Catching up

I have been at a loss for words lately, nothing bad, just a bit unsettled.  Usually for me words come first – then I bring in the pictures.  Things have been moving along quickly since school has started.  This is always a difficult adjustment for me. The schedules, practices, games and homework can be overwhelming but the kids take it all in stride and adjust without problems.  Once cold weather settles in, I settle in.  I never realized how much the seasons affect me until now.  I look forward to the cool, crisp air – it energizes me.  I tend to get restless and I feel that in me now. Today I am taking a step back from things and looking inward.

I cannot fit into words these past few weeks.  I can show you what I have seen though, glimpses into our days.  Everyday life as it unfolds around us. A trip to Kings Island, days at the river, the end of training wheels. The return of soccer for the oldest and youngest. A middle child taking a step back from the norm of soccer and spreading her wings to gymnastics, a decision I am so glad we allowed to be hers and hers alone.

Isabella trying to convince me that roller coasters are fun.

Isabella trying to convince me that roller coasters are fun.

These two hang with me in kiddy land while Ben and Isabella ride the big coasters.

These two hang with me in kiddy land while Ben and Isabella ride the big coasters.

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Spending time at the river and the surrounding bike trails.

Spending time at the river and the surrounding bike trails.

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I will have more to post.  A lot of pictures from the Renaissance Festival, some soccer highlights and we will be celebrating the youngest birthday very soon.

Life Lately:

We received this amazing set of Nancy Drew books from Ben’s Aunt Kathy.  We have started reading them in order – a little bit each night…

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Working on a backyard overhaul.  I love old bricks, especially when they are covered with moss.

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This will keep him busy for hours…

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The Father-Daughter Dance happened…the theme was “Red Carpet”.

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Sometimes Vita just has to wear a costume…even if she is only watching television.

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Fairview’s Young Authors’ Night…I love that the school does this “project”.  We have all their books saved and its fun to look back on.

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Visiting family…learning more gun safety and target practice.

 

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We also celebrated Ben’s grandmother’s 80th birthday party. The kids had a blast playing with all their cousins and it was great to see family from out-of-state.

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Earth Day Celebration

On Saturday we attended the Earth Day Celebration at Sawyer Point.  The weather was perfect with warmth, sunshine and a light breeze.  I love this park because it is right on the river and the views of the bridges connecting Ohio and Kentucky are beautiful.  My sister and her family were in town and got to see a little bit of Cincinnati.  We walked the park, stopped by booths, watched the kids get their faces painted and relaxed.  Here are some photos from the day…

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Hula-hooping was popular.  They were circling their necks, chests and legs.

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I liked these guys.

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The point where Vita decided she was done climbing the wall.

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The “crew”.

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Checking out all the booths.  We received a lot of educational brochures, information and free bags, key chains, coloring pages for the kids, etc.

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I wish I could have moved closer to the owl but I understand why there were boundaries set up.  He was very regal looking.  This was at the Raptor booth.

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Um…no thanks…I will pass on the cockroach.  These guys all pet it.

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Cooling down with a shaved ice.  There’s a lot of pink in this picture.

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Dancing in the park.

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Sword fighting with twigs.

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Brother-in-law and nephew relaxing under the bridge.

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Two black kitty cats..running wild.

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My sister, her husband and their oldest. Enjoying shaved ice and visiting Cincinnati.

This really was a wonderful event and we plan on coming back next year.

EnterTRAINment Junction – Part 2

After seeing the trains we crossed to the other side of the building and saw the A-Maze-N Funhouse area. I have a love-hate relationship with circuses/carnivals/funhouses. I am drawn to them yet there is also a creepiness about them that I cannot shake (too many scary 80’s and 90’s movies featured or took place in these types of places).

There was a mirror maze (that the kids all agreed was much harder than they thought). I spent all of my time walking with one hand in front of me so I wouldn’t slam into the glass. We saw a spinning vortex tunnel in a section called the Outer Limits. The halls were filled with black lights and string which you had to make your way through, brightly colored stars and planets hung down and a claustrophobia hallway was at the end (I turned around and went back to the entrance to avoid this last part). The best way to describe it was a big black cushion on both sides hanging from the ceiling. I stuck my arm in and watched it get swallowed up, couldn’t see anyone in front of me and then I just chickened out! There was also a curtain maze, a tilt room, an Ames Room where one minute you looked like a giant but when you crossed to the other corner you looked teeny-tiny. All of these areas were done with our kids (ages 5, 7 and 9) without any problems.

Outside one of the tents was an old-fashioned, Zoltar fortune-telling machine that the kids were intrigued with and we watched perform briefly. Before leaving we snapped some pictures in front of the circus themed mural and then took a quick walk through the gift shop. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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EnterTRAINment Junction- Part One

I don’t know anything about model trains but this place was fantastic. After an early morning soccer game we headed up to West Chester with Ben’s parents to check it out. I figured the kids would enjoy seeing all the model trains but didn’t count on how much fun I would have too. EnterTrainment Junction has the world’s largest indoor train display and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Ben was on the lookout for graffiti on the train cars as they sped around the tracks and through the tunnels. I liked seeing all the scenes randomly placed throughout the hills, mountains, waterfalls and towns. There were scenes of past and present and one of my favorites was the Coney Island display (especially when the lights dimmed and nighttime was shown). The lights on the Carousel and Ferris Wheel were amazing; such detail was given to every little piece. The kids liked to push the buttons which provided the sound for the trains and raised tracks, flashed lights; it was very interactive. One of the most convenient things were the step stools provided at the entrance which allowed Blackburn, and in some cases Vita, to see all the displays. The stools were light weight and easy to carry, we just plopped them down whenever they wanted to see something in more detail.

Walking alongside the train displays you could weave in and out of The American Railroad Museum. There were fun facts, artifacts, such as dressing gowns and old luggage, and a view into a room where trains for the displays are made. I enjoyed reading the signs that told stories about haunted trains and railways.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a photo to show the size of these displays.  They take up so much space and in some places items such as mini hot air balloons were hanging from the ceiling.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was one of my favorite pictures on the museum side.  If you looked straight at the picture you saw a couple boarding the train but if you viewed from the side you could also see the dining car.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe kids pointed out that it looks like Ben’s sitting on my lap but he is actually squeezed in next to me on the bench.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a trip to see the model trains and their funhouse (I will do a separate post on this part of EnterTRAINment Junction). We will definitely be going back in the future. It looks like they have a Thomas the Train event in August/September and Halloween and Christmas events too.