Sunday, July 20, 2008

Strong Museum of Play

For one of our day trips while in Palmyra, we decided to visit the Strong museum of play in Rochester, NY. This turned out to be a fabulous day of fun for all, and a great way to tire the kids (and parents) out so we wouldn't mind too much having to sit for a couple of hours on a picnic blanket waiting for the pageant to start later that evening.

Kennedy I enjoyed communicating with each other via the pipe system from the boat (her location) to the helicopter (my location).

It turns out our little introvert doesn't mind a little attention after all. She had a ball putting on a show for us at the little theatre.

Does this bring to mind Elvis for anyone else?

Neither Jonathan or myself were too interested in riding the carousel, so we took Macy and Kennedy into the museum's toy store to convince them getting a souvenir was far better than a ride that lasted only a moment and then was done. Kennedy bought our campaigning, but Macy was undaunted. She wanted to ride the carousel and pointedly turned down any of our feeble attempts to steer her otherwise. When we had first arrived at the museum we saw the carousel and had promised the girls a ride if they wanted one when we were done. So, a promise is a promise and it must be kept. I braved the carousel ride for my little fireball!

Macy making music

Climbing the rock wall. The real rock climbers can cross it horizontally!

Learning about words and letters...

A visit with the Berenstein Bears

Making crafts

More music

Kennedy was fascinated by the silly mirrors that distorted your image. She asked on four different occasions to return to the mirrors. It was her favorite part of the whole museum!

A girls dream. Getting to pick out anything you want in the grocery store with no one telling you to put it back.

Clifford the big red dog came to visit too! We had a great time playing with the girls. What a fun way to pass the day and learn to find joy in the simple pleasures of life again. It is so much fun having children and seeing the world through their eyes. I am so grateful for the joy Kennedy and Macy bring to their mommy and daddy. What a blessing they both are!

This is the life!

I'd say camping was a hit with the girls! They got to indulge in chocolate and marshmallows, hold their own roasting stick, play at the playground until almost ten o'clock every night, walk around barefoot, sleep in a tent, and enjoy the undivided attention of both mom and dad!
Macy has started crossing her legs, as above, and saying, "Look, I'm a mommy!" Apparently that's something I do a lot of.

I beat Jonathan in a game of horseshoe!

There's nothing like the thrill of cooking your food over a campfire...especially if it is Jiffy Pop popcorn.
We all crashed together after a hard day of playing...I sure love my girls! We actually are not posing here...Jonathan found us this way and snapped a pic for posterity.


Our campground also had a modest game room where we had some fun shooting hoops and playing air hockey

The girls enjoyed some quality time with Daddy and loved gaining the confidence to play in the pool without his assistance.

Look Ma, no hands!

Camping is probably the only time parents actually consent to our kids playing with fire!

Our first campout with the girls

We decided that since we were so close to Palmyra, we had to be sure to see the pageant while we were here. Instead of staying at a hotel, we opted for the outdoor experience. Our girls had never been camping to this point, and we decided it was high time they learned what a s'more was!

We love the tent we purchased from Target. At one point we actually had three unopened tents, all from various retail outlets, to compare size and features. This one won by a landslide. I think really, it was the screened porch that sold us.

Every morning we ate camp breakfasts, except one. Mom and Dad Johns highly recommended a little crepe joint in Pittsford, NY, just outside of Palmyra. Only one problem, they didn't know the name of the place or how to get there. We were undetered by these obstacles and set our GPS for Pittsford, trusting we would arrive at the desired destination. After a lot of U-Turns and yes, pulling over to ask locals if they'd heard of a place specialize in crepes, we found the little gem! Simply Crepes was the name of the place. It was located on the Erie Canal along a delightful strip of shops and cobblestone paths. I instantly fell in love with the charm of Pittsford and hope Jonny will take me back someday for a little R&R at one of their b&b's. The crepes here were worth the wait and toil! Yum! And my favorite part was the oatmeal. Not just any oatmeal, creme brulee oatmeal. Whoever dreamed up this heavenly concoction is a culinary visionary. It was a creamy mix of oatmeal & bananas sweetened just right with a thin layer of creme brulee and crisp sugar topping. This is the stuff that camping is made of...sort of (:

On our way back to Palmyra we noticed this lovely yard sculpture...not anything too special until we discovered it was animated, and in fact, a live bunch of geese taking a stroll in somebody's front yard. They do seem to blend in with the little guy in the red coat...don't ya think?

After a couple of days of camp food, we decided it was time for some good old fashioned exercise. We availed ourselves of the use of this lovely four seater bike. This thing could probably use some WD40 or a tune up. It was a beast to pedal, but the girls enjoyed the adventure and we got our exercise!

