A happy day at Kings Dominion

***26th April 14***

IMG_0739

IMG_0743

IMG_0748

Yay! We finally made it to Kings Dominion on its first day of opening for 2014. They had been closed for winter since last November. Before that, we have been wanting to visit the theme park but didn’t exactly have time back then. We were glad to be there on our second last weekend of our stay in Virginia. On a side note, I will update about the end of our tour really soon! Back to the topic, the journey from our place to Kings Dominion was only an hour drive but traffic was very bad that day and we ended up with a quick lunch stop and 2 restroom breaks en route! Seriously it was that bad. We left home at 11am and had only got there nearly 2pm.

IMG_0769

IMG_0771

IMG_0776

IMG_0779

We kicked off with the mini Eiffel Tower, one of the park’s signature attractions. It is a one-third replica of the original Eiffel Tower in Paris. At the top of the observation deck, we get to see the panorama view of the entire theme park. We had a good view from the top, also that was when Darian spotted the kids’ driving circuit and became so excited. Obviously the driving circuit was the next to go for us. 🙂

IMG_0823

IMG_0831

 IMG_0976

IMG_0990

Darian was so keen to drive the little car, yet at the same time sweating over it. We could tell that he was very nervous. At his turn, he started tearing when the cars he wanted were taken by others. The instructions was to walk to the car but the other kids were all running toward the cars. Therefore by the time he got there, they were all taken up. We can’t blame him for that. He was just following instructions which was only right. Still he managed to find the last vacant at the other end. While watching him play, we thought he picked up fast and was able to drive and control the car really well. Good job son. True enough, he was more confident after his first attempt and requested for a second round.

IMG_0787

IMG_0797

IMG_0878

IMG_0911

IMG_0839

  IMG_0930

Darian was enthusiastic to go for the kids’ rides in Planet Snoopy. In fact he took many rides this time round as compared to the previous times at other theme parks. He even had his virgin bumper car ride! So cool! Papa Yap and I were a little taken aback by him, yet at the same time really happy to see that he is now more adventurous and braver. Well perhaps its only natural as kids grow.

IMG_0856

IMG_1087

 IMG_1097

As for Dyann, there were limited rides, she could ride on due to the height constraints. They were really strict on the rules. However, she did go for a train ride along with Darian and me, as well as a jeep and car ride together with Darian. She was gleaming with joy, bouncing up and down when Papa Yap carried her out from the jeep during her first attempt. Honestly, I had objected to Papa Yap’s decision of placing her into the jeep at first. I had my reservations on safety issue and was rather mad at him. I felt it was still dangerous for a little kid to ride on without any adult supervision. Furthermore, we couldn’t even see them behind the railings. Boy, I was just paranoid. Seriously I even thought I heard her crying. But Darian told us that she was laughing during the ride. Yeah silly mommy… I have definitely underestimated my little girl! 😉

We spent the entire afternoon at Planet Snoopy, thus didn’t make it in time for the Dinosaurs trail attraction. We had to give it a miss because there wasn’t any lights in that attraction so there was no way we could walk and see in the trail. Darian was only feeling a little disappointed after hearing our explanation. I suppose he was way too happy to be bothered by it. Haha… If only we had started with Dinosaur alive first instead of Planet snoopy, then the whole trip would be perfect.

IMG_1051

IMG_1055

Papa Yap brought Darian on a go-kart ride. He was certainly so proud of it. According to Papa Yap, each time he accelerates, Darian would make noise and tell him to slow down. Haha… Yep they were the last but who cares? It was ultimately a great experience for both father and son.

IMG_0752

IMG_0842

IMG_1008

IMG_0965

IMG_1070

IMG_1124

IMG_1125

IMG_1128

IMG_1131

Snoopy was one of my childhood favourite. Having to see a snoopy theme park definitely relived my childhood memories. I was like one happy big kid! 😉 As that day also coincided with it’s 40th Anniversary, they had fireworks at 9.50pm to commemorate the occasion. It was a bonus for us! I love to watch fireworks! Hence we left only after 10pm. It was indeed a tiring and long day outside. Nevertheless, the kids had a whole load of fun, so did we! 🙂

<<<>>>

Advertisements

Darian loves Dinosaurs

***9th February 14***

We chanced upon the Discover Dinosaur advertisement on TV and decided to bring the kids to check out the exhibition over at Dulles Expo during the weekend. So on that day itself, Darian was very thrilled after finding out where we were heading to.

