has been so hot around Richmond and East Coast that frankly I forgot about my idea of visiting and rating each public playground around Richmond. I figured that sitting in the air conditioned place was so much better then peeling my screaming kids from slides, or going to the playground for 2.5 seconds just to turn around and go home. No my kids are not stupid enough to go sliding on steaming hot slides, they have grown out of that stage but I did have to save a few smaller kiddos whoes parents blissfully ignored their children cries for help in the scorching heat. But who am I to judge, maybe they just wanted to even out their tan line from their beach excursion last week.
In any case if you missed any of our prior excursions or are interested in the area playgrounds here is a link.
This time we went to Crump Park in Glen Allen.
the park has some walking trails, ponds old, museum and this super duper playground.
The playground is actually two playgrounds in one. The older kids playgrounds which you are looking at now is more wooden and rustic.
There are two short slides and a long tube slide
there is this hand cranked train, and it is a work out so make sure you pawn the job onto an older sibling or friend.
Lots of nooks and crannies
and ways to climb it
In between the two playgrounds there is this shaded sitting area, where you can relax or serve lunch. There are other benches around but none of them are covered.
The younger kids area is very colorful and cute. It consists of little automobiles, train station with loading area and ticket booth
There are school buses, cars, horses, fire trucks and other contraptions that your little one can poke through
they all have movable parts and nobs
Few more slides and climbs
But I think this area just screams imaginative play. It would be so cute for a train themed birthday party.
There are enough swings to go around
and the good thing is that the area provides ample amount of shade.
It is not enclosed but it is isolated from the traffic since you need to drive well into the park to find it. The park has nice, clean bathrooms and a water fountain just in case you are running low on water.
There is also the Meadow Farm Museum and farm site. The farm house provides classes and exhibits on the culture of 1860s South. For more information on the Meadow Farm Museum and its Living History (free) programs for all ages click here.
When we finally decided to take our first fight with daddy we headed to Tangier Island located in the lower eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay.
This town/island of approximately 600 inhabitants is my husbands frequent destination for crab cakes or at times just an excuse to go somewhere.
There are only two ways to arrive on the island via tour boat or plane.
Since the island is very isolated the ways and history of its inhabitants has been well preserved and linguists often study the area for its English Restoration dialect, nearly unchanged since its first occupation by the British in 1686.
The area is divided into smaller islands, with marshes and small tidal streams. Wooden bridges such as this one connect the islands.
The life on the island is very calm. With no cell phone reception, one pay phone, great restaurants, few gift shops and three bed and breakfasts.
If you are planing to visit Tangier you need to bring cash since there is no ATM on the island, few restaurants however do take charge.
Tangier is known for its seafood dishes, especially its soft shell crab sandwiches and crab cakes.
As you may have already figured out that today the inhabitants of Tangier Island rely on crabbing and oysters to make their living.
Tangier is often referred to as soft shell capital of the world
The only industry on the island besides fishing/crabbing is tourism
The main town is really quaint, with home made tourist signs
and according to some locals there are about 50 family names that occupy the island
There is only one school on the island that holds less then 10 children per grade
There are however a lot of stray cats that roam it
Tangier has a vast history ranging form being a Native American retreat
Captain John Smith stopping ground
British stronghold during the assault on Baltimore.
Any way you look at it, it is an “interesting place” with really good food, as long as you are not allergic to shellfish. No it is not a fun place for toddlers or a honeymoon retreat. But for history buffs, pirate treasure seekers, linguists or crab affectionatos this would be a “perfectly strange” place to visit.
This past weekend we took our first plane ride with my husband as a pilot. He has had his private pilot license for almost 3 years but it has taken us this long to go anywhere with him. While he was getting the plane ready for flight we were hanging out in the hangar, which I have now found to be the coolest place to take photos.
I am not a photographer at all nor do I know anything about photography. I take bizillion photos and erase 99.9% of them. That is how I deal with my awful photo skills. I have also found a really cool button on Picasa called sharped which helps me a lot lately. As for photoshop: yes it is great, yes I have some version of it on my computer, no I have not really opened it, no I do not have the time to spend endless hours to learn the program. So for now I am stuck with trial and error but I think I am slowly getting better, well maybe.
I do not have the tendency to hang out in hangars either. See my husband belongs to a flying club that has about 65 members all using 4 planes. It is not that much different then a golf club except that you may be buying cheaper headphones instead of expensive golf clubs, paying more for gas and less for booze.
I think this was my first time in this hangar and I love the rustic look of it. I loved the janitorial mess,the semi spray painted walls. I secretly wished this was my dining room. I know I am crazy but it really makes for cool photos.
So I tried to get the kiddos kiss each other so I can have a cool picture to hang on my walls.
Every time I ask my kids to kiss my son is all up for it and my daughter becomes um… well kinda girlie. She runs away, flirts and leaves her brother baffled. Believe me with those looks at the ripe age of 2.5 he has no issues with girls. I should rephrase that: he has a love for girls and they for him and they never ever run away.
Who could say no to this guy. Oh man I am in so much trouble when he gets older.
At least I will not have to worry about this one for a bit. As far as I know she does not like being kissed by boys and she would rather be chased.
She really really loves being chased and I am not really good at figuring out the high speed function on my camera. I have just ditched the flash option few months ago.
The kiss finally did happen and I ended up with some really cool photos. Now if I can just con the tween to go for a photo shoot with me. She is in that fun stage when she does not like to be photographed, so maybe just maybe I will ask the airport or club to use an empty hangar take 5,000 pictures and let her choose one. This way I will be able to print and finally hang some family photos on my walls.
