Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two weeks on the move

This week were are back in town after stops in Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The girls had a little more trouble getting to sleep than usual because of all the excitement, but when they did sleep, they slept in a cuddly pile like a couple of puppies.

Here are the girls sleeping in the hotel where James had his conference in Baltimore.

The first day in Baltimore, I took the girls to the Children's museum. The girls liked the mock-up grocery store area best. Vanessa got to choose all the cereals I don't let her choose at home...

Elizabeth took her groceries to the nearby exhibit wherein children could pretend to drive a car. I guess she wanted to pretend she was taking her groceries home. She's clutching a can of baked beans (she loves all kinds of beans!)

Vanessa knew just what to do with this jester cut-out. Behind her was a craft room where the girls played with some paint and glue later on.

But of course we went to the aquarium! This Megladon jaw never ceases to amaze me. Elizabeth seemed to like the ray and shark exhibits best. Vanessa definitely loved the dolphin show the best. Some of the other highlights were crocodiles, a frilled lizard, rainbow lorikeets, and a golden lion tamarin.

And the bubbles! These towers of bubbles are an endless source of wonder for them!

I am glad that we were in Baltimore long enough to give us an excuse to check out the science museum. It was definitely worth it! I liked it about as much as the aquarium, especially because it had such great exhibits for little kids. Here, Vanessa and Elizabeth get cozy in some dinosaur footprints.

The girls loved unearthing this dinosaur fossil. There was also a pretty cool three-dimensional skeleton of another dinosaur that they could put together like a puzzle.

The little kids area of the science museum has a really great pin board right at the beginning. The girls would have been content to play with it the whole time, I think! Except for the fact that there was an amazing water table area (I didn't get out my camera for fear of drenching it). The water table had pipes and fountains and a stream with moveable dams. Plus there were legos, trains, and rooms of a model ship and submarine to climb inside. I think we could have stayed in the little kids' area all day if we didn't have to break for food!

Next after Baltimore was our trip to New Jersey to see our fabulous grown-up friend Vanessa and her family. Not long after we arrived, we took a trip to Sesame Place just a little ways into Pennsylvania. I think Elizabeth was feeling a bit under the weather, because she seemed like she might be ready for a nap (which she rarely takes these days). But she absolutely loved this pretend store in the Sesame Street Neighborhood area. It had painted-on food and signs -- nothing real to put in any baskets like at the children's museum in Baltimore, but I think she liked it even better!

Here are Vanessa and her toddler Samantha. It was so cool to see my girls playing with Samantha -- they ran around the house and had just a fantastic time.

Elizabeth and Vanessa really loved the carousel too!

The day after we visited Sesame Place, Elizabeth was acting kind of sick, so we decided to head back home. It was definitely hard for us to say good-bye. After a day or so, though, she seemed fine, so I decided to continue on with the next part of the trip we planned -- to Princess Anne, Maryland, to visit their Grandma's house for the first time.

I decided to visit my friend Sara whom I'd really been missing, because she was vacationing in Delaware just an hour or so from my mother's house. I had the idea of going to the beach, which I think would have been a perfect idea, except for the wind... oh, and except for Vanessa spending a good portion of the time going back and forth to the potty. As it was, it was still cool to see the girls dipping their toes in the water, building sand castles, and finding interesting things in the sand.

Here are Vanessa and Elizabeth with Aryana. They were pretty patient with my beach idea, but they had a really much better time back at the house! There, they played with toys, read books, and giggled together.

The girls were all jumping up and down in the sand in this picture (well, Elizabeth hasn't quite learned how to jump yet).

Here's a picture of my friend Sara taking a picture of Adalyn. Adalyn truly is such a beautiful baby! I can't wait to see Sara and her remarkable family again soon!

Here is a picture of Elizabeth and her Grandma. Elizabeth loved Grandma's hair, and immediately decided to use the end of her braid as a paintbrush to paint Grandma's head "pink."
Grandma made lots of balloon animals for the girls to play with. Vanessa decided that this balloon flower made an excellent Grandma-bopping toy. Ah, well, I guess my kids show their affection in strange ways.
Grandma took the girls swimming and to lots of playgrounds. They also really enjoyed their hike through the cypress swamp!
I'm so glad we've had so many opportunities to spend time with people who are so important to us. It's been a busy June, and it's not over yet!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Elizabeth turns two!

Elizabeth had her second birthday on Tuesday. She truly is a toddler now. She amazes me every day with all the things she can express and do!

But first, our trip to Massanutten, Virginia! Jamie and Sandra were so nice to invite us to vacation with them. We played on the playground and took a brief hike in the morning, followed by the waterpark in the afternoon. Maybe we were already a bit tired by the time we got to the waterpark, because it was something of a comedy of errors -- I forgot my swimsuit and had to go back to the cabin to get it, and James slipped on the side of the pool and fell in with a great big splash (I was busy retrieving my suit at the time or else I'm sure I would be able to further embelish that event).

But we enjoyed ourselves immensely nevertheless. Elizabeth fell in love with these yellow bouncy seats. She spent a good portion of her water park time in them. Vanessa meanwhile put her life jacket on and took it off twenty or so times. It's like dress-up, but with a safety twist!

I was able to convince Elizabeth to take a break from the bouncy seat to explore the fountain area of the kiddie pool. She liked that part too!

Sandra, Vanessa, and I took a ride down the lazy river ride. Even though Vanessa got fairly drenched, she kept a pretty cheery attitude for the ride.

Saying hi to Daddy!

Sandra said she had fun trying out the boogie board ride at the water park. So I gave it a try too. I didn't wipe out, but I still couldn't quite figure out how to stay at the bottom of the wave. Maybe next time. All the grownups also got to try out some of the big water slides, which was SO much fun!

The next day, we took the girls Frisbee golfing. They liked throwing the Frisbees, and when they were a little worn out, a deer provided further entertainment. (Although, we don't have to go to Massanutten to see deer -- James saw one in our garden the other evening, and deer have definitely been sampling our fine vegetables.)

This picture we took back at home. Elizabeth and Vanessa have both reached new stages of drawing. Vanessa has started taking an interest in coloring (notice the Cinderella). Elizabeth has taken an interest in drawing representations of objects (balloons, birthday cakes, letters of the alphabet), rather than her previous random squiggles.

Wow, don't they look grown-up in this picture? As soon as Elizabeth and Vanessa woke up on Elizabeth's birthday, they donned birthday hats and started singing "happy birthday!"

A little later in the morning, and still just excited about her birthday!

Nana and Grampa celebrated Elizabeth's birthday with us.

Elizabeth may never really know how she was able to blow out that candle all by herself.

Elizabeth tried to eat the whole cake with her fork at first.

Well, she was still SUPER excited to eat her piece of cake with red frosting.

Vanessa was almost as excited about the birthday cake as if it were her own birthday. She's pretty much ready for her birthday to be here too!

One last picture of the birthday girl! She was 33 and a half inches at her 2-year appointment and 27 pounds. She's getting to be quite independent -- she insists on climbing into her car seat by herself, she can put on some pants and other clothes by herself, and she is fully potty-trained now. She talks and sings when she is by herself too, sometimes putting on a little finger puppet show to entertain herself. But even though she is very independent, she loves to be with her sister, her parents, her extended family, and her friends!