Back in the Saddle

Some of you may recall how during our visit to LA back in September of 2010 we took Jasper to ride the carousel at Griffith Park.  It didn’t go well.  For whatever reason, that carousel is a bit creepy and entirely too fast and Jasper has steadfastly refused to ride on a carousel ever since!  Well, that’s not entirely true, he will ride on the carousel, but only in the stationary benches.

So, I was very pleased that he finally, finally got back in the saddle on Monday and rode a horse!

But I’m getting ahead of myself, I wanted to document our entire day so let me start at the beginning..

Monday (Columbus day) daycare was closed but Jeff had to work so it was a Jasper & mommy day.   I decided to take advantage of the ridiculously unseasonable 80 plus degree weather and do something outdoors. We hadn’t been to Van Saun park/zoo this whole summer, so it seemed like the perfect day to do it.   I also vowed that I would NOT BRING MY CAMERA so that I wouldn’t be tempted/distracted by photo opps and would truly just be in the moment with Jasper, of course that means not such great images for this post, but hopefully good enough to document our day!

First I had planned on a nice lunch, but the restaurant I wanted to go to wasn’t open for lunch so we ended up at the Paramus Park mall at the Panera.   That hardly bears mentioning except that the mall had this really cool thing that I’ve never seen before..

Projected from the ceiling onto the floor they had a scene with various images, but when you would stand or jump on the image on the ground the scene would react. For example a water scene with fish if you stood on it would ripple where you were touching it and the fish would “swim away” from your foot.  In this picture there are Balloons that would “float away” when Jasper stepped on them:


Yeah, he really got into this!





This thing was a kid MAGNET! At one point there were about 12 kids on there and of course Jasper came running over to me complaining that there were too many people :)

Then we finally arrived at the zoo and I realized we had left his umbrella stroller in Jeff’s car.  Just as well because a) he hates his stroller anyway and b) it gave us an excuse to rent one of those little pushcart things that he DID want to ride in!  There was one sad moment when he asked me who was supposed to sit in the seat across from him and I told him that if he ever has a brother or sister that they would sit there.. but he got over it in a minute and promptly put bear there and strapped him in!





I had forgotten how small the zoo was, within about 30 minutes we had pretty much seen everything, which was just as well because it was HOT! So we returned the cart and got online to buy tickets for the train that goes around the zoo and the carousel. The wait between the ticket line and the line to get on the train was at least 30 minutes, I was SO proud of how patient he was, he didn’t whine once!

The train ride was a hit as always and then we headed over to the carousel.. I was so surprised when he wanted to get on a horse.  He told me to strap him in and then even told me to get on my own horse instead of hovering near him (!) but I thought maybe for his first ride that was taking it a bit fast!




He did great and wanted to ride again..


But he was OK when I told him everyone only gets to ride once so that everyone gets a chance.
Part II of mommy & Jasper’s day out was going to be a trip to a local pumkin patch/farm with hey rides, corn mazes etc but it was late already and the farm closes at 6pm. We might have made it save for the fact that Jasper spotted the playground through the trees on the way back to the car.

Not being one to delay gratification, he choose the playground over the pumpkin patch even though he’s been asking about the pumpkin patch ever since!

I thought it was a really fun day and asked him what his favorite part was on the ride home.. I don’t know why I was surprised when he told me that his favorite part was “the think that we walked on with our feet.”


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jbhat says:

My kiddo is twice Jasper’s age and STILL only chooses the stationary animal on a caroussel. He’s not at all daring.

Reading this makes me want to keep my kiddo home from school some day so that we can have a special outing like this.


Lauren says:

Hi there! I am not exactly sure where you are but I get the impression its from North Jersey. We recently relocated to Jersey City from NH and I am looking for a pumpkin patch to go to this weekend. This blog post mention of the pumpkin patch visit that could have been seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask where you recommend going. Any insight to share?? Thanks!!

ariana says:

Aw, thanks Michelle!!

Lauren, we are in Rockland County, but as you probably know it borders Bergen County NJ. The great pumpkin patch place is Secor farms in Mahwah NJ: There is an ugly but informative website that has a list of tons of them if that is too far from you!

Elizabeth says:

Ariana – I grew up in Oakland, still have lots of friends in that area. I have been in Texas for ten years, moved just after Sept 11.

ariana says:

Hi Elizabeth, where do you live now? I hope Jasper has fond memories of it someday too!

Sara B, funny you should say that because it FEELS like he is a “kid” now.. like we are hanging out together if that makes sense? Love it!

Sara B. says:

Gosh, Ariana, I feel like he has changed so much in the past couple months. No more toddler – he definately looks like a little boy now. He’s so gorgeous!

Elizabeth says:

I’m from northern NJ and remember going to Van Saun often as a child. So fun to see it described and photographed in your eyes. Jasper is too cute!