Saturday, August 8, 2009

Logan and Asher go to Max's and Carnot's B-day

We're almost a month behind on this post. The weekend before Logan's birthday party, the whole Orlando-based Levine family (including Todd, Monica, and Jared) were invited to Lake Toho in Kissimmee to celebrate Max's and Carnot's birthday. Max was turning 1 and Carnot was turning 4. The highlight for Asher was the attention he received. The highlights for Logan were the splash park, pizza, cake, and balloons. As you can see from the pictures (click here), everyone was having a good time and the covered pavillions kept us nice and cool in the summer heat.

Un-Professional Photo Shoot

Well, the pictures came out great, but the only thing professional about them is the high caliber of cameras used. Brian, Stefanie, Todd, and Monica took these pictures of Logan, Asher, and Jared (our nephew) before Max and Carnot's birthday parties at a lakeside park in Kissimmee. They came out pretty good for amateurs. Todd and Monica tried to print a couple of theirs at Walmart and they asked to see the copyright information. Here are a few of the pictures.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Road Trip

On June 26th, we dropped off the dogs and packed up the family for a cross country driving trip from Orlando to Boston via Sesame Place in PA. We rented ourselves a mini van to avoid putting miles on our own van. We left Saturday morning for our first destination -- Fayetteville, NC. We picked Fayetteville because it was about 1/2 way between Orlando and Langhorne, PA.

We were on the road by 9am after stopping at Delish for some bagels and cookies. Stefanie's mom Barbara ("Mimi") came along with us to help us out and to see her family in Boston. We all had our assigned seats in the van. Brian drove the whole time. Mimi sat in the front seat and managed the trash collection, snacks, and DVDs. Stefanie sat in the middle row with Asher and she was in charge of feeding Asher, putting the DVDs in the player for Logan, and general children entertainment. Logan sat in the last row which he had all to himself.

The trip through Florida and Georgia was fast. We packed some food and only stopped once for a gas/bathroom break. Things changed once we hit South Carolina. Logan started asking to get down from his car seat and pulling on the straps and saying "off". A couple minutes later, he vomited. We pulled off at the first available exit and stopped at a Walmart. Mimi and Stefanie brought the kids inside to change them and pick up a numbers puzzle, some books, and a 3 pack Barney DVD (we took Logan's Barney DVD case, but left the actual disc in our car at home) while Brian filled up the car with gas.

We were back in the car and on our way to the highway when Logan threw up again. We pulled off at a gas station to change him again. We had already used the only accessible clothing so we decided to just keep Logan in his diaper. We pulled onto the highway finally and he threw up again. He threw up the entire way to Fayetteville. I think we had counted about 8 times. We arrived in Fayetteville just before dinner when Asher threw up once. We think it was because he started teathing. We bathed both boys and since it had been a couple of hours since he last vomited, we decided to try to go out to eat. Unfortunately, we were forced to leave the restaurant before the food came because Logan vomited all over Stefanie. We went back to the hotel and Logan slept until about 3am and he threw up again.

When we woke up in the morning, Logan had a slight fever so we decided to find an urgent care center. Logan never threw up again. Not sure if it was the medicine he got at the urgent care or the fact that it was just a 24 hour bug. The drive to Langhorne was rather uneventful which was good. We were in Langhorne to visit Sesame Place. Sesame Place was smaller than we expected. Logan didn't even need a stroller. You definitely need to bring a bathing suit since more than 50% of the park was water-based.

Logan started off watching the Elmo's World Live show which seemed to amaze him. From there, he played at Big Bird's nest for a while until he was ready to go on some rides. We went on Big Bird's Balloon Race, Grover's World Twirl, Elmo's Flyin Fish, and the Sunny Day Carousel. During the day, we also tried pictures with the characters (Elmo, Big Bird, and Abby). We took a break for some lunch and then watched the parade. After the parade, he seemed to do much better with the characters. We saw Bert and Ernie in the street and took several good pictures.

