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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, BJ!

We had a very nice day today, celebrating BJ's 5th birthday. (In spite of the fact that both kids tried to get the day going at 5 a.m.) He enjoyed his gifts, of course -- especially those that had a "human body" theme. Family was very generous, and we appreciate it very much. The Some Body game from Auntie B, Uncle R, and cousin B was a big hit.
He settled right down to reading the books from Grandma C and Grandpa D.
The bouncer ball from Giki and Pop-Pop was received so well that he bounced away before I could get a picture! And the Pop Bottle Science kit they gave him promises to be a source of much enjoyment -- he's already planned which experiments we will do first.

But perhaps the most exciting gift was his New Bike (which he talks about as though it were indeed capitalized). It's his first, and since he didn't really do much with the trike, it's really his first extended opportunity to work with anything that has pedals. He loves it.
We spent a good part of the afternoon going around and around the sidewalk loops near our apartment. He kept telling me that he was getting really good exercise. He'd run up to me and demand, "Listen to my heart, Mommy!" And he'd pull my ear down to his chest so I could hear it getting a healthy workout.

It turns out that there's a wee bit of a hill on part of the loop, which gave him a bit of a challenge. He was so proud when he finally got through that section without any assistance!
And I was so proud of him for figuring out that whole bike thing so quickly -- here he is, in the moment of triumph:


He's such a big kid! (Cue motherly catch in the throat...)

This morning, he insisted on helping me make and decorate the birthday cake, which was an interesting process. It broke into three pieces when I was taking it out of the pan, so I had to do a lot of repair work. Definitely not the prettiest cake I've ever made.
But it turned out a heckuvalot better than it might have! He wanted an ocean theme for the decorating, and he wanted to draw some of it himself, but he was having trouble getting the frosting to squeeze out. So I did the squeezing and he moved my hand where he wanted the frosting to go. He did the octopus (red blob with green legs) and then most of the jellyfish (red blob with yellow legs). Then he declared he'd had enough and I did the rest. That's a green parrotfish eating red coral, I'll have you know. And a yellow angelfish. Just in case you were wondering.

He'd asked to go to Race Street Fish Market for dinner, one of our favorite local dives.
But BB was having a hard time of it by the time the evening rolled around -- and this particular restaurant is one she doesn't especially like. Getting her to eat well is challenging enough at the moment (for whatever reason; I pray it's a phase, and a short one) so we decided it would be best to have me take him out to eat while S and BB stayed home. I had a lovely time sharing a meal with my little boy -- who is truly not so little anymore! The kid ate most of a hunk of grilled tuna, two large grilled shrimp, and a grilled lobster tail. He was in seafood heaven!

After dinner, we came home and had cake together as a family.

As he was getting tucked into bed, BJ declared that he'd had a really good birthday. Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


BJ turns 5 years old tomorrow (which I still can't quite believe!) and we've been celebrating already. He decided that (like BB) he didn't want to have a party this year. Instead, he wanted to take a family trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We had a great time checking out the fish and visiting our favorite spots. The jellyfish are still popular, as are the stingrays.

The touch pools are still a big hit with both the kids, of course!
Today, we took in a treat for BJ's preschool pals. He asked to bring in donut holes, which were apparently quite well received. (And I have to say, I didn't feel too badly about being able to duck out of the hassle of making cupcakes!)

Today I also officially enrolled BJ in kindergarten. Mind boggling, that's what it is. After years and years of worrying about what school choices we might have, it was so nice to feel positively about our school and excited about the prospect of him being there in August. I know there will be challenges, and I still have my concerns -- after all, my first baby is getting ready to go to KINDERGARTEN! But on the whole, I feel quite good about it.

Tomorrow, we have a quiet day planned. Presents after breakfast, making a cake (he's requested that I decorate it with ocean animals -- wish me luck!) and then we'll probably go out to eat for dinner, depending on what BJ wants to do. And I'll try not to be too agog that my baby is quite clearly Not A Baby Anymore.

