Fun at Hershey Park: Sweetening the End of the Summer with My Little Girl

“I want to take a picture with the chocolate bar, Mommy and then get on rides!” my three year old excitedly said. It was her first time at Hershey Park just yesterday and today. Actually, it felt like my first time because I haven’t been there in over five years and then about fifteen years before then. My husband, daughter and I all had a great time, and me, being the type “A” personality that I am, fell in love the Hershey’s Park’s app which allowed me to create a to-do-list and even filter the rides based on the ones my little “Hershey’s Kiss” was able go get on based on her height.

We spend most of Saturday getting on all of the rides, almost all 46 of them: some two and three times. Though it rained (even torrential downpours at times) off and on today, (Sunday), Quinn enjoyed playing in the rain and jumping in puddles. We were able to play a few games and get on a couple of rides when the rain cleared up for an hour or so at a time. We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits because we enjoyed ourselves by spending a couple of hours in the Hershey’s Chocolate World too. What an awesome experience for all ages!

This truly has been a summer of fun with my little one right before she starts pre-school for the first time. I’m so glad  we were able to close out the summer by having some family fun at the sweetest place on earth, Hershey Park!

All the best,

Tanya

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

Mommy’s Monday Moments: Oh So Big & Brave But Still Too Little

This past Friday, my daughter and I went to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, a huge water park. Though it was fun, most rides have a minimum height requirement of 48 inches, about seven inches more than my taller than average three year old.

Of course, Quinn sought out the tallest most daring rides (ones that even made me think twice) and begged, “Mommy, please can we get on the huge slide?!” I tried to explain to her that she just was not tall enough, but this was not sitting well with her. How grateful I am that we went along with my sister and her kids who were able to have fun with Quinn in the Blue Lagoon wave pool and get her mind off of the other rides. Then, we went to Caribbean Cove which is also age appropriate for Quinn, but she insisted on going to the area with more slides: Discovery Bay.

Since this was our first time, I was not aware that there is a 42 inch minimum height requirement in this area, an inch more than my daughter’s height. As my nine year old niece climbed the rope ladder to get on the slide into the water, my little girl was bravely climbing right behind her. She got all the way to the top, maybe about six or seven feet up, and was just standing there not going down the slide. Then my niece yelled down, “The life guard said Quinn’s not tall enough!” I felt so bad as I looked at Quinn became to pout and cry out, “Why can’t I go down the slide? I want to go down the water slide, Mommy!”

I’m sure it was not comforting to her, but I reassured her that she will be tall enough next year to go down the slide. We then found a slide that was just right for her size, and she was content and went with the flow. I do, however, have a feeling that when she is tall enough for these rides, she’ll be eager to get on the 54 inch requirement rides. Next time, I’ll be sure to take a look at all of the height requirements beforehand so that I know exactly which rides are “height-appropriate” for my brave little girl.

All the best,

Tanya

 

STEM Fun: Learning at the Franklin Institute with My Little Girl

With a huge smile on her face, my three year old exclaimed, “This place is awesome!” as we explored the many exhibits at the Franklin Institute. This actually was her first time at the Franklin Institute because I was waiting for her to be a little older to be able to enjoy most of the exhibits and activities, but with the Science Behind Pixar exhibit and deciding to get a membership with 15 percent off, I figured it was time. Also, I thought this would be perfect for Quinn’s cognitive development, especially since she’s developed in the STEM areas.

Upon entering the Pixar exhibit, she quickly spotted Dory, Buzz Lightyear and many others and excitedly fiddled around with the interactive components with her two cousins and auntie, who joined us, and her go-to phrases of the day became, “Look at this, Mommy!” or “What’s this, Mommy?” We both learned so much and had a wonderful time, and I was eager to explore some of the exhibits throughout the rest of the museum as I became nostalgic about my own childhood and class trips to the Franklin Institute.

