Nintendo 2DS: Coming to an Excited Kid Near You

Every year, our friends at Nintendo swing by Denver to show us the latest and greatest on the market. Last year, it was the WiiU, and this year it’s the 2DS handheld, which will be released on Oct. 19. We got one of the first looks and they had enough security there to make sure we didn’t keep on looking by walking out with if afterward. :-)

The Lobby’s lovely back patio

We congregated at The Lobby, a welcome reprieve after all of our flooding and rain. But forget the charming courtyard with flowers, ivy and delicious food (caramel-bacon ice cream Sammies, anyone?) When we pulled up to the restaurant and saw a huge Nintendo-theme trailer, the kids went wild.Seeing is doing with Nintendo so after a brief overview, the kiddos and adults were set loose to try out all the new games and devices on the back deck and also in the decked-out trailer. Both kiddos fell in love with Pitkin 3 (can you say Christmas present?) and we all really, really liked the new 2DS. In fact, while the kids eventually gravitated back to what they were familiar with (the 3DS), the adults and I universally agreed we preferred the 2DS. Not only is it a more light, affordable ($129.99), family-friendly unit but I prefer its flat, tablet-like design because it’s easier to hold and navigate…the perfect starter device. All the capabilities seem to be the same so I think it will be a winner in the family market.

Nintendo 2DS

There’s nothing quite like a Nintendo event.

The best way to describe it: an anti-social, social bonding experience.

When Bode first entered the Nintendo-themed trailer, he marveled at all the technology and peppered the PR rep with questions.

Q:”Where do you drive this?”
A: “All around the country showing people the games.”
Q: “This is your job?”
A: “Yup.”

Let’s just say Bode has new career aspirations.

Bode is my Nintendo guy and I can get him to do pretty much anything in exchange for some highly-coveted Wii time (how do you think I potty trained him?)

Hadley, on the other hand, can take it or leave it but I think she found her game, Animal Crossing. You essentially design your own world with the perfect house, outfits and animals while learning life skills with in-game currencies but with a lot more depth than in your average Webkinz or  phone app. The interactivity is mind-blogging; when you play it adapts your scene to whether it’s night or day and as the seasons change in real life, so do your scenes. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, of course.

I knew she was having fun when I brought her an extra-gooey brownie (her favorite) and instead of inhaling it like she usually does, she reprimanded me, “No dessert, I’m busy right now.”

The 2DS may be my new diet technique.

Why I cannot be reincarnated as Bode

I don’t believe in reincarnation but like to tease my kids how good they have it.

Me: “In my next life, I’m coming back as Bode.”
Him: “You can’t do dat!”
Me: “Why not?”

Reading to captive audience Fat Kitty

I then waited for the kid’s doctrinal profundities on how it wasn’t even possible. It didn’t happen because he countered with this reason:


Disney Wonder Day 3: Our Slacker Character Breakfast, Oceaneer Lab’s Red Hen and the Magic of Animator’s Palate

A Disney Cruise would not be complete without some one-on-one time with the Disney characters. The Personal Navigator (the daily newsletter detailing all there is to see and do on the ship) provides the when, where and with whom of the daily visits with fan-favorites such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Captain Hook, oodles of princesses and Captain Jack Sparrow.

Another popular option is the Character Breakfast. Each stateroom is assigned a morning to dine, pose for pictures and get autographs from their favorite characters. Day 3 was our special day.

But we stayed out at the Golden Mickey’s until almost 10 p.m. the night prior. And then there was a one-hour time change so we lost an hour of sleep.

Translation: we never made it to our character breakfast. (Oh, the shame).

Fortunately, the staff was gracious and let us meet the characters just as they were heading out. Here’s a little tip: Don’t try to get Goofy to stand next to Chip because he refused to do it.

I don’t want to stir up any controversy but I suspect there’s bad blood between them.

The weather took a turn for the warmer so I resolved after breakfast at Beach Blanket buffet, we would go swimming.

Hadley’s Favorite Restaurant

Because we had missed the Character Breakfast, I had suggested we try one of the sit-down restaurant for breakfast like Triton’s but was swiftly rebuked by Hadley who proclaimed, “Why would we go anywhere else if we have all the buffet’s wonderful choices?”