Five years old. Golly. Now that's something to celebrate!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Special Daddy Time

BJ had his first visit to Disneyland last week, when he and S went to visit S's mom. In fact, they got to visit both Disney and California Adventure. It was definitely some Special Daddy Time. S reports that BJ was a great traveler, liked the plane, and was a real trooper at the amusement parks. His favorites were Alice in Wonderland, Soaring over California, River Rafting, the Mulholland Madness rollercoaster, and the fountains. Oh, and the cotton candy! Here are some of the pics from their visit:

Pictures from Pop-Pop & Giki's Visit

I promised some pics from our recent visit with my parents, and I can't believe I've not yet found time to get them posted. My dad always takes lots and lots of pictures (has ever since I can remember) so it's hard to choose. Here are some of my favorites -- thanks, Dad!

We took a lot of nice strolls while my folks were in town. Having excellent areas to walk is definitely one of the bonuses of our new apartment!

Visiting the Wishing Fountain on one of our walks...

And where it's good for walking, it's good for triking! BJ never did show too much interest in his tricycle (though he's asked for A Real Bike for his birthday) but within the last two weeks BB has discovered the joy of three-wheeling.

Cooking with Giki

Laughing with Pop-Pop
Watching Loony Tunes -- the kids are both big fans of Bugs Bunny these days and were beyond tickled to discover that Pop-Pop also enjoys the cartoons. Especially Rabbit of Seville. BB has taken to singing, "Whaaaaat would you want with a waaaaabit? Can't you see that I'm much sweeter? I'm your little senoriter...."

Visiting Happy Hollow Zoo (with two kids who are obviously anxious to Get Inside The Park!)

Yes, we visited again -- we went both on Monday and Wednesday of preview week! The goats were especially entertaining this time.

Riding the carousel -- this pic totally cracks me up. Like mother, like daughter, apparently it is Serious Business, this merry-go-round stuff!
On the roller coaster -- BB's first time, and alas by the end she was not nearly this pleased about the experience. Her first words as it came to a stop: "I am never doing that again!"
Riding Danny the Dragon:

Walking to the Farmer's Market
Waiting for a fresh batch of Kettle Korn
Finding snails
Making lemonade

Visiting a favorite park
Saying goodbye to S and BJ (they were headed down to southern CA to visit S's mom)
Eating ice cream at a favorite local spot

Was their trip really just a week ago??? Already feels like too long since we've seen them! We miss you, Pop-Pop & Giki!

Friday, March 26, 2010

My 100th Friday Feature! Soapomoke River Bath Co.

I'm delighted to announce that this week's interview is my 100th Friday Feature here at Mama's Magic! Wow! I was especially glad to see that the next interview in line to post was with one of my recently discovered favorite shops: Soapomoke River Bath Co. To celebrate my 100th post and to share a little Etsy love, I am combining this week's interview with a giveaway! See the end of this post for details.

I discovered the wonderful bath and body products at Soapomoke River as I was searching Etsy for an unscented liquid hand soap. We'd been using cheap liquid soap from the grocery store (mostly the ironically named "Softsoap") and we do a lot of hand washing around here. I was fed up with my palms feeling like sandpaper, and BJ's hands were constantly red and chapped. I got the notion that a handmade product might be better, but strong scents are often a problem for me (and BJ's skin is very sensitive so unscented is usually preferable). Etsy is full of delectable handmade soap, but it turned out to be surprisingly difficult to find liquid hand soap, especially unscented.

So when I found the Liquid Castile Soap made by Soapomoke River, I decided to give it a try. It's made a huge difference! My hands are soft again and BJ's have healed up. Yay! This shop is full of all sorts of bath and body delights, and having just put in my second order (which was taken care of with the usual wonderful customer service!) I know I'm going to be a regular customer. I think with my next order, I'll try the Lavender Bath Fairy Dust!

Enjoy the interview! And be sure to enter the giveaway by following the rules at the end of this post!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I make luxury bath products, like bar soap, Bath Melts, lip balm, Aromatherapy To-Go sticks, and much, much more. My soap is categorized as luxury because of the type and quality of oils and butters I use in each batch. I got into soap making when I went to a craft fair and bought some delicious smelling handmade soap. When I used it, I was hooked! My skin felt soft and smooth and looked healthy and hydrated. I'm the type of person who sees something and thinks I can do that! So I got a ton of books and immersed myself in the soap world. When I felt I understood the process, I tried my hand at it—and I've never looked back!

