If I haven't clarified this before, or maybe if it's been a little while since I've addressed this, I need to mention now that it is very intentional on my part that Whitley and I go to "lots of places". There is absolutely no pressure put on me by Travis and Stephanie to ensure she has a "rich and stimulating experience" on any given day or anything like that. The bare truth is that I am a person who gets bored easily. I am not much of an imaginative "player". So, being at home all day with an "only child" who really wants to not play alone can be quite the exercise of patience for me. ;) When my kids were growing up, there weren't a whole lot of times that we went many days without the Schilling kids around, and, as a group, they did a pretty good job of keeping each other entertained. Of course, that came with a lot of conflict and arguments thrown in, which is a perk that I don't have to deal with now, (the exception being whenever Whitley is pestered by Brayden!), and that's great. But, the bottom line is that I like life a lot better when I'm not Whitley's sole source of stimulation.
That is why we are bouncing all over the place on any given day. Whitley is such an adventurer - and loves, in particular, almost all that these Harvest Farm locations have to offer, so I figure we might as well just hit them all while we can. Animals, playgrounds, hay rides....especially with the weather lately, it really doesn't get much better.
On this adventure, we asked if Lisa would join us. She said she was "up for the field trip", so off we went to "Bauman Farms". The last time I'd been at this place was probably 8 years ago, and good grief, has it expanded and filled itself with so many attractions.
I've come to realize the animals are of big importance to Whitley and I - and it's not enough that we can just see them, but the goal is to be able to touch or feed them. This place might take the cake. They had a baby alpaca that was so cute! Unfortunately, she was shy, so we didn't really get to pet her, but to be so close was awesome.
I loved the pigs too - and they seemed to love me as one laid down right near the fence to just let me rub its back and belly.
The pygmie goats were all very friendly, and eager to snack on the 25 cents food you could buy.
And, I actually was able to touch the goose - which is surprising as I didn't expect them to make these guys accessible to small children. Sure enough, he/she? was very gentle in its effort to get a snack from my hand.
And the big sheep....like a scene from "Charlotte's Web" with the big goose coming in. =)
This little guys was lovin' me - he just cuddled right up to me. It's my new Facebook Profile pic.... =)
Whitley found herself a little pumpkin, that's three we've brought home for her so far...
They had a teepee too. Quick in and out as she was kind of disturbed by it.
And, then, while we were playing at the fort with the slides in and out, I spotted this rabbit free-roaming. At the end of our visit, we saw another black one. Not sure if they escaped their hutch or if they now have a population growing outside the "barn"... They weren't skittish enough to run on sight, but weren't willing to be caught or picked up, despite all of Whitley's efforts!
There are so many attractions at this place - many of which are only open on weekends. A jump area (to the right), food vendors, an inflatables warehouse, and "dark" warehouse for the bigger kids, ziplines, giant swings - what a fun, fun place!
This was one of Whitley's favorite locations. We probably could have done it all day if it weren't for the walk to the top.
And a shorter, solo-run slide.
These things weren't open to ride in, but that didn't stop Whitley from wanting to get in. We humored her and took a few pics.
Because both Lisa and I had kiddos to pick up and it was about a 90 minute drive, we left around 1pm. Since I've been eating Atkins (since Labor Day!), I've become much more aware of new-to-me places that could serve up a mean burger (sans the bun, of course). When we saw this Arctic Circle, I thought "Score!". I don't even know if I've ever had Arctic Circle - as there's not one in Eugene, but it was tasty - and I have it on good authority that this Pumpkin Shake was tasty as well. =)
Whitley is such a good sport in the vehicle. Because she is such a mover and so active, with a pretty minimal nap time each day, I don't think its such a bad idea for her to be kept captive for a bit and just chill. "Curious George", "Go, Diego Go!", and "Mickey Mouse" on DVD can also be a pretty good incentive to partake in car rides.
When we returned home, I immediately got Whitley down to sleep. Sadly, by the time she woke up about 90 minutes later, the cold she'd contracted the day prior really began rearing its ugly head. I felt so bad as it was clear she felt crummy. Fortunately, her mommy arrived within 15 minutes and could give the exact kind of comfort Whitley needed. In fact, Steph ended up staying home today (Friday) to take care of her as Whitley was up much of the night uncomfortable. I'm not surprised, as during the ride home, I felt the telltale signs of my own cold (Whitley is such a good sharer!) - and when I woke up this morning, I felt absolutely wiped out... Had Steph not kept Whitley home, Whitley and I would have been quite a pair on this rainy Friday!
All in all, I couldn't have asked for more from the day. Lisa and I have been friends for so long, fun and positive conversation is never, ever an issue - and the weather, on a day break between storms, was perfectly ideal. We have been so blessed with opportunities this fall to celebrate all of the beauty and festivities this season has to offer!