Over the Summer {Field Trips}

As the babies became mobile and increasingly curious, they became cranky being confined to our home.  Witching hour often became intense and trying.  I quickly discovered the babies needed more opportunities to explore outside the home with “field trips”.  With the help of family and friends, I was able to venture out to new places with the babies.  I checked into visiting some local children’s museums and such, but found the babies were just has happy to go to less expensive venues including dining out, shopping, and swimming.

over the summer button

Dining Out

Before my summer break officially started, we went to Jason’s Deli as our first family meal in a restaurant.  It gave me confidence knowing that dining out could be a pleasurable experience for all.  Later, we ventured to the Rainforest Cafe with a few friends.  I had not been there in over a decade and forgot how impressive it is.  As our tour guide, aka the hostess, showed us to our table, a rain storm complete with lightning and thunder ensued as gorillas aggressively shook nearby trees.  Since loud, surprising sounds startle the babies, the thunderstorm did not bode well.  Rylin began to scowl and I became concerned about this adventure.  However, when the storm ceased, the babies settled into their high chairs and soaked the scenery all in.  The babies scarfed a kid’s meal grilled cheese with a banana on the side as if were the best food they ever sampled.

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Sydney sat beside Kristin where she could view the aquarium.

Harper, Me, & Rylin

Sydney, Kristin, Billie, & Mason

Kristin helped Sydney manage her meal while Billie tended to Mason.

The aquarium was the best attraction.

The aquarium was the best attraction, and we could have viewed it without dining in the restaurant.

With the mild temperatures, George noted it was ideal for patio dining at Joe T. Garcia’s, a local Tex Mex hot spot.  Impulsively, I extended an invitation to my sister and her boyfriend and they accepted.  Thankfully, they also agreed to a ridiculously early dinner to accommodate the babies and to beat the dinner rush (the line winds around the building and can go for hours).  As George predicted, the weather was perfect and the eight of us enjoyed dining al fresco.  We confirmed that the babies are Texans as they chowed down on cheese enchiladas, refried beans, rice, fajita meat, and guacamole.

These little faces have Tex Mex all over them!

These little faces have Tex Mex all over them!

Our eight top table was too big for a good group shot.

Our eight top table was too big for a good group shot so I settled for three small group shots.

Shopping

Since the babies are yet not at the age of demmanding politely requesting toys in stores, taking them shopping makes for a worthwhile adventure.  Mom and I took the babies to Target where we used birthday gift cards to buy toddler toys and other baby necessities.   I found that veggie sticks are the perfect distraction for antsy babies.  I dished those things out right and left.  However, I think we may have left a trail along the aisles of Target.

Me

When we go to Target, Walmart, or Kroger, I scout out a cart that seats more than one baby.  I learned the hard way that Rylin needs the seat with a harness because she attempts Houdini escapes when in the cart.

Mom

Before we got busy shopping, I filled the babies’ sippy cups with water from the concession stand.

I was ecstatic when I learned a Sprouts market opened near our house.  Prior to the babies arrival, we traveled to the next town for Sprout’s produce and meat.  With the babies, there just is no time to travel longer than necessary for shopping.  Therefore, we had not been to Spouts in well over a year.  With the help of Grandaddy and Aunt Carol, we went on Wednesday, which is double ad day.  I scored wonderful produce on sale, including blueberries for $.99!

Grandaddy & Carol


With the help of Jen, we visited our local pet store.  I didn’t expect much out of it since they don’t sell puppies and kittens the way they did in the past.  However, our pet store has a dog day care, which was highly entertaining for babies.  The dogs romped and wrestled behind a large pane of glass.  For about 20 minutes eight little eyes were fascinated by the canine antics, especially when some of the smaller dogs ran up a toddler slide.  Aside from the dogs, we also enjoyed looking at birds and playing with dog toys.  As it turns out, dog toys are more fun than baby toys.   They bold colored, crinkly, squeaky, and sometimes flashy.

The parakeets put on a good show for the babies.

The parakeets put on a good show for the babies.

The boys wanted to pet the dogs.

The boys wanted to pet the dogs in doggy day care through the glass.

When we returned to the house, the babies found Lily and Sasha's toys far more interesting.