When I decide to make a new batch of soap, I usually have a general idea in mind of the kind of soap I want to create. Recently, I wanted to make a coffee soap. I researched (I'm a big researcher!) how coffee reacts in soap and what kind of properties it lends to the final product and learned that coffee is a great deodorizer! So this batch is perfect for getting food smells off your hands in the kitchen or washing that outside smell off your dog. It's called Rinse and Shine.

When naming a soap, I look outside for inspiration. I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so I have a lot of beautiful and interesting things around me, like the Pocomoke Cypress Swamp (the soap named after this is Cypress Swamp and smells just like dirt!), Ocean City (there are many soaps names for things in Ocean City, like Barefoot Bohemian, In the Funhouse, and Scopers), and local nature (Osprey Eggshell, Loblolly Pine, and River Otter). I have over forty different kinds of soaps so far and they're so fun to create, I find myself constantly thinking of new recipes to try out.
2. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I got involved with Etsy after my co-worker introduced me to the site a few years ago. I love the unique and interesting things offered on Etsy, and I prefer to buy from an Etsy seller rather than the national bargain store down the street if I can find what I need from Etsy—and I usually can! When I started selling on Etsy, I knew it was going to be a bumpy road simply because of the amount of bath products found on Etsy, but I have been blessed with a lot of success so far.

3. What inspires your creations?

My creations are inspired by many different things. Often, friends and family will tell me they're looking for this or that and I should make it—and so I do! Recently I made a pre-shave oil and an aftershave for my husband who hates traditional stinging aftershaves. Also, when something strikes me as particularly Eastern Shore, or reminds me of the area, I try to think of a soap recipe to go along with it—that's how I came up with soaps like Waterman and Smith Island Cake. Farmers markets are big here, so I plan to introduce a tomato leaf scent in the spring. I like to include a little blurb about how the scent relates to the Eastern Shore and I put these on my Etsy listings and on product labels.

4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

My biggest challenge related to my Etsy shop is the type of product I offer. It's difficult to buy bath products over the internet without smelling them first. I try to be as descriptive as possible to help customers decide, but nothing can take the place of a nose! Many people are surprised at the different types of scents they're attracted to when they sniff soap in person. I am, too, sometimes!

5. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite item in my shop is the In the Buff Bath Melt. I always say if I'm ever forced to stop making bath products by some strange unimaginable circumstance, I'll find a way to sneak off and make Bath Melts! They're used at the end of a shower or bath to hydrate and smooth skin and because there's so much cocoa butter in them, they have a wonderful chocolate-y smell. I've always hated the feeling of putting on cold, slimy lotion after a bath, and these solve the problem perfectly!

6. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Persevere and don't take things too personally. There will be periods of time where nothing is sold, but things will pick up again! Also, remember what it was like to be starting out with your shop and support other Etsy sellers, especially if their shop has few sales.

7. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I was raised as a military child, so I've lived in six different states across the country.

I have a bachelor's in anthropology and a master's in history.

I'm a classically trained coloratura soprano.

I relax by spinning yarn on my wheel.

8. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

I have a website, and a Facebook fan page.

9 Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your shop or your work?

Since making my own bath products, I've become very aware of the low quality of store-bought products, even many of those that are expensive and marketed as high-end. I'm disappointed that many people seem to think that it's normal for soap to be drying and to make your skin feel like it's over-stretched and about to crack open! This isn't normal and you should never have to use soap that makes you feel less than wonderful. Try some handmade soap. You'll be pleasantly surprised!


Mama's Magic Studio will be treating one lucky winner to a gift certificate at Soapomoke River Bath Company! The value of the gift certificate will not exceed $15.00 (U.S. funds). Enter to win by leaving one or more comments on this post. See details below.

Please be sure each entry includes a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win! If you like you may spell it out, such as myemail at address dot com, to avoid spam, but entries without a valid email address will not be considered.

One Entry: Visit Soapomoke River Bath Company and choose which item is your favorite. Leave a comment on this post telling me which you like best.

One Entry: Become a follower here at Mama's Magic. (Use the Follow box on the right sidebar or click here.) Leave a comment on this post telling me you've done so.

One Entry: Become a Facebook fan of Mama's Magic Studio. Leave a comment on this post telling me you've done so. Be sure to include your Facebook name for verification!

One Entry: Become a Facebook fan of Soapomoke River Bath Company. Leave a comment on this post including your Facebook name.

