It seems like everywhere I look I see people spending lots of money on fancy gadgets and toys for their children, and sometimes I end up feeling guilty for not shelling out big bucks for my kids to have the latest and greatest. But then I remember that kids are really easy to please and that it doesn’t take the latest and greatest thing to make them happy. Sometimes all it takes is a stroll through your old alma matter.
Today we loaded up the girls and their stroller, and we headed out for Aggieland. I’ve been taking Kora and Lila to Aggieland once a month for Lila to participate in the Infant Cognitive Lab, so I had to clarify to Kora that we weren’t going for that reason. I didn’t want her to get her hopes up that she was going to get to play with her Aggie friends. We told her that we were going to Aggieland for a walk through the campus.
Our walk got off to a slow start – about 5 minutes in, Kora was ready for a snack. Once Lila heard the word snack, she needed one too. In order to keep walking, Thomas filled Kora’s pockets (she had the pockets in her shorts as well as one on her shirt) with animal crackers! Kora thought this was just awesome. As we were walking Kora dropped one of her crackers, but quickly bent down to pick it up. It seems that as soon as the cracker hit the ground, two squirrels appeared out of nowhere. They sensed that we had food! These squirrels were not bashful either; they kept walking closer and closer to us. I started to get a little concerned because these little guys were not afraid at all. Thomas tried to scare them away, but they weren’t easy to scare. As we walked away, one of the squirrels followed us. He kept checking out things on the ground as if we had dropped them. He followed us for a couple of minutes before giving up.
We made a couple of stops at some of the different fountains on campus. I really think Kora wanted to jump in, but I wasn’t quite ready for her to start fountain hopping. She was so happy when I told her she could touch the water – she loved how cold the water was. Lila really liked watching the water shooting up in the air.
A trip inside the Memorial Student Center was a must. Since Kora has been a little obsessed with flags recently, we had to take her to the Flag Room. After telling her that there might be Aggies inside studying so we needed to be quite, she started tiptoeing around the room. The student center has lots of areas for sitting and studying and Kora kept finding new places that she wanted to stop and “hangout”. Kora found one lounge area and she asked if we would hangout with her. As soon as we sat down, she got up and started scooting over several different ottomans for us to use.
As we exited the MSC, Thomas started to sneeze. We happened to be standing outside the football field so his sneezes echoed quite loudly. This entertained Kora for a while – she kept fake sneezing so she could hear her echo. “AAAAAAA-CHOOOOOO”
Kora had fun posing like one of the statues around the football field. She started out posing, but realized she didn’t have anything like the football to hold. She remembered that she had a rubber duck in the stroller so she went to get it to complete her pose.
During our walk, Lila decided that she no longer wanted to ride in the stroller. In fact, she decided that she wanted to push the stroller. Well, that was getting us nowhere fast. Kora tried to help by standing behind Lila and pushing. That only resulted in Kora stepping on Lila’s heels. We ended up getting Lila to stand on the back of the stroller with Kora pushing! These girls are a mess!
There wasn’t really anything super spectacular or special about our walk, but Kora and Lila had a great time. To them, we were out on an adventure. Exploring the world. To us, it was a way to reminisce a little about out college days while getting a little exercise.
Early last week, my husband asked me if I wanted to go camping this weekend. I’m always up for a camping trip, so my answer naturally was, “Sure!”. Within minutes, my husband had us a reservation at a campground a half hour from Scarborough Renaissance Festival.
Camping and a Renaissance Festival in one weekend? Score! Now just to decide what to wear. My husband secretly wants to be a pirate in real life, so I knew that his costume was set. Since the girls had outgrown their pirate costumes from last year, I had to find them something new to wear.
A quick search on Amazon and I had the girls matching mermaid outfits! I could have purchased more elaborate costumes, but opted for simple and comfortable. I didn’t want their costume to make them (and me) miserable all day.
I also found me a pair of mermaid pants! I was a little nervous about wearing such bold pants, but I have learned over the years that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is out of place at the Renaissance Festival. That’s what is so great about Ren Fest. The attire ranges from everyday clothes to the most elaborate costumes (dragons, fairies, barbarians, etc) and everything in between. I like to dress up, but still want to be comfortable and able to chase two little ones around.
