Legoland

Our family has been searching for great weekend family activities for a while. We have had a couple of staple choices such as the Aquarium, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Natural History Museum, but none of these really truly capture our boys’ hearts. Flo would complain that when we went to the Aquarium the boys would spend more time running around and playing in the outdoor water area than actually looking at the fish.

Not that this is a big issue, but we needed to have a change of venue/change of activity so that we were engaging the boys in what they wanted to do as opposed to something we thought they’d be ready for. Unfortunately when we thought of theme parks we ran into two issues. Firstly, admission is expensive to theme parks. Even if you do an annual pass so that you can go multiple times, it still ends up being fairly expensive when compared to other attractions. Due to the cost we decided that we’d only really consider one theme park per year and get an annual pass for the one we liked. Secondly, most theme parks are actually geared to older kids. I think the perfect age for theme parks is the 6-13 year range. At this age kids have the durability to hang out for more than a couple of hours, they can probably walk a mile or two within the day, and they can actually start to go on rides by themselves. Unfortunately for us, Ravi and Max are still only 4 and 2 years old. That means we still have to deal with diapers and naps and the kids aren’t really interested in walking long distances. It also means that we really wanted an activity that was geared for about a half day (5 – 7 hours) at the most. And whatever we chose should not have an incredibly long drive as that tends to upset Max and he can end up crying on the trip. He’s good for about an hour if he’s well rested, but nearly every trip past two hours he has cried.

We did some research on theme parks and thought about giving Legoland a try. It’s a fairly inexpensive theme park compared to others and it’s geared to younger kids. They have a very handy height restriction map that helps you decide if your kids will enjoy the park. Ravi is about 37 inches and Max is barely 34 inches.

Map of Legoland Park with Height Restrictions for Rides included.

Map of Legoland Park with Height Restrictions for Rides included.

As you can see on the map above by 40 inches or taller you can do nearly the whole theme park and by 34 inches you can do at least half of the park. This means that both Ravi and Max can participate.

We went to Legoland for the first time about 2 months ago and the boys have been having a blast. They love a number of the rides (especially Captain Cranky’s Challenge and the Coastersaurus) and Ravi loves getting a Lego toy at the end of the day. Since we have annual passes, it has become one of the ‘de facto’ top weekend choices for our family. In fact, we’ve had so much fun going to Legoland as a family that we’ve invited some of our close friends (and their young boys) to go with us this weekend. We’ll see how well we do when there are 5 young boys running around all at once!

 

 

Mario.

 

Posing with the Lego X-wing Fighter and Maxie doing his 'action' pose

Posing with the Lego X-wing Pilot and Maxie doing his ‘action’ pose

 

While Mommy and Daddy wait in line little kids can play with Legos at multiple Lego stands. Win-win for everyone.

While Mommy and Daddy wait in line the little ones can play with legos at multiple Lego stands. Win-win for everyone.

 

 

Daddy and Ravi on 'Sky Patrol!' Having fun and making the world a safer place for everyone.

Daddy and Ravi on ‘Sky Patrol!’ Having fun and making the world a safer place for everyone.

 

Legoland is partnered with Star Wars and includes a bunch of Star Wars themed Lego dioramas. Here's one of the arena on Geonosis from Episode 2.

Legoland is partnered with Star Wars and includes a bunch of Star Wars themed Lego dioramas. Here’s one of the arena on Geonosis from Episode 2.

 

Maxie Taking Swimming Class

This year we wanted to continue swimming lessons for Maxie like we did last year.  We didn’t count on such high demand in our neighborhood, so even though we got wait listed in March, we didn’t get into a class till late June.

I was glad that Mario agreed to do the “Baby & Me” classes with Maxie, so I didn’t have the pressure of getting into a swim suit.  Let’s face it, it is not a pretty sight after 2 kids. Funny that all the other moms felt the same way, because it is the second year in a row that I see only dads participate in this class while moms sit happily on the sideline cheering them on.  Go dads!

So far there have been four classes.  Maxie cried almost the whole way through during the first, and learned to do “crab walk” while crying half way through during the second.  Then we missed the third and fourth due to illness and a malfunctioned refrigerator.  But we are back on track and looking forward to get really good at swimming.

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Maxie holding onto daddy during his first swimming class this year

 

-Flo.

Maxie’s Birthday Celebration [Pictures]

I like to stretch out my kids’ birthday celebrations so they can get as much fun and excitement out of it as I can make it.  Normally, these celebrations break down to three parts over a course of a week: a birthday party at their school; a celebration on their actual birth-day by taking the day off and do something special; a full blown birthday party with friends and family on the weekend.  It is definitely a lot of work, but we have so much fun in the process.

