Tag Archives: #outdoorfun

NY, NY Year-Round!

How do you find family fun when it appears to be hidden inside this enormous city!  

Here’s just a glimpse at what is going on at any given time of the year:

January – March:

If snow is not your thing… hit up a museum or a musical!  There are countless options, but the Children’s Museum is in “our backyard” and it’s my son’s favorite!  Aladdin the Broadway Musical, and Lion King tend to be family favorites… we also enjoyed School of Rock!

Ice skate!  …there’s a few spots around town, but of course, most popular is “The Rink”! Clink the link for more information about Rockefeller Center ice skating!

If it’s snowy… sled!  …families walk to various areas of Manhattan parks to slip, slide and sled!

No snow?  No problem… we hit up one of the many playgrounds in Central Park, (they have even been renovated since this photo below)!  Then warm up with some yummy NYC pizza!

Where’s the BEST pizza?  Ray’s used to be THE most talked about pizza, and for good reason!  However we have found that today various Ray’s locations do not live up to the hype.  We love pizza from Patsy’s, Pappardella, and Little Italy Pizza.  There’s also Sabas!  (just a few of my picks on the UWS)!

A brisk winter’s walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day or a visit to the Freedom Tower (with its incredible views) with take your breath away!

Spectacular!      

 …and every March 17th there is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

…still slushy outside?  Let’s head to Frames Bowling (near Times Square)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring & Summer!

How about a trip on the Staten Island Ferry or a visit to Lady Liberty?

Explore Central Park…. (near the UWS) there’s Turtle Pond, and the Belvedere Castle…. and OH so much more!  Can you see the little turtle swimming below?

We like to go to playgrounds… Adventure Playground (in Central Park at W. 67th Street) is wonderful!  Another favorite is “Elephant” Playground in Riverside Park (at W. 76th and Riverside Dr.)!

Below: A Spring play date on a chilly morning in Adventure Playground, and splashing around in Elephant Playground in June!


My son loves to turn the scorching hot slide (at Elephant Playground) into a thrilling water slide!  …the only way to go down on sizzling days!

Memorial Day & the 4th of July are very crowded in NYC (lots of tourists) so besides visiting friends, or getting a glimpse of the fireworks from our rooftop we didn’t do too much!  My good friend had a GOOD idea for the 4th of July:  #1.  Find out where the fireworks will be set off (locations vary).  #2  Rent a hotel room facing the view and #3 Enjoy!  Her six-year-old and entire family had a BLAST!  I wish I would have thought of that!

Lots of city people head out to The Hampton’s & surrounding beaches.  (but travel to and from can be difficult and pricey).  We have visited Coney Island & Rockaway Beach.  On my last Coney Island trip, I was baffled by the amount of litter in the ocean (and even found myself cleaning up).  Sigh.  Not very relaxing… but I usually fall into the “good samaritan” category!

After a long day at the beach – a hot dog and fries from Nathan’s is always a good idea!  Lines are long, no matter how many employees are working!  It’s definitely a popular attraction!

Ready for a change up?  Then you’re Brooklyn bound!  (below):

We take the subway to the nearest stop, then walk to Pier 6!  Henry loves it, and there are interactive gears, and water sprays and such!  I find it to be a bit loud at times (when you are surrounded by a bounty of screaming kids and screaming parents sometimes screaming at their kids).  One day towards the end of summer I saw two moms drinking Brooklyn Brewery beers… Hells yeah, I walked a few paces and grabbed one myself.  There’s also food, treats, seating, nearby bathrooms, and more!

September – December

There’s all the back-to-school excitement and even meets-ups with friends at the school…. September is quite busy!

Fall Festivals are all around in October (we even have one right at our kiddo’s school).  Some head out to farms to partake in traditional pumpkin & apple picking experiences.  I have never gone to a farm — but I have gone to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween thrills at it’s best!

Find out if the Legend of the Headless Horseman is true!  The NYC metro system can get you there, and for more info — just click here!

