We went to the Fair.
I took James to the mall last week for new shoes. As we pulled in, he instantly (and loudly) announced, "Mommy! This is where we went with Dorothy to the FAIR!"
Indeed. Last year, we parked at our local mall and were shuttled in school buses to the fairgrounds. We'd met our friends there. He recalled with perfect clarity - as if it had just been yesterday - the event from a year ago.
I was delighted to inform him that in just one week, we'd be going again.
So when his day began with eager anticipation at 5:20 this morning, 9:00 seemed like an eternity away. FINALLY, after he and Daddy both had breakfast, after we'd had devotions, after he'd given Daddy hugs & kisses and taken his lunch bag out to Daddy's car, after he'd loaded up his beloved Happy, safe in a cooler bag with a blanket for company, we left the house at 9:09.
We arrived at the mall parking lot, and he began to anxiously ask where Dorothy and Miss Kelly were, and then he begged the school bus to wait for us. To his dismay, the first bus left - but before he could become too concerned, a second one pulled up. And moments later, so did our friends.
Both James and Dorothy exited their car seats and were welcomed into the comforting clasps of their monkey harnesses. Their baby sisters were safely snapped into front-pack carriers. And diaper bags and camera bags were slung over their Mommy's shoulders. Our bus driver lifted our strollers onto the bus. And we were off!
Camels at the entrance... down to Old McDonald's Barn (a variety of barnyard buddies)... then to the birthing barn where a calf had been born yesterday morning, and another was laboring intensely... We visited our neighbors' steers, popped into the poultry barn where chicks were hatching from their eggs, and then parted ways with Miss Kelly & Dorothy, not in accordance with James' preference. He and I went to visit the hog barn while Dorothy went on a pony ride. After Madelene Kate ate, we found our way to a happy reunion with our friends.
James and Dorothy ate some lunch at a covered picnic table, right beside the Little Piggy Speedway. How perfect! From our vantage point, we could see the piglets, baby goats and turkeys all make their way around the track.
Then it was off down the road to get in line for cow milking. We were the first ones there - with half an hour to spare! So Kelly stood in line with the babies while I took James & Dorothy over to climb on the tractors. James slid right down the combine slide - I was so proud of him! And he wanted to go right back and do it again. Finally I had to pull those two adventurers away so we wouldn't be late for the milking.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, James had wanted nothing to do with milking a cow. And although Dorothy had stood in line for a very long time, she had bailed before she did it. James' highlight from last year, though, was watching others milk the cow, and then suddenly "Bessie" lifted her tail, and the farmer grabbed a bucket just in time to catch her... droppings.
But this time, those two fearless friends made their way right up to the cow, put their little hands on the teats and started milking! Even I got in on the action.
After a foray into the Chilly Mall - the air conditioned building with vendors galore - we decided it was time to head home. As we made our way to the exit and another school bus ride, we hung out with the camels for a bit. And then... a freight TRAIN horn! The perfect way to end a perfectly delightful day at the fair.