The night before the fair, I made Kora a mermaid tail out of foam to wear with her costume. She loved it and showed it off to everyone we passed at the festival. She didn’t wear it long, but thankfully it lasted long enough to get a picture of her in it with the ‘real’ mermaids!
Throughout the day, I received several compliments on my pants and on the girls’ outfits. As I am the picture taker of the family, I don’t appear in many pictures. This is the only picture of me in my mermaid pants. Aren’t they so shiny? I think I may have to buy another pair in a different color.
The girls had a blast at the festival. Kora loved the mermaids and had to say hi to everyone she saw in an elaborate costume. The dragon Fireflicker was her favorite! Lila could have spent all day at the petting zoo. She loves animals!
We had such a fun, yet very exhausting day. I absolutely loved our pirate/mermaid combination. In fact, I think I’m going to do a little work on making my mermaid costume a little more elaborate before the fall’s Ren Fest.
It’s summertime and we’re on vacation in Florida. We’re going to go to the beach!
Our boat is docked in a nearby marina so we just have a few minute walk to get to the beach. Taking two little ones to the beach requires a lot of stuff – pop-up cabana for shade, sand toys, towels, snacks, sunscreen, diapers, puddle jumper, and baby powder. (We use baby powder to help get the sand off our bodies. It works wonders!) We had so much beach gear loaded into our wagon that only Kora could fit inside – I had to carry Lila!
The surf at Pensacola Beach was a little stronger than Kora has experienced so she got a little scared after a wave knocked her down. Once her dad carried her past the breaking waves and into deeper water she was much happier. Using her Puddle Jumper (I can’t tell you enough how much I love this flotation device), she was able to float around riding the waves. She and her dad splashed around having a great time!
She came to shore after playing in the water a while with the intentions of getting me in the water – I was in the shade nursing Lila. But she got distracted by a sea gull. She started chasing it under the lifeguard stand and across the beach.
Using her tractor and her shovels, Kora made a sandcastle. I wanted to show her how to make a castle using a bucket of packed sand but she wasn’t having it. Little Miss Independent wanted to do it herself. She moved sand around for a while and then stood up and proudly shouted “Ta Da!”
Kora took a short break from playing in the sand to give Lila some sandy snuggles. These two girls love each other so much! Lila lights up so much when her big sister comes around to play with her.
Once Kora had had enough baby kisses she went straight back to playing on the sand. But this little girl is sneaky – she took Lila’s toy keys with her! She started burying them so she could dig up treasure! She thought it was funny to bury them and then ask me where they were.
Before going back in the water we had to reapply sunscreen. Naturally Kora insisted on doing it herself!
After playing all morning and into the afternoon, it was time to go back to the boat for a nap. Kora was having so much fun that she didn’t want to leave. Shocking, I know. Even at such a young age, Kora knows that there’s nothing better than a fun filled day at the beach!
It’s summer vacation time!! Woohoo! My husband and I loaded up our girls and our boat and set off on a road trip to Pensacola, Florida. It’s a 9-10 hour drive so our plan was to drive as far as the girls would allow and stop for a break when needed. I packed toys, books, and snacks to keep Kora entertained while in the truck, but I knew we were going to have to stop and let her run some energy off.
Around lunchtime we stopped at a TA travel center for gas. Now gas stations are not known for their playgrounds and other entertaining facilities but we found a way to have some fun.
As we were walking along the sidewalk of the store stretching our legs Kora and I found a stepping stone path in one of the flowerbeds. Kora loves rocks and she loves to hop so I knew this would be a great way to spend our time.
Kora and I took turns hopping from stone to stone. She would hop across and then it would be my turn. As soon as I finished it would be her turn to hop back the other direction.
My favorite part of Rock Hopping was her final hop of each pass. When she reached the last rock she had to prepare herself for her big dismount. Kora would shuffle to the edge of the rock, squat down, and say “Hut!” And she leaped with both feet to the sidewalk. Most of the time she stuck the landing but occasionally she’d fall. From her perspective the distance from rock to sidewalk was a long way and needed such dramatic preparations.
