N’s Favorite Things: Puppet Show

This may not all make sense, but she had so much fun.

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Autumn in New York

Why does it seem so inviting?

That’s right friends, the Clossi went to New York! …but not the city. If you’re like me, when you hear “New York,” your mind goes straight to NYC. We saw her skyline from the NJ turnpike, but that’s as close as we got. No, we headed north, to Kingston.

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Why? We’ll get there.

So, we left on Friday around 9-ish. After a couple of brief stops (the bank for toll cash, Dunkin’ for caffeinated-ness), we were off. We went up to the NJ turnpike, then took… something? (287?) across Jersey to 87, which took us up and through NY to Kingston. Overall, we probably spent $17 on tolls. Lots of service station stops for potty breaks and lunch. We even stopped at a Trader Joe’s at one point on 287(?). Both girls did very well, even if they had to say hello to the stuffed animals in every service station shop we stopped at. We had to stop one time because M seemed like her tummy was upset, but she calmed down after a bit and was fine after that.

We got to Kingston around 3:30. We settled into our half of the parsonage.

wait what

That’s right, parsonage. I was up there to candidate for a youth ministry job at Kingston Alliance Church. Spoiler alert, I got the job so we’ll be moving soon.

They had two single mattresses for the girls and one INCREDIBLY LOUD air mattress for us. Seriously, if someone went from their back to their side on this thing, you could hear it in the other room. I have no idea what made it so loud, but let’s just say it left Danielle and I eager to get back to our own bed. Thankfully, the girls loved their beds.

The parsonage is nice. It has a basement, so there’s lots of room. Lots of trees nearby. And you can see the stars at night. I would say the only significant downside is the lack of central air. But, better in NY than TX.

After settling in a bit, we went for a walk to a park and then a little zoo, with a playful cow.

That night we had a “bonfire” (it was more of a campfire). The girls enjoyed making s’mores. We met some church folks.

On Saturday, the pastor, two of the youth, and I took part in Kindness Rocks!, where we passed out painted stones around the city as a way of spreading some kindness and cheer. It was fun. Danielle and the girls stayed in the parsonage and played with some toys. Then we all headed to the church and had pizza together, followed by a drive to a local ice cream place.

After an afternoon rest period, we met up with a family from the church who have two kids that are M and N’s ages. We visited the riverfront together, then they had us over for dinner. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Sunday morning, I preachified. If I can track down the video file, I’ll try and upload it. We had lunch and some Q&A time also. Then it was time to pack up and head back home. The trip home was much like the trip up there, except N got to have a cinnamon & sugar pretzel for dinner. That made her a happy camper. No vomiting from M the whole time, so we’ll call that a win.

What do you think of, when you hear New York?

Signs

We are packing to go away for the weekend. I am not a fan of packing. No matter how much I pack and how much preparation I have done, I always feel like I am forgetting something. So the past couple days I have been making mental lists and I started really packing yesterday. Tonight, I think we are pretty much packed, but I already feel like we are forgetting something.

When we were leaving England we didn’t have a whole lot of time to pack or get rid of everything. But we did it. We should be experts at packing, especially for only a weekend.

We had friends in England that told us right before we left about a church in NY, looking for help. Hubby contacted them after we got to the States. He didn’t hear anything from them for a couple months. Then they contacted him saying they were interested in talking to him. After many calls, a couple meetings in person, and a Skype later we are going to the church for Hubby to preach.

Tonight, I put one of my USBs into the computer to look for something for the trip and realized that the name of the USB is Kingston. Kingston is the city that the church is in.

We also realized a couple weeks ago that our insurance card says that their company is from Kingston.

Plus, N got a Lady Liberty rubber ducky from a claw game the other week.

Sign or coincidence?

Stay tuned for next week. We will talk about our trip.

Do you believe in signs?

Parenting is Messy

This is the second week where we just did laundry to have a full hamper later that night. People aren’t kidding when they tell you that laundry more than doubles when you become a parent. From kids feeling the need to rotate their whole wardrobe multiple times in one day, to throw-up covered everything. That’s what happened last night. Again.

Last week M woke up at about 2:30am and threw up. Her and I were in the bathroom while she repeated that 5 more times. Hubby was trying to console a scared/tired/don’t-throw-up-on-me 6 year old.