The afternoon was dedicated to water activities. We bought Logan a Sesame Street bathing suit. He actually got the one featured on Jon and Kate Plus 8. He also picked out a pair of Elmo water shoes which he calls "Elmo Agua Shoes". He was all ready for the Big Bird's Rambling River ride including a little mini splash area. From the lazy river, we hit the Count's Splash Castle. We were able to catch one more show -- Big Bird's Beach Party.

We stayed that night in Langhorne and left in the morning for Boston. We were going to Boston for Cousin Andy's wedding. We kept Logan entertained the whole time. On Tuesday night, we went shopping and had dinner at China Town with Debbie. On Wednesday, we went on a Duck Tour, went to the Children's Museum, drove through Sharon, and stopped by to see Audra, Rob, Hailey, and Aaron. That night we had pizza with Debbie's parents and Logan couldn't get over Bob.

On Thursday, we went to Patriot's Place and took the kids to the rehearsal dinner. We woke up Friday to go out to breakfast to find the window in our van was smashed in. We had accidentally left the GPS in the car. They stole that, Logan's plug for the DVD, and Brian's glasses. Brian swapped out the rental car at Logan airport while Logan got to see some of Stefanie's relatives and friends. Mimi and Debbie watched Logan and Asher while Stefanie and Brian went to Andy and Lani's wedding and had a blast. We stopped by Debbie's in-laws for breakfast and to borrow a GPS and DVD player for the drive home. It took us two days to get home, stopping in Richmond, but we made it home without any further adventures.

For more pictures of Boston, click here.

Logan turns 2!

It wasn't easy picking a place for Logan's birthday this year. Every place we tried was sold out for the summer. We're glad that we ended up at Monkey Joe's. It was actually perfect. Monkey Joe's is an indoor inflatable play center (slides and bounce houses). They took care of everything and everyone had a good time. We were originally worried since Logan didn't really do anything during his first visit to Monkey Joe's several months ago. This visit started out similar to his last trip. He would walk up to the opening of a ride and then walk back without going in. He would even cry if someone tried to take him on a ride.

It got much better as the day moved on. Logan loved the inflatable chair at the head of the table. He also loved the pizza. He had actually been asking for pizza a week before his birthday and we kept telling him that he would have pizza at his party. We think he ate around two pieces. As he was finishing his second piece, Monkey Joe came in to say hello and give Logan a shirt. Logan couldn't wait to pull off his shirt and try on the new shirt. He also loved Monkey Joe.

Logan was pleasantly surprised by his Barney Birthday Cake which was made and decorated by hand by Delish, a NY bakery. If cake wasn't enough, the kids also got ice cream. After a couple juice boxes, a piece of cake, and a bowl of ice cream, Logan was ready to hit the inflatable rides. He probably spent over an hour on the same ride. It happened to be one of the least scariest rides, but we were still happy that he loved it. Some of his friends bounced along with him.

We were at Monkey Joe's from 10:30am until around 1:30pm. When we got home, Logan took a nap while we put together some of the toys we had bought him and arranged all the rest of the toys. Todd, Monica, Jared, Grandma Elise, and Grandpa Howie joined Grandpa Sumner (Poppi) and Grandma Barbara (Mimi) to open gifts at our house and spend some time in the swimming pool. Logan loved each gift better than the next and wanted to open everything.

Logan has made a lot of progress during his second year of life. He really seems to comprehend everything. He is also a great communicator. He repeats everything and has an incredible memory. He learns a new word usually after hearing or seeing it one time. He knows all of his letters, most of his numbers, all of his primary colors, most of his Disney characters, and most animals (land and sea). He is also doing really well in the pool. He can float on his back, do the crab walk along the pool wall from the deep end to the stairs, play ring around the rosie, jump into the pool, kick, and blow bubbles. He is very helpful in school and at home. In fact, he just started at a new school and did incredibly well in the transition. We started potty training again, but he seems to prefer making in his swim diaper. We think Logan likes music. He loves playing the guitar, piano, and drums. He even knows what a violin and saxophone are. He also likes playing basketball. His favorite characters are still Elmo and Barney, but he seems to know everyone -- Dora, Boots, Diego, Lightning McQueen, Luigi, Mater, Ramon, Nemo, Buzz, Woody, Handy Manny, Elmo, Big Bird, Telly, Burt, Ernie, Count, Cookie Monster, Bee Bop, DJ, and more.