One Entry: Post on your Facebook wall about this giveaway, including a link to this post. Leave a comment on this post telling me you've done so.

One Entry: Visit Mama's Magic Studio on Etsy and take a look around. Leave a comment on this post telling me which item you like best.

One Entry: Follow Mama's Magic on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway, including a link to this post. Include #mamasmagicgiveaway in your tweet and comment here on this post to let me know.

Three Entries: Blog about this giveaway on your own blog, including a link to this post. Leave a comment on this post telling me you've done so.

FINE PRINT: The giveaway ends at midnight (PST) on Thursday April 1st (no foolin!) and the winner will be chosen by random number. Winner will be contacted on Friday April 2nd. Winner must reply within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

Participants may enter as many times as they like up to 10 entries, using one each of the entry possibilities outlined above. Comment entries without a valid email address will not be considered. Void where prohibited. Entries open to everywhere that Soapomoke River will ship. $15 gift certificate valid only for a single order at Soapomoke River Company. If winner's order is less than $15, the remainder of the gift certificate is forfeit. If winner's order exceeds $15, winner pays the additional costs.

Good luck!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Busy, Busy

It's been a busy week for all of us, so busy that I've not even had time to get to the blog. My folks were in town visiting -- they left yesterday -- and the days were full of all the stuff that goes along with having visitors. We visited Happy Hollow Zoo for a second time, ran a bunch of errands, got in a good day's work at the old house, went on walks around campus, collected snails, rode the trike, visited our favorite ice cream parlor, played hide and seek... all the good, quotidian stuff that is even better when done in company with my parents. I miss them sorely already.

During the last part of my folks' visit, S and BJ were away from home visiting S's mom. They'd planned the trip before my parents decided to come visit, and it worked out rather nicely to have the extra company instead of being lonely for the boys. S and BJ flew down Monday, had some time with Nana J at Disneyland (BJ's first visit, which apparently went very well), then drove back home yesterday. Nana had decided a few months back that she wanted to give us her old car, a kind offer that we accepted, though it got a little complicated when it came to figuring out how to get the car from southern CA to our home. Taking advantage of S's spring break was the best option in the end.

I'm still sad about saying goodbye to my old '94 Saturn, which her car will replace. It was a very generous graduation gift from my parents, and that car and I have been through quite a bit in our travels from Delaware to Oklahoma to Arizona to California. We'll probably donate the car, and hopefully it will do good for somebody who can put it to good use.

I have a ton of pictures from my folks' visit, as is usually the case. (Thanks, Dad!) I'm too tired to go through them tonight, but I'll try to post some soon.

Along with being busy visiting with my parents, I'm happy to say that Mama's Magic Studio has had a burst of business. I've been busy making jewelry -- seems the bird's nest pendants are popular for Easter this year! I've sold several from my shop, and I've made two custom orders for the consignment shop. Unfortunately, I had a knife slip while slicing bread and got a bad gash on my first finger on my left hand. So wire work was impossible for a bit and is still a little painful. But I got done what needed to get done, and it felt good to be making things again. I have all sorts of ideas and plans, but with the move and everything I've not had much time to create. S promises the spring quarter will be more relaxed (a much deserved and desperately needed change of pace!) so I look forward to being able to work more regularly again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Not Saved, Not Earned...

Here's a moment I won't soon forget: BB was making a wish in the campus fountain, tossing in the penny that I gave her. As the coin splashed into the water, she shouted, "I wish for a penny!"

And then she looked at us to be sure we got the joke. I think I'm raising a comedienne. (At least she didn't dive into the water after her wishing penny!)

Happy Spring!

I'm delighted to say that it is indeed a happy first day of Spring over here at Mama's Magic Studio. Today was a balmy, beautiful day. My parents are here for a visit, which is always a happy thing. This morning we strolled through campus, admiring the blooming wisteria and blossoming trees, and headed over to the local farmer's market. We loaded up with yummy produce (and kettle corn, natch) and a dozen tamales for dinner. Then this afternoon, S and I finally had a chance to get some important work done over at the old house -- thanks, Mom and Dad, for the babysitting time!

All told, it was a day well-balanced between pleasure and duty, which I think is quite appropriate for an equinox.

