Monday, October 20, 2014

I Might Still Be Tired

Friday, I spent the day at the pumpkin patch with my littlest pumpkin:
 It was his first field trip of the year, and although I have gone on a pumpkin patch field trip every year for the past five years, this one took the cake. It was the best experience for the kids I have seen yet--lots of hands on exploration. I also learned that going with my son is very different than going with my daughter. This was my group for the day:
 They are the sweetest boys, but they wore me out! We started our day with a hay ride out to the big pumpkin patch. I had thought the patch was big, but it was the pumpkins that were big! They turned us loose to explore and climb. I just tried to keep up and keep track of my crew.

Then we played on the playground and had lunch, which was easy enough. It was a great little playground, complete with plenty of balls. But the highlight was the corn maze. Before we went in, each child was given a bag to collect three ears of corn. They were also told to get one stalk of sassafras and a sunflower. I am counting it a personal victory that I didn't lose anyone in the corn. There is nothing quite so terrifying as three little boys in brown shirts setting off into the stalks in search of corn; the path is clearly there for everyone else.

In a moment that is still making me chuckle, we tried to get a picture of the class with their sunflowers in front of the sunflower field after we left the maze:
It was like a Where's Waldo of kindergartners.

Then, we got to go feed the animals all that we had gathered:
 The goats were a highlight, but we also saw cows, horses, chickens, and pigs. It was great for the kids to see how the food was grown and then actually get to feed it to the animals! Once we were out of food, we picked our own pumpkins and then headed home. In short, it was a perfect field trip...with one tiny glitch:
That is a small sample of the patch I brought back in my shoes. When we were in the big patch, we had lined the kids up on the edge of the cornfield to take a picture. All the adults went into the patch to take said picture, and once we had snapped it I was the lead duck to get out. Unfortunately, that meant I discovered this particular part of the patch was essentially quick sand. Both feet went in deep and were firmly stuck. My only option was to pull my feet out of the shoes. Thankfully, another mom helped me dig them out, and I had a water bottle in my purse to give them a quick rinse after I dumped the mud out of them. It was hysterical. The boys were just beside themselves, and Evan earned some serious cool mom points because I laughed and just walked out of the patch in my socks. In fact, his buddy loudly declared I was a cool mom because I didn't scream. I'll take it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

This sums it up...

From Evan to his father last night:

"You messed with the dancer, now you have to deal with ninja." (Insert ninja ready position here and a look that would intimidating if he was taller than four feet.)

Dinner is never dull around here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful...

I'm working from home most of today. I have meeting with some teachers at the kids' school mid-day to work on their accreditation report, and we have Issa's parent/teacher conference right after school. I will leave right from the conference to head to work and teach.

I will be forever grateful to have a job where I can do this. I will work late tonight grading to catch up, but I have the flexibility to be at the kids' schools when I need or want to be. In fact, it's highly encouraged and supported. That flexibility makes some of the other craziness so much more bearable...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Glimpse Into Another World

Finally, the last of the weekend round up...

Friday, we attended what just might go down as the best school event in history. All four of us agree, which should tell you something.

The Latino PTSA hosted a Latino Cultural Festival, and let me tell you, they did it right. For one evening, even though we were in the same gym, I truly felt like I was in a different world. They had created activities for the kids about actual Latino culture--not the Anglo version you typically see. They had Day of the Dead activities and Carnivale activities and activities I couldn't completely place. They had fabulous music, live dancers, and an authentic taco truck. The event followed their cultural norms--including a focus on people rather than time--and all of the activities were conducted in Spanish. It was awesome.

Kids I knew that typically speak English to me were running up, excited to share their culture, in a frenzy of language I didn't speak. At times I felt so lost and overwhelmed, but every time I realized this is what so many families feel like every day. And while that certainly wasn't their intention, it was a great experience for me. I stretched a little bit, and I learned.  And although I couldn't translate, I understood those kiddos.

The kids just had plain fun. Brad and I learned so much, and it was fun to watch the evening unfold. I feel like we all grew a little bit--hearts just a little bit bigger. New connections were made. It was good.

On a side note: It was also the first time Evan has ditched us for his friends at a school event. I will admit my stomach hit the floor when he ditched me to sit with Allison during the dance show; so it begins.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Quiet Moment

As promised, I am working my way backwards through our weekend. Saturday was a blur of activity. Issa had two birthday parties, Evan and Daddy had a date at the museum, we had friends over for dinner, and we camped out in the backyard. A blur.

But...in the midst of that chaos, I got an hour and half all to myself. Issa's second birthday party was of the drop off variety, and it was just far enough away that it really didn't make sense for me to drive all the way home when a coffee shop was much closer. So, once she was happily dropped off, I made my way to a coffee shop.

I'm reading a biography of Branwell Bronte right now, which I realize makes me one big nerd. It's a book I have been trying to get my hands on since undergrad, but it's very rare. Brad managed to snag me a copy at a used bookstore, and it will probably always be one of my very favorite gifts from him. It has that lovely old book smell, and the fact that he remembered that I wanted to read it is priceless. I'm truly enjoying it, but it's not an easy read by any stretch. Since my usual reading time is right before bed, I haven't been able to spend as much time with Branwell as I would like. But Saturday, I settled into a corner booth with a pumpkin spice latte, cinnamon scone, and Branwell. And for an hour and a half it was quiet and I was awake. It was lovely.

I love the hustle and bustle of our home. I love being Mom, and I love family time. But every once in a while, a little quiet is golden loveliness.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Drizzle

I had fall break at the end of last week, which basically meant I caught up on everything I was behind on. But, this weekend was fabulous. I think I will tell the tale backwards, though.

Yesterday, we went to church and then headed straight to the pumpkin patch. It had been our plan all along, but the weather was not ideal. It was chilly and a little misty, but the patch assured us everything was up and running. We asked the kids what they wanted to do, and they were too excited to wait. After a picnic in the van, we headed in, beginning with the annual pumpkin measuring pictures:

The patch really did have most of the activities under tents, and the kids couldn't wait to jump in the corn crib:

Playing in corn is the thing they look forward to the most:

They were also excited to milk the "cow:"

We were terribly amused that this is still exciting considering they have spent the summer milking real goats. And they were still excited to feed these goats:
We then headed out for the tractor ride, but this year we decided to get off and do the corn maze. I'm not going to lie: I was really concerned for a minute that we were not getting out. It was one too many twists for this mama, but we made it! We even brought home some corn to add to the fall decorations:
Once we rode the tractor back to the patch, we had way too much fun choosing pumpkins. They planted a weird pumpkin patch this year, which was filled with over 20 varieties of odd pumpkins. The field was a muddy mess, and I was too focused on staying upright to snap any pictures. So...the grand reveal will have to wait until carving day. Daddy is most proud of his; it looks like a brain. Need I say more?

So...although the weather was not ideal, it did make the leaves pop and the maze seem a little spooky. I would say that it was one more great day at the pumpkin patch.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This Face

This face is why I get next to nothing accomplished in the evenings:

Yes, she fell asleep sitting up last night. As soon as I sit down with my computer to write, she snuggles up. And when 60 pounds worth of puppy wants to snuggle, you snuggle. She might drive me crazy, but she is also one of the two sweetest dogs I know. I think I'll keep her.