Trick-or-treating has its “hot spots” for sure!  In the UWS, it’s on 69th Street!  It is incredibly crowded and can be overstimulating so proceed with caution!

Cute friends: October 31, and early November at our favorite playground (Metal Park)!

Another advantage of living on the UWS is — it’s the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  On the Wednesday evening before there’s an organized “walk through the floats” event (and it’s free)!

Talk about being unclose and personal with a lot of hot air!  This November— I am bringing the wide angled camera lens!  Of course some of our friends attend the parade Thursday morning — but we prefer to watch on TV!

     

Make sure to treat your little girl (or boy) to tea at the Alice In Wonderland themed cafe Alice’s Tea Cup any time of the year.  The food is truly amazing, and it’s touted as “New York’s most whimsical tea house”!  My kids love it!

If your kiddo loves dinosaurs, and space and sea life… I have got a place for you!  Oh –  the long awaited Butterfly Conservatory is now open too… I have to go back!  My super lucky son gets to visit this museum on school field trips!  (and in the summer we hit up their splash pad fountains)… really cool.  Have you guessed the place yet?

The Museum of Natural History on the UWS… it’s DYNO-MITE!

You are going to need an entire day for this museum — and at the end of your visit — fatigue may set in!  Many head to SHAKE SHACK (across the street) for dinner– then collapse!

December in NYC — there’s just too much to mention, a link here will give you all the ideas!

Remember this was only a glimpse of family fun!  Whew! 

 

 

Dippy Drippy Pumpkins

From my last post — I mentioned that we had a Soccer ‘N Pumpkins in the Park play day…

I saw a cool idea on Pinterest and wanted to do a test run before-hand!  Hmmmm– Michael’s craft store is up near W. 100th Street, I am at W. 77th…  Maybe I could copy the idea with different paint from a store closer by?  Is that a DIPPY idea?  

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We have Flying Tiger (party store) nearby and their stuff is CHEAP!  Let’s see what happens!

Step 1 –    Spray paint your pumpkin so the drizzly paint will adhere to it.  We chose orange: spray    We went up on our roof top for this!  Easy!  Oooo shiny.

spray2dribble not-quite

Step 2  

Place your pumpkin on top of something (I repurposed an old juice box.  The idea is that the paint will drizzle all the way down to the bottom and not create a huge puddle

underneath.  I shook the paint a little, the top flew off and it covered parts of the wall and carpet!  What?!  I didn’t even open the top and peel the foil off yet!  Then we had problems squeezing it out for Step 3.  Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have been able to do it.

Step 3  Hold the paint container upside down and start drizzling paint onto the stem, then let the paint slide down the pumpkin like a waterfall.  Henry & I both squeezed the paint together….. It started to look weird; then I found myself saying, “Henry I think that’s enough paint.  It looks like puke.”

Poor kid — he was so excited.  I wiped off the Flying Tiger paint with paper towels (returned the yucky paint), then got the RIGHT kind of acrylic paint at Michael’s craft store.

Step 3 (again)

Drizzle CRAFT SMART acrylic paint.  Don’t be DIPPY like me and buy the cheap imitation.  I repurposed a used plastic cup for the run-off; (there is still residue from the old paint though).  Step 4: sprinkle with glitter (optional) and let dry.

 paint2    Much better!    again

Henry had so much fun — he wanted to keep going!  I had some foam pumpkin cut-outs (from Michael’s) and foam brushes (from Flying Tiger).  We continued with more creations.  Our cat wanted to check things out too!

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The cute gold party plates are from Flying Tiger.

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We also got the large confetti pieces at Flying Tiger; glue and marker from Michael’s.

img_9590 I don’t know if you can tell — but Louie the cat has a special yellow pumpkin with green paw-print eyes & nose.  Then I clipped two confetti pieces to look more like cat ears (in a triangular shape).

