Sweetest Place On Earth

We took a three day, two night trip to Hershey Park, which bills itself as the sweetest place on earth. The weather was perfect for water rides, roller coasters, and chocolate.

After vowing never to ride it again 2 years ago, Thing 4 reconsidered and gave the Sooper Dooper Looper another go. As the name suggests, it’s a loop coaster but tame enough to be dubbed a “family ride”.  SuburbanMommy did not ride this time.

We toured Chocolate World and made our own candy bars. Rode water slides, tubed in the lazy river, and got dizzy on the Scrambler.

A Trip Of Firsts

Thing 3 and I took a trip to Boston. It was a trip of firsts. We went to meet a new Urban Cousin that just joined the family. It was the first time I went away with only Thing 3 over night. It was the first time flying in an airplane for Thing 3.

Thing 3 was happy to have arrived at our hotel, but not so happy to be wearing his “fancy clothes”


Suburban Grandpa joined us from Florida. He was not happy about the frigid temperatures, and didn’t have the proper clothing.


Urban Cousin was the reason we were all there.


He wouldn’t eat there but liked that the restaurant had his name on it.


Too bad selfie’s weren’t the rage when my Things were little.


Suburban Uncle attempting to break the world record for longest time to change a diaper.


Suburban Aunt enjoyed time with her new nephew.


Lots of cousins.


Thing 3’s favorite part of the trip: a late night snack run.


Eating pretzels in bed! ?Can’t do that at home.


How about a donut for the flight home?


One more selfie on the flight home.


Beach Week

Our annual week at the beach has evolved considerably from the early years. I have to say, this year’s trip was by far the best so far. And by best, I mean the most relaxing. We still had to deal with the occasional meltdowns of a 3 year old who is used to napping every day. But overall it was a great week.

In a masterful display of packing, we had everything a family of six needs for a week in the trunk of the minivan.


The boys raced go-karts. Thing 3 had to stand on his toes to make the 46 inch height requirement.

SuburbanMommy and Thing 4 were all business at dinner.

On a sunset dolphin cruise we spotted many dolphins. Thing 3 insists he also saw a blue whale even though the water was mostly 3 feet deep.

Thing 3 took part in a July 4th watermelon eating contest.

It rained the first few days but it didn’t slow down Thing 4.

The sun finally came out and we spent plenty of time at the beach.






We were thankful to have an extra pair of hands with us.

Mornings began with a walk to the bakery. Donuts for breakfast.


On very rare occasions everyone will stand still and look at the camera at the same time.


No one was very eager to get back into the car for the long drive home.

On the drive home, Thing 1 was already looking at the catalog of rentals for next year.

Beach Vacation Summer 2012

We are back from this year’s beach vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was fun and exhausting, with some record setting temperatures again this year, but at least we avoided the major storms and power outages back home in Virginia. We did not avoid Thing 1 getting car sick 30 minutes into the ride back home, and throwing up in the back seat of the minivan.? Here is our trip in pictures.

We took a cruise on a real pirate ship. ?Thing 3 wanted the mustache but then complained it was itching so he smeared it all over his face.


Some more scary pirates


I never knew pirates did the limbo.? Thing 4 had the advantage of being able to walk underneath the limbo bar without even bending.


One of the ocean side pools we enjoyed.? This was also the view I had as I cannonballed into the water during the 4th of July Big Daddy Splash Contest.? I did not win.? Not even close.


A colorful sunset.? The picture doesn’t do it justice.


A vacation tradition.? Donuts for breakfast every day.


Another tradition.? Ice cream every day.? In this case, frozen yogurt.? Despite using 2 spoons, Thing 4 still had difficulty getting it in her mouth.


Dressed up for Fourth of July.


Thing 3 is ready for the beach.? He is the most fearless of the 4 in the ocean.? The bigger the wave, the harder the head first crash into the sand, the more he comes up laughing.


Suburban Uncle joined us for a few days.? Don’t expect to sleep late on a vacation with the 4 Things.? You may be subjected to this very early in the morning.


But sleep will happen eventually.? This is what happens at 7:30pm when a 2 year old spends the day at the beach.


On the way home, waiting for the popcorn store to open.


Beach Trip Through Pictures

We’re back from our week in Corolla, NC. It was the first trip we’ve attempted as a family of six.? It was exhausting but a good experience.? For a look at one of our previous trips, see this post on why I call it a trip and not a vacation.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 were very excited to be at the beach.? Here they are bright and early our first morning, bathing suits on, showing off their booties.


