Monday, June 30, 2008

Storybook Land

On Monday we went to Storybook Land, a small amusement park not far from Atlantic City. It's geared towards smaller children so it was perfect for the girls. What it lacked in excitement from Baileigh's perspective it was made up for in the fact that she could go on every ride and even take Brooke with her on rides.

Cooling off after lunch with a push-up...apparently my deprived children had ever tried a push-up before and they thought they were fascinated by them!
Mckenna was the only girl who decided to cool off in the small water park section...she didn't just cool off, she was completely soaked!
I think the girls rode this roller coaster at least 8 times! The longest line in the entire park was maybe five minutes.

This park definitely lacked the excitement of somewhere like Six Flags, but it was much more laid back and relaxing and although we all headed home tired we had a lot of fun.

Camping

Baileigh and Mckenna camped last night...in our family room. We bought them a new tent and decided to practice inside. Frankly, I'm fine if the tent never sees the grass...this type of camping is perfect for me!

Finally asleep...look at our sweet Ranger protecting the girls!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pecking Chickens

Almost every night, after books and prayers, Baileigh asks me to say another prayer for her that she won't have any bad dreams. I usually say a quick prayer and see her again in the morning.

Tonight I insisted that she pray for herself while I was there instead of me. She agreed and this was her prayer.

"Dear God, thank you for this day. For my friends and my family. Please help me not to have any bad dreams tonight. No dreams about snakes. Or burglars. Or moles. Or spiders. Or pecking chickens. Amen."

Huh?

Sesame Place

On Thursday we went to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA...less then an hour away. All Anheuser-Busch parks like Sea World, Busch Gardens, Sesame Place etc. have a program called Here's to the Heroes which allows an active duty military member and 3 dependents to enter one of their parks for a day, each year, without admission. In the fall of 2006 we went to Sea World compliments of this program while we were at DisneyLand. Leave it to a beer company to have a great policy like this...they know that they are wise to wine and dine their military audience.

This week we took advantage of the program with a day trip to Sesame Place. My girls never really watched that much Sesame Street but they still had a blast and recognized some of the characters. We anticipated having to pay for at least one ticket since the description basically says a family of four, but the kind lady at the ticket booth gave each of us a complimentary ticket. In addition, they have VIP lines for military for purchasing tickets and for going through security...we were in the park in less then 10 minutes while the average family probably had a 30 minute wait to purchase tickets and stand in the security lines. Nice!


The day started off gray and sprinkled but the temperatures were already in the 80's by 10am so despite the lack of sunshine it was still warm.
Baileigh, who is our fish, loved the water rides and the fact that she was old enough and tall enough to go on several of them alone! That fact made her seem so old to me!




We got off a ride just in time for the afternoon parade. Baileigh doesn't really care who the character is...but she is at the age where she loves to hug them and borderline attacks them if we don't restrain her!
We went to an Elmo show and Baileigh was selected to be fish and help Elmos dance. She is in the pink dress with the pig tails in the front left of the screen. She was frustrated we had to stop going on rides to sit through this show for her little sisters, but once she was selected to go up on stage she thought the whole thing was a lot cooler! That was her quote "that was cool!"
video

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reading Terminal

Wednesday was Grandma and Grandpa's last day in town. Before heading to the airport we went into downtown Philadelphia to Reading Terminal Market. I love to walk around markets and look at all the fresh produce, flowers and meats. Reading Terminal reminds me of Pike's Market in Seattle, minus any bubble tea for sale!
I'm not sure the point of this pig...but the girls thought it was funny that you could put a coin in his mouth and it came out his bottom. Nice.
The vibrant colors of the produce and flowers just can't be communicated, even in pictures.

Baileigh took this photo...she really wants her own camera so I've been letting her take pictures with my camera more frequently if she agrees to listen to my advice and let me teach her how to try to take photos...she is eager to learn and takes some decent pictures!
There were endless displays of chocolates, cookies, candies, baked goods, etc. The girls had a hard time trying to decide which one thing they would pick for a treat.
Both girls selected a sucker that looked like an ice cream cone...it was made with honey and lasted them over an hour!

SURPRISE!!!!!

Last night I completely surprised Brad with a party in his honor. He thought we were going to Pump It Up for a friend's daughter's birthday party when in reality it was a graduation party with all our friends and their kids. He had no clue! We had 22 kids and 23 adults!
The "boy" came out of every man and they were quickly deep in competition and dripping with sweat!

Baileigh and her friend Maddy duking it out in the ring! It was so funny trying to see them boxing while giggling.
I think Mckenna has a future as an American Gladiator. She looked like a natural all suited up in her gear and was really aggressive...thankfully her and Emma hugged and remained friends afterwards.
Brad was brave enough to challenge me to a round in the ring. I think instead of counseling, every couple should keep an inflatable ring and giant gloves in the backyard...it was very therapeutic!
After an hour in a half of jumping everyone had worked up an appetite.
Not only was Brad initially surprised, I think he was also embarrassed and upset. He isn't big on surprises or being the center of attention...I think he liked it and enjoyed himself after seeing how much fun everyone had and how hard I was trying to make it more of a party to show appreciation to our friends for their support rather then making it all about him.
Something really funny was the fact that there were two sets of our friends at the party that hadn't seen each other since Brad threw me a surprise 30th party back in 2004 when we lived in New Jersey during our last assignment! Maybe we'll be back in another 4 or 5 years and we can celebrate our 40th birthdays with these friends!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fresh Blueberries!

Saturday morning we headed out to a local farm to pick our own blueberries with Grandma and Grandpa. It was a beautiful day and we started early before it was too hot.
I became a big fan of blueberry picking...it was easy for everyone at all heights to reach the berries and the kids didn't get that dirty despite eating 100's of blueberries!
Brooke started slowly but eventually got into it and became quite the berry connoisseur.
Baileigh was competing with Grandpa to see who could pick more berries.
Helping Daddy with his blueberry bucket.

I love this picture...the lighting, the girls smiles, and the setting...if I do say so myself.
Afterwards we enjoyed some blueberry ice cream made with fresh blueberries...mmmmm.
So far we've made blueberry pie, blueberry coffee cake, and blueberry pancakes. I'm just waiting for the girls to tell me in a few days "we don't really like blueberries anymore".

Saturday, June 21, 2008

GRADUATION!

Yesterday Brad received his Masters of Science in Air Mobility from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Although we're all excited and relieved to finish this program it's also bittersweet to end this period of being a paid full time student!

The girls were excited about their patriotic dresses and anxious to see Daddy "fancy" in his mess dress uniform!

Brooke loved to play with Brad's medals...when we got married he had one lonely medal on his jacket.
Brad's parents flew in from TX to visit and attend the graduation ceremony.
Receiving his diploma from General Self, Commander of the USAF Expeditionary Center.
The 16 graduating members of the Advanced Studies in Air Mobility (ASAM) class of 2008.
We're all very proud of you Daddy! I know its been a long year and you've worked so hard.

After the graduation ceremony Brad's parents took the girls to McDonalds and home for bed. We attended a dinner reception where Brad was the surprise ice breaker with a performance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow accompanied by a ukulele. Lucky for Brad, I'm having difficulty downloading some very funny and incriminating video...I'm suspicious that he tampered with the file!

Unfortunately for Brad this respite from studying will be short...he has 15 credit hours remaining in a correspondence MS program he was working on through Embry Riddle Aeronautical University when he was accepted into the ASAM program. He took a break for the year for this program but now he needs to resume in distance learning program because he only has five years to complete the program and he is approaching the fourth year. At least he is already in the study mode!