Camping

I did it again. I said I wouldn’t do it again this summer. I swore I was through with making stupid decisions. Yet I did it: I went camping with my best friend and all four of our little kids.

We headed down to Missouri on Saturday morning for a night in the camper. It was a beautiful fall day. We were able to have fun at the playground.

20180929_1618086318659511943823623.jpgWe had a picnic dinner. This big guy fell off of the top stair of the camper. He is fine, but for a minute there I was terrified (so was he).20180929_1809293370616554410480813.jpgHe just needed some extra snuggles.20180929_1802595559363640262327675.jpg

Mostly from camel. Camel’s name has recently changed from Alice to Cam Cam. I’m a little sad about the name change. Thankfully, Elliot’s voice for Cam Cam (it is very high pitched) hasn’t changed, which makes me happy.Once Elliot felt better we sat around the fire.20180929_1809364205328014811653398.jpgElliot and Bryan had a nice little chat.20180929_1823202219143577193932831.jpgThe kids had s’mores. They were all fans.20180929_1826063030795008917020544.jpgAfter the fire we put the kids to bed. Then my kids were absolutely crazy and Elliot is no longer allowed to camp until he is 4 and I thought they would never sleep. It sucked. I am not taking them both camping at the same time next year. If I tell you I’m taking them camping please remind me of this blog post. Audrey and Elliot were so naughty I grounded them from the Laurie Berkner Band for two weeks. Are they too young to understand a punishment that long? Absolutley. I’m already feeling guilty about that, but not guilty enough to listen to anything but my music on the way home.

This morning I had more coffee than normal and tried to wear the kids out before our drive home. We headed to the playground where they climbed for a long time. 20180930_0908128867068045618194909.jpgWe headed home after the playground. It was a 4 hour drive. Both kids were exhausted. Neither child napped. I’m now going to make a cup of tea and try to forget the bad parts of the trip and focus on the fun parts.

 

Orchard Pit Stop

The kids and I drove up to visit my parents yesterday. It is a two-hour drive, so we usually stop at some point because my kids are small and two hours is a long drive for them.

Instead of stopping at a rest stop yesterday we made use of our season pass to Center Grove Orchard. The orchard is only 5 miles off the interstate on our drive back to my parents house. It is about a quarter of the way into our drive, which is perfect for car naps.20180924_1119272959868064732549028.jpg

We spent about a half hour exploring the farmyard. It was a great way to wear them out.

They learned how to milk a cow.20180924_1139266436608292976159587.jpgThey drove tractors.

They played in the corn pool.

Audrey even went down the dump truck slide with the big kids. 20180924_112939(0)8615374697558427391.jpg

After wearing them out we had lunch before hitting the road. I’m posting this picture so you can see how tired they were. 20180924_1205493940418993455185143.jpgDid they nap? Of course not. Did they complain when I didn’t let them listen to The Laurie Berkner Band for the entire ride? Of course. Do I care? Not really. We were able to play in the sunshine on a beautiful fall day. It’s OK if they skipped a nap yesterday (it is really easy for me to write that because they are both napping well today).

Fall Passport

Because our Summer Passport was so successful I decided to make one for fall too. When cooler weather hits we usually fall into a rut, so I’m hoping this will keep us trying different things all fall.

When the kids complete an activity they get a sticker in their passport and a sticker to wear. For the summer passport I only gave out stickers the first time we did an activity. For the fall I have changed that; there are a few activities that will allow the kids to earn more than one sticker. I’ve noted those activities in the list.

Activities in the fall passport:

Go to the zoo (can earn a sticker for up to four trips)

Visit Center Grove Orchard (can earn a sticker for up to four trips)

Visit the Science Center (can earn a sticker for up to two trips)

Go to the Learn and Play Center at the YMCA (can earn a sticker for up to four trips)

Hike (can earn a sticker for up to four trips)

Visit the State Historical Building (can earn a sticker for up to two trips)

Visit Living History Farms

Meet Aunt Kathleen for lunch (I should probably ask her about this one)

Play at a park in Cedar Falls

Go on a picnic (can earn a sticker for up to four trips)

Make bagels

Make pita bread

Make sugar cookies with camel and giraffe cookie cutters

Walk to the coffee shop

Go to story time at the library

Go to the Fall Festival parade

Go on a carnival ride

Play with Daddy on a vacation day

Mail a package to Aunt Mary-Claire

Make a pretzel cake

Celebrate Audrey’s birthday

Visit Riley Park

Visit Beaverdale Park

Visit Quail Cove Park

Camp with Sophia and Bryan

Visit Annie’s farm

Go to the Omaha Zoo

I really enjoy having the passport. If we don’t have plans in the morning we can look through the passport to see if there is something we want to do. It also helps me make sure we get to the things I want to try – like making pita bread.

Beaverdale Fall Festival

I love our neighborhood. We’re within the city of Des Moines, but it often feels like we’re in a small town. I get that feeling the most often during our fall festival. The neighborhood comes together to celebrate all things Beaverdale. We spent a lot of time enjoying it this weekend.