When we returned to the house, the babies found Lily and Sasha’s toys far more interesting than ever before.  This Loofah dog was snatched by little hands numerous times.

Swimming

Over the course of the summer, we made several trips to the pool.  Each time, we realized how different each baby behaves in water.  Mason is not a fan unless he is held or in shallow water where he can bounce and wade.  On the other hand, Harper and Sydney could take up residence in water.  The two of them kick and splash with zeal.  Harper nearly dog paddled without prompting.  I only wish we could do swim lessons for them, but sadly Mommy & Me swim lessons don’t work with one mommy and four babies.  Rylin has her moments of enjoying the water and overall tolerates it.

Getting a group picture with the quads is always a challenge.

Getting a group picture with the quads is always a challenge.  By the end of our swimming excursion, Rylin had ENOUGH already.

Our Super Seats are perfect for traveling during meal times.

Our Super Seats are perfect for traveling during meal times.  I’m not sure who fed Sydney, but it looks like they missed her mouth.

3-IMG_6212 Following a dip in the pool, we use small inflatable pool for outdoor bath time.  As soon as we arrive at the pool, we inflate it and fill it with water so it’s lukewarm once we finish swimming. That way, we come home with four clean babies dressed for bed.

When we go swimming, I always bring a Pack 'n' Play as a "holding cell" to use while we get things set up and put away.  Some babies are more content with the situation than others...

When we go swimming, I always bring a Pack ‘n’ Play as a “holding cell” to use while we get things set up and put away.  This was just after bath time. Some babies are more content with the situation than others…

Each time we traveled with the babies, my confidence in the goodness of people was restored.  Where ever we went, the babies were welcomed and greeted with kind words such as, “amazing”, “what a blessing”, and “adorable”.  Going out with multiples can be intimidating, but when people are kind, it makes the experience wonderful for everyone.

Where did you go this summer?

hugs,

Amber

P.S. I’d like to thank Karen for suggesting field trips to the Rainforest Cafe and the pet store.  Both were inexpensive, fun ideas we all enjoyed!

13 thoughts on “Over the Summer {Field Trips}

  1. There’s so much cuteness to comment on here, but I wanted to throw up a piece of mommy-with-older-kids wisdom: We established, way before my kids could speak, that our rule at the store was “Watch, don’t touch.” In our case, it totally did away with any temptation to demand toys/candy/etc. Even now, at age 7, my girls know that, unless we’ve discussed it before getting to the store, there will be no treats.

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    • Oh yes, limitations are always best. Even though the babies are barely a year old, we are enforcing all sorts of limits and establishing rules for them. What we do now impacts future behavior greatly.

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  2. Yay! I love creative and inexpensive outings with babies! The pet store is such a good idea. We even do this with my niece and nephew – we did it a couple of years ago (3 and 6 years old) once when they were totally melting down and we were on vacation but had nowhere planned to go that evening, so we took them to the pet store, and it was a huge turnaround. I asked one of the employees if we could hold a guinea pig – I held the piggie and the older one pet him (my niece was with my husband somewhere else in the store). It was great.

    How long are your restaurant outings? We can usually get 1hr, but anything longer than that is an exception, not the rule. Last time we did get almost an hour and a half, it was luxurious! We didn’t know what to do with all that time…!

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    • With little ones, outings help enrich them so much, but there’s no need to spend tons of money because they don’t care. As they get older, asking to pet the guinea pigs is a great idea!
      We are about the same as you with length of outings. They are happy for about an hour then they start stirring so we wrap up. 90 minutes does sound luxurious! We’re just happy to be outside the house most of the time.

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  3. We got a family membership at the zoo when the twins were that age–best money I ever spent! It’s such a nice place to walk, and there was always lots of people-watching to be had, even if the babies were too little to see the animals much. The dog park was similarly thrilling, and free.

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    • I remember you having a zoo membership, and plan on following suit when the weather is a little cooler. I think we’ll definitely enjoy going often. With a membership you don’t feel as if you have to stay ALL day to get your money’s worth. So funny about the dog park! It is pretty entertaining there.

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  4. Amber, I’m in Irving. Phone is 253-223-9042. Would love to see you and your family. Please let me know if sometime this week would work. Mom and Dad would love to come along too. We all seem to be without colds, etc. Jack Wilcox

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