Sunday, October 20, 2013

Maryland Renaissance fair

Something about hearing about renaissance fairs always makes me think of the movie "role models."  But even with that thought in my mind, I have heard nothing but great things about them.  How they are so much fun, and a unique experience you should try to do if there is ever one near you.

When my sister in law told me about one coming up about an hour north of us, I knew we had to go.  If nothing else, it would be great to see some family.

We headed up to Maryland saturday to our friend's house.  They are about 10 minutes from the fair, so we decided to stay overnight with them.  They also have a daughter that is close in age to the boys.  Which means toys.  And they have a yellow lab.  A friend for N Step.

We attempted to go on saturday, but the traffic getting there was insane.  After a call to the front desk, we realized we weren't going to get in.  We decided to instead make a trip to downtown Annapolis, and head to the fair first thing in the morning with pre purchased tickets.  This worked out so much better.

We got there early enough to enjoy an opening ceremony.  Today was the last day of the fair, so you could tell the energy was high.  The volunteers were fantastic, and very in tune with their characters.  It was a great show, that really gave us a feel of what was to come.

There were truly some amazing things to see at the fair.  Not only were volunteers dressed up, but guests were too.  Some were dressed in Renn themed costumes.  Others in costumes that had nothing to do with the Renaissance era.

This was one of the classier costumes.  

They even had weddings

The fair was fun to walk around and sight see in.  We made a "dibs" game, which I think our friend Kevin won.  We each got to pick the funniest man and woman.  There were so many to choose from!
This one pretty much won.  Yes, that's a man.  

I got this one.  Not quite sure what's going on with that top there.  And the belt?
The food was something else.  It was fantastic.  They had turkey legs (of course we had to get one!) and so much more.  No forks were allowed, which is fine in our book as we tend to eat like cave men most of the time anyway.  Daddy Step had a couple beers, and I was temped with the mead.  I was amazed at just how much Americans eat.  It seemed everyone was walking around with something to eat.  We gave in to the temptation of cheesecake on a stick.  No judgement.  
Of course the main goal with this renn fair is to get your money.  They succeeded with many of those I saw there.  There were games, shops, and food galore.  We even had to pay a dollar for Z Step to get to go down a slide.  He loved it of course, but Mommy's heart nearly stopped watching him go alone.  He nearly fell off.  My brother in law got to throw some axes, and there was a "drench a wench" game.  

Renaissance fairs are a unique experience to say the least.  It was fun, and something I would tell anyone to check out at least once.  I think the people watching was my favorite part.  The Renn fair gets a big "HUZZAH!" in my book!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hundred degree pumpkin picking

When we first moved to Virginia, I was looking forward to the things that the cooler weather brings.  Crisp fall days, warm apple cider, the falling leaves, and so much more.  I was very excited to bring my kids pumpkin picking, since there was no such thing in Okinawa.  This time of the year in Oki, the weather is just starting to cool a bit.  Not comparable to the east coast, but better it's cooler then the 110 degree days most of the summer gives.  I couldn't wait to pick a pumpkin in the cool weather.  

Guess I should've just stayed in Oki.  The weather heated up to a shocking 100 degrees.  I looked at Oki's weather forecast and it was only 82 degrees there!  What is going on mother nature?  

In any case, we had a great time.  It was sunny and bright, and I was shocked at how much I loved this farm.  I had very high hopes after visiting Jones tree farm in Connecticut.  I will not hesitate to say that this place far surpassed them.  They had rides, animals, food, entertainment (we missed the pig race), play areas for the kids. They had a pumpkin launcher that you could fling a pumpkin across a lake with.    Who wouldn't want to fling a pumpkin across a lake?  They truly had something for everyone.

The boys had a blast.  Eli stayed in his baby carrier backpack, while Z Step got to do all the toddler friendly activities they had.  We started out with the big "pillow."  This was basically a huge trampoline.  They allowed a few kids on at once, and luckily on Z's turn it was only him and another little girl.  He had a blast, as you can see in the photos.  The staff stopped in their tracks to laugh.  We were told that he made their day.  
Next was a barrel train.  I think this was tied with the pillow for his favorite part.  He was so excited.  He got to sit in it all by himself and ride around.  He was so proud.  Z Step kept turning around and waving to us and saying, "I'm going this way now.  Bye!"  
We next walked around a bit.  We watched the bumper cars, watched the rope swings, and saw the animals.  We even got to go through the corn maze.  We were dumb enough to let the 2 year old direct us.  Luckily, he got us through it.  It was the easy level one!
Last was of course the main event: the hayride to get our pumpkin.  Z Step is currently obsessed with big green tractors, so being pulled by one was a big deal for him.  We then got to the field and got to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  We picked a tall thin one, and a short fat one.  Can't wait to decorate them soon!