Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The 2012 Cherry Blossom Kite Festival!!

This year, we finally got our act together enough to both remember when the kite festival was, and to then put that knowledge to use, and go to the darn thing!

After having gone once or twice, every year since then, Mom and Dad always realize that the festival had happened a week before or something like that. The festival itself takes place at the same time as the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC... You can check out pictures and a post from me about the Cherry Blossoms themselves HERE....it is a beautiful time of year to be here, and you can also see a rare picture of me wearing a shirt with buttons if you click that link...

So Mom and I went down to the National Mall to meet Dad after work, and were welcomed with a whole slew of kites in the sky! They are AMAZING! The sky is literally filled with hundreds of kites, and they have special events for the pros out there...there is even an event where you can battle with the kites...it's pretty exciting.

We were all enthralled with the view (as was Superman, who came along with me for the day) We decided that we wanted a kite for ourselves, and thought it would be an easy task, since we were at a kite festival, and Dad had seen them selling kites there in the past...

...not so. Mom was a trooper and walked no less than 50 miles (I may be exaggerating about that) to hunt one down...she is pretty awesome.
We moved over to a better spot near the Washington Monument once we had our kite, and set up shop in an open area...
Dad and I opened the kite and set it up while Mom took pictures...she may also have been laughing at us.
We tried our best to get that kite up, but I think the combination of being in a spot where the wind was kind of dampened, coupled with Dad not being the most skilled of kite flyers, and us having purchased a last minute kite...we had some trouble...
There were a few moments when we got it up there....
...only to have it come down again.
Regardless of how high the kite flew, or how long we could keep it up in the sky, there was a lot of fun, laughter, and zero frustration. For three people who couldn't get the kite to stay up in there very much, we had more fun than a lot of people who did.
We make a nice little family, no?
It truly was a lot of fun, and we even got to keep the kite!!
I sure was tired after all that (attempted) kite-flying, so I just lay on the ground right there and tried to just drift off....the breeze felt nice against my face, Mom and Dad were hanging out watching the kites (and me to make sure I didn't get kidnapped) all was right with the world...
It was a long walk back to the car, but at least we had a parking spot down there (Dad got a sweet spot near work because he went in so early) and we didn't have to take the Metro home. (While I love train rides, the Metro down here is not all that functional on the weekends...) Along the walk, we stopped for snacks, and had a really nice time...it's nice to be hanging out with people that you could have a good time with, even when you're just walking back to the car....
This seems to be the typical way I end days like this....asleep, and keeping it classy by crossing my legs. Though lately I have found there to be a strange side effect: My foot and leg starts to tingle whenever I stay like this for too long...it feels super weird, but Mom and Dad always recommend that I shake it out to help the tingles go away....it looks kind of hilarious....
Until next year, Kite Festival!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day out With Thomas 2012!

Last weekend, Mom and Dad and I all went out to Baltimore to take part in the Day out with Thomas! In case you don't know, I am a huge fan of Thomas the Tank Engine...Dad found this event where you get to do a whole lot of fun activities, and you actually got to ride on a train that was pulled along by a full-sized Thomas engine! How COOL is that!?

We travelled up to Baltimore, and even though I should have taken a nap, I was simply too excited to do so! I was exhausted, but very much looking forward to the day!

When you first arrived at the train museum, it was a bit overwhelming. We were in a huge roundhouse that housed the full-sized trains that were on display.
Dad and I checked out some of the trains that ringed the building, and it was really neat! They had mannequins set up to show what the conductors looked like, and even though they were a little creepy, it was cool.

They even had some tables set up with Thomas trains on them so that we kids could play with them. They even had a motorized one. I figured out quickly that you could activate a braking system on the tracks to stop and start the trains. Very fun!

