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Sandbox List Adventure 10: The Tastiest Ten Minutes of the Day

25 Apr

I don’t know if every kid dreams about it, but I know they think about it. I used to think about it a lot, when I was five, six, seven … all the way to 37. Yup. To this day I think about it, and it makes me smile. However my dentist says it’s my weakness and charges me an obscene amount of money to fix my cavities. He says I may have to give it up. I say they need to work harder on inventing better toothpaste because there’s no way I’m giving it up. It’s like air. A necessity.

Milk. Cream. Sugar. Those are the basic ingredients.  I’ve had them on their own multiple times, but they are definitely best when they are churned together and frozen, sealed tight in a container … just waiting for me on aisle 7 of the supermarket. Dude. That’s the best. Ben & Jerry’s. They are geniuses … geniuses I tell you! My kids are aware of this phenomenon and always look forward to birthday parties because ice cream is usually one of the side dishes. And even though I get to have some secretly once or twice a week, it’s something that my kids may get once a month. You know, I’m trying to develop healthy eaters.

So when we were driving home from the book festival this weekend and I asked my son what he wanted for dinner I was surprised by his answer, but even more surprised by my own.

“What do you want for dinner?” I asked as a red light stopped us in front of a 31 Flavors.

“Ice cream.”

“Ice cream? You can’t have ice cream for dinner.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not good for you. It’s only supposed to be a treat once in a while, and usually after your meal.”

“I have not had ice cream in a long, long, long while and I already had my snack.”

“You haven’t had dinner.”

“Ice cream can be dinner.”

I paused, thinking about my college days.

“So can we have ice cream for dinner?”

I thought about his Sandbox List Adventures and nodded.

“Yeah, I guess you can. Just for today.”

Dude. The woo-hoo was like a SuperBowl touchdown with two seconds to go in overtime kind of woo-hoo. It was a pretty big one. So I turned the corner and drove the car into the 31 Flavors parking lot to begin our Sandbox List Adventure.

 

We arrived and the seatbelts couldn't be taken off fast enough.

We arrived and the seatbelts couldn’t be taken off fast enough.

 

There were many options to choose from and I was sure he was going to fancy it up.

There were many options to choose from and I was sure he was going to fancy it up. I know I was thinking about it.

 

When he saw these I thought ... dude it's on. He's most definitely going to ask for one of these.

When he saw these I thought … dude it’s on. He’s most definitely going to ask for one of these.

 

And while he was contemplating his cone purchase I was contemplating a cake purchase. Oreo cookies make for a great cake accessory.

And while he was contemplating his cone purchase I was contemplating a cake purchase. Oreo cookies make for a great cake accessory.

 

But before he decided we did a little taste testing.

But before he decided, we did a little taste testing.

 

With all the available choices he decided on a cup. Chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles. Dude. He definitely takes after me.

And it was funny, with all the available choices, he decided on a cup. Chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles. Dude. He definitely takes after me.

 

His sister didn't really have a choice, but was definitely enjoying the Cookies N' Cream.

His sister didn’t really have a choice, but was definitely enjoying the Cookies N’ Cream.

 

It was the fastest dinner they have ever eaten. There was no fighting. No spoon dropping. No reminders to finish eating. Just concentration and focus, in addition to a lot of smiles and spoons dancing around in creamy cool deliciousness. In fact I had to tell them to slow down. I didn’t want to deal with their first brain freeze. I told them they had to eat slowly and enjoy it. The adventure lasted about ten minutes, but it was the tastiest ten minutes they had all day.

 

 

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Yeah … I Don’t Know What It Is About Easter Egg Hunts

29 Mar

As Easter weekend approaches I’m bracing myself for encounters with crazy parents and crowds of children. Just thinking about it causes anxiety and I think I’ll need to meditate twice tonight just to prepare myself for the aggravation ahead of me this weekend.

There are two egg hunts in my parenting future. One on Saturday. One on Sunday. I so wish I could just scrap the Saturday one and go to the beach with the kids, but we’re making memories, right? So I gotta just cowboy up.

