A tourist in my own town

by Kim on September 2, 2013

No matter how many times I go downtown, I can never resist taking pictures of this beauty:


Sometimes it’s easy to take the capitol building for granted—to stroll around downtown and forget that it’s kind of unusual to hang out so close to one on a regular basis.

20130831_112507Clouds so perfect you’d think I might have PicMonkey’d em in…nope! All natural.


Mason has only 2 speeds: standing still (rare) and sprinting.


Wide open grassy fields are God’s gift to toddlers.


He was the happiest kid on the planet until I had the nerve to try to pick him up for a picture. Oh the TORTURE.


Technically, we went downtown to hit up the farmer’s market, which circles around the capitol and is basically a total madhouse every Saturday morning. But Mason didn’t have the patience to trudge along in the cattle herd, so we spent most of the time chasing him around in the grass.

I did manage to snag some fresh basil, though—$1 for this huge bunch, whaat!


After Mason’s nap (he’s a pretty consistent 1-nap-a-day kid now, sleeping from about 12-2 PM), we went to check out a new splash pad a few miles from our house.


It took him a bit to warm up to the idea of water randomly blasting him from all directions…

20130831_163253 (2)

But soon, he was back to his old habit: nonstop sprinting.


(Check out that form! Chest leading the way, perfect forward lean, midfoot strike…haha…)

The cute farm theme killed me—I couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything.


The land actually used to be a full-fledged farm, until the family left and donated it to the city to be used as a park.


When Mase got bored, we left the splash pad and headed over to the park. On the way, I learned that “swim diapers” are actually useless.


Let’s just say that’s not water.

The park, which we were also seeing for the first time, was insanely cool.


I went into full-on tourist mode with my phone camera and couldn’t have been less embarrassed about it.

I mean, right??


Along with the usual slides and monkey bars, there were all these secret tunnels and cubbies, plus different stations where you could play music, climb something, or, say, drive a semi.


Oh, and of course, there was another barn:


And a…racecar?


There was actually a whole toddler area, separate from the rest of the park. Genius!



You bet we’ll be coming back here.


Back home, we were ready to chow. Brent fired up the grill for burgers while I used my fresh basil in some caprese bites.

20130831_183216(Later drizzled with balsamic)

I went for a lettuce bun (partly because the burgers were so massive I was worried I wouldn’t be able to eat the whole thing).


Man, I love grilled food. I don’t even want to think about the fact that summer’s almost over…

Actually, I’m kind of mad at myself for even writing those words. Back to my favorite coping mechanism: DENIAL.

On Sunday, we headed back downtown again for the Taste of Madison.


This is an annual event where restaurants and various food/drink vendors from all over town set up tents and give out samples of their best goods for a few bucks each.

Madisonians eat this stuff UP.


I’d thought it’d been busy the day before, but this was a whole new level of insanity.

Whenever we have events like this, open intoxicants are allowed downtown, so everyone was strolling around with cups of beer/wine and—let’s just say—having a really fun time.

For our first sample, we went with a gyro from some random place.


MAJOR disappointment. The flatbread was dry and the meat was cold. It’s only saving grace was the awesome cucumber sauce.

Sample #2: a strawberry/banana smoothie.


A+++! Much better.

A break to run…


And our last two picks: a root beer float (my choice) and coconut cream pie (Brent’s).


They were both good, but Brent was the clear winner.

I wanted to try some dumplings I saw, but a concert was ending right at that second and the crowd starting surging toward us, making it basically impossible to reach any of the food stands in that area.

Plus, Mase was starting to get impatient/fussy in his stroller, so we decided to call it a day.

Back at home, I mixed the leftover caprese ingredients with some pasta, apple chicken sausage, and Italian dressing, and called it a salad. Pretty tasty!


After a pretty indulgent day, Brent and I were both feeling the guilty itch to burn off some of those extra cals, so I somehow convinced him to do a Jillian Michaels shred workout with me. It was awesome! Not only did it make the time go by faster (I remember thinking “cool down already? did we skip some??”), but I’m pretty sure I worked harder than I would have if I were alone.

Plus, don’t they say couples who work out together stay together?

Such a nice, relaxing weekend with the boys…and the best part: it’s not over!

It’s so nice having Brent home for one more day to keep me company and help out with the little dude.


Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday!

Do you have a splash pad in your area?

Seems like these things are popping up everywhere lately! I’m not sure if they’re the norm everywhere else and just new to us, or if they’re the hot new thing.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy September 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

I love the splash pad, so cute! We don’t have one in my area, but we do have a park that looks almost identical to the one that you went to! When I was a camp counselor, we used to take the kids there and they’d play for hours.

I’m attending your roundtable discussion at HLS, and possibly going to dinner also (still working out the details for that)!
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Katie @ running4cupcakes September 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

So jealous that you guys have a splash pad!! There is one at the MN Zoo, but not too close for us. .. and I know that Luke would love it. :) And agree – that swim diapers do not work!! Which is a total bummer and makes me wonder about all the other kids in swim diapers that are swimming. . .
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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome September 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

The splash pad and the playground are awesome! we have several water parks around us but none as cool as that! Looks like an awesome weekend with some yummy eats! We had caprese salad for dinner Saturday night too! I like to add avocado to mine and then like you drizzle with a balsamic reduction. So good!
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Katie @ Daily Cup Of Kate September 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I always take pictures of the capitol every time I am downtown too! I am sad we missed the Taste this year :(
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Kim September 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Wow – sounds like a fun weekend exploring new things in your own town! That splash park is super cool. The town I went to college in had a park similar to the one y’all went to with the huge play set – it was called Kidsville (or something like that).
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