Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mommy and Son Dates

Parker is almost 3.5 and he is definitely at that age where it can actually be fun to take him out by myself. He thinks he's pretty special when he gets to go somewhere without his sister! This past weekend was my 5th wedding anniversary (in case you missed all 500 of my posts about it!) and Kevin and I were very fortunate to have Lola come down and watch the kids. We were able to go out for dessert and drinks (which turned into appetizer, dessert, and drinks) on Friday night, a wine tour and tasting on Saturday afternoon, and sushi/dinner on Saturday night. Each time, as we were getting ready, Parker would ask: "Where you going?" and when we'd reply we are going on a date, he'd ask: "I go on date with you?". Oh melt my heart, sweet boy! Kevin and Parker had a boys day out on Sunday after being "ignored" all weekend and Kevin thanked me for "letting" him do something with just them two and said he had so much fun with him. Anyway it got me thinking about what I can do with Parker by ourselves...cheap Mommy and Son date ideas. A lot of these are things we can do at home so it doesn't cost anything...it's just about him getting my undivided attention.

this little (b/c he will always be little to me) boy made me a mommy and will always hold a special place in my heart

Here's a list of things we've done before and things I'd like to do with him in the future:

1. Hot Cocoa and Movie Night: Parker and I have done this a few times this "winter". He fell in love with hot cocoa when he had it for the first time at Sea World this past December. He doesn't have it often so he thinks it's pretty special when I bust out a cheap packet of hot cocoa and pile it up with mini marshmallows. We settle down on the couch floor (in case he spills) and sip (well he chugs his cooled cocoa down) as we watch a movie of his choice before bed time.
this was from Date Night

2. The Garden Store aka Home Depot: last summer we I planted an herb, cucumber and zucchini garden. Parker had so much fun going with me to pick out seed packets and gardening materials...hence why he started calling it the garden store. I'm sure Kevin would rather him call it "the man store" or something. lol I plan on planting another garden this year and taking Parker with me to pick our packets again. Now that he's older I'm hoping he will help more with the garden. If not, I'm sure he will get excited once he starts to see the flowers and vegetables growing like he did last year.
our cucumbers last year...sadly our zucchini plant took a beating in a storm and never recovered

3. Park and Playground: Parker loves going to the park and playground. He runs around like crazy and burns off a lot of energy. Score! He loves it when we swing together or when I push him "really high" (he thinks it's high...my scared-y pants Mommy heart can't handle that so it's not so high unless I put him in the baby swing...I know, I know!). Once a month, one of the nearby parks runs a mini train that you can ride and he loves riding this! We don't do it every month so he feels special when he goes on and it feeds his train obsession.
LOVE those dimples! They make my heart melt!

he thinks almost falling off this thing is the most hilarious thing ever. My mama heart can't handle it!

riding the train...free (well they ask that you make a donation, which we do, but what's a few dollars?!?)

4. Busch Gardens: We have season passes and we use it ALL the time so even though it's somewhat expensive up front, we've def gotten our money's worth out of our passes. But I've never taken him by himself. This is something I would love to do this year though. They have a huge tree house with a rope course and maze. He could spend hours climbing through that. He is typically on a time limit b/c Avery can't really go through it and she gets bored so I think if he went with just me then we could spend all day there if he wanted! They also have a big splash area that opens in the spring - I usually walk through it with him...helps keep me cool in the summer heat!
going up the tree house

going across the rope bridge

riding the train is a must at Busch Gardens!

5. local Pet Store: Parker loves to look at the puppies, kittens, and hamsters (which makes my skin crawl). I'm too scared to let him take the puppies out and play with them b/c he might ask to bring one home and the answer would have to be no. We had Bailey and he and Avery were just not nice to her and poor thing deserves a better life so she's now living with my cousin. For now he's content to look.
no pet store pics, but here's a rare moment when Parker and Bailey got along. Bailey decided to give Parker a kiss, which Parker found hilarious!

