It’s almost April vacation and if you’re anything like me (i.e. you don’t have an exotic vacation coming
up), you are just now starting to plan for it. Well, I have a fun suggestion for a day trip to fill one of your
upcoming vacation days. Recently my girls and I discovered Beantown – no, not Boston – this Beantown is actually in Reading inside of … Jordan’s Furniture and is called BeanStalk Adventure Ropes Course. I have been sadly uneducated in the amazing offering that reside within Jordan’s Furniture. I always thought the only thing to be found there was, well, furniture. I was WRONG! Look at this place!
First of all, there are famous Boston landmarks which are recreated in smaller scale throughout Beantown made up of … jelly beans. Get it?! BEANtown. It’s awesome, and basically made us feel like we’d entered Willy Wonka’s magical candy world within his Chocolate Factory. Look at these faces:
Since you can’t actually eat the jelly beans in the replica, there is a handy dandy candy store right there with Jelly Belly jelly beans and other awesome treats like Harry Potter’s Chocolate Frogs. The kids were just a little bit excited about this:
And did you happen to see the picture up there of that insane-o ropes course? Well that is there to try as well. There is a huge, high, crazy-pants multi-level course with a zip line for older kids, and a smaller, less crazy-pants course for younger ones. All three kiddos I brought started on the insane course but it was REALLY scary! The two 8 year-olds pushed through their fear though it was still really scary for them and I think they may actually enjoy the memory of it more than they were enjoying it while actually participating. But if you ask them right now, they would say it was the coolest ever and even though they were scared they still had fun. Which in its own way (being scared but still having fun or at least still participating) is a pretty important thing to be able to do and know that you CAN do. Now my 5 year old went up there for about 5 seconds and knew immediately it was not for her. She is a tree-climbing, rock-scaling, dare devil, so that should give you a sense of the fear factor here. So she decided to do the lower course level and totally loved it. It should be noted that the entire time they were on the ropes course they were buckled into a harness that was attached at all times to a secure built-in system, meaning there is truly no danger at all of falling.
After our time was up on the course, we retired to Fuddruckers restaurant which is also right there at Beantown. So awesome! Did you know they have the World’s Greatest Hamburger? Well they say they do and we all thought so too. The kids also really liked the milkshakes!
After that the kids hung out in front of the Liquid Fireworks show, which the kids loved – this really surprised me and reminded me how awesome kids are. They danced up a storm!
After all that dancing we then got some yummy Sundays at Richardson’s Ice Cream Shop which is right next to the fountains inside the giant jelly bean banana split sundae. Yum!
There is one more cool feature that we didn’t get to experience, which is an 8 story Imax 3-D theater. It was showing a grown-up movie at the time, so we didn’t visit it, but if it was showing something else, how cool would that be to add in to the day?!
We were exhausted by the time we were done, luckily it was an easy drive back home to the Cape and it was such a fun, unexpected adventure. Our trip definitely made me excited to discover more awesome day trips we can do over vacation – stay tuned!
What do you have lined up for vacation? Any favorite day-trips that you recommend? Share for me and the other parents looking to fill our staycation or just our weekends. Thanks!
One of the great joys of being a parent is seeing the world with the fresh perspective of your children’s vision. Things that were dull before become vibrant as they experience them for the first time. Holidays become sparklier, colors become brighter, trips become adventures. One of my favorite adventures that we take as a family is our annual time travel to King Richard’s Faire in Carvershire (Carver to those of us that live in the 21st century).
Though the journey takes us back historically nearly 500 years, the easy drive from the Lower Cape is less than an hour. This year’s visit was special because we introduced dear friends to the Faire and got to watch as they experienced the magic of the Faire for the first time. All summer my kids shared their excitement with their friends and by the time fall rolled around, they were on board for joining us on our visit this year.
My kiddos are 5 and 7 and they LOVE the Faire. Beginning in July, they start asking if it’s time to go and begin planning their outfits. Yes, we dress up. All of us (stop laughing!).
It truly adds to the experience, bringing you into the realm as you interact in your role with the actual performers. It’s so fun for me … I mean the kids, yes the kids.