The place was already packed when we reached the car park at 11am. Freezing cold weather, big crowd and long lines to get into the building. Totally crazy! Since we were already there, the thought of backing out would definitely lead to much tears and disappointment. Thus we could only brave through the weather and hope that the line was fast.

IMG_8955

IMG_8916

IMG_8927

IMG_8975

Other than walking through the dinosaurs exhibits, there were a number of activities for the kids to do. But we had only completed the mini golf, triceratops ride, Dino den and the maze. It was hard to join the lines for a second time as they were seriously way too long and time consuming. While our basic tickets didn’t permit us for some activities, we didn’t want to fork out any more extra cash to stand in long lines before our kids get to play.

IMG_8982

IMG_8994

IMG_9014

IMG_9021

Frankly, Papa Yap and I weren’t exactly impressed with the exhibition and felt the tickets were rather overpriced. Maybe it’s because there were too many people and we didn’t get to complete all the stations. Having said so, the kiddos still enjoyed themselves pretty much and were even happier to go home with a Dino toy each. 🙂

IMG_9039

IMG_9034

IMG_9042

<<<>>>

Let it snow

Our family first snow experience! What can I say about it? Cold! Freezing cold! Ironically, we were excited for snow but when it came, I can’t wait for it to be over soon. Haha… It’s way too cold and its not even into winter yet. Well we don’t get snow showers everyday. Maybe like once or twice a week. And when it snows, we don’t really want to be out unless necessary. Blur vision and slippery roads make driving a little tat challenging.

The kids are pretty excited about snow. Darian has been asking to play out in the snow. He wants to build snowman and make snowballs to throw at Papa. That’s exactly what he said! Heehee 😉 Son, we’ll try to make it happen when the snow level increases and probably at some snow resort in January. Absolutely looking forward to it! 🙂

20131215-160710.jpg

20131215-160034.jpg

20131215-160052.jpg

20131215-160102.jpg

20131215-160123.jpg

20131215-160151.jpg

20131215-160207.jpg

🙂

<<<>>>

A visit to Mount Vernon

***10th November 13***

IMG_4753

Mount Vernon, the historical home of America’s first president, George Washington, is certainly one of Papa Yap’s must go places in Virginia. He has been talking about it since we arrive in the States. And finally we made our way there during the Veteran day long weekend holiday. Talking about the long weekend, it’s like the third or fourth one after school started and you know what, we have the Thanksgiving holidays coming up next. Totally digging into it! 🙂 On a side note, the soldiers are much appreciated and respected for in the States, that on Veteran day, there were many exclusive perks and discounts for them. Great! 🙂

IMG_4764

IMG_4886

Mount Vernon isn’t exactly far from us, considering that traveling from one place to another in the States, could really take hours. The journey was only about thirty minutes. How I wish that Disneyland is this near! Yeah if only… We began our historic study tour at 11.15am. Given the size of the place, even with the number of visitors, it wasn’t that packed after all. I suppose to protect the interest of the place as well as to preserve and maintain the original historical site, regulations like no consuming of beverages and food, no smoking and no photography in the Mansion and Museum, are strictly abided. As such the grounds seem very clean. Somewhat it really looks like an ideal for picnic! Fresh air, nice trimmed grasses, spacious field, and beautiful view. I just feel like laying a checkered picnic mat with a straw basket of food and drinks, sitting there with the hubs, watching the kiddos dashing around. 😉

IMG_4808

IMG_4798

For the mansion tour, we had to park the stroller aside, queue and wait to be ushered in as a small group. There were a guide stationed at each specific area to brief us the history of the place. Pretty systematic and planned; One group in and the other out. The guide was basically repeating his or her speech. The only difference could be the QnA part. 😉

IMG_4786

IMG_4833

IMG_4851

IMG_4880

IMG_4894

I love browsing through the beautiful outdoor photos of double Ds having fun, running around the green patch and picking up the autumn leaves. Glad to see that they enjoyed their day. 🙂 Before hitting the George Washington Education Center and Museum, we had to make a quick exit to the food-court as Double Ds were way too hungry to continue the walk. Especially Baby Dyann who was fussing badly for food! So always keep ya tickets properly, in cases when you need to show them for re-entry. 😉

