Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ashley and Stephen

Meet Ashley and Stephen - the girls' new fish! We promised Julee and Alexis that when they came home from all of their summer traveling we would get them a fish. So this past Saturday we headed out to the pet store and they carefully selected their new friends. We got them each a little tank that bubbles for their room, and then they picked out the rocks and plants. Of course Alexis went with the eye-popping pink while Julee settled for a subtle blue. It's funny how their personalities come out even in fish tank decor......


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Part 3 - Whale Watching Cruise

After spending Saturday in Rhode Island, we had one more day of adventure before we had to return to reality. We decided to head east to Boston Harbor where we took a Whale Watching Cruise. It was absloutely AWESOME! Awesome being in capital letters because even though I got seasick and lost my lunch halfway through the 3 1/2 hour trip, it was still AWESOME!

Our cruise ship, the Aurora!

The Boston Harbor skyline

The airport runway is right by the harbor so we could see all the planes
taking off as we went by.

A pretty picture of the water and the American flag at the rear of the boat.

A pretty lighthouse scene
(Danette this picture is included especially for you)

Alexis had the greatest time on the boat - actually it was a catamaran. She stood at the rail with the wind blowing in her hair for the first little bit. Every once in awhile she would come over to where we were sitting (outside of course) and let us see how wet her hair and clothes were from the waves kicking up the side of the boat.
She is so darn cute!

Then she figured out she could go upstairs to the top of the boat
where it was quite a wild ride. She loved it!

Have I mentioned how cute she is?

After about an hour of heading out into the middle of the ocean, we actually started to see some whales. What an amazing sight they were! All in all, we saw 5 whales with 1 of them being a calf who stuck pretty close to his mama. I was impressed with how close we could get to them. It was well worth the arms and legs that we paid for this little adventure!
(You can see the whales better if you enlarge these pictures)
Here you can see the mama and baby swimming side by side

You can see 2 whales in this picture - 1 right in the center
and the other off to the left on the edge

A whale surfaces

Now you can see more of him

A nice tail shot as he says goodbye

After the cruise, it was time to start the 3 hour trek home. We stopped for dinner at On the Border (another favorite restaurant that is an 1 1/2 from home) in Springfield, MA and discovered that we were all sunburned and exhausted but none the worse for wear.
What a super fun weekend we had!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Part 2 - Providence, RI

After spending Saturday morning cruising the streets of Providence (see Part 1), we headed over to Roger Williams Park. I would describe it as more of a compound than a park. This park houses a zoo, a Carousel Village, a Hasbro playground, a Temple to Music, a natural history museum, a botanical garden and lots of flower gardens, a casino, and who knows what else. We didn't have time to do everything, but we had a great time doing the things we did. We started off at Carousel Village and then had some fun at the playground. I love that Alexis is still "little" enough to enjoy a good playground.
I picked the blue dragon and Alexis was bummed that it didn't move up and down

A better choice the second time around

Life size Mr Potato Head - kind of scary -
Alexis wouldn't get close enough to take a picture

Hurry up and take the picture so I can keep playing

And we only double dogged dared him...should have held out for more....

When we started to sweat, we headed over to the Museum of Natural History and Planeterium. It was a small museum, but it had lots to see. They had scavenger hunt activity pages where the kids had to answer different questions by observing the different exhibits in the museum. Of course, Alexis thought this was the coolest thing ever! As a bonus, we were lucky enough to be just in time for the show at the planeterium. It was pretty amazing to actually see how the stars and other celestial bodies collide. At least that's what Rick and Alexis said. I had a nice little nap as soon as the lights went out and the room got dark. I guess it's a good thing we only paid $2 for the tickets.....
The 'clipboard' is definitely a look Alexis can pull off

The Mars Rover replica was by far Alexis' favorite part of the museum.
She loved that the display was equipped with a remote control device so
you could take it out for a spin.

After all of this fun, we were ready for some dinner so we settled in at Texas Roadhouse (now this might not sound exciting to you but it was quite a treat for us since the closest one to our home is 1 1/2 hours away). After dinner we stopped in at an Outlet Mall and I was ecstatic to find a Tupperware kiosk. Rick treated me to a Big Orange Bowl for making bread dough and quadruple batches of Christmas cookies (just like my mom's Big Green Bowl but 25 years newer) and a cupcake holder. Saturday ended with a swim in the hotel pool and 3 tired tourists kicking back in our room.
Boo! Scared you!

I can fly!

I snapped this picture just as the flash went off on Rick's camera.
What a cool effect!

Night night!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spur of the moment - Part 1

It will come as no surprise to anybody that I am not an impromptu gal. So I nearly gave Rick a heart attack a couple of weeks ago when I called him at work on Friday afternoon with a plan to go away for the weekend. I had already researched all the hotel deals we could get within a 3 hour drive of home and we just needed to choose a destination. We decided to head towards Rhode Island simply because we hadn't been there yet. I got a great deal on hotwire.com - we ended up at a Holiday Inn Express where we basically stayed for 2 nights what you normally pay for one. So, off we went cruising down the Massachusetts Turnpike...

Friday night we just hung out at the hotel. Alexis swam in the pool and we ordered in the best pizza (Pizza 85) we have ever had! On Saturday we headed into Providence, RI to check it out. We spent the morning driving through the city and looking at the different architecture there. We loved the view of the Capitol building and the old houses on Benefit Street just a couple of blocks away from Brown University. Benefit Street is a mile long street set up on a hill that came to be in the late 1700's as Providence's ascendant merchant class built fancy houses overlooking the city. The years that the houses were built and who owned them are on a placard on the corner of each house. Today, most of them are owned by ordinary people and some even had For Rent signs in the window. Here are some pictures of this leg of our adventure.....

Our little tourist and her friend Chocolate
at the Rogers Williams Memorial Park Visitor Center

The view of the Capitol Building from the visitors center

A look down Benefit Street

A close up of the placard that labels the homes

Another house - I like this one because if you look through
the upstairs middle window, it looks like there is a staircase blocking the window.

And yet another house...

There were several trees along the street where
the roots were attacking the sidewalk
An old church by the park

An interesting building in downtown Providence.
Count how many of the windows actually have glass in them.

Stay tuned to hear about the next leg of our little trip....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Picture = 1000 Words

I rarely, if ever, post political or economic commentaries on this blog. But in this instance, I cannot resist. As the economy continues to falter, we attempt to cut back on expenses and really shop the sales. Most of our weekly dinners are dependent on what the local grocery store has on special the week before. I even find myself getting excited when the grocery store flyer has a "double off coupon deal" for a brand name coupon that is also in the Sunday paper. And, of course, we usually shop at the mega stores trying to get the best bang for our buck.

A few weeks ago, however, we were out shopping and decided it was all for naught when we saw this sale price sign:

Obviously, this was not the deal of a lifetime but it was the first laugh we've had regarding the state of our economy in a very long while. Even Alexis realized that there was something horribly wrong with this picture.