We were lucky enough to be there for the opening ceremony this year, which is truly a treat. The King, Queen, and various other Royals and court members welcomed the crowd, introducing the characters and storyline that would be woven through the day. As the crowd moved in the Washing Well Wenches hung over the railing saying hello to handsome fellows and requesting cartwheels from men in kilts. My kids were thrilled to be met inside the village by the King, Queen, and the King’s mother. They curtsied beautifully and charmed the royal family with their princess manners.
My favorite moment of the day may have been when our 8-year-old friend stood staring in amazement at the Faire’s village and said “I never imagined it like this. It’s like someone took Chatham back to the middle ages!”
There were several new acts this year that were truly wonderful! One of those was a fantastic new show at the Dance Stage which is set up among the picnic tables near the food stands. There were huge red strands of silk fabric hanging from the sky above the stage. As we sat eating our huge turkey legs we were thrilled to find out why – the aerial silk show Draiku began performing beautiful aerial acrobatics that took our breath away! The new Big Cat Show is a huge improvement over years past with a lot of educational
The jousting tournament was again amazing with gorgeous horses and talented knights showing their yeomanly skills. We love cheering for Sir Jeffrey and always sit in his section of the jousting field.
After the afternoon’s jousting match it was time to visit the artisans of the realm. My kids have become enamored of dragon pets that they can only find at the Faire. Every year they add to their growing family and buy a dragon each. It is their special remembrance to get them through until the next year’s trip. Apparently they’re good for snuggling too.
It was another wonderful trip back in time and clearly I enjoyed it, but this year I decided that it was time to let my kids have a turn sharing their thoughts about King Richard’s Faire. So fair readers, here is an interview with my tiny time travelers Fiona (7) and Coco (5):
1.) Girls, how do you know that it’s time to go to King Richard’s Faire?
Coco: Because you just know!
Fiona: Because it’s fall and then we get our costumes and then we get our tickets!
2.) How many years have you two gone to King Richard’s Faire?
Coco: 3 years
3.)Can you think back to the first year we went and tell me what you thought it was going to be like?
Fiona: I didn’t know actually. I just thought it was someplace kingly and queenly and witchy.
Coco: I thought it would be like it is
4.) What is your favorite memory about King Richard’s Faire?
Coco and Fiona: Getting our first dragons!
5.) Why do you want to go back to King Richards Faire?
Fiona: Because it’s really awesome!
Coco: Because it’s really nice!
6.) What makes it awesome and nice?
Coco: Because the whole thing is nice, I can’t describe it.
Fiona: It’s nice in a way that people want to go every year once they try it. If they go this year they’ll probably go again next year.
7.) What is the craziest thing you’ve seen at King Richard’s Faire?
Fiona: The tournament! PS – don’t be scared about what I’m about to tell you, but there is a bit of violence in the tournament.
Coco: Yeah, it was crazy when the King said the tournament would be to the death. Yech.
(Mom note: There are three tournaments and they get progressively more intense, the 3rd joust is mortal combat. We have actually never attended that one as my kids are pretty sensitive.)
8.) What was you favorite thing about the Faire this year?
Fiona: The dragons!
9.) How did it feel to meet the king?
Fiona: Kind of weird an kind of nice and kind of freaky, because he’s a king and I never met a king before.
10.) What was your favorite show this year?
Fiona: The tournament
Coco: The cat show
11.) What was your favorite ride?
Fiona: The jousting horse ride, I actually speared the little ring out of the dragon’s mouth when I went riding down on the horse!
Coco: The swan swing, it went so high and I almost fainted!
12.) Did you eat any food?
Coco: I ate at the kings feast, we had a giant ice cream
13.) What did you think about the acrobats on the silk
Fiona: Cool but scary!
Coco: I don’t think I could do that!
14.) What about the guy on the tight rope?
Fiona: He walked on it with high heels on! I don’t know how he walked on there!
Coco: I was freaked out for him!
15.) Did you see any interesting characters
Fiona: The Laundry Monster
Coco: The king’s mother was there this year!
Fiona: I met Tree Fairies too and they can’t talk to grown ups but they did talk to me!
16.) Anything else people should know?
Coco: The horses are pretty!
17.) Would you go back?Fiona: Yes!
Coco: Even if we couldn’t bring our cat we’ll still go back!
So there you go! King Richard’s Faire is the place to be! The Faire runs weekends through October 25th in Carver. Check out more information at www.kingrichardsfaire.net. Huzzah!