Here is how it looked in the park…  

We brought orange and red spray paint, and ended up using mostly red.  I bought some paper bowls (on clearance at a drug store).  They propped up the pumpkins, and let the paint drizzle down (the lid of the bowl caught the run-off).

colors  The red paint was pretty!  colors5

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The pumpkins were a hit!  The washable paint was a relief to all the parents!  Henry’s class of 6-year-olds were able to create some real magic here, but little siblings had a tough time.  I wouldn’t recommend this to kids younger than five.

We topped off the wet paint with a little glitter (from Flying Tiger). It reminded me of pixie dust;  It’s very fine and stays put (does not rub off and get all over clothes or the home).  Nice!  Once the pumpkins are dry — you can glue on some silly plastic spiders & snakes or bugs.  Again Flying Tiger had plenty of that stuff — even glow-in-the-dark spiders and snakes!

Finishing Up:  I bought medium paper bags with handles (at Michael’s).  The pumpkins were about 1/2 way dry by the time parents were ready to leave.  I used a napkin to pick up the pumpkin by the stem and placed the semi-dry pumpkin in the paper bag; an easy carry home project.  Some of the kids got Autumn leaves stuck in their pumpkins which was really cool… ahhhhh the joys of making a mess outside!

The younger siblings loved painting the foam cut outs… Later when I arrived at home I looked inside my paper bag; Two foam pumpkins accidentally bumped into each other and the result was this:

scary

Yes, scary!  I had Pre-K kids opening everything, messes were made but contained on the huge rectangular plastic table cloth I put down on the grass.  I used small sticks to stake the plastic table cloth down (so the wind didn’t blow it away).  Since no one went home with a painted little sibling or a painted dog I would say it was a good day!

 

Bedtime Blues

The midnight conversation…

Henry:  “Mom, Mom!  ….Mom….Mom… Can you please come up (in my loft)?

Seth: “Henry I’ll come up.  Daddy can come up… Daddy can come up.”

Henry: “Nooooooooo.”

Seth: “Daddy can cuddle.”

Henry: “Ugggggggh.  But I don’t want you.  I just want Mom.”

Seth: “But Daddy can give hugs.”

Henry: “But sometimes I am afraid to cuddle with dad.”  — OK he’s a big liar now!

Seth:  “Why?”

Henry: “Cause sometimes I just like girls.  I’m too hot up here.  I just need to go downstairs.  Downstairs is a perfect temperature.  My knee hurts. I need to go downstairs.  I just need Mom.  I don’t like you.”

Henry repeated this again, and the next thing I knew Seth slept up in the loft and Henry slept with me.   Zzzzzzzzzz.

Some, Some, Summer Time !

Just a look back on our first LAS VEGAS SUMMER!

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At the start of SUMMER BREAK — I took Henry to a week camp at SPORTS SOCIAL!  Then we continued our weekly Saturday lessons there!

With 110 to 114 degrees out — indoor fun is essential!  (Above) we are at Gravady Extreme Sports, and The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. 

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Mom went to Home Depot and Lowes for wood, (all shapes and sizes), pipes, tubes, safety goggles, nails, tools, etc., All of this kept him busy outside for about 20 minutes.  (kidding)

 

FullSizeRender lunch date… and…  FullSizeRender

What could be better than catching up with a good friend?

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We used the Summerlin Community Pool a lot!  It was a great place to chill out!

FullSizeRender  …we got it made in the shade at Red Rock!

 

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The Summerlin 4th of July parade was really impressive!  Click on the link for more pictures submitted by the community.  (scroll down to Photo Contest Entries).

 

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Making new friends and new discoveries…

 

  IMG_2662  Staying busy inside the air-conditioned house!   I set up a SCIENCE TEA PARTY FOR HENRY!  This is easy, just use some tea cups, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring….  We recorded our findings afterwards– just to be extra-scientific!

 

 

 

 

DSC_9516  Road trip to Ojai, CA!!!

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Ojai, CA has hiking, biking, swimming holes, water falls…..

 

Then Henry and I took an impromptu drive on the P.C.H. to Malibu!  Gorgeous ride up, and a cool down on the beach.

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IMG_3423        DSC_9701 Malibu coastline (on the left) and a little camp out in Mt. Charleston (to the right).