But in truth it’s not so much the kids that will annoy me, it’s the parents. Have you seen these people on Easter in Easter Egg Hunts? Have you seen them leave their own kid in the dust and steamroll other three-year olds for a purple plastic egg?

Duuuuuuuuude.

I saw this and I thought of them.

 

Image via LeFunny.net

Image via LeFunny.net

 

I don’t know what it is about Easter Egg Hunts that brings out the crazy and the stupid in people. But it does. Wish me luck as I encounter all kinds of parents this weekend. I’ll try to remain Zen-like.

 

Sandbox Adventure List IX: I’m Glad I Didn’t Push The Snooze Button This Time

19 Mar

Just because I’m awake at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean I like it. I know some parents might think that waking up before 7 a.m. is awesome. But I fall under the category of snooze-button advocate.

When my son has a day off from preschool I really don’t feel the need to get up and go. I’m all for the “give me five more minutes” routine, which eventually turns into an hour of PBS Kids, The Sprout Channel, or Nickelodeon.

Don’t judge me.

But this weekend, the morning routine was a little different. And I have to say that the blame wasn’t on Curious George this time. It happened to be children’s author Laura Numeroff and her partner in crime Felicia Bond.  After reading If You Give a Pig Party and a few others from that series he decided that some of those adventures were pretty cool. I mean he always thought they were cool. We’ve read them hundreds of times, so I don’t know what it is that sparked the inspiration, but the fuse was lit.

What adventure? What specials tools or props on this one?  Pillows. This one happened to involve pillows.

Now normally I only use pillows to rest my weary head, or bury my head in an attempt for deep uninterrupted sleep. But my son thought differently. At 7:03 on Sunday morning … he thought differently.

I didn’t see it flying high above the bed, and I sure didn’t hear it, but I felt it. Smack! The red Angry Bird pillow happened to hit my face. Normally pillows are soft in nature, but when they’re thrown at you at 7:03 in the morning? Not so much. I think they’re made of hard cotton, or something. Waking me at this hour in that manner would usually get the Incredible Hulk in me all riled up. But as I looked up I saw both of them with their morning hair and sneaky smiles.

Then I heard it … PILLOW FIGHT!

 

My son heading for cover.

My son heading for cover.

 

Dude it was on.  For the next twenty minutes pillows of all sizes were flying high. As you all know I’m not the greatest morning person, but I made the exception that day. Groggy, tired, and exhausted. But I cowboy-ed up and went with the flow. Going with the flow … it’s something that I’ve been constantly reminded of during my recent meditation challenge. It was the first time I hadn’t hit the snooze button … it proved to be a good decision.

 

Little sister surveying the situation, trying to grab the Angry Bird pillow before her brother.

Little sister surveying the situation, trying to grab the Angry Bird pillow before her brother.

 

I tackled the Angry Bird pillows and flung them over. Sometimes his little Flintstone Vitamin body would withstand the blow, but other times he’d wobble and fall into the covers, only to be bombarded with more pillows and victory screams from his sister. It was one of the loudest and most fun mornings we’ve had. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t done this before, definitely a good addition to the Sandbox Adventure List. I’m glad I didn’t push the snooze button this time. I would’ve missed out.

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure VI: Curious George Strikes Again

18 Feb

I never would have thought a monkey would inspire so many adventures. But apparently if it happens on Curious George, chances are that my son is definitely interested in adding that adventure to his Sandbox List. Well in truth anything on PBS and The Sprout Channel tends to get his curiosity going.

Just wish the flu wasn’t so powerful. It’s been tough to kick this one. I’ve battled 12 rounds and it had me down for the count, but I’m back up again, thanks to multiple trips to the CVS in my proper middle-of-the-night sweats and a t-shirt uniform. I may have looked crappy, but I’m doing my best to try to regain my energy so that it meets my son’s everyday standards. I think I need more vitamins. Even though I’m finally turning a corner the crappy-sick feeling continues attacking my immune system, but adventure and a four-year old do not wait for you to be at 100 percent. So I cowboy-ed up and tackled another item on The List. Something requiring worms.

