Sneetches: Putting Stars Upon Thars

I certainly don’t have anything against buying toys at a store, but sometimes I wish that we had a toy that’s not available in stores. That’s when the tools come out. Inspired by Dr. Seuss Week earlier this year, I decided to build the boys a working set of Sneetches. I made a video of the build as part of my little video series on the Make Magazine website.

If you’re itching to build your own set of Sneetches, you can find more info and links here.

Jasper’s Morning Debriefing

Jasper spent the morning with Gmummy on a quest to buy flowers at Lowe’s and a street-side market followed by some playtime with Grandpa. This is his recollection of the morning, performed in typical Jasper fashion:

A few notes:

  • Apparently, Jeff goes to Home Depot more often than Lowe’s since he couldn’t recall the store name.
  • Jasper calls the Cozy Coupe a “Cozy Cooper.”
  • We recently gave our “Cozy Cooper” to the preschool where Gavin’s teacher is Ms. Shannon.
  • Whenever Gavin doesn’t approve of something that someone else does, he points his finger and says he’s going to take that person to jail. Jasper has adopted this admonishment but, still, none of us know what Grandpa did to cross him this morning.
  • We place the pillows against the boys’ doors after they go to sleep to deter the cats from scratching but they also seem to come in handy when Jasper is in the hallway being … well … Jasper.

Playdoh Duet

This week has been Playdoh Obsession Week at our house. We’ve had Playdoh for years and they’ve played with it occasionally, but they suddenly can’t get enough of it this week. They even started singing an impromptu song about Playdoh…

 

February 2013 Florida road trip – part 7

Friday, February 8, 2013

We began my birthday with a trip to Fantasyland to jump on the queues when they were as short as possible. Peter Pan’s Flight was up first. This is another ride that I love because it hasn’t changed since Disney World first opened. The boys enjoyed flying in our pirate ships around scenes from the Peter Pan movie. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was next. I’ll probably never forgive Disney for replacing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but the Winnie the Pooh ride is very cute and the boys loved it, particularly when the honey pots we ride in “bounced.”

Next, we ventured into New Fantasyland! This section of the park just opened last December. We planned on going to Enchanted Tales with Belle first but noticed a line forming next door outside the Be Our Guest restaurant where I wanted to eat a birthday lunch. An attendant told us the line was for the restaurant’s opening but that there is typically a long line all day. We decided to stay in line and eat an early lunch. The restaurant is quick service for lunch, ordering at a kiosk and then seating yourself in the dining room with an electronic red rose to indicate your location to the servers. The menu featured mostly French food and I had a Croque Monsieur while we ordered something for the boys that I don’t recall but do remember they didn’t eat any of it which was a problem (hungry boys = cranky boys). Kristen also bought me two gourmet cupcakes that were delish! The dining atmosphere was amazing, though. We ate in the ballroom and quickly visited the West Wing before leaving. The attention to detail at this restaurant was imply incredible!

Afterward, we entered Maurice’s cottage for Enchanted Tales With Belle. After congregating in his workshop and walking through the magic mirror to the Beast’s castle, we were introduced to the story and storytelling volunteers were requested. Gavin was one of the first select to be the Beast but he was too shy. After all of the character parts were assigned, there was still no actor to play the Beast so Jeff was chosen. He did a wonderful job acting out the Beast’s part in the retelling of the story to Belle in the next room, the library. Gavin, in particular, was excited to watch his dad have such an important role in the story!

I loved all of the lamps along the outdoor queue. Each was unique and evident that Maurice had created them all from miscellaneous supplies and gadgets laying around his workshop.

Gavin in Maurice’s cottage – as tall as Belle at six years old.

We walked deeper into New Fantasyland to the new Journey of the Little Mermaid ride. This was a cute, classic, slow-moving, continuous-loading Fantasyland ride where gusts sit in clam-shell-mobiles and travel through scenes depicting the story of the Little Mermaid. It’s basically the entire movie in ride form.

Both New Fantasyland attractions had long lines, so we were already getting hungry. We wanted to visit Gaston’s Tavern before departing this land anyway, so we hopped on yet another line, this one extending to the door of the tavern. We ate a few snacks including a humongous cinnamon bun and Lafou’s Brew.

After exiting New Fantasyland, we rode Jasper’s favorite carousel yet again, and then hopped on the WDW Railroad at the Fantasyland station. We rode the entire loop and then halfway again this time before disembarking at Frontierland station. By now, the boys were overloaded on Disney magic and fading fast on us. We rode the Jungle Cruise and then hoped to satisfy Jasper’s frequent request to ride the flying Dumbos again by going on the nearby Magic Carpets of Aladdin. The Dumbo ride was on the other side of the part so we figured this would fulfill his “flying in a circle” request. He enjoyed the carpets but, as soon as we exited the ride, asked to ride Dumbo next!

