We were absolutely thrilled earlier this summer when my dad got a new job just 5 short hours away from us! Much better than the 13.5 hours away they've been for the past 8 years. While moving YET AGAIN was not really on my parents' list of things they were just dying to do, we're all a bit happier having them a short drive away.
So, we jumped in the car and ambushed them at their new house just a week after they moved in. You know, to "help unpack" and everything. With two small children.
Yeah, there was no unpacking. No helping of just about any sort. But we did provide some valuable entertainment in the form of our adorable children and an excuse to get out of the house and explore their new digs.
First, we visited the Jelly Belly Factory. I vividly remember touring the Crayola Factory when I was about ten - I always loved seeing "how things were made"! The tour at Jelly Belly was fun and informational, and Cole especially loved sampling all the flavors of jelly beans!
We bought a BIG bag of BellyFlops (the jelly beans that don't meet their "strict standards of size and quality"):
There's a great little park just a block away from their house:
The mall has the most amazing two story merry go round! Cole was SO excited and Chase was excited... and a bit nervous. After much debate, Cole settled with the zebra because he wanted to be next to Chase.
And, Gram treated us to a visit to Build-A-Bear so she and Pap could get Chase a snuggly of his own (since he enjoys stealing Cole's precious ninja turtle and giving him bear hugs). We set down every single Build-A-Bear option for Chase to choose... and he went right for a ninja like Cole's. He even specified very clearly that he wanted "RED!!". I still don't care for anything licensed characters, but you've got to choose your battles as a mama! And allowing the boys to make their own choices for something like a lovey is a pretty important thing.
Just the right size for hugging:
Cole posed the two ninjas this way. He was thrilled that Chase got a matching one!
Five hours in the car is a piece of cake for our kiddos, so we will be certain to be making many more trips to see Gram and Pap!
One of my absolute favorite parts of Cole's age right now? Being able to read chapter books with him. He's old enough now to really understand complicated plots and remember connections between chapters and over a period of weeks. So far, we've read "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George and "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's totally the highlight of my day, snuggling up next to him before bed and reading our next chapter!
So when our regional historical society put on a Living History day at a local historical farm, I was hoping to bring Cole so he could see first hand a lot of the stuff we'd been reading about in Farmer Boy.
Hay ride, carriages, Civil War reenactments, storytelling, and people all dressed up in period costumes - it was exactly what I was hoping for!
Unfortunately, it started POURING rain after just about an hour of wandering around - but that was ok, we still had a great time!