Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If You Build it They Will Come

Wouldn't you know I didn't have my camera with me. Tonight we went to a town (but just barely) quite a little jaunt away for Sonny Boy's baseball came. The town/village so small that even native Kornfield residents were saying they had to google where it is. Along the winding route of back roads lined but none other than 6 foot tall corn I came to conclusion as to why I do not like the Cornbelt. I can't stinkin' see anything. Drive down a two lane highway with mature/near mature corn on both sides and you will only be able to see the sky. Maybe that's why Kevin Costner built the baseball field in his yard - so he could just maybe get a 100 yard run of open space before hitting the wall of green that a cornfield is.

However I digress, we arrive in the tiny village of Podunk and find the field. We wandered up to the field which needed a good mowing, but that wasn't the funniest part, the outfield was literally a wall of corn, just like in the movie. The references to the movie ran rampant through the game and we theorized just what would happen if the ball made it to the corn, do you even look for it, or just let it lie and be tilled under? I wonder if a baseball jams up a combine with a corn header or would it be low enough to the ground not to do damage? Hmmm, anybody know anything about farm machinery?

On the way home we take a different route. We come to another little village, very dumpy, ratty and ran down. Hubby remarks he's wandered through there before (he explores around a lot) and calls it a dump without one nice house in the place, as he finishes the statement we pass a sign with the name of the village on it and their slogan. The slogan gave me a good laugh " A village in progress" problem was it was hard to tell the direction of the progress but my guess it was a quickly descending spiral.

Baseball season is coming to a close, thank Goodness. Even Sonny Boy is loosing his enthusiasm for the game and quite frankly I don't blame him. I would think he's getting pretty disappointed by the team's record. While actual score is not kept and none of the teams we have played have put an emphasis on winning the kids know who won, they aren't stupid. Unfortunately Sonny Boy's team hasn't been on the winning side and with one game to go it's not looking promising. I will say I think the team is put up against teams that are quite a bit older than his on more than one occasion. The game last Friday looked like they were playing a Cardinals farm team with a long string of batters coming to the plate and hitting like mini Albert Pujolses (how do you make that name plural?)

I've found a new hobby. Maybe it's a rude one, I don't know. On my last post I made a remark concerning the amazing amount of yard art here in Kornfield. A comment on my blog led me to this blog which I find quite humorous. Of course I had to go out and take some pictures of some of the more embellished houses nearby and send them in. I still have a few houses here in town that I find worthy of submitals The problem is you become very conspicuous standing in front of a house taking pictures so my very favorite yard had me driving by and snapping pictures at 30 miles and hour and I realized today I still didn't get all the stuff in the yard. I'm going to do a stealthy walk by with Igor in the stroller tomorrow and see if I can get it all in with one or two shots and make them much more clear as the blogger does not allow points for angels, saints or religious statues, however I somehow feel Madonnas tackily displayed should be good for something. Tough part was explaining to Sonny Boy why I was taking pictures of stranger's houses and Igor was a reporter to Hubby later in the afternoon remembering just what houses I had snapped pics of. So here's fair warning if you have tacky yard art your fair game. I will need to start taking the camera around though as I saw more than one house worthy of a snapshot and tally. However I feel a walking tour of Kornfield will give me plenty of submissions and a stroller and a couple of kids will give me good cover to get pictures.

Other projects include "The Eating of the Garden" Cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini are starting to trickle in. yum. You know you read all the books that say kids will eat the veggies they see grow and it's really true, they don't flinch and we are generally fighting over the last slice of tomato.

Until next time....