Yeah that’s right … worms. And you know me. I needed a little assistance, because slimy crawly creatures and The Guat … they don’t mix. I mean Curious George didn’t need any help from The Man in the Yellow Hat. But it’s a cartoon. The Guats are living in a little bit more challenging circumstances, but we did all right on our first fishing expedition. We may not have caught any fish that day, and my son may have been a little disappointed, but at least we had no hooking eye-gauging incidents with the fishing pole or falling in the lake accidents, and that’s what really mattered. A successful failure. Well probably not. Catching a fish would have been totally cool, because you know that Curious George caught three of them. But maybe it will happen on our next fishing adventure, you know when there are no suspect teenage characters throwing pinecones in the lake, scaring the fish. Yeah … we definitely need a teenage-free lake environment.

 

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

 

 

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole ... well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole … well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

 

 

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

 

 

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

 

 

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

 

 

Fishing 11

His sister was more interested in yelling at the ducks than our fishing adventure.

 

Fishing 20

The ducks that caused all the commotion.

 

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about forty-five minutes. Better luck next time. Definitely.

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about twenty-five minutes before he lost all hope and wanted to play Angry Birds. Better luck next time. Definitely. And there will be a next time. He assured me. “We just need more worms, mom. Curious George had a lot of worms and a bigger lake.”

 

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure IV: The Big Splash

25 Jan

They see it lingering between the cracks. Drop by drop. It accumulates and waits. It calls to every Nickelodeon, Sprout Channel, and Cartoon Network watcher. It calls to everyone under four-feet tall and some of us over four-feet.

Rain puddles.

Kids see them and their eyes widen. They smile as they walk toward it. The excitement builds.

It sits still and waits for the Stride Rites, the Saucony, the Pumas, the Dora the Explorer boots, or the Spiderman shoes with flashing lights. It waits patiently, not knowing the outcome, but knowing that something big is about to happen.

As they get closer to examine it and think of the best way to get the maximum benefit from its existence, they hear it …

“Noooooooooooo!”

It happens. It always happens.

But not today. Not on Sandbox Adventure List Day.

I’m always in rush to get somewhere. I’m always on a schedule. Everything has its moment and it’s timed so that nap time happens when it has to and lunch takes place when it needs to. Everything affects the outcome of bed time and it’s usually in everyone’s best interest if things go accordingly. But today it was raining. So there was no rush to go anywhere. No rush to make it on time to any outdoor activities. There was no outdoors.  So it had become errand day and upon our return, I saw the puddles scattered throughout the parking lot. Small, medium, and large. I smiled.

As we got out of the car, I noticed the familiar gleam in the eyes. The sneaky smiles. And then the hesitation as they waited to hear my voice, hear the dreaded, “Nooooooooooooo!” and see the stern look on my face. But what they heard instead was, “All right. Let’s see it. Let’s see the big splash.” And what they saw instead was my smile and my New Balance jumping in the puddles to join them too. For the next fifteen-to-twenty minutes, we splashed our way to six soaked shoes, six drenched socks, and three wet pants. It was a sweet Sandbox Adventure for everyone.

 

 

Looking and thinking ...thinking what to do

Looking and thinking … thinking what to do.

 

The first jump.

Getting ready for an Olympic-sized long jump attempt.

 

A game of splash tag.

A game of splash tag.

 

The Big Stomp.

The Big Stomp.

 

Planning for the Big Splash.

Planning for the Big Splash.

 

 

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Happiness Project Update 20: Paying It Forward One Penny at a Time

23 Jan

“Feel good, be good and do good.” Author Unknown.