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Nothing BUTT fun!

  We enjoyed special friends, books, movies, ice-cream, popcorn, parks and playgrounds!  Mom is wiped out

 

 

Construction in Vegas!!

Who knew that construction could be this fun?  …And Sunday we got to experience it first hand at a pretty cool birthday party!

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One of Henry’s newest friends (Connor) invited us to have a blast today!

A bright, beautiful sunny day (with hardly any clouds) in a neighboring park set the scene….

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I dig it!

There was a super fun play ground, and lots of sand to dig, dig, dig!  Connor’s mom was pretty awesome with getting all of the orange cones set up, constructions signs, shovels, buckets and hardhats!

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There was the yellow caution tape and little construction vehicles too.

IMG_0343Henry had to start off slow —  he always needs some time to warm up to a new environment.

Then– the kiddos grabbed a bucket and went hunting for prizes…Next came digging…and exploring geodes!  Constructions hats on — and special care when using the hammers please!  It was so fun to watch all the kiddos take a turn with the hammer to open their very own unique geode!  …magic!  Henry loved it!

 

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Let’s ROCK!

Balloons, chocolate cake (that looked like cookie crumble dirt) and fun decorations set the mood for an awesome day!

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Caution: Kids having fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0353    Hammer time!   IMG_0350

IMG_0342We are so thankful for the invitation!  Thanks so much to Connor’s mom for the amazing food, fun, new friends, and discoveries!  Vegas ROCKS!

IMG_0347  This party was a HIT!  IMG_0349

We even got a Home Depot canvas work apron filled with snacks as our goodie bag!  Genius!

Vegas Valentines

I joined a “Mommy Group” that mainly meets up on weekends to try to make new Las Vegas friends!  Our first meeting was really great… Super nice ladies, very diverse backgrounds, and very cute kids similar in age to Henry.  Henry was so busy playing on the playground structures though — he didn’t connect too tightly just yet.  Henry just gets so excited to play on the slides and tunnels and swings, he just can’t help himself!  Joining this group gets me better acquainted to new Vegas family-friendly-fun activities, and to Las Vegas itself.

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Valentine’s goodies

Tomorrow we are going back at it for a Valentines themed park party.  I wanted to make goodie bags because goodie bags really let me use my creativity and imagination.

Here’s how I made them:

Party City:

I bought clear party bags, and small paper heart doilies.

World Market/Cost Plus:

I picked up Old Fashioned small Valentine cards (I didn’t use the small envelopes that came with them), pink and red paper ribbon, small cinnamon heart candy (2 small bags), one bag of small foil-wrapped chocolate hearts.

Whole Foods:

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1 bag of Natural mini marshmallows, and a small bag of natural jelly beans in Bulk Foods (strawberry and pomegranate).

 

 

 

 

IMG_0350       So the kiddies will get a small treat (NUT-FREE) of about 13-15 marshmallows, a few cinnamon hearts, a few jelly beans, one chocolate heart, and the cute doily and old fashioned small card — with LOTS of pretty ribbon.  Overall — not too much of a calorie splurge; The cinnamon hearts probably have some kind of weird chemical in them — but everything else should be OK.  I actually remember eating those small cinnamon hearts when I was in grade school — so I had to throw them in just for the fun of it!  I made about 20 bags.  I didn’t sign the cards because I didn’t want ink mixing in with the treats.  It was a fun evening activity with Henry too!  Although he ate a lot of marshmallows, and left most of the work for me!

Disney is Tricky

Is it possible for a kid to NOT like Disney?

We took Henry to Disneyland when he was FREE (the summer before his third birthday) with his two older sisters; He seemed a bit agitated for most of the day.  We took turns watching him, buying him bubbles, and riding a few rides.  We were not really convinced he liked it.  Back then — we suspected he had ASD but we were not 100% sure.  The crowds… the noise… and the stimulation —  that is always a little painful for me; but it’s way more painful for someone with sensory issues and/or someone on the spectrum!  Now that he is almost five years old….Should we try it again?

