Thomas the Tank Engine is chugging into Oklahoma City and tickets are on sale for this very fun event. According to the event website, Day Out with Thomas is in its 15th year, and as always, the Oklahoma Railway Museum will be hosting Thomas’ arrival.
Besides getting a train ride with Thomas, children can enjoy other activities such as arts and crafts, storytelling, playing with toy trains, meeting characters and getting a look at the history of Thomas, who is turning 65 this year.
Get tickets soon, as this tends to sell out. Dates of the event are Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 1-3. Tickets cost $14 to $18 each. When you order tickets online, you can choose which train you’d like to sit in. Pay extra attention to which train car you choose. Some are air conditioned, some only have sliding windows, and others are completely open. Also, I suggest picking an early morning ride to avoid high temperatures.
Two years ago, I mistakenly chose the 2 p.m. time slot and the car with only the sliding windows. Since some of the cars are so old, some windows won’t open. That was our window. September was especially hot that year, and my then-2-year-old son was completely decked out in his Thomas overalls, Thomas polo shirt, Thomas conductor hat, socks and shoes. We couldn’t bring our drinks on board, but it’s a 30-minute ride. No big deal.
About two minutes after we pull out of the station, my son starts screaming and crying. He’s sweating, he’s red in the face, he’s hot as can be. I didn’t know what to do and we couldn’t get off the train. We were starting to get some mean looks from other paying passengers. He cried the entire ride. People were upset with us, asking employees for their money back and just generally being more than annoyed.
About a year later, I was talking to some parents at my son’s day care about how Thomas the Train was back in town. All of a sudden, one parent starts talking about this screaming child on her train car last year … decked out in Thomas overalls, polo and conductor cap. She described my son to a T - an entire year later. She was on that car. She was one of the parents demanding a refund. Yikes.
Me: ”Oh, we didn’t get to go last year … how awful … why would his mom dress him in such hot clothes in the middle of summer? … “
So please take my advice. Choose the air conditioned car. Get an early time and don’t dress your child like a conductor. After all, it’s September in Oklahoma.
For a schedule and tickets, click here.
One thing I can say is that I was reminded once again that this is TV — entertainment with a capital E.
I kind of thought one of the scenes with the parents was a bit too much, considering that lots of teens watch the show. On the other hand, the way a teen’s parents function together — or don’t function together — certainly impacts the family dynamics. In that way, the scene was probably justified.
If you saw the episode, you’ll probably guess which scene I’m referring to.
Probably the biggest impact of this episode, in terms of realism, was the scene when Amy’s mother, portrayed by Molly Ringwald, told her daughter in no uncertain terms that she would have to get familiar with the idea that she would become a mother in just a few short months and HER ENTIRE LIFE AS SHE KNEW IT WOULD CHANGE FOREVER.
That is the best part of this new show, I think, getting that idea in teens’ brains: Babies change your life forever. Period.
The reality sank in for Amy immediately.
Guess what? She’s even more scared now than she was before … and rightfully so.
Here’s hoping that this show serves as a wakeup call for some teens.
Hey, and I’d love to know what you thought about this week’s episode. Don’t forgot to share your comments …
P.S., I almost forgot: What in the world is Grace, the show’s Christian girl thinking? She has proclaimed to her mother that she is now “in love” with bad boy Ricky, the father of Amy’s baby. I’m thinking that she is very naive and a lot like so many girls out there.
The show, which began July 2008, has been called realistic by some, downright campy by others.
Either way, the dramedy about a pregnant high school girl may be of interest to teens and their parents.
I enjoy the show because it brings up some interesting scenarios that today’s teens and their parents (myself included) can discuss in an informal setting.
The show airs on Mondays this season and I’ll likely blog about it each Tuesday. It would be great to get some feedback/comments from others who watch the show as the season continues.
The issues raised on the show hit home particularly in light of Staff Writer Susan Simpson’s story about teen pregnancy featured in today’s Oklahoman.
The story notes that Oklahoma’s teen birth rate is among the nation’s highest, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disase Control and Prevention.
The story went on to quote Sharon Rodine, director of youth initiatives at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, as saying that 2007 data for the state also shows an increase in teens giving birth.
Having said all that, I won’t comment on this week’s “Secret Life” season premiere because some folks might not realize that the new season has begun.
I’ll drop you a hint about the premiere’s focus, though: Something old, something new …
I’m a fan of reality TV, I’ll admit it. I’ve been avidly watching this season of America’s Got Talent and I must say, the talent does not disappoint.
