Another Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin Patch 2014
We are super lucky to have an amazing community of families. We do play groups once a month, and October is always a favorite. We head to Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm for their hayride and pumpkins. It’s not a super crazy place for pumpkins, so it’s perfect for toddlers and their little siblings.
This was the third annual trip to the pumpkin patch. Our group has changed quite a bit in the past three years! We’ve added families; families have added members.
There was recently an article about playgroups that went around the internet, talking about the magic that these groups can hold. Some have it, some don’t. Ours has it. I know that even when our kids are scattered and in different schools, we will still have our community. Even if we only get together once a year (likely with the annual pumpkin patch trip!), I know these families will always be a part of our lives.
Oh How I Love Fresh Starts -Autumn 2014
To me, there are three times in the year when we all get fresh starts. Fresh starts to set new goals, or to recommit to old goals. These are my favorite times of the year.
The first is obviously New Years. I love to clean up all the Christmas decorations and go into the new year feeling fresh and clean. The resolutions always feel a bit forced to me because there’s that overriding sense that we will all fail at these goals. But, there is also the choosing of the One Little Word. And the new numbers we have to learn to write in the date boxes on forms.
The next time of year when we get a fresh start is Novruz. It is the Spring equinox, and a time of growth and rebirth. At this time, we get to leave all our problems, worries, and bad things in a fire to get all burned up.
The third time is Autumn. After a long, hot summer, It always feels so good to feel the crispness in the air. The light starts to change. The leaves turn red, yellow, orange. The grass turns green again. Kids and teachers are making new starts in their classrooms. They buy new clothes, pencils, backpacks. The school year is full of amazing possibilities. I always loved when it was time to go back to school. It’s no surprise that I went into teaching with this kind of attitude about school.
The summer is hard for me. I don’t like the heat – it drains my energy and creativity. I don’t like how everything looks dirty – without a good rain dust and dirt starts to build up on everything. I do have to admit that summer is a lot more fun with kids. It’s been great getting to play outside and swim so much. I also loved all the fun things we did this summer – the track meets, trips, and lots of fun park dates with friends. But I’m pretty much ready for a cleansing rain and cooler weather.
I always get a surge of energy around this time of year. Energy for decorating my house (this is pretty much the only season I actually decorate – besides Christmas). Energy for making things. Energy to work in the garden. Energy to drink tea and do jigsaw puzzles. Energy to cuddle and wear slippers. Energy to stay up late playing board games.
I know some people hate to see summer end, but I say bring on autumn! And I’m already indoctrinating Alma. I have her on the lookout for autumn – whenever we’re in the car, she’s looking for the changing leaves and yells “MOMMMMY!!!! AUTUMN!!! OVER THERE!” whenever she sees some. Hattie even pointed out a yellow tree on our walk yesterday.
So, let’s set some goals. Let’s clean up our gardens. Let’s make things. Let’s drink tea and cuddle with the people we love. Embrace it!
I will leave you with my autumn anthem by Laura Kemp. Enjoy!
New “Art” – Pressed Flower Hearts
A few months ago, I bought some clear contact paper and asked Alma if she wanted to make some art. She did, and we crumpled up tissue paper and pressed it onto the contact paper. Now whenever she sees the contact paper, she says she wants to make art. Apparently, to her, ‘art’ is anything made with contact paper. We might need to work on broadening her definition.
But for this project, it was perfect!
On Hattie’s birthday, we went to visit our friend Marilyn, and her lovely garden. She sent us home with a beautiful bouquet.
We took the petals off the flowers as they started to fade, and made some ‘art.’
I taped the contact paper up on a window and let the girls put the petals on it. We found that throwing the petals at the contact paper was the best, and most fun, way to attach the petals.
Once we were done, I put another sheet of contact paper on it, sandwiching the petals.
I pressed it for a few days, then cut it into hearts.
