Friday morning we went to beat the heat at another of Arlington's spray parks. Soren wasn't too enthused about the water features, but we were able to convince him to run through a few times. Mostly he was interested in playing on the playground and trying to commandeer this other little boy's tricycle. (He kept following this kid around asking if he could have a turn. This was after he had just hopped on the trike twice when the other kid wasn't sitting on it, but it was still pretty cute.) The playground wasn't completely fenced in, but there was a fence and gate along the side of the park facing the road. Unfortunately, the gate was warped or something because it wouldn't close all the way. I worried for a little while that this might be a problem for my escape-prone little man, but he was actually kind of fixated instead on trying to close the gate every time he passed and saw it hanging open. I'll consider this a victory! Hehe.
As we were just getting ready to leave, Eleri had a rather dramatic diaper failure, such that we ended up having to borrow and put one of A's t-shirts on her. It was comical, in its own disgusting way. Between that and the spare blue pants I had in the diaper bag, she was looking decidedly less feminine than usual.
For lunch, I'd wanted to take my mom to Ray's Hell Burger, since we were reasonably close by. Unfortunately, when we got over there, the line was not only out the door, but wrapped around the front patio and starting to go into the parking lot. I was much too hungry to wait around, so we ended up across the street at the Rhodeside Grill. When we walked in, the hostess pointed at Eleri and asked if "he" would be needing a children's menu and crayons too. Ah well. The kids were both pretty good, if a bit noisy. Eleri sat in a high chair and was obviously thrilled to bits about it; she squealed and jabbered with delight all the while. Soren sat on the booth seat next to my mom, but he was wiggly. All this led me to conclude that our original Sunday plans (a trip up to Frederick and a stop in at Top Chef runner-up Brian Voltaggio's restaurant, Volt, for lunch) were probably not going to work out. Sigh. It was just as well, because our revised Sunday plans were awesome, but it'll be nice when they're just a liiiiiittle bit older and more well behaved.
Home afterward, we took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. I caught a little nap...again...and put together a pretty tasty sampler of leftovers for dinner.
Saturday morning, Mom got to come out to the barn with me to watch me ride. N was back, and I'd jokingly suggested that my mom might be thrilled to see her daughter gallop in the loop field, not expecting at all that we'd actually get to go do that. But she obliged me! We warmed up in the arena, then headed out for a quick loop and gallop, then returned to the arena for the rest of our lesson. And it was a really great lesson, probably the best ride I've had on Chaka yet. There's a new student instructor, T, who will be working with our class for the next few weeks, and she had some really helpful pointers for me. Then N showed us a very useful exercise for improving our position, and everything just kind of came together. I was stoked!
We picked up the requisite Chipotle lunch on the way home, which we all ate with gusto. Tom & I got to chill on the couch with some Tivo-ed shows while Mom played babysitter with the kids, and then in the evening, we got to go out to dinner again. Sushi this time, very tasty. There was a couple with a little girl at the table next to us; the girl couldn't have been more that 5 or 6 months older than Eleri, but she had such long hair. It's still hard to imagine El with pigtails.
Another easy bedtime. It's great to have Soren so thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day! Hehehe.
Something tells me it's all happening at the zoo...
A few months back, I read a blog post about the Reston Zoo. The Reston Zoo's existence had heretofore been unknown to me, but it's all of a 35 or 40 minute drive from us and pretty great. There's a petting barn and a wagon ride and pony rides, and you can buy grain and milk bottles to feed to the animals. It's kind of a combination petting zoo/mini-safari/traditional zoo. As soon as you pay your entry fee and go into the park, there's a little moat off to the left surrounding an island that houses 3 black spider monkeys. No fence, just a low wall and this moat. Then off to the right you make your way through the petting barn, where there are goats and sheep and pot bellied pigs and a llama and a swan, all eager and waiting to be fed (with the possible exception of the llama, who mostly just sniffed at the grain). There's a reptile barn and a tortoise enclosure and a chicken coop and pens with Patagonian cavys, a porcupine, and kangaroos. There are tiny soft foxes and parrots and ponies. There are cows and more llamas and an alligator. Then on the "zoofari" wagon ride you see ostriches and emus and rheas, Watusi cows and Highland cows and bison, several varieties of antelope and deer, a couple of zebra and camels, and some guanaco (another llama relative). We had a great time. Soren was a little timid at first about feeding the goats (they can be a bit aggressive), but he got into it pretty quickly. And boy oh boy was he excited about the wagon ride. The wagon was pulled by a big blue tractor, and he was just beside himself with anticipation over getting to "ride the tractor." (He's pretty into tractors and trucks and construction machinery, these days.) We were there for a few hours, and it was really just about the perfect amount of time.
(For a whole passel of zoo photos, go to my Flickr set here.)
Eleri napped for about a grand total of ten minutes in the pouch, so she had something of a screaming meltdown in the car on the way home. Poor thing. Soren, astoundingly, sat there for a long while just singing to himself as if his sister weren't serenading us with screams, and then nodded off. Hehe. She was better once we got home and finally took a nap, herself.
Tom made a big batch of guacamole and some tasty steak burritos for dinner. Soren is hilarious with the guacamole eating. I caught this photo, which cracks me up to no end.
Still got almost another week of Grandma time! Both Soren and Eleri are enjoying the heck out of having a dedicated playmate basically all day long. ;)