Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter

I think in the future, Gordy and I will refer to this time period of our lives as "the end of the bunny years."  No one is fessing up to it, but I think all three of our children are starting to wisen up to certain life facts regarding our friend, The Easter Bunny. 

But we went through the motions one more time -- perhaps for old times sake.

The Easter Bunny had hidden the baskets around our family room - the only room on our first floor not saran-wrapped against the dust of the construction and replastering. 


Here in our part of the world, the Easter Bunny gives gifts as well as candy.  One year, the Easter Bunny gave our children only candy and then Henry went off to school the next day and came home wondering why the Easter Bunny gave his friends Lego sets and Nerf guns.  Why indeed, I asked?


Since then, the Bunny and I have reached an agreement:  one toy and the rest marshmallow cream eggs and chocolate bunnies (with starburst and sweet tarts for the allergy kid).


The children still wonder why the Easter Bunny is so darn stingy.

This year, our friends Janet and Kevin invited us to their house for Easter Dinner and I was assigned to the dessert.  I love to make dessert because it means that I can make what I like and it guarantees that the hostess won't be serving something disappointing like a fruit platter or anything whose main ingredient is a lemon.  yuck.

This year, I decided to make a chocolate torte for the grown-ups and a cookie platter for the kids (and grown ups like me who like to throw all dieting to the wind on major holidays).

The girls helped me make chow mein noodle bird nests:


Janet planned an egg hunt and egg decorating at her house, so we skipped our own egg hunt in the morning. 


Josie found the first egg and was reaching up high to get it when....


Older child snatched it right out from under her - well, over her.


Look at that face!

Even moments later, Josie was still glaring:


But she did manage to get a few eggs in her bag:



Boy, do kids love a good egg hunt:


In the end, I had Kevin take a family photo so Gordy and I could remember that we were there when we look through our photo albums when we are old(er):


Inside, Janet had spread out a heap of egg decorations and egg dye kits:



It was such a treat to spend Easter with other people - thanks, Janet, Kevin & boys!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Break: Without The Camera



When I stopped the last post, we were in the Bahamian sunshine enjoying the water slides of Atlantis.  Josie and I were standing on the observation deck of the most horrific of all scary water slides, The Leap of Faith, and we were waiting for Henry, Georgia and Gordy to make the plunge to the bottom.  I had just taken my third photo of Josie "waiting" at the bottom of a slide when my beloved camera lens stopped working.  It no longer focused, it no longer took pictures and instead it made a pitiful clicking noise whenever I attempted to push the button.  I figured it might be a battery problem, so I didn't bother to switch to my telephoto lens which was sad because I might have been able to get some pictures of Henry and Georgia as they flew down the slide and narrowly escaped their death.

From this point on, I had to rely on my tiny canon powershot camera and so the photos are not the best quality.

Our trip to the Bahamas was not all about the resort.  We also went to the beach and were able to swim in the crystal clear ocean.






And we spent time at the many aquariums and fish habitats:




But we found ourselves at the pool most of the time:


We were a little wiser on this trip to Atlantis.  We made our dinner reservations in advance so we could avoid the no-reservations-needed options of pizza and Johnny Rockets.  Just for fun, we dressed up for dinner:






On our last afternoon, we split up into groups again.  Henry, Gordy and Georgia went off to The Tower of Power and Josie and I went to the sunburst pool. 

It was almost 90 degrees and there were very little shade to be found so Josie and I didn't feel like being in the pool for very long.  We decided to go back to our lounge chairs and wait for the rest of the family there.  That morning, Gordy and I had forgotten to put suntan lotion on Josie's face and while she is the only one of our children tans regularly, I was still nervous about her getting too much sun.  Once we got back to our seats, I had her put on her visor:




But the sun was really intense and beating down on us and I was worried that Josie was still getting too much sun, so I gave her my hat. 


Oh my goodness, was she cute.  Josie is such a good companion.  She loves to just sit and talk... and if she has a proper costume, she's happy to play the part of the lounging, beach-going teenager.
Our vacation was pretty short - we were only in the Bahamas for two and a half days, but it was the perfect length for us.  We are home now and even though it is still cold and rainy here, we find ourselves feeling more optimistic that the sunny weather will find us eventually.





We hope you had a wonderful spring break, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Break From The Cold

We've been away.  Last week was spring break and we decided to flee the forty degree temperatures of our home state and head south to the Bahamas.  It was a short trip but worth it in every way. 


We had an amazing vacation but a completely dismal journey.  Every problem that a family can have while travelling, we had - and I'm not just talking about our trip down to the Caribbean.  We had just as horrid a time getting back home.  You couldn't pay Gordy and I to ever fly American Airlines ever again. 

Just put away that wallet, it's not going to happen. 

But our journey of calamities is a story for another post.  Right now, let's just dwell on these beautiful children and this beautiful locale.  You can almost feel the 86-degree-ness, can't you.


This is our family's second trip to the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas -  a Disney World-like place of water slides and aquariums.  Our first trip was three years ago and only Henry was tall enough to go on the water slides.  This time around, Georgia had finally reached that 48-inch mark and she happily tried every slide in the park.  Sadly, Josie was stuck on the mini-slides of the main pool and even though she tried to be a good sport about it, she found it hard watching her brother and sister have all the fun.


I compared Atlantis to Disney World for a reason.  Like it's mouse-eared cousin, Atlantis is REALLY crowded.  I took all these photos on one morning and the only reason why you don't see the thousands of people swimming around my children, is that I used my telephoto lens and cropped out the strangers. 

We didn't go to Atlantis during an official school vacation week the last time we went and going during the entire Eastern Seaboard's spring break this year made a noticeable difference in the crowds.  This was particularly obvious in the length of lines to get to the water slides.  Gordy, who loves slides as much as his children, took Henry and Georgia and patiently waited in the long lines for the inevitable quick trip down to the bottom.

But we had plenty of relaxing down time as well.  We got to the pools super early on our first full day and had a few moments of relative privacy before the crowds woke up and joined us in the pool.







Henry and Georgia (and Gordy) could only float peacefully for so long and the minute the big slides opened for business, they were back in line with the masses.  Josie and I did a lot of waiting at the bottom for the big kids and their dramatic splash.

Neither of us minded the waiting.  It's hard to be upset when it's sunny and hot.

This is a water slide that ends with a trip through a clear tube inside the shark tank:


Gordy and Georgia rode in a double tube:


Here they are from inside the shark tank:


Here is Henry, a few minutes later:


Henry and his friend the shark, that is.


Later on, we all rode the Rapid River ride.  We actually did this feature many times each day, as it is one of the only rides that Josie could do too.


If the above picture does not give you an accurate view of the massive crowds, the below photo might do a better job. 



Atlantis was obviously the go-to destination for all east coast spring breakers.  And most of the Midwestern and West Coast spring breakers as well.

Have I mentioned that it was very, very crowded?


Don't worry.  We didn't let the crowds get us down.  We were willing to share the sunshine with every body.   Plus, we figured  that they needed the warmth as much as we did.

Which brings us to this:


An almost vertical drop from a pyramid into a shark tank.  Sounds horrible, no? 

Well, not to Georgia or Gordy.  And eventually, not to Henry either.  It was terrifying to watch, but three of our five gave the Leap of Faith a try.

And two us stood at the bottom and watched.


sigh. 

And this is the exact moment that my camera lens stopped working. 

The rest of the photos from the trip - taken with my mini, point-and-shoot camera, I will show you later.  We need to spread the sunshine out a little.  After all, I am home now and it is 40 degrees and raining as I type this.  Remember when I said there was no spring in New England?  I wasn't joking.
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