Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Random Summer Fun!

We had such a busy summer!!  It's no wonder I didn't have time to attend to this blog!  Not only did we have our Epic Road Trip and the super-fun Lego Superhero camp, but we had trips to the beach, swim lessons, museum visits, and just all-around fun!  So, where to start?!?

Swim Lessons!

This year both kiddos had swim lessons, not just Dashiell as had been the case in years past.  Dashiell was finally in a "real" swim class, where the focus was less on getting used to the water and more on moving yourself through it.  He did so great, and he LOVES to go swimming now.  Aurelia was in the "mommy and me" class, which means I got to go swimming too!  She also did pretty good, but about 15 minutes in to each class she would decide that she was DONE, and wouldn't want to do any of the lessons.  She was fine still hanging out in the water, but wanted to do her own thing.  That's my headstrong little girl!

Dashiell swimming on a noodle

 Hanging out on the playground equipment between classes

For fun, check out this picture of Aurelia hanging on this same bar last summer:
Grow much?

I unfortunately don't have any pictures of Aurelia in the pool since I was always in the pool with her.  Next year!
So, a long time ago when Dashiell was in preschool, his school held a silent auction fundraiser.  I bid on a couple of things, and of course "won" both.  Didn't expect that!  But one of the things I won was a pass for the Ecotarium in Worcester.  We then promptly forgot that we had this pass, and over a year went by before I found it while digging through some papers on the desk.  So finally we made it there!  And it was a really good take!  There is a ton of stuff to do and explore, and the kids had a blast!
Bubble popping fun!

 Indoor rock climbing!

Wall of mist!

Glass floors!

In addition to the activities shown, there were animal shows, a hurricane simulator, big kinetic sculptures both inside and out, and a few things we didn't even get to try out, like the tree canopy walkway (complete with zip lines), the explorer express train (currently not in operation), and the planetarium.  My only suggestion to anyone planning to visit the Ecotarium is to bring your own lunch or snacks - the only food the cafeteria has is of the vending machine variety.  

The Great Race!

Earlier this summer, our fair city of Lowell was part of an endurance car race called The Great Race!  So of course we had to go downtown and check it out!  I'm still unclear about how this race works - as far as I can tell each car has their own goal times to make it from city to city down the East Coast, and the car that does the best with those goals wins.  Or something like that.  Anyway, Lowell was a stop on this race, so there were a TON of old cars about, plus a kids' play area and a parade of the cars involved in this race.  It was really neat!  
The Batmobile!

Cool old car

Aurelia meeting "Lowla" - Lowell's mascot bear
Dashiell running away from Lowla

 Hula-hooping in the kids' area

Totally random summer fun!
There are so many other things that we did, too!  And we have pictures to prove it!

We celebrated Nana's birthday!
We made 4th of July cupcakes!
We ran through the sprinklers and bubble maker!
We did a lot of swinging on swings!

We played at the lake!
 We visited the petting zoo!

We went on a nature hike!

We went to the beach after our nature hike!
We stayed up late to see the Super Moon!

And we did many, many other activities!  All in all, it was a fantastic summer, one that every summer after this will have to try hard to live up to!

Lego Camp!!

Lego Superhero Camp, to be exact.

In researching camp options for Dashiell, I was thrilled to come across a listing for this awesome camp, and even more thrilled that it was located about 1.5 miles from our house! And that it started the day after we got back from Minnesota, so Dashiell could have something to look forward to after our big trip.

So when I signed him up for this camp, I was mostly focused on the fact that he got to play with Legos for a week, and have that play revolve around superheros.  I had no idea how much he would be learning!  The kids learned about a variety of tools, such as pulleys, magnets, levers and incline planes, and about a bunch of physics concepts, like kinetic versus potential energy and centrifugal force.  Plus they got to work with engines to make their Lego creations move.  And most importantly, they learned about teamwork!  They worked in small groups and had to come up with solutions to problems together.  The cutest thing was that they each got a superhero minifigure, and their superhero earned camp badges (Super Dashiell earned three of them!).  It was a pretty darned cool camp, and I will totally sign him up for it again next year (assuming he wants to go to it, of course).

Here are a few pictures of his awesome creations:

A working magnetic crane!

A robotic car!

Zip Lines!
(I love that he was showing Aurelia how to work the zip line, and her exclamation "I did it!" in the background...)

And the final project - a Superhero Lair!

Super Dashiell approves of his new Lair!