Friday, August 8, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventureland

Some of you may have noticed that I hinted to a big "adventure" happening in Spahnville during the last week of July.  And you guessed it, our adventure was a day trip down to Adventureland.  Charlie had been looking forward to this trip ALL summer long.  My aunt scored some $20 tickets that needed to be used by the end of July-- and since we were road warriors during that month, it seemed like the perfect way to wrap things up.

We also have been trying to prepare (somewhat) for baby by getting better with our bedtime routine.  Actually, the routine part is fine-- the lying down with Charlie for an hour or two (well, this mostly refers to his pregnant mother basically passing out from exhaustion at 8:30 pm) wasn't going to work come fall.  The problem, as you may have guessed, was that when we didn't lie down with him, he would cry or play whack-a-mole (I need a kiss, a drink, the potty, a random stuffed animal that hasn't been played with for months, I have a booger, an owie, a weird thingy on my this part, etc. etc. etc.) for a good hour.

So..... what do I do when we need a behavior change?  Well, I dip into my school counseling bag of tricks and whip up a chart.  We gave Charlie two weeks to earn his Adventureland trip by going to sleep on his own.  (We set a timer for 1 minute and leave when it goes off.  He earns the smiley if he stays in bed and settles in for the night, he gets an "X" if he's out of bed or decides he needs something.)  He was hugely motivated by the trip and every morning would ask if he earned his smiley face.  Honestly, I was expecting a bit more of a struggle but the kid amazed me and blew us away with his cooperation.

When finally, the big day arrived, we packed a cooler and sunscreen and snacks for the car and headed down to Des Moines.  We arrived early but decided that if we were to do it again, we'd wait and arrive after lunch.  The park houses a huge waterpark as well, and the crowd really seemed to thin out by late afternoon.  By 5:00, we had the run of the place-- but I think we were all close to exhausted.  Take a look at these pictures-- you'll understand why!

Mase was the designated ride partner-- so it's appropriate that there are zero pictures of me during this little adventure.  Charlie was at a really sweet age-- young enough to still enjoy the kiddie rides and tall enough to ride several family rides with Daddy.  He and I enjoyed the giant ferris wheel and "sawmill splash"-- basically a 30 minute line to ride down a slide in a huge round raft.

The little stinker watched this ride and figured out that by heading to the back seats, they'll go higher. So naturally, that's what they did. He loved every minute of it.  If you squint you might be able to see them sitting there in the back row.

I'm not sure my stomach would handle this Falling Star, but Charlie wasn't worried about keeping his breakfast down.  I think they rode this one multiple times.

Lunch break:  The kid was obsessed with looking at/studying the map.  Obsessed.  

We're not sure if he liked this one or thought it was lame.  He smirked a little but that's about it.

Surprisingly, these motorcycles were one of his favorites.  He talked about them for the rest of the day.

Oh, and what is Adventureland without the Log Ride?!  He LOVED it! (I know, weird huh?)

Mommy's favorite ride-- the Scrambler.  Charlie LOVED this one too-- it always reminds me of my dad-- not really sure why except for the fact that I remember loving riding this ride with him.

Snack Break:  Giving a thumb's up to the mini donuts.

Ewww.  Doesn't this one make you sick just looking at it?

And this one too...

And I've never been a fan of bumper cars but I can't say the same for my son.  (I didn't hear his daddy complaining about this one either)

These trucks were also a HUGE hit.

And he was so excited when he got the orange boat with his orange shirt and orange sunnies.

And last but not least, guess who rocked "The Tornado"?  THREE TIMES?
The dude in orange sunnies.  And his daddy.

This was also a special trip because it's probably the last big "Charlie Day" before baby arrives.  I know his world is going to be tipsy turvy for awhile this fall, but I really want him to be able to remember the special "Charlie-Only" things we did this summer.  I have a feeling this one will be remembered for months (maybe years?) to come.  

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