Tag Archives: Sandbox List Adventures

Sanbox List Adventure 29: Meeting Your Hero

14 Apr

We have 13 of them.

Over the past year we’ve collected 13 of them. We started with three and now we have 13. I’m sure the count is gonna keep on rising. Apparently the Cape Crusader is the best superhero on Earth, even though he doesn’t actually have superhero powers, he’s super skilled in martial arts and has all kinds of gadgets to assist his crime fighting capabilities.

So it was of the utmost important that we didn’t miss meeting him.

At last year’s Festival of Books, we witnessed the awesomeness of The Justice League read one of their adventures on stage, but failed to meet them in person, which did not go over well with the kids. Luckily I was able to distract them with snacks, samples, superhero books, Captain Underpants, Scooby-Doo, and other scavenger hunt prizes.

I was packing light this year, and didn’t think sandwiches, Cutie oranges, cheese sticks, and graham crackers would cut it. So I was determined to weave my way in and out of the overheated masses and their cranky parents to reach the Meet-and-Greet line. I was on a mission to make the introduction. I was on a mission to make a Sandbox List Adventure come true.

So I was a little worried when a guy wearing a batman t-shirt and cap came on stage to read Skyscraper Showdown. I didn’t see Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, or Batman. Don’t get me wrong the guy was quite animated and very into the story, but he had nothing on the Cape Crusader.

I began to worry as my son asked me for the third time where Batman was and my daughter was wondering when Flash or Wonder Woman were going to show up … but then just as the Joker was about to escape … he showed up and the crowd went wild. Apparently it was one of the best readings we attended. And even though Batman was the only superhero there, my daughter followed her brother’s lead and enjoyed the book.

But the magic of reading didn’t stop there.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the books, going on adventures that can only happen with literary magic, listening to music, and meeting all kinds of authors. It was one of the best Sandbox List Adventures this year. I know that because they’re still talking about it.

 

We got there early and saddled-up for an awesome adventure.

We got there early and saddled-up for an awesome adventure.

 

One of our first stops was the checking out the featured band ... that woke everybody up with their awesome jams.

One of our first stops was checking out the featured band … they woke everybody up with their awesome jams.

 

We followed that up by adding our names and favorite books to the wall of inspiration. My son of course chose Batman :)

We followed that up by adding our names and some of our favorite books to the wall of inspiration. My son of course chose Batman ūüôā My daughter chose The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. I decided to add The Alchemist, Eat Pray Love, and The Life of Pi.

 

We managed to play a few games before we went to the main event.

We managed to play a few games before we went to the main event.

 

Then we headed to the children's stage to check out our main event.

Then we headed to the Children’s Stage to check out our main event. We got front seats and enjoyed the reading of Skyscraper Showdown.

 

This is when all the kids went crazy ...

However the crowd went wild when this guy showed up …

 

However this is when my son was starstruck. He could barely contain himself. He was so excited to meet his hero and have Batman sign his book. It was his cartwheel-worthy moment of the week.

My son was starstruck. He could barely contain himself. He was so excited to meet his hero and have Batman sign his book. It was his cartwheel-worthy moment of the week.

 

When the awesomeness of the Cape Crusader was done, we explored the rest of the festival and discovered new authors.

When the awesomeness of the Cape Crusader was done, we explored the rest of the festival and discovered new authors.

 

During our exploration this was one of the funnest books and booths we discovered. My daughter did her best surfer pose and joined the characters ofthe book.

During our exploration this was one of the funnest books and booths we discovered. My daughter did her best surfer pose and joined the characters of the book.

 

During our browsing session, I found this book that caught my eye. The fact that Diego Luna read it aloud intrigued me.

During our browsing session, I found this book that caught my eye. The fact that Diego Luna read it aloud intrigued me.

 

After we picked up all of our books, from new and established authors, we headed home with all kinds of inspiration and new ideas.

After we picked up all of our books, from new and established authors, we headed home with all kinds of inspiration and new ideas.

 

 

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure 27: Take Me Out to The Ball Game …

10 Mar

I’d never been. He’d never been . She’d never been.