Rock Hop was a much needed activity that helped tire Kora out for the next leg of our drive. We may have to play this again at our local park sometime using sidewalk chalk. I could draw lily pads and we could be frogs!
Kora has been asking to go to the zoo again. When I tell her no, she asks if her cousins cane take her. Her cousins are six and four years old! It was going to be too hot for Lila to go to the zoo so I took the girls to a drive thru wildlife park, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.
As much as Kora loves animals, I think her favorite part about Fossil Rim is that she doesn’t have to be in her seat belt! She loves that she can sit up front with the adults.
As we started today’s safari, Kora was enjoying looking at the “map”. We were using it to identify the animals.
“Deer! Deer!” I probably heard the word “deer” a thousand times on that drive. She said it every time she saw an animal whether it was a deer, gazelle, or wildebeest!
Kora loved feeding the wildlife but the animals with large horns/antlers made her a little nervous. We tried to stop mainly for the smaller animals.
The animal that Kora really wanted to see were the giraffes. When we approached them, the giraffes were standing back away from the road. We opened the sun roof and shook our bag of feed trying to lure them over to the car, but we were not successful. I guess they just weren’t that hungry.
At one point I thought Kora was really getting into searching for animals out the window. Then I realized she was just smiling at herself in the side view mirror.
Fossil Rim is a place that everyone needs to visit. Getting up close to some magnificent animals is a true experience.
This little tourist attraction is basically a walking path with life-size dinosaurs lining the path. There is also a dinosaur museum with animatronic dinosaurs, a bone dig, and a playground. If your children are into dinosaurs, this is a pretty cool place to visit.
Kora started off in her stroller but it didn’t take long before she had to climb out to get a closer look at the dinosaurs.
She loved looking at her map to make sure we were going the right way!
Here’s Kora pretending she had a long neck like the dinosaurs:
We had to make a brief stop to feed the fish. Look at that excitement!
After we had completed the walk, we made our way to the dinosaur dig. There were brushes for the kids to use to uncover the bones. Kora had more fun just playing in the sand. When some bigger kids came along, she started trying to put sand on top of the bones they were trying to uncover!
Of course we had to make a pit stop at the playground before going to see the animatronic dinosaurs.
I was a little worried that the animatronics would frighten Kora so I told her that we were about to see some dancing dinosaurs. When she saw the dinosaurs move she got pretty excited. She danced and roared right along with the dinosaurs!
Kora had a lot of fun at Dinosaur World. She wasn’t really into dinosaurs before our trip, but she is now. I think I’ll have to get her some little dinosaur toys to play with at home.
Extremely hot day + toddler MUST get out of house to burn some energy = Children’s Museum.
We are members of our local Children’s Museum. It’s not the biggest museum but it’s still a lot of fun. Kora definitely has a favorite exhibit – the HEB shopping center. The Construction Site and the Arts and Crafts follow closely behind.
Kora loves to push the little cart around and fill it with groceries. Today she found the check out counter for the first time! I asked her to name each fruit/veggie as she searched for the screen for the picture. The challenging thing about this exhibit is the cleanup. Kora can fill a basket pretty quickly, but it takes us much longer to restock the shelves.
The Construction Site is my husband’s favorite exhibit. Kora loves to put on a hard hat and piece the PVC pipes together. We didn’t get much of a chance to build today as it was occupied by other builders.
We spend a lot of time at the Arts and Crafts center. Specifically the dry erase boards. Kora has as much fun drawing with markers as she does using the eraser! Today she drew a rainbow that would make Roy G. Biv proud!
These three exhibits are where we spend the majority of our time. We do have to make brief stops at the trampoline and the puzzles. Luckily she hasn’t yet found the Digging for Dinosaurs exhibit yet – it’s a no diaper zone. She would love it and I would have to spend the whole time trying to keep her out of the sand.
I am so thankful that we have a Children’s Museum close to home. It’s great to have an indoor place to play (and learn!) on those hot/cold/rainy days. We will be renewing our membership when it comes due – definitely worth it.