Instead, we agreed upon a brief action plan for the remainder of the day and decided to repeat another nearby ride the boys enjoyed so much – It’s A Small World. Now back in Fantasyland, we ate dinner afterward at the adjacent Pinocchio Village Haus for flatbreads.

The boys were ready to leave, so we all ventured back through the Emporium on Main Street where the boys selected their last Disney souvenirs: Mickey Mouse for Jasper and Bullseye, the horse from Toy Story, for Gavin. Kristen and I stayed in the park for additional birthday Disney magic after dark while Mom and Jeff took the boys back to the hotel.

Kristen and I returned to Big Thunder for an after-dark ride, enjoyed another Dole Whip from Aloha Isle, and then sauntered around a bit to take photos and shop.

Overall, three days of Disney magic was plenty for the boys. While I’m disappointed that we had to cut the Disney portion of our trip short and miss Animal Kingdom entirely, I don’t think the boys would have lasted a fourth day so the change of plans was for the best. Jasper’s favorite attractions were the carousel, flying Dumbo, WDW train, and It’s A Small World. Gavin preferred the train, flying carpets, speedway cars, Buzz Lightyear ride, and the PeopleMover. We all enjoyed making life-long memories for the boys and can’t wait to return!

Daily Disney Summary – Day 3: Magic Kingdom

  1. Peter Pan’s Flight
  2. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  3. Be Our Guest restaurant – lunch
  4. Enchanted Tales with Belle
  5. Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  6. Gaston’s Tavern – snack
  7. Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  8. WDW Railroad – New Fantasyland to Frontierland
  9. Jungle Cruise
  10. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  11. It’s A Small World
  12. Pinocchio Village Haus – dinner
  13. Emporium – shopping
  14. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Kristen and Traci)
  15. Aloha Isle – snack (Kristen and Traci)
  16. pictures and The Yankee Trader shopping
Total distance: 13.65 mi
Max elevation: 620 ft
Min elevation: -148 ft
Total climbing: 3455 ft
Total descent: 3478 ft
Total Time: 10:19:45

T. Rexes at the Dark Dinosaur Cave

The boys (“T. Rexes”) and I visited the All Children’s Playground (“Dark Dinosaur Cave”) at Laurel Hills Park this afternoon after church. Now that the weather is warming up, I can easily see this becoming a typical Sunday: Church, picnic lunch at a playground, and then play! We took Gavin to this playground once several years ago and I was reminded of it again recently when he was invited to a birthday party held there that he unfortunately had to miss due to our Florida trip.

We quickly ate a small lunch at one of the many picnic tables surrounding the playground and then spent the next two hours playing. The boys loved this playground! There is a large wooden structure with steps, tunnels, bridges, and hidden cubbies. The boys found one of these cubbies on the ground level with a ceiling so low that I couldn’t even enter and declared it the “Dark Dinosaur Cave.” They spent half of the time running around and roaring like T. Rexes.

Gavin ran around the play structure for a long time trying to escape Jasper who was completely oblivious to the fact that he should have been chasing his brother.

Roaring was involved at this moment, no doubt…

The mood of this photo is completely different than the rest. I love how the light is hitting Gavin’s face in the dark tire cave.

The playground has three metal slides including this wide, open slide. I must have asked the boys a half dozen times to slide down together, but this is the closest shot of a dual slide that I got.

One of the others is this open spiral slide. Jasper has always been our slide aficionado, but it was Gavin who threw himself down each slide without hesitation and Jasper was initially afraid today. Finally, by the end of our stay, Jasper summoned his courage and went down this spiral slide.

This was such an enjoyable visit because Jasper wasn’t clinging to my side the entire time. He was often out of sight, running away from me, and playing amongst other kids. I’m not sure if this was a permanent breakthrough, but it was nice for a few hours! I took several shots of him running AWAY from me in public just in case this was a fluke and this phenomenon doesn’t happen again for a while.

At one point while Gavin was hiding from us and Jasper didn’t know he should be chasing his brother, Jasper rode his first tire swing.

Sand is always a highlight of any playground visit. Jasper spent a lot of time “paving roads” and “drilling holes” with sticks.

The boys were often out of sight. This is a large structure and it’s easy to lose track of them (particularly two of them!) as they climb through it. There were lots of parents continuously circling the structure while tracking their kids just like me. At one point, I rounded the corner and found them both resting on a bench. They certainly got a lot of exercise today!

Jasper climbing far away from me again … I can’t believe this is actually my child!

I’d lose them for a while and then catch a brief glimpse…

The third slide, and second of two that caused Jasper fear at first, was this short, covered slide. I think he was just afraid of bumping his head. He finally flew down this chute near the end of the afternoon as well.