Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stepping Into Stepmom-Dom: The Right Stuff

If you're of the correct age bracket and you started singing the NKOTB song...I won't judge. I'll even admit that I did it, too! ;)

On a different note, Little T's birthday is today.  Unfortunately, we don't get him on his "real" birthday, but we did get to have him this past weekend.  We talked extensively about what we wanted to get Little T for his birthday.  He's gotten so many nice toys, fun action figures, Fisher Price life-sized toys (grill, work bench, etc.)...and what does he want to play with?! The happy meal toys, the boxes the toys come in, my hair clips, things from the Dollar Store.  You get my drift.  He never plays with the "nice toys" while visiting us.  It's always the cheap-o crap.  We've even started disappearing some toys ... he hasn't noticed. (SHOCKER!)

When it came to his birthday, we wanted to give him something he would enjoy.  BUT we didn't want to add to the crap and clutter that is clearly sitting in an array of some semblance of organized chaos in his room (and all over the house for that matter).  SO - what to give a little soon-to-be four-year-old that doesn't need any more CRAP and certainly doesn't play with the nice toys he has?! We decided that quite possibly the best thing to do was give him the gift of TIME.  Usually when T is here, we are running 90 miles an hour in different directions.  This visit, we decided to slow down and give him a little extra attention.  So what did we do?! We headed off to the Georgia Aquarium for the morning! And the afternoon? We picnicked at a local park (Stone Mountain Park), where he could throw rocks, sticks, and pinecones into the lake/pond.
T checking out some of the fish. NOTE: that is the
actual size of that fish!!!

Broken down into a few more specifics: We met J's sister (who sweetly road tripped in from Birmingham, AL for the day) at the aquarium as the doors opened.  We purchased our tickets ahead of time so that we didn't have to wait in line (I HATE lines).  We headed on in, having our picture taken on the way in in front of a green screen, which would then be transformed into a super-awesome underwater adventure background.  Spoiler Alert: we didn't buy the photo.

Watching the fish with Daddy!
We wandered on in and started looking at all the animals! We got there early enough to see the trainers feeding the animals and having them do tricks for the crowd. My favorites were definitely the otters! T was enamored with the largest tank, which had a moving sidewalk underneath (typical kid: he was more enamored with the moving sidewalk than the fish above his head). We took time to sit in a darkened room, where one wall was entirely acrylic instead of glass (And 10 feet thick!) so you could watch all sorts of sea life swim by: manta rays, stingrays, whale sharks, bottom-feeding sharks, HUGE fish (fish bigger than T!)...you get it!

The thing I love about the aquarium is that there are so many things for KIDS to do! I mean, yes - they have a play center (which we swiftly avoided...), but they have a lot of interactive exhibits and exhibits were the kids can actually PET animals. T pet a stingray, a small shark, sea anemones, and starfish!  I was so proud of him! He's usually very skittish around things that are new and different to him.  He has been to the aquarium before, but I know that touching weird, icky-looking things isn't on the top of his to-do list.  He'll look at it, but don't make him touch it!
T petting the sea anemones!!!
T was EVERYWHERE and LOVING every minute of it! He had mine, J's, and his aunt's undivided attention the whole time! I wish I could just post an entire photo album from our trip to the aquarium, but that would be the longest blog ever! But since that wouldn't be all that thrilling, I'll leave you with this parting shot from our time in the tunnel under a fish tank:
Once we were done in the aquarium, we headed over to the nearest Publix! After grabbing some subs, chips, and drinks, we were off to a park out near where I grew up: Stone Mountain Park.  Yes, if you look it up, it's a Confederate Memorial, BUT it's a huge park with so much to do: putt-putt, walking trails, hiking the mountain, plantation homes to tour, a water mill to watch...you get the drift.  It also has plenty of covered pavilions for picnics! We chowed down on our subs before diving into the delicious cookies that J's sister brought!
T eating lunch with J and Aunt V.
Once we were done with lunch, we walked down to the Grist Mill to check it out.  T enjoyed throwing things into the cascading water (Oh, little boys), and we enjoyed being outside. His personality is so fun to watch (especially as it has really developed in the past year!).  He is becoming more and more like his daddy, which is SO fun as they are both so silly and goofy (See end of blog post for proof!)
T throwing things into the water and
watching them float away.
We had a blast giving him our time, and he definitely had a fun, but exhausting day! He crashed on the way home! We definitely feel like we gave him "the right stuff" for his birthday this year. Next year: I have no clue.  I'm not sure how we are going to top this year's birthday funday. I am SURE I will keep you posted!  I will leave you with just a couple more pictures from our afternoon at the park! 
Being goofy with Daddy on the way to the car.
FINALLY taking a break from throwing things to smile for a pic!

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