Saturday, July 31, 2010

The MANY faces of Summer!

One of our many times in the pool this summer. 


ANNA!

AVA!

ALEXIS!
Notice her scrape on her nose...see NYC post for details!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family Vacation 2010: Part III (NYC)

After we spent our 3rd morning at Sesame Place, we drove to NYC during nap time! I know it sounds bit crazy to think about taking 3 two year olds to NYC...but Jeff and I love the city and to be honest, this was the part of the trip that helped make us feel like it was a vacation and not just a trip. A little something for us too! :)

We swam in the hotel pool and the girls just loved it! Then the next morning we had a town car pick us up and take us to Times Square. Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here...but wouldn't you assume that every cabbie in NYC should know how to get to Times Square? I mean, it has to be one of the most requested stops for tourists....right?  Well, our guy had trouble getting to the GIANT Toy's R' Us that is smack dab in the middle of Times Square. So much so that I started getting irratated and thinking he was just trying to run up the bill, so I pulled out my GPS and told him where to turn and and FINALLY made it.
The girls showing Jeff all of the "pretty colors and lights" in Times Square!
Aw...our first family pic in NYC! too bad Anna is showing off her circus trick of no-hands-cup-drinking!

As you might be wondering...yes, I dressed the girls identically (and in bright colors) on purpose. I do this when I anticipate we will be in large crowds. NYC qualifies...lots of people, and obviously we held their hands the entire time, but it's just helpful when we need to see them or spot them quickly.

We met up with our friend Julee (who went to OSU, worked with Jeff at the Newport back in the day, but is originally from Long Island, and ALSO has 6 year old Triplets! I know....how cool is that!?). So we met Julee and Steven, Jack and Jordan at the Toy's R' Us and walked around together.

The girls got a kick out of seeing the gigantic tyranasauraus Rex that moves and roars. It just has to be out of Jurassic Park...it looks that real! Alexis liked it most and would get close, but Anna and Ava just liked Rex from a distance! They also loved going into the two story Pink Barbie House and I can't believe we made it out of there without buying a thing.....well, okay, Julee bought them their first NYC shirts, but I didn't spend a dime! woohoo!
Two sets of TRIPLETS!
L-R back Jack, Steven, Jordan
L-R front: Anna, Ava, Alexis
It's hard to get 6 kids to look at the same time!

So we left TRUs and took a cab back to the hotel to get our truck and then drove out to the island to meet up with Julee and family at her house.
This was the only picture I took of the city...just didn't get the chance, except while we were driving out to Long Island. But here's my proof we were actually there....if the Times Sq. pics didn't convince you. :)

Julee took us to a cool beach club where she has a private little cabana. The kids all played in the sand and we could all just sit and have some cold drinks while they enjoyed themselves. Plus there is a kiddie pool close by, so we also spent some time there and then came back for some snacks and a quick shower before leaving to go to dinner. It was such a great day! It was so nice to have a place where you can leave all of the sand and toys and also have a fridge and shower...all to ourselves. So NICE!

So then we left there and met up with Julie's husband Mark at a fantastic little restaurant called Grimaldi's. Definitely a place you need to check out the next time you visit NYC! YUM!
We sat outside and had a wonderful, delicious meal with great friends. The only little mishap came when the girls were all running and playing with Mark (he's SO much fun and gets tons of giggles from the girls) and Alexis got too excited and took a nose dive skid on the sidewalk. She scraped up her nose pretty good, but luckily no serious injuries.

We headed back to our hotel that night after saying our goodbyes to Julee and family and headed home the next morning. I thought we would just drive half way home or maybe 3/4ths the way, but Jeff was determined to make it the ENTIRE way! What should have been about a 9-10 hour drive quickly became a 12 hour+ drive and needless to say....all 4 of us girls were beyond ready to be out of the truck.
Although, I do have to admit....it was so nice to have both Saturday and Sunday to unpack and clean out the truck prior to going back to work on Monday. Good call, Jeff. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TIPS for visiting Sesame Place!

MY TIPS! 
I can only speak from experience of our one visit, but I still feel like I learned some valuable lessons that may help others have a fun-filled experience!