Suburban Grandpa joined us for the first few days.? Here he is enjoying a game of Chutes and Ladders with Thing 3.? Note the glass of wine by his side.


Thing 3 normally walks around with little to no clothing.? But at the beach, it seemed to take on a whole new appeal for him.


With four kids, you don’t just get up and walk to the beach.?? There is at least an hour of preparation, packing, applying sunscreen, with many false starts due to forgotten items, and then, finally, lugging all the gear across the sand.


Keeping Thing 4 on her nap schedule was not easy.? We’ve learned over the years to take advantage of nap times whenever and where ever they may occur.


There was a lot of boy bonding and surprisingly little fighting.


We all climbed to the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.? Well, all of us except Thing 4 who I carried to the top.? As if walking up 214 stairs in the brutal heat weren’t enough, try it with an extra 24 lbs in your arms.


Speaking of brutal heat, the temperature hit 110 on the deck of the pool one day.? The heat put a damper on some of our daytime activities, especially for Thing 3 and Thing 4.


At the the end of the day we took in the ocean breeze and a swing.


Thing 1 and Thing 2 played some mini-golf.


Probably the best part of the week for the kids was the daily ice cream.?? We relaxed our dessert rules and often had it before, instead of, or as a meal.


Unlike the way he sleeps at home, it was no trouble getting Thing 3 to sleep.? He even slept in a bed with a blanket.


We were lucky to have Suburban Babysitter and her boyfriend join us for a few days.? He was a very good sport and let Thing 1 and Thing 2 bury him in the sand.


The drive back home is always the worst part of any trip.? It took 7 hours to get there but almost 9 hours to get back home because of traffic.? The boys took it well with almost no whining or complaining.? But by the 8th hour Thing 4 wanted O-U-T and the last hour was filled with crying.


Spring Is In The Air

The snow is long melted and with it, the delusional thinking that comes with thoughts of warmer weather and longer days. Right now, it’s easy to have idealistic pictures in our heads of lazy summer days at the beach, kids frolicking in the sand. And so, we are contemplating resuming our family trip to the beach this year.

It had been a yearly tradition since Thing 1 was born seven years ago. But we skipped the last two years because one year we had two family weddings to travel to, and then last year with the arrival of Thing 4 it just seemed too much to take on while sleep deprived.

Luckily I have this website to remind me of the true nature of family beach vacations. There was this trip to Virginia Beach just months after Thing 3 was born. The following year we went to Bethany Beach, which turned out to be the tale of two trips. It was both the best of times and the “why the hell did I do this” times.

This year we’re looking at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It is just at the edge of the important 6 hour drive radius. That is the maximum amount of time that is possible to drive in a car with four kids without going insane. We have outgrown the ability to stay in hotels or condos, so the extra space and relative quiet away from boardwalks that is the Outer Banks seems like a good way to go. If nothing else, I should have some great blog material in a few months.

Stay-cation Day Five

For those of you anxiously awaiting this final stay-cation post, here you go. There was an open house for Thing 1’s elementary school – he started first grade this week. He met his teacher, saw his desk, and and saw where the bus will drop him off. ?Thing 1 was most excited about the big gym and playground.

We also checked out the local high school which kicked off it’s first football game with an outdoor fair complete with moonbounces, music, and dunk tanks. The high schoolers were very impressed with Thing 1’s dunking accuracy – 7 hits out of 12 throws. The day ended with an end of summer ice cream party in our neighborhood.

Checking out his 1st grade desk
Checking out his 1st grade desk
Adding his name to the class list
Football throw
Thing 2 marches to his own beat. Like wearing his hat like this
Ice Cream!

Stay-cation Day 4

Today I introduced Thing 1 and Thing 2 to one of my all time favorite activities:? Wiffle Ball! We played in the morning before it got really hot. Then to stay cool we checked out a new “luxury” bowling alley with some SuburbanNeighbors who found themselves also on a stay-cation after cutting their beach vacation short thanks to hurricane Earl. Thing 2 continued his bowling domination over Thing 1 with a nice score of 100. It’s good for the oldest to not win at everything all the time.

We wrapped up the day at the pre-school/kindergarten open house where we met Thing 2 and Thing 3’s new teachers.? A big hit was the petting zoo in the parking lot compliments of Squeals on Wheels.? It was not good to be one of the animals yesterday.? Besides being poked, prodded, pulled, and dumped on with grass and dirt by the likes of Thing 3 and scores of other kids, it was about 97 degrees in the parking lot with no shade for the animals.

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