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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Staycation 2012 - Day 6 and 7

Day 6 - Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Off to the zoo we went. Everyone else was there too. I have never been to the zoo on a day that busy before in my life! I'm pretty sure that everyone in all of the tri-state area was having a staycation the entire week we were.

Aaron and Sean are loving animals at this stage so I was excited to take them to the zoo. They were pretty excited to see the animals. They made monkey sounds, elephant sounds, and pounded their chests like gorillas at the appropriate time. Sean also made sounds of protest when I tried to get a picture of them all looking into the sun.
These two are good buddies.
Got up close and personal with a shark.

Day 7 - GPAFG Picnic
On our last day of staycation 2012, we went to the annual picnic hosted by our local Guatemala adoption group (GPAFG). We were all pretty tired by that time but we also know how important it is to our kids to see other families that are all different colors just like their family. Plus, there was a playground and I didn't have to cook! And a pinata! IMG_1767
I think there were about 25 families at the picnic this year. All the families have one more children that were adopted from Guatemala. Always fun to see how the kids have grown from year to year. Usually when we take the kids to the playground, it is easy to spot Marcus and Will's dark hair and skin in a crowd of Caucasian kids. Greg picked out brightly colored matching shirts for them to wear to the GPAFG because in a crowd of other Guatemalan kids, looking for dark hair kids wasn't going to necessarily lead us to our own kids.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Staycation 2012 - Day 5

Day 5 - The Children's Museum
Day 5 had the threat of rain so we revised our plans and headed to The Children's Museum. Everyone else was there too and it was packed. We took the stroller for the little kids but since Aaron and Sean wanted to be involved in everything, we mostly just parked it somewhere in each room and chased after them. Once again, everyone was moving so fast and going in different directions, I didn't get much chance to photograph.
Marcus loved this climbing wall.
Sean and Aaron loved the train area. We have a train just like this at home that they are only mildly interested in.
An entire week of staycation and this is the only picture I was in.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Staycation 2012 - Day 4

Day 4 - Presque Isle
Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA was our big trip we planned. It was a long 3 hour drive. We left early in the morning and didn't stop until we were just about there. Thankfully the big kids were happy playing their video games and the little kids slept all but the last few minutes of the ride. I read somewhere that Sara's was the place to eat, right at the entrance to the park. So we ate lunch there. Hot dogs were their thing but I wasn't really impressed. Then we were off to the beach. I decided that Beach 11 was the one for us (concession stand, bathrooms, changing area, wide beach, shallow water). I've only ever swam at lake beaches a handful of times. I was dumbly surprised by how quiet it was. In my mind I was thinking beach = ocean which is loud with all those crashing waves. Aaron just wanted to swim (he was trying to inch his way back into the water while this picture was taken). Sean just wanted to play in the sand. Marcus and Will were up for a little of everything!
I didn't get too many pictures at the beach because I was worried my phone (which I used to take all the pictures on our staycation) would end up in the lake. Plus, we were just having too much fun to worry about pictures. While the big kids built a sandcastle with Greg, I took the little kids back to our towel area so they wouldn't destroy it. I think Sean was trying to take the beach home with him.

There are two lighthouses on Presque Isle. One is really old and the one everyone seems to know about. The other is on the north pier. We took a walk out to the one on the north pier. It was not that interesting.

Then we headed for Greg's parents' house which was about an hour away and on our way home. We begged them to feed us and they complied. It was nice to visit with them and also nice to be able to break up the drive back home a bit.

I would love to go back up to Presque Isle again. What a fun place so close to home! Maybe next year we will be ready to brave an overnight trip so we can spend more time exploring and less of the day just driving.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Staycation 2012 - Day 2 and 3

Day 2 - Carnegie Science Center and South Side Works
No plans for a staycation week were set in stone, which was good because on our second day of staycation, it rained. We went to the science center. It has been years since I have been there and the kids have never gone. I'm pretty sure it was the busiest day ever at the science center. I was tired from the previous day and there were a million people there, so I wasn't really into the experience.

It is really hard to get a picture of all four of my kids together. IMG_1052

There was a guitar exhibit going on. Greg and I would have loved to read up on all the different guitars but it wasn't very hands on so the kids weren't too interested. IMG_1619


After we finished getting all scienced up, we drove over to South Side Works to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a pretty disastrous meal. Yes, that was my toddler who insisted on laying in the middle of the floor of the lobby screaming. Yes, that was my toddler who banged on the table with a spoon so forcefully that he may have slightly damaged it. Yes, that was my toddler who who did not eat anything but entertained himself by throwing toys, food, silverware, and whatever else he could get his hands on onto the floor.

I had a car filled with changes of clothes for everyone, so we headed out to the fountains in front of the restaurant. IMG_1632

In the background of this picture there are two people on a bench and a girl in a pink sweatshirt. Despite being 30 miles from home, we ran into some people that live just a few miles away. Two of the people are "kids" I used to babysit and the third is their mom. IMG_1642

Day 3 - The County Fair I was exhausted by day 3. We weren't planning on going to the fair until later in the day. We thought about going to a park or something in the morning but we were all happy with a little tv time and laying low. Late afternoon we caught the trolly from the trolley museum and rode that down the line to the fairgrounds. IMG_1056

Sean LOVED the petting zoo. Everywhere he turned there were goats and pigs and goats and cows and goats and lamas and goats. He is certainly an animal lover and wanted to pet them all. I was having a hard time getting picture of him because he was just running in circles squealing in delight. IMG_1656

The school bus demolition derby was also that night. So we watched a bit of that before rounding out the evening with a funnel cake. Yum!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Staycation 2012 - Day 1

We decided to be all trendy this year and take a staycation instead of those vacation things that all the non-cool people do. Trying to find a way to pack 6 people, a dog, and all the stuff those people/canines need for a week into a 7 passenger vehicle and then drive for 10 hours (one way) doesn't sound fun at all. In all likelihood we put more miles on the car during our staycation than we would have if we had traveled to the beach, but driving all those miles over the course of a week instead of in two travel days was easier on everyone. We all did some sleeping in (in our own beds) and did way more activities than we would have dared had we gone away. I asked Marcus and Will what their favorite day/activity was this week. They both had the same answer. "Every day was my favorite!"

My favorite meal of the week was the one I cooked at home the night before our official staycation day number 1. It was a kickoff to staycation meal and it was gooooood. IMG_1570

Day 1 - Idlewild
Idlewild is only the number 1 kid's park in the world. What better way to start off our staycation than to drive the hour and a half there. We actually went to Idlewild earlier this summer. There is so much to do there, that we didn't even hit up a few sections the first time we went. I'm pretty sure our staycation day at Idlewild was the busiest day ever at the park. IMG_1571
I have a picture of Marcus in this pig thing when he was 3 so I wanted to get a new one. But because Marcus is now 6, he doesn't want to anything his mother suggests. So when he made a grumpy face I kept urging him to look even more miserable. "Come on! You can make a face FAR more miserable than that!" IMG_1580
And the minute I insisted that was good and I was done taking his picture, Marcus insisted that I take one with him smiling. Which just proves I am awesome at reverse psychology. IMG_1584
Apparently reverse psychology doesn't work on Will because this was all I got. IMG_1587
The little kids rode tons of rides and loved it. Aaron loved them so much that every time a ride would come to an end, he would break down in tears. So this picture, was not because he hated the ride. IMG_1607
The big kids rode every ride in the little kids area at least once. It was such a fun day that I didn't realize until the next day that I only rode two rides all day. I never knew I could have so much fun at an amusement park just watching other people ride!