Posts Tagged toys

All aboard!

The other night, I complained to Jeff that my computer was running a little slow.  I mentioned that the thousands of photos that I’ve been taking lately might be the cause and that maybe I’d need an external hardrive to remedy this simple, techy malady.

The next day, my very thoughtful husband spent his lunchbreak persuing, geekily I might add, Costco for said remedy. Jeff found this handy dandy Hitachi hardrive that’s water and shock resistant, because you know, day-to-day with our 2 year old daredevil is as chaotic as a white water rafting excursion, except with lots of milk, cereal and toys to wade through. I bet they weren’t targeting this device for a work at home mom, though? But it’s genius!

After finding this ideal hardrive, Jeff, who normally has an aversion to shopping unless there are food samples involved, took a whirl around the rest of Costco.  He found his way to the toy section, which, as he described, looked as though they just put out their bounty of oversized boxes filled with glorious Christmas toys.  And dudes, it’s Costco, so you know there must have been awesomeness involved.

And when he wasn’t looking, just like true love, Jeff found it.  He found THE most gigantic toy one could buy their toddler. 

Have I ever mentioned that we just so happen to live in a small city apartment? 

The enormous box, the size of a standard door and weight of a walrus, enclosed not just one giant toy, but an oversized table, trundle and 100 pieces.  I personally think they forgot several zeros.  There has to be a million tiny pieces!  But alas, we now own a Kid Kraft Metropolis Table and Train Set.

So, you guessed it, I was reluctant about the size of this toy.  When Jeff first emailed me about it, I assumed he was thinking of Christmas.  I mean, WHERE WOULD WE PUT this metropolis you speak of?

But once I heard and saw Jeff’s excitement; how could I say no?

That night, Jeff stayed up until 2am setting up the metropolis and its table and trundle.  “I want to set it all up so that he wakes up to it.”

It’s oh so awesome.

That next morning, my two guys, with their matching disheveled hair and shirtless chests, hobbled to our living room and played with the intertwined tracks and brand new trains.  Jack and Jeff, on either corner of the table, studied every single acoutrement—all one million of them.  They giggled in unison like little school girls!


So, I can’t move as freely in our living space anymore, and with all these damn toys cramping my style, I don’t have the Pottery Barn-esque feel either (or anything for that matter!)  But when I saw the pure happiness and sense of contentment from both of their faces, just from this enormous trainset that I didn’t want in the first place, clearly, that other stuff doesn’t matter.

Those early morning smiles and laughs: they are what matter.

That morning, Jeff reminded me of Ricky Schroeder riding on his ride-on train in the opening credits of Silver Spoons.  Jack was definitely Alfonso Robeiro doing his happy dance.  Oh wait, wrong show :)

You’re probably all like, it’s just trainset!  I know, right?  But this, my friends, is so much more…

Jack's train set and table
Above Jack’s crib, I had wall words made to decorate his closet/nursery.  It reads: “From small beginnings come great things.”  It’s so hard to believe that it’s already been two years ago when we welcomed our little buddy and embarked on that small beginning. 
stroller 013
This giant trainset might take up too much space in our little living room for right now, but according to our mantra, Jeff had the foresight to pick this fun birthday gift because, undoubtedly, we’re just prepping for all that greatness and space that’s sure to follow.

As Jack would say, choo choo all aboard!

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Weekend fun: Toys “R” Us in Times Square

For the first weekend of Spring, I wanted nothing more than to bask in the sunshine and to frolic in the wilderness.

We went to Toys “R” Us in Times Square instead.  Close enough.

Because we were cooped up in the house for a good part of last week, I thought it would be fun to take a City day on Saturday.  On Saturday, TRU was celebrating the Little People’s 50th Birthday. With the Thomas the Train freebie going on and the birthday celebration, I thought it’d be a fun outing for the boy.  The dilemma, however, is that we have zero patience for crowds.  And when I mean ‘we,’ I mean Jeff.

Toys R Us, Times SquareTimes Square is an area of NYC that we only visit when we have out of town guests.  I mean, why would we want to subject ourselves to relentless foot traffic, compounded by the insane amount of car traffic?  We don’t go  often as we should and it is only a “quick” bus ride away, so we made an afternoon out of it.  Despite the not-so-quick, overcrowded bus ride that ended up taking well over an hour to take us the whole 2 miles from our neighborhood to NYC, plus the usual crowds in Times Square, it was fun to visit Toys “R” Us with our bright-eyed toddler.  It was packed inside of the 3-storied mega-store, but it was bearable compared to the sidewalk traffic–controlled chaos, if you will.  If you go to that store on a weekend, regardless of time of year, I guess you can only expect that level of craziness.  It is in the heart of one of the most touristy spots of NYC.

