Social Butterfly. And Literal Butterflies.

I am a Textbook Introvert. Two year old Babystar is EXTROVERT AF. Every morning when we wake up, she asks me where we are going and who we are going to see.

This kid is going places. Literally.

We recently went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The museum is free but we paid $4.60 for street parking and $11 to go into the Butterfly Pavilion. The Butterfly Pavilion is a small humid room full of flowers and fruit and butterflies. The butterflies fly freely and one landed on my arm. This happened several weeks ago and Babystar is STILL talking about it!

 

 

 

Any time that any thing is on any person’s arm, Babystar is all LOOK JUST LIKE THE BLUE BUTTERFLY (pronounced fufferfy) ON MAMA’S ARM HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

AHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAAH.

It’s really funny, y’all.

Babystar also really liked the ‘big elephant‘ in the Rotunda, but who doesn’t love Henry? She was fascinated with the large blue whale statue that hangs from the ceiling, but she said it was ‘too scary’. Also, now she asks me all the time if a whale is coming to bite her. So. Um. Maybe it was too scary.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has a cool little hands-on children’s room that I didn’t even know was there. Maybe it’s new? Maybe I just never had a toddler when I was there? It is full of cool science-y things that would really appeal to all ages of children. Some kids were doing puzzles. Some kids were checking out slides on a microscope. Babystar played with magnets for an hour. She would have stayed all day but the time on our parking meter expired.

 

 

We plan to go back soon either via metro or parking garage. Street parking is maximum two hours and that was definitely not enough time.

I try to take Babystar on new adventures often, now that she has developed some long term memory. But still we also go the same places over and over. I don’t have time or space in my life to post everything individually, and much of it would be boring and repetitive.

Recently, we have hit up a few old favorites. We have been to Busy Bees four times recently. The first three visits were $15/pop but yesterday I got smart and bought a $36 three-pack. So the next two visits are already paid, and I saved a few bucks. We have gone to Rise and Rhyme at Busboys and Poets twice at $5/visit. Plus we have to count the sweet potato pancake breakfast we always share that is AMAZING and rounds up to $20 with tip. We went to the airport to watch the planes take off twice ($18 total for parking). We went to a friends birthday party and brought a gift and card ($21.98).

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,659.58

 

 

 

It’s Fall, Y’all!

I’m gonna call it now: Corn Pits are gonna be the new Pumpkin Spice.

Next fall, all you’re gonna hear about is CORN PITS.

I didn’t even know what a corn pit was until this month. I somehow failed my two older children. I feel like I need to write them letters of apology.

(Dear Kids, I’m super sorry for denying you what appears to be the greatest joy of Childhood. Love, Your Terrible Mama.)

Imagine a sand box. But with dried corn kernels. That, my friends, is a corn pit. Babystar played in the corn pit at Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farms for a LITERAL HOUR and then went back for more. (As reported by my husband, because I wasn’t there for this particular trip. The two of them spent $17 for admission and $7.50 for food.) Babystar talked about the corn pit for two weeks. In a row. Without stopping. Ever. So we all went back to the farm. ($37 admission plus $9 for three cups of hay pellets plus $23.50 for human food.)

Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farms is legit. Too bad it is one hundred hours away from our house. It was worth it, though. Babystar got to reunite with her beloved corn pit. I got to commune with goats. (I love goats. When I grow up I want to live with some goat friends. That is a serious life goal.)

HEY GOATS HEY!! (And sheep. I know.)

Winterbrook Farm has other awesome stuff. Apparently the Corn Maze is one of the coolest in the area, but the toddler wasn’t having it.

“Too scary.”

(Toddlers, amirite?)

We played on a giant slide and climbed some huge haystacks. We rode a tiny train and raced in potato sacks. We played the most absurdly awesome racing game ever, with rubber ducks and water pumps and it sounds ridiculous but I kind of want one at my house now.

WE MOSTLY HUNG OUT IN THE CORN PIT THO.

corn pit5

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,968.93

 

I Joined a Museum 100 Miles from Home.

Have any of you ever been to the Children’s Museum of Richmond?!?

