Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still Amazed By What Children Will Say

With a 2 and 5 year old, there are plenty of moments in my day where I get a good laugh or am amazed by what they will say. And what they will want when it comes to toys.

We luckily found a station showing Magic School Bus once a week and I am now taping the episodes. I was surprised to find that the station does a commercial break. I guess I have been spoiled lately by the young kid shows and channels that don't advertise. Caught off guard, we watched the commercials with the show. One in particular caught all of our attention.

Pillow Pets.

Have you seen these? I noticed last weekend that they are EVEYWHERE. It must be the hot new Christmas item (or so they hope). I watched the commercial and thought to myself CHEEEEESE!!!! Oh my goodness, these things look really silly and the series of children popping off the velcro attachment that converts your lovely Pillow Pet into an actual pillow was almost more than I could take. The boys had a totally different reaction.

The rest of the evening was filled with echoing choruses of "Pillow Pets!" "I want a pillow pet!"I was not yet convinced.

A week later and they were still asking about Pillow Pets!! Nathan - "can I get one for Christmas, I really want the Ladybug and the Dolphin." Amazed that they were so interested in these silly things, I asked Evan if he would want a pillow pet - you should have seen his little eyes light up and face break into the biggest smile. "I want the penguin."

Sigh. Now I had to find a way to get them into the Christmas gift program which is pretty much finished. I was beginning to think that Santa just might have to take on this dream come true. I searched the internet, found their website, realized there are knock-offs and a variety of prices.

Then, this past Saturday we needed to go to Best Buy. We had been told that ours would take broken TV's and recycle it if we would give them $10 in return for a $10 gift card... Yeah, weird deal but we get a TV out of the garage so I figured we could find a $10 dvd some time in the near future. So, with Evan on my hip, and Nathan helping Daddy carry in the TV, we marched up to the service desk, that is until we passed by a huge display of... you got it, Pillow Pets! We dragged the boys away, finished our TV deal and then went to check out the pet that is also a pillow. They went wild. Evan was all over the purple unicorn and after grabbing the ladybug and dolphin, Nathan decided it was all about the ladybug.

Well, if there was any doubt in my mind, it was now clear that Pillow Pets are in our future.

Nathan quickly made the definite decision that although he wanted both, if he only got one it would be the Ladybug. I showed Evan the penguin he had originally said he wanted and there was no changing his mind. He wanted the Unicorn and he wanted it now. I thought we were in for a big 2 year old fit when I said they are too expensive here, maybe you can get one for Christmas or maybe Santa will bring you one.
I looked at Evan, the lip quivered, those little arms clutched the purple unicorn, eyes started to water ... and then he said "Okay, but I want the purple Unicorn!"

Sigh of relief, and after avoiding that part of the store as we checked the dvd racks we made a quick escape. (Only to spot another huge display in the Kroger store while shopping on Sunday!) Sunday night I did some searches, found Amazon had the best deal for official Pillow Pets and ordered the items my boys will not be able to live without.

Now, here comes the good part. Tuesday night we are driving home, as usual, listening to music and talking. Suddenly from the back seat I hear little Evan say "Is it almost Christmas?" I smile, "well yes, we have to have Thanksgiving next week and then soon after that will be Christmas." A moment of silence and then Evan says with confidence "Good because Christmas is when I get my Pillow Pet!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kentucky Vacation pt 4

Tuesday we were off again for more site-seeing. First we went to a monastery known for it's fruitcake. We thought there would be a tour but when we got there we found out there was a gift shop! Most of the area was blocked off with signs for Monks only but we did get to look into their chapel and walk around a bit. I got a fruitcake for my Dad. (He said they went a little too heavy on the bourbon.) We also got some flavored whipped honey that was very tasty at dinner that night! I found a wonderful book for the boys that will become something I start giving in baby shower gifts. It's called What is God Like by Marie-Agnes Gaudrat (not to be confused by a book by the same title and different author) and I really love it!

This is the gift shop and room with a video about the monks.

This is the chapel area that is mostly open to the public.

A rare shot of me, the self-appointed photographer. Yes, proof that I was there. I stepped outside to get some photos while everyone else watched the video. I met a man there for the conference who was also taking photos so I offered to take his photo for him and he returned the favor!

