A Day Out with Thomas

Posted May 11th, 2012 by Sally and filed in Adventures, Doozy, Family, Firsts, Kiddos

Even though our house had been turned topsy-turvy with illness for the week preceding, we had tickets to go see Thomas the Train and we weren’t about to let a little flu bug keep us away. (Truthfully, we thought we’d beaten the illness only to come home and find that Noah’s temperature was 102 after  he cooled off.)

No matter how one is feeling, a day with trains is always counted as a good one in our house.  And a day with Thomas the Train? Well, that’s pretty spectacular.

The whole thing is set up with crafts and games and, of course, a Thomas Toy tent, and it’s basically a commercialization-phobe’s worst nightmare.  But, we didn’t do too bad with that stuff and only walked away with a commemorative train car for Noah and an “Emily” engine for Ava to add to our growing train car stash.  Gotta love easy-to-please kids.

We had time to kill before our train ride, so we poked around in the display trains in the rail yard.

Dude wanted nothing to do with wearing the engineer’s hat I had gotten for him. Oh, the lost photo op!

So, what they do for the Thomas Day Out is put the Thomas “engine” at the front of the regular train and put the real engine at the back to push.  It was pretty cute and just the right length of train ride for us.

When the ride was over, we got to see Sir Topham Hatt.  Ava was thrilled to wait in line, but wanted nothing to do with him when he showed up. Doozers seemed like he was going to be really friendly, but then bailed and wanted to be held by Mommy to get his photo taken. (Add train characters to the Santa Claus, Easter bunny phobias!)

The Southern Nevada Railroad group was running a garden steam train for folks to ride for free also.  So, Matt and the kids took a whirl.

We finished up our visit watching Thomas come back into the station with the last run of the day.

We ended the outing (the first over 100 degree day this spring) with a trip to DQ to cool off.

But, lest you think our time with trains ended when we left Boulder City, think again.  We went right home and put our new toys to work.

We ended the night with a cheese & crackers dinner while we watched a Thomas show.  A great day and a fun time exploring one of Noah’s favorite things!

A Bunch of Monkeys (and a trip to the zoo)

Posted May 9th, 2012 by Sally and filed in Adventures, Doozy, Family, Firsts, Kiddos, Vacation, Whoozy

First exhibit of the day were some monkeys (chimps?).  Our little monkeys loved it!

It would have been insane to go to San Diego and not visit the world’s best zoo.  And, since we’re not really crazy, we went.  Rain was in the forecast for most of the days we were visiting, so we took advantage of the sunny weather on our first day in town and went to see some animals.  The truly lovely thing about San Diego was that it wasn’t hot or cold, just pleasant, so the animals were out and about doing their thing.  So much more fun to visit them when they’re playing than when they’re scrambling for shade because it’s a bajillion degrees outside.

We got to the park right when it opened at 9am and stayed until about 2pm.  I think we saw everything but the tigers.  The kids did great with all the walking and the no-nap day and Matt and I were in vacation mode (i.e., give them whatever they want so that they’re happy and we all enjoy this).   We had so many pictures from the day, it was hard to choose just a few.  So, will share a bunch with captions to tell this story.

Taking the double jogger was key.  Ava needed a place to sit by the end of the day!

These statues were all over the zoo and the kids loved climbing on them.

Early morning outing for the male gorilla, so that he can “take care of business.” This was pretty hilarious.
He walked right over in front of us, turned his back and got to work.

When he was done, he walked right over to the glass and got nose to nose with Ava.
Guess he wanted some privacy. ;-)

More playing/posing with the statues.

Totally her idea.

On Ava’s insistence we rode the gondola before lunch, from the top of the hill. Turns out she’s brilliant.  No line, and we got a roundtrip ride with no wait because our stroller didn’t fit.  Awesome! 

Noah loved this ride.  I was a nervous Nelly and had a pretty tight hold of him.
The kid has no fear and is a total thrill junkie.

More gorillas out to play as we coasted overhead.

The polar bears put on quite a show! They played a little water polo together and were very entertaining!

Can’t go to the San Diego Zoo and not see the pandas, right? We waited in line for about forty minutes, but the kids were pretty patient. I will say that I’ve not seen pandas this close before.  The ones in DC are far from the fence and usually hiding.  These guys were cute!

Noah LOVED the giraffes.  They were pretty busy and very near the fence, so he had a great view of them.

At the end of the day, we wound up at the petting zoo. The kids brushed the goats and Noah played with their dirt.
Gross, but they had a great time.

This about sums it up.  One last pose with a statue and, yes, we were all wiped out!

Passed out snuggling his new giraffe buddy on the ride back to the hotel.

Thanks for the memories, zoo friends!