Since she is young, My sister and I wondered if Quinn would be afraid of the giant heart that allows museum goers to walk through it. She had so many questions about what everything was and wanted to know about the heartbeat sound she heard when were inside; she loved it and asked to walk through three more times. She had a blast in the Sir Isaac Newton’s Loft testing her own strength and learning about gravity. Another exhibit we explored that was new to me because it was not around when I was a child is the sports zone. We all had so much fun. Quinn was able to race the Philly Phanatic, her older cousin and even me too. She worked on her jump shot, did some surfing and practiced her stance and baseball pitch.

I’m looking forward to many more visits to the Franklin Institute with Quinn to explore some of the exhibits we didn’t make it to during our the first time. I’m also excited to go back to the ones we thoroughly enjoyed not just during the summer but for months and years to come. If you’re in the Philadelphia, PA are and looking for a fun, family activity that promotes learning in the STEM area, the Franklin Institute is the perfect place.

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: What’s Sand Without Sandcastles?

“Yay! Look at my sandcastle, Mommy! It’s perfect!” my little girl asserted as she cheerfully smiled and pointed at what she created with her big cousin. While most adults may go to the beach to soak up the sun, relax and maybe even read a book, it’s a summer playground or a kid’s construction site to create works of art and intricate buildings.

A couple of weeks ago, I took my three year old to the beach along with my sister and her kids. Even though she certainly enjoyed playing in the ocean and “catching waves,” she equally enjoyed playing in the sand. When I informed her that we would be going to the beach, she requested, “Can I bring my bucket, shovel and other toys to build a castle, please, Mommy?”

I recall having so much fun building sandcastles and trying to get them “just right” when I was younger with the accurate combination of water and sand. In helping Quinn and her cousin, I had to make sure it was all about them having fun and me keeping my type “A” personality under control. As long as it was perfect to them, it was perfect to me! This brought back such wonderful memories and is a great summer toy to ensure long hours of enjoyment at the beach.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Monday Moments: Fulfilling My Little Girl’s Dream and My Bucket List by Swimming with a Dolphin

“Mommy, are you going to swim with the dolphins? That would be so much fun!” my three year old exclaimed as she looked at the website of tourist attractions in Mexico with her daddy. I responded, “I don’t know, honey. Maybe.” I never did anything like that before, but as a result of my daughter’s enthusiasm, I strongly considered doing it. Last week, my husband and I vacationed in Mexico while Quinn stayed with my mother, and when the hotel representative of tourist attractions presented the brochure about the Dolphin Discovery, I felt that I was destined to do this activity to fulfill my little one’s dream as well as my very own “bucket list.”

We arrived at our destination on Sunday, and to ensure that I didn’t have too much time to change my mind, I booked the Dolphin activity for that Monday. I’m a novice swimmer, so I purposely didn’t ask how deep the water as to minimize any anxiety, and I found myself channeling my daughter’s fearlessness as I got into the water. It was such a wonderful experience. Upon entering the water, I felt calm, and my heart was no longer racing from fear but just from the excitement of interacting with the dolphin who had such a sweet and calming aura. I jokingly told my husband that I want one as a pet because they just seem so loving.

After being away from my daughter for a week, she first gave her father and me big hugs and then asked, “Did you swim with the dolphins, Mommy?” I proudly said, “Yes, I did sweetie.” Then, I gave her a plush dolphin along with a dolphin t-shirt as souvenirs, and she was very excited to receive them and asked when she can swim with the dolphins too.

Had it not been for Quinn asking me about swimming with the dolphins, I wouldn’t have stepped outside of my comfort zone and ventured out to do something new and daring. Who would have ever thought that my three year old could evoke the quality of fearlessness within me? This truly is a moment I will never forget and owe this experience to my daughter.

All the best,

Tanya

What Would We Do Without It Wednesday: Soaking Up the Sun & Catching Waves with My Little Girl

“Here comes another wave, Mommy!” my little girl giddily told me as she tried to wiggle out of my grasp to jump and splash in the ocean by herself as the wave came our way. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog entry about having some summer fun with my daughter, so of course this includes going to the beach to have a great, fun-filled day, which we did yesterday.

