Almost as if an annual routine, I start to get the urge to plan the fun times that we hope to have when the weather turns warm. I think about the activities that Hadley will be able to enjoy (at his stage in development/maturity) and even start to mentally plan for his July birthday party. Family often makes fun of me for over-planning and over-thinking things, but it actually helps me a) keep mentally organized and feel on top of things, and b) get enjoyment out of the experience. The excitement is half the fun!
So, although nothing is in stone for our general Spring/Summer 2015 plans, I thought it'd be fun to have a little brain dump of the things we'd like to undertake in the spring and summer. Here goes!
- Utica Zoo membership - Last year, we LOVED our zoo membership. It only makes sense to support their cause and enjoy it with the little guy again. Plus, they have an awesome playground setup that Hadley will love even more this year, with his longer legs and better stability. And the monkeys. Oh, the monkeys.
- Trip to Western Mass - Hopefully, this doesn't have to wait until summer! Hadley's been asking about his little buddy in Massachusetts every few days, so we feel awful that we haven't been back sooner. (Oh, and we want to see our old friends there, too!) It's Dave's old stomping ground, so it's like a second home full of happy memories for us to return to regularly. Plus, they have the Eric Carle Museum, which is a family favorite.
- Beach - Last year, the only place we went with sand was a small beach in Old Forge. On a chilly day. With occasional drizzles. It was far from ideal and involved no splashing, no sunbathing, no playing. This year, I'm hoping that we can get to one of the family-friendly beaches closer to home. (Last year, there were some red algae issues, so there were lots of "no using the water" warnings. Hopefully, there will be fewer this year.) I can't wait for Hadley to play in the sand and splash in the water (hopefully he'll be less terrified by water in his face if playing is involved), and admittedly I can't wait to get my toes in some sand, too. Fingers crossed!
- Old Forge - Speaking of Old Forge...we try to get there every year to wander and sight-see, but last year was by far the worst I can recall. Between places being non-stroller friendly and the chilly, rainy weather (in August?!), it was kind of a bust. We made the best of it and found coffee and donuts for the trip home (best part of the day!), but I'm already assuming that anything will be better than last year. I don't expect every trip or experience to be the best thing ever, but when it's far less than mediocre...well...it's disappointing. Even the farmers' market was too soggy and full of imported produce to get excited over.
- Time to try a city? - I've talked about the fear of bringing Hadley into a big city because he's still not great at listening and following directions. (Okay, some days he's even worse at it.) So, I'm still wary about this, but I'm wondering if we go to a city in the middle of a week, we might be better as far as crowds go. I'm partial to Boston (and NYC and Philly, but those are still a bit nuts to consider), especially with the Freedom Trail as a way of getting some history in without having to try to force good behavior in a museum. Their aquarium might be a hit with the little guy, too. But, if we can't do that, maybe another smaller trip like our Concord excursion last year (but to a different spot).
- Local adventures - For awhile now, I've wanted to get the family into the local experiences that make our area unique. We often forget about the historical and natural gems in our own backyard, so I'm hoping that, whether it's just a farmers' market, a nature walk, or a stop at a nearby historical destination, we'll be able to do this weekly. Again, fingers crossed. I hope to make a list
- THREE! - Dudes. Can you believe it?! Our little guy is turning the big 3 this July! I'm sure I'll do yet another brain dump of fun stuff I'm drooling over on Pinterest (and if I'm lucky 50% of it will make it to the party - Hadley's a mind-changer...but what 2 1/2-year-old isn't?). The only thing that he's told me definitively has me adamantly agreeing: strawberry cake. Damn straight, child. You shall have your cake. (And it will be organic and from scratch. Shh. Guests don't need to know.)
- House hunt - I've mentioned before that we're finally hoping to move to a new town (relatively nearby), namely to get a larger space for the family that we can hopefully own long-term. Given that our current space is about 1,000 square feet, we've always known that this wasn't going to be our forever home. So, while I hope to hit up tons of the above, if we're in the midst of moving (or obtaining a larger mortgage), we'll see what we can do. Heck, maybe his party will be at a new, larger setting.
For now, though, we're going to hunker down and enjoy the good that winter brings. I do enjoy snow (and the prospect of snow days!), drinking hot chocolate, and cozying up with a good book. Although, admittedly, I'll be super happy when the sunset happens later than 4:30. Oye.