sesame memories

When my dad told me that he was gifting each of the girls a trip this Christmas (Brooke to Sesame Place with the family and Katie to NYC with just Mama next month), I told him it was too much for him to spend. His response was, “This is what I want to do. Now go make memories with your babies.”

Thank you, Papa. In the last two days, we made enough for a lifetime.


{image is a very simple black and white photo of me and Brooke on the roller coaster this afternoon. In the middle of all of the hubbub of the park, there was just us, snuggled together in our little coaster car. it’s a memory, among so many others, that I will cherish.}

– Posted on Diary’s Facebook page at 8:10 on Sunday night, in the car on the way home from Sesame Place.

When I checked the weather in Langhorne, Pennsylvania on Saturday morning, I knew that the gods of Sesame were smiling on us. By the time we would be hitting the park later that afternoon, it would be in the fifties, unimaginably warm for the Northeast in December.

{image is a screenshot of my phone showing the temperature moving from the high thirties to the low fifties throughout the day.}

Getting out of the house was a typical Wilson (mis)adventure. But we finally made it. And, once in the car, snapped a photo that, had it been two weeks earlier, would have been our Christmas card.


{image is a photo of the Wilson girls piled into the car, laughing because Katie, who had been sitting in the front seat before the photo, had gotten herself stuck in between the seats on her way TO the photo. Awesome photobomb by Luau, packing the trunk.}

As we drove (and drove and drove and drove, because, dear God, Boston to Philly is a long drive), Brooke reminded us of what we already knew – that the roller coaster was going to be our first stop. And our second. And likely our third.

She is all about Sesame’s roller coaster, the Vapor Trail, and she had every intention of taking full advantage of it while we were there. For the record, this is not information that her mama relishes. I’m more of a ground-level kind of girl.

As soon as she saw the first sign for Sesame, Brooke began flapping her wings and bouncing in delight. It was glorious.


{image is a photo of a very happy Brooke in the car.}

And, of course, the roller coaster was indeed our first stop. And our third. And fifth. And sixth.


{image is a photo of Brooke and me mid-coaster ride. This is what I look like thirteen seconds before trying not to toss my cookies on the car behind us. She went on it again immediately. I needed an hour to recover.}

Almost immediately following our arrival, it was time for our dinner with Elmo and his friends. It was a HUGE treat to get to see the characters. I dare say for everyone.


{image is a photo of Brooke looking up, way up, at Cookie Monster …}


{… and hugging Elmo.}


{image is a photo of Katie snuggling with Telly …}


{ … and Elmo}


{… and Ernie}


{… and Bert}

Heck, even daddy got into the act.


{image is a purely awesome photo of Luau getting a nuzzle from Telly. I love that I married a man who isn’t afraid to hug a furry, pink monster.}

Of course, Brooke was not satisfied with a simple hello, nor even a hug or a photo op with the characters. Nope, my kid is gonna make em work. Like Bert, who had to touch his ears …

Note: the following images are photos of Bert doing each of the things Brooke asked, descriptions embedded in text.


And put his hands up high …


And pretend to cry …


And touch his toes …


And finally, get a hug. I love, love, love the look on Bert’s face in this next photo. I mean, I know it’s just THE look on his face, but isn’t it just perfect?


{image is a photo of Bert looking like a guy who’s just been asked to touch his ears, put his hands up high, pretend to cry, and touch his toes.}

Bert was a sport and seemed to think nothing of Brooke’s requests. I guess a guy who collects paperclips and talks to pigeons is bound to have an open mind.

As soon as we walked out of the dining hall, we were met by the sight of this. I might have been “that mom” and made Katie stand there for a picture. But ain’t it perty?


{image is a photo of Katie standing in front of Sesame’s enormous Christmas tree.}

The lights everywhere were just magical.


{image is a photo of Katie, Brooke, and Luau standing in the light of three green Christmas trees. Behind them are clusters of blue, red, yellow and green trees and above them is a canopy of lights. }

Then it was time for more rides. Aside from the roller coaster, this nightmare was one of Brooke’s favorites.


{image is a photo of Elmo’s Blast Off, a ride that goes up, then drops numerous times. Apparently it’s supposed to be fun. Ya know, like chewing glass. Katie opted out with her mama. Brooke and Luau inexplicably had a blast. That’s them right in the middle.}

As fabulous as monster hugs are, Daddy hugs are pretty good too.


{image is a photo of Katie, Brooke and Luau snuggling together while waiting for a ride.}

Of course the most important visit was yet to come.