But the happiest thing at the moment is the excellent news we received yesterday: we got lucky in the school lottery, so BJ will be attending our first choice for elementary school! I won't go into too much detail about the school itself (this being a public blog and me having some sense of internet safety) but suffice to say that I've only heard wonderful things about the school. And, most importantly, when I went to tour the school in January, I was thoroughly impressed. The teachers, the students, the staff, and the campus all felt right -- I could see BJ thriving there. It felt like a joyful place. And that seems particularly appropriate because learning is such a joyful, exciting thing for BJ. How wonderful it would be if school could continue that instead of squelching it, as happens alas all too often.

It's such a relief not to be worrying about that anymore! For more than a year now, I've been anxious about which school he'll go to. The not-knowing was excruciating for me. I have plenty of other things to fret about, of course, but I woke this morning with a physical sense of feeling lighter and less burdened, simply because I could let that particular worry go. It was a very nice way to start the new season. May this feeling continue!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Feature -- Dizzy Dragonflies & Knitting Dragonflies

As a dragonfly lover myself (exhibit A: my avatar!) I was tickled to see that the featured Etsyblogger for the month of March is Vicky, the owner of Dizzy Dragonflies. (She also runs Knitting Dragonflies, but right now, only her Dizzy Dragonflies shop has any items in stock.) But her shop isn't about dragonflies -- it's about yarn, which is another thing I love! I especially liked this Spring Violets hand dyed yarn.

Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I have been knitting since I was about 4, my grandmother taught me. So I have always played around with it. After years of making gifts, and requested items for friends and relatives this seemed a natural outlet.

I just recently started spinning and dyeing my own yarn, and I learned everything from the internet. It is so much fun to be a part of the entire process.

I love doing the spinning, knitting and dyeing. So I end up with more yarn and knitted items than I need.

I have a fast paced, high stress job, and find that creating is necessary for me. It relaxes me and lets me enter a different world. I just let go and start having fun.

2. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I read a lot of blogs, mostly knitting ones. Then I decided to start one myself, I met so many nice people, and many of them had shops on etsy. I started shopping there and then thought "what the heck" I'll try a shop myself.

3. What inspires your creations?

Nature is my inspiration, especially for the colors of my yarn that I dye. My husband and I love to camp and hike, and I take photos and sketch (and knit) during that time.

I'm also working on some spring/summer knit wear items, that I came up with during a hot weather camping trip.

4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

Promoting! I enjoy the creating process, but didn't think about how important networking and promoting was.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

As a knitter I tend to use a color to excess and then move to another. Right now I'm in my red/orange phase. After a winter of clouds and rain, I needed some bright colors. Turn It Down a Notch is one of the colorways I'm most pleased with.

6. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Stick with it. The economy goes up and down. Get out there and network. Add a link to your shop in your emails, and social networking sites. Let people know you are here. And photos!, Keep making them better, get some books from the library, study others that have good photos. Something not getting hits? Try taking different shots.

7. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations? (blog, website, flickr, facebook, twitter, etc…. please provide relevant links)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Hollow Zoo Preview

Yesterday we checked out Happy Hollow Park & Zoo's preview day (for members only all this week) and had a lovely time. It was especially nice that S was able to join us!
We've really missed the place, and I was nervous to see how it would be after the renovations. I really worried that it would seem overly sanitized and lose its old-school charm. I'm glad to say that, on the whole, the renovations worked well. The kids certainly approved! Benji was particularly charmed to meet "Danny" in person (in Dragon?) though BB wanted nothing to do with anything involving a big fuzzy suit. (One of the many reasons we won't be taking her to Disneyland anytime soon!)
I was very pleased to see that it still felt like Happy Hollow. Some parts were definitely new and shiny, but other parts were hardly changed at all. The place as a whole felt very open and green, which was lovely.
The new lemur areas and the new petting zoo (complete with barn) were big hits with everybody, especially Benji. He loved seeing all the zookeepers.

Where the old petting zoo used to be, there is now a "dinosaur excavation" sandbox. Both kids loved playing paleontologist!
Much of the old zoo area was the same -- I have to say I was sad to see that Sophia the jaguar did not benefit from a larger space, though she seemed pretty content up in her tree when we saw her. Other visits, she's done a lot of pacing, so it was nice to see her relaxing instead. I'm betting she's just glad to have a break from all the construction noise!
We packed a picnic lunch, so we didn't take advantage of the new restaurant this time -- but it looked promising. (Granted, they wouldn't have to do much to improve the former food options at Happy Hollow. Definitely one of the areas that needed updating.)
The brand new carousel was wonderful. All of us really enjoyed it and rode several times. BB seems to be over her fear of merry-go-rounds! Yay! She especially liked the giraffe.

