Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vacation to Mahoney State Park

We had a fun vacation to Mahoney State Park with Adam's parents and brother's family. We stayed in one of the cabins near the waterpark. I will share quite a few pictures to give you a good idea of the activities available in case you are thinking about vacationing here.

We drove down on Sunday afternoon (including a run through McDonald's for a frozen strawberry lemonade) and got settled into our room and grilled supper. It was tricky figuring out how to fit 6 coolers worth of food we all brought into the tiny fridge/freezer. We also found out that the fully furnished kitchen meant no bowls, measuring cups/spoons, and not enough cups or spoons for the "sleeps 8" they claimed. But, we made do throughout the week.  Since the living room was upstairs and also served as a bedroom, we found ourselves hanging out in the dining room a lot.
Grandpa reading books on the dining room floor.
The kids were up bright and early on Monday (5 of us in one room probably didn't help) and after breakfast we headed down to the Marina. They had a craft area where you could pick out a project to buy and then use the paints and brushes to finish it. Cohen painted some maracas and Ryan made a cool ping-pong ball cannon.

Adam rented a paddle boat and took the boys on a little ride around the pond. They also had fun feeding the geese. There wasn't much fishing to do here so we never ended up getting out the poles.

It was SO hot this day with a heat index over 100 that we didn't even think it would be safe to have the kids at the waterpark. So, instead naps were taken by the little ones and then we headed to the indoor (air conditioned) playground. TIP: This place was not open every day and in fact Monday night from 4-8 was the only time it was open during our trip. Also, you need to wear socks in it and we were all in sandals, but a quick trip back to the cabin fixed this quickly.
Giant indoor playground.
The playground consisted of padded obstacle course/tubes/slides/ropes/netting/ball pits. There were sections for the littler kids but Cohen found his way through may of the larger obstacles as well. Ryan got brave enough to go down the longest tube slide (in the very top right of the photo above) and Cohen loved jumping off things and trying the rope ladders. Ryan spent 2 hours running around here and it was definitely worth the $2 admission.

We grilled that night and attempted some s'mores (the cabins have little hokey shelter-house-type grill things outside them but no firepits).
Cohen's s'mores
The second night's sleep went a little better once we put Cohen on the floor on a mattress. With the 2 sets of bunk beds and a Pack and Play, this means we had 6 beds in our room, but whatever you have to do, right?

The next day the humidity had broken quite a bit so while Grandpa, Andy and Kim went on a horse-back ride (you have to be 7 or older) we checked out the playground on site. It was a pretty fun one and Cohen had a blast exploring all the slides.

Capri Sun break at the park
We headed to the waterpark after lunch. All the kids had a great time! Cohen went right down the slide (Ryan refused until he saw Cohen do it).Avonlea loved just splashing around the zero-depth part and being held in the pool or just hanging out on the towel. We brought the boys back at night when there were far fewer people and they really enjoyed the wave pool.

We played some bean bags and had fun just hanging out together.
Madie and Avonlea
Avonlea with Uncle Andy
The last day of our stay, it was raining most of the morning which made it difficult to plan (and figure out how to keep 4 kids and 6 adults entertained in a small space).
Bowl for a hat.
Finally after lunch it cleared up enough to go play the on-site mini-golf course! We decided the winner got first choice as to what leftover they wanted for supper. (Isn't the last day "clean up the fridge day" on every vacation?)
After this, Cohen gave up the club and we just let him play other holes by rolling it while we golfed the real hole.

Then, we drove to the observation tower and they climbed to the top to see the whole state park.

