Simple Celebrations

Clean up from the big birthday blowout began almost immediately the morning after the festivities ended.  Of course, by this time the sun had come out, and the midday temperatures had already eclipsed the previous days high {but hey, I’m not bitter…}. The chairs were stacked and the tables were loaded, and by dinner time normal shed operations (a.k.a. selling and distributing Pioneer brand seed) had resumed.  I think it took everyone a full three days to recover from Saturday’s events.

Good thing, too…as three days after the party was May 17th…the girls actual one year birthday!

As exciting and entertaining the party was, the only major downside was that Missy and I didn’t get to spend as much time with Sienna, Rowan, and Jovie as we would have liked.  We expected this going in, but as we were putting them to bed that night, we felt as if we had hardly seen them since earlier that morning.  So I made the decision to take Tuesday off from work so that we could spend the entire day together as a family…just as we were one year ago.

+  +  +  +  +

The day arrived calm and sunny.  As a treat, Missy and I felt that it was high-time we all ventured out into the world:  a special breakfast in an actual restaurant.  A first for the Hardinge Five.  Of course, the restaurant had to be kid friendly, nothing too fancy, and one that wouldn’t be crowded on a Tuesday morning at 8:00AM.  We settled on Perkins, (classy!) and it just so happened that kids eat free on Tuesdays…bonus!

We arrived, and thankfully, the restaurant was mostly empty.  We brought Aunt Shannon and G’ma Cindy along for the fun (and for the extra helping hands), and the four of us pulled out all our tricks to keep three one-year-old’s entertained while we dined.

Jovie entertaining herself with...something...

Rowan at Breakfast

Sienna and her cereal puffs.

The girls actually did really well.  Sure, Rowan needed to walk around after 20 minutes of sitting, and we dressed them in rain slickers and bibs to eat their meals…but all-in-all it was a success.  Yet when the meltdowns came, they came swift; we were promptly out of the restaurant by 9:15 AM and home in time for naps.  We needed to rest up for our next outing: the (Blank Park) Zoo!  Blank is Des Moines’ local Zoo, and through Groupon, Missy and I purchased family passes for the summer.  This was the girls’ second trip of the season; my first.  My first trip to Blank, ever, actually.  Honestly…I was pleasantly surprised by the experience:

Jovie likes the fishies!

Reflections of Sienna.

Jovie loves, loves, LOVES the zoo…especially the feeding and petting exhibit.

Pet the goats...but Mom was not fast enough with the food...

...So I checked to make sure Mom wasn't watching...

...Aaaaand proceeded to feed the goat my gold fish snack.

Yup, that just happened.  How much more stinking. CUTE. can she be?  {We have this on video too; I will post it once I upload it to our YouTube page.}

So sweet.

After the petting portion of the zoo, we meandered over to the giraffe lands. Jovie was in wonder, and Rowan…just wandered. All over the place.

Jovie and the Giraffes

Rowan wandering by.

Wranglin' our wild animal.

We all ended up having a blast! Blank doesn’t try to be anything it’s not…some big cats here , some giraffes there, some wild monkeys, tropical fish, and a few exotic birds…you could probably fit the entire park inside one exhibit at the Omaha or National Zoo.  Even so, it was the perfect size for entertaining our girls for the afternoon and totally worth our investment; we will most definitely be re-upping next year.  Needless to say, the girls were zonked before we even left the parking lot for home.  We drove around and ran some errands while they slept, and eventually arrived home for dinner and cake smash video chat.  We had cake left over from the Saturday smash, so we dialed up family members who couldn’t make it Saturday for a more “intimate” confection destroying.

Cake Smash, take two

Our Modern Family

Some further explanation of the above video chat picture:  Aunt Hannah and Uncle Chris // Grandma Mona, Grandma Peg, and Uncle Robert are on the far left, my cousin Aubrey and her family is in the middle, and Uncle Jake is on the right.  Pulling out all the stops!  Although things got a little hectic on our end, getting our east-coast family involved in the day was of utmost importance to us.

Jovie, still not sure what to do.

Rowan really got after it this time!

Sienna, delicate as always.

After the cake, we said our goodbyes to the rest of the family (on the computers), bathed the girls, and put them to bed.  Then Missy and I headed outside for a little celebration of our own 🙂

Missy, roasting hot dogs!

Our own birthday spread.

An amazing ending to an amazing day. SO worth taking the day off to enjoy it with everyone.  Yes, I know that the girls won’t remember the zoo, or their breakfast at Perkins, but I certainly will.

The memories we made will last a lifetime.

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

2 thoughts on “Simple Celebrations

  1. Love the photos at the zoo. How cute. It’s fun (for me) to see them developing their own personalities and taking off in different directions. For you, I’m sure it’s difficult to keep tabs on all 3.

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