Saturday we thought would be a better day to go all day barefoot as it wasn't too hot out and didn't have to worry about blistering our feet walking around. The boys were excited about adding this to our summer list, but did find it to be kind of a hindrance. We had planned on spending the day at Papa and Grandma's, which meant we didn't need to be concerned about any glass or other hazards that could be on the ground. We made a point of leaving all shoes and flip flops at home so we wouldn't forget or be tempted to "cheat". The boys quickly found out that mom actually has a good point when it comes to riding skateboards, the Ripstix, or bikes without shoes. However, they found other things they could still manage to do with bare feet; like helping out their grandparents, playing basketball and just play outside. Like many other children they have a habit of running about outside in their stocking feet, but surprisingly they prefer to have something on their feet. Grandma had asked Joey to accompany her to the video store and he couldn't go because he didn't have shoes on. Jacob had complained a bit about his feet hurting from walking on the cement. It was a fun idea to try, but I think we'll keep our toes covered.
Thursday, we had a day of fun things planned. First stop was to see the Octagon House. I love visiting this house. My drafting teacher had actually lived in the Octagon house and raised his kids there. Once we had a drafting assignment that lead us to the house, we took a class field trip and spread out on the lawn and sketched the house. During our field trip the house was in bad shape on the inside from years of neglect while the historical society waited approval to overtake the care of the property from the current owners (not my teacher). I would love to see the inside the house now that it has been restored to its glory. Unfortunately, due to lack of scheduling we had missed the open house that was during June and the next isn't until November.
While we would have enjoyed a closer look at this historical site, we weren't going to let it get us down. We grabbed lunch on the run and enjoyed a pizza picnic at one of our favorite metro parks. Then it was off for our boat ride. Last summer we had a good laugh while we took turns paddling a row boat, but the boys had their eyes on trying out a paddle boat. Feeling very adventurous we found a lovely purple boat and very clumsily got everyone aboard, only to learn that it was still chained to a line of other boats. We all managed to get back on shore without anyone falling in the water and boarded one that was equally flashy,a sparkly green paddle boat. We started of with Jordan and I doing all the paddling. We found a duck happily swimming near by and ventured over to see how close it would let us get to it. It must have been very use to boaters because we stop a short distance from it and it swam up to investigate us. The boys had convinced me that we should be able to juggle around who was paddling without dropping anyone into the water. After some creative maneuvering we got the younger two up from to give my out of shape legs a rest. Jacob was a little too short and had to scoot to the edge of the seat, but he made it work. Jordan was so goofy, he figured if you ride faster on a bike when you stand up why wouldn't it also work on a boat. (He forgot to account for the change in your balance being on the water.) We paddled happily around in circles for about half an hour before we spotted another mom out on the water with her little ones. Being moms and liking to document that we too were actually on the boats with our kids, we took pictures and text them to each other. I love the kindness of strangers. Although we had rent the boat for an hour, 45 minutes was enough for us. The boys were doubled over in laughter at my constant concerns that someone (most likely Mom) would end up in the water. I'm very happy to report none of us fell in, actually we didn't even get our shoes wet :)
I don't like to leave things unfinished and our visit to the Octagon House felt unfinished to me. I wanted the boys to take away more than a quick look around the grounds. So we headed back, with a plan in place. Once back at the Octagon House (again) I asked Jordan to share a couple sheets of this sketch paper he had brought along to occupy himself. I laid out our picnic blanket, searched the car for hard surfaces and any stray pencils I could find. Right there on the lawn where everyone driving down the main road watched us as they passed; we sketched the house. Everyone did the best they could and really spent their time on their drawing. Well, except for Joey; he rushed through his so he could use one of the two antique sewing machines they had on the porch that were for sale.
Seems we were already on this side of town we stopped by the nature center that was near a skate park we had recently visited. It was a really small center, but it was still interesting to see the critters they housed. Not really sure what the giant tinker toys had to do with nature (because they were made of wood?) but the boys had a blast with them. Jacob really enjoyed walking through a flower garden that was next to the center.