What are some things you can do while your toddler naps?
1. Take a nap and tell yourself your catching up on sleep, which as a parent we all know you just will never do.
2. Do chores around the house
3. Spend some quality time with your partner
4. Relax and do something for yourself
5. If you're like me and work from home, then you have a mile long to do list to choose from.
6. Build a dinosaur garden
Well, it's #6 of course.
Load up your spunky toddler in the car on a 100 degree day to go to the nearest hardware and garden store. when you get there, make her walk everywhere with you, so she burns out. Have her smell all the flowers in the garden center, and try to "help" you lift bags of dirt and rocks.
Get home and realize you just spent nearly $75 bucks for all the stuff to make a dinosaur garden. You hope she likes it, but who knows one day she likes dinosaurs, the next she could be screaming and crying at me for even thinking she still likes dinosaurs, who knows, it's a crazy life with a toddler.
Before you can build it, you have to debate with your husband about the best place in the yard to put it. He doesn't like your original idea, so you both hem and haw about why whatever spot is better. Meanwhile, your getting drenched in sweat, because it's like the devil's armpit outside, but thank God you can't smell the cow farm two miles down the road today.
You finally decide to put the dino garden where your husband wants it, but then elaborate on his spot, and tell him how it could be a cool dino play area. You have the canopy up, put down the yard mat, set up the alligator pool that you know your toddler already loves, and start getting to work on building the garden.
Wait... first get pics of everything to show how to make this thing. Someday she'll look back and see how much mommy and daddy love her and like to surprise her.
So layer 1, add rock for drainage. Jack' s anxiety kicks in and he thinks we need to wash the rocks before putting them in the bottom of the planter, where they'll be covered with sand and potting soil. The rocks look fine, and then he decides that it's pointless to wash rocks when we're putting dirt all over them, and she's not playing with them anyways, and that maybe his wife is right, and there's no microscopic mold growing on the rocks. Never a dull moment around here.
Layer 2 potting soil and plants. Any plant you like will do, depending on the size of the garden you make. Mint, fern, and grass worked for ours.
Layer 3 Add sand and the pond, which is just a .50 cent clear plastic tray that I put some river rock in.
Realize we didn't need as much as we thought, but I figure now is a good time to tell Jack that I plan on building a butterfly garden next, so no worries.
I wait for his eye roll, and remind him years ago of "growing" butterflies with our son. Then figure it's a good time to remind him of all the other ideas I have for things to do in the backyard with Clara.
Now it's time to arrange the dinosaurs in the pot. Hmmm.. it could be bigger. They need more room. I look at my husband and say, " well, this is a start, but we can elaborate as she gets bigger or something, but it'll be fun to create and grow it."
Seeing it complete made me feel giddy. The little girl I was a lifetime ago would've loved a dinosaur garden. Now it's even better, because I can spend all this time playing dinosaurs with my daughter. Totally worth it!
Jack heads inside to take a nap, while I sit on the grass taking macro shots of the dinosaurs, then realize I better get up and get ready to head off to do a photoshoot I was hired for. All the while thinking of all the cool things we can with our new dino play area....we definitely need to look up DIY dino dig excavations for the backyard, right? ;)
After taking the close up pics of each dinosaur, I can't wait to go out and play some more and pose them even better for photos. I think I just found a new side photography hobby. It was a lot of fun to just sit and photograph them for a few minutes before I had to get up and go.
Clara really loves her new dino play area. I love how content she is sitting there playing with her dinosaurs. Once I sort out what I'll do next for this play area I'll probably post an update, or just share more dinosaur photos, because I kinda just really enjoy sitting out here in the shade snapping pics of my baby girl and her dino buddies.