It was a trifecta.

I can’t believe that in all my sports-loving years I’ve never been to an Opening Day of any kind and neither had my little Guats. As a sports enthusiast that sucks. In fact I shouldn’t even be admitting it, let alone writing it for all to see. I might get kicked out of the tomboy club for that. But I do mention it because that situation has been remedied.

I had the California sunshine, the national anthem, the popcorn, the cotton candy, the hot dogs, the Easton and Louisville Slugger bats swinging, the baseballs going into deep left, and then my son rounding the bases, helping his team with a 15-8 victory. It was only three innings, but he was 3 for 3 with 6 RBI.

Yeah … I gotta say … Little League Opening Day was pretty awesome. Even without the Cracker Jacks, I’m glad we all experienced this American tradition together. It prepared me for what to expect when we head off to watch the Dodgers in the spring.

Baseball … you gotta love it.

 

My son and his teammates taking the field as they announce the teams.

My son and his teammates taking the field as they announce the teams.

 

The teams cheering after the first pitch was thrown.

The teams cheering after the first pitch was thrown.

 

Something tasty for the kids.

Getting something tasty for the kids after Opening Ceremonies.

 

Something you absolutely have to have when you go to a ball game. You have to ... it's a rule. Sometimes you can even have two.

Then getting something for yourself, because you absolutely have to get a hot dog when you’re at the ball game. You have to … it’s a rule. Sometimes you can even have two.

 

But if you're a serious carnivore there was something for you too.

But if you’re a serious carnivore there was something for you too.

 

After all that food we definitely needed to work out, so we tested a few new bats.

After all that food we definitely needed to work out, so we tested a few new bats before the Homerun Derby.

 

But of all the things this Opening Day weekend this was probably my favorite ... my son, hitting one over third base.

But of all the things this Opening Day weekend, this was probably my favorite … my son, hitting one over third base and my daughter and I cheering him on. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that my son tagged someone out at second, but I loved this moment even more.

 

Sandbox List Adventure: A Different Perspective

7 Feb

These tiny pieces of plastic have dominated my home in form of skyscrapers, superheroes, fire engines, policemen, airplanes, miniature villages, tiny people with their own adventures, books, stickers, games, calendars, and the mecca … LEGOLAND itself.

But this … this was something he hadn’t seen before so the excitement was building.

It was his many stories … his imagination coming to life on the big screen and he wanted to see it. He wanted to experience it. He wanted to see what someone had created with the very same LEGOS he plays with everyday. He wanted to see someone’s story. He wanted to see what they came up with … he wanted to compare stories … he wanted to get ideas. He wanted to go on another LEGO adventure. A big one.

The LEGO Movie.

I’d been hearing about it for weeks.

Weeks.

The countdown had been on.

And the day was finally here, but seeing how this was The LEGO Movie I figure I’d step it up a notch.

In all my years of movie-watching I’d never experienced the 3D version of anything, neither has my son or daughter. So I figured we’d go big on this LEGO Movie and pack in as much LEGO love as possible. Seeing LEGOS in a different perspective was pretty awesome for all of us. I recommend it. It was a great story of a “… ‘Nobody’ who saved everybody.” I’d give you a full review of the movie, but figured I didn’t want to ruin the magic for those of you who hadn’t seen it. And if you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you take your own kindergarteners on this Sandbox List Adventure. They’ll thank you for it.

 

The poster we passed on a weekly basis that reminded me when this adventure would debut.

The poster we passed on a weekly basis that reminded me when this adventure would debut.

 

Dude. I thought finding parking in front of the theater was awesome ... I can't tell you how Guatacular this sight was ... no line. I prepared myself for an onslaught of elementary school kids ... so glad we got the matinee right after school.

Dude. I thought finding parking in front of the theater was awesome … I can’t tell you how Guatacular this sight was … no line. I prepared myself for an onslaught of elementary school kids and massive lines … so glad we got the matinee right after school.

 

Hanging out in the lobby meeting one of the co- stars.

