We made it to Sesame Street! (continued)

Finally, we were back on the road again at about 5:48pm. By 6:15, I had had it with the girls. Katrina had already rediscovered all of the wonderful toys she hadn’t seen for a while within the first 5 minutes of travel. I had spent hours carefully preparing some plastic bins with toys and activities for the car ride. How were we going to make it through the next 9 hours and 15 minutes??? Every two minutes, Elena would cry out, “Dat…DAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!” as she would point to the next object she wanted. Then she’d drop the previous toy on the left side of her carseat, where I couldn’t possibly reach.

Katrina kept dropping each of the five rings she had on her fingers and then would cry out hysterically. I decided that we probably should have borrowed Rob and Sarah’s conversion van so we could easily walk around and retrieve all precious toys for our darling children. Meanwhile, my back was killing me as the contractions kept coming.

After about 3 hours in the car, we made it to a Hampton Inn in Ohio. Let me tell you, that bed was SO comfortable! Of course I didn’t discover that until we made our mandatory trip to the pool with the girls. I think we were only there for about 20 minutes. Since they were so exhausted, they didn’t put up a fight at all when it was time to retreat to bed. I had 4 wonderful hours of continuous sleep before awaking to more contractions. What was the deal? I didn’t feel dehydrated! I kept wondering if I’d make it through the trip without visiting the E.R.

On Saturday morning we set off again and I was once again having those darn contractions! After about a half hour on the road, I confessed to Brad that I had forgotten my AAA tourbook for Pennsylvania. Without that or internet access, it would be impossible to find a AAA recommended hotel for that night’s stay. We hadn’t made reservations ahead of time because we simply didn’t know how our travel plans would go with two children. They weren’t used to long car rides, and I didn’t want them to have a miserable time on the trip due to time constraints. I wanted to be as flexible as possible with the hope of getting near Sesame Place by Saturday evening.

I called AAA to get hotel information for the Langhorne, Pennsylvania region. Unfortunately, having an operator type the information into a AAA website was a tedious process compared to actually having a book that I could flip through. I finally received directions on getting to a AAA office that was open on Saturdays. This took us about 40 minutes total out of our way, but it was completely worth it. The book is like gold. It gives great information on hotel rates and accomodations, places to visit, and recommendations on restaurants.

We decided that if I kept contracting, I would have to stay in a hotel while Brad kept driving the girls to Sesame Place. There was no way they were going to miss out on their vacation! Fortunately, halfway through the day, I had gulped enough water to fill the Hoover dam, and my contractions mysteriously stopped. Phew! I was going to make it afterall.

The next morning, I groggily awoke to Brad saying,”It’s eight-o’clock.” I looked at him, closed my eyes again, and grunted loudly as I tried to return to sleep. Suffice to say that we didn’t make it to Sesame Place in a timely manner at all. The line to park wrapped around to a main street. I think it took about 20-30 minutes to even get our car into the parking lot. I was so frustrated with myself for not being more aggressive about getting up and ready in the morning. I guess I never expected so many people to be at a mostly water-amusement park on a 70-something degree drizzly morning. Who knew that it would be packed?

The girls were so excited—they didn’t know what to do with themselves. At first glimpse of Ernie, Elena went nuts. Of course when it came time to take a picture with him, she wouldn’t have anything to do with him unless she was in my arms. We figured that the weather wouldn’t be conducive to water rides that day, but hoped for the best. Most other people braved the weather. I thought they were nuts. Of course I do tend to get cold easily.

The girls had great fun riding the dry rides and running around in the play areas. After watching a parade, which, by the way featured Bob McGrath from Sesame Street, we went to the Abby Cadabby show. They loved it to pieces. One puzzling thing is that they sell absolutely NO Abby souvenirs at this time. During the show, the drizzle turned into a decent rainshower. We visited the souvenir shop for a short while and then went to our character dinner.

Once again, Elena went nuts with excitement over seeing Ernie and the other Sesame Street characters. This time she was obsessed with Bert as well. “Er is Bert?” she would ask over and over again, when she couldn’t find him. By the time our dinner was over, it was pouring buckets outside.

The nice thing about weather like this, is it scares everyone into leaving the park. So there we were, at 5pm with the park practically all to ourselves! Katrina got to ride her roller coaster three times in a row because there was no line any longer. Earlier that day, every line had lasted from 15-30 minutes.

