Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Henry Ford Greenfield Village

We've been to the Henry Ford Museum a few times, located in Dearborn, and right next door is Greenfield Village, which is also a part of the Henry Ford complex.  It's quite large at 80 acres and is a historical village.  There are replica houses from famous people, such as Edison, the Wright brothers, and even Pittsburgh native, Heinz.  We'd never been before and were invited to join some friends during spring break.  Looking through the pictures, you'd think spring break was in March rather than late April, but we soldier on anyway despite the continuing depressing weather.

The first thing we saw right inside the gates, was the 19th century steam engine pulling into the station.  Guess what we did first?

Two years ago, Brady was on a train every single day in Europe, but now it's a rare treat and he was beyond excited! 

We rode the train all the way around the village which took 30 minutes (there were two stops to let people on and off at various points in the village). 

Since we were with a group of moms with kids, we did more of the kid-friendly attractions rather than the historical ones.  We will have to go back again to see more!  This is Izzie waiting to ride the 101 year old carousel.  

This was Izzie's first time on a carousel that wasn't the mini one at Chuck E Cheese.  You can tell by her face she wasn't so pleased. 

Once we started moving and the music was playing, she calmed down and began to enjoy herself. 

 You never have to ask Brady twice to ride anything.

Play time. 

A group shot of all the kids.  Seeing double?  Only four of the kids weren't twins. 

Real Model-T rides! 

I had the pleasure of Izzie and Emma accompanying me in a 1923 Model-T.  We had a great day!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring is Here . . . Maybe

I didn't think we (or more specifically I) would survive this winter.  By the end of March, we finally had all the snow off the ground after a record-breaking 77 consecutive days with the ground covered by at least an inch of snow.  The reactions from the Pittsburgh people who came up for Izzie's party mid-March let us know how truly bad it was (not that we needed them to tell us).  They'd completely thawed and we still had several feet and a solid sheet of ice on our residential streets.  It was hardly ever above freezing which meant the kids couldn't even take advantage of the constant snow outside.  By April, we had reached 91.7 inches of total snowfall for the winter, just shy of the all-time record for one winter set in 1880-1881 of 93.6 inches.  Note that the average for the Detroit area per year is 42.5 inches (and we had double that and more).   We were more than excited when the temps made it into the high 30s and 40s.  It felt like a heat wave not to be numb every time we went outside and we wore sweatshirts because it felt so warm by comparison.

Brady had been begging to take out his Escalade all winter and we kept telling him that it didn't have snow tires.  Once all the snow was gone, he asked every day until we finally gave in.  Izzie went for her first shotgun ride and Brady rode on the sidewalk down the street instead of being confined to the backyard like last year.

Summer clothes are an obsession of mine, for both myself and the kids.  I was tired of seeing them in the same dreary colored clothes over and over and itching to get them into their bright summer clothes that I'd bought more than a year ago on clearance.  The first day it made it over 60, I broke them out!  I have so many for Izzie that I feel compelled to take pics of them all because she may only wear them a few times.

It made it into the 70s by the second week in April and out came the tank tops and shorts.

Warm weather brings out the curls for my kids and Izzie's was one long curl the one day.

Izzie had gotten her Cozy Coupe from us for her birthday and we finally put it together.  She was excited to have a car all to herself and it was hard to keep Brady out of it.

Out for an evening walk around the neighborhood.

We realized quickly that Brady has gotten too tall for his balance bike, so we went back and switched to his roller blades.

The next day was even more gorgeous and Izzie got to wear her tennis dress courtesy of her Uncle Chris Trap.

Within two days, we went from almost 80 to back below freezing and snow!  And guess, what?  The 3.1 inches that fell broke the all-time record, bringing us to a total of 94.6 inches of snowfall this winter.  Next year better break the record for the least amount of snowfall to make up for it!

