Summer Adventures: Maritime Aquarium

 Emi has been asking to visit the aquarium on a weekly basis. She loves watching the fish, but we rarely make the trip over to the aquarium….for a few different reasons. 1) It is pretty expensive (so we ended up getting the membership this time, so future visits are free). 2)Parking isn’t cheap. 3) I loath aquariums (which is mostly why we haven’t visited).

In fact, we hadn’t visited this aquarium since October 2015. My grandma came to visit us and visiting an aquarium was on her bucket list, so of course we decided to take her here for the day. She LOVED it. Anyway, so Emi wanted to go…so after Mia’s last day of school we made an impromptu visit. We picked Mia up, swung by Burger King for a quick lunch, and then made our way up to Norwalk to visit The Maritime Aquarium.

When we first entered, we noticed that they had a new coral reef display. There were so many “Dory” fish that it was an instant success.


We then walked over to the shipwreck. A giant sea turtle swam right up to the glass and gave Mia a good scare. Emi said, “Dont worry Mia. It’s just a turtle.”  There is something very relaxing about watching giant turtles swimming around. 

Next, we saw the octopus. Emi’s FAVORITE! She has been talking about seeing this guy forever. We also enjoyed watching the jelly fish swim around.

Our next stop was the shark tank. 


Finally we made it to a touch tank. We were able to get our hands on a scallop, crab, snails, and a starfish.


Shark divers!


We also stopped by to see Toothless. This is a black dragon and the inspiration for the character from “How to Train Your Dragon”‘….supposedly.


We also took a peak at the meerkats. It seems so random that an aquarium has these guys. When we have been here in the past, they have always been sleeping. However, on this trip….they were up playing and running about. One was even sitting directly on top of the observation bubble.

Next we went over to see the rays and sharks.


The pool for the rays.

I should have snapped a picture of the big screen that they have where you can design a sea animal and then let it loose into the picture. Emi took her time coloring and then recoloring a sea turtle.  She named her “Turtle.”  

Mia took her time creating this shark. She chose to name her Mia after herself πŸ™‚

Our final stop of the afternoon was the little fishing boat.


Oh no! A shark!

After a long day, we went home and the girls were in bed by like 6:00! 

Summer Adventures: Selleck Woods

 Last summer, Mia ended up doing 6 weeks of full day summer camp. It was intense, and she came home exhausted every day. Emi and I did several mommy and me type of classes, but we had to make sure we were home in plenty of time to have dinner ready and to meet Mia’s bus. It just felt way too busy.

This summer we decided to take a different approach. Mia and Emi will attend one week of half day dance camp at the beginning of summer break and two weeks of half day farm camp at the beginning of August. So, more time together and less time (a lot less) being away from home. So out of 13 weeks, they will only have camp for 3 weeks.

With all of that being said, I want to make sure that we are having lots of adventures. I’m not a huge fan of the whole “bucket list” thing, but I do like the idea of having some different summer adventures.

Today (May 17), the three of us were going to spend the afternoon at the beach. It was going to be really hot, and it would be a perfect first summer beach day (and yes I know it is still spring…but school is out for us next week). However, we got an invite to go trail walking in a nature preserve…after consulting with the girls…we decided a “nature bath” would be a good adventure to take.

So, we packed a gourmet lunch of PBJs, and I sliced up some watermelon for all of the kids….and we hit the road. About 30 minutes later, we were at Selleck’s Woods or Selleck Dunlap Woods. 

My girls were off and running as soon as we arrived. Look at all of that gorgeous greenery.



Emi and her friend were glued together while we were here. So great to have a playdate with friends who have 2 kids of similar ages.

This place is magical. There are streams, ponds, marshes, butterfly gardens, duck crossings, and more. Also, it is only two miles worth of trails. Very manageable with kids.


The girls had a great time running through the woods, imagining they were dinosaurs, smacking trees with sticks, throwing rocks in streams, and just being crazy. They also fell down and got countless scrapes and cuts. Living life to the fullest as preschoolers.

