I am home with four kids - two girls, two boys - ages 14, 6, 5 and 3 (and when I started this blog, just a little over two years ago, I had an infant, a 2yr old, 3yr old and 12yr old - feels like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't ;-). Until about four or five years ago, I worked in marketing. I have been and done many things - dancer, magazine "multi-tasker", advertising copywriter, gymnastics coach, resort town waitress, grad student, etc. Now my areas of expertise are different and diverse. I am savvy, efficient, patient and earthy (like it or not). I am a better cook, an Ok herb gardener, an impressive artist to my kids, an active and prolific photographer, a childrens' clothing stylist (in my head), a manager of all things "household" and a news enthusiast (from politics to celebrity). I am more cynical though less of a worrier / hypochondriac than I used to be. I am increasingly proud of what I do with kids, family and home, but I do still present myself as a "freelance writer".
For your day, that is? I am tired today - tossed and turned last night, but... had a great day at Kennywood!
Like I said, we did meet my cousins - found them having a burger, salad and hoagie lunch (when at the amusement park, you do the amusement park food too, right? Down to the funnel cakes and ice cream - in this park's case, many go for the fried Oreos - yep - you heard that right ;-) right near the carousel. My Olivia and constant companion, Olivia B, bee-lined with the my kids for the pirate ship ride (since they weren't hungry yet) and so the day began.
Kiddieland was next and the kids (9 total - the two Olivias, my three little ones and my cousins' kids - Maggie, Alex, Mallory and Jennifer) ran from ride to ride while the adults (again, quite a number of us - 10 total, I believe, including us, my aunt and uncle, my two cousins, Vicki and Cindy, their husbands, Gary and David, and Gary's parents - big group :-) sat and tried to alternately hydrate (drank bottles and bottles of water - lemonade, Coke, cherry slushies - anything cold and wet) and keep up with the running kids (and it was way over 90 degrees yesterday). After that, we took a break for lunch - partaking of fries, kid pasta and meatballs and some chicken fingers - in a semi-air conditioned little veranda-like / cafeteria style restaurant.
Following lunch, it was time for the big coasters, the scary upside down rides, the water rides and more. All of us avid riders, I think we all got to sample a big coaster or another wild ride of some kind at one point. Milo and Lil were often too short for some rides (Milo had to look longingly at the swings while the other kids rode, for example - Enzo barely big enough to get on), and Lil had to be distracted end of night while the whole brood got on the famed "Jack Rabbit" roller coaster. Though... she and I - and I rarely use this word - had a "magical" time on the carousel - yes, magical. The carousel is, first of all, a historic landmark, a true original - dating back to the beginnings of this park in the early 1900's. It was brightly lit, playing music and enticed Lilliana right over to it. Her little arms were filled with stuffed animals, all spontaneous gifts from passers-by who would ask, "Do you want this little toy, sweetie?" (Lil has that effect on people). She and I rode side by side - over and over.... She was thrilled to be sitting like a big girl on a horsey -though wanted to hold my hand. She pointed and giggled and cuddled with me and just had a great time.
All in all, just a great day -felt like we were on vacation. The little kids thought the Olivias were just great and begged to sit next to them on all the rides (my Olivia was disappointed that she didn't get to do the Sky Coaster which is basically like bungee jumping and para-sailing combined, but she had fun anyway - AND called me a chicken for not wanting to do it - truthfully, seems kinda fun - albeit really scary - but it costs extra to do - a lot extra, which irritates me for some reason - guess I'm a grumpy "old person" now ;-). All of us adults divided and conquered, so to speak - let grandparents watch little ones (Lil rode the Turtle, another original ride that overlooks the valley and the river, with Gary's Mom and other cousins) while we coaster lovers took the kids, often, on their first scary thrill ride - or, in hubby's case, firsts for our boys riding together on some bigger rides - one where they got soaking wet ;-).
End of night found hubby and I watching a laser show, singing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" and drinking an icy Coke out of our "Kennywood sippy cup" with the boys - then taking one last fun dark ride on the Jack Rabbit (those old wooden coasters in the dark ... wild - Milo clung to me like a little monkey though insisted on the very front car - equally brave Enzo the very back with Daddy) while the girls took Lil for cheesey bacon fries in the "Potato Patch". Riding home, I dispensed snacks and water - we sat in traffic for only a short time (for those of you who've heard of the Rankin Bridge construction) - we joked with our two teen "texters", already contacting friends - Lil fell asleep - the boys were still excited and talking about the day - hubby and I no longer arguing (like we had been a day before re: my job search "decision" :-) but enjoying each other and the family. So much fun. Once home, we washed the "park grime" off of everyone, dispensed milk and snacks and sent all sleepy ones to bed - hubby, Olivia and I raced each other to the shower - then made iced green tea and chicken soup and listened to a thunder storm that came out of nowhere and ... above all ... cooled the air temporarily and made everything smell pleasantly muddy and green :-). Jason Schwartzman on Jimmy Kimmel Live late night was funny.
A good day.
Photos: Late night on the carousel (have many more to download from my camera - which I will display when I'm reminiscing, as I always do, in a few weeks - gotta love the immediate satisfaction of the iPhone photos, though :-).