On President's Day, we met my Uncle Sam and Aunt Ellen in Portland for the day. We spent most of the afternoon at the Portland Children's Museum, which is truly a magical and wondrous place. This museum contained four stories of non-stop kid entertainment and the place was hopping all day. They had fantastic exhibits, theater, arts and crafts, special events in the grand room every hour or so and even a custom-built camera obscura in the cupola. Alden was most enchanted with the elevator, tragically. He's developing a bit of an elevator addiction. He actually hums with excitement whenever we enter a store, his eyes scanning the back walls for any industrial set of doors that might possibly harbor that golden mechanical ride with those buttons that can be pushed again and again. We thought his obsession was cute for a maybe a week or two, but now it's getting a bit old. We did our best to make the exhibition areas outside the elevator more enticing, and had some success, but usually Alden wanted to go back into the elevator within 5 or 10 minutes on a given floor. The siren song of the elevator ding was just too much.
Alden forgot about the elevator long enough to help initiate a successful space shuttle launch. In case you're wondering (ahem, Aaron), said launch took about 45 seconds. There was a nice water table and Maine Woods-themed exhibit with plastic fish, tree houses to climb and live turtles. These things entertained Alden briefly.
The one exhibit that actually held his attention for quite a while was "Have a Ball!". It was a large room right at the front entrance sporting 5 or 6 kinetic ball ramps of varying shapes and sizes. Some were adjustable, some had gaps so the balls would leap from track to track, some were more like roller coasters. The goal was to roll the ball down the ramp and somehow get it into a stationary or a moving cup.There were also two tubes with suction that could (if you had the right kind of ball) carry a ball all the way though a series of tubes running along the walls and ceiling. It kind of reminded me of the pneumatic tubes that were all the rage with banks in the eighties.
After we had our fill of the museum we walked around the Old Port downtown a bit.
After Sam and Ellen went home, we were treated to a lovely home cooked meal with Renee and Jeff at their home in Falmouth. Rebecca visited with us for the first hour, but left early to enjoy her own dinner plans with friends. Alden really liked Renee's ceramic frog and greatly enjoyed giving it kisses and offering it some of his milk.
Most of the rest of the week was spent in Gardiner, although my Mom made a special trip to NH to see her friends in the middle of the week. While she was here, we made a paella with fresh local seafood, we explored the backyard and our neighborhood in the stroller and we dealt with a toddler with a stomach upset and fever for about a day (not paella induced, I should add -- Alden wouldn't touch the stuff).
Sick Toddler.Playing the running game.
Mom had Alden all to herself on Friday, when both Kerstin and I had to work. He apparently had a dream day with her, spending most of the morning at Reny's riding the elevator and most of the afternoon watching his favorite Sesame Street clips on YouTube. These activities were followed by a long stroller ride downtown and then back again to say hello to the llamas. Renee drove up to Gardiner to spend the afternoon with my Mom and joined us for dinner afterward at the local brewpub. It was great to spend the week with my Mom and to see Sam, Ellen, Renee, Jeff and Becca. We had a lot of fun! We're looking forward to future visits by Joseph and Sandy and to the Passover celebration in Maryland at the end of March.