Taking a break after climbing up this rock.


The girls loved walking along this ring of stumps. The kids looked so cute in this pic. I did crop out their friends….as their faces were a little too clear in this pic.

After about an hour, we walked back to the cars and brought out a picnic dinner. The kids all enjoyed it and ate tons of watermelon. They finished off dinner with some homemade trail mix, and we then headed back into the woods for another half hour.

Finally, the mosquitos were starting to get the best of us, so we called it a night. We loaded back into the car and were able to make it back to our village just in time to meet Ten at the train station. 

We got home and everyone showered. We were covered in dirt and sweat. The shower was awesome. We then did a tick check and found a big splinter on Mia. We took care of that and put medicine on all of their scrapes and cuts. After reading two books all about T-Rex, the girls fell asleep immediately. Exhausted but happy.

Emi’s Halloween Party

I am several posts behind…which only proves to me that we really do too much. A problem that we are currently working on in earnest.

So, I wanted to share a few pictures from Emi’s Halloween parties. 

Emi chose Alice in Wonderland. She loves Alice because she jumps down the rabbit hole and her dress poofs out like an umbrella.

Emi had her first Halloween party at school, but unfortunately parents could not attend. However, I was able to volunteer to bring a treat for the class. I was kind of scratching my head on what to do. Soooo many people where we live are kind of crazy (imo) about what their kids eat….to an extreme…so I had to get creative. I ordered some ice cream cups and decided to draw these faces on them. Sharpies have proven to be my best friend.  

Inside I put watermelon, pineapple, and organic blueberries. The teachers said that the kids loved it!


A few of the goodies in her treat bag. The rubber duck is what we brought. Each child had to bring a small item to hand out for trick-or-treating in class…and the ducks were our contribution.


We also did Halloween themed days in dancing and music class. 


Emi had a great lead up to actual Halloween. She was so excited to get to do more this year….and the nicest part was that she wanted to share everything with Mia. Mia’s post and actual Halloween to follow.

Pumpkin Patch


Hay maze…we let the girls go in alone…and then I panicked and sent Ten in after them.


Emi’s favorite for the past 3 years now.


Vegetarian Yakisoba


The Pumpkin Lady was a sheriff this year.


One of the elementary schools in our town puts on an amazing fall festival each year. There are bouncy houses, fun games, a haunted house, amazing food, and a Lil Tykes village where the littlest kids can play. This is our third year to attend, and we had an awesome time….however, I realized that this festival is actually super expensive. $1 per ticket….and the little, tiny hay maze was 2 tickets…so $4 for about 1 minute of fun. Also, $6 for yakisoba…I don’t know.

Either way, this year the girls had so much fun. They were terrified of the bouncy houses but loved the games. Just a nice day out in New England.

Open House

This past Tuesday, we attended Mia’s open house at school. I definitely love the open house concept more than the Japanese observation day. It is just a much more relaxed setting and the parents and kids can all get to know each other a little better.

Ten got off of work a little earlier than usual, and we drove the 30 min to Mia’s school. I had volunteered to bring a fruit tray, so before leaving the house I washed, cut up, and skewered a bunch of fruit. 

My “fruit tray” for the event. People LOVED it, and the best part was that none of it went to waste. I always try to not bring a huge massive amount, and I try to make it look pretty so people will want to eat it.

For the pumpkin, I drew and colored the face with a sharpie, and right before the event starte we pulled into a parking lot and stuck the fruit into the pumpkin. This guy is still sitting in Mia’s classroom. πŸ™‚

Anyway, the event was very low key. Mia showed us her artwork, played with friends, and then had a sing a long with her music teacher.

Me, Mia, and Emi…Ten took all of the pics this night.

Mia and Emi having a great time with their friend.    
Also, here is a pic of Mia’s scarecrow.

His name is orange…and he has bugs in his boots and a crazy centipede for a mouth…haha. I can hear Mia saying this.

A few quick photos. We really love this school so much and can’t wait for Emi to start next year.

