The kids and I had a great day today. Oz was a busy boy elsewhere, so the three of us were on our own. We started the day off slowly - breakfast, playtime outside in the drizzle, playtime on the Wii... one of the lazy Saturdays that the kids and I have desperately needed for ages.
Sometime around noon, we all decided we were hungry. We considered going to a Turkish festival that was happening locally, but instead we drove over to a nearby shopping center and ate lunch at a Panera so frigid that I'm still not entirely sure I'm thawed. Mostly M1 wanted a panini. He has a penchant for panini and found one on the menu that contained artichokes. He was a happy camper. While we ate, we discussed plans for the rest of the day. We tossed around several ideas - going to the festival after all, going to the park, visiting people, swimming - and finally decided that we'd go out to a local sheep farm that was having a "Wooly Weekend." We've been to this farm before, but it had been a while, and the kids were both keen to see a sheep get shorn. M1 also remembered there being a huge garden, and he really wanted to check that out again.
Since it was an impromptu trip, though, I didn't have my camera! Quite frustrating, especially since once we got there, there were SO many fantastic opportunities to take photos. There were lambs. There were sheep that had yet to be clipped and those that had been. There were hay bales and a big red barn and all sorts of great photo ops... and that was before we even got inside!
Inside the barn and up the stairs, volunteers and various farm workers were hard at work. They take some of the cleaned wool from the farm's sheep and card, spin, and knit or weave it into actual products to be sold in the shop below; M2 discovered a great love of wool-working! She discovered a small loom first, on a table full of toys. I showed her how to work the shuttle back and forth, and she did that for a few minutes until M1 wanted a turn. She seemed at a loss for what to do for a minute, so I pointed out a very large loom at which a woman was working and directed her there. I expected her to stand and watch and ask questions; I did not expect her to say, "Can I try?" And what was more, the woman said yes! (By the way, the volunteers were ALL that way... they were patient and kind and I simply adored them. Not a single person said no to anything my children asked.) Anyway, M2 sat down at the loom and listened carefully as she was given directions. She couldn't quite push the foot pedals down far enough to get the shuttle in between the threads very easily, so the volunteer helped her, but she did several rows before another little girl saw her working and came over to inquire about having a turn. M2 graciously gave up her place... and promptly walked over to a woman who was spinning wool into thread and asked to try that.
And that... that was where she really found her niche. She again had problems working the foot pedal by herself because the chair was a bit high, but she worked so carefully and patiently and well that she finished spinning the entire bunch of wool that the woman had been working on. The volunteer was incredibly impressed and told me that M2 had done the best spinning of any child that entire weekend and promptly made a small present to M2 of about a yard of 'her' thread. I saw the two women - the one at the loom and the one spinning - talking about M2 a few minutes later and both were smiling and nodding. That always warms a mama's heart!
It kills me that I have no pictures of any of this.
I wish I had pictures of M1, too. We did wander over to the garden, and he got there well before M2 and I because he was in such a rush to see what they had growing. There were two different kinds of mint, and he had to get down on his knees and see if he could differentiate between mint and spearmint (he could). He waxed completely poetic over the regular basil versus purple basil. He found chamomile and echinacea and wants to grow them both so he can make healthful teas. He was disappointed that the day's crop of strawberries had already been picked (he wanted to help) and wants to go back when the asparagus and blueberries and raspberries are ripe.
In fact, both kids want to go back. When M2 finished working on the spinning wheel, the volunteers let me know that they were open every weekend if M2 wanted to come back and work with them again, and I'd be inclined to say that it might happen. I'm sure M1 would probably love working in the garden if they'd let him, too.
The end of the day contained a trip to a park as well as a trip to Braum's for ice cream, and by the end of the meal, both kids were thoroughly worn out - M1 burst into tears at Braum's when he felt too tired and overwhelmed to get up and pick out a flavor of ice cream for his cone. All's well now, though, and they're both eagerly looking forward to tomorrow. It's lovely to spend weekends with my babies again!