This weekend we did our Daddy a huge favor. We allowed him to take us all flying, well almost all of us. You see my husband has his private pilot license and loves flying. Some say that he loves it way too much. I personally call it the mistress and his instructor a “drug dealer”. So in order not to add to the addiction I will not tell you how much I enjoyed this flight and how much joy it is to have the freedom to fly anywhere anytime.
All you have to do is to pull up to a little garage, park your car next to it, turn the key,
And in a few minutes a really nice toy peeks its face through the cracks.
Now close your eyes and imagine being able to fly any where any time. Where would yo go? Since it was our first time we chose a quaint Tangier Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. It was a quick 30 minute flight all around Virginia’s beautiful Northern neck.
Just like with any other road trip we packed the kids in the back of the car plane and instead of the ear plugs or head phones we put them in helmets. Which did not work really well. My daughter took her helmet off and my son beard the pain of keeping his on.
When we took off my daughter loved it and my son did not like it at all. You see as a baby he was forced to wear a helmet which he hated so I wonder if those memories had anything to do with his dislike.
We watched the beautiful rivers intertwining around the Chesapeake Bay
open waters of the bay
According to the right monitor we were almost there
you can see the island at the tip of the plane’s nose
The landing strip below us
To land we went around the island turning left and straighten out to land
when we arrived on Tangier Island it was quaint place, a crab fishing island in the middle of the bay that has stopped in time but more about that later.
My son was way too happy to get off the plane. After walking around for a bit and getting some ice cream we headed back. The ride back did not include any helmets and it did included overtired toddlers, in other words it was a lot more smoother.
It took us almost 3 years to go flying with our licensed pilot Daddy. Through some bumpy take offs and landings I think we could get used to it. Just in case my husband is reading this “I do not like Flying” but in a future let’s take a little road trip to the Bahamas? Disney for a day? Outer Banks? The kids need more practice. Just remember I do not like it at all.
P.S. Now I just need to go win a lottery so I can do this more often then every 3 years.
My kids have spent most of the morning singing “Happy Birthday Dear America” since that was the only way I could teach them at a mere age of 2 what Independence Day really means. I have thought them about neighborhood parades.
American Flags, Fire Trucks, Marching Bands, even Irish Dancing
and importance of being kind to dogs
Barbecues and Fireworks.
But what I really really can’t wait to teach them is the meaning of these words and how privileged and glad I am to be living here in the United States of America.
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
When I started blogging less then 3 months ago I was not expecting to meet so many wonderful people that make up this community. Of course I heard stories of people that made friendships with others while blogging but I though the “sparks” most likely happened during a conference or meeting. You can imagine my surprise when Pam from Gingerbread Snowflakes asked for measurements to make my daughter a sun dress.
You can imagine my surprise when the dress arrived two days ago.
I also did not realize that my daughter would make such a bad model.
Unless it is some sort of a running wear or diaper company
I know she has no prior training but I had to chase the little stinker around the house for half an hour to get a decent shot
They were a few moments when she would stop and pause
But most of them involved her falling down, not the most appreciative shot of this beautiful sun dress
Yes she is over tired
She has been refusing to take her afternoon nap for the past 3 days
She has been waking up in the middle of the night for the past week trying to squeeze her way into her parents bed
Even though her Momma has started to say no her Daddy is a sofftie
When she “relocates” to her parents bed she usually takes it over, making sure her Mom does not sleep a wink
Her mommy has developed an eye twitch from lack of sleep
Which means she is too tired and exhausted to drive to any parks, playgrounds or pools
Those trips make this little one tired enough to at least take the afternoon nap.
At least her Mom does get some exercise by chasing her around the house.
God knows she is too tired to continue with any organized type of exercise
At least she had enough energy to day to wash the floor before the photo shoot
Now guess who has to take a break?
To make this beautiful summer dress follow the easy step by step instructions here.
Thank you so much Pam I think it is safe to say that my daughter Loves It.
Pocahontas State Park is located about 20 miles from downtown Richmond and is home to a lot of traditional park activities like camping, hiking, biking etc. There is one thing especially that makes this park so much different then other traditional parks, it has a water park.
The water park consists of four pools each tending to a different age group. There is a toddler pool.
Then there is this kids pool that is just amazing and I will take you for a round tour of the place.
Your kiddos can slide on numerous slides
Swing on ropes
Splash people with water by turning on and off various knobs
Go through tunnels
dunk and spray.
In other words kids paradise. But do not bring your kids to this pool unless they can reach the bottom. The Park does not have an age limit but will not allow your kids to wear any flotation devices. They will however allow for floating swimsuits. There are plenty of life guards on duty but the real danger comes from other kids. For example my little boy after finishing the slide did not get a chance to fully stand up before being knocked down not once but twice by two other sliders. He spent at least 3 seconds under water unable to come up which went unnoticed by the lifeguard, but definately noticed by mama. Mammas make the best lifeguards.
There are also 2 adult only pools
and two tubular slides that cater to anyone willing to do it.
there is a high restriction but my 2 year old boy was tall enough to participate
and if that was not enough there is a sprinkler section
If a day at Pocahontas Water Park is enough to build up your appetite there is a cafe serving the traditional pool meals of burgers, fries, hot dogs, ice cream etc. So all you have to do is bring your bathing suit, spf and wallet and you are set for the day. The park has a changing, shower and bathroom areas that are fairly clean.
There is a 4$ parking fee at Pocahontas on top of the swimming fees. Children under 3 get in free and 6$for adults and 5$ for kids during the week, and 8$ adults 7$ children on the weekends. There are also some group discounts, click here.