Monday, June 28, 2010

A startling wake-up call

This morning as we were sleeping in and the kids were wasting brain cells watching TV oldest ds runs in and informs us that someone is knocking on the door. Dh throws some clothes on and goes and answers it. I wander into the LR and see it's the elderly neighbor from next door and go back to the bedroom to put on some clothes, not really thinking much about it. When I come back out dh asks me if I know the phone number for the local police (happens that it's programmed in my phone) so I went and found him my phone and he called the local police. I was really just too groggy to join in the drama and went to make a pot of coffee, by the time I get back to the porch a cop is out there, the little old lady is madder than a wet hen, and the cop is writing down our phone number. The cop escorted the elderly lady next door to her house and evidently somebody called her daughter -maybe the police dispatcher as dh said they seemed to know her when he gave them her name-. Seems little old lady beleived we had stolen her medicine and given it to the neighbors who live on the other side of us, Lucille had signed for a bouquet of a dozen roses and kept them (no Lucille in our house of course) We had noticed that the lady had been sitting on her porch a lot the last couple of days in the 100 + heat index and was a little worried, but honestly it was the very first time we'd ever even seen her since we've been here almost a year. For what it's worth the elderly lady insisted that dh called the police, we would have simply called her daughter as it was apparent that she was very addled and confused, and I'm guessing the porch sitting the last few days was in paranoria of us.
So anyway the cop, the daughter and the irrate elderly lady pow-wowed in the yard for a little while and the cop moved on w/o speaking to us anymore. I'm not upset with the elderly lady, it's pretty apparent that dementia is setting in pretty hard. However I thought the daughter would have come over and offered and apology, maybe her phone number in case her mother does something similar again as honestly it wasn't really anything the cops needed to get involved with, and alerting her to mom sitting on the porch in the miserable heat might have been a good idea in retrospect.
So in case your taking tally of the neighborhood. One dementia addled elderly lady on one side of us, a lazy trashy (literally doesn't pick up trash) and lets the yard grow, I itch to use a weed eater there on the other, across the street are new neighbors who seem pretty quiet, haven't had issues with them (WAY better than previous tenants) but my landlord did tell me their teenage son was kicked out of school for calling in a bomb threat. A couple of houses down is a house I'm have a good hunch is a prospect for the show hoarders and the entire block looks like a disply of every tacky yard animal that is sold at Wal-Mart. I love this town.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wow, the day that could have been WAY oversheduled.

A few weeks ago I had to pick up Sonny Boys Rx from the doc for refill and there was a note that he needed to be seen before the next time they refilled it. No problem, a week or two later I called the office and scheduled an appointment for this a.m. While I was at it I called Igor's opthamologist and scheduled a check-up appointment for him (they keep a close eye -no pun intended- on him due to the shape of his eyes) and it happened the best appointment time would be the pm of today and give us just enough time to get home and make it to Sonny Boy's baseball game. What is it they say about the best laid plans of mice and men....

I ended up cancelling Sonny Boy's appointment earlier in the week. Just before we left for vacation he developed a nasty hacking cough. I was pretty sure it would clear on it's own, however Hubby is somewhat of a worry wart and insisted I take Sonny Boy into the doc. The doc wasn't totally convinced of what was wrong either but did write a Rx for an antibiotic and said there would be no need to bring him in for the aforementioned ADHD med check up. So that appointment was cancelled. Great only one appointment for the day and a ball game, the schedule was clearing.

Around noon today I loaded up the kids and we headed into St. Louis for the appointment. I wanted to stop in a town a long the way and have my eyelashes dyed (more on that later) and Sonny Boy wanted to buy a puzzle kit at the craft store. The previous one had kept him busy for HOURS so I figured I could afford $5 of entertainment for him. So we go to the salon, and to the craft store and then head on into the city. Now I left the neighboring town which is a good 35 mins closer to St. Louis than where we live, however construction and traffic had me pulling into the parking garage at Children's with just 10 minutes or so to spare before the appointment and still needing to find a parking space in a jammed garage and splash a little make-up on as I was bare-faced from the quick salon visit. So I did a mad dash of cosmetic in the van and hustled the kids into the building. When I was walking in I noticed a family carrying an armload of boxes, thought it was a little odd, but figured it was some sort of medical equipment, but when I got into the main lobby there was a line and a pallet of the same boxes with a woman handing them out. Strange, but we were running behind so we went to the clinic and signed in. While standing in line to sign in the woman in line behind me had the boxes and I noticed most of the people in the waiting room had the boxes as well so I asked what they were. It appears a toy company had sent a huge donation of ZuZu pet hamsters and gear to the hospital for delivery. Well, heck, I figured I'd get in on this gig, so after signing in I marched the boys down to the line and got a set for each kid. We then went back to the waiting room and waited. While waiting more workers came out from the back of the clinic with different non-descript boxes that were reported to have glow teddy bears in them. I wasn't going to claim them but when nobody seemed particularly thrilled with those I claimed a box of those too - there were two bears in the box. So here I am with 5 fair sized boxes, two boys, and a purse. The doctor appointment lasted WAY longer than expected. Two and a half hours to be exact and necessitated going in and out of the waiting room several times shuffling kids and boxes each trip. By the end of the appointment the kids and I were both starving and thirsty and knowing there were no drive-thrus nearby I could navigate to I decided to purchase some food at the hospital cafetiria that we could run with and eat in the van. By this point I knew we wouldn't make Sonny Boy's 6:00 baseball game, but the idea of sitting there and watching the kids dawdle with food in the their wound up and tired state was more than I could bear. So grabbing milk, PB&J's for the kids and some sort of turkey wrap and Coke for me we headed for the van, all three of us loaded down with as much as our respective bodies could carry through two elevator changes and a small maze of corridors. I was in near panic going through the parking garage as I couldn't actually hang on to the boys, but they did well marching behind me like little ducks all the way to van. Needless to say the trip home was long as well as we hit the tail end of rush hour and a construction to boot.