For pictures of Logan's party, click here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Logan learns water survival skills

They say that a child should learn water survival skills as soon as he is old enough to walk. It is important, especially when you have a pool in your backyard, that children know how to float if they accidentally fall in a pool. With much anticipation, Logan started lessons this week. We have heard horror stories of these water safety classes torturing kids by submersing them under water as they swallow gallons of water crying the whole time.

Thanks to a great coach discovered by Aunt Monica, our experience has been nothing short of awesome. Within minutes, Logan was floating on his back with his hands behind his head. He did cry through most of his first lesson, saying "all done" and "bye bye" during each break. He spent about 25 minutes on his back and when it was all over, he ran over to Brian and gave him a big hug and then burped for the next 2 minutes from all the air in his stomach.

The next day, he was able to float on his back all over the pool, even the deep end. He wasn't bothered by grazing up against the pool cleaner hose or walls of the pool. He kept his pose the whole time. When he saw Stefanie hold a camera to take a picture, he even said "cheese". Again, he spent the majority of his 30 minute lesson on his back without much assistance. When it was all over, this time he ran up to Stefanie and gave her a big hug while saying "Bye Bye Coke [coach]".

The third lesson was supposed to be the scary one where he is dunked under the water on his back and you hope he floats to the top and holds the correct position. He did great. He didn't cry. He kept his eyes and mouth closed and held his float position. Tomorrow, he will be dunked face down and we hope he'll know to turn over to his back.

For pictures of Logan swimming, click here.

We might as well take this opportunity to highlight some of Logan's other recent accomplishments. He knows all his colors, he can count to 3 and knows several other numbers like 8. He knows every letter of the alphabet from sight and sound. He knows several words (mostly body parts) in both English and Spanish. He has hand signals and sounds for most animals like touching his neck for a giraffe. He is also beginning to put 2 words together.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Disney Wonder with the Cohen Family

On April 2nd, 2009, Logan, Brian, Stefanie, Aunt Hollie, Uncle Jonathon, and cousins Jordyn and Benjamin, embarked on the Disney Wonder for a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room on the ship for Asher. The cruise set sail from Port Canaveral Thursday afternoon. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the mid-80's. As soon as we boarded the ship, we headed upstairs to the Beach Blanket Buffet for a late lunch. That was the beginning of the eating which continued until we returned to Port Canaveral three days later.

After lunch, we found our rooms, unpacked and got ready for the bon voyage party on the Lido deck. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip, Dale, and Pluto all came out to kick-off the fun. Logan had a blast as he danced on the towel cabinets while enjoying the music and the fun while Jordyn and Benjamin enjoyed a dip in the pool.

On a Disney Cruise, you eat in a different dining room every night. The first night, we dined at the Parrot Cay dining room. It should be no surprise that Logan thoroughly enjoyed meal time. Our server's name was Everett and our assistant server's name was Oscar. As you can see, Logan got a kick out of his cousins. They were playing peek-a-boo and looking out of the window to watch the waves crash against the ship.

That night, Logan spent a couple hours playing in the Flounder's Reef Nursery while the twins spent time in the Oceanear's club. Logan stayed up until after 10pm and finally crashed in our bed where he ended up sleeping with us all three nights.

The next morning, we awoke in time for breakfast and to watch the ship dock in Nassau, Bahamas. Logan stayed on board while we explored downtown Nassau and the Cohen's went on a beach break excursion to the Atlantis Resort. We picked up Logan for lunch and then treated him to the splash pool. He had a blast, though it took him a while to get acclimated. By the time we were ready to leave, Logan was fully engaged in play.