Last year our family had our very first visit to King Richard’s Faire in Carver. Held on an 80 acres forested lot, filled with permanent, fantastical structures, it is easy to lose yourself in the surroundings and imagine you have stepped back in time. Our trip last year was fun and magical, both of my children were young enough (5 and 3) that they were easily caught up in the fantasy. Throughout the year, my daughter spoke about being knighted. My youngest would tell people she had been to princess school. A dragon pet that my oldest bought as her souvenir became a cherished and dearly loved friend, greatly needed as kindergarten presented more challenges than expected.
After I wrote my review last year, I did not anticipate how large the Faire would loom in their memories and how important that experience was to them. One of the wonderful aspects of being a parent is seeing the world from their perspective, and as they shared their memories and opinions about the Faire over the course of the year, I began to see King Richard’s Faire from their point of view. As they began to see signs for the Faire and repeatedly asked to return, I knew we would once again be going to “Carvershire.” (picture courtesy of King Richard’s Faire).
I was curious to see if it would have the same effect on them now that they are another year older and my big girl especially is moving farther and farther away from magical thinking. However, as we walked through the gates and we were greeted by “whale spit” bubbles practically as large as they; the magic began to take hold.
We spent the first hour walking around the grounds and taking in all the sights. And what sights there were! Princesses, fairies, lords and ladies, the king and queen themselves. There were warriors and knights, elves and jesters. We use this time to identify all the rides and games we may want to participate in and also start looking at the amazing wares for sale by the artisans. The girls are allowed to pick a certain number of rides and this time allows them to begin the decision making process on what rides/games they will do.
We made our way to the jousting field just in time for the King’s Tournament. There are three jousts every day culminating in a joust to the death. My sensitive girls can’t handle mortal combat so we haven’t seen that show yet, but I hear it is thrilling! Instead we enjoy the more genteel first and second shows which truly show off the tremendous skills these knights have gained. There are four knights to root for and each section of the crowd has their own champion. The horses are beautiful and it’s such a treat to see them put through their paces in this way, this type of action is not usually seen in the riding ring!
We all love the jousts, they are truly the top attraction for our family, and my youngest has a special place in her heart for Sir Jeffery, drawing this picture after we had returned home. There he is, Sir Jeffrey and his happy horse.
After seeing the King’s Tournament we began taking in the shows and riding on the rides. There is just so much to do and see, I can understand why some people make this a two day affair. My girls were kind enough to rank the shows from their perspective and these are their top three shows:
TOP 3 SHOWS FOR KIDS BY FIONA AND COCO
1. The Tale of The Tiger – Big Cat Show – this one ranks at the top of the list for them because they are real deal cat lovers (with an allergic dad, so no kitties at home) and these larger than life cats were amazing to see up close. Also, the girls were so excited that there was a young Liger in the show this year. One of the few disappointments last year was that the Liger was not well enough to travel. The cubs were ridiculously adorable!
2. Vicious and Delicious – These two charming young acrobats put on such a great show that we had to stop and watch them whenever my girls caught sight of their act. Juggling, acrobatics, humor, contortionism, among other excitement kept the girls enthralled.
3. Paolo Garbanzo – the fire breather and juggler, Coco said “that’s not safe mom” but they also couldn’t believe their eyes! He is an award winning entertainer and puts on a great show!
TOP 3 SHOWS FOR GROWN-UPS BY ME
So to be fair, this isn’t a picture of the *actual* ones I made. Mine didn’t have the adorable tag on top, they were just rainbow twizzlers with gold rolos on the bottom instead of coins. They were good enough. This picture comes from the blog It Is What It Is which has fun printables and good book suggestions too. I found them
through Pinterest, of course.
teach them gratitude and avoid entitlement, but I don’t want them to ever feel like they aren’t getting the same things because they are less deserving. Does that make sense?
For example, with the creepy elf, my eldest was worried that she was on the naughty list because so many others in her class had an elf come stay with them and she didn’t. Did Santa not like her? I was all “Oh no, Santa KNOWS you’re so good you don’t need monitoring” HAHAHAHA! But when those elves went on clearance after Christmas that year, I surely snapped one up. And there he was right after Thanksgiving the next year, and she was SO happy. I think it wasn’t just that it was a piece of Christmas magic, but it was also something that she could talk about with her friends at school, it gave her a commonality that wasn’t there the year before. And now we have Leppy, which as it turns out wasn’t a class-wide phenomenon but something my girls came up with on their own. Which, honestly, makes me like him better.