The girl doesn’t understand the concept of quality over quantity.

That said, there is a surprisingly great spread of food at the buffet—cheeses, a generous supply of fruits, yogurts, made-to-order omelets, Mickey-shaped waffles, along with fresh doughnuts and all the fixins (i.e. bacon, eggs and sausage) you’d expect.

Our decision to hit the pool early was a wise one. Though the temperatures were still chilly, the pool’s temperature was warm. Without the chaos of the afternoon crowd, my kids were able to play and swim for the first time.

Oceaneer Lab

That afternoon, the kids set sail at Oceaneer Lab while my mother-in-law and I took on the dubious task of relaxing reading and napping in our stateroom (someone’s gotta do it).

When we retrieved the kids three hours later, we had to practically drag them away. The Lab is is a futuristic and fun setting starring a larger-than-life Buzz Lightyear with planetary orbs, sparkling fiber-optic stars and interactive science lab stations, computers, reading area and games.

The age range for the Lab is 3-12 but it is geared to an older set. Six-year-old Hadley was in her element. Four-year-old Bode was among the youngest but he didn’t care. I found him with his Mario Cart posse, bossing the older boys around at every turn.

Hadley’s favorite part of the Oceaneer Lab was participating in Ratatouille Cooking School with an over-the-top, hilarious cookie chef. She paired up with Bode to make chocolate chip cookies that were delivered straight to her mouth from the Ratatouille restaurant magic oven.

Hadley: “But Bode didn’t get any cookies.”

Me: “Why not?”

Hadley: “You know the story of the Little Red Hen? My counselor said if someone doesn’t help make it, they won’t be able to eat it.”

Turns out Bode, in his quest for Mario Cart greatness, abandoned ship partway through and was not allowed to enjoy her spoils. Tough crowd hen house.

Animator’s Palate

Dinner at Animator’s Palate was like being trapped inside a kaleidoscope. Character sketches, maquettes, light boxes, paint brushes, colored pencils and scenes from popular Disney films adorn the black-and-white walls. But at the flash of light, they were transformed into an ever-evolving rainbow light show. As we dined on beef fillet and white chocolate cheesecake, Mickey made a surprise appearance.The children were entranced. I was stuffed.

We all walked away happy.

Buena Vista Theatre

For that evening’s entertainment, we opted to check out the 268-seat Buena Vista Theatre that featured first-run movies like Mars Needs Moms and Tangled. Gnomeo and Juliet was on-tap for the evening and we all loved this movie based loosely on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Only this one had a happy ending.

You couldn’t expect otherwise on the Disney Wonder.


If you missed it:
*It’s a Wonder Cruising with Disney: A Day-by-day Guide
*Day 0.5: If Getting There is Half the Fun Then I’m in Trouble
*Day 1: Kids Club, Sail Away Party and Fat Kitty Stowaway
*Day 2: Stateroom, Oceaneer Club, Pools, Entertainment & Pyrotechnics, Oh My!
*Day 3: Our Slacker Character Breakfast, Oceaneer Lab’s Little Red Hen and the Magic of Animator’s Palate
*Day 4: Puerto Vallarta, Boogie Boarding and Not-nude Beaches
*Days 5 & 6: Cabo, Lands End, A Brush with Death and a Newfound Love
*Day 7: Farewells & Our Favorite Moment of the Trip

A force to be reckoned with

Hadley. She is a wonderful, wild girl.

Sometimes I see so much of myself in her that it frightens me. The good (fun), the bad (opinionated) –it’s all condensed in one six-year-old package that I hope will turn out so much better than I ever was.

While she loves dressing up and looking like a girl, she does not like girl things. When I shop for her toys, I go to the boy section for dinosaurs and animals.

But on a recent (and rare) shopping trip to a department store, she was delighted to follow me around trying on clothes. We spent about a half-hour smelling perfumes, after which she signed, “I just love being a girl.”

She should totally write a song about it.

Hadley is a terribly complicated little thing who has loads of friends but is not afraid to tell it like it is, occasionally stepping on toes.

Or knocking people over.

Case in point: recess.

“I usually just like to play with the boys at recess,” she professed to me the other day.
“Why is that?”
“The girls don’t like playing my games. The boys do. They’re fun.”

