Marshmallow Mondays


Meeting A Mermaid
09.28.15, 8:21 AM
Filed under: Things To Do/Places To See | Tags: ,

Most of you know that Lily has a bit of a fascination with mermaids. On Saturday, she had the opportunity to meet one, and I’m sure it’s a day she won’t forget.

The world famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids are currently visiting The Newport Aquarium from their home in Tampa, so we ventured to Cincinnati so that Lily could see them swim and attend one of their meet and greets.

Since we had some time before the first meet and greet, we enjoyed walking through the Aquarium for a bit and eventually got in line to meet “Chelsea” the Mermaid.

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Except for one time when she was four months old, Lily has never sat on Santa or the Easter Bunny’s lap, and she is terrified of mascots or dressed-up characters. She even gets anxiety on Christmas Eve because she’s worried that Santa is going to come into her bedroom. This is how I know that her love of mermaids is not only real, but it is a very deep love. As we were standing in line, Lily waited so patiently without taking her eyes off of Chelsea. As we got closer to the front of line she tapped my leg and said “Mama, do you think Chelsea will let me sit on her lap?”

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So, in Lily’s eyes, Chelsea the Mermaid ranks higher than Santa Claus. I also have to commend Rydan for waiting patiently so that his sister could meet a mermaid. He easily could have complained, but he didn’t. Even when we reached the part of the Aquarium where the mermaids were swimming, and Lily stood in awe for quite some time watching, Rydan let her enjoy the moment. She probably would have stood there all day if we let her.

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Obviously the mermaids were the highlight of Lily’s visit, but we also saw a lot of other cool creatures. Here are just a few…

Gila Monster

Gila Monster

Viper

Viper

Alligator

Alligator

A Sea Otter. This guy thrived on attention from people, and was quite entertaining to watch.

Sea Otter. This guy thrived on attention from people, and was quite entertaining to watch.

Alligator

Alligator

This big guy is over 100 years old.

This big guy is over 100 years old.

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Penguins

Penguins

The last part of the Aquarium is a Shark Bridge, which is the only suspension bridge in North America where you can walk just inches above nearly two dozen sharks. You literally have to walk one foot in front of the other as the bridge sways from side to side. Rydan was particularly looking forward to this experience, and it didn’t disappoint.

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On the way home, we had two exhausted, sleeping kiddos, which is always evidence of a good time.

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Strawberries
06.08.15, 8:42 AM
Filed under: Things To Do/Places To See | Tags: ,

Summertime means strawberries. We visited Evan’s Orchard on Saturday for u-pick strawberries. With Rydan on vacation, Lily, Mommy and Daddy took two buckets into the strawberry patch.

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We were pleasantly surprised to find that we didn’t have to strain our backs while picking. Evan’s has a really cool set up for their strawberries. They grow in tall clusters of cones, and each cluster actually spins so that you can conveniently pick from any cone. Whether you’re Lily-sized or Daddy-sized, picking was super easy and fun.

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Lily celebrated every time she found a red berry to put in her bucket.

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Between our two buckets, we came out with 4 pounds of strawberries.

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After all that hard work, we headed to Evan’s play area for some fun. Lily loves to ride on the little pink tractor.

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I lost count of how many times we went down that slide, but Lily’s high-pitched squeal was just as loud and strong the first time down as it was the last time down. After getting off the third or fourth time, Ryan told her she didn’t have to scream so loud and she said “But, Daddy, I’m just so excited!”

Yesterday, I took our four pounds of strawberries and made a strawberry pie. It is as tasty as it looks too! Lily has already requested a slice for breakfast.

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Kids Helping Kids

Operation Christmas Child is something I’ve done with my kids for the past two years to help remind them of the importance of a giving heart during the holiday season.  It is so easy for both of them to get caught up in their Christmas wish lists, so I like to remind them that there are millions of children who are in need of kindness from others, not just during the holidays, but all year round. 

So, last week, we hosted a “Packing Party,” and invited a few friends to come over and pack shoe boxes with us.  The kids each brought a box and gifts to pack inside.  Before we even started packing, I showed them two short videos that explained how to pack a box, as well as the impact that their kindness has on the recipients of Operation Christmas Child.  Next, they filled out “About Me” worksheets to include with their gifts, so that the shoe box recipient can get to know his or her gifter a bit better.  I enjoyed watching all of them write about themselves, as well as write answers to “I love Jesus because…”  Finally, they packed their shoe boxes with gifts and placed a label on the outside indicating who their box was for (boy or girl in a specific age group).

Here are a few photos from our party.

Learning about OCC.

Learning about OCC.

Working on their "About Me" worksheets.

Working on their “About Me” worksheets.

Packing gifts.

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Smiling faces and giving hearts.

Smiling faces and giving hearts.