Note: WordPress won’t let me fix a few typos….and didn’t save part of this post…but still posting this little bit :/

We had visitors…

 So last week, we were able to host Ten’s aunt and uncle from Kobe! They were taking their retirement vacation wich included a few days in NYC, Yellow Stone, Vegas….and honestly I forget where else…but they had a very busy schedule.  

One of the awesome things was…I got a Japanese housewife for a day. I joke with Ten about this all of the time. No, but his aunt spent basically one full day at our house cooking. She loves making onigiri and is planning on opening her own shop when they get back to Japan.

They also spent a lot of time with the girls doing things like playing, doing homework, and reading. The girls are seriously in love with their great uncle. Emi was fairly terrified at first though.

 It was very nice getting to spend some extremely rare time with Ten’s family. It was really good for everyone…but after a week it was also nice to get our space back πŸ˜‰

The Blaze

I am really falling behind with my blog here (and housework and meal prep and just about everything). Out of town guests at the beginning of the school year can really throw off the schedule!

Anyway, here is our visit to one of our absolute favorite events to attend during Halloween. We also planned a little bit better this year, so that made it a lot more enjoyable. Example: choosing the first time slot of the night was a lot less spooky for the kids and saved us tons of time by not having to deal with traffic. 

Right before entering the event. Mia wanted to tie her hoody around her shoulders like her ballet teacher does…haha


Emi at the first entrance point.


They have so many of these in the little courtyard outside of the food and gift tents…and we took pictures at every single one..I will save you the pain of viewing all of those.


Scary faces…and my extremely round face.


And we begin our walk…


Awesome Frankenstein…


Wedding cake made from carved pumpkins.


This tunnel changed colors to music. Very pretty.


A little Hocus Pocus


We walked over the Pumpkin Zee Bridge πŸ˜‰


…and each of the girls chose this sucker as their treat for the ride home.


Short and sweet. We just snapped a few pics as we mainly wanted to just enjoy the atmosphere. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Another fall festival

I think October is a month long fall festival for us, and that is fine because we love them!

Last Sunday, we made a trip to the Japanese School of New York to attend their festival. Mia had such a great time and was able to catch up with so many of her friends. 

We can NEVER escape this game. Yo-yo fishing and face painting are the BEST if you ask these two.

We also headed indoors to try our luck at some games.  



Scooping…not sure if that gives you an idea of what this is…but you basically get to scoop up some prizes into a bag.


Raffle time. No win this time, but so much fun.


We spent a lot of time in the courtyard just playing with friends.


It was a really nice event, and seriously not a word of English was to be heard. Ten loved that it was just like a school in Japan…except for in the US. 

In other non festival related events. Chelsea Piers…thank you for creating this giant ball pit….with a trampoline for jumping into it. Childhood dreams right here.

Also, safety kid Emi. She looked so cute in her hat.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

 Last weekend, we made our way toSunnyside  to learn a bit about Washington Irving and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I LOVE that we live such a short drive from this place. Of course, we read the book to the girls before we went and watched the Disney version of the movie.

Heading down the hill to his house. Such a perfect fall day.


These two were buddies for most of the day.


I love this view! Just as impressive as the first time we saw it last year.

  Unfortunately, no photos are allowed in the home…but it is extremely well preserved. In fact, the study is the most authentic historic room in the country.

Hanging out on Irving’s front porch.


The back of the house.


Taking a stroll through the grounds before we went to watch a shadow puppet show of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


An ice house.


Is this Mia or Emi? i honestly can’t tell.


Doing a little tree climbing as well. I can’t wait until all of the leaves turn colors in the coming weeks.

Before we watched the puppet show, we also took some time to make a craft. Emi basically played with her chestnut while Mia made a really cute bat.


Finally, in out seats to watch the shadow puppet show. We love old fashioned entertainment.

After the puppet show, we had to head back home. We had to skip the spooky walk again this year. 😦 One of these days we will get to it.

    Sleepy Hollow year 2. Thinking this is the beginning of a tradition.