Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Amish Country Part 2

On Father's Day, we headed out to Dutch Wonderland.  OH, was I ever excited for this day.  I was equal parts excited for the experience that my girls were about to have, and nervous that this park wouldn't live up to my glorious memories of it.   We went here when I was their age, a few years in a row.  My memories were in pieces, but crystal clear.  And I've been excited for about a year to have our kids relive this adorable park.

Well...I'll let the picture do the talking.

Here are the girls on the very first ride. The had no idea what was about the happen.  They didn't know why we were putting them in this little cart and buckling them in and walking away.  Their faces show how nervous they were.  I knew Reilly would LOVE it, but Reagan is hit or miss.  She is afraid of tiny ants and certain fuzzy toys, but she will climb to the highest point of a jungle gym and try to jump down.  There was a 50% chance that she would love every ride, and 50% chance that she would cry hysterically.

Oh, was this ever the happiest moment of their lives.  We were laughing so hard watching them, that we were crying.
They were laughing so hard they could hardly breathe.  This ride was called "Whip It" and basically whipped them around in a circle.  It was so simple, and so joyful.

I mean, these faces!!

The girls on the rocket ship ride.  These rides were all perfect for their size, it was so cute to see them go on them together.

Going on a tea-cup style ride with Daddy.  This day was so perfect, there were no lines at all and the weather was beautiful.
Mommy got to go on the Jeeps!

Could you die? I could die.

Reilly had seen pictures of the "colorful slides" on their website, and was super excited about them.  Reagan went on with her BFF, Papa.

And Reilly and Daddy went on together.  Reilly saw this picture of her and Daddy and declared that this was the "funnest day of her life".

There was a log flume!  I might have been talking about the log flume all day long.  I love me a good log flume.  Just the right amount of fun without the scary factor.

How cute are they!

By the way, I think the following picture should be either an advertisement for this park, or a PSA for grandparenting.  I mean, have you seen happier people?!

Family Flume Ride! Minus little man.
I could have rode that all day, so much fun.

The following picture is so special.  We have the same one of me and my siblings when we were wee ones. 
And just LOOK at Reilly and Declan's faces.  They are just the spitting image of each other.

Daddy and his kiddies on his day. :)

There were these strange angry Amish statues.  So we posed accordingly to fit in with the locals. I mean, those Amish are kind of an angry people in general.  Seeing one of them smiling is as rare as seeing one on a cell phone (which we did see, by the way).

We couldn't get this boy to stop smiling, though. :)

There was a section of the park that had dinosaurs that were giant, moving, and made quite realistic noises.  Reagan was none too pleased.  She was hysterical, because she wouldn't say anything or outwardly cry, but she just kept casually walking behind us, keeping her distance, hiding behind our legs, and throwing those dinos some serious shade. 
Here she is giving the T Rex the eyes.

She kept close to Papa to make sure no one messed with her.

Speaking of Papa, you might say he and Reagan became somewhat attached on this trip.  As in, Reagan REFUSED to hold anyone's hand except his.  And waited for him wherever she went.

As we were leaving, she was exhausted and way overdue for her nap.  We were walking, and Papa stopped to grab a water.  I tried to get her to walk with us, and she said, "NO. I wait for Papa."  And she stood here by herself staring at him buy his water.

It was hysterical.  Then she took his hand and continued walking, with her BFF.

(By the way, this isn't angry Reagan, this is TIRED Reagan.  They are easily confused, because as she gets tired, she appears angrier and angrier.  She is such a hilarious child.  She isn't even fussy when she is tired, she just gets angry LOOKING.  Okay, maybe a little grumpy. I don't know anyone like her, I swear I don't know where she gets it. :)  She'll fare much better when she can have a latte with Mama. 

One more Amish family picture, because obviously.  By the time we woke up our last morning, Reilly asked me to put her hair in a "lower bun like the Amish girls".  It'll be a trend guys.
The park even has Princesses and Princes now!  We had to RUN this girl down, it didn't seem like she wanted to be stopped for pictures.  She had 2 bodyguards and was booking through the park.  I think she had a storytime destination, but I was looking for this chick all day, and there was no way we were letting her get away!  The girls we so excited to meet Miss Brooke in person!

Now for memories sake, I'll share a not-so-pleasant part of our trip: we kind of got in a car accident.  We were all perfectly safe and fine in the end, thank GOD in Heaven.  But it was upsetting, obviously, to be hit by someone with all the kids in the car.  Two car collided right in front of us, and then one of the cars swung around and hit us.  We are so thankful that no one was injured at all.  However, our car had to be towed (hours back home), we had to get a rental car (in farm country), and it started down pouring as soon as the accident happened.  Oh, and we had arrived in Lancaster only 2 hours before this pleasant event.  BUT, someonthing good did come out of it - I officially have fallen in complete love with a mommy mini van. I had to drive one for a month, and I never want another car in my life, for real.

So, aside from a small (giant) setback (headache), our trip to Lancaster was amazing.  We loved every minute and were planning our trip back as we were leaving.  We loved everything from the strange foods, to the farms, to the beautiful hotel, to the homemade everything you can imagine, to the clip-clop of the horse and buggies while we slept.  Such a simple kind of fun, this place. Such sweet memories with my loved ones!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Amish Country Part 1

Lacaster, Pennsylvania, how I love thee!  This place is so special to me.  We used to come here as kids for the weekend as our big vacation of the year, before we discovered a different little PA town and never looked back. :)  But for several years when we were little, Amish Country was where it was at.  This was our favorite place, and the first place that ever made me dream of living in the countryside.  I was fascinated by the old-fashioned lifestyle (and still am, to be honest), and the horses and sprawling hills.  I loved how you could get an homemade ice cream cone (and still do, to be honest), and visit the little villages and shops.  It was where I learned the definition of "manure" and "shoo fly pie", and still the best place to sample salsas and jams.  I mean, why have I never thought to have jam on an oyster cracker?  And why does it taste so GOOD?  Anyway, I love this place. (And I had to prove to Hubby why it was so amazing, because he wasn't sold prior to this trip. For the record, he is a convert. SCORE.)  