After a long nap, we met up for a game of Bingo. You could say we were all winners. Stefanie won Bingo in the first round and received a $108 room credit. Hollie won one of the raffles and received a free 30 minute facial. The kids walked away with Disney magnets and tattoos. Dinner that night was at Triton's followed by the "Toy Story - The Musical" show. We had spent the last couple weeks brainwashing Logan on Toy Story by playing it in the van non-stop. It seemed to work. He sat there the whole time, calling out names of things/people he knew like Buzz, Woody, the baby, the turtle (also known as the dinosaur), and the duck.

Friday night was "Pirates of the Caribbean" night where Mickey and crew dress up like pirates and are joined by Captain Hook and several other pirate characters to entertain the ship pirate-style. People dress up in their pirate-bests and there's plenty of food, drink, music, and dance. The festivities started at 10pm, but the kids lasted much longer than that.

On Saturday, the ship made its way to Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. Before getting off the ship, we decided to introduce Logan to his first movie -- Bolt 3D. He had done so well at Toy Story the night before, we figured that he could last 1 hour and 47 minutes in a movie theatre. We got pretty close. The 3D glasses fell off after the first 30 minutes, but it wasn't until 15 minutes before the end that we escorted him out of the theatre because he started to talk and fuss. After the movie, we went to the private island for Logan's first beach experience since he was a baby. He absolutely loved the water. He wasn't even scared.

Logan had so much fun at the beach, that he fell asleep on the 6 minute walk back to the ship and ended up sleeping for another couple hours. We had to wake him up for the Castaway Club party for returning cruise members. During the party, he spent most of the time on stage entertaining the audience with some of the other children. After the party, we had dinner for the kids at Animator's Pallet and then we dropped off the kids at their respective play places so that the adults could enjoy a fine dining experience at Palo's. That dinner ended a very fun and exciting cruise. Logan had so much fun with his cousins that he left us at the port to go back with them.

To see more pictures of the cruise, click here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Disney Vacation with the Norris Family

This week, Logan had the opportunity to take a week off of "school" to play at the Parks -- the Disney Parks, that is. Jodi, Corey, Emma, Addison, and Hallie flew in from Ohio to spend some time with the Levine family.

On Tuesday morning, we went to the Polynesian Hotel for the Lilo and Stitch character breakfast at Ohana's. Not only did we meet Lilo and Stitch, but Mickey and Pluto also showed up to say hello. From breakfast, we hit the Magic Kingdom where we had the luxury of a "skip to the front of the line" pass, also known as a guest with a broken foot.

Without much waiting, we were able to go on Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Pirate's of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Goofy's Roller Coaster, Dumbo, Alladin, Buzz Lightyear, and others. Logan was able to join us on Jungle Cruise, Alladin, and Pirate's. He had a blast.

On Wednesday, we went to EPCOT where we went on Soarin', Test Track, Mission Space, and Nemo. With the exception of Nemo, Logan wasn't able to go on any rides at EPCOT, but he enjoyed himself all the same. We capped off the evening with a trip to the Fort Wilderness Campfire with Chip and Dale. Despite the freezing weather, Logan had had a wonderful time and loved the marshmallows and guitar player.

On Thursday, we hit Disney's Hollywood Studios. We rode Toy Story (twice), Rockin' Roller Coaster, Playhouse Disney, and The Great Movie Ride. Logan rode every ride except the Roller Coaster and his favorite was Playhouse Disney. He couldn't stop pointing to everything and yelling out their names like mouse, bubbles, dog, ball, duck, etc.

With all this action, you would expect over 100 photos, but we had some camera issues this trip. The Norris family lost their camera at the Magic Kingdom and then we forgot to charge our camera the night before the EPCOT trip. There are still some good shots, though. Click here to see some photos.