Monday, February 23, 2009

One of our favorite vacation spots--Niagara Falls, Ontario

Having never been to Niagara Falls, I always thought that it was one of those tourist trap destinations with tacky souvenier shops. But, since it was a relatively short drive (six hours from Columbus) and I had never seen the Falls (Aaron went when he was a kid), we thought we would give it a try as an extended weekend visit to celebrate of sixth wedding anniversary (Drew stayed home with Grandma Randolph--and this was a year before Claire arrived). After doing my research for the trip (which I love to do in preparation for any trip we go on) I discovered the Canadian side was filled with different wineries and a cute little town down just north of the Falls called Niagara on the Lake. Needless to say, it was one of the best mini-vacations that we have ever gone on. The wonderful thing about it is that you feel like you really traveled far to get there--which made it even more fun. Canada knows how to show its American tourists a good time! We kept quite busy in the short weekend visit that we had. We arrived on Friday afternoon and left on Sunday morning. The Falls are amazing to view and it was a blast going on the famed Maid of the Mist steamboat. We got soaked as the boat got relatively close the actual Falls--normally, I would hate getting wet, but it was completely worth it. We visited three wineries--Chateau des Charmes, Peller Estates and Jackson-Triggs--which is a very small fraction of the wineries in the area. We were pleasantly surprised by how expansive and elegant the wineries were that we visited. They were comparable to the wineries and vineyards in Napa Valley (not that we are any wine connisseurs or anything--but we had a couple brief visits there on our visits to see my brother and his family). Finally, we spent a few hours in the cute little town, Niagara on the Lake (I just like the sound of it). It is filled with cute shops, pubs and little inns, etc. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the lake, despite its obvious location. The road between Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls is beautiful too--probably one of the prettiest drives that we have ever been on. Needless to say, that I cannot say enough about this place. In fact, we are going to visit the area again in May. Plans are already underway for this visit. This time around, we plan on staying Thursday through Sunday--so we will have one more day to enjoy. Niagara here we come! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

COSI - a visit with the frogs

Aaron had President's Day off, so we decided to take a trip to COSI - the Central Ohio Science and Industry center. They recently opened an exhibit about frogs and we thought Drew and Claire would enjoy it. I was a little skeptical since the Columbus Zoo has a fine display of various frogs in their Reptile exhibit. The exhibit was interesting, as many of the live frogs that they had on display were completely different from the ones at the zoo. The attached picture of the wax frog (I forgot it's complete name) looks like how I feel in the mornings (especially after a long night with Claire! :) Drew enjoyed saying hello to the frogs. After our visit to see the frogs, we visited the Ocean and WOSU-TV exhibits and then I took Drew to see the 3D movie, "Fly Me to the Moon" on COSI's extreme screen and Aaron took Claire to the Kidspace play area to run around. It was a nice afternoon and the kids were able to get a little one on one time with their mom and dad respectively.

Well, so much for growing out Claire's bangs!

I tried very hard to let Claire's bangs grow out--but it was getting to be too much of a struggle to keep her hair pulled back. So, last Sunday, I took her to Cookie Cutters to get her second official trim. The stylist only took off a little around the edges (to give her some sort of bob do) and trimmed up her bangs. Claire did amazingly well this time around. No tears were shed--she didn't want to get out of the chair! I admit I am disappointed that we could not grow them out--but we will give it another try. But, for now, at least we can see her pretty blue eyes and she can see things clearly without the long line of bangs preventing her from seeing all the wonderful things around her.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Holy Cow! Miss Claire has eyes!

For the past several months, we have been attempting (well, me) to grow out Claire's bangs. I had weak moments when she was a still quite little to cut them and of course, she had her first official haircut in October. But, I am trying to stand firm on my decision to let them grow out. It has not been easy and I have had many moments where I just want to get the scissors out and cut them. The primary reason why it is has been so difficult is that little Miss Claire is not a fan of barettes in her hair. She pulls them out almost the second I put them in. But, lately, she has reluctantly (at least for longer periods of time) allowed me to keep mini pony tail holders in her hair. She looks a little something out of the eighties with a ponytail on top of her head--but at least I can see her blue eyes. And heck, she might even enjoy seeing things as opposed to her hair. Attached is a before and after shot of our hair transformation!

Drew--the Big Red Dog

The teachers at Drew's preschool are brillant. Each week they chose a theme for the week--and this past week was Clifford the Big Red Dog. Clifford happens to be Drew's favorite fictional dog--so of course, it is his favorite stuffed animal, favorite cartoon, favorite book, etc. Needless to say, the ended the week with a big bang. The kids were asked to wear red. Drew picked out his red shirt the night before (which has never happened before) and to get all geared up for the next day--he watched a Clifford cartoon (he has the whole set on DVD) and had us read a Clifford book at bedtime. When I came to pick him up on Thursday, he proudly the displayed the brown make-up they put on his nose and his dog ears--that he had cut himself. He said that he got to be Clifford that day. Nothing could be better than that. I had to document his joy in pictures.

The ineffectiveness of a timeout

Our method of punishment (at least the first warning) for Drew is the timeout--which involves standing in the corner with his face to the wall. It used to be somewhat effective. It would involve him standing in the corner from anywhere to a minute to 20 minutes (the 20 minute one only happened once and it was because he used a permanent black marker to literally decorate our entire guest room). After his timeout, we would ask him why he got punished and if he learned from it. Well, as of a few days ago, it is no longer effective. When Drew is in the corner, Claire likes to join him there. Drew finds this very funny and he usually ends up laughing with Claire. The attached photo sums it up quite well. I swear one of these days the kids are going to go to overthrow their parents and take control of the house. But, any ideas for effective methods of punishment are always welcome!