Seth had a break from work in late January — so we thought since it was a “non-prime time” time (fewer crowds) we would go for just the day….and give it a shot!

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His first entrance through the gate as a paid customer!

New experiences are tough on Henry.  They are accompanied by a lot of anxiety, and repetitive questions; if the anxiety escalates — there is loud screaming and uncontrollable tantrums.  From an on-looker he just looks like a “bratty kid” who misbehaves.  That is one of the hard things about Henry’s ASD….it’s invisible.

We brought copies of his ASD test results, and birth certificate, and sought out Guest Services; they didn’t need to look at our papers though– they have a different way of assessing one’s need for help.  (Yes– there are too many “scammers” out there)!

Seth was a little reluctant to ask, he thought Henry had made so much progress over the last year —  maybe he would be OK.  And we tried to prepare as much as possible.


 

Preparation

I had put “Disney” on his weekly visual calendar at home, and we told him all about it!  We pre-purchased our tickets and did our research.  I got Henry to watch a little of the old-school Disney movies on Netflix.  We watched a little of Dumbo (and I explained that there was going to be a Dumbo ride)!  And he even liked the “Aristocats” movie!  It’s challenging getting him to watch a new movie though.  He loves the repetition of his newer “go-to” movies.

Then we talked about Disneyland….and talked and talked!  We talked about rides and Mickey and all the characters; we went on-line and showed him everything on our computer.  We downloaded the free Disney app that shows all the wait times for each attraction.  Then we bought him a new Mickey shirt (his older one was getting very small) and a little stuffed Mickey character to play with.  I brought along Henry’s favorite hat (that covers his ears to block out noise) and his I-Pad; Then I packed my “mom bag” for the park!

To a little boy — Disneyland is BIG!  He was pretty scared!  In retrospect I should have gotten Henry to color a few Disneyland coloring sheets before we went.  Every time I went to the store though I couldn’t find any!  I always found GIRL Disney coloring books, with plenty of princesses, and Minnie characters– but I just wanted a gender neutral Disney-Mickey-Goofy-Minnie-Donald-cool-not on cheap newsprint paper-coloring book.


At Disneyland

…..he was scared to pass through the admission gates.  But once we got him in — we went right to Guest Services.  We met with a wonderful cast member named Kelsey.  We needed to spend a lot of time with her, and pretty much establish a rapport with her so Henry knew we could trust this new environment.  Henry also needed his I-Pad (to play a familiar game).  I knew if he found out  Kelsey’s age — he would like that too.  That makes him feel good.  He usually asks young people their age when he meets them.  And he loves numbers.  Once Henry found out Kelsey was 22, he felt a lot better.  Then Kelsey got us off to a horse and trolly ride; Henry loved it; he started to warm up!  We had done motor trollies before at The Grove in L.A. — so this was a familiar feeling to him.  He also loves horses and ponies.  warming up

Seth and I were both so excited!  Feelings and overwhelming happiness from our own childhood experience at Disney flooded our system.  I don’t think Henry will  have those exact same feelings though…..but he did have fun!  Here’s how I think it went:

Children of similar age (to Henry):  Thrilled to enter the park, they skip and run towards the park…anticipation!  Happy screams!

Henry: Anxious about entering the park.  The park looks enormous.  He is quiet and afraid.  He walks very slow.

Children of similar age: They WANT to meet Mickey and all of the characters!  They feel so connected to these cute/furry/friendly characters.  Some kiddos want autographs.  There’s a WOW factor!

Henry: He wanted to run away from the characters….”they are scary”….he does not want a picture with them.  He screams.  He screams when daddy takes a picture with Chip ‘n Dale.  They look very BIG, especially Goofy — Goofy is enormous!

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Children of similar age: Ready to ride the rides!  Let’s go!

Henry: Reluctant to try a ride…he looks for something familiar …something he can feel comfortable on.  He verbalizes thoughts about going home, but wants to stay and have fun.  He is at odds with his emotions.