In the end, braving the crowds is always so worth it.  TRU in Times Square is definitely a wonderland for kids of all ages:  Legos, robots, a giant roaring dinosaur, a menagerie of stuffed animals, a walk-through Barbie doll house, baby toys galore and so much more.  Jack ran amok with all the other little kids, howled at all the fun toys that he’ll never own, sat and colored and checked out more toys than his little head could handle.
Hi-fiving the character guy

We browsed the usual kiddie sections, admired/feared the roaring dinosaur and had some fun with the Little People Celebration.  The highlight, at least for me, was scoring the free Thomas the Train toys.  TRU had coupons for free wooden trains and we got 2–one Thomas and Lights and Sounds Percy.  It seems like train tables and the plethora of accouterments are a classic among the preschool set, so it was pretty cool to get Jack’s first trains for free.  And what a deal:  each train was in the $20 range, and it was free!  Although, Jeff calls it the drug dealer mentality, that once you get one or two parts for free, you’ll want to continue feeding your fix with the hundreds of other train parts and pieces. I’m not having that yet; we have enough teeny tiny random toy pieces already in our space-challenged apartment.  But thanks, TRU for the free trains!

Terrified of the dinosaurAfter about 2.5 hours we were all spent from the crowds and craziness.  We left the giant Toys “R” Us with our freebies, a new stuffed Plex (the yellow robot from Jack’s new favorite show, ) a goody bag and a cute Polaroid w/ a life-sized Little People character.  It was a fun outing, but definitely one that can only be enjoyed in small, infrequent doses.

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Pink strollers, Happy the Hibachi guy and cousin fun

As a result of inexplicable early morning wakings and the usual mischief, by the end, I could easily categorize last week as probably one of my most difficult weeks as a mom so far.  By Friday, I was so done—like, completely fried.  But, a quick trip to go see family in southern NJ couldn’t have been planned at a better time.

On Saturday, we went to visit cousins in Manahawkin.  Jack is right in the middle age-wise of Karen and Nick’s girls, Katarina (3) and Madeline (8m), so it was too cute to watch the 3 interact.  In between pushing the pink strollers, shopping cart, dragging and then feeding the baby dolls, Jack made sure to make their toybox explode, much like he does at home.  I’m assuming that because Katarina and Madeline’s toys were a bit different from what Jack is used to, he felt the need to play with every single doll, shopping cart and play food. (So sorry, guys!)  When he wasn’t darting off in every different direction, Jack made sure to get in some quality time with the fam.  Jack was snuggly with Karen and made himself comfortable in her lap.  He made sure to share kisses with sweet Madeline and sneak in a few hugs with Katarina when she least expected.  Besides my child terrorizing the calmness of their home, it was fun to watch the 3 kidlets play and laugh together, especially since they’re Jack’s only cousins in NJ!

The 3 kids playingJeff "selling" the ipod Touch to KarencousinsKaren, Jack and Madeline

While the kids played, the parents played with their own toys–the electronic gadget kind!  Jeff shared his love of his iPod with Nick and Karen!  We capped off the visit with a trip to a fun Hibachi restaurant.  Well, it started out fun until Jack crashed and burned before Happy the Hibachi guy could even cook up the fried rice!  Because Jack boycotted an afternoon nap to maximize his time to terrorize his cousins and all of their toys, I was foolish to think he could last until after dinner.  Hahaha. Who was I kidding!!?  On the bright side, since my whiny, uncooperative child needed to be excused from the table, he helped me refrain from shoving the entire heaping plate of food in my mouth!  When it was time to leave, we were barely out of the parking lot and Jack was practically asleep.

After a chaotic week at our house, family time is exactly what we all needed!  Jeff always tells me he hopes that Jack gets to experience the fondness and closeness of his cousins, just like he did with his PA cousins!  As soon as the kids get over that “he’s touching me” phase, I’m sure they’ll be heckling one another through whatever is the equivalent of Facebook when they get older–at least, one can hope!  :)

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