This year was no exception.   We celebrated for three consecutive days for Maxie’s birthday, which fell on a Thursday.  I took the day off but Mario had to be in at work for the morning, so I took the boys to the park while waited for him to come home.  Little after lunch, Mario showed up with a birthday cake, which made the boys very happy so we forgave him.  In the afternoon, we took the kids to the Aquarium of the Pacific.  Yeah, we have been there many times before, but given Mario’s tight schedule, there weren’t too many choices.  It was a lot of fun nevertheless.

Here’s Maxie’s cake number 1.

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Please note Maxie had a candy in his mouth, and no, I didn’t beat him up ;-).

The next day we celebrated Maxie’s birthday at school with his class.  I baked some cupcakes and brought along drinks and snacks.  The little kids had a good time.  I love to watch them tackle the cupcakes.  Most of them are pretty messy and some are only interested in licking off the frosting, which includes Ravi.

Here’s the cake (eh, cupcake) number 2.

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Finally, we had our party at home on Saturday.  I have talked about the massive cooking involved to make this party a success.

Here’s Maxie’s cake number 3.

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Actually we narrowly escaped cake number 4 by pleading with A-Pa (grandpa) and Mom (grandma) that we really couldn’t deal with another cake anymore.  I must have gained like 3 lbs during these three days.

Fun, fun!  We will try again next year, to make it better and bigger!

Flo.

 

Mommy and Maxie

I rarely take pictures.  As I looked through my photos I realized that if pictures captured all of our lives, then I am not in my kid’s life much.  This definitely has to do with me not looking my best, not even okay most of the time.  This year I want to change that.  I want to look good again.  I want to be in my kids’ photos even if I don’t look my best.

On a whim, I asked Mario to take a picture of me holding Maxie.  I had no make up on.  I was wearing an old t-shirt passed down from Mario. I probably didn’t brush my hair that morning.  Mario took just one picture and it turned out pretty well.  I should definitely encourage him to take up photography.

Maxie and Mommy

Mommy and Maxie

-Flo.

Maxie Loves Shoes

Suddenly began a month ago, Maxie became obsessed with shoes, especially other people’s shoes.  Any time he comes across a pair he would put them on and walk around in them no matter how big these shoes are.  This is particularly funny because these shoes are generally so much larger than his feet. 

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 Maxie also makes a point of not returning the shoes to their rightful space.  To him these are his shoes and he has the right to stash them anywhere he pleases.  So you can imaging how the mornings are like in our household when we are already running late (happens often) but unable to find one or both of our shoes. 

-Flo.

Max, You Are 15 Months Old Today!

My dear Max,

Another month flew by and suddenly you have turned 15 months old.  Everyday, mommy keeps telling herself that the next milestone is quite a ways down the line, forgets how fickle time is, mommy blinked and suddenly we are here.  Like magic!  Mommy will make sure no more blinking is permitted in the future.

You have become so capable!  In the last month, you’ve integrated yourself into your new class, and now it is fun for you to go and play with your friends all day.  You don’t cry anymore when mommy or daddy drop you off at your class.  Though you still cling to us but a gentle nudge is all it takes to get you to walk toward your favorite person or toy.  When we come to pick you up later in the day, you seem to have enjoyed yourself.  Often you will have a sticker on your shirt and a big smile on your face.  Such an artist you have become!  Mommy and daddy often take home piles of your original pieces and now they are displayed all over our living room, as if it is a shrine to your creativity.

The days finally warmed up and summer is officially here.  Mommy and daddy have looked forward to this time so we can take you and Ravi to the beach.  So once our weekend schedule cleared up, we hopped to the sandy beaches.  The best spot?  Three blocks away from your school!  Easy parking and closest from home.  You love the sand, the sun, the water, and most of all, all the sand toys.  You and Ravi fought over the shovels and buckets, even though there are three times as many than your hands can ever hold.  You are still scared of the water and much prefer to hang out on the sand, so mommy carried buckets of water to you.  You are so fascinated by the sand.  You feel it, pet it, and even taste it.  We had so much fun and didn’t want to leave until dinner time came, so we’ve promised to come back again next weekend. 

You have always been a cautious little kid.  Every new thing you attempt, you go slowly and carefully.  Your favorite thing to practice in the last few months has been going up and down stairs.  There’s one 4 inch step going from our home to the backyard.  When going down that step unaided, you’ve always place your hand on the floor to steady yourself.  Last night, you skipped that step and successfully stepped down without any support.  You started by inching close to the edge and mentally preparing yourself for that big step, but you ended up doing it all by yourself! 