Since I had to work the next day (and we all needed a good night of sleep in our own rooms), we headed home after supper on Wednesday, but not without stopping for one last vacation treat.
We had fun making memories together as a family. I would recommend this State Park for a 3-4 day stay if you have smaller kids or I would plan a few excursions out into "town" or the nearby Outlets, restaurants, etc. We cooked 3 meals/day in our cabin which was really good food and saved us money but did take time/planning/prep. It was  hard to have enough to do when the weather wasn't cooperating (in my pre-mom days, I would have loved this time to read).  I think we would have loved to have access to a lake/fishing/sandy beach and a firepit would have been very nice. The cabins were adequate (we all knew we were going to be in close quarters since larger cabins weren't available) and if you are a clean-freak, these are not for you. But it definitely served its purpose and we were happy it was less than a 3-hour drive away. If you are thinking about vacationing at Mahoney State Park, feel free to leave a comment or question and I'd be happy to share our experiences!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cohen: 2 Years, 7 Months

These pictures seem to show Cohen's ever-developing personality. You may notice a slight "moustache" in this first pic and friends, that isn't chocolate. That would be the result of Cohen bolting from the garage to the street in order to crouch down to drink from a dirty mud puddle. Yes, a mud puddle. He will drink anything from water from the sand table to the hose to water just siting on the street. No idea what to do about it either.

In these other pictures you'll see Cohen doing his favorite thing...hanging out outside. He likes his new sunglasses and LOVES the plasma car. His legs aren't quite long enough to reach the pedals of any of the other toys we have, but he is just the right height to push the plasma car at an alarmingly high speed.

He is fond of slides, especially going down them on his stomach or climbing up them. I think he enjoyed Monday nights when I would usually skip going to teeball practice and just hang out with him and Avonlea, usually at the park.
Cohen has got personality for days and it's just funny having a conversation with him. We are noticing longer and longer sentences and more evidence of "thinking ahead" such as when he yelled down the stairs to Ryan, "Ry-RUN! Can I pway wif your Angee Birds? Even the ones you have set up? Ok, fanks!" His biggest threat, usually directed at inanimate objects such as water sprinklers, sand, swings, etc. is "I'm going to punch you in the facee." or he'll throw the insult "bad-ee in the face-ee." No idea where it came from and our best efforts to stop him from using this threat have so far been unsuccessful. So, accept our advance apologies if you hear him threatening to punch the wind or a baseball in the face.

He is also starting to play imagination games with various toys such as Angry Birds, Captain Hook, Super Heroes, etc. He can build some basic Lego and Kid K'nex things (usually involving some sort of "boomer"). He recognizes and remembers many more people now and calls everyone his "fend."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hull Summerfest 2015

On Saturday morning, Adam had a crew of guys coming to help tear out the landscape and I hated to tear Ryan away from the "fun" to take him to a parade, but wanted to join family in Hull for the "Biggest Candy Parade in Iowa."  The kids had a great time gathering candy and watching the trucks and tractors on the parade route. Ryan seemed to be the "coach" of the tribe, encouraging Saylor and Cohen to be ready with their buckets and directing where to go.

Cohen enjoyed the drumline and the radio station's music.


They all ate way too much candy for 10:00am (our family came home with 7lbs. of candy and Abbie's family had 10lbs.) and then we headed to the free Kid's Carnival in the park. They tried each of the games once and then it was time to get out of the heat and head home to pack for vacation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Canaries Game

Adam has been coaching JH baseball this summer and they arranged to bring the team to an afternoon Canaries game. Ryan got to go along with the 7th graders and said his favorite part of the whole day was riding the bus. He also got to play catch in the outfield before the game and was given a game ball by one of the 7th graders. What nice players Adam had on his team this year!

 Here are a few pics of their field trip.
Dutch team during starting lineups.

Ryan and the mascot

Dad and Ryan

Dutch baseball getting introduced
Dutch baseball team (and friends)
Thanks, Canaries! They all had a great time!


Team Bluejays
Ryan played 5/6 yr old tee ball this summer and had a great time meeting new friends and learning some skills (when he was listening). Adam helped coach along with many other dads and we watched several scrimmages against other color teams from OC.

Ready to field
At the end of the season at the rec picnic the kids got to say their name and what they liked best. Ryan said, "Hitting the ball." Then they all got medals.

Only 13+ more seasons of baseball for this kid!