{image is an utterly delicious photo of Brooke hugging her very favorite character, Prairie Dawn. Given that Prairie doesn’t walk the park, they invited us to a private meeting with her before the nightly parade. It was perfect.}

The lead-up to the parade wasn’t easy. We decided to leave Luau with the stuff and head into a nearby shop to look around. Katie said that she HAD to have this.


{image is a photo of Katie cuddling an adorable Grover that could be ours for the low, low price of ONLY $49.99. Um, no.}


{image is a photo of Brooke following suit, hugging a fifty dollar Zoe.}

For the record, neither of them walked out of that shop, or the park overall, with anything but memories. And the world did not explode. Nifty that.

We went back to wait for the parade. Again. We even managed a kinda, sorta, almost happy-looking picture, but, well, yeah.


{image is a photo of Luau and the girls waiting for the parade.}

Having just seen Prairie in the staging area, we didn’t have much of a choice but to plop down right at the start of the parade. It turned out to be the best spot in the house. For us, at least. There are shows in the middle of the parade route, but Brooke doesn’t do shows and she really doesn’t do shows in crowds. So this was ideal. We got to see all the characters come out at 8:00 and at 8:05 (yes, seriously, exactly five minutes after it began) we were on our way out the door.

It was five minutes of fabulous.


{image is a photo of Oscar the Grouch’s float. His sign, which usually says, “Scram,” reads, “Bah Haumbug!”}

Someone got a little excited when she saw Zoe and ran up for a hug.


{image is a photo of Brooke reaching up to Zoe for a hug and Zoe, God bless her, reciprocating}

Completely exhausted, we piled into the car for the ride to the hotel. After five minutes of standing in the hallway watching my family attempt to get into our room, I took this photo. I call it, “How many Wilsons does it take to open a door?”

Laugh or cry, people. Laugh or cry.


{image is a photo of Luau helping Katie with the card key while Brooke looks on and I definitely do not roll my eyes. Nope, definitely not.}

We were seriously bummed to find out that the park didn’t open until 1pm on Sunday. We were not bummed at all to find a really good way to spend the time.

{image is a photo of the girls chilling out in the hotel hot tub on Sunday morning.}

And then it was back to the park for what we all promised Luau would be absolutely, positively, no really, we swear, no more than three hours. No one, particularly Luau, thought that we would actually leave by four, but we promised to give it our best shot. Mostly.

But of course first it was back to the roller coaster.





{images are photos of Brooke giggling and squealing and yelling, “Uh Oh!” on the roller coaster with Luau.}

And then a stop for more hugs.


{image is a photo of Katie and her favorite furry guy, Grover. He’s holding a sign that says, “Hi, Wendy!” for a friend who shares her love of Grover.}

And then there was this. I love this. Katie, yes, the “typical” thirteen year-old, was all about the fire engine photo op. The look on Brooke’s face says it all.

{image is a photo of Katie smiling and waving to the camera while Brooke looks as if she is saying, “I have no idea why people think this is fun.”}



{image is a close-up of Brooke’s face. She is less than enthused by this whole fire truck idea.}

The day before, Katie had been begging to play the carnival games. Her mean mom had said no. Well, actually, I’d said, “Sure, if you want to spend your own money on them.” Funny thing, that. It seemed that she only wanted to spend MY money on them. But the carny gods were on her side the next morning when I noticed coupons for free games at the hotel. You’d think I’d have given the kid a pony when I handed them to her.

She enlisted her dad in trying to snag a milk bottle with a tiny plastic ring in order to win a candy cane the size of our kitchen. A bucket of rings later, they came up dry. But she was undeterred. And we had three more coupons.

{image is a photo of Luau giving it his all as Katie cheers him on.}

Long after Luau had surrendered to the Sesame gods of rigged games and taken Brooke off on a search for a slice of chocolate cake, Katie emerged victorious.


{image is a photo of Katie and the moose that she won by tossing a Wiffle ball onto one of only four colored holes in the board behind her. She named him Charlie. (The moose, not the ball.)}

We took Charlie in search of Santa. Or Cookie Monster. Whatever.


{image is a photo of Katie snuggling with Cookie Monster as Santa.}

Luau and I then switched companions and Brooke and I went off on our own for a bit while Katie had some ride time with Daddy. We found Oscar and had to give him a hug.