I knew what game she was talking about. She and Bode LOVE Super Mario and his dinosaur sidekick, Yoshi. Haddie invented a game, Yoshi, where she (or someone else) chases kids around the school grounds trying to tag them whilst yelling “YOSHI HUNGRY!”

Gotta recognize the creativity in that kid.

Problem is she has allegedly recruited so many kids to play that it grew rough and violent. Another confession:

“Our teacher banned our whole class from playing Yoshi.”

I didn’t know whether I should be upset or proud.

We recently introduced the kids to A Christmas Story, my all-time favorite holiday movie. I’ve wanted to watch it since I babysat two of my rambunctious neighborhood boys and they announced they asked Santa for a BB Gun for Christmas.

Here’s for hoping their Santa’s reaction is the same as the one on the movie.

Hadley’s favorite part of the movie was when poor Flick got his tongue stuck on the frozen pole.

“What was it they said to dare him, Mommy?”
“Double-dog dare.”

All night long, she kept quizzing me, trying to commit it to memory.

I pray for the playground kids now that The Hurricane has returned from Christmas break.

Parenting 101: The Art of Lovingly Bribing Your Children

Parents have very strong opinions about what they refer to as bribing their children.

I prefer to look at it as an early lesson in action and consequence. If you do something, there will either be a reward or a punishment.

If that is bribery, sign me up.

Potty training my daughter was a nightmare because there was nothing in this world she wanted enough to make her do it (to see that long, sordid journey summarized in one painful post, go here). Treats? Forget it. New toy? Whatever. Revoke beloved cat privileges? “Just make sure to feed him during my absence.”

Parenting the most spirited and stubborn child in the world is a battle of the wills. Since starting kindergarten, she has regressed and we have gone through a new set of challenges. We have also been potty training my son, both of which have caused me to wave a white flag in frustration.

Until we met Super Mario Bros Wii.

There is something about that creepy little mustached man that is like crack cocaine for my children. From Day 1, their reaction has been the extremes: Euphoric when they win, meltdowns when they lose.

But most importantly: I finally found the one thing that would motivate my children to action. Neither are allowed to play Mr. Super Mario unless they are both accident-free.

In the bathroom, that is. There are plenty of near-accidents in the perilous Mushroom Kingdom.

Positive sibling pressure has been a good thing as they encourage the other to go. I.e. “Do you realize because of you, we can’t play Super Mario?”

OK, so maybe it’s not always positive but it is the only thing that has actually worked. And if the Wii can train my kids to go pee?

I’m all about bribery, especially if it results in a catchy marketing slogan for Nintendo.

Wii Fit Partying, Oprah-style

Just who are these girls–

And why is he cheering?

What’s up with this shot

Evidently, there’s just no rhyme or reason….

Find out all the sordid details of The Party of the Year and why I have been christened the new Oprah.


‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas, when all through my place,

Several creatures were stirring as they didst race.

Nintendo had come and a Wii Fit Party they did throw,

For 10 of my friends…for what they did not know.

They thought it was to eat and to laugh and to play.

As Wii Fit rudely divulged we were “unbalanced” that day.

Wii Fit’s elves brought not only games but goodies galore
With smoothies, chicken skewers and healthy snacks…but there was more.

For my friends, in fearing a healthy evening without treats
Brought cookies, brownies and pumpkin pie to eat.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of ski jumping and hoola hoops danced in our heads.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But four tiny Wii Fit elves, grinning ear-to-ear.

I said, “Now, Sylvia! Now, Bonnie! Now, Julia and Kat!
This Eve has been perfect. You just can’t top that.”

But top it they did as they unloaded their haul:wiifitladies

Yoga outfits and mats and a Wii Fit for all.

There was hugging and there was much screaming galore,

I was heralded as Oprah and was thanked for their score.

My eyes — how they twinkled! My dimples were deep!

As promises of lunches and free babysitting I didst reap.

I laughed to myself because I knew the giving was not done
For my Mile High Mamas were certainly deserving of such fun.

And so I announce it here, now and this day:
Within seven nights, we will hold a Wii and Wii Fit giveaway!

Rest assured, this is true and it is not a trick
I may not be Oprah but you can call me Saint Nick.