I later snapped this shot of him heading off to pray.

This sign made me wonder if we were in the right place for my boys!
Can Nathan and Evan be silent?

After the monastery, we went to Maker's Mark to see how bourbon was made.

The grounds were very pretty!

Since I know so much about alcohol, I would say this is a photo of something shiny! :-)

Very cool barrel I photographed while the guide was describing the shiny thing above...must be why I don't remember what that did. (The free bourbon was AFTER the tour and no I did not have any!)

Once the bourbon is bottled, they hand-dip each bottle in red wax as a signature of the Maker's Mark brand. Random bottles are over dipped and sent out with regular shipments as a special collector's item.

Very cool room where the bourbon is stored for aging before bottled.

Back home we relaxed for a little while...

And then we hit the pool!

Nathan did really well in the water and enjoyed floating around.
Evan took to water right away! I was reminded how much I don't like water.

Maybe a little too adventurous?
Evan loved "jumping" off the side into Daddy's arms and did it over and over.

A great dive by Andrew!

A friendly game of water frisbee.

Even Nathan got involved!

Back at the house, a tired hug for Grandma Great!

Nathan and Andrew were still pretty inseparable.

James spent the evening showing Shelby and Michael card tricks, while Nathan and Andrew played together and Evan loved on the balloons.

This was his favorite orange one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vacationing in Kentucky Pt 3

So, on Monday we went to Shaker Village for the day. Last year when my sister and I were trying to think of a good place to go for my Mom's 70th birthday trip, James came up with the idea of the Shaker Village in Kentucky. It seemed the perfect place to take my Mom - something she could really enjoy. What we did not count on was the rising airline tickets. So, we changed our plans and spent the vacation in Winter Park, Colorado. (That's a blog posting for another day when I finally get through this trip!)

Everyone was disappointed and curious about the Shaker Village, so when we decided we would make the trip to Kentucky, I asked if we could spend a day at Shaker Village to see if it would have been a worthy trip. It is only an hour drive from Jim's house so off we went on Monday!

Now, I didn't know much of anything about the Shakers - I mean who can keep them all straight when you have Shakers, Quakers and Amish. Sounds more like an illness than a way of life. So, not only did we enjoy walking around the Village, but we learned a lot. Shakers were a group of people who got together and agreed that they all believed the same things religiously and they felt they could have a better life if they all pooled their resources and lived and worked together for the good of the community. So I guess you could say they were kind of Hippies of the 1800's.

The end result was is a beautiful area that has been preserved on lots of acres with lots of buildings. Walking through out the area we got a real feel for the simpler life, a time before technology and a place of community. So, here's a brief view of what we saw...

This is the building we purchased our tickets for the walking tour. It is also the gift shop that has a real country store feel to it. Wished I'd had more money to spend - so many wonderful handmade items to see.

The boys found a basket of hats and could not resist trying them on. I love this photo - they look like little Amish boys! :-)

Another favorite photo of mine from the day. This was a little window/display area in the shop. I caught the kitty napping and just loved the scene it created.

Shakers were known for their rock fences - wonder if they were Irish?!? These fences were really lovely and covered the whole area.

This is the building we spent the most time in. It was the Centre Family building and offered scenes of everyday life for a Shaker. The rooms recreated the places Shakers would spend their time.

A typical bedroom. Rooms were set up for women and men to be separate. Even married couples kind of gave up their own space to live more as a community.

Schooling was done by the Shakers themselves. This was a typical classroom.

In the basement we considered where to go next...

Their kitchen!

Grandma Palmer helps the boys try their hand at stitching.

Being a detail person, I loved these kinds of things I found all over the Village. Check out their nifty gadget to keep the windows open! There were lots of clever things like this to see.

The Infirmary

A group shot! Unfortunately Shelby had a dentist appointment that day and could not join us.

I loved their stairways! There were several buildings that had the most beautiful stairways that lended themselves to wonderful photos.

Not only did the Shakers make and do everything their community needed, but they also had a farm and animals to use for their food. This is still a working farm and provides the food served in the restaurants available in the Village.

Evan wanted to share his snack!

Some of the buildings offered demonstrations of daily events.

Not sure I'm ready to give up my modern life, but it sure was a beautiful place to visit!