We walked around to the different places, and got to see a lot of fun stuff, and play with a lot of different toys.
The building was set up nicely so that even though there were a lot of people, it never really felt that crowded.
As you can see, there were a lot of old trains here. Some of them you could even go inside and look around!
I got to look through the floor to see the mechanical parts that resided under the floor of the wheelhouse. They spun the floor around so that you could move the trains out of the building to the correct tracks without anyone bumping into each other. You can see the track I am standing on...
Then came the moment of truth. Our ride on the Thomas train! He was RIGHT...THERE! His eyes moved around, and his horn tooted just like in the show. (He also blew steam in my face...not cool, Thomas) I was so excited, and kept asking if Thomas talked. Though I was disappointed to find out that he would not be having any conversations with us that day, he was still amazing to look at.
Mom snapped a picture of the conductor who looked just like the ones on the show!
I picked a spot on the train, and got cozy with Mom and Dad...
After a few minutes of waiting, we were off! I had a decent (but not amazing) spot to look out the window. I, of course, only have myself to blame. I picked the seat, after all. Dad was nice and helped me get to a spot where I could see out the window.
Though Baltimore is not exactly the most...how do I put this delicately...scenic place to take a train ride, it was a little dull, but I still enjoyed knowing that it was Thomas that was pulling us along.
So really...how could you NOT have fun doing that? One of the men on the train walked around and handed out Junior Conductor certificates. I was excited to be part of such an elite group!
This was the closest to a decent picture that I would allow of Mom and I with Thomas. You can see all the people...it was definitely getting busier as the day moved on!
And at last a couple more shots of Thomas to round out the series...it seriously looks JUST...LIKE...HIM. I have seen plenty of the shows, and have lots of the toys...I know what I'm talking about, people!
When we went back inside, I really wanted to take a picture with Sir Topham Hatt, the gentlemen who is in charge of the trains in Sodor...I was so excited and talked about it a lot, however, I don't think I quite understood just how creepy Mr. Hatt was, and how tired and worn out I was....as much as Mom tried (We tried a hand-off to Dad too, but no dice) I was too scared and tired to pull it off....
I'll skip the picture of me crying...poor Mom didn't even realize I was crying, because I was doing so silently...once she realized, she cut me loose, and we skipped the rest of the picture...
Dad was nice enough to let me wave to Mr. Hatt, and he sort of waved back...I mean, come on....that dude looks creepy. You know you think so, too!
In the gift shop later, I saw a train ride that you pump a quarter into for a ride (and by "ride" I mean it rocked you back and forth, eliciting the above expression of sadness and annoyance) Luckily, we went to the train store, and got to purchase the extra set of Thomas tracks that I needed to make the full track at home!
And yes...as you can see, I passed out pretty much right away after the day out...I was exhausted and even though there were a few bumps in the road (I'm looking at you, Sir Topham Hatt) in general, it was a great day, and I was happy that we all got to go out together as a family to enjoy the day! Hopefully we can do it again next year, and check out the stuff that we missed!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Official Easter! (Or, How many people can we get into our apartment!?)

Once back in Bethesda, we prepared for the arrival of not only Gramma Mindy, but also JustRichy and FutureAuntMallory. It was to be a very full house, and I was SO excited to have everyone there to spend the holiday with us and to visit for a few days.

There was A LOT of active play while they were here...we engaged in much pillow fighting...

I often lost, but I insist that it was because of my height, and not my skill level. Typically I gave as good as I got, until there were simply too many pillows to overcome the madness...
We all developed a game called "The Chocolate Factory" where I would act as the mechanism by which the "chocolate" (or in this case, pillows acting as a chocolate substitute) would be tossed on top of me while I agitated around and mixed it all up. It was SO much fun and SO chaotic. Two of my favorite things wrapped together into a game that simply had to be experienced to be believed.
FutureAuntMallory brought along my Uncle Mat's Oscar the Grouch t-shirt that I really liked.
He was wearing it in the pictures they sent out on their wedding Save The Date magnet...ever since then, I have been simply in love with it. I feel like the shirt should be bigger on me since it was made for a grown-up, but I guess this just means I am getting big. :-)

We thought it would be fun if we did a semi-reenactment of the save the date picture featuring me in my Uncle Mat's role. We posted it on Facebook, and received the expected excited response from him.