There is one talent act that has bothered me though, especially lately. It is that of 4-year-old singer Kaitlyn Maher.
The premise of this show is to find a talent that can sustain an audience in Las Vegas as a headline act, along with a considerable cash prize. I understand the novelty of having a 4-year-old sing for a national audience, but I really do think America (who keeps voting her back) doesn’t quite get this premise and I think if she wins, it will be a hard lesson to learn.
Realistically, having a 4-year-old sing for a 90-minute show for a Las Vegas audience is asking for failure. It may sound harsh, but I don’t see droves of people lining up, paying to see her sing. Not only do I think she can’t keep up a show that long, but Piers Morgan, the only judge who has given a reality check about this act, is pleading to America not to put her through, and not to put her through that.
As novel as it is, we must remember this girl is only 4 years old. She doesn’t belong on a Vegas stage, she belongs in pre-school, singing children songs with her friends and family, watching PBS Kids, eating graham crackers and goldfish, and learning to read.
And I don’t believe the judges are blameless, either. After all, they did know the winning act gets a show in Vegas and they could have cut her before the live shows.
So now it’s in America hands. We’ll see tonight if they did the right thing and sent this little girl home.
If it’s a TV show that has parents and teens talking on the subject, so be it.
“Hopefully the talk will lead to some positive discussions for some young people because we have been ignoring them for too long,” Rodine said.
Some critics have jabbed at the new ABC Family show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” saying that it focuses on sex too much and that it plays a lot like a soap opera parody, but others, like Rodine and leaders with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, say it has folks talking and that’s worth a lot.
Rodine said it’s often hard to get people in Oklahoma to see how much teen pregnancy has become a concern.
“Between 2005 and 2006, and that’s the latest data we have, the births to teens in
“It’s an alarm bell going off because, in so many ways, we’ve become complacent.”
Rodine said it’s sometimes hard for people to relate to numbers so she found another way to describe the problem.
“How do we help the public understand what this means? To help put this in perspective I tell people that the number of teens giving birth in
“We need to say ‘diplomas before diapers’.”
With that said, here are some national statistics from the National Campaign to ponder:
– The teen pregnancy and birth rate has declined dramatically since the early 1990s (down 38 percent and 32 percent respectively), driven by decreased sexual activity and increases in contraceptive use. Even so, recent data shows that the declines in teen sex and improvements in contraceptive use have leveled off. And the teen birth rate is on the rise for the first time in 15 years.
As a mom, I often feel guilty about things that are probably not as bad as I make them out to be.
I’ve already written about the struggles of getting a toddler to eat. So of course comes the guilt of “is he getting enough veggies? ” or “am I a bad mom for taking my kid to McDonald’s in Wal-Mart when I know he won’t make it through a 2-hour shopping trip without a Happy Meal?”
Along with these guilts, I have many more, as I’m sure other parents do, especially single parents who can’t do it all.
1. Reading. Everywhere you look and listen, it is the same message. “Read to your child 20 minutes a day.” I’m actually better about getting this done than other things. But I do have the occasional day where there aren’t those 20 minutes. Will my child then be behind his classmates in junior high or not get into college?
2. Playtime, or lack of. We are enrolled in the READY! For Kindergarten classes offered by Putnam City School District (which I highly recommend to parents in that district). One of the things they emphasize is to set aside “educational play time” each day with your child. This seems easy enough, right? Wrong. How do you know if you are playing “educationally” enough? What if you’re attention is divided between helping solve a puzzle and dinner burning on the stove? What if you’re just too tired? Usually I make up for any missed playtime on the weekends with a trip to the park or zoo or something else fun. But is this enough?
3. Screen time. Something else you hear about everywhere. “Limit your child’s screen time (i.e. TV, computer) to 3o minutes a day.” Well if that’s the case, my boy has used up his daily limit before we even head out the door in the morning. Between Sesame Street and the Today show, he has had his fill. But as single parents, sometimes we have to use the TV as a tool to get other things done around the house. Should I just disconnect the television altogether? Because as long as it’s there, I’m bound to veg out on the couch and enjoy a healthy dose of reality television after a day at work. Does this mean my child will turn into a slacking couch potato?
Ahhh, the guilts of motherhood. Is there any escape? My mom sent me a wonderful book about moms for Mother’s Day. Inside the cover she wrote, “Good job, Erica.”
That’s the greatest compliment a mom could hear.