Don’t let anyone say that you never help out in this household.  You have been mommy’s alarm clock for the last few weeks and mommy appreciates that very much, though your daddy would appreciate a snooze button more.  For about two weeks straight in the last month, you have been consistently waking up at 6:30AM.  The first thing you would do is to cry with your eyes closed and didn’t stop till mommy struggles to her feet to pick you up.  Getting up early allowed mommy and daddy to work little longer each day and saved up half a day to take your cousins to see a movie.  But suddenly this week, you are back to your old self.  Getting up at 7AM and sometimes 8AM, so no more working longer days for mommy and daddy. 

My dear Maxie, mommy and daddy watch you grow with so much pride.  It is like honey to our hearts to see you becoming so handsome and capable.  More than anything we want to enable you to be better than ourselves and I believe that someday you will.  You have such an adventurous spirit and insatiable curiosity that I am sure you will be a wonderful sight to see.  You love to climb up to places you are forbidden to you and to reach for things that you have no business touching.  Mommy always watches you, from a distance on the edge of her seat and holds herself back from dashing to your rescue, while assessing if any real danger is imminent.  Mommy understands that what you need is not having us to holding you back. Instead you need us to give you space and opportunities to reach your goals.  Sometimes to love means stepping back, no matter how helpless we feel.  But please know that we will always be here, that we love you so very much!

Forever yours with love,

 Mommy and Daddy.

 

Max, You Are 7 Months Old Today!

My dear Max,

You are 7 months old today!  In this past month, you and mommy had a chance to truly bond, as mommy has been your primary caretaker (aside from daycare) since we let go of the nanny six weeks ago.  I had doubts with my ability and capacity to fulfill your demands, but I am happy to say you have thrived with mommy.  Mommy can’t be prouder of how wonderful of a baby you have become.

You still don’t drink from bottles at daycare, even though the nice ladies there had tried various methods.  Mommy is guessing that you think of milk as something exclusive between you and mommy and no one can replace that.  The good thing is you eat everything else that they feed you.  I heard they mix mommy’s milk with rice cereal and other solids, then feed a big bowl to you at each meal, and you eat it all!  The fact that you eat big meals just boggled my mind, because  I could never get you to eat all your solids during the weekend.  Again, I believe you think of mommy as your milk bank exclusively, so it is unnatural for you to take anything else from mommy.   We will definitely have to get daddy to start feeding you meals from this point on.

At night, your sleeping habits have not improved much.  Some nights are better than others, but most of the nights you wake up 4 or 5 times.  In general, mommy can simply nurse you back to sleep.  Every once in a while mommy has to get up and rock you back to sleep.  During the last week, you woke up middle of the night, played by yourself till you were tired, and then sucked on mommy’s nipples till you fell asleep again.  The whole process no longer required intervention from mommy!  That’s definitely a step in the right direction!  You are also napping much better and longer, both at home and at daycare, which is a major relief for mommy.

You are able to move… backwards.  You got strong arms and legs that can left your tummy off the ground.  Unfortunately, you have not quit figured out how to move forward yet.  All you can do now is pushing with your arms which results in moving your body backwards.  But don’t you worry, this is definitely the first step in crawling.  Mommy can’t wait to see you move forward soon. You also can sit with a little assistance. Mommy and Daddy have propped you up to play with sitting toys and you’ve had lots of fun; you still need the toy to support yourself, but independent sitting should happen next month.

You are also very patient and laid-back with Mommy. In the morning I put you in the swing and you’re content to let Mommy get breakfast ready for the whole household. In the afternoons, you’re fairly content to just hang out with Ravi and Daddy and play games. You rarely cry out of impatience or fussiness, and when you do there is always a good reason. Mommy loves this! Mommy has never had it this good.

Max, you make me love you more and more each day.  You bewitched me with that magic look of your eyes, and you conjure spells with a single touch of your hands.  You make mommy fall in love with you more deeply and fully each day.  Mommy cherishes each and every day spent with you and hope that these moments I have with you will last forever.

Love,

Mommy.

Skinny Happy Baby

One thing Max has in common with Ravi is that he also doesn’t like to eat… at least not when I try to feed him.  Funny enough the ladies at the daycare keep telling me what a great eater he is.  I wouldn’t know; he never dazzles me with his great eating ability EVER!

One Sunday morning while I was getting frustrated at him for not eating his sweet potato, he flashed me one of his biggest and brightest smiles.  After that moment, I couldn’t be mad at him anymore.

That kid’s got my number!  I am beginning to understand that I will be losing lots of negotiations with this kid in the future.  Oh well, at least it is better to have a happy skinny baby than an unhappy fat baby.

-Flo.