6. Airport picnic: We have done this as a family date, but I think Parker would love to do it and get some one on one attention. We park at the short term parking garage and go all the way to the top deck, which doesn't have a roof and look at the planes that are landing and taking off. He also loves watching the trams come and go (he calls them trains). The last time we went, we packed a picnic dinner (homemade sandwiches, chips, and applesauce pouches) and sat on a blanket on the back of Kevin's truck. So we would have to "borrow" Kevin's truck...if he lets me drive the HUGE monster. Otherwise I'd just pop the back hatch of my SUV and relax there.
laying down on Daddy's truck bed and watching the planes fly by

7. Cookies and Firetrucks: We've never done this, but I would LOVE to do it. I've been wanting to do this forever! Maybe buy some Publix cookies (who doesn't love them and b/c people get weird nowadays with homemade stuff) and bribe thank them for being such heroes and maybe score a  look at one of the firetrucks and maybe a tour! Parker would think he was in HEAVEN!!! Anyone know of any firemen in the area that can hook me up with a tour? lol

8. McDonald's Ice Cream Cone: Parker rarely gets ice cream so he would absolutely LOVE this and their kiddie cone is on the $1 menu. Cheap and it would make his day!

9. Bookstore Fun: Parker loves to read and some one on one time reading all those books would be fun for both of us. Usually when we read at home, Avery tries to push him off my lap so she can sit on my lap all by herself so he would really like having my lap all to himself, I think. lol Afterwards we could order coffee/hot cocoa and share a big cookie at the coffee shop in the bookstore.
I found this like this one day...each had their own books and sitting in our time out spot. lol

10. Mall Playground and Disney Store: Parker loves to go to the mall playground. He gets to interact with other kids and run around like crazy. We usually go to the Disney Store afterwards if he doesn't throw a tantrum when it's time to leave the playground. Parker just loves to look at all the toys and watch the movies that they play. He does ask for toys, but we rarely buy him anything. 95% of the time he is fine with us not buying him anything. I just prepare him during the walk to the store that we are not buying anything and that he can't ask for toys. He of course asks for toys, but I remind him we're not there to buy anything. His reply is usually: "Oh, yeah!" or "Oh, man!". When it's time to leave, I give him warnings: 2 minutes til it's time to leave (I really give him about 4 min). His 1 minute warning is closer to when it's time to leave. This works 98% of the time and he leaves with no tantrum. And did you know that if you get to the Disney Store before they open, they look for little kids to open up the store with a special key and help from Tinker Bell???
 Parker and Emma got chosen to open up the Disney Store!

We LOVE this mall b/c it has a huge playground...and yes that's the Disney Store right next to it. Smart store renting out space next to the playground!

11. Beach and Sand Castles: Kevin and I are not huge beach people (weird b/c we spent a lot of time at the beach in high school!). We just DON'T like the sand! Kids and sand = A LOT OF MESS! But Parker LOVES the beach...he could spend hours building sand castles! Or rather adding to or tearing apart sand castles that have been left behind by others. Parker would be on cloud nine if I actually got down and got dirty and built a sand castle of our own!

yes that would be my child at the beach...in his underwear. This was an impromptu trip to the beach after lunch at a beachside restaurant. We got a few weird looks...lol

12. Go NOLES: Parker always asks to go to Mommy's school in Tallahassee. I tell him one day we will go and watch a football game. I think it would be so much fun to take him to a game and watch my beloved Noles with my little buddy! I think he would love the crazy atmosphere, eat a bunch of hot dogs and boiled peanuts! One day soon, little buddy we will go! Ok, so call me crazy, but I just looked at his future birthdays and his birthday falls on a Saturday...in 2016. He will be 7 years old. Perfect age to go, I think and sit through 3 hours of football! Now, let's just hope that it is a home game! lol

13. Dinner Date: We've never done this aside from getting Chick Fil A, but I would love for both of us to get all dressed up and go somewhere nice for dinner. He actually said on Saturday night that he wanted to eat sushi b/c I told him Daddy and I were going on a sushi date. I doubt he would eat sushi, but I'd love for him to try a California roll!