Family Weekend 2014 – Leavenworth
Every year my parents get all of their kids together for a weekend of family fun. I should say that it’s rare to get all the kids together, but we do the best we can. There have been a couple years when we were all there. We have had weekends at the beach, in Eugene, in Portland, in Hood River, in Umpqua. Only Jen and her family have been to every single family weekend. But, I digress…
This year we all met up near Leavenworth for an August weekend. It was a wonderful weekend. One of the best. It is definitely the best location so far! We all fit in the house and the house had great things for everyone.
Awesome toys right outside the house for the kids.
A huge table for whiskey taste testing.
A river with a little pool for playing.
Roads and paths for exploring.
A patio with enough seats for everyone.
A hot tub for playing (and relaxing after the kids were in bed).
We had eighteen of our twenty-four family members – eight of the ten cousins. Isn’t that crazy? Ten kids under 8!
We missed Dan, Nina, Ben, Devon, John, and Liam (and Chumley!)! But were happy to have the time together.
My mom (as usual) organized some fun things for everyone. She had the kids figure out how old and tall all the adults were. She asked them a bunch of great questions. We learned that Alma likes to “Um, play” and that she wants to be a cheetah. After the kids were in bed, all the women toasted their men, and we got to remember some of the other funny things we had done on past family weekends.
It was a beautiful time with some of my most favorite people in the world!
Coronado, the Enchanted Vacation
We got to spend a couple days in Coronado with some of our favorite friends. Tyler and Leia were amazing to invite us to spend some time at Tyler’s dad’s house. We thought it would be fun, but had no idea how wonderfully beautiful it would be. The house is literally across the street from an incredible beach.
And down the street from the beautiful Hotel Del Corondo.
Did I mention we were there for the Super Moon?
We spent two nights, and just spent our time relaxing. We had grand plans of seeing the pandas, but didn’t. We spent our time on the beach, in the yard, having drinks, eating amazing cheese sauce, playing, and just enjoying everything. Thank you Leia and Tyler! And Mark and Jenny! Let’s do it again!
First Stop – Huntington Beach
Our first stop on our California Adventure was Huntington Beach to visit with my cousins and aunt. We are so lucky that we have such fun, generous, funny, and wonderful family in such a beautiful town. We got in pretty late on Friday, and my cousin Michael, his wife Michelle, and their daughter Avalon had pizza and salad waiting for us. It was nice to have such a sweet welcome after our day of travel.
Alma got right to work playing in Avalon’s amazing playroom. I think she felt right at home, and Avalon did an amazing job sharing all her toys and helping Alma figure out how to use them. It was great to see the second-cousins getting along right away. They are almost exactly a year apart.
The next morning we went down to the pier to have smoothies and bagels. The kids got to run around in the grass, then we walked to the end of the pier. It was a cloudy, warm, humid day. There were lots of surfers to watch from the pier.
Before we went to California, we had grand plans of going to Disneyland and the San Diego Zoo and a baseball game. We ended up just hanging around and playing and it was amazing. We got to relax, catch up, and play.
It was great seeing the two A’s play together, and I can’t wait until Harriet can run around with them. She tried… but isn’t quite big enough yet.
When we were done playing at the pier we went and got our first In-N-Out of the trip.
The First of Many
Our first night away from Harriet.
Alma’s first camping trip.
It was quite a trip. We met my parents at their annual group camp-out. They go up the river every year and spend a few nights playing music with friends.
We have never actually spent the night at this camp-out. This year we tried.
We almost made it the whole night. Jesse got food poisoning and we ended up driving back to the valley in the middle of the night.
Looking back, there were a few signs telling us not the try to camp. My sister-in-law had a baby that morning (we thought maybe my parents would want to go meet him right away – the decided to wait until the next day). Our air mattress didn’t fit in the tent (sweet Marsha traded us for her tent).
Oh well. At least we tried. And Alma got to experience most of the camping experience.
And Harriet had a great time having a slumber party with my dad.