Sonny Boy was disappointed that he missed his baseball game, but soon got over it once we got the boxes opened and he discovered what was in them. I had been very secretive about their contents, just telling the kids I wasn't sure, and it would be a surprise when we got home. Thankfully the other parents in the waiting room wisely kept their boxes sealed as well. We came home there was a ton of loot for these pretend hamsters. Little houses, tunnels, exercise wheels, cars, skateboards. Geez, real hamsters don't have it this good. So the first hour home was spent constructing the animated pet hamster mansion. I will say it was generous of the company to donate the toys to the hospital, and I imagine kids that are were actually IN the hospital all had first pick at the stuff before they started passing out to those of us who were just in for clinic visits. However my hunch is that these toys were seconds, one of the little houses was crazily deformed, there was no display packaging - just brown boxes. Some of the directions on the pieces didn't quite match with what they were supposed to be. Momma always said don't look a gift horse in the mouth - or was that a battery operated hamster? Either way thanks to the company that donated them as it made getting home from a long dull day much more fun.

Igor's eye appointment went fine. It does appear he needs a stronger lens in the right eye but not too much stronger than what is already there. The doctor didn't say but I think it's just a matter of fine tuning the Rx now since Igor can communicate so much better and things are not such a look and see with an educated guess.

I did have my eyelashes dyed today. I've been wanting to do this for a while in hopes that it would help my laziness when it comes to putting make-up on. I'm terrible about putting on my face most any day and mascara does seem to make a big difference. My eyelashes are fairly long, however also fairly blond. The dye did seem to make them darker but I'm not sure if it is something I will continue to keep doing, while they are darker they of course are not thicker like mascara tends to make them. I'm reserving judgement on them though for a few days.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The living situation degrades further...

Sunday night while nuking the last bag of microwave popcorn in the house the microwave sparked inside the housing and went dead. Lovely. Hubby took a look at it and determined the microwave repairable but nervous about doing it as he found a high voltage wire burned it two and couldn't determine exactly why it had happened. Farewell old microwave, you've served me well. Honestly have had the microwave longer than Hubby as my mother purchased it for me for Christmas the first year I had my own apartment, well before I ever met Hubby. Last vestige of single life gone I guess. Currently we are not going to replace it due to uncertain future plans. Not a huge problem, I really only use the microwave to defrost things and the occasional Lean Cusine. The problem lies in that I usually do not decide what to cook for supper until late afternoon and generally things are still frozen. Gotta start planning ahead a little.

So if your keeping tally on the deterioation of Winnie's Litter living conditions since moving into this house I am minus the following conviences of life.

a stove with 4 burners, current one has 3 that work and one of those just barely.
move of laundry into a basement that you need galoshes to go into
garbage disposal
second toliet
neighbors that pick up the trash in their yard
not living 50 yards from a RR crossing

The list goes on and on and on and on, you get the picture.

