Two weeks ago for our weekly summer adventure, we headed across the river into Kentucky for a trip to Totter’s Otterville. I snagged a great deal from Groupon last month that gave us 4 child admissions (adults are always free!) for $14, which is just over 50% off. Otterville is made up of different rooms for themed, interactive play. There are several rooms for pretend play (kitchen, grocery store, vet clinic, house), a water table, trains, blocks, legos, dance studio, an outdoor magnetic fishing pond, trolley rides, and a giant indoor climber and ball pit, and more.
We started at the conveyor belt and I think Sam could have stayed there all morning if I hadn’t taken him to explore other areas. His favorite part was putting the foam blocks into the hole. Over and over and over.
We looked at a few more of the rooms before making our way outside for the trolley.
The trolley was also a big hit. He asked for more and started to meltdown when we got off so we got right back on for another circuit. This time I gave him plenty of advance warning that we would be getting off and he was able to say bye-bye to the train without any fuss.
I don’t have any pictures of the outdoor magnetic fishing pond because I had to do all the actual catching of fish, but we’ll be doing that one again when we go back.
Sam found the ball pit pretty intimidating, but he eventually got in once some of the bigger, louder kids got out. Unfortunately, the other kid in there at the time called for his grandma to come in and she intimidated Sam too. So the ball bit didn’t last long, but the steps and slide on the climber were more his speed.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed that some things seemed a little more gently used than I expected, but it’s still a great place for kids to just explore, play, and be kids. I think it’s better for the 3 and up crowd. Sam doesn’t do much imaginative play yet and many of the rooms were geared that way. Also, I think they have more extra things happening on weekends (live performances, longer times for the trolley, etc.) However, we’ll be going back!
I first heard about the book Adventures Around Cincinnati when I was pregnant with Sam. One of the authors spoke at a MOPS meeting I’d been invited to and I was hooked on the idea. What idea? The idea to plan regular, fun activities for your kids, to make memories and traditions, to give your kids new experiences, and to be intentional about it. Anything new and interesting can be an adventure! Fast-forward two years and my little guy is finally big enough to start going on adventures. We’re going to follow the example of the book (which is a great guide to unique and memorable places for kids in the Cincinnati area, including side trips to Dayton, Columbus, and Indianapolis) and do weekly adventures this summer.
Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer around here, and I was eager to get a start on adventuring, we kicked off the summer with lots of activity in the last week of May. First stop: Pleasant Ridge Park and Sprayground the day after Memorial Day.
Sam was not so sure about the sprayground. I thought he’d love it since he’d been asking to go see it when we visited the playground next door. He’s not a fan of water in his face and kept focusing on the (closed) pool behind us. He stood in the general vicinity of the spray for awhile and liked watching the buckets drop water (two pictures up). We’ll have to try again later in the summer since the sprayground is free and has longer hours than the pool.
We moved over to the playground and he was all about that. We love this playground because it’s one of those with a large wooden climbing structure with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. It was closed most of the spring for repairs and we’re very glad it’s open again since it’s not very far from our house.
That would have been enough for a normal week, but like I said, we decided to kick things off big our first week. Jeff took Wednesday off of work for us to have a zoo family adventure. (We wanted to go all together over the weekend, but decided the crowds would be too crazy with the holiday.)
This beautiful giraffe family is especially popular at the Cincinnati Zoo right now. Baby Lulu was born last October and she’s something of a zoo celebrity.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I was super excited to see Lulu nursing!
Last stop: zoo train! Sam was pretty tired by this time, but he does love the train. He started to meltdown when we had to get off, and then I went and hit his head on the roof of the train getting out. #parentingfail
All in all it was a great visit and a fun way to kick off our summer. These are also the last pictures before Sam’s first haircut so they’re making me nostalgic already. More adventures to come!
Last month we had a warmish, sunshiny day right in the middle of two gray, arctic blasts of typical January weather. We were all tired of being stuck indoors and, seeing the cold forecast, jumped at the chance to go exploring at our favorite neighborhood park. (Please pardon the low-quality pictures. All I had on me was my iPod.)
We got some snow the day after Christmas while we were visiting family out-of-town and then a couple more inches last night. Last winter was so mild that Sam never really got the chance to experience snow. This morning I bundled him up and out we went to see what this white, fluffy stuff is all about.
Sadly, he was not really a fan, though he did enjoy watching the garbage truck as usual. Maybe if we had a sled he would like snow a bit better. He was also starting to get a bit tired right as we went out; we will try again later.