Last night we walked downtown to get some food and let the kids pick a ride. Audrey had never been on a ride and was incredibly excited to experience it (after all, Pig from If You Give a Pig a Party goes on carnival rides with her friends, so it must be amazing). Elliot got so far as to go up onto the platform and then screamed until John handed him back to me. 20180914_1809213789777245907480539.jpg

After the ride we let the kids try cotton candy. It was a HUGE hit.

They enjoyed the cotton candy on the walk home and we enjoyed the quietest walk we have had in quite some time.

This morning we were up bright and early. We loaded up the stroller and headed off to enjoy the morning.20180915_0858406182858676259470280.jpg Our first stop was my dear friend Laura’s house for brunch. It was great to catch up with her and spend some time with her family.20180915_0919202326140436678133535.jpgAfter brunch the whole house headed a few houses down to watch the Beaverdale Fall Festival Parade. I planned ahead this year and brought bubbles to keep the kids entertained until the parade started. I also brought a mimosa with me, which really makes parades more enjoyable. A little champagne makes firetrucks, horses, dancers, and members of Congress just a tad more enjoyable.

We had planned on heading back to the fall festival this afternoon, but it is so hot here we are staying put. Taking toddlers going through a post-parade candy detox out to a crowded street in 90 degree heat sounded like a recipe for disaster.

The Perfect Day

Greetings from the end of a wonderful day. The weather was perfect today, and we made the most of it.

We started our day at Center Grove Orchard, about 40 minutes from our house. Calling it an orchard doesn’t do this place justice. It’s full of entertaining options for little kids. We got season passes this year, so we will be there often.

We visited last year, but the kids were a little too young. This year Audrey is loving every part of the orchard. The jumping pillows were a hit with her.20180911_104239(0)1244462636535434436.jpgShe even braved the huge slide – all by herself!

We took a hayride to the train. Elliot was terrified of both rides. He has no issue with the train at the zoo, but this one was too much for him. Audrey liked it. She got to blow the whistle at the end, which she thought was very cool.

After the ride out with a terrified Elliot, I decided we would take the trail back to the farm-yard. It had a couple of hills that were steep for little legs, but it was worth it because we saw a turtle on our walk. After our walk we headed home for lunch and naps. We will be back again soon – we didn’t even play in the corn pit or feed the goats or ride the pedal tractors or visit the three little pigs houses. I think we’re really going to enjoy having season passes.

This afternoon we headed to our neighborhood farmers market for the last market of the season. I really wish the market would go later in the year, it’s still nice in September, and there is still plenty of produce to harvest. I picked up a tote bag (I have a tote bag addiction – they work so well as project bags) from the neighborhood association. I love being able to get a new tote bag and justify its purchase because I’m helping the neighborhood association.20180911_1924323089708464773164937.jpgWe had a picnic feast of all sorts of foods – a falafel wrap, a bean and cheese papusa, egg rolls and pad thai. We brought baklava home for John. The pad thai was awful, Elliot ate the eggs out and we threw the rest away.

I love it when we are able to spend most of the day outside. Warm, sunny weather and fresh air are good for my soul. So is not having to cook dinner. I hope your Tuesday was as joyful as mine.

The End of The Summer Passport

Labor Day weekend is over. Kids are back to school. Starbucks has pumpkin spice lattes.  That seems like a good time to end the Summer Passport.

I loved having a summer passport this summer. There were weeks where I wanted to just stay home, but the passport got me out. We tried different things, instead of going to the same three parks over and over. I liked it so much I’m thinking about doing a fall passport too.

The passport included the following items. The items we completed are crossed out.

  • Go to music class
  • Walk to farmers market
  • Play at a new park
  • Make Pudding pops
  • Have a breakfast picnic
  • Go berry picking
  • Paint outside
  • Eat on Patio at Saints (a kid friendly sports bar in our neighborhood)
  • Visit the Clive Library
  • Visit the Science Center
  • Walk around Gray’s Lake
  • Decorate 4th of July cookies
  • Go out for ice cream
  • Go to the beach at Big Creek
  • Play at Riley Park
  • Play at Tower Park wading pool
  • Play at Beaverdale Park
  • Swim at Ashby Park splash pad
  • Have a Dance Party
  • Play at Greenwood Park
  • Hike at Walnut Woods
  • Hike at Browns Woods
  • Go to the zoo
  • Visit the State Historical Building
  • Walk the River Walk with Uncle Todd
  • Visit Ivy’s farm
  • Swim in a hotel pool
  • Bike to Breakfast
  • Go Camping
  • Visit McHenry Park

I didn’t start the Summer Passport until late June. Had I started it on Memorial Day I would have been able to include the State Historical Building, Ashby Park, hiking at Browns Woods, having a breakfast picnic and music class as we did all of those things earlier this summer. It’s fair to say that we’ve had a busy summer.

Last week, leading up to the end of the passport was even busier than normal. We crossed several items off the list: the beach at Big Creek, walking around Gray’s Lake, eating on the patio at Saint’s, and going on the river walk with Uncle Todd. signal-2018-08-31-145347-13734971905584774236.jpg

This week we are going to have to spend a few days getting errands run to make up for last week. It was a wonderful summer, and I hope next summer is even better.