So I guess what I’m exploring in this post is how do we all balance holidays and magic with entitlement and the craziness that comes with the Pinterest-ization of these special days? Do you feel influenced by the way your kids’ peers celebrate? Do you feel pressure to live up to the Pinterest ideal? Or are you zen in the face of Facebook? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Which, let’s face it, is one of my specialties. Until next time, I wish you many magical days with your family!
Mamas, I have to tell you something crazy. No wait, let’s start at the beginning.
I have these friends, they are completely insane. But I love them anyways, I told you about them in my last post. They’re fun, tell great stories, keep me grounded, hug me when I’m sad, tell me my kids are cute when they’re covered in snot and screeching at each other. You know the type, lovely people that you can have wine with and laugh for hours.
You might be saying, they sound great what makes them so insane? Wait for it… these ladies love to RUN. They run as often as they can. For exercise. Not, like to get away from lions or scary people. For fun. I keep trying to wrap my head around this, and I find it very hard. I can come up with a million and one reasons NOT to run: I have kids, I have to clean my house, I don’t have a babysitter, I have to work, I’m tired, and on and on and on. But guess what? These mamas have the same things going on in their lives and they are still running. And running. And running. One of them ran from her house to my house and met the rest of her family here (who had very sensibly driven in a car to my house) for breakfast. This wasn’t a few blocks. She lives a whole town away from me.
· “It helps clear my head.”
· “I’m a happier, healthier and better mom to my kids when I run”
· “I find it to be rewarding. Its time I get to zone out, focus on just me and better my health and spirit even, all at the same time!!”
· “The challenge of mind over matter!”
· “Pounding un-domestic-friendly frustration out on pavement, given that I'm not much of a bread maker... plus it is 45 minutes of time to myself with nothing but breath, movement, music and maybe a good view or
· “It’s quiet and I'm alone. Also my ass looks better when I do.”
· "I run to be a better mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend. And so I can eat more cake."
So that all sounds nice. Especially the idea of a better looking ass and more cake! But I still wasn’t buying it. Then a bunch of these running mamas signed up for the SHAPE Diva Dash.
So, who wants to join me? Come on mamas, get off the couch and into a tutu. You know you want to! Here’s a discount code to sweeten the deal, type in BLOG on the registration page for $5 off the Boston Diva Dash. If you want to sign up for any of the other Diva Dash locations, use BLOG for $10 off.
Here are the particulars:
Time: 9AM - 5PM
Location: Marshfield Fairgrounds,
140 Main Street, Marshfield, MA
What do you think? We’re going to rock it right? Or will I be this girl?
awesome is her friend? You know you would be laughing just as hard when one of your teammates fell face first into the mud!
Now, please tell me, how exactly do you fit exercise into this life filled with kids, marriage, and a job? If you
have an answer let me know, I’m going to need all the help I can get!
*All these awesome photos are from Adventure Fit! Thanks for the great shots!*
Ten years ago, I moved to this little spit of land sticking out into the ocean. I fell in love with a Cape Codderand this became my home. The one problem – I had no friends! This can be an isolating place to live and I was certainly missing the comfort and support friendships can bring. I didn’t realize quite how hard it would be to make friends here! It’s a lot like dating, except you’re trying to pick up friends instead of a hot date.
I’d meet someone at work or elsewhere and try to build up a rapport. Nervously I would think, should I give her my number? Is that too forward? Am I moving too fast? I made a few friends this way, but I was still looking for those core, bosom friends (you Anne of Green Gables fans know what I’m talking about).
A few years went by and I had my first baby. And mamas, I have to tell you this, one of my first thoughts after finding out I was pregnant was that I was totally going to use that baby to gain entrée to new friendships
among Cape Cod mommies.
So I pop out this adorable baby and am ready to start making friends, but first I needed to get over my fear of leaving my house in the height of winter with a new baby. Dude, I was completely freaked out. Would I put her in the car seat right, would I slide off the road, what if a snowflake touched her precious baby skin?! Looking back it’s clear that there were some post-partum depression issues going on here, but I didn’t have any mama friends yet who would say gently but firmly, “Lady, you’ve got the crazies, time to deal with that.” When Fiona was four months old, all three of us came down with a horrible, disgusting stomach bug. I really needed a mama friend to help, even just to bring us some ginger ale. I felt very, very alone. And also very vomit-y.