Summer Fun

Naked spurs!

Hello from the Bronx Zoo! Jonathan's company periodically offers free admission to local hotspots and it turned out that the weekend for the Bronx Zoo fell on the same weekend of a heatwave, New York style. We tried real hard to stay cool and enjoy the animals. This zoo is huge. We were there for five hours, and barely saw 1/3 of the zoo. I'm debating whether or not we're close enough to merit a zoo pass. You would definitely need several trips just to become acquainted with the entire layout and pic your favorite habitats.

We did get to see some beautiful animals

Kennedy and Macy enjoyed having an ice cream break and chasing the peacocks.

We got lucky and happened to be at the zoo during the opening of the Kitt Kittredge movie. As part of a promotion for the movie, a Kitt Kittredge playhouse was being raffled off. Is this adorable or what? What mom wouldn't love this little playhouse for their kids? It was quite the architectural piece on a kid sized scale!

Final days in Playa

One of the activities we chose for the trip was horsebackriding on the beach. While we didn't get to gallop into the sunset with my hair flapping wildly in the wind, we did enjoy a peaceful walk on the beach. I love horses! I have always had childhood fantasies of owning a horse and learning to be a confident rider. They are such beautiful creatures to me.

On the beach...

Okay, this is a lame picture...where is Jonathan? More importantly for this particular occasion, where is Sean! I'm not sure what happened here, but this was one of our last nights in Playa and we got to meet Sean (my brother serving a mission) and his companion for dinner. I can't remember what lame thing happened to prevent us from taking a picture of or with him. I know he and his comp both took pics of the evening. Anyway, despite my frustration over the camera situation, we had a great night visiting my brother (who looks as Mexican as any of the other locals) and hearing their missionary stories. He looked really good and we could tell he was working hard and thoroughly enjoying mission life. We're so proud of you Sean! While we were dining, two guys close to our age approached Sean and his comp and stuffed some money in their shirt pockets without saying a word. They disappeared before we could ask their names or thank them. How cool that was to see someone who appreciated the cause of the broke missionary! Jonathan and I hope to have the opportunity to pay it forward someday when we find missionaries in a far off land. After the evening was through, we accompanied them back to their pad to pick up some cast-offs from Sean and Riley (one of his good friends from Gig Harbor who was also called to the Merida, Mexico mission) that I was to take home with me. What a fabulous way to round out a really great trip!

Coba:ancient mayan city

One of the pyramids at Coba

Hiking the pyramid

At the summit

Another ancient structure at Coba


More of Jonathan and Chris...all I can say is what a STEVE!!

Chichen Iza was too far of a bus ride for this trip, so we took a trip to a similar ruins site called Coba. It was so fascinating for me to see the ancient Mayan culture up close and to imagine some of the stories from the Book of Mormon that I have read coming to life and happening here. The picture shown depicts what archaeologists believe the stone representation below once looked like.

If you look closely at this pic, you can see the "hoop" in the far upper left of the shot. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered they hadn't just invented that game for El Dorado! I love visiting ruins and seeing a glimpse into the past. It is very thought-provoking to think of the evolution of cultures and the rise and fall of great nations and societies. I really wish that I could have been as interested in history in high school as I am now.

Flashback to the Past: Playa del Carmen

This picture is random; but who needs an excuse for posting pics of your adorable children?
Macy is so full of personality, sometimes I am floored by her. She packs a whole lot in a little package!

Jonathan and I took an awards trip with Pfizer to Playa del Carmen in early May. We stayed at the Fairmont Mayacoba in Playa. It was fabulous, and such a nice aside to the chaos of moving. On our arrival, as we shuttled our belongings to our room, Jonathan was pooped on by a passing bird. You can see the poop here in this picture. Someone told us that meant good luck for him; I think they were just trying to help him make lemonade from some sour lemons! Anyway, it was hillarious, and didn't turn out to be any kind of a bad omen for the trip. We had a splendid time and can't wait to return!

I'm still a little chapped that Jonathan chose golfing with Chris over Xel- Ha with me, but I am glad they had a great time golfing on a world-class course that didn't cost us a thing! I can definitely get used to the "winning" lifestyle with Pfizer!

It was so relaxing to layout, nap, read, drink virgin drinks to our hearts content, and order poolside or beachside with nary a thought of the kids or the cost of all this luxury. A BIG THANKS to my parents who watched Kennedy and Macy like champs. It's so nice to have a little break, uninterupted by worries of the well-being of your children.

We had a great time with Chris Lowry and his wife Laura, and are so grateful for the time Jonathan had to work side by side with Chris in the Ft. Worth territory. These guys are really hillarious together! Laura and I had a great time watching our husbands and their antics.