I’m all for this. I’m all about the good. I mean who isn’t, right? So while working on expanding some of that good, I continue on my Happiness Project quest and finished the Buying Some Happiness section in Gretchen Rubin‘s book. I liked the fact that she was realistic in most of the chapter, admitting to the fact that money does help provide options for happiness or moments of happiness, but it’s not the main mojo for it.

I concur. Money plays a factor. Most people don’t think so, or might not admit it. But I do. I came clean about it in my last HP Update.

But as I kept reading she brought up an interesting point …

“It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there’s something you want, you’ll be happier with more.”

Dude. This would never happen with chocolate. Never. I know they say “never say never,” but I’m saying it. I could never buy enough chocolate. There is no limit to the powers of the cacao bean. However, when talking about parenting and kids, curbing your enthusiasm is a definite must.

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

As adults we know that there’s a line when it comes to buying things for yourself as a reward or special splurge, and turning into a crazed shopaholic with 12 different credit cards all maxed out. We get it. At least some of us do. But when you’re at the train store, or Target, or Best Buy, or Costco and your kids want you to buy them something every single time you go somewhere, that seems to be the path of a shopaholic for sure. We all want nice things and we all want them for our kids, but when it comes to them, sometimes buying them more “stuff” can do more damage than good. Sometimes teaching your kids about modest pleasures instead of instant gratification can help in their own happiness. It can help produce an atmosphere of growth, appreciation for the “good things,” and fiscal responsibility. And then you feel ecstatic as parent because you think you did an awesome job of raising someone who isn’t materialistic in a very money-oriented label-minded world. You raised someone with values and that makes you extremely happy as a parent.

For instance LEGOLAND. It is the be all and end all of trips when it comes to my four-year old. It is his mecca. It is his chocolate. Now some people have the ability to take their kids four or five times a year. We go once a year. I explained that the trip usually comes as a result of all his good behavior throughout the year and I mention some of his achievements, like sharing with his sister knowing full well she’s probably going to stomp on the toy in the end, being able to finally master penmanship and write his name, being able to transition successfully into preschool even though they have Children of the Corn-like parents roaming around,  like working hard, practicing and doing well in his little golf competition, and for being an overall good kid.

I also make him aware that we save all year-long. We put in all our spare change from every purchase into his makeshift piggy bank we created out of an old Kleenex box. We got Martha Stewart creative and thus was his LEGOLAND box was born. Quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Even some dollar bills. Every day we’d add a little something and he’d see his savings grow.  And he wouldn’t take any money out of it no matter what. He knew he was getting closer to his goal. We ended up with about 250+ dollars last year. And he enjoyed spending every bit of it on the entrance to the park, hot dogs, chocolate cake, Lego souvenirs, and Lego memories.

Once the morning came and he saw his empty box, he said … “We need to start saving money in my LEGOLAND box so we can go again. It’s gonna take a long time. But we can do it.”

I like his perseverance. It makes me think that I have taught him something, hopefully it’s in the realm of appreciating good things when they happen to you and being able to be responsible enough with your money that you can save up for what you want and enjoy it with the people you love. Hopefully I’ve paid the happiness lesson forward, one penny at time.

Sandbox List Adventure III: Conquering The Angry Birds

17 Jan

$2.99. It only costs $2.99. I didn’t think that something at the end of the CVS aisle would be worthy enough of a high-five moment from my son. But seeing how it involved something called Angry Birds it was on.

For some reason Angry Birds has taken over my life here. That little theme song, forget about it. I hear it every weekend. For some of you that aren’t aware, it’s a game that can be played on an iPhone — A knock-down castles kind of game using slingshots and wingless birds with special destructive powers who are in search for their eggs which evil green piggies have stolen. But seeing how I don’t have an iPhone, I hadn’t been aware of the phenomenon until a few months back when my dude purchased a fancy phone. I’d like to think it’s a game of logic, skill and a little bit of physics. At least that’s what tell myself as a justification for letting him play that particular video game in the car.

