Saturday, January 5, 2013

Moving On...

I didn't feel right about posting any new updates before saying a final farewell to New Jersey and reminiscing about some of the things we are leaving behind. 

Things we won't miss:

The stairs of death in our pre-1850 apartment

The yucky hot, humid weather that makes wearing clothing uncomfortable, even during our move in May!

Living among people who need signs to remind them to do things we consider common courtesy (but who generally do whatever they feel like anyway)

There are also lots of things that we will truly miss.
Like going for walks in our lovely old neighborhood



We will really miss our beautiful Van Vorst Park. We loved spending time there and meeting all the other neighborhood kids without backyards.


But mostly we will miss all of the wonderful friends we left behind. We hope to see you again soon!



Saturday, April 7, 2012

Go Fly a Kite

The classic pillow mint shot has now become a vacation tradition.
Probably won't be as cute when she's a teenager.

Last weekend we went down to Washington DC to see the cherry blossom festival and the kite festival. Our first stop was the National Mall.  From our parking spot Bridget spotted the carosel across the mall and B-lined it over there. She didn't really want to go on it she just wanted to look at it and wave at everyone.

Washington monument
We let Bridget run all over the place, around the monuments and the the White House.

She insisted on climbing on all of the fences around the White House. The secret service had their eye on her.

Watching the ducks on the way to the Lincoln Memorial.

She insisted on climbing all of the steps herself.
Then once inside the the Lincoln Memorial she made herself comfortable under the Gettysburg Address.

So if you've noticed we haven't put any pictures of the cherry blossoms up that's because there weren't any. Because of the warm winter and spring the blossoms were out 2-3 weeks ago despite the best predictions.

Well, at least the kite festival pulled through. The festival takes place on the Washington Memorial hill and everyone brings their own kites to fly. There were a ton of kites. Once the kite is in the air it doesn't do that much but there is something so fun about flying a kite.

The highlight of the festival was the rokkaku kite battle where teams flying large rokkaku kites tried to use their kites to cut the strings of the other kites. It was pretty exciting to watch and one of the best parts was watching the teams run around the field trying to circle their line around the other kites.

It was a pretty windy day so there was a steady line at the kite doctor.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We spent a day at the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure park. We checked out a few of the other attractions but we were really just there to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was awesome!
 Our first stop was Hogwarts and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. It took about an hour to get to the ride deep inside but the line moved pretty steadily and there was a lot of great stuff to see along the way.

 In the greenhouse

 House point hourglasses

 Talking portraits

 The sorting hat

We ate lunch the Three Broomsticks and had our very first taste of butterbeer. We ordered one regular and one frozen (like a slush). They were delicious. We had to go back later for more. Bridget also loved it.

Trying to get every last drop. 

Outside the village of Hogsmeade 

We walked around and checked out the other stores in Hogsmeade. It was pretty hot and sunny out you really had to use your imagination for the snow to be believable but it was fun anyway. We went to Zonko's Joke Shop, Honeydukes, bought some pumpkin juice from a street vendor and stopped in at the Hog's Head for some more butterbeer. The only store we skipped was Ollivander's because there was a long line to get in but they had wands in other less crowded stores (not to mention the HP gift shop at the airport on the day we arrived) so we didn't feel we missed out.

Bridget's favourite stop was definitely Seuss Landing. She loves the Cat in the Hat and is actually a real trooper when it comes to going on rides.

We spent our last day in Orlando at our favourite park, the Magic Kingdom. When we met up with our friend Dave earlier in the week he introduced us to a new game they are playing at the park called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. To play you find one of the portals located all around the park and use your spell cards to defeat villains. Every day you go they give you a new pack of spell cards and one of the best parts of the game is collecting and trading the cards. It was actually really fun and we were disappointed we hadn't heard about it our first day so we could have gotten more cards.

Kate casting a spell at one of the portals.


We were working with B before our trip to help her recognize some of the Disney characters while we were there in the hopes that she would like them rather than scream in terror at the sight of them. We bought her some fun sticker books and she has seen Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so she was especially good at pointing out Mickey Mouse. We thought he would be her favourite but after eating at Chef Mickey's it became obvious that she completely loves Minnie. We weren't really planning on buying any souvenirs but on our last day we decided to buy her a Minnie doll to commemorate our trip.  Honestly though, after paying NY prices for things over the last few years Disney World actually seemed reasonable!  

Final thoughts by Jason:

We left the most magical place on earth to return the the least magical: NY/NJ. Within minutes of getting off the plane I was saying "I am done with this place and can't wait to get out of here". The events that led up to me saying this are as follows: As we got off at Laguardia (the worst airport in the area) the terminal was packed and had the feeling of a third world train station, I half expected to see some farm animals, and I think people were trying to get on the plane before we were even off. Then when we picked up our bags one of them was soaking wet and it turned out to be alcohol from someone's bag (who buys alcohol in Orlando to bring back to NY and puts it in their checked bags?) and the baggage people just said "here's a phone number you can call". We didn't even bother. This is all preceded by a flight where I was looking after two children. Who's the other child on the plane? Kate. She is a horrible flier. Almost as bad as I am a speller (thank you spell check and Kate editing). But seriously, any turbulence and Kate is white knuckling my arm. Kate says she'd rather give blood than fly.  All of this together made for a not so enjoyable return. Luckily, the city is beautiful in the spring and we have only road trips planned in our future so my sanity has been restored.