Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Renaissance Faire 2006

Strap on your sword! Tighten your corset! It's Renaissance Faire time again!

The weekend after our trip to Philadelphia, we hopped in the car and drove to Minneapolis for the Renaissance Festival. Rob's sister Katie, cousin Melissa, and our friend Bill met us there to join in the fun. Rob was excited to have a (logical) reason to wear his costume, and Haley has also caught the excitement of Faire time. (I'm still working on it, and so far have resisted everyone's efforts to get me to dress in costume. I feel supportive enough just being there..) We munched on turkey drumsticks, watched various period dancers, and Haley even won the children's costume contest, thanks to Aunt Katie's sewing prowess.

While everyone else was up to a second day of the Faire, I opted to take the kids to the zoo instead. We navigated the Twin Cities' highways on a very gray and misty morning and found our way to the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul. We stayed inside most of the time, like the majority of the animals, but it was fun anyway. Haley kept asking me to read the informational plaques and would then repeat stuff back to me: "Did you know that monkeys eat bugs?!" "A jaguar can run faster than a train!" Her desire to ride on rides even overcame her fear and she rode by herself for the first time ever. "Hi mom!"

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia

For Labor Day weekend, the kids and I tagged along with Rob to Philadelphia, where he was attending the American Political Science Association's annual conference. This is something that I've done our whole marriage - tag along to conferences - and it's a great way to explore cities, so I wasn't about to give it up despite the complications of traveling with a preschooler and an infant. We were very prepared, gear-wise, between the Baby Bjorn and the brand-new double stroller - both of which came in very handy while touring historical sites.

Haley was excited to see the "Delivery" bell -which she said should be taped back together so they can ring it again - but lost interest at Independence Hall. Fortunately Rob had downloaded some cartoons to his I-Pod and she sat happily in the stroller while we listened with rapt attention to the history of our great country. While Rob attended the conference, I took the kids and walked - and walked. We explored the whole historical disctrict - the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Welcome Park, the view of the Delaware River, some building where Benjamin Franklin lived for a while...

Knowing that her patience would have to run out sometime, we also made sure to ride the carousel and take time out to play at a park, where Haley did the monkey bars all by herself! She was so proud.

Oh, did I mention the hurricane? Because our eastern-seaboard geography is not quite what it should be, we had not realized that Philadelphia might be impacted by the outer bands of Hurricane Ernesto - but it was. We felt the first drops just as Haley and Rob hopped on the carousel. By late afternoon it was pouring. However, there was shopping to be done (online shopping can only keep us happy for so long in our little town), so we headed out. We had a rain cover for the stroller and I'm from Seattle, so we figured, How bad can it be? After 2 blocks we were wringing the water from our hair and clothes so we ensconced ourselves in a Barnes and Noble for the afternoon. Haley was excited to be in her "first hurricane", although she was disappointed that the hotel's outdoor pool had closed. Maybe next time...there were so many things that we didn't get to see that I'm sure we'll be back.