Children of similar age: They are in line for their favorite ride.

Henry: Lines are hard; They can cause anxiety.  Guest services helps us by using their technology (and compassion) to get Henry on a popular ride with very little wait time.  They want him to be able to access the park and have fun!

Children of similar age: They don’t notice all of the loud piped in music and announcements and sound effects…and crowd noise.

Henry: He needs his hat which covers his ears (he prefers this over the noise canceling headphones).

Children of similar age: Enter the amazing candy stores to look for a tasty treat.  The rows and rows of cotton candies, sweets and lollypops are truly a work of art!

Henry: Enters the candy stores to look at ceiling fans.  He doesn’t even care about the confections.    He never asks us for candy or ice cream or treats.

Children of similar age: Enjoy the park for what it is: pretend / play / fantasy.

Henry: Anything that is pretend play or fantasy doesn’t make any sense.

Children (boys) of similar age: Goof off in line, and use pretend guns and lose themselves in the fantasy.

Henry: (looking at them like) What are they doing?

Children of similar age:  on rides – ex. Pirates of the Caribbean — Enjoy the fantasy the ride is providing.  Pretend fire, guns, shots are cool!  They laugh, and become amused.

Henry: on Pirates of the Caribbean — Why is it dark in here?  Is it day or night?  (It seems like night but it is daytime outside).  Why are the pirates fighting?  Why are we going through a cannonball fight?  Why does that one pirate seem so angry?  Why are they firing off shots and cannons….the water is splashing.  It’s loud.  That is scary.  Why are we riding through something scary like burning buildings.  “I want to get out”…..”Is it over?”

Children of similar age :on Big Thunder Mountain (roller coaster): They seem to enjoy the ride.

Henry on Thunder Mountain: Why is this going so loud, fast, and crazy and swirly….  Why is there (pretend fire) in here.  What are those loud noises?  This seems scary.  This seems too fast.

(pictured below) Henry is covering his ears on Big Thunder Mountain.  It’s LOUD!

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What did we ride?

1.  Disneyland Monorail System  2.  Disneyland Railroad  3.  Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage  (he loved it)!!  4.  Tarzan’s Treehouse  5.  “Astro Orbitor” (Rockets spinning)  6.  Dumbo  dumbor(spinning) 7.  King Arthur Carrousel (spinning) 8.  Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse (and other interactive play structures in Toontown).  9.  Circus Train Jungle Cruise  10.  Mad Tea Party (tea cups) spinning  11.  a random elevator in Tomorrow Land  12.  Jungle Cruise (he hated the loud noises and loud shots firing with splashing).  13.  Thunder Mountain (just a little fast and scary)  14.  Pirates of the Caribbean (he was so excited as we were waiting in line but he didn’t seem to like it at all once we were on)…..we didn’t try the rest of the attractions because Henry didn’t seem interested in them, or he refused, or he wanted to repeat the rides he enjoyed — over and over.  The Haunted Mansion was closed this day.

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He is screaming at me to get in — no pictures!

We had plenty of anxiety attacks and yelling; it was really tough transitioning him from attraction to attraction.


 

How Do We Cope?

We need to move at a slow pace.

Seth and I both want to talk to him together — but just one of us talking works best.

We needed to sit down in quiet spots.

We need to take breaks, talk, give Henry reassurance.

We needed to find ceiling fans.  We sat in a Coke/Candy Shop, had some pretzels, and just looked at ceiling fans.  It was nice and quiet.

IMG_0061   We just sat for a while!   IMG_0062

We needed to hang out at where Henry felt comfortable.  Many times it was here at Tarzan’s Tree House; We did this attraction several times.

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He loved this Tarzan rope!

We (as parents) have to be really, really patient.  We are ready to move on, but he is not.

We have to skip the public bathrooms; we either have to go back to the hotel so Henry can pee, or he “holds it”.

We wait in lines that seem manageable (some lines are really long but move) so we wait and move and it doesn’t seem so bad.

We wait in lines that have a wait time of 10 minutes or less.

