Monday, April 24, 2017

Dutch and Mom Staycation Week

Dutch is in daycare full time and will start kindergarten in the fall. We have to pay tuition for him at daycare whether he's there or not (i.e. holidays, family vacation, sick days, etc), but he does accrue "vacation" days every 6 months.  This means we can keep him out of daycare and we won't get charged. They don't offer this for new students, but he was grandfathered in under the old policy when the daycare was acquired a couple years ago. So, he had 5 vacation days saved up that I figured we might as well use before he starts elementary school. I decided to put my normal responsibilities on hold so we could spend a week together, having fun and taking a break from the daily grind. Of course it would be worth it because of the activities we'd get to participate in together, but the added bonus was that if we spent less than $250 throughout the week, it would come out cheaper than what I would have spent on his daycare!

Day One:
First up on Monday was a visit to Kid Mania. He had been there 1 or 2 times in the past, but it's been quite a few months. I had never gotten to take him first thing in the morning on a weekday, so I thought he might enjoy it being less crowded. That was actually not the case. Lol! After spending 30 minutes going through every single play structure, he came out and told me he was bored and wanted to play with somebody. Luckily we saw another boy about his age (that conveniently looked like a cousin he adores), and that kid was up for playing tag. That bought me another 45 minutes of Dutch's happiness.

After Dutch built up an appetite, we headed to BJ's Restaurant because he said he wanted corn dogs AND chicken fingers and I knew they could provide that. We had fun completing the tasks on his menu together and he liked helping me write the tip on the receipt.

I next took him to the Village at Allen because I remember seeing a small play area there and it also happened to be home to my FAVORITE ice cream shop - Coldstone Creamery. We first played outside in the kids' train depot and maze and then rewarded ourselves with the best ice cream ever made.

As you can see, Day One was a success:

Day Two:
On Tuesday I needed to get some grocery shopping done, which is not one of Dutch's favorite tasks (KROGER IS SO BORING, MOM). So, I had to sweeten the deal by letting him push his own cart and pick something out to put in it (he chose mini fudge brownies).

We spent a short while at home after that while we waited for Chuck E Cheese to open. I'm not a fan of that place for a few reasons, but I don't mind bringing Dutch there on a day when it's not busy, just to play games. All their games only require 1 token, and there are usually coupons online, so you can play a ton of things for not a lot of money.

Next on the agenda was a visit to see our friends at a local fire station. We stopped by Stein's Bakery on the way to pick up some petit fours to bring to them. Dutch got to sit in the engine and pretend to put out a fire, and then the guys were nice enough to oblige him on a game of Trouble!

Day Three:
I decided to take Dutch to the Perot Museum on Wednesday because he loves a few things there, but also because we usually don't get the chance to explore the whole museum when we go as a family. I did not factor in the school field trip schedule and YOWZA, was it crowded. Seemed like every school in the metroplex was there, but we still got to do some of the things Dutch loves most - play the predator/prey video game and visit the mock farmers market in the young child section.

After the museum, I drove us to The Lot, which is a kid-friendly restaurant we had tried to visit on a weekend recently but were unsuccessful because it had a 2+ hour wait for a table. I figured afternoon on a Wednesday wouldn't be a high traffic time, and I was right. We got to eat on the patio, right next to the huge sandy area where kids can play. Luckily I had some random toys in the car, because Dutch needed something to do in the sand.

He enjoyed himself and I certainly didn't mind having a relaxing lunch in the nice weather.

Day Four:
On Thursday, we started with a trip to Adventure Landing. Dutch asks to go to this place all the time. It's a second-rate Dave & Busters, but the prices are good and he typically wins a ton of tickets, so I don't mind bringing him.

He has crazy good luck here.

Target was nearby, and we needed to pick up a gift for a friend's birthday party coming up, so I also let Dutch pick out a puzzle we could do together. I used to love to do large puzzles when I had a thing called free time, but that ship has sailed. I thought our staycation might be a good chance to actually complete one though, so we grabbed a 1,000 piece puzzle related to superheroes.

1,000 pieces is too many for a 5 year old. He quickly got bored!

We didn't want the fun to end, so we grabbed Daddy and picked up little bro from daycare and headed to a nearby playground. It was an awesome day!

Unfortunately, there wasn't a Day Five for our staycation because Meezy and I had to go to a funeral on Friday. One of Jude's teachers, Tuesday Wilson, unexpectedly passed away the week prior and there was no way we were going to miss her service. Jude adored her and she previously taught Dutch as well. She was a wonderful teacher, caregiver, and nurturer, and I'm so sad there won't be the opportunity for more kids to have had the pleasure of knowing her. 

Dutch was able to spend time with his cousins and his Oma while we were at the service that day, and I know he enjoyed it! He even got to dye some eggs to get ready for Easter.

I had a great time with my kiddo during our staycation and I can't believe how soon kindergarten will be upon us!

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