Monday, January 26, 2015

Joy of the Dragons

This past weekend dawned clear and blue with highs in the 60's. We kicked the kids outside at the earliest opportunity and didn't hear from them again until lunch. It was glorious for all. I went to yoga both days, JP swam, Landon didn't have a basketball game because his coach was out of town, Cora took marathon naps, and Claire delighted in being around all her family members all of the time.

On Saturday our big adventure was going to our local Central Market (a fancy version of HEB that I always forget we have because it's a few miles from the grocery store we usually go to and I prefer to drive 10 miles per day or less) to pick out something to grill for dinner and it was wonderful- both the trip and the grilling, and I delighted in once again having something in my pantry with an HEB label.

On Sunday we fulfilled our promise to the kids to go to the rodeo. Both JP and I hate crowds and hassles and paying for parking (paying for much of anything entertainment-wise), so the rodeo is very much not our scene, but we were pretty sure the magic of childhood lay inside $4/kid rides in brightly painted death traps, so off we went. Plus, I really like funnel cakes and any reason to put Cora in her bright pink cowboy boots.

After a failed attempt at a group picture, we loaded up and headed a couple miles up the road. We didn't have tickets to the actual stock show this year, and we didn't even make it to the area with the show animals because Cora slept too late and the sun was setting and the temperature dropped to freezing, so I think we really only went to a fair, but the kids LOVED it. And JP and I felt a bit of magic ourselves.

Mostly because I tried ribbon fries for the first time and ate the whole plate myself.

Magic indeed.

Claire made enormous strides in her carnival riding abilities. We last went to the rodeo in 2013 when she was a pig-tailed two-year-old and I wasn't even pregnant with Cora yet. She loved marching around the grounds with her pink boots and pink purse, but endured severe emotional and mental trauma on the dragon ride.

We skipped last year because we had a tiny baby (excuses! like we didn't drag that tiny baby all the heck elsewhere in town), and this year, after a false start or two and a warm-up ride on a sparkly jeep with Landon as co-pilot, Claire marched right up to the same trauma-inducing dragon and ROCKED it, resulting in my very favorite picture of the day.

When I pulled that pic of my camera last night and saw the joy and yes, magic, on her face, I had a small epiphany about Disney World. I've never been and have never had any desire to go- it looks so expensive and overwhelming and I hate when you have to research lots of things just to do a should-be-relaxing vacation properly, but oh dammit, we kind of have to go someday don't we? I mean LOOK at this face?

Landon, who finds joy in all things, even the most mundane, nearly vibrated with excitement the whole time we were there. He rode on two big kid rides and got to race JP down the giant slide just like last time, though this year, he won!

It was a really fun afternoon. Next year Cora won't be taking 4 hour naps and we'll be able to stay longer- and she'll be big enough to ride on and be scarred by her very own brightly colored dragon!  Magical childhood memories for all!


  1. ribbon friess are sooooo good. And really easy to make. Looks like you guys had a great time

  2. My advice- skip Disney World, wait till they're older, and go to Universal Studios. We did Disney in 2011 with all 5 kids (who were between 6mo-10 years). We waited in lines forever, barely got to ride anything, and the older kids were bored silly. Then we spent 2 days at Universal and everyone had fun! Disney is overpriced, overcrowded, and basically my idea of hell on earth. Universal has rides for big kids (including husbands) and little kids and the Harry Potter world was amazing. Just my thoughts!

  3. I'm biased bc I grew up in Orange County, but maybe Disneyland and California Adventure instead of Florida? Less humid and if you did it as a road trip there are some cool national parks between Texas and Southern California that seem your style. Plus, you could spend some time at the beach :)

  4. Glad another mom is scared to attempt Disney for all the same reasons we have! I am nodding my head as I read about the crowds, parking, etc. again glad someone else feels the same way. We always struggle with exposing the kids to fun stuff like the children's museum or circus, but then one little kid/uncontrollable family/ crazy expensiveness/ or whatever spoils it! Will have to check out what another reader said about Universal.

  5. City Museum in St. Louis. Seriously fun for both adults and kids. I can't wait to take my kids!

  6. My family went 3 times to Disney World as a kid. I loved each and every visit.

  7. I second the suggestion of Disneyland and CA Adventure (in California). It is WAY less overwhelming than Disney World et al in Florida.

    Anon - jlv

  8. We just went to Disney World a year ago for the MLK long weekend. Four nights, three days was a great way to control expenses (after Christmas but before the escape winter travel) and just enough time for me to handle before becoming over-whelmed. Our boys were 17, 14, 12 and we had fun; we were able to split up some and meet back up which gave them some independence and we got to just people watch if we wanted. I am so glad we waited for the DW experience.