It has EVERYTHING. A scarf ballet, a fully stocked art studio, a cow that you can milk (but don’t drink it), a diner with all the (fake) food you can eat, an actual ambulance to play in, an indoor carousel, and a Wegman’s. And that isn’t even half of the cool stuff at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. This place is literally the best children’s museum I have ever seen.

And it is right down the street from my oldest daughter’s college. We bought the $180 yearly membership (plus additional adult) so we have a fun place for Babystar to play on visits. She has never gotten bored here. The single downside is that she never wants to leave when they close at 5pm. We have been a few times now and we haven’t even played with everything. On our most recent visit, Babystar mostly dug in the rubber sand for dinosaur bones and then cooked her sister and I a very hearty meal.

Have you ever had ketchup in your coffee? I highly recommend it.

The visit before, we spent a lot of time in the art studio making masks. Another time, she did water experiments for an hour at the super awesome water table. (I totally brought about five extra shirts last Friday and she didn’t even LOOK at the water table. Of course.)

CMoR water table

There are also locations in Short Pump, Chesterfield, and Fredericksburg. We may check them out sometime as they are included in our membership. But the nice lady that sold us the membership said that those locations are not as big. And I am certain that none of them are five minutes from any of my children’s colleges. If we do go, I will report back.

Regular admission is $9/person. (Babies under one are free.) We only paid the regular admission once, actually. Then we did the math and realized that we should just buy a membership. So far, we have gone to the museum every time we visit Richmond. Since at least three of us (Babystar, the college girl, and whoever is driving) visit each time, the membership will pay for itself shortly.

Like many children’s museums that I have seen, this one has a lot of different areas to play, and each area is sponsored by a local or regional business. The main difference is that THIS museum has SO MANY areas to play.

 

CMoR is awesome and we love it. Go there.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,413.93

Dear Fisher Price: Thanks, Boo.

Babystar received some really excellent gifts for her birthday last June. I didn’t list them here because of course I didn’t BUY them, but she was a very lucky little two-year-old. (In fact, she got so many great presents that I immediately packed a few of them away so she could have new toys this fall. #momhack)

One of her favorite new toys is her vintage-inspired Fisher-Price cash register. These days she mostly enjoys popping in the coins and pushing the buttons, but I can see the potential for plenty of imaginary play in the future. Every single kid that comes over to play gravitates to that cash register. All of them. And some of the adults.


By mid-July, we were down to two coins. (The cash register comes with six.) No one was surprised. The ToddlerMonster relocates things like its her job. Every kid that comes over fights over plays with this toy. PLUS the new kitten is obsessed with the coins. I have literally seen her reach her little paw into the drawer and bat out a plastic coin and then carry it away in her mouth. 


After a bit of googling and searching the Fisher-Price website and eBay, I realized that I could not purchase replacement coins. Huge bummer. (Really, Fisher-Price, you should get on this.)

I emailed Fisher-Price asking if there was any way they could sell me some additional plastic coins. They wrote back that they were very sorry that they did not offer the coins for sale and they sent me a $25 gift certificate for anything Fisher-Price! (Or Mattel, or Hot Wheels, (but not American Girl), but LIKE WHOA SO NICE!)

I didn’t have to provide proof of purchase or anything, which is good, since the cash register was a gift. So, um, live your life however you like. But just know that you can email Fisher-Price about your cash register coins and they might send you a gift certificate for a free toy.

I’m actually not trying to help the world defraud Fisher-Price. I really just want them to manufacture and sell packs of replacement / additional coins for this super cool cash register!! But I can’t control other people. Yet. 

I couldn’t use the voucher online and it was a pain to use at Target, but the Target cashier eventually overrode something and made it work. Babystar chose a $14.99 “iPad”, and I didn’t get any cash back or anything. But hey! FREE TOY!

 

Babystar loves her iPad and keeps it by the bed with a pile of books. Most mornings she will play with the iPad and read books and drink her Unicorn Water while I have my coffee. WHICH IS AMAZING SHE TOTALLY WINS TODDLER OF THE YEAR. At least in our house, where the competition is admittedly slim.

