Crayola Factory

What a fun and busy Mother’s Day Weekend!  Jack, Casey and I drove to Philly, picked Pat up at the airport there and spent the weekend with his family.  As we normally do when we are up there, we packed our weekend full of adventures.

Part of why I wanted to get back to Philly before we head to Tennessee for a couple years is that I realized the kids were probably a great age for the Crayola Factory – The Crayola Experience.  It is in Easton, PA about an hour and a half from Pat’s parents.

We made the trip through some hilly and windy roads which the kids thought was a lot of fun until Casey experienced her first bout of carsickness.  I got a bag in time, but didn’t quite get it opened up all the way.  I didn’t specifically have a change of clothes for her but we happened to have a whole bag of hand me downs that I had brought for my sister-in-law.  We managed to find an outfit that would still fit and cleaned Casey up.  Thankfully, we were only 5 minutes from the factory.

The kids had a great time at the factory.  I had read something to them from the internet about being able to do a bunch of crafts and not having to clean up and Jack was pretty excited about that.  There is basically a station in the museum for each product that Crayola makes – markers, crayons, paint, modeling clay, etc and the kids craft their way through the place.  I thought it would be a little more factory-like.  Although we did see a presentation of how they make crayons and markers with some of their machines.

I remembered my camera so here is our visit in pictures…

Jack was pretty sure he had just spotted the world’s largest crayon.  It’s actually a yellow plastic crayon.  You have to go into the gift shop to see the largest crayon.

Chalk tic-tac-toe with Nana.

Daddy helping Jack with his “flying saucer.”

Dancing with Nana.

Excited about something 🙂

Trying on her space suit.

Making his space suit.

Working hard with Nana…

Another neat part of the museum was a hands on model canal system.  As we drove to Easton, we followed the Delaware river for a while and could see where the canals used to be.  Pat informed us that they used mules to pull cargo up the river through the canals.  The kids got to pretend to be mules at the museum and sent their boats through a series of locks and ramps to get to the other side.  It was a really neat display and the kids loved getting their hands wet.

And I guess Casey got her shirt wet too!

After a trip to the store to see the world’s largest crayon and buy some goodies, we had a great lunch at Pearly Baker’s Alehouse.  The kids collected a special set of 4 different crayons throughout the museum so they got to color with them while we waited for lunch.

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Golf Camp and Children’s Museum

It feels a little like winter here except we’re stuck inside because of the heat instead of the cold.  Jack had golf camp last week from Monday to Thursday and was outside for most of the time.  He was very glad that there was an unlimited supply of lemonade to cool him.  He was also very excited about the “twisters” that he got to eat for a snack.  I’m pretty sure those were Twizzlers.  He helped himself to five of them and was pretty pleased with himself.

On day 2 of golf camp, Jack got a blister but that didn’t stop him from hitting all his balls on the driving range.  He looked pretty pathetic dragging his golf clubs across the course by the end of camp, but we fixed him up with a bandaid and he was fine.

Overall I think he had a great time at camp.  They played a lot of fun games and hit a lot of balls.  He was the youngest boy there but he knew what he was doing and listened well to his instructors.  The golf pro at the course had seen him out there with Pat before and knew that he would be fine.

On Thursday when I went to pick him up, he was playing tag with some of the other boys…in the 100 degree heat!  I had planned to go to the pool in the afternoon but after the awards ceremony I knew that he was completely drained from the heat.  Too bad that doesn’t mean he’s too drained to fight with his sister.

To get out of the house on Friday we headed to the Portsmouth Children’s Museum.  It’s been closed for renovations for about two years and this was our first trip back since the grand re-opening.  The kids had a great time…trains, bubbles, arts & crafts, science, shopping market, fire trucks, a miniature house.  I don’t think they could ask for much more.  What’s even better is that I remembered by camera and managed to get some decent shots.

Using a rope to pull himself up

 

Memorial Day Weekend 2011

We had a great Memorial Day Weekend in our nation’s capitol and surrounding areas!  There were lots of “firsts” for all of us I think!

We stayed with Mitch and Jenny; Jack and Casey had a great time with their cousins Charlotte and Chase.  However, it was definitely the first time that Jack and Casey have fought over who gets to sleep in the master bedroom closet, on the floor.  Jack slept there last time we visited so he naturally assumed that’s where he should sleep.  But Casey didn’t want to miss out on any fun and she wanted to sleep there too.  There was room for both of them but Jack didn’t want Casey there and eventually she was enough of a bugger that we moved her downstairs to a futon…with her dad for most of one night.

On Sunday morning, we headed into Washington, DC and the kids got their first metro/subway ride!  Jack loved it and Casey enjoyed it too.

While switching trains, Jack and Casey had pretend lightsaber battles to pass the time.

We took the metro to the Smithsonian stop at the mall and made our way to the Air and Space Museum. On the way, we saw the Washington Monument aka The Big Pencil, the Smithsonian Castle and the Capitol Building.  Pat told Jack that the Capitol Building was where all the Senators worked.  He responded with, “Oh, like Padme Amidala?”  He’s not only learning to wield a lightsaber but he’s learning important lessons on government from Star Wars.

We also literally stopped to smell the roses.

I asked Jack to pick between the dinosaur museum and the air & space so this was his choice.  It was also his choice to blow through there in under an hour.  It’s the first time I’ve gone to a museum and learned nothing.  I just followed Jack around.  There was a lot to take in at the Air & Space museum and I think he was just a bit young for it so he just wandered through.  If you ask him what his favorite part of it was, he’ll probably tell you it was the french fries that we had for lunch!

Our second stop of the day was the National Building Museum.  A friend had sent some information along about a Lego display there and I thought Jack would enjoy it.  After the crowded Air & Space museum the National Building Museum was quiet, beautiful and fun for the kids.  The Lego display was pretty interesting but after looking at the “professional” Legos, there was a whole area for kids to create their own masterpiece.

And this is what they came up with…I didn’t even know they were familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright.

After the Lego room, there was another room for kids.  This time the Lego bricks were life sized bricks and the kids had a lot of fun building a tower taller than Daddy.

Even the outside of the National Building Museum was fun…

After our day in the city, we headed back to Mitch & Jenny’s for a barbeque with their friends and neighbors.  Pat volunteered to work the grill, which is another first…first time in a few years I would say.  And then he told me he enjoys grilling!  I had no idea.

On Monday we had big afternoon plans, but the morning involved train rides and carousel rides, so it wasn’t too shabby either.

While waiting for the train, I tried to take some picture of the dads and their kids…not a one where they are all looking and smiling but I love what I got instead…

 
The grand finale of the trip required us to go separate ways.  Pat and Jack went to Jack’s first Phillies baseball game (at Nationals Stadium) and Casey and I went on our first shopping excursion to Ikea.  The whole time they were at the game, we were at Ikea.  We spent about 3 1/2 hours there somehow.  Casey played around all the furniture displays and then I dropped her off in a child care area and did some more shopping.  We loaded up my purchases in the car and Casey wanted ice cream so I decided we might as well go back into Ikea for it.  It was a good choice…only $1 for a cone.  Casey spent at least 30 minutes eating this ice cream cone and required 8 napkins.  But it was apparent that she was enjoying herself.

 
Pat and Jack had a great time at the game too.  It was so hot that Pat didn’t think they’d stay very long but their seats were in the shade and they watched most of the game.  Jack also got a ride in a rickshaw and another subway ride.  In the end though, if you ask both of them what the favorite part of their afternoons was, they both said, “The ice cream!”