I alternated hats for Henry; I used the ear covering hat most of the day, but sometimes I put on his baseball hat….just to try to get him used to the noise for a little while.

We get help.

I can’t say enough about the sweet cast member, Kelsey at Guest Services.  She was a pleasant, dedicated and compassionate worker who really went the extra mile to help us and help Henry feel comfortable.  They can help families who have autistic children.

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Kelsey did more of an interview with us — unfortunately some people lie to get disability benefits.

ASD can make one very anxious and impulsive; Disney will do something like a “fast pass”  for the (claustrophobic) lines.  These types of lines cause Henry to have tantrums that are unpleasant for everyone.


 

Oh, I finally found that super cool Disney coloring book on nice white paper (at the Disney gift shop).  We’ll take that home and color the pages/talk about Disney.  

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There’s Mickey! But we can not go near him! We’ll “color” him at home instead!

 

 

 

Have You “Sin” This?

Las Vegas is as an adult HOT SPOT — with plenty of grown up attractions as we all know.  But if you are looking for even more to do — rather than the traditional Sin City stuff — here are some pretty cool “family friendly” activities (even some that we have experienced first hand)!

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-Downtown Container Park

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Above: night picture….the praying mantis shoots fire!  However — we went during the day and Henry LOVED it!  Really cute shops, restaurants and “watering holes” surround this unique KIDS play structure.  Great fun!  Great area in Las Vegas!

-Hash House A Go Go

hash  Serving up more than you can handle…this place is all about presentation!  (Plus they play some awesome 80’s ROCK) …and the food is delish!

 

-Red Rock Canyon (you can drive through areas and just look, or do a gentle walk or more aggressive hike).  We love it here!  Henry thinks it is super fun!

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-Regal Red Rock Stadium 16 and IMAX Movie Theater:  Time to relax after all that climbing and hiking…. Let’s go to the MOVIES!

 

-Red Rock Lanes BOWLING!bowl

 

 

 

-Secret (tiger) Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage  Really NICE!

 

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay  — Excellent!  Well done!

 

Zarkana by Cirque Du Soleil

IMG_0310    So many shows!   IMG_0331 IMG_0334

We love Zarkana, at Aria Resort.  We even know a cute musician who works there and gives us special backstage privileges.  Fun for all — beautiful show  — great music!

 

 

The Neon Museum looks amazing!neon

-The High Roller   (you can do this with a BAR Cart and make it a day or night out with just the adults too)!  What?!

hr5   hr4   hr2

 

550 feet up! views     hr3

Henry loved it!  He wanted to do it again!  Luckily — kids are free!

hrpainting

 

-Sprinkles Cupcakes  “Sinfully sweet treats” ….A very yummy experience!  (it’s near the High Roller); Sprinkles was first opened in Beverly Hills, CA and is an L.A. favorite!

cupcakes Fun fountain next door!  fountain

picvegas  Cute shopping and restaurants all in this area — even a Kitson!

Then there is the biggest Bass Pro Shop I have ever seen…

bass pro  

(with free aquarium)!  Henry and Seth are watching the fish in the center of the store; And you can walk right next door to…

 

 

 

The Mermaid Bar & Lounge!  Yes, LIVE mermaids!

 

…drive safe, walk safe, explore, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

To SILVER from GOLD

Yukon Cornelius sings “Silver and Gold” in the unforgettable Christmas Special (Rudolph)… it’s been running through my head lately.  Not only because it’s holiday time, but because I am moving from the Golden State to the Silver State!

A few months ago Seth’s Cirque job became long-term (it started out as a temporary 3-4 month gig).  It’s funny but not funny how things happen sometimes….  Iris closed here in Hollywood at the Dolby Theatre– then nothing for a while– then Voila!  Cirque’s Zarkana opens up in Vegas!!

We had a lot to figure out — lots of scenarios ran through our heads; But in the end it’s yet another adventure for us.  We are over the moon happy to live under one roof together!

