We Get Around.

Toddlers have a lot of energy. SO. MUCH. ENERGY. It is exhausting. How on earth did I do this with TWO kids twenty years ago?!

Oh right. I was twenty years younger.

Babystar and I go on Little Adventures all the time. We love to take picnics to playgrounds, because picnics at playgrounds are free. But sometimes we have to switch it up.

We took Babystar to National Harbor for ice cream back when it was warmer (November because wtf is wrong with the weather). I spent $23.66 at Ben & Jerry’s and it all goes on the Toddler’s Tab because we wouldn’t have even gone if Babystar didn’t need to run out some energy. Parking was $12 and the playground was $7. Yes. National Harbor charges seven freaking dollars per kid to access to the playground. It’s such bullshit. They get away with it though, because they put a really cool carousel in the fenced in playground area. And the seven dollars comes with unlimited carousel rides. But still. Jerk move, National Harbor.

We paid $1 for a ride on the tiny carousel at Potomac Mills recently. We also paid $8 on that same trip to rent a gigantic fire truck shaped two person stroller thingy. I think we could have gotten fifty cents back if we had returned it but we left it at the door to the mall because we are terrible people. No. Wait. We are JOB CREATORS. Someone must make a living collecting those things, right?

We rode the train (AGAIN) at Springfield Mall. The mall trains are all $5, but it really cost $10 because the guy in the conductor hat at Springfield Mall charges for adults too. More bullshit. Springfield Mall also has a soft play room with a bunch of bouncy houses. Babystar was a bit scared, but I think she was just too young. We basically paid $7.42 for her to sit at the table with us and watch the big kids play. Whoops.

We went to Tyson’s Corner Mall recently and rode the train there too. The train guy only charged us $5 for Babystar and let me ride free, so there is still SOME kindness in this world.

We went back to Scrambleย today. ($10 plus $8.75 at the snack bar.)

We paid $11 to park at the zoo (member discount) to see ZooLights. And another $7 for the carousel that night.

Are you noticing a carousel trend? Last week, Babystar stopped nursing, and looked up at me and said, “I love milk. And water. And carousels.” And then went back to her milk business.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,672.98

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 alsoย 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