Belated Pumpkin Fun

Now seems like as good of a time as any to relive our corn maze/pumpkin patch fun since the high for the day is whopping 15 degrees (with a real feel of -2).  We won’t dwell, though.  Onward to pumpkins and corn mazes!

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If there’s one thing to say about Minnesota in the Fall it’s that there are no lack of corn mazes and pumpkin patches.  We decided to go with one that seemed to have more included in the price and hoped it wouldn’t be too crowded. We also figured it would be a great time to break in our new wagon rather than bringing a stroller.

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It was our first corn maze, and surprisingly the kids didn’t even get bored – I think they were too excited about the wagon to care about anything else.  Phoebe usually likes being carried, but LOVED getting to sit facing her brother… even though he was being a little cranky.  Thankfully there was a helicopter flying around that made him happier.  The kid loves helicopters unless they’re the remote controlled kind, in which case he doesn’t even want to be in the same room with even if it’s turned off.

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Aside from the corn maze, there were a few attractions like a bouncy house, slide and pony rides as well as food.  Once again, though, we had to deal with some hornets (sigh) and Enzo had a minor meltdown. Seriously, what was with all the hornets this year? I’m actually a little glad colder temperatures have hit if only because there are no more hornets/wasps and spiders.  Anyhoo, oh yeah, there were pumpkins!

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Our front stoop is generally really boring and lacking in decoration (especially since we also never finished our whole landscaping plan), so pumpkins were a must this year.  We figured it would be fun to have Enzo help pick them out and he thoroughly enjoyed the process.  He’d copy his dad and brush off the dirt and attempt to pick them up to get a better look.  All in all, we got some fine pumpkins… that are now covered in snow. Whoops.

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At Como

So far this Fall has seemed fairly mild, and I’m okay if that is a continuing trend.  It just gives us that much more time to get out and do things before the cold weather sets in and all I want to do is hibernate.

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A few weeks ago we decided to go to the Como Zoo for a change of scenery, and managed to get there early enough so that while still busy, it was manageable.  We didn’t get many pictures of the day, however, and have kind of decided that Como would be better off charging a small admission rather than relying strictly on donations. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but it also could use work in areas.

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The last time we went we were childless, so a lot of things we were kind of oblivious to.  This time around, though, we stumbled upon bathrooms with wonky changing tables that weren’t in very good shape. More importantly, though, some of the habitats just seemed too small and sad at times.  We also had a run-in with some hornets that swarmed us for whatever reason… this happens on a regular basis, and poor Enzo is terrified.  We were setting up lunch when suddenly Enzo started screaming and I saw several hornets flying around him and his sister and hanging out on their food.  The last thing we wanted was a kiddo being stung, so while Josh tried to grab everything, I quickly tried to shoo the hornets away from Phoebe’s food (which she was still trying to eat) and quickly lead Enzo away.  We finally found a table that seemed decent , but little man would have a meltdown whenever a hornet came to investigate. Considering I have my own phobias when it comes to wasps and hornets (I am okay with bees), it was incredibly hard to sit still and try to carefully guide the kids away from them or to cautiously shoo them away from us in a calm manner while comforting Ezno when inside I was having my own mini freak-out.

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Seriously, though, what is it with hornets and us?  Are we just genetically more appealing or something because wherever we go they just hone in on us while other people are just happily eating or hanging out.  They must smell fear.

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Anyhoo, the day wasn’t a complete bust… it was absolutely beautiful and the kids got to see a few different animals than usual.  We didn’t really stop in Como Town (the game area for kids) even though Enzo might have enjoyed it. At that point we decided a nap was probably in order for both kids, considering Phoebe fell asleep while strapped to my front in the Ergo and Enzo had only had a short nap in the car on the way there.  Will we be back?  I’ll think about it. I do like the conservatory, which we didn’t see and I think the kids would enjoy all of the flowers, but considering what a long drive it is we will most likely stay closer to home.

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A Maze ‘n Farmyard

A few weekends ago we decided to go somewhere new with the kids, so after a little searching online, we found something we thought would be worth checking out.  It was a risk being an hour away, but the A Maze ‘N Farmyard ended up being a lot of fun for the kids.  We actually didn’t even see or do everything that there was to offer, which is always a good thing.  I also didn’t take as many pictures as I thought I would… whoops!

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One of the big attractions was all of the animals, most of which you are allowed to pet and possibly feed.  Enzo got to pet goats and feed them a bottle, but he also got to pet a cow, some bunnies, and most importantly – Bambi.  There was the sweetest little fawn that Enzo got to pet.  Call me paranoid, but I decided to just look at the animals with Phoebe rather than risk her petting everything and immediately sticking her hands in her mouth.  Oh!  Don’t forget the huge house of birds.  Enzo was a little skittish, but one of his favorite animal experiences was the house of parakeets – they just fly all around you, and amazingly we didn’t get pooped on.

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This was also the first time Enzo got to go on a pony ride.  He was excited at first, until he had to get on the actual pony, and then he didn’t want to, but Josh went ahead and put him on and after a few seconds he was okay and started to enjoy it.

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It may not look like he enjoyed it, but he did go back to ride again!

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Aside from the maze (which we didn’t go through) there is also a very large slide, which Enzo was excited about from a distance, but a tad reluctant about once they actually got to the top.

