Wednesday, March 27, 2013

cows, chickens, pigs, and friends!

Tuesday was one of those unexpected days where you're just not sure how it's going to go . . . and lucky for me it turned out incredible! Our day started at Genneper Park on the south side of the city where we planned to meet some friends from the Toddler Massage class we took. It was a Mums & Tots event so there were several other women from our Baby Toddler Play group there as well. After driving around endlessly trying to figure out how to get there and where to park, we finally made it to the playground where our friends were. Except that we weren't too thrilled with the playground there because it was definitely big-kid oriented and there wasn't really anything fun for our little guys. That plus the fact that it was below freezing -- we were kinda miserable. 

We decided to walk to the nearby farm, which ended up being about a ten-minute walk away from the park (and now 15 minute walk from our car -- sans stroller). The farm ended up being really awesome and Liam was in heaven seeing all the animals! He got to feed hay to the cows . . .

. . . and then saw some very young baby calves . . . this one was born on March 23, just a couple days earlier!

a slate above each calf said their name, birthday, and gender
We also saw pigs, chickens, and roosters . . . Liam was mesmerized looking at the hens in the hen house! All morning he was screaming out "MOOOOO!" and "BOK BOK!!" I swear the kid did not feel the cold at all because he was having such a grand time. 

Josephina & Liam checking out the chickens

Liam found eggs!

I even met another mom who is new to Eindhoven (originally from North Carolina by way of New York) and her daughter was born on the same day as Liam -- crazy coincidence! Unfortunately the cold kept us moms from hanging out all day, and there wasn't really any indoor places open until noon, so all the groups broke up as everyone headed their own way to find some warmth. I found out two other friends were headed to Intratuin for playtime and lunch so I decided to join, and am so glad I did.

Everyone I know has been to Intratuin except us, and to be honest, I'm not sure why we haven't tried it before. I had the idea that it was just another play place, and since we have decent play places right around the corner from home, I figured why drive fifteen minutes away when I could just stick closer to home? But I learned that Intratuin is not specifically a play place -- it's actually a Garden and Home megastore that happens to have a play area and cafe right in the middle of it. For my friends in Georgia, it's like a Garden Ridge, but with even more stuff. 

On our walk through the place -- in addition to the hundreds of plants, flowers, saplings, and other greenery -- we also saw fish (one that was bigger than Liam!), and a little area with bunnies, guinea pigs, and other small creatures that the kids can take out and hold. CRAZY. And THEN we finally made it to the play area. I loved it because it was small and perfect for a child Liam's size, but the bigger kids also had an upper level with more challenging obstacles and areas. Everything was very contained and I could easily see Liam from our table no matter where he went in the play area -- which I definitely cannot say the same thing at other play places I've been . . . I end up following him around a giant room helping him get in and out of stuff. 

"Mom, quit embarrassing me!"
Here, I was actually able to sit down with my friends, drink a cappuccino, and just let him play with other kids without interfering. Liam ate lunch, played some more, and was having such a good time that he didn't want to leave, despite the fact that we were way past his nap time. We took our time walking out, admiring all the decorative items for homes, and I promised myself to come back when I can do a little more shopping because there's some pretty awesome stuff there. It reminded me of the lower level at an IKEA -- all candles and pictures and ottoman trays and iron hangings. Really cool stuff that I wish I had more time to check out. 

On our way home I stopped by the store to pick up a few things, and the funniest thing happened -- I had just picked up a carton of eggs and was checking to make sure they weren't cracked . . . Liam was watching me and said, "Eggs . . . bok bok!" I said, "Yeah, buddy! These eggs came from the chicken!" He actually made the connection between what he saw at the farm and what he was seeing in the grocery store, hours later. I was totally impressed! 

By the time we got home and he finally went down for a nap it was 2:45 . . . and he slept until 5:15 pm! I guess the fresh (cold) outdoors and a couple hours playing really wore him out! It was great for me because I had plans that evening to get ready for . . .

I basically left twenty minutes after Liam woke up to go meet some friends for dinner and a movie. We ate at Da Verdi right next to the Pathe theater in Eindhoven -- I had the salmon ravioli and it was delish. And the prosecco in the theater didn't hurt either. ; )  We saw Side Effects with Channing Tatum, Jude Law, and Catherine Zeta Jones and it was a really good movie with an interesting twist. I even made it home in time to watch another episode of Downton Abbey with the hubs (our latest TV obsession -- we just started this week!). It was the perfect end to a great and very busy day!!

Now I've got to do some laundry and packing to get ready for our Easter getaway . . .


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