Hanging out in the lobby meeting one of the co- stars.

 

My daughter was pretty fond of the female lead, and I gotta say so was I. Lucy rocked.

My daughter was pretty fond of the female lead, and I gotta say so was I. Lucy rocked.

 

Our first 3D glasses, but probably not our last.

Our first 3D glasses, but probably not our last.

 

One of the best views of my day ... my kids enjoying every minute.

One of the best views of my day … my kids enjoying every minute … complete with popcorn.

 

Sandbox Adventure List 19: Feeling The Blue Fever

9 Sep

It was¬†the bottle-me-up moment of the night …¬†that one special moment you want to bottle up and save for those crappy days ahead. I caught it.

I caught The Blue Fever … and it was sweet.

My son¬†first saw¬†parts of their show¬†on television … and then decided it was DVR-Worthy. Everyday-of-the-week-DVR-worthy. This is where the craze started. Everyday after his sister’s nap we heard the ba-donka-donk¬†song followed by Luke Skywalker musical sabers swishing around and an eclectic xylophone with great tunes.

Apparently Ellen DeGeneres was giving away tickets to her entire audience, unfortunately for my son, we were sitting on the couch watching. We were nowhere near the studio audience¬†and¬†all the originality that is Blue Man. But it didn’t matter that we only saw it through television, he had caught The Blue Fever¬†as soon as he had seen it.

The unique¬†intensity and humor of the performance came through and it was something he wanted to witness. And the funny thing was that everything about it was an adventure for him from the printing of the tickets, to the bus ride, to packing the picnic basket and then to finally arriving to the outdoor show. It was something to look forward to, something to get excited about. All the little steps that I often take for granted when going to a concert or event took new meaning through my son’s eyes. They became¬†moments of excitement and anticipation.¬†In this Sandbox List Adventure,¬†I realized that some things are better when living¬†¬†through the perspective of my¬†five-year old … things like The Blue Fever.

 

The Blue Man Group awaited us.

The Blue Man Group awaited us.

 

We didn't walk to the bus, my son insisted we run toward our adventure. And so we did. I was lucky not to have dropped the camera on the way.

We didn’t walk to the bus, my son insisted we run toward our adventure. And so we did. I was lucky not to have dropped the camera on the way.

 

Not only was this his first concert, but this was also his first bus ride. He constantly looked out the window to see what was coming up next. And as all the adults sat impatiently, sent text messages, or listened to music my son smiled at every landmark and took in every moment of the adventure. I totally enjoyed watching every minute of it.

Not only was this his first concert, but this was also his first bus ride. He constantly looked out the window to see what was coming up next. And as all the adults sat impatiently, sent text messages, and listened to music my son smiled at every landmark and took in every moment of the adventure. I totally enjoyed watching every minute of it.

 

The traffic was so heavy that we arrived in the evening. But that didn't matter, because the bus ride rocked.

The traffic was so heavy that we arrived in the evening. But that didn’t matter, because the bus ride rocked.

 

This is where the magic happened and we stayed tuned for it.

This is where the magic happened and we stayed tuned for it.

 

... as did the other little fans in the audience ... although most of them looked happier than this.

… as did the other little fans in the audience … although most of them looked happier than this.

 

Working their magic, making us laugh, entertaining us all with their music moves.

Working their magic, making us laugh, entertaining us all with their music moves.

 

The evening continued and one of the best parts was the grand finale ... complete with fireworks and the encore.

The evening continued and one of the best parts was the grand finale … complete with fireworks and the encore.

 

Checking out the grand finale and all of its amazement.

Checking out the grand finale and all of its amazement.

 

The night was great ... and then came the masses heading to the parking lot and we were two of them.

The night was great … and then came the masses heading to the parking lot and we were two of them.