M loves baths, but after dinner comes up a second time, she has no desire to be in the tub. As hard as I tried to convince her that she needed to be cleaned up, she was not interested. I had to clean her the best I could with wipes, towels, and washcloths.

We covered the hallway by the bathroom with a sheet and laid down, in hopes of getting back to sleep around 4. Thankfully, after a little bit M was able to get to sleep. Me, not as quick. N decided to sleep on the couch. She seemed to think this was the safest place. They slept until 8:30.

Last night, around the same time I think, it happened again. This time it only happened once. But after the clean up and the sheet was laid, it took longer for M to get back to sleep. When she finally did sleep, she woke up and hour or so later and decided that she needed to be with her sissy on the couch, which was of course, absolutely unacceptable to N. After much discussion and negotiation, we finally got the girls back in their rightful places. I think they woke up a little after 8 this morning.

I have felt like a zombie pretty much all day, but M is doing her best to stay up, instead of going to bed. I can’t believe I once had as much energy as that.

Do you remember getting sick as a kid? What were some ways your parents/guardians helped you feel better?

 

Why

We are taking a break from our usual posts to talk about something very important.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the news these past few days, you’ve heard about the controversy surrounding kneeling. Hubby and I have seen and been involved in a lot of talks about the protests that many football players are joining in, where they kneel during the national anthem before their game starts. We have seen a lot about how they are protesting and not why they are protesting. Why they are protesting is very important. We may not have as big a platform as these players, but we want to use the one we do have. Because we think their cause is right and important.

This protest is not about disrespecting anything or anyone. This protest is to call for change. To expect everyone to be respected.

Kneeling during the anthem is saying that, as a country, we aren’t who we are supposed to be, and we need to get there. There has been racism in this country for too long. It needs to stop. Innocent lives being taken because of the color of their skin, and their killers are walking free. This may be the most most extreme example. But people of color experience racism everyday. This needs to stop. That is what this protest is about. People have basic rights.

Johnny Cash sang that he’d love to wear a rainbow every day, but until the world is brighter, he’d be the man in black. I’m sure Colin and the other kneeling athletes would love to stand for the anthem, but until black lives really do matter, we’ll all keep kneeling.

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Ag Museum

We recently went to the Delaware Agriculture Museum. I remember going to this place when I was younger. I think I went twice for school trips. I thought some of it may be fun for the girls.

Dover Downs, the race track, is right across the street. So as we are getting out of the car, it was one of the first thing the girls notice. “What’s that noise?” You may be able to hear a bit of it in the video. N loves to point out Dover Downs whenever we pass it. Not because she knows what it is, but because she can read it and it is the tallest building in that area (turns out it’s the second tallest in Dover, only shorter than the Duncan Center).

As I mentioned above, I took a video of a time at the museum. It gives you a bit of idea of what is there, and some of the fun the girls had. We didn’t get to see everything. The girls’ favorites were the school bell, the “cow” to “milk”, the chickens, and the rocks (just plain old rocks on the path).

When we were leaving, we let the girls pick out a toy and piece of candy from the gift shop. They each picked one of the flavored candy canes – cherry and cinnamon. N picked a lei and M picked a rubber chicken from a key chain. That’s right, not the key chain, just the chicken. There was a little rubber chicken key chain. One of the chickens was missing the key chain. That is the one she had to have.

Is there a museum that you remember from your childhood?

Something Tells me it’s All Happening

BIRTHDAY SEASON! YAY!

So, we had a few birthdays in the Closs household lately. Both N and Danielle both had a birthday, and they had tons o’ fun. I’m going to focus on what we did for N’s birthday, though.

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My brother James drove up from the hardened wilderness of northern Virginia to join in the festivities. We all ate at IHOP for breakfast. N enjoyed her very, very chocolately-and-whipped-creamy pancake.

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Then we all got in the car to head to the zoo.

Unfortunately, we had to stop about ten minutes into the trip. In a flashback to Scotland, M threw up in the car. Full disclosure, the stress level of a child throwing up in your own car relatively close to home is significantly less than throwing up in a bus when you have NO IDEA WHERE YOU ARE.

Still, it wasn’t fun. Poor kid had to sit out the zoo. So did mom.

