#FarmLife

What is better than a dozen eggs?

A DOZEN CHICKS!

I’ve wanted backyard chickens forEVER and we rented a farm in Colorado so DUH.

There are like four or five barns in my backyard. I’m turning one of them into a super fly chicken coop.

And I better hurry because LOOK: CHICKS!!

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One of these chicks is not like the other, tho.

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Ok, the stuffed chick doesn’t actually live in the little brooder thingy. I totally staged that picture. But. Babystar’s stuffed chick was the most expensive of all the baby chicks we bought at $6.99.

OMG you guys, she named it Eggy. With no prompting (that I know of). What a great name!

Also, I feel like I need a subblog (is that a word?) about the cost of backyard chickens. Then when they start laying eggs I can calculate the cost per egg. Jeez, I need to calm down. Just kidding, I love this plan! Off to find my farm store receipts. BRB.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,863.79

 

 

New Digs = New Haunts.

OMG YOU GUYS. I really miss Nook and Busy Bees and Scramble AND all of the awesome playgrounds in and around Arlington, Virginia. Hey NoVa parents, go out and play. Don’t take it for granted. Especially get yourselves and your kids to Watkins Regional Park and Clemyjontri and Potomac Yards.

Don’t get me wrong, I AM ABSOLUTELY SMITTEN with Colorado. But we are still figuring out the indoor play spaces. And on the few non-windy, above 60 degrees days, we go out looking for our favorite parks. We have found a few great playgrounds and a few, um, small interesting playgrounds. We are still looking for our most favorite park ever, but it’s more of a Spring Goal.

We HAVE found a few indoor play spaces that we like. WOW! Children’s Museum in Lafayette, Colorado is kind of the bomb diggity. We joined the first time we visited ($99). It has everything a toddler could want — a light piano, art room, tiny grocery store, pirate ship, dance studio, sand box, and so much more.

 

 

We also found a fun play space in Thornton, Colorado called Frolic. We’ve only been once ($9.86) because it’s kind of far away, but it was adorable and great for an afternoon of fun. It was NOT as good as Nook or Scramble or even Busy Bees but really, what is? (ARLINGTON YOU LUCKY BASTARDS!!) Frolic has a great CedarWorks play structure and smaller dollhouse, a train table, mini grocery store, orange ball pit, and a few other ride-on and bounce-on toys that kept Babystar’s attention for over two hours. I do wish it had better seats for the grown-ups. The picnic tables in the corner are great for Toddler Snack Time but not so great for mama’s lumbar support.

 

 

We are looking for more, more, always more, but so far everything I have found is open for like three hours from nine to noon only two days a week and I just can’t get out of the house that early. Maybe someday. I believe in us.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,397.74

 

Wild, Wild West Part Two.

The Colorado Saga continues as our three heroines drive west out of Kansas City in search of dinner. Have you ever driven west on I-70 in Kansas? Almost immediately, we were forced onto a toll road with only one gas option and one food option. We accepted our fate, filled up the gas tank, and ordered our Chicken McNuggets.

(P.S. WHAT are the toys that McDonald’s is handing out in their $2.99 Happy Meals these days? Some kind of anthromorphic line of furniture? I don’t get it. But ok. Babystar’s washing machine probably WILL have opinions in the future so she may as well pretend all about it now.)

I digress.

I broke our family’s cardinal rule about ‘no screens at dinner’ because 1) road trip and 2) fast food. Princess Buttercup aka Navigator Extroidonaire pulled out her phone to check our route ahead and figure ouT where we would sleep. We watched the sun set from our sweet window seat at McDonald’s and calculated the distance to Topeka.

Kansas is wide af, y’all, so we knew we wouldn’t get to Colorado that night.

Princess Buttercup is ambitious, though, so she checked the distance to Denver just for fun. Eight hours. We would arrive at 12:35am if we drove to Denver. And that’s AFTER the time change when we cross into the Mountain Time Zone.

Nope. Nopenopenopenopenope.

Except YEP. Because we also discovered that there was a huge winter storm warning for Colorado and parts of Kansas starting at 1am that night. Snow AND ICE was predicted after midnight and throughout the following day. We had two choices: stop in Kansas and get snowed in for two days or race the storm to Denver.

We are idiots. We raced the storm to Denver.

The sun had set by the time we got back on the road. Has anyone driven through Kanasas? What does it look like? I genuinely want to know. As far as I can tell, the state is pitch black and full of UFOs. An hour or so into Kansas, we noticed bands of red lights blinking in unison. They would disappear and reappear, always blinking the same alien codes.

I’m pretty sure NOW that they were wind turbines. But we were pretty sure THEN that earth had been invaded.

Also, it was before midnight on a Saturday night and there were like five other cars on the road. I was under the impression that I-70 was a major highway but I felt like I was driving through an episode of True Detective: X Files. There were gas stations about every twenty to thirty miles but when my needle dropped under a quarter tank, I started to worry. We drove through a long stretch of road seeing nothing but aliens, so when I finally saw an exit with a sign that promised gas, we stopped. We drove almost a mile down a dark road before finding the gas station.

Y’all. OMFG.

We pulled up to one of the four pumps. There was a guy in an older pick up truck pumping gas already, so we obviously waited for him to drive away before even unlocking the van. When I did get out to pump gas, I left the keys in the van with Princess Buttercup and Babystar and gave strict orders that they should lock the doors while I pumped the gas and went inside the gas station to pee. If I was abducted by the aliens, Princess Buttercup was to hop in the driver’s seat and speed away without looking back.