 

 

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Sandbox List Adventure 14: Dynamic Duo, Plus One, Riding The Waves

6 Jul

I guess I’m on a roll. I hadn’t been on a roll in a while …¬†a couple of months. But I’m on it. It felt good to be on¬†a roll … to¬†be rollin … to be keeping the momentum. It makes me think my life is less crappy. It¬†makes me feel less weathered.¬†It¬†lowers my blood pressure.¬†It stops the gray hairs from popping out … at least just for the day. I’ve come to realize that rolls are important and I need to make sure I stay on them as long as possible.

So I was thankful for the beach … again. It provided for another opportunity of growth, another opportunity of life, another¬†stress reliever, another Dynamic Duo Bucket List and Sandbox List¬†Adventure. Another opportunity for my son¬†and I to cross off items from our wish list.¬†And this time … my daughter joined in on the adventure.

In truth I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it.¬†All this time hanging out like Gidget at the beach and I hadn’t tried it. I couldn’t believe it. It’s really a kid thing, I guess. All you see are these Nickelodeon-XBox¬†loving kids hit the waves. But it’s never too late for an AMC-FX-HBO loving kid to represent the Pippi Longstock Generation on the waves.

So my Body Glove board shorts actually hit the board. The Boogie Board.

And it was awesome, so much so that my son and daughter decided to be awesome too. So we all had our first boogie boarding experience this week and it was better than expected. I had it all: The rush of catching the perfect wave and riding it all the way to shore, the Oh-My-God moment of seeing dolphins swim in the ocean while I was trying to swim too, and the most awesome experience of The Wipeout which allowed me to feel the wrath of the waves.

Sometimes waves don’t like to be ridden, luckily we found a few that didn’t mind it so much. And it didn’t matter that there were¬†only a¬†few … what mattered was that there were some at all and I was able to ride them.

I finally did it. It took me¬†twenty-something years to do it, but I did it, and I was happy to share the moment with my kids. Although they didn’t really enjoy The Wipeouts. They didn’t find them fun at all. Saltwater isn’t too tasty and it burned their eyes. But they still got up and tried again. There we¬†were The Dynamic Duo, plus one, riding the waves.

 

Testing out the waters before our adventure.

Testing out the waters before our adventure.

 

A little surprise from the sea just as he starts to paddle off,

A little surprise from the sea just as he starts to paddle off.

 

His sister learning the ropes.

His sister learning the ropes and definitely enjoying this adventure.

Sandbox List Adventure 11: One Small Step For Man, One Giant Step For The Guatkind

17 May

He’s a firefighter. A secret agent. A doctor. A baseball player. A superhero. An astronaut …¬†and sometimes he’s my Lego-building partner.

Most of¬†these identities are imaginary and we do our best with our makeshift costumes and equipment made out of recyclable materials.¬†However today I thought I would step it up a notch and provide an experience where¬†I didn’t¬†have to use an¬†old Gatorade bottle or paper towel roll. Today we finally made our way to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour, something he’s been wanting to do ever since it made¬†the long trek¬†through the streets of our city and¬†found its home at the California Science¬†Center.

It was something we were so jazzed up about that I got advanced tickets so that we wouldn’t have to wait in the crowded line. I never get advanced anything but when it comes to kids’ activities I totally learn. I don’t want to get caught by every parents’ worst¬†nightmare … The Public Meltdown. So you do whatever it takes, which includes¬†the strategic planning¬†of a¬†genius¬†…¬†of a Mission Impossible agent … of a mother of two.

You get advanced tickets that¬†give you an entrance time well after¬†morning traffic, but before nap time. You plan it to get an awesome¬†three or four-hour block of engaging¬†entertainment. You check for the closest parking lots and¬†always bring cash because you never know when the machines could be down.¬†In addition¬†you pack whatever it takes … granola bars, Goldfish Crackers, grapes, cheese sticks, fruit wraps, pita chips,¬†an arsenal of juice boxes, books, learning toys with¬†all the Disney, PBS,¬†Sprout Channel, and Nickelodeon characters,¬†and the master savior … The Ritz Cracker.

You walk out the door with your two kids and five bags and you think … I got this. I got this!¬† You slip in the Jack Johnson CD and know you’ll be there by track five or six. The morning rush hour should no longer exist.

