Ian and Jenna’s A-Mazing Mystery Trip with Nana’s Twisty Turns

Dr. Seuss explores the maze of life in his famous book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! On the first page he assures readers:

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

And that’s just what Jenna and Ian did when they visited Conner’s A-Maizing Acres this past October near Hilliard, Florida guiding their grand-parents from one station to the next. (Yes, they did learn “maize” is a type of corn.)

During the one-hour trip in the car, Ian read poems from The Random House Book of Poetry for Children to his cousin Jenna. He didn’t read from Dr. Seuss’ book, though whose wise words weave a web throughout this travelogue.

IanJennaBackseat

Then, a snapshot at the entrance . . .

JennaCutout

The Conner Barn offers much to keep little hands busy . . .

BuildScarecrowBuildLOGcabin

After a hayride to the field, we tackle the maze . . .

Hayride

There were Rules and a Life-Guard at the entrance to make sure we didn’t get hopelessly lost or ejected!

The staff were exceptionally friendly. We imagine the rules were a response to previous infractions.
The staff were exceptionally friendly. We imagine the rules were a response to previous infractions.

LifeGuardMaze

Jenna and Ian steered us away from blind alleys, saving us false steps and loss of sanity. No danger of losing our way with these two at the lead!

WalkingMaze

Like Dr. Seuss explains, it’s easy to take missteps and get lost.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

But we had such good guides, not a chance this would happen to us fortunately!

Next, while Jenna and I shopped for pumpkins, Ian bounced around on the spider web . . .

IanWalkWeb

We also visited the Micro Farm with an aquaponic system:

WelcomeAquaFarm

AquaponicsJenna

Aquaponics: Growing plants in water and gravel, clay pebbles or lava rock.

We learned King Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon with an aquaponic system as a tribute to his wife.

One of their favorite pauses: The horse farm . . .

WhiteHorse2Kids

Dr. Seuss continues . . . I’m sorry to say so / but, sadly, it’s true / that Bang-ups and Hang-ups / happen to you.

No, the Hang-up didn’t happen to either Jenna or Ian. It happened to their NaNa. The Cylinder-on-Rollers looked exciting and easy . . . until I got into one and right from the start, felt disoriented and dizzy and not very smart. Still, Jenna and I persisted through to the end – with less than wonderful results.

I’m physically fit and strong for my age (so I’m told),

but when I exited the roller I felt much less bold!

I had to wonder the truth of the Seuss line “You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Yet, I suppose these closing lines below from Dr. Seuss still would apply to us. We made it to the end of the course, more or less . . .

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Seuss’ shouts optimism and assurance on his last page:

Today is your day!

So . . . get on your way!


Have you done something lately to get out of your comfort zone, maybe even made a fool of yourself? Any memories of antics in times past?

Coming next: Quiet Lives Matter, My Brother Mark

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60 thoughts on “Ian and Jenna’s A-Mazing Mystery Trip with Nana’s Twisty Turns

      1. Only because I have just returned from a Writers Retreat to the fullest in box ever and for the last 2 days have cleared it, so as mail has come in today I have read and replied if I had something to say( it won’t last) ha ha….Similar but due to the climate based around water 🙂

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  1. It looks like you had such a fun day with your grandchildren. I hope it’s a memory they will treasure. (And you’ve conveniently supplied them with photos, video, and blog post. )
    There’s a popular corn maze in our area, but I’ve never been there. I know they have a hayride, too, but I don’t know what else they have.
    That roll the cylinder looks very difficult, and I’m certain I’d be a dizzy mess!

    I do a “bootcamp” class nearly every Saturday, so I’m usually way past my comfort zone then! As for making a fool of myself? Probably more times than I can count. 🙂

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    1. I’m curious what your boot-camp class involves.

      You push yourself past your comfort zone in other ways too. Encyclopedia-type writing for publication and creating poetic lyrics on your blog shows some of the many ways your stretch yourself. We may wear out, but we certainly won’t rust out!

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      1. Yes indeed, Marian! We’re going to hang on strong for a long time!

        The usual Saturday instructor never does things exactly the same way. There is usually some opening “warm up,” which may take 20 minutes and usually involves running, but sometimes might be a pushup or burpee drill. That’s every bit as awful as it sounds. Then lately we’ve been doing stations (2 or 3 people to a station) for a minute each, and then you move to the next thing. The stations are both strength and cardio.
        Today I’m going to do a spin class, and then a bootcamp class. Then I’ll come home and collapse.

