Hershey · slice of life

Gaining Perspective #sol19

We posed for a photo once the kids finished their jaunt through Treatville.

Five weeks ago I injured my ankle. As I lay on the floor — writhing in childbirth-like pain — I knew my life was about to become different. The x-rays at the ER told me what I already suspected. My ankle was broken. An MRI two-and-a-half weeks later gave a bleaker picture.

In the middle of it all, we moved from the townhouse we were renting to the house we were building. Despite wanting to unpack everything myself, I heeded several people’s advice to follow my doctor’s orders to stay off of my ankle. I sat and directed the movers. I sat and directed my husband. I sat and directed my parents and in-laws.

It’s been five long weeks of sitting. And there are more weeks of sitting to come.

If you know me personally, then you know I’ve been in the habit of working out six days a week for the past couple of years. That, too, came to a screeching halt. (Interesting fact: I was on my way upstairs to change into gym clothes when I remembered something I had to do downstairs. Then, BAM, I missed three steps!) I haven’t taken that too well.

Fall is my favorite season and I’ve missed the last five weeks of it. I have been pretty bitter about that fact, but then I realized there was one fall activity — Hersheypark in the Dark — I could still enjoy with my kids.

So, yesterday, I threw $38 at the problem, rented a scooter, and zipped around Hersheypark. I was thrilled to go on some low-key rides, eat greasy park food, and witness Isabelle and Ari zoom through Treatville. I didn’t complain once about how much pain I was in or how I knew my foot was swelling up from not having it elevated.  Nope. I smiled through the pain and soldiered on because being outside with Marc and the kids was much better than laying in bed watching everyone unpack boxes. (And believe me, there are still many boxes that need to be unpacked!)

Things are good when I am working, driving kids to and from activities/appointments, cooking, and doing laundry all while trying to squeeze-in a daily workout. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was until something as basic as my ability to walk independently disappeared. It’ll take awhile, but I will be able to walk again.

I’ll admit to being a begrudging Hersheypark season pass holder. I’ve always felt fortunate that we’re able to afford season passes. (One makes up the cost in as little as three visits per year!) I’ve been bemoaning our weekends there for at least a year by telling Marc, “Our kids need to realize there’s more to life than Hersheypark.” However, as I gunned my scooter up one of Hersheypark’s infamous hills, I decided that once I am able to conquer the hills on foot again, I will no longer complain about being there too often. Isabelle and Ari love it there. While the beach and New York City are my happy places, Hersheypark is theirs. Truth be told, I love witnessing them happy there.

Look for me next spring. I plan to be the grateful lady who is able to walk the park on foot with her family again.

Hershey · siblings · slice of life

The Sweetest Thing to Say to a Sibling

When I envisioned what my life would be like once I had children, it included trips to historical sites, museums, and shows. Maybe some sporting events, but mostly cultural things. You know what my visions didn’t include? Weekly trips to an amusement park! However, Isabelle became hooked on Hersheypark (which is about a half hour from our house) in 2014, which was the first time we purchased season passes. Therefore, we’ve been going ever since.

Now that Ari is two, he’s enamored with Hersheypark too. Like Isabelle, he wants to go every single weekend. If we skip a weekend — like we did last weekend — he acts as if it’s a major blow to his life. {Sigh.}

Last year, I took Isabelle and Ari on the Ferris wheel a few times. However, we hadn’t been on it since the Park opened this season. Even though the Ferris wheel is a favorite ride of mine (since it reminds me of the times I rode the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island with my Dad when I was a kid), I don’t take my kids on it that often since it’s on the far end of Hersheypark.

When I asked Isabelle what ride she wanted to go on first this weekend, she replied, “The Ferris Wheel!”

“Then we’ll walk to it first before the park fills up,” I told her.

She nodded her head in agreement.

Ari, on the other hand, was not in agreement. “I don’t wanna go on the Ferris wheel! I don’t wanna fall!”

