It’s funny how quick a trip to the store can go downhill with a toddler. I’m not sure if I like or hate the kid carts they have. The carts are pretty much impossible to navigate through the store, and I think they only have 3 per store. So if you don’t get one it’s going to be a real pain getting through the store without a tantrum. Thanks kid-friendly cart makers :/.
On another note, being back around family has been a lot of fun. Owen still isn’t a huge fan of the pool but at least he’ll get in when there are other little ones in the pool already. Though he may not like swimming pools, he still likes animals. We went to the Pittsburgh Zoo this week and Owen really enjoyed seeing all the animals. Surprisingly, with how hot it was, most of the animals were out. He even cooled off with the water sprayers. His new catch phrase is, “What’s that noise?” As you can imagine, that was fun at the zoo.
We weren’t sure what to expect with Owen when we got to Idlewild Park. It’s been years since we’ve been to the park, and we were the ones riding the rides then. Because we only had one day to do everything we were going to attempt to skip his nap (which is a big risk). The weather was on our side, and we were stocked with snacks, milk, and the stroller (even though Owen didn’t want to be in it).
We started with Story Book Forest, and Owen surprisingly really enjoyed it even though he didn’t recognize all of the characters. He had fun exploring all of the little houses and climbing on what he could. Next up was Jumping Jungle. Here he played in a huge ball pit, put balls in air tubes, and went down a slide with us on a potato sack. We both took turns taking Owen down the slide, and I have to admit that I was a little worried that we were going to fly off the side.
On the way back to the car to grab lunch Owen saw a log water ride that he had to go on. The entire time we ate he kept bugging us about it. Though I think he was an inch too short for the ride, after hearing him plead with us throughout lunch we puffed up his hair and crossed our fingers. Once we got into our log Owen was immediately began to second guess his decision, but by then it was too late. Going up the hill he was really worried, but once we got to the bottom he loved it and wanted to go again (but we weren’t about to wait in that line again).
We then headed to the water park. We went to the baby pool, the wave pool, and Adventure Galley. There were a good amount of things that Owen was too small for, but he enjoyed getting wet. He is still not a big fan of water :/, but he did enjoy watching the other kids have fun. He did great considering this was during his usual nap time.
Next we went to Raccoon Lagoon where all of the kiddie rides are. Owen rode everything! He had no fear – he even rode a miniature caged Ferris wheel all by himself. I think he must have taken after me because Tony was afraid of rides when he was younger.
By this time it was getting late and we still needed to do the trolley ride through Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I thought Owen might not be willing to wait in line, but he managed to hold himself together and we boarded our last ride of the day. We thought the trolley ride was super cheesy, but Owen ate it up. He even sang along and clapped even though nobody else on the trolley did. When our day came to an end Owen fell asleep before we even made it out of the parking lot.
With the recommendation of a friend we were able to go to this adorable train station a few weeks ago. It is called the Mars Shortline Railroad. Only about a 15 minute drive from our house. When we got there I wasn’t sure where to go to get tickets to ride the train, but we walked around a bit and watched what some of the other people were doing. After looking around the gift shop we saw a line forming to ride the train. So we got our ticket and boarded. Owen sat in front of me, and I made sure he didn’t fall off. I don’t think he could have rode it by himself. At first Owen wasn’t sure about it, but after a lap he was having a good time. We went through a small tunnel and past some faux houses. After getting off the train there was a small train set that he played with for awhile before going for another ride. It is a really neat place and is something different to do with kids.
Another fun place we went last week was called the Fern Hollow Nature Center. I had no idea what to expect with this place. I was just happy that I found it. It is kind of hidden and comes up fast. The whole place is tucked away in the woods with different play areas. There was a music area with a home made xylophone and other instruments, a place to pick up cardboard fish with magnets, an area to dig for fossils, and a place to make a ramp to put a ball down. Owen really enjoyed the instruments and getting very dirty digging for fossils. I believe there is a place to make a craft as well, but Owen wasn’t very interested in doing that. I think we’ll be back again soon.
The Butler Fair was going on last week and we took a trip up with my parents to check it out. I didn’t remember going as a kid, but my parents said that I was there. There were a ton of animals for Owen to check out, some rides, and of course fair food. After petting some animals at the petting zoo we went to the rides. Owen was a bit too short for a lot of the rides (which was fine with me) but he did do a few of them. One was the pony ride. He wanted mommy to hold him on while he sat on the pony. I’m not sure what I was thinking wearing sandals, but that was a clear mistake once I started walking through the pony ride. Next year I will be prepared. Owen had a ton of fun on the train and carousel rides. This was a great way to get prepared for a bigger park – Idlewild Park.
It’s funny how I grew up about 15 minutes away from where we live now, but it seems so foreign to me. I’m always using the GPS on my phone to find different playgrounds and restaurants in the area. Maybe its because we lived in Ohio for so long, or now we have Owen and never really paid any attention to where the fun kid spots are. Either way I’m starting to learn the area and realize that passing a few farms on the way isn’t out of the ordinary.
After being in our house for a month we’ve made a few improvements. Rather, the guys in my family have made some improvements. Before we even moved in, with the help of my dad and Tony, the deck was power washed, sanded, and stained. We’ve already used it a lot for entertaining and we really love our new deck!
The first big change inside the house was the addition of a garbage disposal (thanks to my brother, Timothy). I’m so happy that we have one now. With a toddler you throw away so much food, and our garbage was very stinky for the first few weeks we were here. Also, Tony and my dad added a much needed door to Tony’s office. Now Tony can shut the door while he’s working, and Owen has been pretty good at staying away from it. Thanks to my father-in-law we are able to have use the extra dryer that was left by the previous owners. I’m sure this will be great once I get back to work and have to do all the laundry on the weekends.
We’ve also purchased (and built) a few pieces of furniture, a pantry, and a TV stand. We have a ton of furniture to sell that was left in the house. Once we sell it I think we’ll get a few more replacement pieces. The biggest change we are making is to the breakfast nook. It was all wood paneling except one wall, and they had a brown cabinet attached to the one wall for their microwave. It made the room feel like a cozy cottage, which is not our style.
The past few weeks Tony has been priming and painting it to make the breakfast nook match my Pinterest vision. There is still a lot to do, but I’m sure in the end it will look great. Thank you everyone for your help so far!
I hope that everyone had a Happy 4th of July. We celebrated on the 4th and 5th because of a rain delay. Owen really enjoyed the fireworks.