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.

At least we didn’t get a foot of snow?

I was supposed to get a lot done this week, but that didn’t happen.  Phoebe and Josh had a stomach bug, so our week was thrown out of whack a bit and never really turned around. On the bright side, our original forecast for today was almost a foot of snow, but I am pleased to report that we received none whatsoever. Unfortunately, our warmer temperatures have ceased, though. It’s been hard explaining to the kids why we could wear short sleeves and then suddenly it’s freezing again. You can see the looks of indignation on their faces and that really says what we all feel.

See that look, Mother Nature?  Enzo is displeased by the thought of snow in our future.  Also notice Phoebe happily skipping about in the background, absolutely clueless.  She was actually more unhappy about the cold weather this morning and made me go back inside to grab her blanket for the car ride.

I’ve promised the kids that I would take them to an indoor playground tomorrow. There are a couple that aren’t too far away, so I’m picking the one that looks like it has more space for them to run around like wild animals as opposed to the one that looks better for more crafty/imaginative play, which we can do easily enough at home.

Phoebe is excited to wear shoes that aren’t snow boots. She was ecstatic to show everyone her cute shoes that she was able to wear during our warm streak. Also ignore our mess of an entry way. I’m looking forward to summer if only so we won’t have gloves, boots, hats, and a million different jackets and hoodies scattered everywhere.

Okay, lets end this rambling session here and now.  Have a productive and fun weekend!  Or procrastinate like I enjoy doing and simply let dishes stack up and read a good book instead!

I’m a Little Teapot…

I don’t recall exactly what brought up the subject of tea parties, but while I was playing with Phoebe and her Calico Critters she announced that Mama Koala was going to have a tea party.  It was then that I asked her if she would like to have a real tea party.  The look of joy on her face as she (in very girly fashion) squealed with delight was magical. However, as is the norm with 3 year olds, she said she wanted to do it then and there.  I explained that we should do a little planning and go shopping so we could go all out for her first tea party.

So to Target we went and I pulled out my tea set and appetizer tower.  Phoebe invited Josh and Enzo (who was at first uncertain as to whether he wanted to go or not), however, she told them in no uncertain terms that they could come only if they didn’t spill anything.  Enzo brought his rabbit as his plus one and Phoebe brought her rabbit and Liliana her doll. Phoebe had said she wanted something orange for her tea party, so I suggested we go with tea that had orange peel and she picked out a heavenly earl grey with orange peel and vanilla.  We obviously had to get some fancy cookies, which she also picked out and I made little sandwiches with what I could find in the cupboard along with some fruit.  Oh, and of course cupcakes.

It was a blast.  The kids are excited about having a big fancy tea party at least once a month and I’m sure we’ll do more simple parties more frequently. It was so much fun to watch them set up plates and cups for their dolls and help them eat their food and watch them add a little sugar to their own tea.  I’m looking forward to many more gatherings.

Don’t you just love the fake smiles?  They really were having fun…. I swear!

Yeah… still struggling with the looks of joy.

Just Keep Swimming…

I probably should be repeating this over and over this week.  I figure it’s fitting since we just watched Finding Dory and this week has been a rough one, so I should probably remind myself to breathe more and Let It Go.  If Josh was here he’d probably help me with more Disney puns.  It’s been a stressful past week and the kids were thrown off by a few things, as well as Josh and I.  I think we all just want everything to get back to normal.

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Two weekends ago we pulled the bouncy house outside, which thrilled the kids for about 15 minutes.  It was pretty hot, though, so I’m not surprised they didn’t last too long.  I wish all days they could play as well together, but they have two very different personalities and they’re each going through various developmental stages.

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Quite often there is fussing and whining and “Enzo hit me” or “Phoebe took my toy” which is what I’m guessing he’s saying since really all I hear is high-pitched screaming.  We’re really working on the yelling/screaming lately.  Enzo’s first response to frustration or outrage or embarrassment is to scream and yell and now Phoebe is starting to do the same.  There are some days when I think my ear drums will burst.

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His moods are rather like the tide.  He’ll have several good days or a great week and then suddenly something sets him off and it can be hard to get through the rough days and back on track.  Phoebe’s shenanigans are no help either as she’ll do things that are naughty and laugh at the negative reaction (like her brother freaking out).  Parenting is so exhausting.

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There are some days where we are able to just laugh the chaos off because some things are just so absurd and ridiculous and exasperating and I’m trying more and more to laugh rather than cry.  I don’t know if I’ve told this story yet… but Phoebe can’t be trusted to be left alone – at all.  I left her in the bathroom on the toilet for maybe 15 seconds and came back to find that she had unrolled half the roll of toilet paper. There was just this massive pile of toilet paper on the ground.  I got her off and then Enzo came in saying he needed to pee, so I got her out of there and told Enzo if he needed toilet paper to just grab some from the pile since I needed a minute.  Well… I walk back in to find him with the huge wad of toilet paper in his hand blotting himself and not stopping him in time before he  dropped it all into the toilet.  I was pretty much speechless… it had been a long day and Josh legitimately thought I had lost my mind when I walked out of the bathroom and just threw my hands up in the air and started laughing hysterically.

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They do have moments of sweetness, which are so hard to remember during those rough times when they try your patience and push every single button they can.  I’m trying to really respond to these moments, though.  Josh spent two nights in the hospital and Enzo cleaned up his floor a bit without asking for which I praised him greatly and he told me he’d take keep me safe while Josh was gone.

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I guess we’ll just have to keep each other safe and do our best to get through each day.  I call a do-over on this past week, and the great thing is that like I tell Enzo we can choose to start-over and try to have a better day.  We choose how we react and we can choose to be mad/sad/frustrated all day or we can choose to accept that what’s done is done.  I may have “failed” in my mind as a parent this week, but I can do my best to turn that around.  I always make sure that I tell my kids I love them and apologize when I make a mistake as a parent. Tonight my plan is to start over.

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Hot and Steamy (weather, that is).

Oh that time of year when it’s so hot and humid outside that stepping into an air conditioned room or car feels like its freezing and you put on a sweater even though it’s over 70 degrees.  I remember the first year we were here and I was completely unaccustomed to humidity of any kind coming from southern Colorado and the dry desert heat.  On the plus side, it means the kids can go outside as early as they want to because it’s actually pleasant out.

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These pictures are from a few weeks ago when we filled up the little pool on the deck. We need to do that again… the kids (and I) had a blast. We chased each other around with squirt guns and they gained up on me viciously.  The water was ICY cold, but Phoebe didn’t care. Enzo was a little more cautious when it came to getting in the water and I was good with dipping a toe.

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They may not always get along, but they will quickly side together against any opposition – which means it was me against them in our water fight.  I can’t imagine a better way to spend a morning, though.  Sometimes I forget how fun it is to be a kid and having kids will definitely keep you young.  I can’t wait to introduce them to water balloons one of these weekends.  It’s on!

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