The temps went up again over Easter weekend, once again reaching the upper 70s, but again, the bi-polar weather continues and we were back in the 40s and low 50s.  The average high this time of year is 65 degrees and we will be lucky if we get two days out of the next ten that get even close to that.  The weather service is saying June-August is also supposed to be below the average temps for most of the mid-west and the entire East Coast.  California can't come soon enough, some of their highs in Anaheim this week have been in the 90s.  Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Weekend in Pittsburgh 2014

Easter came and went in a whirlwind this year.  Between our time in Europe and Izzie being a newborn last Easter, we hadn't gone home for Easter in three years, when Brady was the same age that Izzie is now.  I almost forgot how much we pack into three short days and that it's one crazy marathon.  Living away from home is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.  We went and saw the Easter Bunny at the mall here in Michigan (pictured above) a week or so before the actual holiday weekend.  Brady was very excited and had waved to him on previous visits to the mall before we went for our "official" visit in their Easter clothes.  Izzie was good until I put her on his lap.  She didn't cry, but there was a small amount of whining.  I was pleased with the overall picture and experience.

We left for Pittsburgh the Thursday night before Easter and got in around 11:30PM.  The kids were excited to see Nana and Dubby, and Kiro, whom they were dogsitting for the weekend.  I don't think any of us made it to bed before 1AM.  Friday we did an egg hunt out in the yard.  It took a bit for Izzie to get the idea, but once she did, there was no stopping her.  She also knew there was candy inside as she had broken into one containing jelly beans before they were hidden and was eating them quietly before anyone noticed.

My kids aren't used to hills here in Michigan and Izzie was having some trouble going up the tiny slope of my parents' front yard.  She took a tumble early off but managed to hold on to both her egg and her basket.

We told Brady to leave all the easy ones for Izzie, but he got excited, so I think he ended up with 2/3 of the eggs.

With Nana and Dubby.

We made the bunny cake brown this year because the bunny the kids see in Michigan is brown and not white.

Friday night brought dying eggs.  Brady's been coloring eggs since he was Izzie's age, so he was excited to do it mostly himself this year.  By next year, he'll be a pro!

Izzie getting into the act.

The kids put out their baskets on Friday night for Nana's bunny to come visit.

Brady is minion obsessed and played larger than life Operation at the Science Center, so this was probably his favorite gift.  He was asking everyone he saw over the weekend if they wanted to play with him.

Some Planes toys.  He was all about the toys and barely cared about the candy.

A stuffed Skully, which was the last missing piece of our Jake and the Neverland Pirates crew.

Boo Boo Bunnies for any bumps and bruises.

Izzie was the total opposite and could care less about the toys and other presents.  She wanted the treats!  These days, she easily eats more than Brady at all meals.

Saturday evening, we headed to Andy's parents' (Pap and LaLa) house.  LaLa had remembered that we took Brady's pictures with their display bunnies at Izzie's age, so we brought them in to capture Izzie with them.

A comparison of Brady at 14 months and at 4 years.

Izzie's turn with the bunny.

Easter was the same weekend when Brady was 1, so here are the kids with the bunny at almost the exact same age.

Time to put out baskets for the official bunny visit.

Izzie kept taking bites of the carrot meant for the bunny.

A book of Disney Princess stories for them to sign when we go to Disneyland next month.  That way she can see their signatures every time we read their story.

Little People princesses for her to play with in her princess castle.

The expression tells it all in this one.

Time for the egg hunt at Pap and LaLa's house.  This time Izzie knew what she was doing and didn't waste any time.

A family shot with all of us dressed up for Easter.

We then drove up to the cemetery to visit Andy's grandparents and mom.

Planting flowers for the kids' Trapuzzano great-grandparents.

Visiting Uncle Ted and Aunt Mary who are right next to their great-grandparents.

Izzie with her namesake.

Izzie ran all over the cemetery.

Brady was a big helper watering the new and existing flowers planted with his Grandma Betsy.

After we came back from the cemetery, we headed over to a gathering with the Trapuzzano extended family.  Brady was loving running around with his boy cousins and doing another egg hunt.

The two redheads hanging in the shade.

Our final stop on Easter day was my Mimi's house with my parents, aunts, and cousins.  Brady had a blast with the girls and running around outside.  We left to come home to Michigan directly from there and it was easy to tell how exhausted the kids were from the eventful weekend.  Izzie fell asleep right away (7:30PM) and slept the whole way home, going right to bed when we got here, and sleeping until 8AM.  Brady passed out halfway home and wanted to get right into bed when we got home.