Fishy Business in Philadelphia…

We took a ride down to visit Aunt Judy and check out a new-to-us spot…the Adventure Aquarium.

Adventure Aquarium is located near Philadelphia in Camden, New Jersey. It’s a fun and interactive aquarium, and the kids almost decided they love it more than Baltimore….ALMOST! Baltimore still seems to win out by just a tiny bit.

Here’s a few shots of the family and Aunt Judy hanging out in in the Aquarium.

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The new Stingray Beach Club exhibit offered folks the opportunity to touch, feed and enjoy the stingrays up close in a really nicely designed habitat. The whole family loved playing with the “puppy dogs of the ocean”.

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Another AWESOME vacation visit with our favorite traveling Auntie…

It’s a Technicolor World, so enjoy it!

We got a big box of surprises in the mail today from Steve Spangler Science. The kids were eager to jump right in to playing with their new baby soda bottles and test tube racks. We decided to work with two projects today. The first, and the one that kept them occupied for the longest time, was a good old color-mixing experiment.

The kids started off with empty test tubes, a large beaker flask of water, a pipette, and three fizzy color tabs. They turned the fizzy tabs and water into three tubes of liquid- red, yellow, blue. Then they used those colors and their pipettes to experiment with secondary color combinations in the empty tubes.

After the color experiment, we used some Magic Sand to study the concepts of hydrophilia and hydrophobia.

I think we’re going to love our newly restructured screen-porch Science Lab!

We’ve already started making another order at Steve Spangler. We’re a little obsessed with their Test Tube Experiment Kits. They’re incredibly kid-friendly. Simple enough that the kids can go it alone with minimal adult supervision.

Keeping a running record…

I borrowed the idea of keeping a running record of our day from Alexa. This is my first attempt at charting the flow of an entire day and then blogging the result. Our lives are a bit more busy and productive than I usually imagine them to be, and it’s helpful to be able to look back and actually see the shape of our day from the notes I took.

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Breaking in the Dining Room Table

I had such high hopes of being able to blog almost daily now that we’re in the big town, but I was thwarted by a week full of sick kids, a sick husband, and some pretty nasty headaches and fevers of my own.

Thankfully, the worst seems to be over and we ended our first week in White Plains with a visit from some hometown friends.  J. and R. (Emily suggested that I blog-name them Rock Star and Cat Woman-henceforth, it shall be so) were in the area visiting family and friends and tying up some post-wedding details.  We convinced them to drive in to see our new “deluxe apartment in the skkkkyyyyyyy”.

The kids attacked them before they could even get into the building.  By the time we’d made it upstairs, the gender split had been made and CatWoman was wrapped up in cat fur and little girls. 

CatWoman and Wee Girlies

Dave and Mr. Rock Star immediately sank into fantasy-gaming land, and we lost them for quite a while. Since they were well occupied, CatWoman (I crack up and think of black latex every time I type this, by the way) and I walked the kids down to B&N and were pleasantly surprised when an employee told us there was something special to see in the back of the store and lead us directly to ….this guy….

Hatted Cat

The kids rounded up armloads of new reading material (Teacher Appreciation Week- 25% off nearly everthing) and we ventured back up to the 32nd floor. After depositing the kids with the guys (who were still chatting D&D) and making plans to break out Colosseum, we adult ladies made a snack run to Target and left the boys to set up the boardgame.

A very tense and boat-less game of Colosseum later, Dave was declared winner, with the other three of us very closely positioned quite a few steps behind him on the score track.

Colosseum

After the game, R. and J. had to head back to dinner with R.’s family, and I ran out to pick up dinner for the 5 starving Chens. There were baths, late night stories, and a very early bedtime for the kids. Overall, it was a wonderful Sunday.

Our Big City Lives (Part 1)

Our neighbors from the ground up

Today was our first full day as city dwellers.  I woke up very early (before 6) because Nate was running a very high fever, so I ran out to Walmart in the wee dark hours to grab some more Tylenol and Motrin so I could alternate them throughout the day. It was peaceful, quiet, and calm outside our building and I enjoyed the few fleeting moments of stillness before the city woke up and started moving.

Emily took some photos of the view from her room today.  It’s tall, busy, and we’re still amazed by the crazy things on TOP of some of these buildings.  You know, swimming pools, helicopter landing pads, tennis courts, and fully astroturfed yards with swingsets and kids bicycles.  We’re among the tallest buildings in the city, so we look down on many interesting places.
View from Emily's bedroom

By 9am, I was realizing how very out of our depth we are in our new surroundings.  There was something surreal about watching our neighbors load into their limousines with their fancy drivers (I have driver envy, it’s something I NEED) to head off for whatever their day held in store.  I actually held a very nice conversation in the elevator with a lady who was taking her 13 year old dog downstairs to meet his “nanny” before she hopped in her chauffered car to Manhattan.  The nanny would then be responsible for walking the dog, letting it potty, then entertaining (her word, not mine) the sweet puppy for the rest of the day. 

So, yeah, a different world here.  Before lunch, the whole family went down for some time in the pool and hot tub.  The two smaller kids did all of their swimming in the hot tub because it was more shallow and the floatation belts I ordered have not yet arrived at the building. 

I made 9 trips out today to Target, Walmart and B&N.  We ate leftover pasta and meatballs for lunch. 

Then, the city decided that our arrival was so wonderful that they would through us a parade to celebrate.  And, what the heck, since they were celebrating our move they might as well do a little recognition of Columbus, the Italian-American culture and Moose(Meese?) Lodges.

Chris and friends

Moose

After the parade, there were long naps and more shopping. Some television watching and recovering from illness were also on the agenda. Tonight everyone went to bed early to recover from the busy month past, and to anticipate the exciting week ahead.

I’m fairly certain this is going to be a roller-coaster ride of crazy for the next 6 months.