Since Quinn was one years old, she’s enjoyed splashing around in the ocean, so now that’s she’s three, she can’t get enough of it. “I love being in the ocean!” she cheered with uncontrollable laughter when each wave splashed up against her, and even after one was tall and powerful enough to reach her face and push her back causing me to grab hold of her even tighter out of nervousness, she had a big smile on her face as she rubbed her eyes from the water getting in them. “I’m ready for another wave, Mommy!”

Going to the beach with my sister and her kids definitely added to the fun in the water and building castles in the sand. Plus, with bringing our own refreshments and snacks, we saved a good deal of money.  It was just a matter of paying the gas and tolls to get to the beach. Another bonus is that there are some amusement park rides for the kids to enjoy after the beach activities. The main issue was convincing my daughter to leave when she was having so much fun. There was some pouting and a bit of whining, but I assured her that we’ll be coming back a few more times before summer ends. I’m thoroughly enjoying my summer fun with my little one!

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

Terrific Toy Tuesday: Remote Control Thomas the Tank Engine

“Full steam ahead!” Thomas the Tank Engine says as he moves forward after my little girl presses the green arrow on her remote control. She received this toy this past Christmas, and since we had a Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine this past Saturday at the Strasburg Railroad, she’s been wanting to play with it more frequently. This is a wonderful toy because it not only reinforces colors but it helps with her sense of direction with moving forward and moving backward and is a perfect size for her little hands. It also allows her to problem solve as Thomas gets stuck in a corner or is too close to another toy. “I need to have Thomas back up and turn around,” Quinn says. Another benefit is  that the batteries last a long time too because they have yet to be replaced, and it is not six months later. I wish I had something like this when I was younger.

All the best,

Tanya

 

A Fun Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine

“Look, Mommy! It’s Thomas! He’s pulling into the train station!” my daughter excitedly informed me. I must admit that I was just as eager as she was to hop aboard and take a train ride on Thomas the Tank Engine. Yesterday, my husband and I took my little three year old along with my mom to the Strasburg Railroad Station in Gap, PA (not too far from Lancaster, PA) for this all day adventure.

It was a lovely, sunny day, and there were so many happy children wearing their Thomas shirts and cute little conductor hats. Since I had the feeling that Quinn would thoroughly enjoy the train ride, I opted for the $32 package that included a ride on Thomas (about a 18 minute ride), his best friend Percy (about a ten minute ride), the tour train (about a 45 minute ride) along with many free activities and photo opportunities with the Thomas and Percy as well as Sir Topham Hatt.

I was pleased with how well-organized the event was. There was on-site and off-site parking with adequate shuttle buses that ran quite frequently. There was one waiting when we arrived and one waiting when we were ready to go back to our car, and there was no fee for this service. Also, there were plenty of restrooms available, some standard and some port-o-potty with outdoor stations for hand washing. I also found the food to be tasty and reasonably priced considering how much they usually cost at these type of events. The kids meal, for $6.99, came with either chicken or a hotdog, fries, a juice, apple sauce and a whoopee pie for dessert. Even better, we were permitted to bring our own little lunch bag with snacks and drinks to save a little money.

While were were in line waiting to get on Percy, my mother and I were conversing with the family behind us. The grandmother was telling us that she’s been bringing her grandson every year since he was a year old. Now he’s six. This event is a wonderful tradition for both kids and families alike.

Though Quinn was all tuckered out from all of the fun and activities and dozed off on our third train ride, she had a ton of fun and was so excited when she saw Thomas and Percy actually talking (Yes, they actually talk!) She even said, “I can’t wait to come back!” Now that I know Thomas and Percy will be visiting again in late August through September then again in November, we just might have to have another Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine very soon.

All the best,

Tanya