I nearly blew my top yesterday when I saw the mail run and I had none. You see I had the mail put on hold while we were out of town last week, it was supposed to resume delivery on Monday. It did not, so I figured it would show up Tuesday, it did not. I went to the post office and asked where my mail was and was told "We usually just hold it till someone comes and picks it up, it's just so hard to keep up with the start and stop dates" What??? I've lived in towns of 50 thousand people and had no problems when having my mail stopped and started, I've lived in towns of 10 thousand people, again no problems, but a town of 5 thousand can't keep track of when to stop and start a mail hold? You've got to be kidding me. At any given time I really doubt there are more than 10 people with mail on hold. Geesh!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why Vacations are Not Really Vacations

I suppose you might be under the false impression that when people take time off work, load up the mini-van with a week's worth of clothes and drive for two days their destination might include some relaxation time....well maybe for some people but ours was a little hectic.

We loaded the van as soon as Hubby hit the door on Friday afternoon and started the long drive north. We drove till around midnight before stopping at a hotel for the night and crashing. The next morning we fed the kids and let them splash around in the frigid hotel pool, I did not take part as cold water and I do not mix well, however Hubby confirmed the lack of pool heat with a shiver or two despite his polar bear ancestry. We then climbed back in the van for the remainder of the drive. When we arrived at our destination a large chunk of the clan was waiting for us to eat dinner and visit which we of course did and the kids played with their cousins an activity Sonny Boy had been particularly looking forward to.

The next day was the big roller skating party for Grandma. It was fun and all the in-laws and out-laws attended with the exception of one cousin who had a medical crisis in her husband's family. Most everyone donned skates at one point or another, a few hard spills were taken, but no real injuries.

Grandma with her 90th Birthday cake, behind the counter like in yesteryear to pass out skates.

Grandma and my favorite med student blog follower watching the slide show of pics that was played. I think that house is where my MIL and her brother's grew up?

Sonny Boy and Igor skating away the afternoon, or at least Sonny Boy did, Igor quickly got frustrated and wanted the skates off.
Monday found us childless in the afternoon as the boys went to their cousin's house to play, so we visited with FIL some and shopped a little in town then went to SIL's house to eat dinner, visit and pick-up the kids for the night.
Tuesday the weather was rainy and SIL had a To Do list a mile long to prepare for a trip she was taking her three older children on, so Hubby and I took three nephews and our two kids to the bowling alley for a couple of hours. FIL came and bowled a a game as well. That night FIL took us and MIL (they are no longer married, it's an odd relationship) out to eat at a nice restaurant in town while great-grandma supervised the boys watching a movie, we came in, put the kids to bed and then left to visit a friend of Hubby's that was the best man in our wedding. We got in somewhere around 11:00
Wednesday proved better weather, not sunny, but at least not raining. I had wanted to go canoe a stretch of a nearby river (below) but looking at satellite pictures we decided against doing it in a borrowed canoe as some places were rather shallow and rocky. We did however take a little hike around the river and explore some with the boys.

The stream is pretty tame here, other spots were a bit rougher.

A few daises in bloom along the way.

We stepped out a section of the trail and this doe popped up out the grass where she had been napping. We were pretty close to her and she wasn't very concerned about us. Unfortunately my camera battery took this time to conk out and I only got this shot but it turned out cute with her tongue all stuck out.

Boys being boys

Not the best photography but a cute picture.

I have determined getting two kids to actually LOOK at the camera with a nice face is impossible.