But apparently the game has become so popular that they’ve branched out beyond the video game. They’ve got coloring books, pillows, folders, stickers, towels, temporary tattoos, pencils, card games, graham crackers,  and hacky-sack thing-a-ma-jigs. They even have Angry Birds Star Wars. We have all of these either through gifts or purchases of our own, these Angry Birds have crept into every room of the house.

So when my son saw the puzzle, he felt the need to add it to the collection. I felt the need to strongly disagree. But then I realized, he’d been talking about completing a jigsaw puzzle for a long time now. And seeing how this particular puzzle would probably interest him more than a landscape with horses on it, I figured I’d give it a second glance. So I looked at the package. It was small enough. 100 pieces. Might not be too bad.

“You could use a coupon,” he said.

And seeing how I had a CVS bonus reward coupon for five dollars, I thought why not?

I thought we’d be using it for a rainy day. But no, the sun was shining, and it was a cool 65 degrees today. And while his sister was napping he took out the pouch and said it was Angry Bird puzzle time.

The 100-piece portrait of the three Angry Birds and their arch nemeses was waiting. It didn’t seem like much, but once out of the bag, I thought yeah … this may take longer than nap time. I might need a little chocolate for this one.

 

It looked small and innocent enough, but 100 pieces of anything is a lot. No matter what.

It looked small and innocent enough, but 100 pieces of anything is a lot. No matter what.

 

The Beginning.

The Beginning.

 

We found the corners.

We found the corners.

 

After a while he was getting a little frustrated that it wasn't looking like anything. But then he found the eyes, the beaks, and the piggy noses. And then it was on. The puzzle excitement was on.

After a while he was getting a little frustrated that it wasn’t looking like anything. Just a bunch of green and brown background. But then he found the eyes, the beaks, and the piggy noses. And then it was on. The puzzle excitement was on.

 

Then we hit a road block and nothing seemed to fit. But as I stood up to get the baby who had woken up from her nap my perspective had changed and then a lot more pieces started falling into place. Just like life. I didn't think I'd get a life lesson reminder while conquering Angry Birds.

Then we hit a road block and nothing seemed to fit. But as I stood up to get the baby who had woken up from her nap, my perspective had changed and then a lot more pieces started falling into place. Just like life. I didn’t think I’d get a life lesson reminder while conquering Angry Birds.

 

And now we were getting close ... the excitement was building and to my surprise after about an hour he was still very much into the project.

And now we were getting close … the excitement was building and to my surprise after about an hour he was still very much into the project.

 

And wouldn't you know it ... just as we were about to finish the last piece was missing. Duuuuuude. Do you know what that did to a person like myself. Ugh. The agony. I searched for about 15 minutes was victorious when I found it under the couch, where the baby had probably thrown it.

And wouldn’t you know it … just as we were about to finish the last piece was missing. Duuuuuude. Do you know what that does to a person like myself. Ugh. The agony. I searched for that piece for about 15 minutes and was victorious when I found it under the couch, where the baby had probably thrown it.

 

Our masterpiece completed. Hi-fives and juice boxes all around.

Our masterpiece. Hi-fives and juice boxes all around. Another sandbox list adventure complete.

 

Sandbox List Adventure II: Rocking Out STOMP-Blue Man Group Style

12 Jan

Quiet down.

Dude, no shouting.

Lower the volume.

Keep it down.

No yelling.

Not so loud.

People are sleeping.

What did I tell you about being noisy?

Shhhhhhhhhhh.

 

This is what my four-year old son and one-year old daughter heard for most of their short toddler life. I don’t really live in a country-like atmosphere where your next-door neighbor lives like an acre away. We got thin walls here in the city. Sound travels and not everybody appreciates the musical creativeness of banging on pots, pans, and empty five-gallon Sparkletts water bottles. Some people may not enjoy the Guat’s version of STOMP or The Blue Man group. They’d prefer the real thing. So I needed to regulate the noise level in our living room from time to time.

Well … in truth sometimes my son was just too loud in general, while his sister was napping, and that put an end to a much-needed nap, which was not cool.  So the shushing might have been an everyday occurrence outside of our “music time”.