And then you’re zooming passed the cars until disaster hits. Traffic. You don’t understand it. There shouldn’t be any. Did you expect big rig trailers and trucks … yes a few, but not a massive traffic jam filled with SUVs and sedans. You don’t understand it. And then after an hour-long trek, which really should have lasted twenty minutes, it hits you. Caps, gowns and Hawaiian leis. Graduation. College graduation.

By the time I¬†finally parked,¬†I was down to my¬†last Ritz cracker. But once we got inside, I¬†didn’t need the emergency reserve.

It was one small step for man, one giant step for Guatkind.

 

Our astronaut experience awaits.

Our astronaut experience awaits.

 

The cool art/display that caught are eye at the entrance.

The cool art/display that caught our  eye at the entrance.

 

My son intrigued by the mysterious white smoke coming up from the display.

My son intrigued by the mysterious white smoke coming up from the display. He’s discovering the power of¬†science.

 

The journey begins, everyone was so excited that the juice boxes were not completely finished.

The journey begins, everyone was so excited that the juice boxes were not completely finished.

 

Checking out the amazing space stuff and educating ourselves before heading over to the exhibit.

Checking out the amazing space stuff and educating ourselves before heading over to the exhibit.

 

This is where we pretended to be Mission Control engineers. My son did a great job with his countdown.

This is where we pretended to be Mission Control engineers. My son did a great job with his countdown.

 

One of the best parts of the day was the simulator. Where he got a chance to blast off into space, fix a satellite in outer space, hang out on the moon, and then land the shuttle. He was a good astronaut and so was my daughter, very brave during the take off and landing.

One of the best parts of the day was the simulator. Where he got a chance to blast off into space, fix a satellite in outer space, hang out on the moon, and then land the shuttle. He was a good astronaut and so was my daughter, very brave during the take off and landing.

 

After our awesome astronaut experience we headed over for the main attraction.

After our awesome astronaut experience we headed over for the main attraction.

 

Definitely worth the traffic. Definitely.

Definitely worth the hour-long traffic. Definitely. The Holy-Crap Moment of the day happened right here.

 

The experience had such a "wow" factor that we had to take home a souvenir.

The experience had such a “wow” factor that we had to take home a souvenir. And this one entertained them all the way home. No need for Jack Johnson or emergency reserves.¬† Outer space rocks.

 

Sandbox List Adventure VIII: Bubble Wrap Makes Me Cool

8 Mar

For me, it releases tension and stress.¬†I guess it’s the smashing part.

My kids¬†were probably attracted to the pop-pop popping of it all. It’s something you see and have to do. You can’t just throw it in the trash, you have to pulverize it first and then throw it in the trash … well the recycling bin.

I know they had seen it before, but it was the small 5×7 sheet that came with¬†a box of chocolate, at which point they cared more about the chocolate and less about the packaging.

But when I changed the dimensions and provided a full floor-length sheet, you know that the smiles and laughter came out, even without the chocolate.

Bubble wrap … it’s the mom’s miracle worker on a rainy day. Usually I pack the rainy day with plenty of activities, but for some reason our agenda was not welcomed by enthusiasm. They were done with Legos, trains, balloon volleyball, hockey, Connect 4, Play-doh¬†, Transformers, coloring, cars, books, and pretend play. They were done with it and seeing how my little one had a serious runny nose I wasn’t in the mood to escalate it into a full on cold or flu by letting them splash in puddles and be hit by hail. Yes. Today sunny Southern California was at 50 degrees with hail¬†attacking our palm¬†trees.

So I needed something else, because you know kids … they don’t stop for hail. They’re just like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep going all day. So I tried to step up the level of fun¬†and found success with bubble wrap and some awesome 80s tunes. We started off dancing and then just ended up racing up and down the bubble wrap strip. I figured when my Uncle Erick introduced me to bubble wrap back in the 80s it was an awesome way to pass the time. We had no Nintendo,¬†no Atari. We had Lite Bright, Monopoly, Sorry, Battleship and bubble wrap.

And it rocked.

