Monday, September 29, 2008

Our afternoon in Storyville

For the second Sunday in a row, Daddy went to a ball game with Dziadzi. This time it was to a Baltimore Orioles game for Daddy's birthday! So, while the men were enjoying some baseball, Mom-Mom & I took the girls to the Rosedale Public Library which has Storyville. Storyville is a hands-on developmental play area for young children. It's amazing! They have a Supermarket, Theater, Post Office, Library, House (which is complete with a kitchen, living room, laundry area, upstairs w/bedroom, garden, & BBQ), and a Construction Zone. It even has a Baby Garden for little ones still learning how to walk. The girls had a ball! It's free and there is no time limit on how long you can be in there.

Storyville at the Rosedale Library

The entrance to "Toddler Bay", the Supermarket, & the Post Office

The Storyville "Library"

The Construction Zone, House, Baby Garden (in the lower left corner)

At first, I followed Kylie & Mom-Mom followed Jillian. As a safety measure, each child has to have an adult with them at all times, which is something I liked alot! Kylie put on a puppet show for me in the Theater, then took me shopping in the supermarket. She also loved playing with the boys in the Construction Zone! Her favorite spot was cooking in the kitchen of the house. She even hung up socks to dry after washing them! I wish she did some of these things at home! :)

Kylie putting on a puppet show for Mommy in the Theater.

Kylie picking out all kinds of tasty veggies in the supermarket...none of which she eats in real life :)

Need to pay for the groceries...

Kylie setting up a train in the Construction Zone.

Hanging out the socks to dry...

Kylie cooking up something tasty in the kitchen.

Mom-Mom & I switched and it was Mommy's turn to follow Jillian around. Her favorite spots were the "Toddler Bay" & the upstairs of the house. She loved trying to "fish" in the bay and playing dress-up in the house. She mostly just loved running around and being free! She was too cute in the house, though. Everything was just her size, even the chairs! She also did really good at fine motor activities, like the magnetic shapes & alphabet pegs!

Playing in the "Toddler Bay"

Relaxing in the Storyville house

Playing dress-up...she loved looking at herself in the mirror!

Jillian intensely focused on the letter "M"

Jillian playing with the magnetic shapes.

Needless to say, the girls had a blast and so did we! It was fun to watch them explore and learn new things. I was amazed at how much Jillian could do, especially putting the pegs in the holes of the letters! Kylie putting on her puppet show was the highlight of the afternoon for me too! She even had a little boy wander in to help her out! We will definitely be heading back to Storyville often!!

Does she look like she's having fun or what?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Purple Pride!

All true Baltimore Ravens fans have it...the pride of wearing the colors purple & black. I think it's great to have pride & loyalty to your home team! However, the one thing that's been hard for me to get behind are the Zooma least I think that's how they're spelled. They are, in my opinion, ugly camoflague pants in the colors of the football team. My dad & brother, among thousands of other hardcore Ravens fans have a pair either in pants or shorts or BOTH! They wear them along with their favorite Ravens player jersey. I love the jerseys, but the pants are awful!
So, this afternoon the Ravens play again the Cleveland Browns (one of our rival teams) and both Craig & my Dad are going to the game. Unbeknownst to me, Craig talked to my brother all last week and borrowed his pair of Zooma pants! I had no idea until down the stairs he comes all decked out in a Tony Siragusa jersey & the ugly pants! A few minutes later down comes my Dad also decked out in the purple & black! I couldn't resist taking pictures of them and posting them here. My dad says I don't like them because I am "not a true Ravens fan." I will admit to not being a big football fan, but I am a Ravens fan because they are our hometown team....maybe one day I'll grow to appreciate the power of the pants and have the same pride in wearing purple & black.

What do you think of the pants??

Dad & Craig wearing their Ravens gear & sporting the Zooma pants.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our trip to Kings Dominion!