IMG_4905

Right after lunch, we continued with the indoor tour. Baby Dyann fell asleep on the stroller shortly which then made walking around and reading up the informations much easier. We completed the tour at nearly 3pm, making it almost a 4 hours visit. Anyway we skipped the theaters as we highly doubt the kids would be able to sit through. Also, the films might not be age-appropriate for them. You know what, the hubs was telling me about coming back on his own for the shows. Eh hello… is not like it is even free…

IMG_4841

In a four seasons country, do expect different activities and scenic views in various time of the year. Personally I think Spring would be a nice time to visit where we could have a boat ride around the estate and probably the flowers will be blooming by then. Well at least now I can say that I had set foot on Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Mansion and learnt some facts too. Besides, I do like the serenity of the place which I can totally relate to why George Washington thinks that “No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this…” In future, whenever I watch National Treasure on TV, it will remind me of this gorgeous place. 🙂

IMG_4760

<<>>

Sunday at Belvedere plantation

***3rd November 13***

IMG_4361

Yippee! We made it to the finale of Belvedere Plantation at Fredericksburg! Apparently it was their last Sunday before they are closed until next Fall. Hence, we were absolutely glad to have had made it there in time. 🙂 It was a fun-filled day of joy and laughter with the duo despite the cold weather. Brrr… Check out the number of fun activities for family and kids. It was amazingly fun! They have transformed a typical pumpkin and maize plantation to a big outdoor playground, making it a fun and interesting place for families, especially those with younger kids. We were certain that the duo enjoyed their playtime very much. 🙂 It is places like this that made family time much more enjoyable and precious. I’m sure you can see how much the duo had enjoyed themselves in their photos below. They were mad happy. And so were we. heehee 😉 We had a blast! Totally love this place! Seriously if we are still here for the next Fall, Belvedere Plantation will definitely be in our to-go-list. Anyway gotta thanks Lourdes for the awesome recommendation. 🙂

IMG_4376

We missed out some attractions like the face painting, spider web, pony ride and corn maze. But well we still had a whole load of fun! 😉

IMG_4367

The scarecrows!

IMG_4396

Darian loves the jumping pillow! 🙂

IMG_4400

Papa Yap assisting his boy with the pedal tractor.

IMG_4412

On his own.

IMG_4417

My turn! 😉

IMG_4572

And the hubs wants a ride too!

IMG_4426

Mommy I am stuck in the hay! heehee 😉

IMG_4439

Papa Yap practising his marksman shoot using pumpkin seeds.

IMG_4448

Lunch break

IMG_4458

At the barnyard corner where we could feed some farm animals. There was a pig race at the back there too. But we didn’t make it to the shows. The place is so big and spacious that when we already had reached to one corner, we were literally too lazy to walk back to the other.

IMG_4484

Darian pushing Baby Dyann on the movable swing. Wonderful siblings bonding time. 🙂

IMG_4486

Baby Dyann enjoyed this so much that she didn’t even want to get up.

IMG_4502

Darian on the glider. According to the girl who is supervising that area, Darian was singing the Spiderman tune throughout. And she was telling me how cute he was! Haha 😉

IMG_4512

Darian on the bouncing bean horse. This is so cute! 😉

IMG_4515

A long tin barrel slide.

IMG_4529

Kids digging site with plenty of sandplay toys, tricycles and wooden rocking horse.

IMG_4535

She wanted to join in the fun too! 😉

IMG_4530

On the horse swing.

IMG_4568

The pumpkin mountain slide. Darian had so much fun sliding down with Papa Yap. 🙂

IMG_4600

We took the hayride into the pumpkin patch where we get to smash some pumpkins! It was a nice experience, sitting on firm stacks of hay while enjoying the bumpy ride. Seriously I didn’t expect that we could have so much fun smashing the pumpkins! Love it! 😉

IMG_4612

Papa Yap helping Darian to hold up the heavy pumpkin.

IMG_4619

Let’s smash some pumpkins!

IMG_4622

Hey all I could do was watch them smashed the pumpkins! 😉

IMG_4635

A typical boy style! 🙂

IMG_4664

The duo having fun bouncing together. 🙂

IMG_4678

Darian taking the tin barrel train ride! This is just so awesome!