Also, I was super excited to share my love of this town with my babies, and Mima and Papa were excited to travel back in time 20 years to when they took another blonde haired girl, curly brunette, and sweet baby boy to the exact same town, stayed in the exact same hotel (it was renovated, and so pretty!) and ate at the exact same restaurants.  It was all kinds of adorable.

 Reagan loved the phrase "HAWSE AND BUGGEEEEE" and yelled it at ALL times.  She loved seeing them constantly and became a bit obsessed. 

 We rode horsies!  Really, a tiny tiny pony.  

 THIS FACE.  She was so excited to watch her sister, and to ride!

 Dancing with Daddy.  :)
 The boys and their girls.  Reilly is a big fan of the "thumbs up" lately.  Hilarious. 

 There was a live little band singing old fashioned songs, and they danced and made all the elderly people swoon and laugh and cry.  I love elderly people dancing, and they usually make ME cry, so I was overjoyed that my children made them smile.

 Reagan and her BFF, Papa.  More on these two later. :)

Sidenote:  While sitting in the Kitchen Kettle village, I sat down to breastfeed Declan while the rest of the family went into some shops.  The cutest little old man sat with me (he had just been talking with the girls while they danced).  I loved that he talked with me while I was breastfeeding as if nothing was happening.  I really don't like when people ignore me when I'm breastfeeding in public (totally covered), or pretend I'm not there or don't make eye contact.  He just made conversation like nothing was happening, to the point that for a while I thought he couldn't tell I was feeding, that's how much of a non-issue it seemed.  Then I thought his wife must have breastfed, because he was so okay with it.  I am so appreciative when people treat me normally while I'm feeding my baby rather than like I am a freak.  Hint: just talk to a mommy breastfeeding as you would to a mommy bottle feeding.  It's not weird, guys.  I always say, I would LOVE to be approached in a Target or somewhere and have them tell me to leave.  Because I would stand up, while breastfeeding, gather the attention of the store, and give a speech about my rights, the legalities, the disservice this kind of treatment is doing to women and babies, and how people have been breastfed since MARY AND JESUS and how ridiculous it is that this is this still an issue in 2014.  Like seriously, THIS is taboo? Miley Cyrus walks around naked 45% of the time, and you are worried about me and my baby under this shawl? Guys, let's get our heads on straight.

Okay, I digress.  So this old man.  Oh, was he ever sweet.  He sat we chatted and his cutie little old wife came and made a joke about how this bench was for mothers and he should get up and then continued on with her shopping.  His family was from Alabama or somewhere, and his ancestors were in the battle of Gettysburg.  They were visiting the church that his great grandmother was baptized in that weekend and meeting with the historical society about his family.  I learned a lot about his family in the 20 minutes that we chatted, and he started telling me about how he and his wife lost 9 children. Some to miscarriages, some in childbirth, and one tragically.  Then he said they adopted, and now have 6 beautiful grandchildren that live around the corner and chase his dog around daily.  He was the happiest man.  And his eyes filled with tears as he told me, make sure you appreciate those little ones.  Make sure you love them all you can.  They are such a blessing.  And I told him I did, and I would, and I do every single day.  It was like he wanted to make SURE I appreciated them, like he wanted me to promise him.  You know when you can just tell someone is special, like you met and angel?  And you pay extra attention to what they say?  I don't remember his name, but I won't ever forget what he said.  Or his kindness, or joyfulness. Or his insistence that children were the most beautiful creatures on this planet, and were such a blessing. We need more people like this.  People who praise and love young children, instead of complaining about them.  

And now, an attempt at a family portrait:

 These last ones are kind of my favorite...
 Because, cheek kisses, thumbs, Reilly's frown, and an ever smiling bruiser.  It's just realness.
Now, here's something.  My kids look spent in that last picture, yes?  Frowns, thumb sucking, the works. And then MAMA gets behind the camera, and these faces light up, thank you very much!

What can I say, I have a way with my camera, and with these kiddies.  Which is why I need my good friend Gina to take pictures of us, so that I am actually IN some pictures where my children are smiling. :)

We went to the most beautiful coffee shop I have ever entered, which I already knew about because I research good coffee before I go on ANY trip.

 Just the girls!

 Jusstt the cutest little guy there ever was. 

 Backseat selfies!

We went to the Plain and Fancy Restaurant.  Which was somewhat plain, so we brought the fancy with our matching trendy pants.  That's right. 

 Daddy did MAGIC at the dinner tables all weekend!  I mean, it was so cool.  The salt was disappearing, and magically appearing elsewhere!

 My wittle mans eating his feet. 

The girls sharing a beer.  Reilly's is birch. ;)
 Girlfriends were so tired, they fell to fake-sleep in the restaurant and real sleep on the way home. :)

We saw the most beautiful fireworks display right from our hotel as soon as we got back. It was unreal.  Reagan was terrified. She kept yelling "NO FIREWORKS!  NO MORE FIREWORKS!"  and pointing and yelling at the sky. So she went to bed, and Reilly loved it.  Part 2 soon!