Today we had a very fun, yet exhausting day at Paramount's Kings Dominon in Virginia! Every year Northrop Grumman has an Employee Appreciation Day and this year we are here to be able to enjoy it! We had an awesome day and the girls loved playing and watching the roller coasters! It was even the first time that Kim has gotten on a roller coaster since before Kylie was born!!

The first thing we did was head to Kidsville & the Scooby-Doo rides! It is an understatement to say that Kylie loves Scooby-Doo....she ADORES Scooby-Doo! Kylie, Kim, & Dziadzi went on Scooby-Doo & the Haunted Mansion, which was alot of fun, even though we had to stand in an incredibly LONG line. We rode in a mini-Mystery Machine and got to shoot ghosts & monsters with our ghost guns. Kylie hung onto Mommy the whole ride, but she did get some shooting in! After we got off we actually got to see Scooby-Doo! However, Kylie was too shy to go over and say "Hi" and get her picture taken. But, we did get our picture taken a few times in the Mystery Machine!

Kings Dominion - Doswell, Virginia

Our family posing as "The Gang" in The Mystery Machine.

Dziadzi & Daddy posing like they are driving around town.

Scooby-Doo - "Our Hero"

Kings Dominion has a new roller coaster called, The Dominator. It's the longest, continuously twisting roller coaster in the world. Craig was wonderful and took the girls to a "Dora the Explorer" show while Kim & her Dad went on "The Dominator". It was AWESOME! After that it was Craig's turn to ride & Kim's turn to watch the girls. Dziadzi made out in the deal because he got to ride the roller coaster TWICE! So, while the boys went to ride, Kim & the girls went shopping at - where else? The Scooby-Doo store! Kylie got a Scooby-Doo backpack & Jillian got a small stuffed dog & they both got little train whistles which they loved! We then headed over to "The Dominator" to catch up with Daddy & Dziadzi and took some great shots of the coaster, even tried to catch them while they were on the ride!

The girls blowing their train whistles.

"The Dominator"

The first big loop.

The next big loop.

My unsuccessful attempt to catch Dad & Craig while they were on the ride...

After we got our roller coaster riding in, we headed to "The Construction Zone" where the girls were able to run around and play and burn some energy. Kylie loved running around the whole zone and climbing up and down the slides. Jillian was content to play in the soft blocks, even though she did try to escape a few times. Kylie also loved playing there with her. When the time came to head home, tears were shed & screams were heard because they did NOT want to leave. They had loads of fun and was were also extremely tired which was evident about 15 minutes after we were in the van when Jillian passed out and Kylie laid back and watched a movie.

Jillian building a tower of blocks with Dziadzi.

That block is as big as she is!

Daddy & Jillian playing peek-a-boo through a bubble.

Kylie climbing up the tower to the slides.

Kylie hanging out in the block dumptruck.

Needless to say, we had a fantastic day at Kings Dominion! We can't wait for HersheyPark in the spring! Thanks to Dziadzi for getting us the tickets and sharing in the day with us! The girls are now fast asleep and no doubt having some great dreams of their adventures today!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kylie 1st Day of Pre-Kindergarten!

Today Kylie started Pre-Kindergarten at St. Clement Mary Hofbauer School! To say she was excited would be an understatement! Even though she went to bed at 8pm last night she didn't fall asleep until well after 11pm and was up right after 8am! She couldn't sit still and wanted to pack her lunch first thing! She couldn't wait to go!

Kylie's School - St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Catholic School

All dressed in her uniform and ready to go!

Can we go now, Mom?!?

Once at school and in her classroom, she hung up her backpack and put her lunch kit on the table and went straight for the toys and made herself at home! She already started to make friends with a few of her classmates, Magnus & Cecily! Of course, she didn't care that I left and looked completely comfortable in her new classroom! When I picked her up at 2:15pm, she ran right over to me with a huge smile on her face! Ms. Gina said she did really well for her first day, but that she had a hard time staying in her seat....we'll definitely work on that! But, both Ms. Gina & Ms. Fran said she did really well! She can't wait to go back on Wednesday!! We are so proud of her and can't believe how grown up she is -next year, Kindergarten!