At this point I decided come hell or high-water, I was going to make friends. I needed a support system and if it wasn’t going to magically show up on my doorstep, I was going to create it. I started attending every playgroup on the lower-Cape and through one of these I met my first bosom friends. And here’s the awesome part, they are the gift that keeps on giving. They have connected me to more friends, and they have connected me to even more. I love these ladies and together we comfort and support one another as we navigate parenting, jobs, relationships, and living on this crazy, awesome peninsula.
When I had my second child, one of these mamas said “Lady, you’ve got the crazies, time to deal with that.” And she and my other mamas helped me deal with post-partum depression, get the care I needed, and supported me as I got better and better (and sometimes worse).
Sometimes, as mamas, we are tired. We have given of ourselves all day to so many others. Sometimes it is hard to find a little additional energy to put towards building and maintaining a friendship. But please, do it. Do it for yourself, because you deserve a friend. You deserve someone that will bring you ginger ale when everyone is puking in your house. Who will take the kids for a few hours so you can go have your pap smear in peace. And return the favor, because it feels good to help out these ladies that you love. And you know what, I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to have these smart, wonderful, challenging, brave mamas supporting me, pushing me, and loving me.
Do you have a mama support group? Tell me how you’ve met your best mama friends! Do you need help connecting with other mamas? Let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. I can be a mama friend match-maker, woohoo!
Oh mamas! Guess where I was last night? At the fabulous“Kindergarten Readiness” information session presented by Cape Cod Children’s Place. If you guys haven’t connected with this organization, you need to, they are amazing – go check them out right now, www.capecodchildrensplace.com, go ahead I’ll wait for you here.
What’d you think? Pretty cool, right?! If you didn’t actually click the link (you non-conformist you) let me fill you in a little. The Cape Cod Children’s Place provides a number of support services to families on Cape Cod including educational sessions, support groups, child care, play groups, and resource information. The session I attended last night was for parents to understand how their child will spend their day in kindergarten, ways to make the transition easier, and a chance for us to ask questions of a kindergarten teacher, and calm our anxieties. They also provided pizza and childcare for the kiddos – this is pretty much a hot date for hubby and I! But the best part of the whole night was the fact that my daughter got to check out her new school. Cool sidebar here – this was also my husband’s elementary school. Cue “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King and mama’s tears.
My daughter had no tears or fears. Excitement is not a strong enough word to describe her feelings about entering kindergarten. She is rearing to go. She was so pissed off when I brought her to pre-school this morning. “Mom, this is NOT kindergarten!”
Me, I’m feeling bittersweet about this momentous occasion. At the start of last night’s session, Cindy Horgan (Cape Cod Children’s Place Family Support Coordinator) asked if we saw our children’s entrance to kindergarten as a challenge or a milestone? As I think about my sweet, gentle, special daughter, I certainly worry about the challenges that lay ahead of her. Will she make friends? Will she have fun? Will she enjoy herself? Will she make good decisions? Will she be able to stand up for herself and her beliefs? Will she eat food off the floor? (Is that just my kid?) But really, the more questions I ask about the challenges that lay ahead, the more I realize this is really a challenge for me, and not for her. Will I show confidence in her ability to do all these things and more? Will I rein in my anxiety so it won’t influence her perception of school? Will I believe in the school system’s ability to keep my precious girl safe? Because I know my girl will soar, if I step back and let her. I know I need to keep giving her the love, the boundaries, the belief that will help her. Will I be able to do all that? I hope so! But this will be a challenge, but for me, not for her.
So I guess my answer to Cindy’s question is that this is a milestone for my girl. A milestone that I can already tell she is ready to meet. She is imagining the day that she will hang her back pack in her very own
cubby, outside of the classroom where her daddy learned to read. She is jumping to run around that gym and make that school her own. I know there will be hard days and she will have her own challenges, but we will all help her meet them. So kindergarten, watch out! There’s a new girl in town and she can run like the wind, tell stories like Shakespeare, and enjoys a mean knock knock joke. Check her out!
Me, I’m planning to up my wine intake until I come to grips with the fact that I will very soon have a kindergartner. In the meantime, we will be reading these great books to help us both prepare for the
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