Yesterday Chris’ company, Vicarious Visions, sponsored a Fall Family Gathering at Liberty Ridge Farm. We all go passes to show up at any time during the day, so it was sort of a come-when-you-want sort of thing with no specific meet-up time or place, but plenty of opportunity to run into other families from the company.
We decided to go over after Lewis morning nap. He normally has lunch when he gets up, but it is a 45 minute drive so we got going pretty soon after he woke and I fed him cheerios and freeze dried fruit in the car. (He still mostly fills up on milk anyway, so a small lunch or weirdly timed lunch doesn’t really bother him.)
We got to the farm, made our way inside, and started exploring. The website lists a ton of stuff that they have, but it was hard to tell from that how much would really be good for a little one like Lewis. We were pleasantly surprised!
The first area we found was a little petting zoo area. In theory, Lewis loves animals. Books, pictures, adds on TV with dogs in them, cats seen out the window – all are exciting and interesting. It turns out that close up and in person, they are a little scary.
We had noticed he was feeling a bit moody/emotional yesterday in the morning, so this may have contributed to not wanting to see the animals. Other times we have met real animals (like at the Carrot Festival) he has been excited and interested, but this time he would start shaking his head “NO!” if we started approaching an animal, and a couple times almost started crying if we continued and got too close.
So, we left the animal area and continued on our way. There were more animals later on, and the only ones he was happy and interested to see where the bunnies in their little bunny-village behind a fence, and the bees in the glass bee hive thingy.
The next area we found was a little pumpkin maze where Lewis happily sat on the ground playing with wood chips, and would have been content to stay for another half hour but we decided to keep walking and see what else there was. We walked down the hill to find the main area with fun things like rubber duck races, giant hamster wheels, more animals, a shed full of corn the kids could play in, peddle cars, and lots of play areas! Some of these things were a bit “old” for Lewis, but he loved watching the peddle cars, duck races, and kids jumping on the giant air pillow thing. The dried corn looked like a lot of fun but it was fairly crowded with bigger kids and wouldn’t have been easy for Chris or me to go in with him, so instead we sat outside and played with some corn fallen on the ground, which Lewis was completely happy and interested in anyway.
After a bit of play in the dirty corn we moved on to a big dirt pile with a bunch of trucks and things. There was a bigger boy who spotted Lewis’ cool truck and started crying a bit because he wanted it. (I think he had been playing with it before, but not at the time that we came along and found it.) His dad asked him to wait and he sat quietly playing with a dump truck and keeping an eye on Lewis to see when he was done. When we got up to go I thanked him for waiting so nicely for his turn with the truck – you could see how hard it was for him to sit and watch another kid use it, and he was really a little trooper about it. Lewis, of course, was oblivious to the whole thing.
We also found a play area with toys intended for younger kids – more trucks, play food, rocking horses, etc. and Lewis had a lot of fun exploring this area as well. We walked around some more, picked out some small pumpkins from the “pumpkin patch,” watched the cow train zooming around, and as we were headed back out found one more awesome thing to play on: the giant spider web! You wouldn’t think this would be a awesome place for a 1 year old, but Lewis loved it and seemed to feel quite secure sitting on the ropes.
When we got to the web thing there were some older kids playing on it, and when I put Lewis on at one side they were so cute about being careful around him. One girl also noticed that he was having fun with the web bouncing a bit, so she bounced it up and down for him a bit. After they left he had fun having the web all to himself until Mommy and Daddy said it was time to get going.
There were a lot of areas that he really loved playing at, and he would happily have spent more time in many of these areas! We let him play for a while at each spot but then moved on to the next thing because we wanted to make sure to see everything before we had to go. He didn’t seem to mind moving on since there was so much to see at each spot – his interest was quickly captured by whatever new things we found to do.
This was a long and busy day for him, but well worth it. By the time we left and made it back home it was an hour later than his normal afternoon nap, so I put him right down to sleep after a diaper change and some milk. I had thought he might sleep in the car coming home, but I guess I should have known better than that since he hasn’t slept in the car in a while and that was only on 3-hour car trips going to camp this summer, and the 2-hour trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Vermont.
We obviously wore him out with such a busy day yesterday. He fell asleep on our morning walk today, which he hasn’t done in months. When we got home I was able to move him to his crib with him only opening his eyes for a moment and then falling back asleep, and he is now still asleep almost 2 hours later! It didn’t seem to affect his sleeping last night, but he prefers to do his best sleeping at nap times anyway so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Thank you to Chris’ work for such a fun day! I’m sure Lewis will have even more fun with it again if we do this other years as he gets older.