InnerActive Play Area

Last weekend the kids and I needed to get out of the house for a bit, so I had the brilliant idea to take them to an indoor play area so we could be out of the chill and also go earlier in the day. Everything is at least 30 minutes away from us, but most indoor play areas are further. Thankfully, however, a couple have popped up in that 30-40 minute range and so off we went!

Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect at 10:30 on a Saturday morning, but my heart sank a bit when we drove up and the parking lot was packed.  I took a deep breath and warned the kids that a lot of other people were there.  We managed to find a cubby to put our things in and off we went to brave the play area and people. Immediately Enzo and I shared a look and he said, “There’s too many people, Mommy.”  Phoebe was not bothered, though, and took off running.  Even she had a few moments of panic, though, when she couldn’t spot me right away after getting off the slide.

We got used to the amount of people fairly quickly and to my pleasant surprise it started clearing out and the amount of noise and activity was more manageable.  We all were more comfortable and Enzo and Phoebe were all over.  It’s a pretty cool place too.

I didn’t get pictures of everything, but there’s a fairly large play area with slides and climbing toys as well as the favorite of both kids – the bouncy pillow. Both kids spent a lot of time on the slides and were having a blast.

Eventually I convinced the kids to take a break for snacks, which we had brought, and had to promise several times that we weren’t going to leave right away. For almost $8 a kid I had already decided we’d be here for a few hours. There wasn’t enough seating at actual tables, but we found a bench to sit at over by another play area that was for toddlers.  Then we had to go bounce on the bouncy pillow, which admittedly was a lot of fun. I was probably one of only 2 or 3 parents who was openly enjoying it.  There was also a big basketball court and a smaller soccer “field.”  Enzo was hooked on shooting baskets and got 5 while we were there. He was so proud of himself.

I have a feeling we’ll be going back there, especially whenever the temperatures drop.  They have monthly plans and yearly plans which is also nice, but I don’t think we’d be there often enough for one of those. Maybe if we lived a little closer.  For an un-staffed place, I was impressed at how clean it was and how involved parents were with their kids. Hardly anyone on their phones (except to take pictures) and everyone was respectful, which was a huge win for me.

Let there be light!

If there’s one thing I love, it’s dragging my family out to experience new things, even if it’s cold and I know there’s a decent chance of whining.  I’m a sucker for light installations, though, and knew we had to go to the arboretum when I heard about Bruce Munro’s exhibit going up.  We got tickets for 5:00 on Friday and hoped for the best. The kids seemed excited despite the cold temperatures and were even more excited to get to wander around in the dark. Go figure.

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It was magical and enchanting and inspiring and despite Enzo asking when we were going to go back to the big house and get hot cocoa, I really did enjoy it.  If I had one complaint it would only be that I wish I could have stayed longer and that there had been more displays. At times I felt rushed just because… well, kids, but I’m still glad we took them to see it. Sure they may have been more excited for the hot cocoa and cookies at the end, but I do think they enjoyed it over all.

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As for me… I’ve always loved the ambiance that lights can create and really did enjoy seeing it all. I was filled with ideas and motivation to start creating again and you can’t ask for much more than that.  The pictures really don’t do it justice, but I had to attempt to take a few photos while also not tripping over small bodies or my own feet in the dark. Haha!

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Corn Maze and Other Fall Fun!

I feel like we’ve been slacking this year when it comes to our typical traditions, but it is what it is. We never did get to a pumpkin patch, but Josh’s dad treated us to some fun at a local Corn Maze, which ironically we never even ended up doing, but there are lots of other things to keep kids busy.  Unfortunately, it was also really cold that day… much colder than the weather was supposed to be. So begins the season of bringing hats and gloves and coats everywhere we go because you just never know.

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Corn pits provide endless amounts of fun… who knew?!  It was thankfully a bit warmer under the tent which helped block some of the wind.

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The kids also got to play with their cousins, which was an added bonus.

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Oh glorious giant bouncy pillow.  The kids had a little trouble getting up at times, but they had such a blast. It’s the little things, you know?

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While the kids bounced, I found hot cider and stole Josh’s jacket because he’s a walking furnace on most days anyway.

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The kids did at least go through the mini hay bale maze.  It always amazes me how much the kids change from year to year.  They’re so independent now!

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And of course the big slide. Usually one of us always goes down with Enzo, but this time he was like, No thanks, I’ve got this.  He handed his money over to the person in charge, and carried his own sack up the steps with his aunt and cousin and grandpa and Phoebe.  We were worried at first how he’d do and he definitely got nervous, which is when he started going down crooked because he tried to slow down, but then he got brave and the look of joy on his face is priceless. Phoebe was terrified, but was thrilled when she got up. Ha!

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Oh, fall.  Never change. One day the kids will think these silly slides and things are just lame, and I do not look forward to that day.