When I got outside of the van, I noticed that the gas station was actually closed. Great. We were alone with the aliens. And there was nowhere to pee. Also, they only sold two kinds of gas — diesel and not diesel. There were no pesky octane levels or anything from which to choose. I hurried to fill the tank and then got back on the interstate as quickly as possible.

Two miles later we stopped at the most glorious, brilliantly lit gas station and convenience store combo in all of Kansas. We got caffeine and chatted with the lovely WOMEN that were working there and finally peed and got back on the road to Denver.

Fun fact: the border town between Kansas and Colorado on I-70 is called Kanorado.

We crossed into Colorado eventually, and somehow drove 180 MORE miles through the worst fog ever to our hotel near the Denver airport. By midnight, we really were the only vehicle on the road. Well, it was us and the trucks salting the highway. Everyone else had enough sense not to drive in ZERO VISIBILITY conditions. But we did finally make it to our hotel that night. We had booked two nights at the Embassy Suites because we wanted the extra space and we wanted an on-site restaurant since we knew we would be stuck for a little while.

The hotel had given away our room.

Y’all. I straight up cried right at that poor night clerk. I didn’t yell at him. I just started crying at him like a soap opera diva. When I finally pulled it together, I learned that they had held a room for us at the hotel across the street. We packed our things back into the van and drove across the parking lot. The snow started about fifteen minutes after we finally checked into our room for the night.

Everything turned out all right in the end. We ended up in a two-bedroom suite for two nights, paid for by the Embassy Suites that bumped us. (Thanks again, jerks! Actually, they weren’t really jerks they were just oversold like every hotel. And they paid for our stay across the street so that was cool. They would not bring me wine though. I asked.)

And then on Sunday morning, after having slept only about four hours, I got a miracle phone call that our furniture was going to be delivered the following day around noon. PERFECT.

The Alien Fog drive though hell was worth it.

This was almost two weeks ago and we are still unpacking.

We also just got internet. Like, five minutes ago. And we still don’t have television, though I’m sure we could probably stream something if we had time to sit down.

I still have no decent pictures. Please enjoy this picture of the inside of our moving truck.

moving truck2

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,054.61

Wild, Wild West.

We made it to Colorado!

(Actually, we made it to Colorado over a week ago but we are still unpacking and we still don’t have internet so I blog from a coffee shop down the street when I can convince the older kids to hang home with Babystar which is not as often as I would like since they both are getting over the DeathFlu. Anyway.)

Let’s see how much I can fit into this forty-five minute coffee break.

The girls and I left Arlington on January 15.

Oh, but before that, we spent all of January packing and also taking Babystar on a Farewell Tour of her favorite parks and friend’s houses and indoor play spaces (because it was super cold!). I used up the rest of my passes to Nook and Busy Bees and we played at Scramble a few more times. (We spent $38.00 at Scramble that last week including snacks).

We didn’t get far on January 15, but the movers were really mean to me and I had to get out of Northern Virginia for my sanity. Plus we didn’t have any beds to sleep in anymore. We spent the night near the Virginia/North Carolina border and the drove to my brother’s house in Ashboro, North Carolina, the next day.

My brother works at the North Carolina Zoo so we got an awesome behind the scenes tour. Dude. DUDE. It was amazing. We met a bear and some zebras and an ostrich and a rhinoceros. Princess Buttercup and I were awestruck. Babystar was so casual about the whole thing. She fed a freaking BEAR and was like, “Next!”

Toddlers, dude. I can’t wait to tell her the story when she’s older.

She really did love the ostrich, though. They are super silly birds, and she laughed and laughed. She also loved the flamingos. Because they were pink. And the sea lions, because they were on a rock and she was super jealous because she loves rocks.

TODDLERS.

Anyway.

We got snowed in at my brothers for an extra day but finally got on the road again eventually. We made it to Tennessee and had dinner with friends before stopping for the night.

I bought Babystar a $7.00 pint of Haagen Daaz from the hotel snack bar.

The next day we got up early-ish and drove to the Parthenon. Did you know there was a Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee? I did not. We found out about it while lying in the hotel bed the night before.

It was super awesome. Babystar’s admission was free, but I did buy her some little toys in the gift shop for $13.40. We all adored the 42-foot Athena statue, and Babystar kept asking to go back upstairs to see ‘the tall lady.’

athena

Eventually we got some Chick-fil-A ($3.49 for Babystar) and got back on the road and drove through bits of Kentucky and Illinois and past St. Louis before stopping in Missouri for the night.

We drove to Wonderscope in Kansas City the next day to let Babystar get some quality playtime in and some wiggles OUT.  Wonderscope is a super cool children’s museum and I’m really glad we stopped. Admission for the three of us was $24 ($8 per person) but it was totally worth it to let the toddler play. We all played a bit, actually. I preferred the Art Room, Princess Buttercup was obsessed with the huge play grocery store, and Babystar loved the Vet Office. We did lots of check-ups on ‘Tillie’.

We finally left Wonderscope at 5pm when they closed, and we decided to drive out of the city before stopping for dinner.

The plan was to eat, drive a little ways, and find someplace in Kansas to sleep for the night.

Things did not go as planned.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,051.62

Some Fun is Free.

We are en route to our new home in Boulder, CO.

Winter Storm Inga has other plans.

Apparently, Inga is all about family values, because she stranded me, Babystar, and Princess Buttercup at my brother’s house in North Carolina.

Ok. Fine. There are worse places to be. Plus my brother and his almostwife are pretty cool and I rarely see them.

Babystar got to go play in eight inch snow while I mostly watched from the windows. If she didn’t love her uncle already (and she did), she totally would love him now.

snowday1

snowday2

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $25,899.56