The Thinkery ATX

Waco is only a short hour(ish) drive from Austin, and since I lived in the area for almost ten years I jumped at the opportunity to accompany Nonnie there on one of her work trips. Catching up with friends and visit all of the cool and interesting places Austin has specifically for tiny humans, is what got me so excited to go. Our first stop was at the Austin Aquarium (read all about it here,) and on our last day we went to the Thinkery. The Thinkery is a children’s museum spanning 40,000-square-feet in the Mueller community, it is situated across from a playground and grassy area perfect for a picnic in the sun. I first became aware of the Thinkery while volunteering with the Junior League of Austin, which is a women’s organization promoting volunteerism and building leadership skills. 

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Our family membership with the Mayborn Museum got us free entry at the Thinkery through their affiliate program (the membership covers up to four people over the age of three.) The super friendly girl at the front desk asked the babes ages and suggested we start on the top floor and work our way down. After parking the stroller and having a quick snack downstairs, we rode the elevator to the top and started exploring. Betty led the way finding a pretend chicken coop, grocery store, and kitchen. The littles each picked out eggs from the chicken coop and walked them to the grocery store, grabbed baskets and quickly started loading them with faux food. Filling and emptying the baskets had to be the most fun as they did this several times before heading to the kitchen area to show off their chef skills. 

groceries at the Thinkery, ATX

Betty is a dress kinda gal, normally trying to get her into shorts or a pant of any style is like a battle royal and more often than not one of us ends up crying. However, I knew the Thinkery was a very hands on and active environment so although we could make it work it in a dress, I figured it would be way easier for her to maneuver if she agreed to something less formal. After some convincing she put on her new mint bummies, a simple black t-shirt, black sneakers and one of her signature B3 bows (don’t forget you can use her discount code: Betty when shopping their site) this way she would be able to play with less restrictions than a skirt or dress.  To my surprise she was diggin’ the look and feeling very confident in this outfit! Making my Mama heart so happy. 

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On the opposite side of the second floor is an area with a giant water table. This section  was easily Bobby’s favorite of the entire visit, he’d still be there right now splashing away if I’d let him. Barely tall enough to play in the water he gave it his all. Betty loved it too but did not enjoy being wet. She liked splashing and playing but afterward didn’t like actually having damp clothes on. There were all kinds of scoops, bowls, floating toys and even contraptions hanging from the ceiling. These contraptions (I’m sure there is a title for them on a sign somewhere) allow for a steady drip of water to flow from them. I showed the babes that we could fill up one of the bowls or start a beat by placing drums in just the right spot under the drip. They were intrigued for a bit and even re-arranged the items a little, but quickly went back to splashing and throwing things into the water. We were lucky enough that the area had cleared out a little and we were only sharing with 2-3 other kids.

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Bobby’s outfit of the day is our new favorite t-shirt reading straight up mama’s boy (get yours here and be sure to use bobby’s discount code: BB10 to save) comfy grey play shorts, and a pair of vans. this outfit was super easy to move and play in. He was able to toddle around and almost kept up with his big sister. You would think all the action in the splash area would have tired these little guys out but no, not even close. 

We made our way downstairs and found a neat little area full of random stuff, most likely activities above their appropriate age range but we tried our best. In this area we discovered floating balls, magnets, all kinds of cords and supplies for building and engineering. The babes really liked the fan shooting scarfs up into the air. We also played in a designated two and under play box that kept my babes giggling for what felt like hours. Eventually we made our way over to the light and shadow room, Betty had so much fun in there! There is a similar room at one of our favorite play spots in Waco – Little Land, so she knew just what to do. She grabbed pegs that lit up as she slid them into the peg board, and began filling up as many holes as she could. Her entire section was nearly full as Bobby came to “help” by pulling all of her pegs back out.  This room was empty the entire time we were in there, giving a very VIP feel as I was expecting it to be a mad house. 

img_20200306_144127-1693736019964114753.jpgimg_20200306_144133_mp-15906089597823197710.jpgBy this time I started noticing both toddlers were starting to slow their pace. So we headed toward the stroller parking, however Betty found a small area under the stairs that she dubbed the “rainbow room” large pieces of colored plastic caught sun and showered the hallway with a bright rainbow of colors. Betty spent the last ten to fifteen minuets running (mermaid in hand) through the colors with the biggest smile on her face I’ve ever seen. img_20200306_1457184736145642911882119.jpgI usually get anxious taking my littles to big attractions like the Thinkery. I almost expect big kids to run them over, but we hit it mid day and most of the field trips were headed to the park for lunch when we arrived. The bathrooms were clean and the nursing station a dream. Honestly it was a magical way to finish up our mini trip. Betty and Bobby were both asleep before we left the parking garage and didn’t wake up until we arrived safely at home. I definitely recommend a visit to the Thinkery if you find yourself in the area.  

