It's been a very long time.
When the boys were smaller, I would regularly take them on adventures. In fact, every good weather weekend was time to be out and about, anything and everything. We went to the zoo. We went to the farm. We went to museums. We went to Maymont. We went to the park. We went to Williamsburg and Jamestowne. We'd visit friends in DC. We went for walks at Wakefield. We get in the car and off we'd go, often with Grandma in tow.
Most of the time, it was just me and my boys. JoeyAndyDad often had to work. I learned the drill for handling two boys by myself. I carried an emergency adventure kit with me: toys, fidgets, bandaids/first aid kit, water, washcloths/small towels (never leave home without your towel!), wet wipes, chewy candy, small snacks, a spare totem (whatever Joey was carrying around- such as a diecast bus or a wooden spoon), sunscreen, lip balm, spare bags, a spare set of clothes for each child, small change and dollar bills. I was ready.
We had great adventures. We've done our share of rock collecting. We've chased chickens and picked pumpkins. We've seen dinosaurs. We've seen lots of dinosaurs. We've checked out colonial ships. We've made friends with some otters. Maybe even too friendly. We met the Queen (well, the RenFaire one, anyway). We dropped pencils on the coral reef exhibit in Baltimore. We even got attacked by turkeys. Adventures rock.
Lately, taking them by myself has been... not a good idea. Even going to the park has been, for the most part, a disaster. With both boys increasingly brittle and Joey's bolting, I've been sticking to controlled settings. The pool is fenced, and has lifeguards about who are told about Joey. The parks we do go to have clear boundaries I can enforce and see clearly. Nature centers have walls.
However, work was cancelled today, its going to snow tomorrow, and I just couldn't bear to waste a 70-degree day. JoeyAndyDad wasn't feeling hot, so we left him home to rest up, and headed to the Richmond Zoo. I figured I could corral them with the budgies if all else failed.
I forgot part of my kit, because ts been a long time since I needed one. Folks, do NOT forget your sunscreen. Or your towel.
We managed to have a fabulous afternoon, anyway. There were lots of people, but nothing that made us feel overwhelmed with crowd. Unfortunately, the giraffes and budgies weren't very hungry, having chowed on birdseed and animal food all day, but we discovered that most folks don't know you can also feed the elk, the warthog, or several other animals with tubes to their pens for the purpose. Andy, however, did figure it out. I should mention that elk are much bigger than I thought. With horns I would not want to meet in a dark alley.
We also took the sky ride. Andy got nervous with the height, but with the lovely weather and great view of the cheetahs and rhinos, he managed to like it. Joey loved it. And they got to ride together, with mom in the car just behind them, which was apparently a happy adventure in and of itself.
They have also put up an awesome play area, and Andy would have stayed there for hours if I had let him. Lots of climbing and sliding and stuff.
We did manage to get a budgie on a stick, and we got the giraffe to take a nibble. All was well with the world.
Yes, we managed to have a successful adventure. No meltdowns. No whining. Tired, happy boys. Thank you, Richmond Zoo.