BJ was a big fan of the seahorse.Later, I discovered that BJ now knows how to wink -- I think he'd just figured out how to while we were riding! As the carousel started up, he said, "Mommy! Take a picture of me winking!" And sure enough, he was:
One odd thing about the carousel (and the rides in general) was the muted music. All the rides had very quiet, canned, piped in music that didn't seem to quite match the rides. Not that I minded the lack of noise so much -- and I can imagine the workers are delighted not to have their ears ringing with repetitive, jarring melodies all day long. But on a merry-go-round, it just doesn't seem the same without a jingling tune!

Both kids loved the ladybugs and had fun riding together.
They were also especially happy that they could still ride the little cars.
There was no doubt that BJ remembered the park. He talked at length about what was new and what wasn't. BB claimed to remember some things like the cars as well, but it's been 20 months since the place was last open -- and she's only been alive just over 37 months! But who knows. She mentioned several times that the last time we were at the park, we ate chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Which is entirely possible; they have been very popular picnic treats for quite some time in our family.

I was glad that the kids were never particularly attached to the crooked house. It was still there, but they had closed it, and while we ate our picnic we saw many excited kids dash over to the house only to turn back, dejected, when they realized it was boarded up.
I loved watching the kids together at the park. They really got along well. That's not always the case, so when it happens it is gratifying to see!
One big disappointment: the renovation of the maze. BJ clearly remembered the old, colorful, concrete maze. In comparison, the new one seemed sanitized and simple. The walls were so short and there were so few genuine twists and turns that there was almost no chance of getting turned around. And isn't getting a little lost the best part of a maze?
Granted, the old maze was gritty and in need of repair -- not to mention all the hard concrete, which certainly doesn't jive with the safety standards of the 21st century. But frankly, the remodel felt to me a bit too much like a cattle chute.
But if they didn't quite get it right for the maze, they did very well with the new playground areas. BJ was thrilled by the enormous climbing structures with slides. They were a bit much for BB, surprisingly -- given how much she loves to climb! I'm sure that as she gets older, she'll enjoy it more. It's nice to see something that the kids will clearly continue to grow into as we visit the park in years to come.
I also liked seeing that the kids had so many opportunities to have active fun, not just sit passively on automated rides. The swing and spinner were very popular and had lines for them just as much as the rides did! We pushed the kids on the swing, and BB insisted on spinning her brother in the spider spinner.

We didn't get to do the rollercoaster or Danny the Dragon, because both were still closed. They have definitely updated the scenery for Danny, though. BB was very intrigued by this Oz scene which we could see alongside Danny's track. She wanted to know about the Wicked Witch and got S telling her all about Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road. "And what else happens scary in that story, Daddy?"
The new rides were fun, though the wait for them was longer than one might like. The kiddie swings only allow six riders at a time, so it took some time to get to our turn.

BB wanted nothing to do with the swings. "Maybe when I'm older," she said. So she and S went to talk some more about Dorothy and witches and the like, since the swings were right next to Danny's track.

BJ's favorite ride of the day was the last one we rode, a Frog Jump ride that BB decided was even more intimidating than the swings. (She waited in line a bit for the swings before deciding they were too scary; the frog ride got an immediate negative!) She and S tried out the puppet show while BJ and I waited in line.

Like the swings, the frog jump only had a few seats at a time (I think seven?) so it took a good 15 minutes for our turn. He wanted me to ride with him, and alas I didn't get a picture of us together. Too bad, because I'm usually not in the pictures because I'm busy taking them!

But even more than a picture of us on the ride together, I wish I had a recording of BJ's endorsement after we got off the froggie ride. S asked him if he liked it, and BJ replied, "Yeah! It made my penis tickle!"

(Apologies to future teenager BJ for publicly revealing such an embarrassing statement, but it was too priceless to go unrecorded. FWIW, I assure you, future BJ, that you were absolutely unselfconscious about it!)