St. Patrick’s Day

wp-15845090216958360990222004624962.jpgI am the cheesy Mom that is always trying to make things fun and exciting for the babes, especially holidays. St. Patrick’s day is no exception, even with a pandemic happening all around us. We started the day by reading The Itsy Bitsy Leprechaun by Jeffrey Burton.

Mom's lucky charm

But is it even a holiday if Mom doesn’t dress you in something festive?! Bobby geared up in a Mommy’s lucky charm, hand-me-down tee from Old Navy, distressed jeans, and checkered sneakers. Betty chose a sparkly monogram tee, velvet green bummies & matching bow (don’t forget to use code Betty when shopping their site) and Black dragon scale T-straps

It was a perfect 77 degrees with lots of sunshine so naturally, we headed outside to hunt for leprechauns and hopefully find some gold or a four leaf clover. Although our efforts were unsuccessful it was a good time filled with lots of giggles.

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All that running around wore us out and after about an hour we headed inside for nap. My little lad & lassy woke up fully rested and ready for more fun. We went straight to the kitchen and made rainbow cupcakes, added some sprinkles, and then took them to the pool to enjoy in the sun. After lounging for a bit we thought the best way to finish our St. Patrick’s day fun was by chasing bubbles until Dad got home from work.wp-1584509058936898096283559414925.jpg

We are already homebodies so the social distancing hasn’t put too much change in our routine. Normally on beautiful days we would run around the zoo, park, or meet up with friends. Due to Betty & I having a cough plus sneezing (no fevers thank goodness) we decided it would be best if we did all the fun things here at home on our own. Even without the threat of a world wide virus, we intentionally stay away from other people when feeling icky.  Holidays are really only as fun as you want them to be. Although it wasn’t a fancy or grand celebration, we had a total blast.wp-15845090887094859583656221857568.jpg

 

Waco Central Library

Books before kindergartenOur family is full of book enthusiasts, we’ve got teachers, librarians, academic bloggers, writers, the list goes on and on. So there is no surprise that Betty and Bobby also love to read. One of the babies’ favorite things to do is visit the library, we typically head to the Waco Central Library due to weekly Toddler Time and their 1000 books before kindergarten program.In order to encourage a love of reading and to help prep little minds for school the library encourages families to read 1,000 books with their children before starting kindergarten. In this program, the children are given a paper filled with stars on both sides, after each read the child colors in a star representing the book they just finished. I really enjoyed that they count each read over each book because once Betty gets attached to a story, she wants to read it over and over. If fact, we read so often Betty has memorized majority of her books, and can frequently be found “reading” them out loud to herself or to her little brother. After completing each page (100 stars) we head to the children’s section of library to trade it in for a new blank page, and start the process all over again. The librarian then moves Betty’s name card to the next section on the wall, and lets Betty choose a prize.img_20200130_1007294796612338338260784.jpgBut this visit went a little differently, this round Betty’s name was moved from the 900 club/ section on the wall to the wall of Fame! She then posed for a photo (above) which will eventually accompany her name on the wall of fame; and finally, her favorite part, she chose a book of her very own to take home! Betty picked the Knight and the Dragon, by Tomie DePeola. Which we promptly took to a comfy chair to read.img_20200130_1049343258399453900420811.jpgimg_20200130_1013296033355116677986061.jpg the Waco Central Library also has a pretty awesome children’s section, rows and rows of books, comfy reading chairs in all different shapes and sizes, computers, puzzles, a play kitchen complete with pretend food and cooking tools, and Bobby’s favorite – soft blocks. Both kiddos could spend hours and hours there. (sometimes we do!) I wanted Betty to be confident for her wall of fame photo so I let her pick out what she was going to wear. She chose her “Books before boys” sweatshirt, pink fluffy tutu, and her new favorite conversation hearts bow from B3 Wraps (use code: Betty to save on your orders!) It was a chilly 54 degrees so I added long grey socks and her grey leopard print boots. img_20200130_1007185286076935806060489.jpgPrograms for children, teens, and adults are also available at the Library, but this one was perfect for our family since the babes are still little enough to participate. It really got Betty excited to read books and color in the stars, plus she extra pumped up for trips to the library; knowing her name would be moved and a prize would be chosen. We grabbed Bobby’s first blank page of stars and have already started his 1000 books. I am so excited to watch him go through the process and grow his love of reading.img_20200130_1046543342876346509209108.jpgIf you find yourself in Waco with your kiddos be sure and check out one of the libraries, they are awesome for learning, fun, and making friends.wp-15804502887629103355239900692634.jpg