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  2. Oh my gosh what fun. I love that place. I’d like to go there one day. My daughter Gloria and her husband and six children moved close to us, so I’ve been spending a lot if time with the children and they’ve been coming over a lot. They’re attending our church. It’s wonderful to be with all of them. Yes, the younger children always want me to come out to play with them. I do but after a while I throw myself on the leaves and tell them Wella is an old lady I have to rest. They laugh and say “Come on Wella, you’re not old. I’ll race you. Ugh. I always prayed to have them close now I do, as much as I get tired I look forward to see them. They’re coming over for the evening for dinner and a movie. Yes can’t wait for this evening. So nice to have grandchildren.

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  3. I can hear the excitement in your voice describing all your antics. Activities with grand-kids are not for the faint-hearted. When it’s all over, we come home and collapse – ha! Good to see you here today, Gloria.

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    1. I realize now how much I am mimicking what my Aunt Ruthie did for my sisters and me as children. My mother didn’t drive and besides she was so busy keeping up with her family of six she would hardly have had the time for such extra-curriculars. We were my single Aunt’s “children” too, and as such she opened us up to worlds beyond our sheltered fences.

      Yes, it was a magical day, but the whole gang ended up tired, and one of us both tired and dizzy. 😉

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. I’m glad you enjoyed the video. Now if I only could have stood up at the end, but that was the reality. Such is life!

      I remember our laughing together in February; we’ll have to do that again sometime.

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  4. That sounds like a great day out, with or without kids!
    Last time I made a fool of myself was in Croatia this summer trying to climb on the inflatable climbing wall/pyramid floating on the sea and going down the slide. My husband succeeded, but I failed miserably. I had a wonderful time, though, and I am still laughing about it today! 😉

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    1. Fatima, I would love to see the video of your adventure – if there was one! Climbing on an inflatable “wall” on the sea in Croatia sounds very difficult to me, but at least you tried.

      I think the trick is to push ourselves sometimes, even if it means we fall short of success.

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        1. Let’s hope you were on a harness or had a safety net in place. But since it was an inflatable apparatus on the sea, probably not! It sounds like the combination of bravery and foolishness worked for you – this time. Ha!

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  5. Marian — As evidenced by the great photographs, a GREAT time was had by all! You were an extremely good sport inside that cylinder-on-rollers; your middle name could be Persistence. Thank you for sharing your adventure!

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    1. You are generous to dub me “persistent.” If my Jenna hadn’t been grinding at the wheel beside me, I may have chickened out and stepped off the rollers. Truthfully, I couldn’t let my grand-daughter see me as a quitter. That’s the gospel truth, Laurie. 😉

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  6. What a good sport you are Nana! I don´t think I would have been much better in the cylinder on rollers. Always fun to do things with the grandkids isn´t it? I love how you used the Dr. Seuss quotes to compliment this post.

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  7. You’re such an adventurist Marian. It looks like a lot of fun, and kudos for you going into the cylinder roll. I got dizzy just thining about being in it. You sure fill your grandkids with lovely memories. 🙂

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    1. Call it chutzpah or stupidity – anyway I gave it a whirl. If I could have just remained upright I would have probably been okay. But curled into a ball, I became helpless. Jenna and I have had several edgy experiences, the one before this the rainbow cake creation.

      Thanks for reading and commenting in this corner – always appreciated, Debby.

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  8. A good day had by all …nearly all I’m sure Nana was fine after a cuppa😄 The joys of grandparenthood .
    As you are probably aware after I have been writing to you for all this time , I tend to be the shy retiring kind and yet somewhere deep inside there is a great big ‘show off ‘ that reveals all at times .
    The one time that sticks in my memory is the first time I took my 10 year old son ice skating .
    ‘ I don’t like to show off Cameron but I am natural on ice ‘ I said to my son who looked on with huge eyes trusting my word . What I didn’t tell him was yes I was good in my teens but I’m just scraping the barrel at 40 now ( that was then ) and hadn’t been on the ice for a number of years .
    ‘Just follow me son you can’t go wrong ‘
    Yes you’ve guessed it flat on my back in seconds , Cameron completely upright . Then here comes the embarrassing thing . Out of nowhere a large group of teenagers all gather round me and heave me up like a sack of spuds ( potatoes ) . Cameron couldn’t wait to tell his dad when we got home 😂🙃
    Cherryx

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    1. Cherry, I don’t see the shy, retiring aspect of your personality in your comments; you seem extrovert-ish and engaging on the page here. I know other readers find your stories entertaining as well; you are quite the story-teller.