Merry Christmas from our family to you!
Today we are having a quiet day with my in-laws before celebrating our second family Christmas tomorrow. This Christmas has not been what we expected, but we have been enjoying time with family and celebrating our Savior’s birth.
May you enjoy the deep peace, love, and joy that can only come from the Giver of all good gifts. Luke 2:10, ”But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’”
I am always planning and writing blog posts in my head, but when nap time comes I find myself or make myself busy with other things. Life is slipping by undocumented and I want to remember these things. Already I am forgetting pieces of Sam’s babyhood and our early parenting days that I thought I would always remember.
I would love to do another day-in-the-life post like I did almost a year ago. In fact, I intended too! Sometimes I feel like good intentions are the story of my life, but good intentions don’t get you very far. But… today I want to share what a typical day, week, and month is like for us.
Sam (who is currently 15 months old) and I have fallen into a pretty easy routine. He is usually up around 8:30 and if I’ve had an uninterrupted night’s sleep, I’m usually up and in the shower about then. Jeff is already gone for work and we don’t normally see him in the morning.
I nurse Sam, change and dress him, then we go downstairs for breakfast followed by playtime or errands. I give Sam his lunch around noon and then we read books snuggled together in the big, comfy reading chair.
After lunch and reading, it’s nap time, usually about 1:00 or 1:30. Mr. Sleepy takes a 3-hour nap most days and I get some down time and tend to other responsibilities.
He nurses again when he’s up from his nap and we play some more until Jeff gets home. Sam gets some one-on-one time with Daddy while I make dinner. We sit down to dinner as a family (usually about 7:00), have a little more playtime depending on how long dinner goes, then Daddy whisks the little boy upstairs to get ready for bed about 8:00 or 8:15.
(This is Sam discovering that raspberries fit perfectly onto toddler fingers.)
Dad does bedtime routine every night (brush teeth, change into pajamas, read sleepy stories) before I come up to finish things off. We say night-night to Daddy before more nursing and then rocking and singing in the dark.
Sam had been sleeping 11-12 hours straight at night at about 13 months old, but three trips, a fever, and an ear infection in the last six weeks messed up all his good sleep progress. Even naps were wonky and he’s been a great, easy napper for many months. He’s slept 10+ hours the past two nights though so I’m hoping he’s back on track again.
But now I’ve gotten a bit off topic…
Jeff and I will typically spend our evenings at home chatting, watching a favorite TV show, reading, or catching up on internet-y things.
So that’s a typical at home day, but we’re out of the house a lot too. Monday mornings are for grocery shopping. Sometimes we go out again after Monday’s nap to hit up another store. Two Tuesday mornings each month we have MOPS and a MOPS planning meeting. Wednesday mornings we try to go to Library Babies story time. Jeff plays racquetball with a friend after work on Wednesdays so he’s usually home a bit later on those nights.
We used to have our church small group meetings on 1st and 3rd Thursday nights, but we’re trying out a new format where we meet every other week (we used to skip 5th Thursdays). The big difference is our meetings are not all the same now. Just the women meet together, then just the men meet, then the whole group gets together. Rinse and repeat. Our focus is shifting more toward accountability and prayer and away from a more typical Bible study.
Of course we have other random things going on around the normal stuff: doctor appointments, play dates, errands, etc. Weekends seem to fill up quickly and it’s rare to have a whole weekend without something going on other than Sunday church. If there’s not a birthday, wedding, or new baby to celebrate, then we’re off to book club, visiting with family or friends, or even squeezing in a date.
In short, life is busy but good.
You get a double dose of Sammy cuteness today just because I’m backlogged and trying to catch up a bit. Lucky you! Both sets of pictures are from mid-September.
We like to go camping in the fall when the heat is much more bearable and the nights haven’t gotten too cool for tenting yet. I hope to share more about our trip this year, but we’ll all have to wait and see if my good intentions come to fruition.
Flannel shirt – Old Navy, consignment; henley – consignment/yard sale?; jeans – Target; shoes – pediped
Next up, I was so excited that he kept the hat on! He actually wore it around the house a bunch that day even after I was done with pictures. Love, love, love. Oh, and he’s totally learning to ham it up for the camera. Ha!
hat – BabyGap, consignment; sweater – consignment; shirt – Carter’s; jeans – consignment; shoes – pediped