A Trip to the Beach

Posted May 8th, 2012 by Sally and filed in Adventures, Doozy, Family, Firsts, Kiddos, Vacation, Whoozy

At the beginning of March, Matt called me at work one day (totally out of the blue) and said, “Want to go to the beach?  Let’s go to San Diego.  I’m online booking it now.” So, in early April, we went!  We stayed at the awesome Navy North Island NAS in some of the nicest TLFs we’ve ever visited.  I suppose, really, the rooms weren’t anything truly luxurious (and we were in the old building) but we weren’t there for the hotel room.  We were there for this…

See that ship?  It was waaaay out there.  It’s a BIG ship.

From our room, we walked across a lawn and then hit the beach…leading straight to the Pacific Ocean.

Needless to say, we absolutely loved it.  The weather wasn’t the most cooperative (we were freezing!) but that didn’t stop us from getting some play time in with the waves and digging up as much sand as possible.  This was Noah’s first trip to a beach and Ava’s first that she would really remember, so it was a highly exciting time!

Chasing waves.

Bundled up because he face-planted in the (cold) water.

“Ladybug Girl LOVES the beach!”


Each day we were there, we spent a couple hours just wandering the beach or going to check on the waves.  These kiddos are definitely water lovers, so it did take a little effort to keep them from just running straight into the water.  But, if we stayed back from the tide line, they were just as happy to play in the sand and make a total mess.

Nothing says “Day at the Beach” like winter coats and sweatpants, right? :-)

Like I said, they enjoyed getting messy.  Ahh…sand in fleece.  That’s so easy to shake out!

This guy loves the beach.

So does this girl.

A great start to a wonderful adventure.  More from San Diego soon!

The Big One

Posted August 28th, 2011 by Sally and filed in Doozy, Firsts, Kiddos, Party Time

(Bear with me…when your baby turns one, you use a TON of pictures to tell the story.)

For the grown-ups, the birthday started Friday night as we did some prep for the party the next day.  Grammie & Grandad were here to help Matt and I get the cake ready.  In spite of a few stressful moments when we weren’t sure we’d be able to get it into a refrigerator, we had a great time letting our creativity run wild.

So, needless to say, yesterday was a momentous day.  Noah slept in until 8am.  Just kidding….he really did sleep until 8am, but obviously this day was HUGE because it was our baby boy’s first birthday.  Since his big sister didn’t hook us up with a chance to really sleep in, I had plenty of time to go get our party balloons filled and pick up some special treats for breakfast…donuts!  When we were all awake, we had a special birthday breakfast of breakfast casserole and donuts.

After that, we spent the morning just hanging around playing with Grammie & Grandad and even practicing some walking.  While he’s nowhere near proficient, Noah has taken about four or five steps at a time on several occasions.  He’s such a fast cruiser he hasn’t had much incentive to get up and walking in open spaces.  Because, really, when you can cuddle up with your big sister on the floor, why would you start walking?

Before we knew it, it was time to toast Noah’s birth and open his first present!

After lunch and during naps, we took advantage of some kid-free time to put some finishing details on the cake and decorations.

And, then, it was time for the main event…a first birthday party! The guest of honor had to be woken from his nap, but was ready to have a great time after a quick costume change and hair combing.

All dressed up in the outfit Matt wore when he turned one.  Thanks, Grama!

With the guests arrived, we set about preparing dinner.  For this party, we served Matt’s awesome In-n-Out replica hamburgers, pasta salad, fruit salad, baked beans, veggies, chips, salsa, guacamole & Liz’s famous green chiles.  We determined that Noah is definitely a meat-eater…he really tore into that hamburger!

Once everyone was stuffed with dinner, we took a little break and then rolled right into cake and ice cream!  Noah loved having everyone sing “Happy Birthday” and, just like his sister before him, reached right for the candle’s flame.  He wasn’t a very messy cake eater but sure gobbled it up.  After a while, though, the sugar finally got to him and he keeled right over. :-)

After cake and ice cream, we got Noah into his new chair to open some presents.  He was surprisingly patient with and adept at the opening procedure.  Maybe his name was a clue, but there was definitely a recurring theme to Doozer’s gifts.  Animals and vehicles!  From a musical circus train, to dump & tow trucks, to a whole jungle full of animals, little dude is set for Little People animals.

Talking on his hammer “phone.”

Of course, opening presents is always more fun when you’ve got an adoring audience ooh-ing and aah-ing over your every rip and shred of the paper!

The big hit of the night was a gift from Grammie & Grandad.  Enjoyed by one-year-olds and 31-year-olds alike, the shiny red plasma car was an instant high-demand item!

Happy Birthday, baby boy.  Wishing you many, many more.  We love you!


Posted August 27th, 2011 by Sally and filed in Doozy, Firsts, Kiddos, Party Time

And, just like that, he turned one.

More from the first birthday party tomorrow….