Monday, August 18, 2014

Not a Typical Day at the Park

Over the weekend we marked off our non-board game day. We switched things up a bit; instead of having every one gather around the table or on the living room floor we headed to our favorite Metropark. The plan was to spend most of the day at the park and we loaded up our non-board games, bikes, and barbeque supplies. With everything packed and everyone in the van we headed for a day of fun. Then it started to rain.

Rather than tossing in the towel and heading back indoors, we took a quick inventory of how many ponchos and umbrellas we had and went to the park anyways. We were already packed, and looking forward to our visit, if the weather got to bad be would just come back home. By the time we reached the park the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to peek out. They boys really wanted to start with a family bike ride seems it was still too early to start setting up for dinner.

While we love spending time at this metropark, it's not one of favorites when it comes to bike rides, there are so many "hills". Poor Jacob tried keeping pace with his older brothers and had to tackle the hills on his one speed bike. Jacob's bike had collided with a friend's runaway skateboard a few weeks ago resulting in the brake cable getting tangled under the bike chain. We swapped Papa the broken bike (in hopes he knew how to fix it) for Jacob's "old, slower" bike.

Things were off to a rough start, as they tend to be at the beginning of our rides together. Jordan wanted to go much faster than this brother were physically capable of. Joey and Jacob wanted to be the "leaders". The one behind the leader would be riding to close causing the leader to become nervous. (Bike rides for us are rather difficult due to the different stages and ages.) After everyone found a place and pace they could deal with it was smooth riding. I' m so proud of my boys, we managed a 5.2 mile ride with minimal breaks (I think I was the only one requesting the breaks. I'm not nearly as conditioned as the kids are).

After getting the bikes back on the rack we were off to set up for dinner. We went over to "our spot", which is a quite, seldom used picnic area just off the main drive. Every time we have stopped either for a quick picnic or to spend hours there, there is never any major gatherings nearby. The boys have the run of the whole area to play games in.

While we were waiting for our coals to be ready, we brought out the non-board games. With there being so much room to run we could really challenge each other in the game Hyperdash. Family games means everyone plays, which means after our long bike ride even Mom had to dash about. With our muscles already stretched there wasn't any complaints of  cramps during Twister. Having thoroughly working out our bodies it was time to work out brains with a couple rounds of Connect Four and Jenga.  No picnic is complete without a few ants, so Ants in the Pants was a great way to end our outdoor non-board games. Our games come to an end when dinner was ready.

Seems the coals were hot it was time for S'mores. I was trying out an experiment on my kids and the open area we were in was perfect for it. As many of you know we are a dye-free family (not sure what I'm talking about? Check out my post here) and try not to consume any foods containing artificial dyes. There are very few times that exceptions are made or something will sneak past us. I just kills me that there are dyes in marshmallows! Don't believe me? Check out the ingredients the next time, most (but not all) contain Blue 1. Anyways, we happened to have a package of these blue 1 marshmallows and I wondered if it was just enough dye to send to boys into a hyperdash of their own. After the boys having 3 s'mores I had to empty the coals for fear of someone toppling into them. It only took 15-20 minutes for the dyes to take hold of my children. Ever see the Chipmunk movie where they have double cappuccinos, my boys looked just like that. (I'm sure the chocolate played a part too). Joey was the only one who kept himself mostly under control (he doesn't eat marshmallows, it's a texture thing). SO, it appears blue dye effects me kids just as strongly as the red dye, even in small doses.

We used the open space to expel some of the extra energy. Knowing there was no one else around to question why my children were so unruly was just one of the perks to "our spot". Once everyone had more self control we packed up to spend some time at the playground. Our plan was to stay long enough to watch the sun set and also mark that from our bucket list, but the weather decided we had a long enough break and it started to rain again.