14. Donuts and Jammies: I see people doing this all the time at Dunkin Donuts! I want to take Parker in our jammies (ok, I'd probably put a bra on and wear yoga pants lol), but I think it would be so fun to go and get donuts for breakfast and just sit there and talk.

15. Desserts Galore: Parker loves to help me out in the kitchen. When I'm in the kitchen he is always asking: "I help you, please?". He does everything from shaking the parsley shaker over a pan, stirring, or pouring ingredients from the measuring cup into the bowl/pot. Making desserts together is a tried and true way to make sure he eats his dinner that night! lol
Parker loved these homemade donuts and he has been asking for me to make some more. He can't fry them b/c the oil may splatter him, but he would love making shapes using cookie cutters, rolling them into logs or twisting the ropes together. 

16. Backpacking Through the "Woods": Ok, we don't really have "woods" near us. But anytime we drive through my sister in law's neighborhood, he sees this one house that has a bunch of trees in the backyard and a pergola that is covered in vines, he asks to walk through the woods. I think it would be so much fun to take him on a "hike" at a park near our house that has trails and then have a picnic lunch. I think he would get a kick out of having his own backpack to carry with his sandwich, fruit, chips, and water. I would of course carry the blanket and other necessities in my backpack!

17. Chuck E Cheese: Parker has only been once (well twice if you count when he was 10 months old for his cousin's bday) for his bday last year. He had so much fun! Funny story: we went to a store that is in the same shopping plaza as Chuck E Cheese, which was blocked from our view by some trees. Parker out of the blue cries out: "Oooh, oooh! Where Chuck E Cheese? I no see it!". Kevin and I looked at each other and were like, it's crazy that he remembers stuff like that. We went there during the day and we were at the store at night so it was pretty dark. Kids have a way of remembering things...especially if they had a blast. This is still a pretty cheap date for us b/c Parker doesn't really ride or play games - he just likes to run around, press buttons, sit on the riding toys for a bit and then get off. I think he gets freaked out when the riding toys start moving b/c every time we put coins in for him to ride he asks to get off within 5-7 seconds! Their pizza isn't expensive either and I usually bring an applesauce pouch and just get him a water to drink. Or there's this option: GattiTown. Parker LOVED this place!
if he looks a little bit scared, it's b/c he was. He was fine, walked up to him, but didn't want to get too close or to be touched by this "weird creature!". lol

18. Trains and Cars: Parker is a boys boy. He LOVES all things cars and trains! He is always asking us to come play in his room. He would be in absolute heaven if we just holed ourselves up in his room for 1 solid hour of just playing with no interruptions from his little sister who likes to take his train tracks apart or grab his cars, which he arranged in a perfect line.
we bought Parker this rug from Ikea that has roads, parkings spaces, and buildings. He loves to spread it out and move his cars all around it.

Bailey used to love playing trains with us too! 

19. Splish Splash, Fun in the Water: We have a pool in our backyard and Parker loves to go swimming, but if you don't have a pool at your disposable, it's also fun to run through the sprinklers or set up a water table to try and cool off in this crazy Florida heat!
sprinkler fun - great way to cool off and water the lawn at the same time!

this water table was fairly inexpensive, but if you don't have one, large plastic bins or even bowls and pots would work! I grabbed some shovels, small watering can, and cups/pails and Parker had a blast transferring the water back and forth. 

20. Running Errands: Sounds boring, but Parker loves to go run errands...again b/c he gets one on one time. His favorite places to go are Costco and Target. He loves Costco b/c he likes trying all of the sample food! We walk around slowly and detour to the toy section and I let him look around (I prep him before hand that we are not there to buy toys though). Once in a while I let him pick out a book to buy. When the Christmas decorations were out, we would literally spend 10-15 minutes just slowly walking down the aisle. I'm sure we annoyed some of the people who were there in a rush...sorry folks, I'm busy making memories with my little one!
I took Parker to Michael's with me and I let him pick out a $1 craft for us to do together at home. Here he is stacking rolls of duct tape while I picked out some markers. 

What do you like to do with your boys? Any suggestions are welcome! I'd like to try some new date ideas!

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