We are once again at that time of year – the week of pre-Conference meetings which both Daddy and Grandma attend. This year we are in Battle Creek, Michigan and Elisa, Mommy and Grandpa are finding fun ways to fill their time. Elisa, Mommy and Daddy are staying with a family with 4 year old and 2.5 year old boys and the kids mostly enjoy playing with each other.
The first priority was finding a good playground in Battle Creek and we found some great options. Our favorite is down by a river with geese and ducks that people feed frequently. We always have to go look at the geese! Once we even got to see swans and another time a friendly woman gave Elisa bread to feed the swans. The playground also has a variety of interesting options – a slide made by hard rubber rollers that we jitter down (add the extra mass of an adult and you go fast enough to fall down at the end!), a teacup like merry-go-round that spins around, and a standing teeter-totter. We’ve been to the playground a couple of times and even had fun when it was still wet after rain. Elisa got to ride her first merry go rounds – and not surprisingly for a little girl who likes to spin in circles – they were a big hit. She had fun pushing Mommy and Grandpa or Mommy and Daddy and jumping on as well as being pushed.
Wednesday we went to the children’s museum in Albion, a half hour away, and followed it up with lunch and a quick trip to the playground. Elisa had fun putting stuffed root vegetables into a wheelbarrow and planting them in the appropriate rows (frequently greens down). Of course, the garden gloves were a must. Most of our time was spent between the dolls and the kitchen. They were right across from each other, so Elisa started by cooking noodles for a baby that she had put into a high chair and given a bib. Eventually she was all decked out in apron and oven mitts to carry her cooking to the table for Grandpa and Mommy. She later discovered a puzzle which turned out to be a 100 piece two-sided puzzle with both sides being blue-background, one of the skeletal system and the other of the circulatory system…Elisa is pretty good at puzzles, but Mommy gave significant help since we were trying to wind down our visit to go to lunch! After lunch we went to the park and got in 15-20 minutes of play before the rain started – yeah, rain!
Thursday we went to Binder Park Zoo with our hosts which was a treat. They enjoyed starting their visit by posing with the giant ant. The various animal water fountains were very exciting to the 2-3 year old crowd. The highlight was their “trip to Africa” where we could see giraffes, zebras, African crested cranes, ostrich, and a variety of deer-like animals in the same enclosure without any fences in the way. Frequently the animals were quite close. Elisa enjoyed feeding the giraffes and was glued to the watusi cattle and didn’t want to leave. (It was really cute to hear her say watusi!) She tried counting the monkeys (she saw 4 and counted 5 – we blamed it on the 5th monkey that was around the corner) and we saw the local favorite of red pandas. Of course the carousel, where she rode a flamingo, was a big hit. Elisa showed her individuality over lunch when she ate removed her bun and ate her hotdog – by dunking in ketchup, of course! Then she put ONE fry with ketchup in the bun and started eating the bun. After a few bites, the fry was eaten separately, and then her grapes were lined up in two rows on the bun. Silly girl!
Since we have had most of our meals at the church, Elisa has had ample opportunity to take advantage of their well-stocked nursery before and after meals. She almost always makes a meal for us to eat. She has also taken pretend naps on the fold out kid couches – lights out, doors closed, and making Mommy lie down on the couch, too. Unfortunately these naps are just long enough to make Mommy ready to sleep (not that long) and then they are over.