Friday, May 8, 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air: Uptown Adventures

I really love being uptown, whether it's for a girls' night out or a fun afternoon with the kids. With our regular Friday plans cancelled, I decided to spend the day uptown. Jackson has been asking to go to the "new museum", and we only had one more free parking pass so I wanted to make the most of our day. I packed a picnic lunch and brought extra water and diapers.

When we arrived at the museum, we were bombarded by multiple school groups. I thought Discovery Place Kids was bad with excessive school groups, but it's much more intimidating when the kids are a lot bigger. Jackson was so small among the older students. I couldn't let the trio walk around and Jackson was clinging to the stroller. We didn't get past the first exhibit before we decided to spend our morning in the toddler area. We explored this one area for over an hour and still didn't see everything.

One of my favorite parks is located a few blocks from the museum. I wore Maddie and pushed James and Amelia along the busy streets. Jackson quickly learned to look for the white walking sign to know when it was safe to cross the intersection.

I planned to walk straight there, but we took a detour at a church along the way. There was a "barbecue for business" festival that included live music, dozens of picnic tables full of professionally dressed men and women, and of course, barbecue. We spent our time playing at the church's beautiful, shady playground and enjoying our surroundings.

We continued our leisurely afternoon with a picnic in the park. By this point we had worked up an appetitte and were quite thirsty. There was one shady spot available that we were lucky enough to claim. Maddie drew attention to herself by waving at every passerby, especially those who were walking dogs. After eating, the kids jumped on the digital bells and climbed the rocks.

The highlight of the afternoon was playing by the fountain. The fountain is designed as a waterfall that you can run underneath without getting wet. There were several kids in bathing suits that ran in and out of it. Since we weren't prepared for that, we refrained from getting completely soaked. I took everyones shoes off and let them play freely. As soon as Amelia's feet got wet, she climbed back in the stroller and pouted. Jackson, James, Maddie, and I had enough fun for Amelia.

On the walk back to the museum parking deck we stopped at a wonderfully shaded area to rehydrate. Most of the parks uptown are completely fenced in, which is especially nice with three toddlers. (Confession: This "park" was actually a cemetary, but we were nowhere near any graves.) I encouraged Jackson to climb the trees. He was very cautious and had more fun hugging the branches.

We ended up spending four hours playing, eating, and walking around uptown. It's been a difficult few weeks with tempers rising, but today was a day I am grateful for. When I look back on my years as a stay-at-home-mom, I imagine I will picture days like today where I simply enjoyed being with my kids without worrying about what time it was or where we had to be.

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