1. Purchase your tickets/passes online in advance of arriving. Waiting in long lines with small children, didn't sound fun to me, so I doubt it does to you either!
2. Upgrade one of your passes to a season pass. (I was SUPER fortunate to find a special deal back in May that allowed me to purchase all of our tickets for the regular 1-day price, but as a bonus, it upgraded all of us to season pass members FOR FREE!) 
As a season pass member, we got the following:
--Enter the park through a MUCH shorter line.
--Receive 30% discount on ALL of your food and merchandise you purchase at the gift shops! (This was HUGE!...we saved so much money that it is worth the price of upgrading to season pass members...as you can imagine...food, beverages, 3 Elmos, 1 Telly, 1 Grover and 1 Big Bird are not cheap!)
--Allowed us to visit 2.5 days without buying a 3rd day's admission for everyone. (They usually offer buy 1 day, your second day is free, but if you plan on going any more than 2 days, the season pass is the way to go. Heck, even if you are just going 2 days....it was worth the savings!)
3. Pay the extra $3 ($18) and park in the Premiere/Preferred parking instead of general parking for $15. It gets you much closer to the gate. VIP parking is $25 and is even closer, but I don't think it is that much closer for the price.
4. Eat at 11am....the food areas are not busy at all and the girls were MUCH less distracted and ate better during this time than when we hit one of the areas right at Noon one day. 
5. Arrive to shows a tad early so you get the best seats. For Elmo's world live...try to sit on the isle by the stairs....Elmo uses the stairs at the beginning and end of every show so you get to see him and give high fives!
6. If you plan on spending most of your time in the wet-attraction areas, I would suggest renting one of the Count's Cabanas for the day. A private, shaded cabana that you can come and go from all day. But be sure to make reservations before you arrive...they book up quick.  We didn't do it in advance, and they were sold out when we arrived. 
7. The girls were a little over 2 when we went, and while I think they had fun and there were things for them to do...I am guessing the prime age is 4-7yrs old. Of course I don't know this yet for sure, but based on the rides I saw and water attractions...I think that is probably pretty ideal. With that said...I can see us making another trip next year when the girls are 3....so it's still worth it with little ones!
8. Stay at a hotel that is SUPER close! There were a few right across the street that you might even be able to walk over from. Our hotel was 11 miles away (and while this doesn't sound like far....I didn't think we were in a very nice part of town, the girls would fall asleep on the way back (for only 15 mins) instead of taking good naps at the hotel, and our hotel was yucky...oh and it didn't have an elevator...and when you are lugging in 3 kids and all of the crap that comes with them....you need an elevator. (I'm not going to include the hotel name here since I have stayed at other properties under this hotel chain and they were nice, but if you want to know which one it was, just email me.....it was listed under preferred hotels on SPlace's website too, so that sucks. Yes, I'm letting them know I don't think it should qualify as one of their preferred hotels so they are aware of the conditions from a customer's perspective.)

Hope these TIPS were helpful. I know some of you have asked me how it went and if I would recommend Sesame Place. I definitely would. Their staff is welcoming and helpful and friendly. The park is clean and I think it is easy to get to. Overall, it was a great experience and I know we'll go again!



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Family Vacation 2010: Part II (Sesame Place)

After leaving Aunt Kiki and Joe's house, we drove down to Sesame Place near Philly. It is a waterpark/amusement park, obviously, for kids. :) The girls have just started watching Sesame Street at home and they have always loved ELMO since someone gave them a stuffed Elmo doll when they were little. So I wasn't sure how they would be with the characters, but considering they love Brutus from a distance, but not up close, I wasn't too optimistic.

Day ONE:
The girls at the entrance!
Alexis is pointing to a giant shrub in the shape
of a birthday cake since Sesame is celebrating 30 years!


Notice....The girls don't want to get too close to Oscar
which means, Jeff and I are in ALL of the pictures!
I just thought this was a cute pic of B&E.
The girls were standing by me waving, but refusing to get any closer!
Are you getting the idea here?
This is the distance that the girls think is safe,
but close enough to wave and shout and yell "ZOE"!