We were super glad Uncle James came along, because that meant N, James, and myself could continue on to the zoo. It was a bit of a hike, but it was a lot of fun. The zoo’s smaller than some of the ones I’ve been to, but for its size, they had a fun collection. We saw some active river otters, an ocelot, an active red wolf, and a tiny patch of jaguar fur!

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(the ocelot was taking a nap)

The only bummer was it seemed like the whole place was under renovation after the summer months. I mean, it makes sense – when else are they going to do it? – but we still missed out on the reptile house and a few other goodies. Overall, though? A super fun zoo experience.

Plus! They had a neat playground right outside the zoo. If M hadn’t gotten sick, we probably would have spent most of the day playing around on there.

What were some of your favorite birthday memories as a kid?

Kiwi Box

We decided to get N a subscription to something called a Kiwi Box. It is by KiwiCo. https://www.kiwico.com/

They do monthly boxes for 5 different age groups: Cricket, Koala, Kiwi, Doodle and Tinker. We decided not to get M one yet because she is too old for her aged box, but we don’t think she is quite ready for the next box up.

The Kiwi Box come once a month and has about three different activities in it. It comes with a booklet of all the activities and instructions and then another booklet with further activities and information.

This is from the second box N has received so far. It was about the body. The activities included making stuffed organs, making an x-ray, and making a stethoscope.

The organs were pretty easy to do. Everything was cut out already. The string was like a shoe lace, so there was no need for a needle-like object. I thought putting a face on the organs was odd, but I liked that they also included a poster of the body with organs to place the ones we made on it. The poster also had a body with muscles, and a separate one with bones, blood flow, and digestion.

The x-ray was pretty cool. There is a transparent film that you put sticker bones on and put that over a sheet of glow-in-the-dark material. You put that in the sun or under a light for a certain amount of time. Then you peel off the film with the bone sticker and take the glow in the dark paper to a dark room. You can see what looks like a shadow of the bones. The stethoscope was pretty easy to put together and it works. N liked going around listening to everybody’s heartbeat.

N seems to enjoy it so far. It’s a fun, interactive way to help her learn.

Are there any subscriptions you get that you enjoy?

Brecknock Park

There is a park not too far from us called Brecknock Park. We have been wanting to take the girls, but we wanted to go when it was a little cooler, so we just now got around to taking them. They have a large playground made mostly of wood. It is not as spread out as Toddler’s Cove, but probably has about the same amount of equipment. The park also has a hiking trail, a football field (I think that is what the sign said), and a horseshoe pit. The girls like it as much as they did Toddler’s Cove. It has many little nooks and crannies. I didn’t really get to show those in the videos below, but it would be a great place to play hide and seek, if you are a small child. Some of the spots were almost too small for M.

M had no fear. There were two or three different types of monkey bars and M wanted to do all of them. There were a couple sliding pole/climbing parts. You know, where you have to step off to grab the pole. M would walk right up and put her leg out like she was going to jump off.

N’s favorite part was the swings and then checking out all the different things there were to do. You will notice in one of the videos, there is a zip line. She didn’t do it, but was excited it was there.

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite park, or a favorite one you remember when you were growing up?

Back to School

When we moved back to the States, we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. This means the girls are sharing a room. They like sharing a room and it makes some things easier. But N needs her own space sometimes. An alone place. So I decided to make her a little cardboard house for a corner of the living room. It didn’t turn out the way I planned, so it is more like a cardboard wall. She liked it anyway.

When it got closer to starting school, I thought we could use this area for her schooling. So I added a little table with a lamp and a chair. Now it’s a tiny school room. We started school on the 21st and it has been going well so far. We take parts of school to the couch, which she also enjoys.

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N says her favorite subjects are math and science. I am excited to see if they are the same at the end of the school year.

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I don’t think N was as excited about school this year as last year, but M sure was. She was so excited on the 21st, yelling, “I want to do school, I want to do school!” We aren’t doing any kind of organized school with her, but I printed off number, letter, and shape coloring pages for her. Her and Hubby have also been doing some alphabet videos.

In other news, there was an eclipse on the 21st! M was having her nap during it. N was semi interested, mostly playing, but taking a minute here and there to put on her glasses and look at it. Then she said it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.

Did you get to see the eclipse?