The County Fair

Growing up, I wasn't on any sports teams until I was in high school. I tried lots of things, but had only one passion: training and showing horses. So, the Franklin County Fair was my favorite week of the year. Memories of being so filthy that I could be hosed off along with my horse, hearing the tractor pull and midway games while trying to concentrate on riding, and just being a kid at the fair will always stay with me. 

This year, the Franklin County Fair turns 100!  Taking young kids to the fair is not for the faint of heart. It is HOT, there are lines, and they will want ALL the things. Luckily, county fairs are much smaller, so it's much more doable than the state fair. And it's one of those times when I, personally, just have to remember how much fun it was as a kid and suck it up, because watching them enjoy it is pretty awesome. And so is funnel cake. 

If you want to go, I listed a few suggestions at the bottom. 

The shaded and cooled Childrens Hospital Tent was our first stop. 

Followed by seeing all the 4H animals. Hands in the cage, I know. 

This guy was our favorite. He was totally calling us over from aisles away with the goofiest sound. 

Insert cry-laugh emoji here. They LOVE these things.

One of our favorite stops was the County Engineer's tent, with a truck table, amazingly arctic-feeling fan, and chairs. They also have generous swag bags that kept Larkyn busy the whole ride home. If you are into maps and learning about the construction all over Columbus, this was pretty interesting.

Weaver Park is attached to the fairgrounds, and had so many fun (and photo-friendly) things for climbing. 

He discovered the horn. Ever heard a 1920s Ford horn?

Also, when she got up, she found a "KEEP OFF" sign that was sitting in the seat. Whoops. So, keep off of this car. 

Sweet little church, sweet little girl watching the birds. 

First midway game. The lady who ran this game was so kind to them, letting him sit up there and giving him a little parting gift, even though she won.

By the time the rides opened, we had been there for two hours and he was kiiiiind of over it. Until this started going up and down. Then my little adrenaline junkie was back. 

My favorite moments with this girl have been on a carousel. 

She's keeping him out, because he has this "thing" with waiting for the operator to open the door. 

Thanks, mom for taking this and coming with us! 

Of course there will be whining and the usual kid-stuff x 100, but it is so worth it. If you want to go, I'd suggest: Not going early. We start most days with an adventure beginning by 10:00. This should be the exception, because the rides and most food do not open until 12:00. I saw a (smart and prepared) moms group in Weaver park with picnic food while we were trolling the food trucks and melting. Get the ride wristband. So much easier than tickets, and you never know when they'll want to ride something twice. Take breaks in those two tents I mentioned above. There is very easy and free parking on Northwest Parkway, which is off Avery Road. And on Saturday 7/22, there will be  Made Local Marketplace craft show. 


If you follow me on social media, I may have been a little extra whiney lately. Sorry. The beginning of July always causes a bit of a funk (July 5 marks 2 years since my dad died)...and Columbus always seems to just get gloomy and rainy for a few weeks.

We hibernate...we take a pause in the adventuring, and it is welcome. The space between busy and wonderful June, full of the promise of summer, and August, when we hold on to every last second of golden light, fireflies, and sleeping in.

But that took a toll on my family. We were not wired to stay in, and all the things that have been frustrating to me as a mother became evident by day 14 of July. We needed an escape, a change of routine, something.

Historically, a farm has always, always brought me back to myself. So, out to the peach farm we went.

We've never picked peaches before, and I had been eyeing a local orchard (Branstool) about an hour away. The staff made us feel at home with their friendliness, and the kids did not want to leave their sweet dog. Best of all, no crowds or lines. I will travel an hour for that any day.

 waving to the tractor driver (Rhys' dream job)

My dad LOVED stone fruits of any kind, and I am a big peach fan. I don't know why it reminds me of him, but peaches, plums and nectarines (and ice cream) always add a little extra enjoyment because of him.

"See, I took a bite, mom."

Having several pounds of peaches on our counter will hopefully inspire me to try making a few new recipes. Do you have any favorite peach standbys? For our last batch, I made peach tea. Refreshing, but not so peachy. I bought some cobbler mix from the market at Branstool, and I'm hoping it is great!

Rhys was adamant that he wouldn't try one, but by the end, he held on tight to a particularly juicy one. Success!

You can't go out to Utica without stopping at the Velvet ice cream factory. My girl and I shared her first banana split...birthday cake ice cream for her, Buckeye for me. So good. But seriously, we could only eat about 1/3 of that. And then, ending the morning with their little playground was the cherry on top. Ha.

It was such a good day trip. and just what we needed. Lesson learned...don't ever think a leopard can change his spots...our crew was made to explore.

The Heart of Vacation

So, the heart of a vacation isn't in the "we went here, and here's what we thought". This part is what we remember how we felt...the richer, messier, and more fun part.

 Trying to fit 2 kids and our beach bag into a wagon AND maneuver it. They LOVED it. 

 That very first glimpse of the water. She has always played the same game of jump-the-waves...

 When you want to do what you're "supposed to be doing", but don't like water as much as your sister...

 Getting the view from a dune because you had to chase your son up there. And then you realize why he keeps going back up. 

 That freedom of just...throwing stuff. It doesn't matter at the beach. Sticks, sand, a kite that your mom brought and can't figure out...

 Nailing the shot you've never gotten because the Atlantic doesn't have sunsets over the water...

 Just absolute, unequivocal JOY

 Always a little education in any vacation with a teacher mom. These smooth, oval pebbles are in place of shells, and we collected a bucket of them.

 Playing "Humpty Dumpty" down this entire ridge. 

 Little boys in just the swim diaper. You know he sprayed her 5 seconds later.

 Ultimate summer goal has been achieved.

 Nothing feels better than being carried by daddy at a hot festival.

 No caption. Just all the heart-eyes.

 That feeling when you watch your partner love them as much as you. 

 This is she second vacation where the two of them bond over the tiger. 

 With this one, there's always the element of being brave. She desperately wanted to feed these birds. And when one finally landed to feed, she was less than thrilled. She stuck it out and didn't drop him, though. She just handed him to me.

 Being the mom who overhears another mom say, "Does this concern anyone else or am I the only one watching this?" and being confident enough to ignore her. No, it does not concern me, and go helicopter on someone else's dune. 

 The thrill of "GOING IN WITH MY CLOTHES ON!" because it was a little chilly that night...

 Finding your favorite thing ever on the beach...

 Helping mommy take the traditional year in the sand photo. 

 Finding a hole someone else dug. You just have to jump in, right?

 Not being able to tell the sand from the lake from the sky...

 Being oblivious to what's happening in front of you, because you are having so much fun...

And then finally you see it. "Orange sun, mommy. See?"

When dad lets you play Mario on his phone because the cottage literally has 4 channels of TV and it's raining. (And shares his mac and cheese)


Thinking the world is pretty damn good.

That final ride back from the beach...

And the first time in a "sleepover" style arrangement, complete with a movie to fall asleep because, vacation. 

Even though it's not as easy as it used to be, my husband knows there is nothing I'd rather spend money on than traveling. They forget about material objects within a day or two, but they will never forget the pink cottage at the beach. 

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