But not today.

Today my kids, got a chance to rock out with all kinds of instruments on our all day music adventure. We headed out to a couple of free musical workshops where my kids got a chance to jam it without hearing one shush from me. They rocked out STOMP/Blue Man Group style and they loved it. I wasn’t sure everybody else was jamming it, but I know my kids were … Sandbox List Adventure No. 2 … Check!

 

 

At the first workshop, my kids were not shy about checking out the instruments ... We were new to the scene but made ourselves feel welcome.

At the first workshop, my kids were not shy about checking out the instruments … We were new to the scene but made ourselves feel welcome.

 

My kids jamming it with their mini tambourines, grooving to the Beatles. Yeah ... I know the Beatles.

My kids jamming it with their mini tambourines, jingle bells, and castanets. Grooving to the Beatles. Yeah … I know … the Beatles.

 

My son warming up before we hit the big leagues.

My son warming up on some little Target drums before we hit the Big Leagues.

 

The Big Leagues. We hit our second workshop: A Drum Circle.

The Big Leagues. We hit our second workshop: A Drum Circle. Our very first. And it wasn’t really a circle more like a gigantic oval. But no matter the shape, the Guats came ready to rock the rhythm party.

 

My daughter ready to jam it, as my son keeps up the pace.

My daughter ready to jam it, as my son, sitting next to her, keeps up the pace.

 

But it wasn’t only drums and  percussion beats at this awesome musical hangout, there was some microphone action, too. And as the drum leader asked for volunteers my son jumped at the opportunity to test his singing skills. After hearing the ABC song from a cute little girl, the Itsy-Bitsy-Spider song from another little boy, my son decides to sing “One Thing,” from One Direction, followed by a Maroon 5 ditty.

I was all smiles and laughter. No shushing at all.

Rocking out … rocks. We’ll definitely be back.

What Every Parent Needs to Know

10 Jan

It’s light. It’s crispy. It’s buttery. It’s my savory savior.

I never realized the importance of Ritz Crackers until I became a mom. Goldfish Crackers are awesome. Yes. But Ritz Crackers take it to another level. They don’t tell you this in parenting classes, magazines, or books. They talk about nurturing kids, the importance of play time, and nanny cams. They tell you that you need to always pack wipes, diapers, a pacifier, and an extra set of clothes in the diaper bag. But they don’t tell you to pack the Ritz Crackers. They failed to mention the power of the Ritz.

It should definitely have its own chapter in a book, or a at least be a bullet point in a magazine article. It’s definitely bold-letter worthy.

Image via Nabisco.com

Image via Nabisco.com

I found out about the power when my four-year old was just a toddler. But seeing how he wasn’t really high-strung, or suffering from the terrible twos when he was younger, the power of the Ritz Cracker didn’t reach its full potential until my daughter hit that I-can-go-crazy-in-public-places stage.

So what’s a mom to do when this happens? There’s no reasoning at age one. There’s no ‘hey look at that airplane in the sky’ speech because then she goes crying and reaching for the plane that she can’t have, and so you have another battle.

So what do you do? She doesn’t want you to hug her, she doesn’t want you to hold her hand. She wants to run around in circles and probably hang upside down somewhere. So what do you do?

You reach for your Ziploc bag of Ritz crackers and give her one. It keeps her busy for about ten to fifteen minutes. She savors every bite of that flaky awesomeness, and you have some peace.

But what happens when you’re on a multiple errand run where you have to hit Costco, Target, Best Buy, and Sports Authority? You just bring the entire packet.

What if you’re in the car? On a long road trip or traffic jam and there’s no Maroon 5 or Wheels On The Bus songs to save your life?

Ritz.

What if your making a trip to the doctor’s office where vaccinations may take place? There’s no sticker big enough, colorful enough, or shiny enough to dull away the pain. So what do you do?

Ritz.

What if you’re actually trying to enjoy yourself and decide to take a trip to the stadium where you want to watch at least five innings, three quarters, or two periods of exciting hustle and bustle offense and defense?

