Friday, September 19, 2014

Family Fun in Jacksonville

We had a really great weekend last weekend, largely thanks to the wonder of social media for keeping us informed about events around town. Each day we did something different and fun, which has really been our goal here - we want to do as much of that as we can to give Jacksonville a real fair shake. And really, so far Jax is doing a pretty good job of keeping our little family entertained. It's a different kind of entertainment from my beloved New York City, but we're not at a loss for things to do!

We kicked things off with another Friday night at Eric's school for some football. They won this game, too, and thus remain undefeated for this season! The band also performed at halftime for the first time, which Ellie was thrilled with.

Ready for some football!

Ellie was so pleased watching the band's halftime show!

On the other hand, the jury is still out for E.J.

On Saturday, Eric had a Teach for America thing in the morning, so the kids and I did a little consignment shopping, where I got suckered into treating Ellie to some light-up "glass slippers" with heels - definitely an "I-swore-I'd-never-let-my-daughter-have-a-pair-of-heels-but-now-I'm-eating-my-words-because-look-how-much-she-loves-them" situation. She's pretty cute shuffling around the house in those things, too. And hey, they're just for dress-up. No glass slippers allowed outside of the house!

She's feeling super fancy right now.

VIDEO: Ellie walking across the house to show E.J. her new glass slippers! 

Eric was home in time for lunch, and after lunch we went to St. Vincent's Hospital-Riverside for a "Read and Romp" event, which was very cool. They had tons of free activities for the kids, including a bounce house, fire truck and ambulance, music station, crafts, building blocks and even a photo opportunity with Clifford the Big Red Dog. There were also free sno-cones and popcorn, as well as fruit punch and assorted snacks. At each activity station, they were giving out free books to all children under eight years old, a couple of which Ellie has already incorporated into our regular storytime rotation!

Enjoying a refreshing sno-cone

We didn't get a picture with Clifford, but we did get Police Dog Guy! This girl loves a good costumed character.
(She's also munching on free animal crackers - score!)

Rest break! Ellie is already reading one of her new books.

Fun at the music station

On Sunday, we went to My Gym's Fall Festival, which was great fun. They, too, had tons of activities, including a bounce house, face painting, petting zoo and pony rides. Ellie loved petting the bunnies and other animals at the petting zoo....

She loved the soft white bunnies!

Petting a guinea pig

...but she was most excited about riding the horse. And I was so proud of her! It seemed like the kind of thing she would say she wanted to do but then either change her mind when we got to the front of the line, or at the very least insist on one of us joining her. But no, not this time! She excitedly asked to ride the horse up until the very moment it happened, then happily sat right in the saddle and rode around in the little parking lot circle, pleased as punch. (See video of it here.) When her turn was done, she only wanted to get off the horse if it meant she could ride the other, bigger horse next!

Ellie's first pony ride!

What a big girl!

Luckily we were able to distract her with some more fun on a fire truck.

She's pretty in to fire trucks these days.

Trying on the "big boots"

E.J.'s first time in a fire truck, too! (Hard to see - I'm wearing him.)

Firefighter Ellie!

When that was done we went into My Gym where all the kids were allowed to come in and play. It was essentially pandemonium, so we didn't stay long before calling it a day.

Ellie and Daddy, hand-in-hand

What a fun weekend!

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