Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010!

Is Larkin not the cutest box of popcorn you've ever seen?! We cut out a bunch of cute costumes from catalogs and laid them all out for Larkin to choose from. She went for this immediately. She's been a huge popcorn fan ever since her first baseball game this summer and what's better than eating popcorn than being popcorn! POP!

Given Larkin's costume choice, Brian and I decided to go for a "movies" theme. With Larkin as the entertainment snack, we decided we'd be the entertainment. Given the huge success of Toy Story 3 this year, Brian dressed up as Woody and I dressed up as Jessie of course.

This year we decided to do something fun but different from the traditional candy give-aways, so we gave kids mini-decks of kiddie playing cards. We weren't sure how they'd be received, but the kids loved something different - they were a hit! After Larkin went trick-or-treating and we handed out our goodies (we had around 200 trick-or-treaters come to our house!), Larkin got to check out her loot with her Papa. She ate a "Kitty Kat" as she calls it, and her very first Reese's peanut butter cup, which she LOVED!

Then, our friends Matt, Robin, and Gage came by to say hi and Larkin and Gage (oops, I mean our friend Buzz Lightyear!) had fun playing together with her noodle and just jumping around being silly. What a fun Halloween... I hope yours was great too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Goddard Hippo Halloween Party

Larkin's school held a Halloween party that Brian and I were excited to attend. The kids all get dressed up and parade around the rest of the school showing off their costumes, then they eat treats, dance and sing, and just party. Below are a couple of cute pics of the kids having fun. Larkin (sans popcorn costume) and her friend Carter were like two peas in a pod that day and the other picture is of Cici, holding up her mini-pumpkin with pride (I brought them for all the kids and they were a hit)!

Below are a couple of pics and an adorable video of the kids putting on a little dance show for the parents. The first pic is from the song "Sleeping Bunnies" and the one of Larkin stomping around is from the song "Dinosaurs". The video is definitely worth a pic - it's priceless watching all of the kids! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FAO Schwartz

I have been wanting to take Larkin to FAO Schwartz (5th Ave. & 59th) for a long time, and we finally got there. And, as I'm sure will surprise no one, she loved it! Upon entering, she immediately fell in love with the giant puppy stuffed animals they have piled just inside the doors. She kissed it, carried it around (and it's bigger than her), and even sat on it. She entertained other shoppers as they stopped to watch her enthralled with the huge, huggable puppy.

We eventually made it up to the 2nd floor where Larkin spent some time staring at the Barbie runway show. The picture directly behind her would change (which I thought was cool) and she just stared and stared (as she held a smaller puppy she nearly suckered us into buying).

Then, we were on to the part I was the most excited about... the giant foot piano that was used in the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks. I always loved that movie and his scene on the big piano (which the guy who worked there did for us), so I was excited for Larkin to try it out. She was a little timid at first so I got on with her, but then she got the hang of it. We loved it! It's free (the only rule is you have to take off your shoes). Do it if you have the chance!

Last but not least, after we left the toy dream shop (I can proudly say free of purchases, although I did get ideas for Christmas), the boys stood proudly in front of the gigantic beehive directly outside that is the Apple store. All you can see is the clear cube above-ground... the entire store is below ground, but it can best be described as a bee-hive of activity!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Museum of Natural History

The above photo is one of my favorites... check out Brian and Larkin and the brontosaurus in the grand lobby of the Museum of Natural History! I love the enormous dinosaur looming behind them!

While Brian and I were kind of hoping for everything to come to life like it did in the movie "Night at the Museum", Larkin adored the exhibits that we visited. The dinosaurs are always a must-see for me, and despite the fact that a Russian tourist knocked her over in his rush to see the Rex, Larkin loved the dinosaurs too (as you can clearly tell from the pics).

We saw a number of still-life, stuffed animal exhibits that reminded me of two things: 1) trips to the natural history museum as a kid, and 2) our local Bass Pro Shop (a redneck's version of the natural history museum - you can get really close to the stuffed bear there!). I was amazed that it was so quiet in the museum at one point that Larkin was the only person in the huge room with the elephants - it was really cool and special-feeling.

We paid the extra few bucks to experience the acclaimed "Butterfly Exhibit". I do warn you, however, should you decide to go some day... be prepared because it is HOT in there (upper 80's and very humid), so you can't last in there as long as you'd like. But, it was cool to see the beautiful butterflies and moths flying all over and around you. There were 500+ butterflies and moths and they hatch new ones every day. You are warned to not touch them (they can be poisonous) but that's not really a problem because they fly around you, not wanting to land on you much. It was a special treat, worth the time and money, if you get the chance.

