What Would We Do Without It Wednesdays: The Roller Coaster of Life

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First of Many Roller Coaster Rides

“Wheee…yaaaay! This is the best ride ever, Mommy!” My adventurous three year old screamed out as we quickly whipped around the corner on the Vapor Trail Rollercoaster lead by Super Grover at Sesame Place. It was just a couple of weeks ago that my little girl got on the roller coaster (or any roller coaster for that matter) for the very first time after my nine year old niece asked to get on. Quinn just made the age requirement, yet an adult had to accompany her.  I was a bit nervous about her reaction and just making sure she did’t slide out of the seat, but she did very well and begged to get on a second time along with my niece. Since there was really no line, I obliged because I could handle a kiddie roller coaster, right? Wrong!

I was quickly reminded why I don’t get on roller coaster rides like I did when I was younger. Ever since I had Quinn, my stomach sometimes gets so topsy-turvy from too much motion. It can be anything from going up and down on a swing too high or for too long to spinning around too quickly on the tea cups (yes, the tea cups). As I was trying to get rid of that “woozy” feeling, Quinn was excited asking to get on a third time, and I had to tell her maybe next time and just endure the pouting and tears welling up in her eyes.

While I could have focused on the negative and allowed the roller coaster to take me down the first time and avoid it on future visits, I decided to focus on the positive.  As Quinn is having fun, she’s learning what she can handle. I too am relearning what I can handle or not handle as well as I once did on the roller coaster of life.

So when I showed my husband the picture of Quinn and me on the roller coaster from today, in a surprised tone he asked, “You got on a roller coaster again?” To which I responded, “Yes! From the last experience, I learned that I have to follow certain roller coaster guidelines for myself: no food at least an hour before riding and no back-to-back rides under any circumstances. As long as I do that, I’m good to go!”

What would we do with out roller coasters allowing us to experience ups and downs and the twists and turns of life.

All the best,

Tanya

What Would We Do Without It Wednesday: Wishes Do Come True! Dancing With Super Grover

 

The music was pumping. Everyone was clapping, cheering and so excited. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly he reached out for her hand to join him in a dance. I’ve never seen my little girl so happy, starstruck and enamored all at the same time. It was Super Grover, one of her absolute favorite characters (Quinn even insisted on making a Super Grover pumpkin last Halloween.) asking her and my niece and even her little Grover who she carries everywhere to join him in the Sesame Place Parade.

Mind you, she loves the parade and will request to watch it frequently on Youtube. Seeing the parade live is a treat, and she would have an absolute meltdown if we were to ever leave before the parade occurs at Sesame Place. This truly was a special and memorable moment for her, and I’m so happy I quickly whipped out my iPod to record it for her. Though she occasionally danced and followed the moves, all she wanted to do was hold Super Grover’s hand and stare at him. This was just last week, and we just went back again today with our season pass she was not selected this time, and she thought Super Grover did not want to dance with her anymore. I had to reassure her that this was not the case, but this also allowed me to teach her another lesson about once in a lifetime events and how we must be grateful for them.

Regardless of our ages, we all deserve to have those opportunities and moments in our lives. It pleases me so much that I was there to witness one of these moments with my daughter. What would we do without them?


All the best,

Tanya

Autumn Fun with My Little One (Part Six) Creating Super Grover the Pumpkin!

Making a Super Grover Pumpkin with Quinn

Making a Super Grover Pumpkin with Quinn

One of my first entries this week was about having autumn fun with my two year old daughter involved going to a pumpkin patch. She had a great time, happily selected her pumpkin and probably had no idea that we would be decorating it. But when I asked, she knew exactly what she wanted: a Grover pumpkin. Some months back, I did a post on how Quinn likes Elmo but absolutely loves Grover from Sesame Street. So of course, this was who came to mind when I asked her how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin. I was excited to do this project with her because it hadn’t decorated a pumpkin since I was a child myself, but I had to give some thought about how we were going to do this special project.

First, we needed the materials for the basic Grover. They are as follows:

  1. Blue acrylic paint and black acrylic paint (I purchased them from AC Moore using a 50 percent off coupon)
  2. A pink sponge clown nose to resemble Grover’s (Since it’s near Halloween, this was easy to find at Party City for about a dollar)
  3. Jiggly eyes (I purchased these from AC Moore but later saw them at the local Dollar Tree where I would have saved a dollar off of the total)
  4. A red pipe cleaner for the mouth (I actually had one available and didn’t need to purchase it)
  5. Cardboard to make Grover’s body (I used a box I had lying around from an online purchase)
  6. A Sharpee for tracing body parts
  7. Scissors to cut the body
  8. Hot glue and hot glue gun to adhere the eyes, nose, and mouth
  9. Paint sponges brushes and a cup to hold the paint (I had some from a previous project)
  10. A ruler or tape measure

When Quinn saw the progress we were making, she asked if we could make Super Grover. So Super Grover the pumpkin became. I just needed to figure out how to do it and what additional materials I would need.