Again...safe distance from the Count.
Anna and Alexis are still watching to make sure Zoe doesn't get too close!
Grover...from a distance...with people that are not us. :)





Day TWO:
We started off with a special "Dine with Me" breakfast, where we got to eat yummy food while several of the characters walked through the room and others posed and allowed you to come take pictures. The girls loved being "IN" the room with all of the characters, but they just didn't want them to come "close" to them! :) 
Speaking of Alexis...here she is alerting us to incoming characters that are getting too close to our table.
I think Bert was the intruder this time. 
Here we ALL are with Zoe.
Notice Anna trying to escape and Ava not getting any closer than she has to. 

Anna and Ava with Daddy and Ernie. Just not sure about high fives with giant orange hands!
Alexis wouldn't get closer enough for me to get her in the frame. 

Alexis tracking the intruder.

By the time we left the breakfast it was POURING down rain. We figured we would make the best of it so we ran to the gift shop and purchased 5 yellow ponchos! It was definitely a site to see me pulling a choo-choo wagon with 3 little ducks wrapped up in their ponchos! (I thought I had pictures of it, but I can't find them. boo!) So instead of waiting out the rain, we headed over for our second visit to the Elmo's World Live show. The girls loved seeing Elmo in action and thought Mr. Noodle was hilarious....especially since he wore turtle swimmies on his arms for part of the show. That was all they talked about for the rest of the day....how Anna loved Mr. Noodle because he had Turtle swimmies! Funny girls!

After we left the show, we headed over to the carousel since it was under cover.  It was a HUGE hit with the girls. And now that I look at the pictures, I realize this may be the reason they are associating horses with Aunt Kiki's house. (see Vacation, Part I) They DID ride horses on this trip...just not at her house. Geesh, they are smarter than even I realize 
sometimes!





Anna giving the cheesy smile upon her chosen GREEN horse! :)







Ava showing us her horse has PINK hair!













Alexis also giving the full cheese upon her selected PURPLE horse!
Look at how wet her hair is!


While there were a few meltdowns and difficult moments, I would still highly suggest planning a visit to Sesame Place. Look for my next post for TIPS to keep in mind.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Family Vacation 2010: Part I

We decided to take our first real family vacation this year. (ok, so I decided and Jeff said no to my idea of driving all the way to Myrtle Beach.) So our first stop was visiting Aunt Kiki (my dear friend Kristen) and her fiance Joe in Eastern Pennsylvania. The girls did AWESOME on the 7.5 hour drive to her house and then they were so excited to finally get to see Aunt Kiki, but to top it all they found out that she had a pool! OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!
L-R Anna, Alexis, Ava
L-R Ava, Alexis, Anna
Aunt Kiki helping me keep the girls inside of the raft! 


Sorry, the video is kind of long...


I forgot to take any pictures of Kristen and Joe with the girls, but let's just say, the girls are still talking about Aunt Kiki and Uncle Joe's house....and the POOL....and now they have somehow come up with the idea that they have horses too, because now they want to go back and ride horses! HAHA! Kristen and Joe...can you work on that please? :)  

We stayed overnight and had a scrumptious breakfast and lunch before heading to our next destination: Sesame Place near Philly.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July!

I'd like to first thank all of the service men and women who are protecting the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans. I can't ever thank you enough, but I will continue to try.

Our local parade was cancelled this year due to road construction. So we joined the Ullum family for a good ole' Upper Arlington Independence Day Celebration....on the 3rd. :) UA has the longest running non-commercial parade in the country...or so they claim. Neighborhoods and streets get together and make floats, the local sports teams are well represented and every dancer and old car in the area seems to be in that parade, but it is So.much.FUN! Thanks Beth and Doug for having us over and letting us be a part of your community celebration!


The girls loved the parade and watched the whole thing!

The horses are always big pleasers and got the girls on their feet!

We took the girls to another parade up in Sunbury on the 5th. They loved this one too, but I didn't realize how much candywas thrown out at this parade. Since the girls don't even know what they are missing, I convinced them to help pick up all of the candy thrown at us and give it to the Boy Scout Troop leader that was standing next to us. He had a big bag and was joining the troop towards the end of the parade and he was going to throw it back into the crowd, so how's that for quick recycling....and it saved the girls from a major sugar rush!

Then we walked into the town square and saw the little flea market/festival. It was such a HOT day that the girls weren't really up for the flea market and we headed home. That evening we celebrated cousin Austin's FIRST birthday! Happy Birthday buddy!