FutureAuntMallory also proved adept at playing lots of different games...not only did she pull off a solid helicopter noise for Harold the Helicopter (with accompanying silly face) she exerted more energy playing with me throughout the weekend  than I thought any human could actually have...

I approve of FutureAuntMallory in her bid to become CurrentAuntMallory.

Below is a picture of the nice outfit Mom convinced me to wear....since I wore the nice outfit, my compromise was that I would make whatever face I wanted for the picture....everyone wins!!

Aunt Mallory brought along what had to be the coolest Easter eggs ever...Gramma Mindy and her filled them with jelly beans, and they went along in a lovely way with the enormous and awesome Easter basket that Gramma Mindy brought down with her from Connecticut. (For some reason I do not have a picture of the lovely looking basket...I think I tore it apart to get to all the treats before anyone had time to take a picture of it...in short, it was pretty darn spectacular!)

A very happy belated Easter, everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An Early 2012 Easter at Grandpa and Gramma Debbie's!!

We're getting caught up, folks! I'm only a month behind....in SamTime, that's actually not too bad, right?


So yeah...as is typical, I had a nice deluxe Easter holiday...one back in Connecticut, with my Dad's side  of the family, and one back home with Mom's side...let's get right to it!

Dad managed to time our trip to Connecticut a little while before Easter so that we didn't hit a lot of traffic, which was a nice way to get up to see the family...when we arrived we got to see everyone!

Auntie Steph and Braelynn were there, and so were Aunt Amy, Uncle Steve (who took several days off of work to hang out with Dad and I) and Nicholas. We were all at Grandma Debbie and Grandpa's together and it was super nice.
Everyone was really nice and got me a ton of Easter presents! Look at that cool Easter egg bag!? Neat, right? Not only did I get some delicious candy (some of which were hidden within some brightly colored plastic eggs to up the fun factor) but some neat little presents as well!
Gramma Debbie helped me open my Easter basket which had even more special treats in it. I can't even tell you how excited I was. Everything is blurry because when you give me a bunch of stuff wrapped in plastic, I go kind of crazy. It's just so much fun crinkly goodness!
Once I had torn through everything, I unwound by playing with Braelynn and Nicholas....they have some great toys, and are lots of fun! They are also great at sharing!
Later after we got a bit more comfortable, Braelynn, Nicholas and I ran around the house in our underthings for a little while, and then we played on the bed for a bit, wrestling and jumping around. We knew that it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt, and sure enough Braelynn and I clunked heads, and the fun and joy ended with both of us in tears. Eh, we had fun while it lasted, and we all knew it was going to end that way, right? :-) Good times...

Later, after we had all calmed down, the family engaged in the age-old tradition of dyeing Easter eggs. Apparently you hard boil some eggs and put them into colored water so that it changes the color of the eggs.
Gramma Mindy even joined us for our first Easter egg dyeing...she helped me a lot!
If you want, you could draw on the eggs with a special crayon that you can't see until you put the eggs in the dyeing solution. It was pretty cool!
Everyone pitched in, although I actually got pretty bored after doing my first two eggs. Ironically, once I ran off the adults had more fun than the kids dyeing eggs. It had been so many years since they had done it, that they just dove right in and had a blast! Adults sure are silly sometimes!
Here is a random sampling of the eggs...Dad, even though he hadn't dyed eggs in more than a couple decades, still went ahead and drew the symbol of his favorite band "Faith No More" on his egg. What a geek. Everyone made lovely eggs, and the color palette sure was something to behold!
Throughout the weekend, we had a lot more fun activities planned! We had a nice little low-key faux Easter dinner...it's always fun to eat with my cousins!

....and before bedtime, Gramma Debbie helped me out with my somersault skills! She is a great somersault helper!

Before Dad and I went home, the weather perked up a bit, and we got to play outside. I brought my bat and ball just for the occasion!
I also discovered that in addition to his little kid-sized Dyson vacuum (Not pictured) Nicholas has a kid-sized lawn-mower....VERY cool stuff.
He was nice enough to let me play with it, and I got right to work!
Yet another fun-filled holiday weekend! Good times were had by all, and I looked very forward to doing it again in a few days back home!!