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Enzo started fighting Josh about going down, so finally he grabbed him, and off they went!  Enzo didn’t really warm up to it right away…

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That’s right… a GIF!  I’m entering new territory here. 😉  As you can see, Enzo had a death grip on Josh’s arm the whole way down.  He apparently enjoyed himself, though, because all he wanted to do was go down again… and again… and again.

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Phoebe and I enjoyed the nice breeze and watched Enzo enjoy himself on the slide, until Josh suggested that mommy take him down.  Honestly?  I wasn’t all that excited about it, especially when I got to the top with Enzo and looked down.  I won’t lie… part of me really wanted to back away. I pictured legs getting caught and broken (don’t you know you aren’t supposed to ride down a slide with a child?!?) and potentially rusty metal pieces slicing through legs.  I couldn’t let him down, though, so we went… and it was fun.

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We wandered around for a while until the sky began to darken and the kids got cranky. Apparently there is an entire bounce barn with several bouncy houses and castles we never made it to, but I’m sure we’ll go again this Fall.

How about one more slide gif of Enzo actually enjoying himself?  Glad you asked!

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MN Landscape Arboretum

It’s been a few weeks now, but we recently went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum… for the first time since we moved to Minnesota.  I don’t know why we waited so long to go, but there you have it.  I finally decided to take advantage of a Groupon so we could visit them while they have their butterfly exhibit happening because I figured Enzo would enjoy that.

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He enjoyed it, but not necessarily the butterflies. He wasn’t a big fan of them flying all around him and they made him a tad jumpy and skittish.  So, we spent a little bit of time trying to get him to warm up to them, and allowing Phoebe to watch them while in the carrier on my back before heading outside.

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We also made sure to grab a few packets of milkweed seeds to plant next year to hopefully attract some monarch butterflies to our yard.  I tried to plant some flowers this year to attract butterflies and bees, but for some reason my gardening skills this year were not up to par.

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We thankfully went to the arboretum on what turned out to be a fantastic day.  It was a little cool when we first arrived, but then warmed up to the perfect temperature for walking around.  There were also a bunch of really pretty glass sculptures everywhere, so part of our goal for walking around was to see them all.

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At first I was worried that with so many people it might get crowded, but there was actually plenty of room (even with the stroller) and Enzo was able to easily walk on his own without us worrying about him running into people or vice versa.

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Despite there not being much in the way for kids, Enzo didn’t seem to get bored at all.  He really liked looking at the different flowers and loved all the different walking paths that took you by ponds and little waterfalls and through shady trees.

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I really enjoyed the walking aspect as well, and getting to look the different plants and flowers.  I wish I was a better gardener and could more easily create an amazing garden, especially seeing so many pretty plant varieties.

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I still can’t believe it took us so long to go to the arboretum. I think we thought it might be boring, and never realized just what a pleasant place it is to go to, to simply walk around.  We also brought a picnic lunch with us, which made it much easier with the kids.  There were plenty of areas to spread out a blanket (as well as picnic tables), so we ended up eating first before we did any exploring.

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I even purchased more Groupon tickets for us to use before the summer is over, or the early part of Fall.  I’m a big fan of getting the kids outside and there really isn’t a prettier place in the area to do so.  Might as well go at least one more time this year, right?  If anything, it’s a nice change from some of our other destinations, and while it’s a tad spendy to go there on a regular basis, it’s nice for now and then.

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To the Zoo!

We decided that since Memorial Day Weekend was 3 days long we should get out for at least one of those days, so we went to the zoo!  We figured it might not be too busy if we went early enough on Saturday since a lot of people were also going to be camping.  It’s actually much easier to go to the zoo when there a lot of other families rather than a lot of people without kids who for some reason think it’s crazy that so many people take their kids to the zoo and get pissy if you’re walking slow or are chasing down a toddler who no longer wanted to sit in his stroller.

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We brought the barge so that way both kids would have the option of sitting in the stroller at the same time. I brought a sling as well in case Phoebe got fussy, but really enjoyed hanging out in her own special seat, especially when Enzo was sitting in front of her and she could reach out to hold the seat in front of her.

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Enzo was a little bit of a grump, but Phoebe was very happy just checking everything out.  We thought it might put Enzo in a good mood to try and ride a camel, and he got excited at the suggestion, so $10 later (ouch) he and Josh took a ride around on a camel.  Enzo got a little scared at first, so Josh showed him how fun it is to make silly noises because of how bumpy the ride was, and he got more into it.  Josh is actually recording Enzo making the silly noises (and not checking Facebook).

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We did a fairly quick walkthrough this time around since Enzo was kind of having an “off” day, but did stop to see the otters and wolverine, which he thoroughly enjoyed before heading home.  Since we renewed our membership it’s nice to feel like we can stay as long as we want, and it’s okay to only see a few things each time.  I’m glad that overall the kiddos generally do really well on our little day trips, though.

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It’s also the first time, though (at this particular zoo) that I kind of felt bad watching the animals. I never noticed how small some of the exhibits are and (maybe its hormones), I just felt a twinge of sadness as the lynx slept curled up in a ball next to the glass while small children tried to get its attention by making noise and banging.  It all felt a little depressing, to be honest.

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And now that I’ve completely ended things on a dismal note (whoops), if I ever win the lottery, I know I want to put some of it towards wildlife conservation.  Anything helps, right?  Hopefully if you visit your own zoos frequently you’ll educate yourself and see what ways you can help support your local zoo as well as support wildlife in general.  There are so many simple things we could all do.

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