I figured,¬† since I had such a good time, maybe my preschooler and toddler would get a kick out of it. I was worried because sometimes as parents we think we have the¬†best plan for fun and then realize that it wasn’t as cool as we thought. Thankfully I was as cool as I thought … well at least for today.

 

First we began the setup and it took a little longer than it should have...you know with all the help I was getting.

First we began the setup and it took a little longer than it should have…you know with all the help I was getting.

 

Then in no time at all my son was racing up and down the bubble wrap strip, feeling ecstatic as the pop-pop-popping happened with every step.

Then in no time at all my son was racing up and down the bubble wrap strip, feeling ecstatic as the pop-pop-popping happened with every step.

 

My daughter tried, running, dancing and stomping but when she realized she wasn't smashing as many bubbles she took a new approach.

My daughter tried the running, dancing and stomping but when she realized that¬†she wasn’t getting the same sound effect or smashing as many bubbles as her brother, she took a new approach.

 

She found that squeezing with her hands and tiny fingers was a lot more productive. So then the smiles began.

She found that squeezing with her hands and tiny fingers was a lot more productive. So then the smiles began.

 

Seeing how he was getting tired of all the running and hopping, my son decided to join his sister and use his hands to attack the bubble wrap.

Seeing how he was getting tired of all the running and hopping, my son decided to join his sister and use his hands to attack the bubble wrap. He had some assistance from a rolling pin.

 

In the end the bubble wrap was everywhere, but it was all good. Everyone had fun in the process, including mom.

In the end the bubble wrap was everywhere, but it was all good. Everyone had fun in the process, including mom.

 

Sanbox List Adventure V: Checking Out the Stars and The Sun, And Carrying More Quarters

1 Feb

I don’t know why kids always want to check them out. They’re never really clean, probably slathered in germs. They’re always out of focus and for some reason they’re really heavy, probably made out of some 1960s¬†submarine or Master Driver parts. I don’t know, but it’s heavy. And for some reason¬†kids always become explorers whenever they see them. They have to see through it. Just have to.

Telescopes.

I’m usually all out of quarters. I never have one. Ever. Or I say that it’s broken. It’s always broken. This is usually followed by disappointment,¬†a sigh, and a shaking of the head.

But today he got his chance. We ventured out to the observatory to check out the moon, stars, planets, galaxies, that weird, cool¬†pendulum thing that still puzzles me even after the very detailed explanation by the tour dude. And telescopes. Many of them. He got a chance to look through as many of them as he wanted, as did his one-year old sister. None of them were broken. And while they were enjoying the wonders of outer space, I found myself enjoying the whole process. I realized … I shouldn’t always be in a rush, I should always carry Purell, and most importantly I¬†should carry more quarters.

 

He was excited that we didn't have to park a mile away. The parking lot is extremely small and for the first time in history I got front-door parking to something. He ran towards the entrance.

He was excited that we didn’t have to park a mile away. The parking lot is extremely small and for the first time in history I got front-door parking to something. He ran towards the entrance.

 

 

Checking out some elements that are found in outer space explosions and other star stuff.

Checking out some elements that are found in outer space explosions and other star stuff.

 

The pendulum thing.

My daughter was mesmerized by the pendulum thing.

 

Once we got to the stars ... everyone was in a wow-state of mind.

Once we got to the stars … everyone was in a wow-state of mind.

 

My daughter thought Saturn was pretty cool.

My daughter thought Saturn was pretty cool.

 

My son thought Mars was cooler. There was a microscope and scientific data involved.

My son thought Mars was cooler. It was so cool that he took his hat off. There was a microscope and scientific data involved.

 

And this ... this was the best part for both of them ... exploring through the scopes.

And this … this was the best part for both of them … exploring through the scopes.

 

And although the best part of the day for my kids were the telescopes and exhibits, my favorite part of the day was watching the sunset with my kids. Our first one together.

And although the best part of the day for my kids were the telescopes and exhibits, my favorite part of the day was watching the sunset with my kids. Our first one together.

 

 

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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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.

 

 

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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.