IMG_4703

A family picture before we head home! 🙂

<<<>>>

Trick or Treat

***31st October 13***

Happy Halloween!

IMG_4243

All ready to go!

IMG_4260

Little Batman and his favourite sidekick! meowww… 🙂

IMG_4262

Anyway Darian was madly excited with his Batman costume. He was the one who chose it. 🙂

Our very first Halloween experience in the States and we totally enjoyed it. It was such an awesome experience, watching the kids and adults all dressed up in all sort of costumes, walking around the neighbourhood, going door to door for treats! Thanks to Papa Yap’s classmate, Kenny and his wife Lourdes, for the Halloween invitation. Double Ds and ourselves had absolute fun going door to door for trick and treat. Darian was exceptionally happy as he came home with plenty of candies. I think this is possibly the one and only once in a lifetime occasion that he could ever have so much candies. Haha 😉 In fact before that, he was literally counting down to Halloween and couldn’t wait for it! Baby Dyann was looking way too cute in that leopard costume. Aww… She had caught so much attention while walking around the neighbourhood. Totally adorable! Papa Yap and I were very happy to see the duo enjoying themselves. Well I suppose we would miss going door to door for trick or treat next year but we were truly elated to have such fantastic time experiencing Halloween! 🙂

IMG_4276

Awww… Too cute! 🙂

IMG_4281

Can you guess what is Jeanette dressed up as? Obvious isn’t it? 😉

IMG_4284

Some snacks prepared by Lourdes.

IMG_4285

Baby Dyann busy eating her snacks.

IMG_4286

Ready for trick or treat.

IMG_4293

Darian getting real brave for this trick or treat! Way to go Sonny! 😉

IMG_4287

Getting his treats.

IMG_4298

With my two cuties! 🙂

IMG_4302

Baby Dyann enjoying herself with the trick and treat.

IMG_4328

Us with the Smiths. Kenny, Lourdes and Silas! 🙂

IMG_4333

Back home with a bucket of candies. 🙂

IMG_4340

No way mommy is going to let you have a candy! So sorry sweetheart! 😉

IMG_4353

The happy boy who couldn’t wait for the next day when he could savour his candies.

IMG_4357

My dashing little Batman!

<<<>>>

Autumn leaves

IMG_4266

IMG_4268

In the season of fall, the leaves gradually change their colours. From green to yellow, orange and red. It is such a beautiful sight, watching rows of brilliantly coloured trees as we drive along the roads and highways. Somehow it seems so surreal to be driving along a stretch of coloured forestations. Never did we expect to have such an opportunity to be living in a four seasons country. Looking at the autumn leaves, it also reminds me of our lovely Japan holiday in 2008. 🙂 Right now, we are enjoying this magnificent autumn scenic view until winter comes. Anyway the weather is getting real cold too! Till then! 🙂

IMG_4706

IMG_4708

IMG_4712

IMG_4717

       IMG_4728

<<<>>>

Singapore

***22nd October 13***

Papa Yap gave a country brief to the whole of EWS and we were cordially invited along as well. Prior to the presentation, he spent a number of days preparing the slides and rehearsing. Of course, not only had I gotten his hot coffee ready for the late nights, I went through his slides and listened to his speech too. 🙂 He appeared to be pretty cool throughout his presentation although he told me that he was actually feeling nervous at the start. Well overall, he did a fantastic presentation and received numerous positive remarks for it. I guess he did become ‘famous’ for that day! heehee 😉 It was a proud to be a Singaporean day and I am definitely proud to be Mrs Yap. Well done Papa! Love ya 🙂

20131028-131403.jpg

Us with Caleb, our sponsor.

20131028-131412.jpg

Papa Yap starting on his presentation.

20131028-131420.jpg

Receiving a plaque from the director of EWS.

<<>>

With the Greeks

***19th October***

Our family were invited over for dinner by the Greeks. George, Sophia and John were really friendly and nice. Darian was so happy to be able to play with John. In fact, he was very eager to go over since the morning. Sophia had prepared a table of yummy food and there was also some Greece desserts and drinks to serve us too. It was an evening of yummilicious food, joy and laughter. We all enjoyed ourselves, especially the kids. A big thank you to George and Sophia for being such wonderful hosts. One awesome dinner date for sure! 🙂

20131028-112959.jpg

Busy girl going up and down the stairs. Thank goodness we are staying in an apartment. Haha 😉

20131028-105001.jpg

John and Darian 🙂

20131028-105017.jpg

George and Sophia setting up the table.