  1. Card stock or thick scrap book paper (I got this at AC Moore with a coupon too, so I only paid 25 cents.)
  2. Aluminum Foil (I had this available)
  3. One gray felt sheet, one red felt sheet and one yellow felt sheet (Purchased at AC Moore)
  4. Marker for tracing the red letter G and the yellow lightening bolt (I used a fine point Sharpee that I already had)
  5. About ten paper fasteners (I actually had from a project years prior)
  6. Regular glue that dries clear (I already have tons)

Between work, chores and other activities with Quinn, making our pumpkin into Super Grover certainly was not a one day project. It spanned over two weeks: one week for painting the pumpkin and adhering the facial features and the second week for transforming Grover into Super Grover and giving him a body, G, lightening bolt and cape.

Something that I’ve always been good at is looking at a picture or sample and recreating it. Since Quinn has both Grover and Super Grover, I was able to use them as models for doing the pumpkin. Here are the steps I followed, but this was my first time, so feel free to modify them if you want to try to create your own Grover:

  1. Using the sponge brushes, Quinn and I painted the entire pumpkin, minus part of the bottom because the top had to dry first. Though the paint dries within an hour, I waited a few hours and then retouched any areas where orange was still showing. After the pumpkin dried over night, we did one more coat and then made sure to paint any parts on the bottom that were still orange.
  2. After the pumpkin was blue, I used Grover as my model and then measured the size of my pumpkin to determine how far apart the eyes, nose and mouth should be from one another. Then, I marked the locations and painted on the black mouth which I let dry for a few hours and then added a couple of more coats.
  3. After the pumpkin was blue with the black mouth, I used my hot glue gun and glue to adhere the jiggly eyes, pink sponge nose and the red pipe cleaner mouth.
  4. Voila, you have Grover!
  5. To turn Grover into Super Grover, I looked at the helmet of Quinn’s Super Grover doll to get an idea of how it was constructed. I then stumbled across a Super Grover helmet template from Sesame Street’s web site which was very helpful in creating the helmet. Once I saw this, I was able to determine how many sections would be needed. I did five: one for the face mask, two for the temples that wrap around the head, one for the little piece on the front of the face mask and one for to cover the circumference of the head, which I measured with measuring tape.
  6. After figuring out the size of the pieces I would need, I traced them out using the scrap book paper (with the exception of the piece to cover the circumference of the head which was gray felt and left for the last part), cut them but left a little extra paper for the two pieces to wrap around the temple so that I could double check my measurements by putting it around the actual pumpkin. Then, I covered them with aluminum foil and used a little glue to make sure the foil stayed on the paper. The paper fasteners were used to hold the helmet together and to add the felt which would cover the head. Of course, we put the helmet on Super Grover the Pumpkin’s head to make sure it would fit, and it did!
  7. Then it was time to make Super Grover’s body. Once more, I looked at the model and viewed a few pictures online to get an idea of the body proportions and then used cardboard from an old package box and a Sharpee to draw the torso, arms and legs with some of Quinn’s help (I actually used one piece for the legs but cut a triangular shape in between so that presence of the two legs were obvious. Once I cut out the body parts, I used more of my trusty paper fasteners to connect the arms and legs to the torso.
  8. My daughter actually did most of the painting with the body of Super Grover with some of my help in going over any areas she missed. We then let the one side dry for a few hours and then did the other side.
  9. While Super Grover’s body was drying, we got to work on his red letter G, yellow lightening bolt and red cape using the felt sheets. This also involved looking at the model Grover, measuring the torso of Super Grover and then tracing out the appropriate pieces.
  10. Once our trusty super hero was all dry, about a few hours later, we were able to add the lightening bolt and G with a little regular glue and then the red cape with a little glue.
Quinn and her Super Grover and Super Grover the Pumpkin

Quinn and her Super Grover and Super Grover the Pumpkin

We just finished earlier today, and Quinn was so excited asked, “Can we take a picture with my two Super Grovers?” Of course, I was happy to oblige. Yes, this project was quite involved, but it was a wonderful opportunity to do something fun and special with my little girl. There’s actually a decorative contest at my job next week, and I am thinking that Quinn and I should enter it. How awesome would it be for our Super Grover to win!

All the best,

Tanya