Monday, July 9, 2012

Fun with Auntie Laura, Uncle David, Grace, Suki, and Kate

The last major group we got to see on our east coast excursions was Christina's sister Laura's family. 
We started the trip by grabbing doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts (a place we sorely, sorely miss out here in Montana!).
This was the longest road trip Christina has ever had with the girls on her own.  Between road work and some unfortunately frequent rest/bathroom stops it took four and a half hours.  It was totally worth it - we had a fantastic time!  Laura came up with so many fun things for us to do.  We started out at an amazing butterfly sanctuary. 

Laura had thoughtfully asked if either girl had any trouble with butterflies, and both girls said they were totally fine with them.  We walked in with such awe - there were so many butterflies, gracefully swooping and gliding.  It was beautiful.
 They landed on Laura right away - look how lovely an accessory this is!
 There were little quail there that pecked around at the ground and provided entertainment as they scuttled here and there.
 Clara was DESPERATE to have a butterfly land on her.  She stood stock still like a statue with her cousin Suki. 
 Several butterflies crawled up to her, and many landed on her, in fact.  But none landed precisely the way she had envisioned, much to her dismay (and our confusion - we really couldn't figure out exactly what she was hoping for!).
 In an understandable, yet unexpected twist it turned out that Elena developed a fear of butterflies while we were there. She just did not like them swooping towards her, especially so many of them.  She chose to observe from behind a nice, glass window after just ten minutes or so in the butterfly room.
 She was actually very happy there, and had a great time.

She took this picture from behind the glass - she thought this little butterfly really wanted to meet her to come up so close!
 Inside the exhibit room there was a lot to learn about butterflies - given that the girls had watched butterflies in their classroom this year they were especially excited to see a chrysalis with a butterfly in the process of emerging (it's the black one in the middle).
 Back at the house, Laura and the girls had set up party involving two pools, a water hose, bubbles, and chip-and-dip.  Excellent!  Elena and Laura had a science experiment going where they were trying to see if a bubble would freeze or pop first if it was put into a freezer.  After several tries, they figured it out - it pops first!  (This picture and most of the others below were taken by Laura).
Pizza and movie party - these girls had so much fun together!  Clara was absolutely exhausted and passed out on the floor before the end of the movie, and we carried her up to the "sleep over" room.
 Laura gave the other girls all glowsticks - we played with them for a few minutes, and then Laura told them that they should take them up to the "sleep over" room and that they couldn't talk or leave the room until they went out (Genius!  It almost worked, too - they all stayed in there until about 4:30 am, at which point they all woke up Christina and we watched the beautiful sunrise together).
 This was hands-down one of the very sweetest nighttime routines Christina has ever been involved with.  Elena fell asleep while the other girls were hearing a story.  Suki and Kate snuggled up to us, and while Suki stroked Elena's hair Kate asked if "the mom can do that to me."  Christina wishes this routine could be one we replay over and over!!
 The next morning (after the sunrise-watching) the girls had a raucously good time - we played our hearts out and were so very sad when it was time to get on the road. 
 Fueled with Laura's good cooking and lots of cousin hugs we headed out to pick up Steve in Amherst.  It turned out we had about half an hour to spare (this trip was shorter than our earlier one and Steve's workshop went a little longer than we'd thought).  We went down the street from his conference to the Yankee Candle factory.  It is like an amusement park, toy shop, and candle extravaganza all in one.
 Oh, and did we mention candy shop?

 We had a Santa-sighting, gumball-wining, and posing with various silly objects.

 And, we were in a snowstorm!  They make it "snow" every four minutes, so we got to enjoy that over and over.

And then we were reunited with our Steve, who we missed so much!  Thank you, thank you, to Laura and David and Grace and Suki for making our Massachusetts leg of the trip so very enjoyable!

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