Ritz.

What if you go on a trip to your mother-in-law’s?

Well then you probably need some Ritz. The whole box.

Anxiety and stress, they can follow you anywhere. Festering, making the gray hairs accumulate, so how do you prevent this old age attack on your body that could eventually lead to the meltdown, of both parent and child?

Ritz. The mighty Ritz. Don’t forget to pack them.

 

 

Thanks to Curious George and Mighty Machines One Gets Checked Off The Sandbox List

4 Jan

It all started with Curious George and Mighty Machines. I wouldn’t have thought it was a big deal, but according to my four-year old son, it was … it definitely was because Curious George and Mighty Machines rocks.

They may be an everyday occurrence in New York, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco. No big deal. Just a regular day from point A to point B. But here … in my little part of the Golden State it’s not very common. We’re a car community. That’s how I was raised, on wheels. Either on a car or bus, but always on wheels.

So when my son suggested that he wanted to take a trip on a subway train just like the one that Curious George took to get to the zoo and the one that was featured on an episode of Mighty Machines, I thought we really need to go to the supermarket, but I remembered my goals, self-improvement projects, bucket list and “resolutions” for the 2013 New Year and thought … definitely a Sandbox List Urban Adventure.  I can always go to the market at night, when the kids are asleep and mom is watching a saucy Univision novela. It’s a good Costco sweatpants night. They have a relaxed dress code at VONS.

So that was the plan. And the thing is my son didn’t really care about the destination, he just cared about the ride. The idea of riding a train blew him away. We’ve been on miniature steamer trains, and trains that go around children’s parks, but never a subway train, never the Curious George method of transportation, so you could imagine his cartwheel-jumping-in-the-air excitement when we arrived at the station. But you could also imagine the humdrum-crabby expressions of all the regular riders … ages 30-50. I could tell he looked a little confused, probably wondering why everyone wasn’t as excited as he was, I mean we were on the subway train for crying out loud. These people were going about their I-can’t-believe-this-is-another-crappy-day business and it showed as they rode the train. But I tried to keep the urban adventure positive for my son. I packed plenty of Goldfish crackers.

 

 

IMG_3718

The entrance

 

He wanted to buy the tickets himself. Pushing buttons is a big thing.

When we got to the ticket counter, he wanted to buy the tickets himself. Pushing buttons is a big thing.

 

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Ready to go downstairs and catch the train.

 

Is that our train? Is that our train? Is that our train? Is that our train? ... No. It's not.

Is that our train? Is that our train? Is that our train? Is that our train? … No. It’s not.

 

My son ... checking out our destination.

My son … checking out our destination.

 

My son ... loving the ride, eyes wide open, looking at the tunnels as we zoomed by. No need for the Goldfish crackers. My daughter on the other hand ... she needed a few extras.

My son … loving the ride, eyes wide open, looking at the tunnels as we zoomed by. No need for the Goldfish crackers. My daughter on the other hand … she needed a few extras.

 

Riding up the escalators to check out the scene.

We arrived at our destination and rode up the escalators to check out the scene.

 

While walking around town, we ran into Iron Man, my son decided to introduce himself. He never thought he'd see a superhero on our Sandbox List adventure.

While walking around town, we ran into Iron Man, my son decided to introduce himself. He never thought he’d see a superhero on our Sandbox List adventure.

 

We decided to match up our footprints and handprints with those of big Hollywood stars. Rita Hayworth has small hands.

We decided to match up our footprints and handprints with those of big Hollywood stars. My son thought Jack Nicholson had big feet.

 

After a while ... it was back to the trains ... back home.

After a while … it was back to the trains … back home.

 

But after all that IronMan, Shrek, and movie star excitement the best  part of the day was seeing him excited about his train riding into the station.

But after all that IronMan, Shrek, Walk of Fame, and movie star excitement, the best part of the day was seeing my son super excited about his train coming into the station.