Sunday Snapshots (of Reading Museum)

Earlier this week, Elly and I visited the Reading Museum. It had been my intention of taking her to the playground across the street from the museum, but it was a mite too cold. So, to the museum we went.

I was worried that there would be nothing for Elly to do and I would spent the entire visit begging her to not touch anything. When they let her in free (kids 3 years and younger are allowed in free), my shoulders might have slumped in defeat.

Then, the museum staff directed us to their new exhibit, Run! Jump! FLY!, stating that Elly would enjoy it the most. He wasn’t wrong. The entire exhibit is geared towards kids. Mind you, they probably had 7 year old kids in mind when they put it together, but Elly still had fun despite being too small to do some of the activities. There was a rock wall, yoga station, dance station, and an exercise station. Elly’s favorite was the surf and snow section where she got to ride the waves and snowboard down the snow.

Elsewhere in the museum, I did have to ask Elly not to touch sculptures and paintings. Surprisingly though, there were things that Elly could touch. There were “Please Touch” signs at all the Discovery Stations as they were called.

Elly got to try her hand at weaving.

I pity the poor staff member who had to untie all the knots Elly made.

When we left, it was all one big knot.

So, yes, I think Elly and I will be back to visit the Reading Museum this winter when it is too cold to go out and play.


Sunday Snapshots (of Halloween)

Our Halloween celebration lasted all month long.

It started with our annual Autumn Fest where pumpkins were painted and apples were bobbed for.

It continued at the Weavers Orchard’s Fall fest where Elly got to card alpaca fleece and paint another pumpkin.

Then, we attended a MOMS Club Halloween party.

Next, we attended Boo at the Zoo.

Finally, Halloween finally arrived. After an hour of trick-or-treating, we returned home to pass out candy to the kids with more stamina.

Elly had a blast!

She was a bit disappointed though to learn that we didn’t get to give out more candy the following day.

Sunday Snapshots (of Elly working out)

Just in case you are as nuts about Christmas as I am and are already starting your shopping list, you can add an elliptical machine to Elly’s Christmas list.

We recently visited dear friends to their new house and they had an elliptical machine. Naturally, Elly wanted to climb onto it because she likes to climb on everything these days.

It didn’t take her long to figure out how to move the pedals. She went forwards and backwards.

She would get off for a minute or two to eat or to play a game and then she was right back on it.

Mixed Feelings over Crayola’s Renovation

In January, Elly and I went to the Crayola Experience (previously the Crayola Factory) with the Mom’s Club. Since then, she has been asking me to take her back. So, on Saturday when Dan was headed to a board game get-together, Elly and I headed to Easton, PA.

The first thing you notice is that the layout is different. The entrance is bigger and more inviting. Naturally, the price per ticket reflects the new changes by a modest increase to $15.99.

They have added some neat activities like making your own marker and labeling your own crayon, but Elly could have cared less. We zoomed right past both stations.

One new activity that did interest Elly was getting to pick out her own sea creature, a turtle, on a computer screen, color it, and then watch it come to life on the big screen.

Though like before, her favorite crafts were working with model clay and working with melted crayons.

Last time, it was the ball elevator that kept Elly entertained for long stretches. A ball elevator was still there, but the kids could no longer pick the balls up and put them on the elevator. It was all done automatically. True, she could now direct which way the ball came down like a pinball machine, but it wasn’t as memorizing.

This time, the indoor playground held Elly’s attention. She could have played on it all day long. I was less impressed. To me, it looked like they stuck a McDonald’s playland in the middle of their building. If I wanted Elly to spend the day on an indoor playland, I would have taken her to the McDonald’s on High St.

After Elly saw the indoor playland, all remaining crafts had to be negotiated. A break from the playland was taken to work with the melted crayons but a promise that she could go back on the playland after was made. The same deal was made to encourage Elly to decorate a paper tie for Daddy.

Overall, Elly had a blast. She didn’t want to leave. She asked to go back the very next day. So, despite my misgivings, it was a success.

Unfortunately, the whole trip ended on a sour note for me. In front of the playland area was a place for the kids to draw with sidewalk chalk.

Written in yellow chalk were the letters KKK. It could have been a kid practicing his K’s, but they looked awfully neat and precise. More likely, it was just some kid being stupid. Still I found it vulgar. Rather than take a minute to track down a Crayola staff member and have them wash it off, I quickly grabbed the nearest piece of chalk and scratched over it. In no way do I blame Crayola for it. Likely, they would have done the same if they had found it first.

After, Elly and I headed home. On the way, we stopped by a McDonalds where Elly got to run around in their playland for free.

Sunday Snapshots (of fair rides)

The last time I took Elly to the Boyertown playground, we noticed that they were setting up for a fair. From the swings, Elly could see the merry-go-round, the ferris wheel, and the dragon roller coaster. It was pure torture.

When Dan and I took her on Saturday if she would like to go to the fair, she jumped for joy.

She rode the merry-go-round.

