Monday, April 30, 2012

Florida - Photos by Amelia

One day during naptime, I thought Amelia was being awfully quiet and staying in her room for a long time.  When she eventually came out, she had a mischievous look on her face and said "Mommy, you left your phone in my room."  I took the phone away and noticed it was on the camera.  So I looked through the photos, and Amelia had taken well over a hundred photos of herself and of the room.  She was having a great time!

She took a few self-portraits (I love how her hair is so curly in the heat & humidity - it is stick straight right now at home):

And of course she had to take one of Dinah!  Actually, she probably took about 10 of Dinah in different poses, but this was the best one.

A still life:

 I think her perspective on these next few shots is (unintentionally, I'm sure) very interesting.

  Then I had her sneak into Megan's room to take a photo of Megan sleeping:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Florida - Sunday (Easter)

The Easter Bunny visited Hollywood Beach this Easter and hid eggs in the sand and along the grassy edge of the beach.  And in keeping with Dueber family tradition, a few eggs were lost on the beach for other kids to find sometime.  The Easter Bunny had 18 little eggs to hide, but only 16 were found.

Ben went out in the morning to figure out exactly where the Easter Bunny had hidden the eggs for our girls, and by the time the girls and I got down to the beach, Ben had talked to the Easter Bunny and marked off the section of sand that the girls could search in.  Amelia asked why the Easter Bunny was running so late, since he normally hides the eggs during the night.  Ben told her that he had to hide the eggs on the beach at the very end of the night so that the ocean didn't come up on the beach and take the eggs away.  She was happy with that explanation.

 This year our eggs had Hershey's chocolate eggs and jellybeans in them.  The girls were equally happy with both kinds of candy; their favorite candy of the day was the Pez dispensers from Grandma!  I didn't think Megan knew how to work the Pez dispenser, until I turned around and noticed that she had eaten half of them already.  Sneaky girl!  When we got back to our hotel room, Amelia wanted to hide eggs for Daddy.  After carefully taking all the candy out of her eggs, she and I found good hiding spots for Daddy.  Daddy thought our ice-cube tray hiding place was really clever! 

Then Amelia wanted to hide them for Megan.  Megan loved getting to find eggs all by herself.  Here she is delighted with herself after finding an egg hiding in Amelia's sandal.  Oh, and the Easter bunny left her cute little bunny socks, which she insisted on wearing with her sundress.  Now that we are home, she likes to wear one blue and white bunny sock and one orange pumpkin sock at the same time.  I think she has inherited the same sense of style as Amelia.

We ate lunch at a place called Waffle Works, which had the hugest brunch menu and the largest collection of model cars I have ever seen.  Amelia and Megan split a Froot Loops waffle - Megan picked all the Froot Loops out of her waffle and ate them, but wouldn't touch the waffle itself.  Ben ordered a Butterfingers waffle, and I had a cinnamon pecan waffle.  They were tasty!

After naptime, we went to the beach.  Grandma Jane assigned us a mission: to bury Daddy in the sand just like his sisters had buried him in the sand when .they were in Maine in 1989  The girls were happy to help dump sand over Daddy, but he turned into a little bit of a cranky pants when the wind blew the sand into his eye, so they were restricted to burying his extremities while I tackled the rest.

We tried to convince Amelia that we should bury her, but all she would agree to was having her legs buried.

We all needed to play in the ocean to wash all the sand off!  Both girls liked jumping over the waves:

The girls' favorite thing to build on the beach was what Amelia called a "little ocean."  We built a great big circular wall with an opening to the sea, which filled up with water on its own as we dug.  But the tide was coming in, so the little ocean got deeper and deeper, and eventually the walls were swept away.

Here's a cute photo of Megan looking super tan (for a Dueber at least):

As our trip progressed, it became more and more obvious which girl had inherited which skin color.  Megan got the Johnson peach tan-able skin, and poor Amelia got my pink and white skin and my unfortunate sun allergy (which only affected her arms for a few days, and didn't seem to bother her in the slightest.)

And finally, a photo of our (very sandy) feet on the beach:

It's not as artfully arranged as Jeff & Jane's feet photos, but it's a lot harder to arrange squirmy toddler feet where you want them, so this is the best we could do!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Florida - Saturday (Science Museum)

On Saturday we went to the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale.  I was skeptical that there would be enough to keep our little ones busy, but it was a fantastic museum! 

When we first walked in the door, a volunteer was holding a baby crocodile to greet us.  Megan was excited to pet the crocodile, but Amelia did not want to touch it.  Then we went to the little kid section, and another volunteer had a great big snake for the kids to pat.  Megan thought that was wonderful!  Megan really likes reptiles.

The most popular attraction in the little kid section was the orange grove and processing center.  Amelia could pick oranges from the tree, collect them in a crate, dump the crate in a bin, then pedal a bicycle to move the oranges along a screw conveyor.  Or, you could place the crate onto a conveyor belt, and it would dump out the oranges and blow them through tubes back into the tree.  It was pretty fun!  Megan liked trying to pedal the tractor, although her legs were a little short.

The museum had a section on hurricanes, with a booth you could stand in to experience hurricane force winds.  Ben took Megan into it, and she did NOT like it.  Here's what Ben looks like in 92 mile-per-hour winds.