Get Outside

The past week was a busy one, and the weekend ended up being no different.  The kids were up bright and early and were ready to GO.  Our original plans changed, so we pulled out Plan B – when in doubt, go to the zoo!  We invited Josh’s dad Mike to come along with us and away we went!  Despite it being overcast, the temps were surprisingly nice and it was the emptiest the zoo has ever been when we’ve visited.  It was AMAZING!

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Finding a table to eat at was a breeze and the kids were able to wiggle and move around as much as they wanted!

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I didn’t pet the sharks, but everyone else got to, which was awesome. It’s usually really hard to find a spot for the kids when we’re here so they were thrilled.

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It might seem weird to document your kids using a hand dryer, but this is the first time EVER that they have agreed to use one. They usually are afraid of the hand dryers.  More winning!

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Onward, ho!

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Also, my husband was winning because I was able to take a few photos with my big camera and I’m actually in more than 1 or 2 photos and don’t have totally weird face!

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It was so nice for the kids to be able to run around and actually get up close to see everything without any crowds.  We don’t often get to do that and it was especially exciting at Grizzly Coast (the boys were in the water up against the glass rough-housing) and it’s awesome to get to see the bears up close.

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You’re also more able to get away with putting your kids on the fence to give them a better look at critters. Don’t worry, the Takin’s looked fairly harmless. 😉

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She’s a tree in the wind. Seriously, though… no crowds!!  We even managed to walk past the carousel and the kids didn’t even argue when we said we weren’t going to ride it that day.  Say what?!?

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Telling Grandpa all of the things and enjoying the fall leaves on our walk.  We’re already at that point where so many more trees are beyond peek and heading into the dying yellow color than are at the glorious red and orange point.  Such is life.

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My favorite.  I love mountain lions so much… bobcats too.

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We headed home a little before 4:00 and Phoebe of course crashed on the way, which also meant she didn’t want to fall asleep at bedtime, but we could also hear someone with some thumping bass, so that didn’t help.  Sunday I woke up to this glorious tree outside our bedroom window:

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Then at some point I realized I need to go grab groceries, so I loaded up Phoebe and away we went!  She managed to pinch her finger in the shopping cart wheel when we got back to the car, and was quite upset the whole ride home and most of the afternoon.  I kind of wanted to punch the old man in the parking lot who looked over at me and shook his head in that way that clearly meant I was an awful parent.  She has a blood blister, but no long-lasting damage and I have a feeling she isn’t scarred for life.

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Happy Monday… oh… errr… Tuesday. How is it Tuesday?

 

Huzzah and other things you say at a Ren Fest…

Fall for me isn’t really fall unless we go to the Renaissance Festival. It doesn’t really change ever, but I do so love it and even though we didn’t dress up this year, next year it’s happening because it doesn’t feel right not to!  This year we ended up going on the last weekend, but ended up working out quite well… the only thing we had going against us was the weather ended up being much nicer than we had planned. Yep. We overdressed thanks to our weather app being completely wrong.  Overcast and 60 degrees ended up being sunny and in the lower 70’s so we ended up roasting, which is better than freezing… you win some you lose some.

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The kids were excited… sort of. We started things off by walking to the joust and a nice lady gave the kids some little things she had won.  Alas, the actual joust wasn’t actually taking place at this time and the kids started whining for food.  The second we leave the house all they can talk about is food and plow through any snacks I bring.  Enzo saw someone with pizza, so off we went to find pizza, hoping that afterward they’d be more thrilled about aimlessly wandering and exploring.

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Josh got the kids settled with pizza while I made my way to find mead because where else are you encouraged to start drinking  before noon?  What’s not to love about having a beer at 10am and being cheered on to do so?

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The pizza was really good (I had their leftovers) and Josh found me a massive chocolate cupcake that I didn’t take a picture of, but must have weighed 2 pounds and was glorious.  GLORIOUS!

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Oh, I lied, the first thing we did was walk by the elephants and the kids immediately wanted a ride. I felt kind of bad for the elephants, but let the kids go anyway. I made Josh go with them because I didn’t really want to smell like elephant and also I don’t like heights. The kids were so excited, which made it totally worth it… I think. Okay, I really want to free the elephants.

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We wandered and the kids got souvenirs and we snacked.  Enzo was getting a tad cranky, however, and Phoebe was getting ornery. She also kept dropping her wand out of the wagon so it’s really amazing it made it home in one piece.  Enzo decided against a wand when I told him that unfortunately it didn’t actually do real magic like Harry Potter.  Instead I had to watch his poor little face fall as he was introduced to the disappointment we all have to face as we grow older and realize that life isn’t nearly as cool as it is in books and movies.  Trust me, Kid, I KNOW.

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So, we went to find some fairies… more disappointment there since it was just girls dressed up as fairies. We wandered a bit more, listened to some Stary Olsa and bought their CDs and then decided to head out before we had full on mutiny on our hands from our wagon pirates who Josh was towing around all day.  Huzzah! Until next year when we will probably leave the party poopers at home! 😉