We were hesitant because despite our best intention of keeping the weekend simple, traveling (whether it is out of town or out of state) requires a lot of coordination and a lot of crap with a toddler. So a lot of running around and a few curse words later, were on the road at 9:30 on Saturday morning, heading north and foregoing breakfast to make better time.
Despite it being fairly close by, we don't know the town at all, so decided to play it by ear and open ourselves to possibilities. Our only intention for this weekend was to allow for my MIL to spend some quality time with her granddaughter, who she doesn't get to see too often, before heading back home. This is where I am reminded that if you allowed yourself possibilities, you will almost always be pleasantly surprised, and boy were we surprised by how awesome the weekend turned out.
We arrived around noon, grabbed a quick bite and drove towards the zoo, where we were almost instantly handed the perfect parking spot. This is a luxury that we don't find often, but when we do, it is oh so serendipitous and almost always guarantee a great day ahead. We took it with a thank you nod to the kind strangers.
A short walk later, we stumbled upon a little stable out of nowhere in the middle of the park, complete with real ponies and horses. I probably squealed with glee as much and as loud as my girl. I have to preface this by saying that I have always wanted to find a little stable so my girl can try on some some real horses and there it is, pretty much handed it to us out of nowhere. So we seized the opportunity, paid our $4 for the ride and headed towards a small pony named Blackie. Boy would I have paid a hundred times more to replicate the joy that entered my girl's face when she realized that she was about to mount a real horse. She knew exactly what to do as her father puts her on the saddle, surprising us with a squeal "Yehaw!" Oh my goodness, I died and went to heaven at the sight. Two seconds later, she followed up with a "Giddy up" as the horse began to walk. This mama's heart is proud.
One short ride around the stable, and a quick stop so that the horse can do its business later (and boy was I surprised by the amount and the size of his secretion), my girl reluctantly said goodbye to her beloved animal, looking back with yearning eyes as the distance drew farther and farther. Luckily, there was a little amusement park nearby where it immediately occupy her attention and she forgets about the horsey. But for this mama, I don't think that I can ever get the image of seeing the utter joy on my girl's face when she beholds the horse.
She went on her first roller coaster and her first merry-go-'round, though she didn't enjoy it as much as I would have thought.
And when the fun at the amusement park was over, we headed to the next park where famous fairy tales are brought to life.
We called it a day after an exhausting four hours of fun-filled activities, and sun, lots and lots of sun.
The next day, we resolved to do nothing but head to the waters and lounge, which proved to be exactly what we needed. We went for a dip, blew and chase bubbles, and ate disgustingly unhealthy foods.
With everything good and fun goes, it all has to eventually end. We reluctantly made the two hour journey back home, where the familiar smell and feel of our bed awaits, and we happily jumped right in where we passed out til the next morning to start the work week. We don't get weekends like these often, but when they happen, they are rejuvenating and memory building, and oh so good for the souls.