      I imagine If Cameron had a smart-phone back then, he probably would have taken a video. Wouldn’t that be something!

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  9. Out of my comfort zone? My recent post on the old Dixie flag, because I don’t want to be divisive. But it definitely picked up new readers,.Going to the recent Allume blogging conference (conferences or seminars are not typically out of my comfort zone) brought a push in a good direction to write on topics and issues that matter. Various speakers reminded us that like it or not, we are “influencers.” Hmm. You’ve been that for me, too, in a good direction!

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    1. It works both ways, Melodie. “As iron sharpens iron,” when we encourage one another in new directions, some of them way out of our comfort zones.

      About your post this week: I don’t think writing about an inflammatory symbol like the Confederate flag is divisive in the hands of an astute writer. You do show the rationale on both sides of the issue and you inspired many to respond. You definitely stayed true to your “Finding Harmony” blog theme. Incidentally, the comment by Sharon Clymer Landis inspired me to click on her website where I found a lovely reflection on God’s care.

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  10. The maize we went to with our grand daughter and youngest grandson was a country enjoyment. Even though some of the schools in the Jacksonville area go to Conner’s as a field trip, this experience would do so much for other kids who know nothing except perhaps a housing project.

    A farm experience would also be great for high schoolers who find that the worst part of their day would be to not get a Twitter, Facebook pict or text from one of their friends.

    Although I only had limited work experience on a farm for a summer, the memory of that hard work was positive. Maybe there wouldn’t be so much bullying, laziness, and violence in some of the school for those with a similar experience. How about a slogan for some High Schoolers which says “PUT ‘EM TA WORK” and do a google search to find the nearest ranch or farm and sign up as part of their academic experience..

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  11. Thanks for sharing this Marian! What fun was had by all .. all you need is to bend, and get to nearly the end; if more young ‘uns had good outdoor fun, and did some playing in the sun, and had a grandma and pa, they’ll surely go far … (apologies to Seuss) .. 🙂

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  12. Marian, what a delight this is!
    Your pictures and wonderful writing would make an excellent children’s article (check all the magazines for details, including HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN for next October); they would also make a terrific picture book.
    Beautifully done!

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    1. I usually never imagine much past my blog post. Thank you for the nudge to think outside the boxes and for being such an insightful friend and encourager. I need to put on my explorer glasses and follow up on this. 😉

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  13. That roller looked like hard work. I seem to have spent most of my life outside my comfort zone and being thrown in at the deep end. Right now it’s driving that makes me feel that way but I’m told it will get easier.

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    1. Trust me, driving will get easier. You are a pro at hopping over comfort zones, from what I have seen on your blog.

      The problem with the roller was that I felt dizzy from the very beginning, so it was all downhill from there. Ha!

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  14. Marian … If every child and adult had the fun, family experiences yours do, what a wonderful world this would be.

    I admire your courage on the rolly thing. I remember crawling thru some dinosaur exhibit at the Brevard Zoo. Great fun! But I wouldn’t try out the zip-line. (It flies across an alligator pond.) 😉

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    1. The roll-y thing looked like fun until I walked into the cylinder. Then there was no backing out. My integrity as a Grandma was at stake here!

      Ziplining is/was on my bucket list but I wouldn’t consider it over a pack of alligators – that’s danger x 2 – too much!

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  15. You have such a great time with your grandchildren. I’m happy to come along on the ride. My favorite Seuess lines from this piece: “I’m sorry to say so / but, sadly, it’s true / that Bank-ups and Hang-ups / happen to you.” I’ve been in a mess of laborious income tax-related work. When was the last time I played? Ah, when my wonderful helper brought his two dogs over. Willow and I both played.

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    1. And I’m happy to have you “along on the ride” too. Reading is much safer than riding roll-y balls.

      If it’s any comfort, we have had Hang-ups and Bang-ups too with our taxes; we have been “through the mill” – UGH! Twice audited by the IRS, we finally hired a CPA who specializes in representing people who have odd careers like artist and writer. She’s Italian – and fun! Who ever heard of such a combo. By the way, did you notice that you wrote “Bank-ups”? Perhaps a Freudian slip. You got me chuckling anyway. 😉

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      1. Oh, for crying out loud, the joke’s on me. I typed “Bank-ups” when Seuss intended “Bang-ups.” Maybe I was thinking about our audit and the fact that we had to shovel out more money to the IRS. 😦

        (Spell-check doesn’t catch these things, corrected now.)

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