She rode the caterpillar.

She rode the motorcycle.

Yet, her favorite ride by a long mile was the dragon roller coaster.

I lost count of how many times she rode the dragon. It was a good thing we had splurged and bought her the wrist band. She got her money’s worth.

What the Moms Club Means to Me

Last week the Pottstown/Pottsgrove Moms Club held an open house at the Heather Place playground. Despite earlier predictions for rain, the day was beautiful.

Elly had went to sleep with a low-grade fever, but she woke up in good spirits. So, away we went to the party.

I joined the Moms Club when Elly was 18 months old because we would go to the playgrounds and nobody would be there. I felt like I either needed to have another child so Elly could have a playmate (and I so wasn’t ready for a 2nd child. Heck, I’m still not quite ready for a 2nd child) or I needed to find some other people who had kids around Elly’s age.

The Moms Club had a weekly playgroup for moms and their children that were around Elly’s age. It was great for Elly. She had always been a social butterfly, but she really blossomed when she finally got to make some lasting friendships.

Several side benefits occurred including learning how to share, experiencing time away from Mom, and learning kid games like tag and run away.

The surprise was learning how supportive the Moms Club was for me.

Elly had been a baby who hated sleep and thought most food was poisonous. It was so reassuring to hear that Elly was not the only baby in the world who held fast to these notions. More importantly, it was just a phase. Elly would grow up. She would learn to eat better and sleep better.

At 3, Elly does eat better. She is still picky, but she will eat more than just French fries although they remain her favorite food. She is a MUCH better sleeper too though she has still never slept through the whole night. But what started as a nightmare of waking up every hour on the hour now has turned into only waking up once in the night.

Now when Elly and I attend Moms Club activities, Elly runs off to play with her friends. I pull up a chair, relax and chat with some pretty awesome women whom I am proud to call my friends.

Perhaps feeling the way I do, it is only fitting that I have been nominated to be the next president of the Pottstown/Pottsgrove Moms Club.

If the Moms Club sounds pretty awesome to you, check out your local chapter.

Sunday Snapshots (of serenading)

On the steps of the Pottstown Library, Elly spotted a man with a guitar. He was idly strumming while chatting with his friend.

Once he noticed that he had a captivated audience, he stepped up his game and started playing Run Around Sue.

Then, he asked what songs Elly wanted to hear. He started off by playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Then, Elly really started to smile when he sang her favorite song, Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Such fun!

Hooray! A New Camera!

All my life I have only used a point and shoot camera.

These past 5 years, I have been using a Kodak Share camera. It was great in the beginning. Over time I outgrew it. I was no longer just taking pictures of knitting and sewing projects. I was chasing after Elly, trying to catch every cute expression and every new milestone.

The Kodak failed in me in several ways.
It was horrible at taking pictures in low light, which accounts for our entire house.
The flash distorted the colors of the pictures I took. The first thing I typically did before shooting was to turn the flash off, which meant I lost a lot of pictures to blur, but at least they looked better.
The maximum amount of pictures it could take back to back was 3. Once I snapped #4, an hourglass popped up with the word “processing” underneath.

Then, the camera started to break. I’m not sure it was built to take pictures every single day like I do.
Half the time when I pushed the On/Off button, it didn’t turn on.
When it did turn on, sometimes it froze and wouldn’t allow me to take a picture.
That was the nail in the coffin. The rest I could put up with, but I demand that a camera turn on and allow me to take pictures. So, it is now headed to the landfill.

Meet my new camera.

It’s a Canon Rebel XS (purchased from eBay used). I purchased the body only. Then, I bought a new lens, a 85mm f1.8 Canon lens. It’s touted as being a great lens for taking portraits, which will be perfect when taking pictures of Elly.

Elly got a new camera too, a Vtech Kidizoom.

Don’t you just love how the background is blurred?

And it can take black and white shots.

Though I have to read the manual to figure out how to duplicate this shot. I don’t know what I did, but I love it!

Introducing Baby Gertie

Last week on our way home from the Hickory Park pool, I pulled over to check out a yard sale. Boy was I glad I did.

I found the perfect table to sit in our living room next to our wing back chair. It was a steal at $2.

Elly made out even better. She found a new baby doll to love.

Truthfully, the doll won’t win any beauty pageants. But, her carriage could make even Cinderella green with envy.

Not only can Baby Gertie be wheeled throughout the house in it, but it is truly magical. It has two air hoses in it that can move Baby Gertie’s hands up and down when the carriage handle is squeezed.

We had named Baby Gertie right away. Elly is obsessed with learning everybody’s names these days. Later in the evening while looking the carriage over, I learned that it had a name: “Karen and her Magic Carriage”. I asked Elly if she wanted to call the baby Karen, since that was her given name.

“No, she is Baby Gertie” said Elly. And so she is.

Baby Gertie is not allowed out of the house. I don’t think I could replace her if she was lost or tossed out of the car window as we have already lost a toy and a set of CDs that way.