Larkin loved the 4-minute Big Bang movie. We thought she might be scared because it's pitch black inside the room, but she was in awe of the short movie. She kept saying "Wow!".

Gavin and Luke's current favorite part of the museum is the science, space and galaxy exhibits and I can see why. There are all sorts of hands-on learning stations, but what I loved the most were the galactic scales. You could see what your weight would be in all sorts of places. Below are the pics from Larkin's weigh-ins (and note that she currently weighs 30 lbs)... from lightest to heaviest: Halley's Comet (.028 lbs), the Moon (4.6 lbs), Jupiter (63 lbs), the Sun (738 lbs), and on a Neutron Star, Larkin would weigh 392,000,000,000 lbs!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gavin, Luke, and Larkin

These pictures speak mostly for themselves. Larkin loves to visit with her cousins Gavin and Luke. They are the three muskateers! Check out the fun below.

This last picture could use a little explanation. Karen's sister, Dana, is now into jewelry making, so here she is buying beads at a wholesale bead shop. You've never seen so many beads! Isn't it a cool picture, with all of the colors around her?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun with Grandpa Bud

Staying in touch via iChat is indispensable these days. Here's a precious screen shot from an iChat Karen and Grandpa Bud had with Brian and Larkin back home. The more animated we got, the more giggles we shared.

Once Brian and Larkin joined me in NYC, Larkin got to having all sorts of fun with her Grandpa Bud. They went "shopping" around his apartment (he taught her how to swipe a fake credit card, much to her delight!), they lounged together under the dinner table, and most precious of all... they snuggled on the couch together (I think this was Grandpa Bud's favorite). Thanks for letting us visit, Grandpa Bud!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NYC Dog Show

Dede, Grandpa Bud, Brian, Karen, and Larkin went to see a dog show in NYC this afternoon. It made us miss Sera terribly (and we bought her a toy of course), but it was fun to check out all of the breeds. Here are a few pictures of us with some of the dogs we liked.

Our particular favorite from this show was the Leonberger. It's a relatively rare giant breed and as you can see in the picture below, he's enormous! This male weighed about 180 pounds, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. I asked what the breed was bred for, and I was told (honestly) that the breed was bred "to be a child's playmate". Wow!!! I was so pleasantly shocked and could completely see it, based on how gentle the dog was with Larkin. Apparently, the dog in the book Alice in Wonderland was actually written about a Leonberger (because the author had one and loved it), but when they did the movie, the producers switched it to an Old English Sheepdog. The breeders are really happy about that (since it kept the breed pure and not-over-bred). What a great treat to have met him. He's a bit big and hairy for my house, and I love my Sera too much to consider adding to our brood for now, but definitely check them out if you want a dog that's great with kids.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge

Karen had a "first" today... I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan with my Dad. It was a beautiful fall day and after reliving the subway ride where my Dad was last pick-pocketed, we had a wonderful walk across the bridge (with hundreds of other folks, of course). The Statue of Liberty is rather small and far in the distance, but still cool to see. You walk on a pedestrian walk above the cars driving below, and there's such a throng of people that you have to keep moving and stay on your side of the line. There were vendors on the side selling "bloomin' mango" and other fruit on a stick. After our bridge walk, we went over to check out the rebuild progress at Ground Zero (they are building a floor a week on the 1776 ft. tall Freedom Tower). It was a nice afternoon, with some good father-daughter bonding.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy 60th Birthday, Nama!

Happy Birthday to Brian's mother, Peggy! She turned 60 years old on Oct. 10, 2010 and had a wonderful surprise party with her family and friends present. Below are a couple of motion stills from a video of her opening her gift from the kids... a Kindle and Amazon gift card for some books. Peggy is an avid reader and seemed excited to try out her new gadget. Cheers to you, Peggy! Here's to many more wonderful, fun-filled years ahead!

Below are a variety of fun pics from the party that evening. You can probably tell that a fun time was had by all. Larkin enjoyed her bumblebee costume in addition to her party dress, and the two kiddies (Larkin and Sierra) were Energizer bunnies that entertained the guests all evening (it must have been from a sugar-high after eating that gluttonous cupcake)! Fun!