If you haven’t participated in Operation Christmas Child, I encourage you to do so with your children.  Lily is only three, and she had such a fun time choosing gifts for “her friend without toys.”  Not once did she pest me to buy something for her instead.  Rydan is nine, so he understands a little more than Lily about the impact he is making on children in need.  As hard as it is for him to comprehend another boy his age not having a Wii, or bike, or a television, or a bed, or shoes, it does open his eyes and makes him want to help. 

Sending some love and joy to kids in need from kids who care is so easy, and there is still plenty of time to get involved.  For more information, visit Operation Christmas Child’s website.



Fall Festival

We’ve had some beautiful fall-like weather in Lexington over the past few days.  Saturday was no different, so we ventured to one of our favorite places, Evans Orchard, to enjoy their Apple Festival.

The kids absolutely love their play area, which includes the apple cider slider, swings, a wall maze, rat racers big wheel track, tire climbs, a hay castle, corn bin play boxes, and lots more.  In addition to all of the fun at the play area, we also enjoyed a hay ride around the orchard, visited a few farm animals in the barn yard, and ended with some apple picking.  As you’ll see below, Lily’s favorite part of the day was getting to ride a horse named Puddles (and maybe burying her brother in the corn pit).

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Drive-In

On Saturday we did something that we have never done together as a family…

We went to the drive-in!

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Skyvue Twin Drive-in is less than 30 minutes from our home.  We attempted to go see Despicable Me 2 a few weeks ago, but unfortunately arrived after it was sold out.  This time, we made sure to arrive extra early, enjoyed a picnic dinner with our neighborhood friends, and played in the sunshine before the movie (DIsney Planes) began.

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The boys played some catch in front of the big screen before the movie started.

The boys played some catch in front of the big screen before the movie started.

Lily chose to read a book.

Lily chose to read. (of course)

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Southern friends. Love them.

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Best buds.

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She loves her “Baby Carter.”

 



Days Of Summer

With just two and a half weeks left until school starts again, we are trying our very best to make the most of summer vacation.  Last week, I took the kids to Boyd’s Orchard to pick blackberries.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and the kids had such a fun time.

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I made a pretty tasty blackberry peach cobbler with these for dessert that evening.

This past Saturday, we visited The Kentucky Horse Park for its tenth annual Hats Off Day celebration.  The event included free admission, free pony rides, inflatable games, arts and crafts and lots of horses to admire.

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Lily and Rydan making their mark on the 20-foot horse mural!

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Coloring their stick horses.

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Petting “Redman.”

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Posing with “Tea Biscuit.”

The featured event of the evening was the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix Horse Jumping Competition.

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At the beginning of the opening ceremonies, we saw a “Combined Driving” demonstration.

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Special guest Harry de Leyer, the man responsible for turning “Snowman” into a champion horse. Harry bought Snowman for just $80 at a Pennsylvania auction in 1956, and just two years later Snowman won the horse show Triple Crown, the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year, Professional Horseman’s Association Champion and Champion of Madison Square Garden’s Diamond Jubilee.

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The competition begins.

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On the walk back to our car, we passed by this sweet fellow, who allowed us to feed him. Lily was in love.



Louisville

Spontaneous.  That’s what we were on Saturday when we decided at 2pm to go on an overnight trip to Louisville.  By 3pm, all four of us were packed, hotel booked, and we were on the road.  We arrived at our hotel by 4:30pm, checked in, and the fun began.

Our first stop was The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where we toured all sorts of interesting, historical exhibits and also had the opportunity to go on a 30 minute factory tour to see how Louisville Slugger bats are made.  Pretty cool!

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Daddy holding Cal Ripken, Jr.'s bat.

Daddy holding Cal Ripken, Jr.’s bat.

Rydan holding Joey Votto's bat.

Rydan holding Joey Votto’s bat.

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Posing with Babe Ruth.

Perfect for Rydan - there was a baseball lego exhibit!

Perfect for Rydan – there was a baseball lego exhibit!

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A short walk away was the Kentucky Science Factory.  The kids had a great time exploring this fun, hands-on, educational factory.

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The next morning we drove to the Louisville Zoo, and spent nearly four hours exploring lots of different animals.  This place was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

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I LOVE giraffes.  This guy was simply extraordinary.  We had such a great view of him.

I LOVE giraffes. This guy was simply extraordinary. We had such a great view of him.

He showed us how he has to angle his front legs to get a drink of water.

He showed us how he has to angle his front legs to get a drink of water.

The elephant showed us how strong he is.

The elephant showed us how strong he is.

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The gorillas were so entertaining.  We were lucky enough to be able to see this guy go out and gather his food.  He walked around picking up lettuce and then raced back inside to eat.  The interesting part was that each gorilla gathered his own food and none of them shared.

The gorillas were so entertaining. We were lucky enough to be able to watch them go out and gather food. They all walked around picking up lettuce and then raced back inside to eat, each of them in a separate corner eating alone, but still able to see one another.

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