Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The "Favorite" Christmas Gift

This year Uncle Donald & Aunt Jeanette sent the boys what Alan calls his "favorite present ever" - dinosaur fossils! Alan got a T-Rex tooth and Aidan got an Allosaurus claw. They are replicas, of course, but that doesn't make any difference to how excited they were to receive them, evident by the look on their faces...

Fishing with Dad

On one of his days off over the holidays, Rob decided to take the boys to his spot on the Wind River for some fishing. Although it's only catch and release, the boys had a blast!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Zoo Lights

We were so happy to actually make it to see the Zoo Lights this year - and we had so much fun! We missed them last year because of the snow, so the boys were really excited to go. It was a big family outing - Rob's parents joined us, along with his aunt Carol and cousin Kimberly (who is in town for a couple of weeks then goes back to Ecuador) and his sister Michelle and her husband (who were in town for the weekend from California), as well as Dan, Laura & Dean.

We got there really early, and I'm so glad we did. We were one of the first few people in line to ride the train, which is the boys' favorite part of the whole trip (besides eating an elephant ear). It was really cold out, but the rain stayed away long enough for us to see everything. The lights were so beautiful!

Aidan's 5th Birthday

Aidan turned 5 on November 19th...I can't believe he's actually 5!!!

This year we had his party at Big Al's. Aidan & Alan love to go bowling - especially at Big Al's because of the cool bumpers and ramps they have for kids to use. Everyone got to bowl, then we had pizza and cupcakes and then it was time for the arcade games. Everyone had a blast!

Happy 5th Birthday sweet boy!

Halloween 2009

In past years Aidan and Alan have never really been into picking out their Halloween costumes - this year was a different story. They absolutely insisted on picking what they wanted - not what Mama wanted :)

Alan wanted to be a race car driver, which suits him considering his obsession with the Disney movie Cars. It took Aidan a lot longer to decide. I think he pondered over several costumes until he finally decided on Dash from The Incredibles. They looked soooo cute!

Their cousin Rylie went trick-or-treating with us...she was the Little Mermaid.

And of course Grandma Ensley had to dress up...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Donald & Jeanette's Wedding

The whole family made a trip to the East coast for Donald & Jeanette's wedding. When they first announced their wedding date and that it would be in Connecticut in the fall, Rob and I seriously debated whether or not to bring the kiddo's. On one hand, it would be nice to have a week-long vacation away from the kids to relax, focus on each other and to see as much as we could of the East coast. On the other hand, having our boys with us and the rest of the family during such a wonderful occasion would mean so much to everyone. Plus, Donald and Jeanette really wanted the boys to be part of their special day. So we decided to make a family vacation out of it...and I'm so glad we did!

This was the boys' first time on an airplane, and I was soooooo nervous! My kids are not the type to sit in one spot for very long, let alone for 5+ hours! But they pleasantly surprised me and were absolute angels the whole time! We brought the portable DVD player, so Alan was entertained with his favorite movie (Cars) and Aidan completed every single page of his HUGE activity book. Christie brought along some Tangrams from her classroom, which also kept Aidan busy during our layover in Newark.

We shared a minivan with Dan, Laura and their son Dean - it was a cozy fit, but it worked :) Our two little families stuck together during the whole trip, knowing that our plans would be pretty much the same since we wanted to make it fun for the kids.
We stayed in Boston for two nights. The boys got to ride on the subway, where we met the nicest operator who let the boys "drive" the train! We then visited the park where the book Make Way for Ducklings was based. Christie really wanted to get a picture of all of the boys on the duck statues for books she bought for all of them. Alan absolutely refused - not just to sit on the duck statue, but to be in any pictures at all! He was being such a brat! I'm not one for bribing my children, but this was one of those times where I just gave in. So I bought a chocolate doughnut from the Starbucks across the street, and that did the trick.

The next day we drove from Boston to New Haven, where Donald and Jeanette live. On the way, we stopped in Hartford at Dinosaur State Park. The boys got to see some really cool fossilized dinosaur tracks, and of course pose in some silly pictures.

That night we went out to pizza in downtown New Haven at a place called Bar, which is apparently famous for their mashed potato pizza. I was skeptical at first, but I'm so glad I tried it - seriously the best pizza ever! Afterwards, the kids wanted some ice cream. Donald told us their favorite place, Ashley's, was "only a couple of blocks away". Right. We all started walking (in the snow, by the way) and realized that Donald's perception of a couple blocks was actually 3/4 of a mile! It was freezing cold and we all wondered why we were going for ice cream when it was snowing outside, but the kids were happy.
The next day we made the trip to the Mystic Aquarium - outrageously priced, but soooo worth it! They had a pool filled with bat rays that you could actually touch! Aidan was in heaven - Alan wasn't so sure what to think. They loved the beluga whales and the African penguins, as well as the upside-down jellyfish and a touch pool with sea urchins, starfish, crabs and even a blue lobster!

The next couple of days were devoted to wedding activities. We had the rehearsal and dinner, which were an absolute blast. Donald and Jeanette went out of their way to make sure every activity was kid friendly! We didn't have to worry about our kids making noise or sitting still for long periods of time...they were simply expected to be children! They got to run around, eat cupcakes and dance and crazy as they wanted...

The wedding was at the Heritage Trail Vineyard in Lisbon, CT on October 17, 2009. The ceremony was outside, even though it was a crisp 34 degrees outside :) The forecast was calling for rain, but it held out and everything went perfectly. Aidan, Alan and Jeanette's nephew Isaiah even walked down the aisle together with interlocked arms - so cute! The reception was at the vineyard's restaurant with tables set up inside as well an outdoor dance floor and fireplaces to keep us warm! It was so much fun, and the food and wine were absolutely amazing. We were honored to be a part of Donald and Jeanette's special day!
The day after the wedding it rained, so we headed indoors to the Yale Peabody Museum. What a fantastic place! They had all kinds of dinosaur skeletons on display, which made the boys extremely happy. Rob and I have read them all kinds of books about dinosaurs, but now they could see how big the dinosaurs actually were!

On our last night Robert's parents watched the boys so we could have a night out. We received a gift certificate from Donald and Jeanette the previous Christmas to one of their favorite restaurants - a Malaysian restaurant called Bentara. It was soooo yummy and was a perfect way to end our trip. We were able to have a relaxing (and very quiet) dinner where we could talk about and reflect upon all of the fun experiences we had on our family vacation.
We had such a wonderful time and can't wait to visit our family on the East Coast again!