Renaissance Festival Time… Again!

I know, wasn’t I just at the renaissance festival? Yes, it’s true, but this time I dragged Josh and the kids along wit me, and honestly? I could go again. There’s so much to see and with each weekend being a different theme there is always something new to see.  We all got dressed up and had a fairly decent time, all things considered.  The kids getting older, is such a huge plus and makes outings so much easier.  I think we may have to ditch the wagon next year, however, because they are outgrowing it and there were too many “She’s touching me” outbursts for my liking.  Truly, though, the kids had a magical time and I love seeing how kind everyone is to the kids.  Phoebe was so excited about seeing mermaids and Enzo, while not quite as enthusiastic about such ventures still managed to enjoy himself quite a lot.

We go to Fairy Forest every time. The kids rushed past the fairies this time… mostly because Phoebe really just wanted to wait in the very long line to see the mermaids. Haha!

We didn’t see any unicorns, but Phoebe found a unicorn horn that she just had to have.  I indulged because… hello? Unicorn horn?

We ran into so many nice people.  I think all of us had our photos taken by random people at least once, if not more for the kids. I love the overall atmosphere of the festival because everyone is generally just there to have a good time and indulge in some imaginative fun.  One girl (who didn’t work there) was dressed as Ariel from the Little Mermaid and she could not have been sweeter to Phoebe who recognized her and asked to say hello.  She gave her a big hug and it was so sweet!

You can see how excited Phoebe was to finally see the mermaids and more importantly, ask them their names.

Someone gave us the great idea of having Josh wait in line for the mermaids while I took the kids next door to play dress up… which they didn’t care about.  Tough customers, these ones.

The kids were intrigued, but a little nervous around the dragon. Enzo opted to stand back with Josh while I held Phoebe’s hand.

Josh and Enzo went on a swing ride – the one thing Enzo requested to do as we were walking around.

I tried to take photos with Phoebe while we waited for them, but she decided to be pouty. Ha!

The kids were getting tired, so we took Phoebe over to the elephants and Enzo and I tried to get a glimpse of the joust, but alas, there were too many people ahead of us and we couldn’t get a good spot to squeeze in as we were dragging the wagon with us.

All in all, a very good day.  We got in the car, drove to get ice cream and collapsed when we get home.

Don’t you love how both the boys have similar expressions, whereas Phoebe and I could have kept going?  So weird that Phoebe is so much like me and Enzo is so much like Josh.  Phoebe and I love our excursions and could generally be out of the house all day on a weekend, but the boys get tired and would rather play video games at home. Not this time, boys!

The Long Weekend – 4th of July Style

It doesn’t need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway. I love a 4 day weekend.  It’s even better when you really only have a small portion of it planned.  We knew we’d be going to the carnival on Sunday, but that was it. So, I started our Saturday day off the best way possible. I took the kids to Costco.  Not my best idea, but it needed to be done and we got a TON of water balloons.  The kids decided we needed to have a water balloon fight at some point.  They were not on their best behavior, however, so we ended up heading straight home after to Costco.

The kids could not have been more excited for Sunday to arrive, and it actually worked out really well because the carnival wasn’t nearly as packed as it is on the actual 4th of July and it was wristband day, which meant that for 5 hours the kids could go on as many rides as they went.

Phoebe wasn’t quite as adventurous as last year, but Enzo was even more so, which wasn’t the end of the world, but at times made it difficult because each kid wanted to be on different rides pretty much every time.  We met up with my brother and sister-in-law like we usually do and their two boys, which is always great for the kids, but I think we were often split up most of the time. Ha!  It was also surreal getting this glimpse into the future when our kids are even more independent than they already are.

It’s nice right now because neither of them really care whether or not they have to go on a ride by themselves, but I admit it was nice when one of them requested that we join in on the fun.  All too soon they’ll be off on their own and not want us cramping their style.

We did have one scare (which thankfully I didn’t find out about until afterwards) where Phoebe wandered off.  I was in line/on a ride with Enzo and Aiden and Josh and Steve were watching Malcolm and Phoebe when apparently Phoebe wandered off in search of me. Steve and Josh split up to look for her and thankfully found her quickly when Steve found a woman who was bringing her to Lost and Found.  I think it’s time we have a set game plan and a long talk with both kids on what to do if one of them gets lost.

Back to the fun!

As we were getting ready to leave, this little robin wandered a little too close to the little kid rides and not surprisingly small children started chasing it, so Josh ran and rescued it from the fray and took it somewhere safe.  I was about ready to adopt it, but after calling the Humane Society the woman assured me that our little friend should be flying in a few days and since we had no idea where his nest/tree was, the best bet was to take it a little away from all of the chaos of the carnival.  So cute!

On Monday, I blissfully found myself alone at Target and it was quiet and empty and magical.

I later found myself at IKEA where they were temporarily out of the bed I wanted for Phoebe (boo!), but they had a fantastic cabinet almost 50% off for my office!  Score!!

We also cleaned Bowser’s cage.  (Not all of the lights are in use on top of the cage… they’re to keep Vega off.  His new home should be arriving around the 14th next week and then we won’t have to worry about it!

Okay, time to wrap this up!

Road Trip Part 6 – South Dakota Reptiles

Not gonna lie, getting hit with a major snowstorm when we arrived in South Dakota was not something I had planned for. I could have sworn I had checked various forecasts and they were all good.  Whoops.  Go figure that it was during my turn to drive that the roads got nasty.  On the plus side, I did see a coyote when it calmed down a bit and a few other critters. The weather did mean that we would need to find some indoor activities, though, because we didn’t bring any cold weather gear with us.

Thankfully, not too far from us was The Reptile Garden.  You really can’t go wrong with reptiles, right?  Plus it’s guaranteed that you won’t need a jacket inside and that always wins for me. I admit I was a little put off by the initial cost, but it ended up being worth it.  They had an enormous collection of critters, some of which I have never seen in person before.  There was also a really neat greenhouse that had some birds, snakes and lizards completely out of cages, which was unique from what we’ve been to before.

There were a few “shows” throughout the day, so we decided to check out the snake show. The kids got a little bored until the trainer (are they called trainers??) started pulling out actual snakes – many of which were venomous and therefore extra cool.  Enzo even got to ask a question after raising his hand (which was possibly even more exciting) and he asked what Rattlesnakes eat.  We got up close and personal with one too when the gal put the rattler on the ground with this 2-3 foot high clear barrier surrounding it.  The kids, especially Enzo, were stoked.

Continue reading

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.