I think we walked out of the park at around 6pm. 2 minutes from our car, Elena FINALLY fell asleep in the stroller. Figures. She just couldn’t miss out on anything that day even though she was five hours overdue for her nap. As the girls were conked out in the minivan, we tried to get back to our hotel. Our 1/2 hour ride turned into about 1 1/2 hours because we missed our exit, and the next exit was about eleven miles ahead. Then, we once again couldn’t find the correct exit to get to our hotel (it’s just a screwie operation with the tolls and such), so Brad had to take out his Mappoint program on the computer to navigate us through the city. If we had gotten back on the highway, we would have had to pay another toll just to turn around again. Apparently this particular hotel gets lots of angry phone calls from patrons who can’t get off on exit 20. We made the same mistake twice, so it’s not just our skills that are lacking, it’s the tollroad!

On Monday morning (today), I was right on top of things. Elena woke us all up at about 7:00am with her jibber-jabbering. She started out with a brief conversation with her Ernie doll, followed by a nice serenade of her greatest hits: “Hello” (from our Music Together class), “Goodnight, Baby” (from Signing Time), and “Where is Thumpkin?” Then she and Katrina had a nice chat as they waited for our heads to pop out from under the covers. We were totally hiding so they wouldn’t discover us and make us get them up for the day.

We were on the road by 9am and grabbed breakfast on the way. The Sesame Place parking lot had about four other cars in it. I couldn’t believe it. I guess because it was a Monday during the first week of June on a dreary 70 degree day, no one bothered to show.

Then I saw the two school buses filled with eager children. That was when I said, “RUNNNNNNNNN!!!!!” My goal was to get through all of the dry rides and beat the lines before all of the crazy kids showed up at the park.

I worried for nothing. I think the longest we waited for a ride the whole day was 10 minutes, and that was because the attendant decided she needed to wait for the kids who were 1/4 mile away to get on a ride before starting it up with just us and another family. By 11:30, it was still freezing according to my standards, but we HAD to go on the water rides. We had exhausted all other possibilities for entertainment, and I was determined to get my money’s worth!

Katrina was excited beyond belief. We decided that I would just have to suck it up and deal with the cold water. Boy, was it cold! The girls ran around in the wading pool as my goosebumps grew more abundantly. I would keep Elena occupied in the pool area as Katrina and Brad ran from one water ride to another. Elena has an intense fear of water coming near her face, so water rides were pretty much out of the question. We did go on the lazy river ride, but Elena fear intensified everytime we floated near a sprinkling area. Elena’s favorite was the fishie ride, so that was our special activity we did many many times during the day.

We had lunch, played in the souvenir shop, and then went to the Elmo live show. By that time Elena was looking very sleepy. I thought I’d take her to the car and call it a day, while Brad and Katrina went on some more rides. Of course Elena perked right up after the show and was ready to take me to the fishies again. We also took some more pictures with Ernie because she just couldn’t get enough of him. Then all of us returned to the wading pool to have some more freezing fun.

By Katrina’s fourth injury (she kept falling and skinning different parts of her body), she had had it. Katrina was very upset about the blood coming out of her knees. She didn’t even want to stop and see Grover on the way out of the park because, “I don’t want to tell him about the blood on my knees.” The girls fell asleep within minutes of being in the minivan-around 4:30pm.

This time, we made it to our new hotel with no problems at all. Elena continued to nap in the hotel, but after about an hour, she woke up crying hysterically. I knew it was because she was overtired and dehydrated and hungry, but there was no reasoning with her. Katrina gave Elena a cookie, and that helped for about 30 seconds. Finally, when we got in the car and began driving to Nifty Fifty’s, a restaurant we had found in our AAA book (see?), she was much more calm.

The restaurant was awesome and we ate way too much. The girls loved their cherry shakes and I loved my spicy chicken salad. Brad loved, well, he appeared to love everything. I’ve never since him eat so much since he went on his diet in January. Tonight this guy had: two cherry cokes, 1 1/2 Oreo-chocolate chip shakes, a filet mignon burger, and spicy fries with cheese (which I, of course, needed to help him eat).

After that sugar rush, the girls were completely crazy. They were laughing and carrying on unlike I had seen them before. It was a great day AND a great two days at Sesame Place.

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