I love L.A. sooooo much, so I am going to make a list of the Top 10 things I will miss … accompanied by a Top 10 list of things I will NOT miss!  (I have to make both in order to move on)!

Here goes…

Top 10 Things I Will Miss in L.A.:

10.  Customized license plates, and the diamond-studded license plate frames — so fab!

9.  “Face-booking” about the Earthquakes, rains, flash floods, mudslides or droughts, or fires, or protests…or…

8.  Tie: Urth Cafe (green tea milk boba’s are the BOMB)!  and The Grove urth(especially at Christmas)!

7.  The trains, ponies, Merry-Go-Round and other gems at Griffith Park (including the views)!

6.  Tie: Mina’s (his pre-pre school) & Henry’s school with that amazing garden for the students, teachers and community!

5.  Fun, interesting and diverse people, along with spotting celebs and filming crews.

4.  Climate/weather along with those awesome fruit trees that can exist in this climate!  Fresh figs, lemons and avocados have been such a blessing.

3.  Los Feliz, and daily views of the Hollywood sign, and the Griffith Park Observatory.

2.  Parks, hiking trails, beaches, museums, movie theaters, concerts, events…so many fun things to do here!

1.  Our fabulous friends (including Henry’s wonderful friends).

 

Top 10 Things I Will NOT Miss in L.A.:

10.  Girls who talk like a “sexy baby” …they speak in that voice, and speak with a question mark at the end of every statement.

9.  The people who don’t clean up after their dogs.

8.  The people who 1/2 way clean up after their dog; they leave bagged poop on the trail.

7.  Rich kids (16-year-olds) who have BIG super, duper, pricey, luxury vehicles.

6.  People who roll through STOP signs, and almost hit me.

5.  Air pollution.

4.  Traffic.

3.  High prices for everything.

2.  High taxes.

1.  Parking tickets and the Parking Violations Bureau; those officers are fast, sneaky, and evil.

 

Night at the …Zoo

We go to Griffith Park every week… (Sometimes twice a week).  Henry gets “stuck” in the same fun attractions (the teen workers at the merry-go-round may end up in my annual Xmas card this year)!  So…..I wanted to mix things up by going to the Old Zoo.  I learned it was only minutes away from the merry-go-round, and I love discovering new places; so after a quick two spins on the merry-go-round — we were off to an new spot!

IMG_0229

Henry reluctantly followed my instruction, but I reassured him and told him it would be like a new play ground, and he could bring his bike and cruise around.  I told him the Old Zoo was kind of like visiting tunnels and caves!  They are the old pens that still exist and kids usually crawl around in them, climb, roam and explore!

To our surprise there were some young people dressed like as animals in the parking lot.  I thought they were school mascot kids from high schools and maybe there was a pep rally or game.  But I was wrong.

I went on line, and asked my FB friends if they knew what “this” was…. and learned the animals were “Furries” and they were LARPing; the game I was hearing was a battle of some sort – that is LARPing as well.  Live Action Role Playing….the older teens had swords and they seemed to be acting out a fantasy match against one another.  Just my luck, my son has a hard time investigating new areas of Griffith Park and we encounter this!

Furries at Griffith Park?   ride    ride2

 

What the heck?

IMG_0128  So my poor Henry had several mini-tantrums on the trail to the Old Zoo, but ASD aside who could blame him?  I was having trouble comprehending this, myself.

Henry got through the weirdness, then had fun cruising the old caves A.K.A. animal pens.

IMG_0129    IMG_0130

The bars above the staircase and the bars in the monkey bar cage seemed a little unpleasant — I couldn’t imagine being in a cage like the one on the right.  A woman passed by me and said, “I guess they didn’t believe in giving the animals a lot of space back then…”  She seemed a bit disturbed and I could’t blame her.  The old zoo was a bit creepy.

IMG_0127    IMG_0119

old zoo

Cruisin’ the Old Zoo

We stayed up here until the sun went down.  Henry loved it!  Then we went back to the playground in the pitch dark (at 5:00 PM)!  He really can’t get enough of that playground…We love Griffith Park!