Of a Cincinnati Labor Day

Cincinnati is famous for it’s chili. The rest of the world looks at this crazy concoction of soupy meat chili piled on spaghetti with a mountain of shredded cheese on top and thinks we are out of our minds. But it’s delicious and comforting for those of us who have grown up on the southwestern banks of the Ohio River. Now those three layers – spaghetti, chili, cheese – are great on their own, but it’s when you put them together that it’s perfect – a trifecta of Cincinnati perfection. And that’s exactly what our Labor Day weekend was too. Each day of this holiday weekend was a perfect little package unto itself, but together the three days were a beautifully layered farewell to summer.

Saturday – We spent the morning at Great American Ballpark. Every baby born at Good Sam or Bethesda North Hospital gets a packet to be a Reds Rookie. So because Miss Matilda was welcomed at a Trihealth hospital we got to be involved with a pretty cool program before the game. We got there at 10:30, and we got all kinds of free goodies from the sponsors. Josh checked in for the competition I signed him up to compete in while the Ellabelle danced around to the music. Mr. Redlegs and Gapper showed up and we got to take our picture with them. IMG_8896

This may have been the highlight of the day for me because I love Gapper more than baseball. Plus, Gapper was very sweet and even kissed Mattie on the head. IMG_8894

Surprisingly, Ellabelle walked right up Mr. Redlegs and gave him a hug. She’s usually terrified of people dressed up (like Wooly Bully at the CRG games), but she was excited to see him.

We did a lot of sitting around and waiting because there were a lot of babies to get in and do everything. So, we had over two and a half hours before the game to burn. Josh competed in the Daddy Bottle Chugging contest. IMG_8902

He had to suck down a bottle of warm apple juice. Unfortunately, two of the guys cheated (one even ripped the nipple off to suck it down which was not the point of the game), and the judges decided to allow it because they never specifically said that you couldn’t do what they did. However, they had to follow the real rules during the second round. It’s ok though. Josh didn’t really want to chug a warm bottle a second time. IMG_8904

We walked around some. I took Mattie to the mommy suite, and it was amazing. I would’ve spent the whole game there if I could’ve. Plus, it was air conditioned. It was 90* the entire day, and we were stuck out in the open sunlight. We tried out best to hide out in the shade for a while. IMG_9046 Ellabelle did amazing considering the wait time. She kept trying to go towards the field and the seats because she wanted to watch “football.” I did attempt to correct her to begin with, but I gave up quickly. I mean, she calls tennis, golf, hockey, and basketball “football” too so it’s a losing battle. She played on the playground they have there for awhile and that kept her happy.

Eventually, we got to line up for the baby parade on the field. That was definitely a cool part of the experience too. IMG_8916

I remember being in grade school and getting to go on the field at Riverfront Stadium. So I’ve officially been on both fields now. Ellabelle seemed to actually enjoy it too. I was worried because for a three year old walking slowly in a straight line with a bunch of people is the equivalent of hell, but she was totally chill and kept up with us. IMG_9008IMG_8953

We headed to our seats after we made in back into the stadium, and it was awful! Let me tell you – drinks with no lids + a stroller + a hot and tired toddler + a 3 month old + two flights of stairs to get to the roughly 50 stairs up to seat + the unforgiving sun beating down = the most difficult endeavor since I went grocery shopping with kids alone. So, yes, we made it to our seats that ended up being right in the sun. Josh was ready to turn around and lug everything back down the stairs. Thankfully, an old man came over told us they had 5 seats but were only using 2 so we could come use them to get the baby out of the sun since they were up in the shade. We moved and got settled. Josh fed Mattie, and I tried to hydrate Ellabelle. IMG_9040

She sat with her fingers in her ears complaining that “football” is too loud. We were right under the speakers so I don’t blame her for that. We got Mattie’s picture taken with her first game certificate, and made it to the third inning. IMG_9031 That’s when I noticed that Ellabelle was shaking, and it was becoming more and more noticeable. So we decided that we needed to head out. We hydrated and napped once we got home because the sun had zapped all the life out of us, but it was such a special day that it was worth the heat.

That's us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie's tutu and me on the right!
That’s us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie’s tutu and me on the right!

Sunday – We woke up planning to clean, but there was a disturbance in the force, and we had to go to Target and check it out. To translate that out of nerd talk: the new Star Wars toys came out on Friday, and Josh was antsy to go see them. IMG_8849

We did make it home to clean (laundry is my nemesis), and, as a reward, Josh got to go to the Disney store to see the exclusive toys. Unfortunately, they were all out of our price range so he only got to look.

Model pose with the stormtrooper
Model pose with the stormtrooper

What was important was that we spent some quiet downtime as a family. It was a slow day with no set times to be anywhere. It was a nice change of pace since it seems like every day has something scheduled anymore.

Monday – Oma and Lisa invited Ellabelle and I to go to Smale Park. Mattie stayed home with daddy and watched him play video games all day. (Hey, it was his holiday. Whatever floats his boat.) Lisa brought along one of her friends kids, Ava, and Ellabelle was so excited to have a playmate. IMG_9101

We walked through the beautiful park and made our way to the water fountains. We decided to ride the carousel first because you can’t ride it once you’re wet.

We all rode the first time. Ellabelle wanted to ride a horsey, and we picked the Oktoberfest horse. IMG_9105 IMG_9110

Lisa rode the gorilla. Oma rode an Ohio River catfish. I thought the fish looked like it was made for a child rider, but Oma totally fit. IMG_9304

The second time on Ellabelle wanted to ride the Bengals tiger. I kept asking her, “What does a tiger say?”
“Roar!”
“What do you say?”
“Who Dey!” That’s my girl.

We played in the fountains after that. Even Oma participated which tells you just how hot it was! IMG_9172

My poor Ellabelle is so clumsy, and the water didn’t help. She wiped out twice. IMG_9303

The second time she fell backwards and hit her head on the ground. She stood up, weaved past Ava and Lisa, and found me. I hate to see her hurt, but it’s nice to feel like my independent girl needs me still. The tears were wiped away, and the boo boo was quickly forgotten.IMG_9174IMG_9159

We played on the playground after that. The girls loved the slide. They went up and down multiple times. Ellabelle had a hard time keeping up with Ava cause she’s just so much smaller. IMG_9222 IMG_9226

She found and liked the drums. She’s obsessed with playing the drums on everything (including the poor dog) so she definitely liked this feature at the playground. IMG_9228

There’s a bunch of exercise type stuff, and Ellabelle threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her run off with Ava. I wanted her to see the giant piano, but she was not impressed. That’s what happens when 3 year olds don’t get their much needed afternoon nap.IMG_9179 IMG_9180IMG_9182

We found another water area, and the girls loved that too.IMG_9192 IMG_9194 IMG_9196

There was just so much to see and do. Smale Park is definitely a place to go to spend the whole afternoon. My girl was worn out! IMG_9188

After we finally headed back from the park, Oma took us to Putz’s. Lisa had never been, and it was Ellabelle’s first time too. I got her an Ice Man, and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it.

IMG_9232 Putz’s is one of those places that’s been around forever. I remember my dad always taking us there in his mustang when I was younger. It was somewhere we went with day camp too. So it was nice to share a place with a lot of memories with Ellabelle and my mom. IMG_9234

It was another hot day so we just laid around once we got home, but it was the prefect ending to our weekend.

Each day of the weekend was good on its own – baseball, family togetherness, water fun – but together they were perfect. Quiet bookended with Cincinnati activities. I love my city, and I love sharing it with Ellabelle and Mattie. Each layer perfect and Cincy filled. It was wonderful holiday weekend. IMG_9094

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