PLUS, once we figured out that the CAT was losing the coins and not the BABY, we had a better idea of where to look. The current coin total is five but it fluctuates daily. 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,140.26

 

Cousins.

Babystar has an older brother and and older sister both of whom she adores, but they are SO MUCH OLDER that they may as well be extra grandparents. (Age gaps of eighteen and sixteen years, LOL, my life!)

Luckily for Babystar, my younger brother and sister each had a kid fairly recently so she has a 3yo nephew and a 4yo niece to play with (and imitate). These are the ‘big kids’ in her life. My nephew lives far far away in the land of Florida and my niece lives fairly close in the far away land of Fairfax. The nephew visited recently, so all three toddlers/preschoolers were together for about two weeks, having a lot of fun and fighting over a lot of toys.

We scheduled a lot of outings just for the Little Kids. The coolest new place I discovered was the Club Run RECenter. It was a bit of a drive (about 45 minutes, almost at Dulles airport) but TOTALLY WORTH IT! (If you are ever staying near Dulles airport, you should absolutely go here.) I paid the non-resident rate of $12.50 and Babystar was ‘free’ with me. She LOVED the water park and keeps asking to go back. The zero entry pool has a few fountains and a twisty slide (which she totally went down a few times before declaring it too scary). Her older cousins crushed that slide over and over again. The toddler area is walled off from the bigger pool and never got deeper than my little shortie’s chest. The RECenter has life vests and water wings available for use so you don’t even have to bring your own. There are also lockers for a quarter or free open cubbies inside the water play area. And there is a bigger pool, cool current river, larger water slide, and neat water cyclone area for bigger kids, and a hot tub for the grandparents. (I’m sure the hot tub for everyone but it seemed sparsely populated by blissful older people with no small children to look after, on this particular day.)

waterwings

The Club Run RECenter also has tables both indoors and out, so we packed a picnic lunch. (The only food to purchase there was from a vending machine.) After about two hours, we packed up and drove about ten minutes to the often overlooked Air and Space Museum right by Dulles Airport. All three of our littles are huge fans of airplanes, and this is just an airplane hanger full of planes and helicopters, and the Space Shuttle Discover, which is pretty freaking cool. The museum is free but parking is $15/vehicle. (My brother was in my car and paid for us, though, in case you are checking my math. Please do check my math, btw.)

airplanes

We had fun Toddler Adventures at our tried and true Busy Bees in Falls Church. Tuesdays in July are 2-for-1 admission and I paid for our three toddlers plus a surprised stranger behind us in line ($30) and bought another 3-pass for Babystar while I was there ($36). We also ordered Chick-fil-A snacks (conveniently located next door) on their awesome app ($18.36). And then we went back AGAIN the following Tuesday (it was a looooong visit, y’all), and again I paid for Babystar and a random stranger behind us ($15) plus Chick-fil-A for me and Babystar ($13.59).

busybees

At Springfield Mall, we played at the fruit-themed indoor play space and rode the train. The train costs $5/person so it was $10 for me and Babystar. (I got to be the designated adult rider and it was super awesome. Mostly because my sister and sister-in-law bought me a Starbucks drink while I rode. <3.)

toddlersinatrain

Finally, My Gym Alexandria threw a Moana party ($25 for non-members, which we are) that seemed like a slam-dunk toddler fun grand finale for the last day of their visit. In reality, it was a chaotic mess, but the kids did have a good time. My 4yo niece was front and center during the hula lessons and all three of the kids liked spinning the poi balls which is something I would NEVER let them do with toys at home. (I almost can’t believe that no one was hurt. I am GLAD no one was hurt, but totally surprised.) But during the Moana story time and the lines for tattoos and pictures, the kids just played on the super cool equipment at My Gym. Their favorite was the rope swing into the ball pit. Even little Babystar tried it, though she didn’t really swing on the rope. She sort of held onto the rope and jumped into the ball pit and laughed and laughed and laughed. My Gym offers a free introductory class so I think we will be back soon.

(In my pre-SAHM life I planned travel for groups and meeting and it was WAY EASIER than these two weeks of preschool event planning! I’ll post some ready made ‘super cool fun auntie days’ shortly to save you some sanity. XOXO!)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,509.86