{image is a photo of Brooke hugging Oscar who is inexplicably standing up, wearing his trash can as a skirt. Or a belt. Thankfully, Brooke didn’t seem to care, though she did tell him he was stinky, but I think that she meant it as a compliment.}

And then we found these guys. This would turn out to be one of my favorite moments of the trip. In between photos, they would bop each other on the nose. Brooke thought it was hilarious. And apparently, she wanted in on the game. As soon as she walked up for her turn, she bopped Ernie on the nose. And then he bopped Bert. And Bert bopped Brooke. And so it went. It was absolutely, positively, perfect.





{images are photos of Brooke playing and posing with Bert and Ernie.}

We even found Zoe, and Brooke asked her if she wanted to dance.


{image is a photo of Brooke dancing for Zoe …}


{… and Zoe spinning for Brooke}

{… and then the two hugging tight.}

We even took in a ride, though it was a sleepy little swing, so I’m not sure it could really be classified as a ride. There was only one other kid on the swing with us, a boy about Brooke’s age who declared it “boring,’ halfway through. Brooke said, “No it’s not,” which was sort of awesome. (Note: I realize I’ve desperately overused the words awesome and fabulous in this post. I have no intention of remedying that, sorry.)


{image is a black and white photo of Brooke and me on the sleepy, not boring swing. I was on a black and white kick. It just felt right.}

Luau texted to say that he and Katie were going on the swings. Again. These were NOT sleepy swings, but instead the ones that flew high above the park. The ones that I wouldn’t go on on a bet. The ones that both of my girls love, but on which Katie, well …

Katie found Heaven.

IMG_4070 IMG_4073 IMG_4071 IMG_4072

{images is a series of photos of the girls on the swings, with a backdrop of sky. In every shot, Katie has her arms out to her sides as if she is in flight, because she is. I love these pictures so much. They remind me of the photos I have of her on the ice when she was younger. A place where she is weightless, joyful, free. It’s breathtaking to behold}

And then there was this. Brooke decided that she wanted to go on the Blast Off with Mama. Only with Mama.

I clearly love my kid. A lot.


Throughout the whole thing, Brooke kept saying, “It’s tickling my tummy!” and, “My belly button is laughing!” My tummy was neither tickled nor was my belly button so much as politely chuckling, but I have to admit, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I might even have laughed. Who would have thunk it?

{image is a closeup of the photo above. I am holding onto the safety harness for dear life and Brooke and I are “holding legs” because she wouldn’t hold my hand so that I wouldn’t be  she wouldn’t be scared, but I’m laughing. That doesn’t mean that I want to do it again, mind you, but I can say that I did it and survived. And yes, I realize these rides are all designed for toddlers and that riders under forty-two inches need only be accompanied by someone 14 and up but whatever, that s%$t was scary. Shut up.}

Sadly, it was time to start wrapping it up. But not without one last visit with some furry friends. Katie took a fabulous photo with Elmo.


{image is a photo of Katie and Elmo making moose ears for the camera. I captioned this on Facebook with, “It makes me so happy that she is truly cool enough not to be too cool for this.” I really, really am.}

And Brooke went in for the full-body hug.

{image is a photo of Brooke hugging Elmo.}

And then it was time for Abby. Katie, ever the purest, is not a big fan of Abby and her attempts to “pinkify” Sesame Street. But she sucked it up for a photo anyway.

[image is a photo of Katie and Abby.}

And lest we thought the magic of the weekend was behind us, this happened. Brooke, without a word and still behind the line divider, engaged Abby in a game of Follow the Leader.


{image is a photo of Abby Cadabby mirroring Brooke’s movements.}

The game went on until it was Brooke’s turn.


{image is a photo of Brooke with Abby.}

We then had to run back to Elmo to see if he’d play too. And wouldn’t you know it? He did.


{image is a photo of Elmo playing Follow the Leader with Brooke. I was so grateful to these characters. Still am.}

We finally had to pull her away and head toward home. It wasn’t easy. She told us that she wished we could live on Sesame Street. That she wanted to wake up there the next morning, and every morning thereafter. It was tough to leave her friends behind.

I don’t have words big enough to say thank you, Dad and Grandma Noe. I hope you can see how much this meant. We went and we made memories with our babies.

Memories that looked liked — and sounded — this …

{video shows Brooke on the roller coaster after it’s just come to a stop. She is saying, “Nothing gets much better than this,” and then doing her duck face for the camera. I can be heard in the background giggling and saying, “I love you.”}

Thank you, guys. it really, truly doesn’t get better than this.

4 thoughts on “sesame memories

  1. You are more than welcome, much more. Thanks for the acknowledgment but seeing the joy in all your eyes is all we need.You are my only perfect thing I have done in my life….Dad

    Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2014 17:49:56 +0000 To:

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