Monthly Archives: July 2017

Asheville Adventuring with the Littles

Let me first start by saying that everyone needs a friend like Amber in their lives. She’s one of the best, and we are lucky to have been friends with her since college. It’s one of those friendships that can pick up after not keeping in touch well (on my part, she’s always the one reaching out to say hi) and it seems like no time has passed. Additionally, she was kind enough to invite all four of us to stay with her for a week while Keith was at his conference and she was teaching. Adding our four-person level of craziness to her quiet home was probably an adventure in itself, but then we ventured out!


She recommended a playground in Asheville called Carrier Park which was incredible! A velodrome surrounded the playground area so we had fun watching bicycle racing before playing. The playground itself was a wooden castle, with climbing tunnels, swings, slides, and an airplane! In two sections – one for older kids and one for the smaller ones – we spent equal time in both. Henry loved playing hide and go seek against me and Elliot because there were so many spots to hide. We also took a walk alongside the French Broad River to relax before heading back for lunch and a nap.


The next day we headed into downtown Asheville to get awesome books from Malaprops, the local bookstore. The kid’s selection was on point – we got four excellent books. Then we attempted to go to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. Unfortunately, all the schools and everyone with kids (at least that’s how the crowded  parking situation seemed) had the same idea, so we didn’t even make it past the parking lot. There was a playground nearby so we hung out there until lunchtime. Are you sensing a theme? When all else fails, a playground always makes things better.


The final day of Keith’s conference occurred on Saturday, so Amber had the day off to play with us! We visited the Hands On! Children’s Gallery in nearby Hendersonville and had lots of rainy day fun. Henry loved creating energy by peddling a bike, selling ice cream in the ice cream shop, making lego cars and racing them, and rapidly running from exhibit to exhibit. I think everyone took naps after this.

Road Trip To North Carolina

Keith has been wanting to attend the Catechumenate conference for a few years now, but never managed to go. This year’s one was hosted by Nativity Lutheran in Asheville (our friends and family’s church), so we decided the whole family was going to road trip it up to Amber’s house and spend the week working and playing. But first we had to get there, and that is no easy feat with a 4yo and almost 1yo. It’s about a TEN hour trip, without stops (and we knew there would be stops) so I researched potential stopping points along our route so the kids could play and we could get an “are we there yet” break.
 
The Play Across America Blog was particularly helpful once we hit I-95 because it had a descriptive listing of playgrounds to be found within a few miles of road exits, but first we had to make it out of Florida. Which takes HOURS. The only real place to stop for a picnic lunch along the route from Seminole to the Georgia border via US-301 was the town of Starke. I drove through this place all through college (it’s about halfway between Gainesville and Jacksonville), but have never really stopped. Except for that one time I toured the Florida State Prison located there, but that’s another story. The town of Starke had a small park a few blocks from downtown with clean bathrooms, picnic tables, and some playground equipment. It wasn’t fancy, but it worked for us. Henry had fun climbing and making up games while we ate in the 90+ degree weather.


The kids were getting stir crazy as we crossed the South Carolina border, so we stopped at one of the coolest playgrounds ever in Ridgeland – Harold Turpin Park. It comprised nearly a whole city block surrounded by quiet, tree-lined streets, and just looked how a playground was supposed to look (you know what I mean-picturesque). The whole playground was a wooden treehouse, and it had slides, fun swings (including a spiderweb swing), and a zip line! E loved the little splash pad to cool down. We would have spent more time here if we could have, but had to hop back in the car for the last stretch to Amber’s house where she was waiting up for us.
 

The day took a little more than 12 hours, but it was totally worth it to us to take these two long breaks for everyone’s sanity. 

Henry is FOUR

I have no idea how Henry is four years old already. 

At his four-year-old checkup, he weighed 38 pounds and has grown to 41 inches tall, putting him in the 69th percentile for weight and the 58th percentile for height. He’s growing healthy and strong. He did NOT like getting two shots, but had no reaction and was fine within minutes of receiving them.


Sleep remains a challenge. It takes several tries to keep him in bed following a lengthy bedtime routine, and once he finally falls asleep he wakes up and we frequently find him in bed with us. This frustrates me, but his extroverted self just doesn’t enjoy being alone. We have recently created a sleeping bag pallet for him next to our bed for him to go to if he has a bad dream; hopefully, it will work. He still takes one nap a day, usually for 90 minutes or so, except for when he’s at Oma and Opa’s and he sleeps for several hours. He spends two days a week at Oma and Opa’s, which allows Elliot free reign of the house and Henry to get one on one time. Everyone wins.
 
His favorite things include playing at playgrounds with other kids, dancing (especially to the Go Noodle app), Star Wars toys, building ships, going to Sunday School, and reading. He’s taking swim lessons this summer in the hopes of making him a more confident swimmer, and he loved (except for when he flipped out) playing soccer at the YMCA this past year.

We had a family birthday dinner the night before his actual birthday with the theme – Dragons Love Tacos – because everyone loves a taco party! Instead of having a friend party, we invited his best friend, Maddie, to visit the Lowry Park Zoo with us on his birthday. Henry loved the dinosaur exhibit (Maddie, not so much), and they both loved seeing the animals, riding the rides, and especially playing in the splash pad. We had a fun day, capped off with ice cream for dessert.

 
He starts part-time VPK at Little Lambs, our church’s preschool, in August. He is excited and optimistic about it, but sad to leave mama and Elliot at home in the mornings. I’m sure he will forget all about us after school starts. May the force be with whoever gets to be his first teacher, he’s a force to be reckoned with.


The Yearly Birthday Survey:

  • How old are you? Four.
  • What is your favorite color? Pink.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Zoo protector.
  • What is your favorite animal? Flamingos & cheetahs.
  • What is your favorite food? Chicken.
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Strawberries.
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut butter on a spoon.
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Chicken and rice.
  • What is your favorite thing to drink? Orange juice.
  • Who is your best friend? Maddie. And Lucas.
  • What is your favorite toy? Rancor rumble.
  • What is your favorite TV show? Hmmm…Oddbots
  • What is your favorite movie? Trolls.
  • What is your favorite book? The Hobbit.
  • What is your favorite thing to do? Crafts. And collecting money.
  • What is your favorite thing to do with your family? Going on vacation. Like to Milwaukee.
  • What is your favorite holiday? Halloween. 
  • What is your favorite thing to wear? Superhero shirts.

Tia Vanesa Is Our Favorite

Shortly after my parents’ visit, one of our best friends (& Henry’s Godmother) came to see us. She brought Henry his birthday present: a NASA astronaut suit from the Air and Space Museum. It definitely solidifies his coolness status as the coolest one in our family. 


Vanesa may be the only person I know who was stoked to be a soccer mom for the day; she even wore her official soccer mom outfit (I told her that next time she needs a visor.) After the game, she bravely painted outside with the Hen. What started out with painting on paper quickly morphed into painting each other’s faces and arms. Luckily for her, I only buy ultra washable paint so it came off very easily. I don’t know who had more fun (it was me, watching them and relishing the fact that I didn’t have to be painted!) 


We took a picnic to the beach to watch the sunset later that day, and followed it up with Amish-made ice cream. We loved having her visit our crazy, and can’t wait for her to come back again soon (or else we will invade her D.C. apartment – all four of us!)