Every Saturday we traditionally have wheat pancakes for breakfast, but to make them extra special that day, I shaped the pancakes into Mickey Mouse heads. While the pancakes cooked, the children watched a DVD of "Disneyland Fun Sing-Along" that we had purchased back in upstate New York and saved just for the occasion.
The children got a kick out of the Mickey Mouse pancakes! Of course, now they want them shaped that way every Saturday, but it’s so much more effort -- we’ll just save shaped pancakes for special occasions.
After breakfast, we got ready for the day. Back when Jon was in San Francisco, he had stopped at a Disney store and purchased shirts for each of us just for our Disney Staycation. I was so surprised and happy that he did that. I secretly washed them all and stored them safely away until that day. Jon had the children close their eyes and he handed each of them their new Disney shirt to wear. They were so excited!
Then, we headed over to Izmaylovsky Park. My original plans for that morning/afternoon fell through, but I think what we ended up doing turned out even better.
First, we took the children to the nicer, small amusement park that we had discovered within the forested area with Jennilyn. They have an elephant ride that’s pretty similar to Disney’s Dumbo ride, and we bought tickets for Kate, James, Bruce, and me. Bruce and I shared an elephant, James, of course, wanted a blue one, and Kate had to have a pink elephant. We were the only ones on the ride, and we had fun competing over who was the highest and playing like we were chasing each other and .
After that, we headed on a walk, going deeper in the forest then we did with Jenni.
Wearing their new Disney shirts and posing on a bridge in the park
We had some bread and we thought it would be fun to feed the ducks on the lake, but apparently they were not used to being fed, at least by children, and they wouldn’t come near us. So, we found a cute sitting area next to the lake and the children fed the pigeons.
The area that we were feeding the pigeons was so clean, and so quiet that I decided to let William out of the stroller to run around. He was on Cloud 9! In his wobbly, early runner way, he had such a ball chasing the pigeons. It was so adorable! Unfortunately, he did get a little pigeon poop on his new outfit from one of his falls, but it wiped off easily and it was so worth it just knowing how much fun he’d had.
Then, we bought tickets for the Ferris wheel. This is something that we have long anticipated since arriving in Moscow and first saw it from our window. They let our entire family squish into one booth and we took the slow trip up and down the Ferris wheel (you only get to go around once). The view was gorgeous as we climbed to the height of the Ferris wheel. We searched hard and finally found our little apartment from so far away. It’s really impressive how large of a forested area Izmaylovsky Park has.
We had hoped to eat at an outside café inside the park called “Texas Barbecue”. Unfortunately, when we got close and looked at the food, there was nothing Texas about it -- it was still all Russian Food! It made us wonder how authentic “ethnic” food is in America. We just decided to go eat at the food court in the mall at our metro station.
We headed a different direction through the park to get back to the tramvi (tram). It was really incredible to see how much goes on in Izmaylovsky Park. We saw at least two more, small amusement parks, besides the two we had already passed and the beginning.
A performing clown
Off to the side of the walkway, someone was selling some inflatable swords and mallets for children. They didn’t cost much, so we asked the children if they would like one. To my surprise, they all just wanted ice cream. (So, we'd get to eat something delicious and save the earth from someday disposing of a worthless, popped inflatable sword. Cool!)
The walk to the tramvi was long and my feet needed a rest. Luckily, there was an adorable playground that we stopped at. James or Bruce (I can’t remember which) was about to burst from needing to use the restroom, and although I’m NOT a supporter of relieving yourself in the great outdoors, we didn’t know when we’d see the next bathroom, so Jon took the boys out into the woods. Classy, I know. Unfortunately, we paid for it when we noticed that Bruce had a couple irritated hives on his arm when he returned. Jon’s eyes got wide and he said he did see a bunch of plants that looked like stinging nettle. He had assumed they were not stinging nettle since we were in another country and since it was right along a walking path that anyone could brush by. Luckily, I had some of my favorite, all natural chapstick in my purse that has some great essential oils and extracts, including aloe vera. Talk about multipurpose awesomeness! I rubbed it on Bruce’s hives and it didn’t take long for them to go away.
Kate took this picture of Jon and me
The children had an incredible time playing at the park, even forgetting that they were hungry. Interestingly, the playground was on top of new Astroturf. Since most playgrounds here are on dirt, I usually never let William out to play, but at this park I had no problem! William had such a fun time, and he felt like such a big boy playing on the playground like his older siblings.
On our way home, we ate at the food court in the mall, then we each got a fresh ice cream cone. It’s hard to find really good ice cream in Moscow, but this stuff is delicious! Most of us ordered the mint with chocolate chunks. Oh! We have missed that flavor, and we are so glad to have found it!
Once we finally got home, we had to spend the rest of the late afternoon and evening getting the children bathed and ready for Sunday and fixing dinner. There were a couple things on the itinerary that we weren’t able to do that day, so we just finished them after church on Sunday. One was our Small World activity. We had decorated the hall with pictures of children from around the world and dressed in traditional clothing, and then we played on the Small World Disney app that I’d recently purchased. The second activity was another Disney app called Disney Pix. You either have to have a special camera for it or it also works if you have an iPad with a camera. It was a lot of fun to take pictures and accessorize them.
Although our Disney Staycation was almost nothing like visiting a Disney park, we still had a lot of fun as a family and we made lots of great memories together! Now, we can look forward to either going to a Disney park or having Disney Staycations at home, depending what we can afford at the time. It’s fun to know that even when we can’t go to a park, we can still have a little of that magic right in our home.
Okay, okay, I know, now we all need to clean the sappiness from our computer screens.