Amelia's favorite part of the museum was digging in rubber mulch for "dinosaur bones" which were actually some kind of sea animal bones and shark teeth.  We got to take a shark tooth home, but it might have been lost in the laundry.

Oh no, Mommy and Amelia have been eaten by a giant prehistoric shark!

Upstairs they had a great exhibit about airplanes and space.  We spent most of our time there trying to use the flight simulators.  Amelia could never figure out how to take off on her own (it's complicated!) but she sure had fun trying!  Ben helped her fly the jumbo jet:

We also spent a lot of time playing at the magnet table with big nuts.  We built and knocked down lots of towers, and then the girls decided to wear the nuts as rings:

Because it was the Saturday before Easter, the museum had an Easter egg hunt for kids age 6 and under.  It was a madhouse, as you would expect, as the older kids rushed past the younger kids and collected sacks full of eggs.  Megan managed to get two eggs, and Amelia got four.  Amelia was delighted to discover that her eggs contained a tiny eraser, a tattoo and two pieces of chocolate.  She asked why she only got 4 eggs, and we told her it was because she was almost 4 years old (coincidentally, that worked out perfectly for Megan, too!)  I don't think I would ever do a public Easter egg hunt again unless it was divided up into much much smaller age groups. 

We ate lunch at Subway in the open-air atrium of the museum so that we could watch the gigantic clock tower marble roller.  The marbles were bowling ball sized, and it was very fun to watch.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thirty Questions about Amelia

So I'm putting together a list of questions to ask Amelia and Megan every year on their birthdays or at the start of the school year.  I'd like to keep the same questions year to year, to get an idea of how their tastes and interests change.  I had too many questions to do only 20 questions, but not enough questions that I love to make it to 30.  Can you please help by thinking of other good questions that could pertain to a 4 year old but also to a 16 year old?  The list I have so far is below.  I will be sure to post Amelia's answers when I get a final list (there's the incentive for responding to my question!)

1. How old are you? 
2. Who is your best friend? 
3. What is your favorite thing to do?
4. What is your favorite color? 
5. What is your favorite food? 
6. What is your least favorite food? 
7. What do you like to do with your family?
8. What is your favorite toy?
9. What do you want to do when you grow up?
10. What makes you happy?
11. What makes you sad?
12. What is your favorite book?
13. What is your favorite show to watch?
14. What is your favorite movie?
15. Where do you like to go?
16. What is your favorite treat?
17. What do you think about before you fall asleep?
18. What is your favorite animal?
19. What is your favorite song?
20. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
21. What is your favorite thing to wear?
22. What is your favorite thing about your sister?
23. What are you afraid of?
24. What are you really good at?
25. What are you not very good at?
26. What do you like most about yourself?
27. If you could change your name, what would you choose?
28. What is your favorite restaurant?
29. What is your happiest memory?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Florida - Friday (Miami Zoo)

On Friday, we had to leave the Keys to drive back to Fort Lauderdale.  After an early morning swim in the kiddie pool, we packed up all our stuff and got back in the car.  As we left Highway 1 in Homestead, I saw a sign for a Krispy Kreme, and told Ben that we needed to stop for a vacation treat.  We decided that as long as the "Hot Now" sign was on, we would stop.  Lucky for us, it was on!  Amelia was content to stand at the window and watch the doughnuts getting made, but Megan kept pointing to the doughnuts and then to her mouth.  She was anxious to eat them!  Everyone enjoyed our hot fresh doughnuts!

Next we stopped at the Miami Zoo.  The girls loved the animal statues at the entrance - they had to climb on every single one.  I think this might have been their favorite part of the zoo.  Here's Megan riding an agouti, Amelia riding a hippo, Amelia balancing on the head of a snake, Megan perched on a crocodile, and a hippo eating Mommy's head!

We saw some real animals, too, including monkeys, giraffes, stingrays, Malayan sun bear, alligator, gorilla, hippos, jaguar and zebras.

We really liked seeing the lions!  The female lion was sitting right by the window, so the girls got to see her really close up.  We didn't get a photo of this, unfortunately, but at one point, Amelia was standing with her back to the window, and the lion jumped up right behind her like she was going to pounce.  Amelia had no idea what was going on, but Megan thought it was great!

Megan's favorite animals seemed to be the snakes:

Amelia got to feed the giraffe some lettuce.  She really liked getting to interact with the giraffe, and wasn't afraid at all.  She said his big long tongue tickled her.

By that time, Megan had fallen asleep.  It was so hot and sunny, and we were there into the afternoon, so she just conked out in her stroller.  Isn't she precious?

We rode the monorail to get around the zoo.  The girls loved riding the train, although Amelia had to ask at least 27 times "Why is it called a monorail?"  I wouldn't recommend the monorail to anyone who might be visiting the zoo, because the schedule wasn't organized.  There is only one train, and it takes about 25 minutes to get around the entire zoo, but the operators can't tell you when the next one is going to come, so unless you want to wait at the station for 25 minutes, you will likely end up missing it.  Instead, the zoo had these really fun bicycle cars that would fit 2 adults and 3 kids.  Next time, I would try one of those instead!

And what would a trip to the zoo be without a photo of a child in an animal cutout?  Here's the funniest one I've ever seen - Amelia the sad-faced cockroach!