summer daze

although fall doesn’t officially begin until september 22nd, it feels like summer is slowly coming to an end with the start of the school year around the corner. i certainly am relishing the long days and soaking up the last rays of the summer sun. as much as i like snow, i dread being stuck indoors and the sun setting at 4pm. i spent this summer planning activities and trying to coordinate them with my kids’ schedules. we didn’t travel anywhere exotic – even with the kids sleeping well, i wouldn’t quite consider traveling far with a toddler and an infant a “vacation” – nor do anything out of the ordinary, but we shared many laughs and created lasting memories.

one place that i’ve been dying to bring penny to is the dinosaur place in oakdale, ct. it is a 60-acre outdoor adventure park that includes new england’s largest splash pad, a jurassic-themed moon bounce, a maze, and a huge playground. there is also a 1.5 mile trail complete with 40 life-sized dinosaurs! the main reason we waited so long to bring her is the distance: it is nearly an hour away. since the dinosaur place opens at 10am, we would not be able to go in the morning and have enough time for penny to eat lunch, drive back, and take a nap. naturally, we planned for the afternoon. we pushed penny’s nap up so she would wake up earlier in the afternoon. (she still woke up around 2:30pm.)

there is so much to do, and you can easily spend the entire day there in order to properly experience everything. this is why admission is so expensive. i was surprised to learn admission for 2 and up is $24 during the peak season! there is no “kid’s price”: they pay the same as adults! for that reason alone, i really wouldn’t bring children unless they’re older.. maybe, at least 5 years old, to make the price worthwhile.

FullSizeRender

we took a family photo before we explored the park

FullSizeRender_1

penny enjoyed the splash pad the most!

FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_7

dad is regretting not bringing a change of clothes although he did wear swim trunks

FullSizeRender_6FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRender_4

FullSizeRender_5

ezra did not like the jet spray of cold water

FullSizeRender_8FullSizeRender_9FullSizeRender_1

FullSizeRender_5

can’t expect a toddler to look at the camera in the midst of water play

FullSizeRender_4

FullSizeRender_2FullSizeRender_9

FullSizeRender_4

this thing was awesome – half the time, kids were waiting for the huge bucket of water to fill up so it could tip over and come down the slide

FullSizeRender_8FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_1

splash!

FullSizeRender_8IMG_2413

FullSizeRender

waiting…

FullSizeRender_5FullSizeRender_6FullSizeRender_7FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_1FullSizeRender_2

walking the dinosaur trail

FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_7FullSizeRender_5

FullSizeRender_6

dinosaur vertebrae

FullSizeRender_8

ezra always has something in his mouth these days

FullSizeRender_10

dinosaur maze

FullSizeRender_9FullSizeRender_2FullSizeRender_1FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRender_5FullSizeRender_11FullSizeRender_6FullSizeRender_8

our annual stop at dave’s place in oakdale, ct… it’s so good and always busy!

FullSizeRender_7FullSizeRender_11

FullSizeRender_10

my go-to: fried clam strips

FullSizeRender_9

new england clam chowder and a cheeseburger

the day before, on saturday, august 12th, my mil and i took the kids to the tolland 4-h fair that was held across the street from where we live. we had taken penny there before when she was an infant but going on saturday made me realize just how small it is. i believe it was $3 for a walk-in fee.. not each person so that was fine.

there were a few vendors and food stands but the only thing that was of interest were the animals.  we looked at the llamas, cows, sheep, goats, chickens & roosters, and the rabbits (although the latter were closed off so we had to view from a distance). penny also liked looking at the row of tractors, old and new. she wanted to go on them but we told her they were only for looking.

IMG_2170IMG_2171IMG_2172IMG_2174IMG_2175IMG_2176IMG_2177IMG_2178IMG_2179IMG_2180IMG_2183IMG_2184IMG_2186IMG_2187IMG_2188IMG_2189

i don’t want to knock a fair, but it was just okay. i wouldn’t go back though, honestly. it was just something to do and all we had to do was walk over from our neighborhood.

dennis and i are really looking forward to taking the kids to farm day at the fish family farm in bolton. it’s on sept 2nd this year and it’s from 9am-5pm. we took penny last year but since she was so small she couldn’t participate in the children’s activities like the obstacle course. she did enjoy eating ice cream though (and it’s all-you-can-eat!) my friend, karen, and i found out from a vendor that there is a spin art station so i’ll be sure to look for that. hopefully this year we can make a tie-dye shirt too because we didn’t get a chance to last year.

IMG_2191

always smiling

IMG_2193

Enter a caption

blooms & custard

pwithflowers

did you know there are farms that allow you to pick your own flowers? i sure didn’t. i’m constantly looking for new and fun activities to do with penny and i found out about a flower picking farm in south windsor, ct from a mom’s group in my town. recently, i joined a mom’s group; i discovered this group through our town library and, not long ago, i saw the group on my instagram newsfeed. for an annual fee of $25/year, moms and their children participate in weekly activities, organized and spontaneous playgroups, monthly moms’ night out, and participate in board meetings.

it’s always great to meet other moms and provide our children more opportunities to socialize with other kids. the first activity i attended via the mom’s group was a music & dance playgroup at a local nursing & rehabilitation center. the children participate in organized activities during the hour-long playgroup and can interact with the residents if they choose. penny was shy at first because of all the people but she loosened up when she saw that the children were playing with big balloons. i thought that was a wonderful way to keep the kids preoccupied while waiting for the program to begin. some of the residents asked penny to hit the balloon to them so they could hit it back to her. it was really sweet to see how much joy the children brought to these people.