“You’re not going to fall, Ari,” Isabelle said.

“You’ll be fine if you stay seated,” I told him.

Nonetheless, Ari repeated his disdain for our decision the whole walk to the Ferris wheel, which — if you count the walk from the car to the Ferris wheel — took about 25 minutes.

By the time we got to the Ferris wheel, I was ignoring the repeated complaints about Isabelle’s choice of a ride. Isabelle, on the other hand, was still entertaining Ari’s whining.

Once I took Ari out of the stroller, I noticed Isabelle take Ari’s hand. That part is typical. What I heard her tell him melted my heart. She said, “Listen, Ari. If you’re with Isabelle you’re always safe.”

I trusted Isabelle would keep an arm around Ari (which she did). That being said, I kept a hand on him too!

“Awwww!” I said. “That’s the sweetest thing you could tell him.”

“Well, it’s true!” Isabelle retorted.

I thought of all of the times Isabelle has engaged in ridiculous stunts at home (such as standing on the arm of the couch and doing a forward roll onto the cushions), which Ari has promptly copied. Each of these stunts takes a month or two off of my life every time. However, I bit my tongue about the always part of her message. Instead, I said, “Yes, it’s true, Ari. You are safe with Isabelle on the Ferris wheel.”

And with that, we walked onto the Ferris wheel queue. Even though Ari continued to worry, Isabelle held his hand and kept promising him that he’d be safe.

Not only was he safe… Ari demanded, “I wanna go on again!” as soon as it was time for us to exit.

We didn’t go on again. After all, we’ll probably be at Hersheypark next weekend!

Hershey · slice of life

What a Character!

Growing up, I was the kind of kid who loved to meet and take pictures with Disney Characters. Isabelle is a lot like me in this respect. She’s always excited to see or take photos with one of the Hershey’s candy characters when we’re at Hersheypark or see them around the town of Hershey. And maybe that’s why I’ve never understood those kids who fear amusement park characters. I mean, I know they’re not human, but they’re not scary!

In the beginning, Ari had no problem being close to the Hershey’s candy characters:


Painted in Waterlogue
We had to “get out of the house” a couple of weeks after Ari was born so I took him to one of the cleanest places I could think of: The Hotel Hershey! That’s when we snapped this photo.


By the time he was almost nine months old, Ari was indifferent towards them when he was brought into family photos with the characters in Hersheypark:


Painted in Waterlogue
On a hot June day in Hersheypark.


Last month, in another episode of “Two Kids from the Same Parents Aren’t the Same,” I discovered Ari was a bit uncertain about the Hershey’s candy characters. His suspicion can be noticed in photos like this:


Painted in Waterlogue
Isabelle and my mother-in-law are smiling while posing with Reese’s at the Hershey Lodge. Ari glances up at the Reese’s with great suspicion.


And his trepidation can be seen in photos like this:


Painted in Waterlogue
Ari wanted nothing to do with the KitKat so he clung to me while my mother-in-law attempted to take a picture.


Granted, Ari doesn’t scream or cry when he gets near the characters, but he doesn’t get excited in the ways I did as a kid or the ways Isabelle does now.

Last night, an unexpected intervention happened on the character front when we attended my husband’s work event. It was a family-friendly party complete with kid-friendly food, games, a photo booth, a balloon animal station, and HERSHEY CHARACTERS!

Ari spent much of the night following the Hershey Bar and the Reese’s Cup around the room. Finally, after several encounters that included low-fives, Ari’s suspicion and trepidation seemed to fade away.

My husband held him up to the Reese’s (whose wavy-cup head seems to perplex Ari).

Painted in Waterlogue

They got closer.

Painted in Waterlogue

And eventually, they were face-to-face:

Painted in Waterlogue

There were no hugs or kisses (from Ari to Mr. Reese’s), but he was more comfortable by the end of the night. Seeing as we have season passes to Hersheypark, this is a very, very good thing.