We also squeezed in some fishing off of Grandma's dock and later in the day on a pontoon boat with FIL. The kids and I had good time catching some decent sized bluegills.
Wednesday evening ended with pizza at MIL's house and setting up her deer deterrent sprinkler. Quite fun watching the kids try to sneak up on it and then get sprayed. MIL reports she has gotten sprayed a few times now herself and had a flower uprooted as a critter headed for the hills when the thing set off. I'd love to see the deer the first time they get hit with that thing!
Thursday we said good bye to all and loaded up to head down to our house in WI - only about a 40 mile detour. We needed to tend to flower beds, and take the 90+ bags of leaves to the compost pile that have been sitting in the garage for a couple of months now. We arrived late Thursday night, blew up the air mattresses and went to bed. Friday Hubby dropped the kids and I off at McD's for breakfast and went to attend a business meeting a couple of towns over. The kids and I ate breakfast, walked homed with a stop at the local hardware store for some round-up and I went in to tackle my overgrown flower beds. A few hours of work later I started having a nasty allergic reaction to some plant (I think it was purple cone flower) and breaking out in hives so I got into the tub and scrubbed myself clean, however the itching was not settling at all. Of course I had no benedryl and no car so I dressed and practically ran dragging the kids down to the store 4 blocks away to buy some bendryl which I took while standing at the register. Thankfully the benedryl did the trick, unfortunately benedryl has that nasty effect of making you feel as you have been shot with a tranquilizer dart so I was quite useless for a while and the kids were left to their own whims for a bit.... not much trouble to get into when there is no furniture, dishes, TV or much else in the house. I found them rolling loose change across the living room floor! Hubby came home from his meeting with a borrowed pick-up truck to move the leaves we loaded it and he headed for the compost, 5 minutes later he was back with a loaded truck. Compost was closed on Fridays and wouldn't open again until 10:00 Sat and we had planned on driving back to Kornfield Friday night. Oh well, we really had to get the leaves out, we were there and nothing was pressing back in Kornfield so we stayed another night on the air mattresses and got up the next day and hauled 4 truckloads of leaves in. Thanks DS for the use of your truck, can't imagine trying that with the van! We then closed down the house, set off a bug bomb (spiders really like empty houses) and said goodbye to our neighbor who keeps his eye on the place for us and drove several hours home to a MISERABLY hot house that took a couple of hours of blasting air conditioner to get close to a semblance of comfort.
We also came home to an even wetter than typical basement, a yard so thick it needed a hay baler, a nest of juvenile robins that had been blown from a tree with two dead ones and happily two ripe tomatoes and a zucchini plant that has taken over my garden with two finger sized zucchini on it.
Today we simply went to the grocery and I tackled mowing the hayfield. Tomorrow I will conquer (or try) Mt. Laundry and getting the house straightened back up.
Now do you see whey vacation isn't vacation?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not Ready for Prime Time

I don't think you will see the Litter and I on TV anytime soon. Face it we are just plain boring, no huge dramas beyond the boy's bickering, simply an ordinary average family moving through life with normal worries. Hmmm, I guess that's good, but it does make for a dull blog.

School has been out for about two weeks now. It has taken that long for the kids and I to find our daily rythym, and we still don't have the kinks worked out but we are getting there. Transitions seem to be hard on all of us.

One activity we have been doing is "school" it's not that formal but I thought I'd take the opportunity and the ability to keep the kids busy with some practice work to keep some skills fresh and prep Sonny Boy a little for the harder academic stuff he'll face in first grade. He's doing well and impresses me often with abilities I did not know he had. Perhaps the hardest challenge he faces is the ability to just sit down and do the work. I'll say you need to read x number of pages, or write the definition down for three words and he'll whine, moan, and goof off longer than it would take him to do the actual work in the first place. Frustrating for me, and worrisome that the trend will continue when he gets to school. I do not think the work is above his ability, and I'm not expecting perfection just effort. Igor on the other hand is game to work through his whole 300 page pre-school workbook in one day! I literally have to make him quit as I don't want to burn him out on the whole process and really I don't want to spend 4 hours a day on this, just keep things fresh.

Tomorrow we will go North to visit the in-laws. Hubby's grandmother turned 90 last month and there is going to be a big family party at the roller-skating rink! Yes, a roller skating party for a 90 year old lady, though I highly doubt Grandma will roller skate (she's pretty dependent on her cane and walker now days) but really the roller rink is a great idea as her and her late husband built the rink in the 50's and operated until the early 80's. Most of the older grandkids around Hubby's age remember hanging out at the rink and of course all of Grandma's children worked at the rink in their teen years. I wanted to make the cake for the celebration but after my last cake disaster I've lost all umph for it, plus traveling with a delicate cake for two days doesn't bode well for it making it there in good shape. It will be fun as hopefully many cousins that we rarely see (many I've only met once) should make it with all of their kids which have never been seen. The kids will be amazed at the amount of second/third cousins! I will be too honestly as I do not have a very large extended family.

While we are away we will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. We don't have anything big planned but I did want to take advantage of the wealth of babysitters that will be handy and spend the afternoon canoeing a nearby river and maybe a meal at one of the two semi-nice restraunts in the little town. We rarely are able to have a long spell of time without the kids so we take advantage when we can. It's hard to find a sitter for more than 2-3 hours at a time.