20131028-105024.jpg

Tasty salad

20131028-105032.jpg

Baked potatoes, beef meat balls and broccoli

20131028-105041.jpg

Baked pasta

20131028-105047.jpg

Playing a game of picking the candies.

20131028-111308.jpg

So the prince came home with a bag of treats.

🙂

 <<>>

Reston Zoo

***14th October 13***
Weather was really wet and cold last week. Brrr… It has been raining since Thursday and our plans for the long weekend was literally ruined. Boohoo 😦 The weather forecast on my iPhone was pretty accurate and I trusted it to plan for our outdoor outings. Looking at the forecast for Monday, Papa Yap and I were really looking forward to spending some quality family time together. 🙂

IMG_3996

Quick lunch for the boys! 🙂

IMG_4150

Us at the Reston Zoo❤

IMG_4054

Just us 🙂

True enough, the weather was indeed sunny and there we were at the Reston Zoo. Yay! It is about a 45 minutes drive from our place; we got there about 11.30am. As usual Darian was absolutely happy about this trip. He enjoys going to the zoo, looking at the animals. But when it comes to close contact with the animals, he would flee as far as possible. Heehee… 😉

IMG_4006

Let’s go!

IMG_4014

Papa Yap and Darian feeding the goat.

IMG_4022

The lamb

IMG_4015

This was when the goat pecked the cup off Darian’s hands. Haha 😉

IMG_4060

Papa Yap trying to finish the feeds.

IMG_4146

All done!

I would say the Reston zoo is like a small scale animal park which is definitely not comparable to the Smithsonian Zoo. But, it is generally good enough for family with kids to visit especially if they would want to have some close animal encounters. We started in the petting barn, feeding the goats, sheep, lambs and pigs. They seemed really hungry though. The goats, sheep and lambs were constantly eyeing on the feed in our hands, standing closely to the fence and stretching out their heads. That made Papa Yap wondered if the animals were all being fed. Haha 😉 Darian wasn’t enthusiastic about feeding the animals at all particularly after his first attempt to feed the goat when it literally bit the cup off his hand and ran off with the feed. Haha… Smartie goat! Papa Yap and I were trying our best to finish the feeds fast so that we need not have to carry the bucket around. You know, we didn’t want to waste it as that bucket of feed doesn’t come cheap.

IMG_4038

Reptile house

IMG_4039

Darian looking at all the displays.

We then walked along the paths to view the larger exhibits of animals such as prairie dogs, condor, monkeys, alligators, tortoises, llamas. There was a small reptile house which housed a few snake species including two huge python(Eee… the boys knew that I am afraid of them and kept teasing me to look at them!), tarantula, frogs, bearded dragon lizard and tortoise. Seriously, they gave me goose bumps. Ewww I just cannot stand creepy creatures! I should have waited outside instead.

IMG_4140

The Zoofari-wagon ride

IMG_4083

While queuing for the ride.

IMG_4088

Kiddos goofing around 😉

IMG_4096

Up on the wagon

IMG_4120

The camels coming close.

IMG_4112

Zebras

IMG_4110

I was really worried if the bison with the huge horns would wake up and decide to walk toward us. Heehee 😉

IMG_4091

Animals circling around the wagon

What we found interesting was actually the safari-a-like concept area which we could take a wagon ride and tour around the mini safari, getting up close to the ostrich, rhea, emu, bison, buffalo, antelopes and zebras. The wagon was open, hence during each stopovers, the animals were like circling around us, waiting to be fed. To be honest, it was quite intimidating for me and Darian. We were rather terrified of those big animals with horns and beaks coming real close to us. Nevertheless it was certainly a great experience for us. We continued with our walk around the park where we get to see the kangaroos, pony, small alligators, lemurs. Oh and there’s this bird aviary where we could do bird feedings. Papa Yap went in together with Darian while I waited outside with Baby Dyann in the stroller.

IMG_4152

Goodbye!

It was a well spent Monday after all. We all had fun and left the park at 2ish. As expected the kids slept through the journey back home. 🙂

<<<>>>