Kylie posing in the parking lot waiting for school to start!

Kylie even posed for a picture with Mommy - and Mommy didn't even cry this time! :)

Kylie's cubby in her classroom

Hanging up her backpack and eyeing which toys she'll tackle first!

Making herself at home in her new classroom.

Please keep Kylie, her teachers, & classmates in your prayers this school year that they have a great, productive year! We'll keep you updated with how she is doing as well as pictures!

Just Swingin'

Last week, Kim & the girls had the pleasure of spending lunchtime with one of Kim's best friends, Natalie & her son, Connor! We headed to a fun park where we ate lunch and then let the kids play for awhile and then took a walk around the wonderful trail that surrounds the park. Jillian had a blast swinging on the swings with Connor! Kylie even helped out and pushed both babies! It's safe to say that all of us had a great time!!

Connor & Jillian - Swinging buddies!

Kylie helping out with the pushing...

Such a cutie! He loved the swing!!

Kylie posing with Connor!

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Oh, Say Can You See..."

It was a gorgeous Labor Day Monday & we decided to head down to Locus Point in Baltimore and visit Fort McHenry! Growing up here I can only remember once or twice visiting the monument, but never touring the actual Fort. It was truly a wonderful experience and filled us with pride being from this great city!

We were able to walk around the grounds and the Fort itself by ourselves. There were amazing views of Baltimore Harbor & the Key Bridge. Kylie loved climbing on the cannons and exploring the many alcoves and hiding spots located inside the fort. Jillian enjoyed riding on Daddy's back and even fell asleep! One of the highlights was participating in one of the ranger's speech where we helped roll out an exact replica of the Garrison style American flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. The same flag that Francis Scott Key saw when he was inspired to write "The Star Spangled Banner." Kylie loved holding it and got a little tired and plopped down on the grass under the flag to rest in its shade. Finally, we went to the Visitor's Center and watched a short, but impressive movie about the history of the fort and the battle fought there. After the movie was over, the curtains to our right opened to large windows displaying the flag flying proudly over Fort McHenry. We all put our hands on our hearts for the singing of our National Anthem by the Naval Academy Choir - it was beautiful! We had a great day!! Below are some pictures from our trip - Enjoy!!

The entrance to the actual fort.

Dziadzi picking Kylie up to look at a model of Fort McHenry in the Visitor's Center.

The model of Fort McHenry.

Dziadzi, Kylie, Daddy, & Jillian posing by one of the cannons outside the fort.

Kylie listening intently to a talk by one of the park ranger's in the Visitor's Center.

The map of the Battle at Baltimore during the War of 1812.

Cannon pointing out to the harbor.

The Francis Scott Key exhibit in the Visitor's Center with the words of "The Star Spangled Banner."

A memorial statue of Colonel George Armistead, the Commanding Officer of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

Daddy & Jillian posing in a bomb shelter underneath the fort where soldiers would hide out while there was artillery fire on the fort.

Kylie exploring an alcove inside the fort. She even found a crawl space inside and popped out on the other side!

Kylie looking inside one of prison cells - The mayor of Baltimore was once imprisoned here in order to prevent him from voting to succede from the Union.

The living quarters for the officers & enlisted men.

The original cross base of the flag pole during the battle.

A view inside the fort from one of the outer points.

Visitors of Ft. McHenry, including us, holding the replica of the flag flown during the War.

The park ranger telling the story of the battle & the National Anthem.

Kylie doing her part in holding the flag.

What a gorgeous sight!

A view of the Francis Scott Key Bridge from Ft. McHenry.

The point of the fort where the only two casualties of the battle occured, including one of the four officers stationed at Ft. McHenry. The bomb fired by the British made a direct hit on this point.

Our family shot with Baltimore's outer harbor in the distance. What a day!!

What a great way to spend Labor Day and it was the perfect weather for it too! After visiting Fort McHenry, learning the history of it, & the story behind the writing of our National Anthem, the words have a whole new meaning. If it is possible, we feel even more proud to be Americans!!