FullSizeRender_7FullSizeRender_6FullSizeRender_5FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender_8FullSizeRender_2FullSizeRender_1

this playgroup consisted of a sing-along, interactive reading, musical instruments, bubbles, parachute, and a snack. penny was engaged the entire time and was excited to move on to the next activity. although she really enjoyed everything, i could tell penny was particularly pleased with the cup of juice at snack time. we rarely let penny drink juice so it was a real treat for her especially since she was thirsty from all of the activity. overall, i was really pleased with the whole event and can’t wait to go back next week.

tuesday morning, the mom’s group went to petersen farm in south windsor to pick our own flowers. visitors can park right on the grass. the farm provides cutting tools, buckets, and water although it’s recommended you bring your own bucket to safely transport the flowers back home. flowers are $8/lb (which is an excellent deal) and i initially scoffed at the price thinking, “who gets a pound of flowers?” well, i ended up getting two. the flowers are all so gorgeous that you can’t help but want each one. i might have gotten a little scissor-happy.

startingsunflowersviewfieldyellowshearspandbucketpomspinkrainpandpinkflowerspinkflowerFullSizeRender_5IMG_2018FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_3flowersclosebigpurplepinkwhiteFullSizeRender_2FullSizeRender_1FullSizeRendermonetquote

the only downside is that it was misting when we went so the grass was wet, soaking our sneakers. i had been thinking about purchasing rain boots for penny and now i have more of a reason to do that. fall is around the corner and they’ll be useful then, too.

we both enjoyed ourselves and i look forward to going back. fresh flowers certainly brighten up a room (and a mood!) and also smell divine.

tuesday was also “national custard day” so rita’s was having a .99 special for a kid’s size custard. i intended to meet some moms from the group around 3:30 but we didn’t end up arriving until after 4pm. i had to wake penny up from her nap because she was sleeping so much. ezra’s naps were off today because he’s been rolling over. since he was awake, we all went to rita’s.

3ritasgmapritasritaspennycustardezandmeritasezraritas

as for upcoming events and activities, there is a tolland 4-h fair this weekend so i’m thinking of bringing both kids to that.

new england air museum

if you haven’t yet visited the new england air museum, it’s definitely worth checking out. i’m constantly on the look-out for new places to bring penny and the neam has always been in the back of my mind. i first heard about it through my town library. many libraries offer discounts to museums and parks by requesting a pass in advance. admission for adults is normally $12.50 but with a library pass it was half off. kids 3 and under are free. i wasn’t sure how penny would like the museum even though she absolutely loves airplanes because, well, it’s a museum. however, i read so many rave reviews from people that had brought their toddlers and children so i decided to give it a shot.

the museum is located in windsor locks, ct so it was a half hour drive from our home. the hours are 10am-5pm every day but starting in september they will be closed on mondays. initially we had planned on going after penny’s nap but with possible t-storms and rush hour traffic, we decided to go right when it opened. it ended up working out because ezra woke up for the day a little before 8am so we kept him up and he snoozed a little on the way to the museum.

museumout

 

IMG_1608

we ended up arriving ten minutes early so we walked around the nearly empty parking lot and checked out the airplanes that were on display behind a fenced area. the museum is near bradley international airport so we were able to see a southwest airplane take off.

once inside, you are greeted with a display of model airplanes hanging on the ceiling. there is also a gift shop next to the ticket counter so we checked out the items while we waited for karen and parker. of course, we bought penny a few items: a southwest airplane set, a model airplane that moves and makes noises, a glider, and a museum magnet for myself.

museumentrance

IMG_1610.JPG

FullSizeRender

checksilverwalkcloseFullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_5

walking around and checking out the cool airplanes and helicopters is one thing, but several of them allow people to climb aboard and sit in the cockpit. this was definitely a hit with the kiddos. i even enjoyed sitting in the pilot seat and playing with the buttons.

pandgrandmacopter3coptercopterFullSizeRender_1smallpit2smallpit

FullSizeRender_8

FullSizeRender_7FullSizeRender_9FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_3

pennynorma

the museum has quite a collection of planes and copters and the exhibits are always changing. they are also in the midst of renovating some of the space. in addition, there’s a kidsport where you can learn how to make different kinds of paper airplanes, watch interactive videos on planes, and dress up in pilot gear.

IMG_1751

vidmuseum

IMG_1752

mask

IMG_1750

parkervid

parkermomcar

FullSizeRender_8FullSizeRender_9

the fenced in area that we had seen from the parking lot is also accessible through one of the exhibit rooms. we did go outside to look at a few planes but it was so humid that we retreated back into the air-conditioned museum.

FullSizeRender_6

FullSizeRender_7

even though ezra didn’t nap at all he was in great spirits, smiling and babbling away. he did get really cranky near the end so my mil took him out of the car seat to walk around with him. penny started getting a little tired and hangry as well but snacking on grapes helped her calm down near the end of the visit. we stayed for about an hour and 15 minutes. it was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and i’m really glad that the trip was a success.

armylifecrewitemsunderplane

FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_5

FullSizeRender_3

thunder has been rolling before i even started writing this blog post so a big storm seems imminent. both kids fell asleep for their nap at the same time so i have a bit of quiet time here which is why i’m updating my blog. if i don’t do it now, it’ll probably not get published for another week, at least.

planetoys

the next event we are looking forward to is going up to massachusetts this weekend to celebrate my sister’s birthday. i can’t believe it’s already august!