The last couple of days have been spent getting ready for the trip, both the boys and I got a haircut. My haircut was a correction from the last cut which was all wonky, this is much better. I generally cut the boy's hair but figured I spring for good haircuts for them as they'll be shown off to family they've never met and I'm sure Igor will be inspected top to toe since he's "the adopted one" the good thing is that he won't be the only child in that boat since he has a cousin who was adopted from Guatemala as well. I wonder exactly what conversations will pop up? I'm also doing all the normal getting ready for a trip things, cleaning house, lots of laundry and plan on mowing the lawn this afternoon though I'm not really looking forward to that.

On the return trip from up North we will make a pit-stop at the house in WI and remove the 90+ bags of leaves from the garage and do a mad dash of flowerbed work (there are LOTS of flowerbeds) to keep them from getting to overgrown with weeds. We hired a lawn service to mow but of couse they don't do the putzy flower bed work. We should be able to make some decisons concerning the future of the house in the next couple of months.

If you asked a question to the Magic 8 Ball about our future the reply would " Hazy - ask again later" and that's where we are with life right now. It's terribly frustrating and stressful but somehow we haven't collapsed. Hopefully a week away from this grubby, stuffed full of stuff house will give us a break from the continual what if's we are facing. Please keep us in your thoughts, prayers, and all your fingers and toes crossed for us. If your curosity has the best of you e-mail me, facebook me and I'll fill you in. It's just not something we want out for general consumption.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Amazing Busy

Wow the last few days have been pretty crazy. Back up to last Wednesday which was the boy's last day of school. Both had little ceremonies to attend. Sonny Boy's was pretty low-key with just his teacher handing out his kindergarten diploma. Igor's teacher had the kids march in with mortar boards on and with Pomp and Circumstance playing from her I-pod. The kids sang a few songs and the teacher had put together a little slide/show movie of the kid's throughout the year that was very sweet and brought a few to tears, me included. I had my doubts about her at the beginning of the year but she has proven herself a competent teacher who really loves little kids. I wish her well as she is getting married this summer and then moving to the Seattle area as that is where her fiance is employed. Just as well that she is moving as the pre-school program is going to be non-existent here next year.

My mother came in Thursday to stay a few days and see the sights in St. Louis. She wanted to go the Zoo and the Arch. The zoo trip was kinda of like having a third child along and she's so out of shape she couldn't walk it. Honestly I'm not going to take her anywhere that requires lots of walking anymore as I all I heard about the rest of the weekend was how sore she was from simply walking at the zoo. I'm hear to tell you the walking included many bouts of sitting and resting. If she doesn't start getting off her couch and doing something she is going to be completely incapable of motion within the next 5 years.

Saturday I took mom into town as she wanted help shopping for a bathing suit. We all know how much fun that is to begin with. We were in Kohl's about 2 hours, she did buy some other clothes as well but she was done for the trip after that.

Sunday the tail end of the lingering cold I had been fighting reared it's ugly head and I wasn't good for much of anything, Monday either for that. Tues I woke up still feeling horrible and with such a sore throat I couldn't swallow so I called the Dr's office and begged them to squeeze me in. They did and it turned out the be the mother of all sinus infections. Some good advice to take Advil instead of Tylenol for the sore throat (that really made a big difference) and a Rx for some antibiotics had me on my feet today just in time to drive back into the city and have Igor's new orthopedic inserts fitted to his new shoes. On the way home I stopped with boys at Cohokia Mounds and went through the visitor center and watched their little info film. Interesting but I'm glad I didn't make a special trip for it. I will admit that is the biggest Indian mound I've ever seen.

Sonny Boy is going strong in his machine pitch baseball league. His team keeps getting beat but the kids are all pretty young and honestly sometimes I feel they are being matched against much older and experienced teams and that hardly seems fair. Hubby is determined to see him get a good at bat and has been hunting around for batting cages and is purchasing bats and equipment.

Igor is doing fine but just can't believe he's out of school for a while yet. He is still drawing pictures for his teacher and stuffing them in his backpack as gifts for her. I never get to keep any of them, though on occasion I get something he makes at school.

Well I really must get to bed, it's 12:30 am, a thunderstorm is blasting away outside and the kids will of course be up super early in the am.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pictures from City Museum

This place is really cool. If your in the St. Louis area City Museum is definitely fun. My advice is to plan at least a 1/2 day and not to take kids younger than about 6 years or so as it's totally easy to become separated.