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April 12, 2012

Carefree Family Adventures

…at least relatively speaking…

It was two years ago this week, during Hubby’s spring break, that the girls first ate a meal in a restaurant. I had every last detail planned, along with several back-up plans in place, and I psyched myself up for days beforehand.

I know we must have looked like the Clampetts (if nothing else, judging from the look on the hostess’s face!), lugging our gear into Macaroni Grill…high chairs (yes, we brought our own), and two or three (big) bags, I’m sure.

I remember the meal actually went pretty well…the girls didn’t fuss, and they ate well enough…but it was so very stressful!

I hadn’t really thought about that anniversary until late yesterday, but I have been thinking a lot about what a couple of fantastic days we’ve had as a family during Hubby’s spring break this year...

On Tuesday, we decided to make a visit to a local cave park. The park is known for its underground river that can be accessed on a boat tour through the cave. After a field trip with his students a few months ago, Hubby learned that there are also several great trails through the park.

We didn’t think the girls were quite old enough for the boat tour, but we decided to try them on a hike. We started with a short little jaunt, knowing there was a cut-over from the trail to a paved walkway, if we needed it. That was an unnecessary precaution, though. The girls were such amazing troopers!!!

We hiked every last trail through the park…climbing here and there to peer into one of the “blue holes” where the underground river is exposed…and venturing into the forest to check out some points of interest.

The girls had a complete blast…and so did we! It was so much fun to just have fun…to get some great exercise in the great outdoors. And of course it was awesome to see things through our baby girls’ eyes.

We worked up quite an appetite at the park, and so we decided to eat lunch before we headed home. We gave the girls three restaurant choices, and they picked a local café (which also happened to be Mommy’s first choice…score!).

The three of us shared a Carne Asada pizza. They scarfed down their portion, exclaiming things like, “Yum! I love beef!” “This avocado is sooo fresh!” (And that, alone, warms Mommy's heart!)

Wednesday morning, we left bright and early to visit a zoo about 100 miles from here. It’s not the zoo we usually frequent, but they have a beautiful polar bear exhibit that we wanted to see again. We had a fun time at the zoo, and then decided to be adventurous for lunch.

I knew where the artsy section of the city was. We drove there, parked, and started walking. We ran into some “artsy-looking” guys, and asked for a restaurant recommendation.

One guy described a place that sounded right up our alley…local, fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations. “It’s about four blocks up,” he told us. We walked four or five blocks, but didn’t see the restaurant. We stopped to ask a lady, and she said, “It’s about four or five blocks up.” HA!

The girls – again – were fantastic. We hiked (on cement, instead of on a trail, this time) to the restaurant. Hubby guessed it was considerably more than a half-mile from the car!

We had an awesome lunch, and enjoyed our walk back to the car.

What a difference a couple of years makes!!!

I still lugged a diaper bag…gotta have my wipes, some water and snacks, and the girls’ potty seat…but I realized midday today that I didn’t even have a change of clothes with me.

I love being about to get out and about in search of adventure. The ability to play things sorta-kinda by ear is awesome…and being able to enjoy that with my baby girls is truly priceless.

5 comments:

Charlene said...

Oh yes...those days where you suddenly realize you aren't tied down to a million baby things are wonderful!

One day you'll be sitting at the girls games or activities and be looking around at new moms and think to yourself "man, I'm glad I don't have to lug all that baby stuff around any more." I found myself thinking that at Sarah's last volley ball game.

Deanna said...

Hmmm....you just described the top of our list of reasons why we don't think we will have more children! I was never much of a diaper-bag lugger and we ate out regularly with the girls pretty much from birth, but I LOVE the freedom and ease of getting out to do things at this stage. And I know that part will only get better!

Glad you have enjoyed the week!

Mandy said...

Don't you love just being able to go?! I love it! So glad you're getting out and enjoying spring break!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I'm also enjoying travelling light - I just grab water for the baby, and a really small bag with two nappies for Connor :)

Your girls walked so far without complaining I love it. I'm hoping that happens soon here - K is still very babyish if D's around.

Barbara Manatee said...

Isn't it heaven to not have to carry so much stuff when you go out? I can keep some essentials in the car, but as long as I have wipes and an extra pull up/undies in my purse, we're good to go now!! woo hoo!

PS...I can only imagine walking in with your own high chairs though! Would you do it again or do you chuckle at yourself looking back?