Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Season 2012

Have you ever thought about the Holidays? HA, of course you have.  Not the usual way but I mean, have you ever thought about how one day suddenly becomes a week or “twelve days” of holiday?  Well, it is not just the twelve days of Christmas and Thanksgiving weekend, Halloween is the same.  Besides the usual Trick or treating there are other fun Fall activates families can do to “get in the spirit’.  We choose to take a family trip to the Pumpkin Patch, carve pumpkins, visit the Woodland Park Zoo Pumpkin Smash and decorated spooky cookies. 

We went a record number of days without rainfall this year in Seattle.  As we entered the second week of October, I started to ponder wither or not there would be any mud at the Pumpkin Patch this year.  As it turned out the weekend we had planned to go, the rain finally started to fall.  There was defiantly a short of puddles for jumping but we did manage to find some dirt and get dirty as we adventured around the Pumpkin patch with Grandma Laura and Grandpa Mark. 

I always love watching the kid’s faces on these adventures.  They get so excited that their eyes light up and they squeal with excitement.  We told Issac he couldn’t get a pumpkin he couldn’t carry… OOPS! He took that as he could get EVERY pumpkin he could carry.  Quickly the cart started to fill up with Issac sized pumpkins and we quickly had to explain to him that he only gets to take home ONE.  Josie loved running around & climbing on the various hay stacks.  She quickly became a pro at sticking her lil head through the wood cut-outs for pictures.  She would climb up, stick her head in & say “cheese”. 

The weather had turned chilly and we were lucky to have a break in the rain while at the pumpkin patch so we headed back to our house for some of my homemade twice baked potato soup to warm up.  After lunch we played with the kids and had some cookies before Laura & mark headed home to Marysville.  We carved our pumpkins the next evening.  However, once we got four pumpkins topped and gutted the kids & us were spent.  Sadly, we never carved pumpkins into them (I know we dropped the ball).  But we did place them outside until they got black & rotten. 

The third weekend of October we used our Zoo membership to check out the Woodland Park Zoo Pumpkin Smash.  We took a small break and enjoyed some hot chocolate & cupcakes inside the food pavilion and watched various animals interact with pumpkin through the day.  I must say though, the penguins were the most enjoyable to watch.  Maybe because we got a front row seat or because the zoo keepers had drilled holes in the pumpkins and stuffed fish inside so the penguins were going wild for them pumpkins and it was as if we were watching a penguin game of football.  As usual our family had a good time and both kids fell asleep on the drive home. 

The last weekend of the month we had a visit from Grandma Melanie.  My Mom arrived Friday and took the kids & myself to lunch at Sizzler.  We spent the evening at the house and I made dinner. After dinner, my Mom & I went & tried our luck at the Muckleshoot Bingo (no winners). On Saturday after breakfast we went to the Supermall where my Mom bought the kids & herself new winter coats among other items.  Before dinner we made homemade sugar cookie dough.  If you know anything about sugar cookies, it is that the dough has to be chilled over night.  After breakfast, while Tyler took the kids on a walk Sunday morning, my mom & I rolled out & baked the cookies.  After lunch we had a blast decorating the pumpkins, ghosts & other Halloween shapes.  Issac loved the sprinkles, he used the entire jar!!! Josie kept sticking her fingers in the icing and going, “yummmm”.  After the cookies, my Mom headed home.  We had a great visit. 

Well, I think I proved my point.  Halloween is not just one night of candy horting.  Halloween is a mini-holiday season of its own.  We enjoyed October, it was a busy month with a new 7 exciting adventure each weekend.  My next post will be about Halloween, because the day was so cool, it gets it’s very own blog post.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fort Vancouver

The first weekend in October we traveled south to visit Tyler’s brother Jayson and his wife Andalyn in their new home in Camas, Washington.  They recently moved from Spokane so that Jayson can attend Chiropractor school in Portland.  Knowing that his mandatory credit load is between 22-28 credits each quarter we knew that once his classes started he would have little free time for visitors so we planned our trip for the weekend before his classes began.  We arrived Friday night after dark.  However, we were still able to get in some play time & brownies and ice cream before bed.

Saturday Jayson made us breakfast and Andalyn packed us a picnic lunch and we all loaded up and adventured to Fort Vancouver, a United States National Historic Site.  It was AMAZING.  I bet we didn’t even get to see half of the place, it was so huge.  When we first arrived we were in two-hour parking.  We walked down to the airplane museum and went inside to check it out.  It was beyond what we could have imagined.  There were plans from every time period, flight simulators and more.  After visiting the airplane museum, we walked up to the playground to have lunch.  The guys moved the cars and then enjoyed some Frisbee. 

After lunch we took a mice walk through the grounds garden and adventured into The Fort area.  For a steal of a deal- $3.00, you can get full access including a personal audio tour, and a few demonstrations and small presentations by employees dress in appropriate period attire.  The audio tour was detail and to be honest with two small children, I only caught bits and pieces but I and everyone thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The children were getting restless so we left before seeing everything but we plan to make a visit in the spring and walk the trail along the Columbia River to downtown. 

Both the kids took naps in the car on the way back to Jayson & Andalyn’s place.  When they awoke, Tyler and Jayson walked with the kids to the neighborhood park to play while Andalyn & I stayed behind as she prepared enchiladas.  After dinner we all watched Ferngully, read some books and horsed around with the kids before bed.  In the morning, Jayson made breakfast and I took the kids for a walk before we headed out for lunch at my Grandpa’s house in Salmon Creek. 
Above- coming back from the park
Bellow- the kids with Great Grandpa Phil

We had a nice four hour plus visit at my Grandpa Phil’s house with his wife Barb, my uncle Greg and Cousins Emma & Jacob.  The kids enjoyed some time in the back yard, smelling the flowers and picking apples and veggies from the garden to bring home.  We don’t get to see this part of my family more than once or twice a year so it is always good to catch up.  After lunch, we headed out for the journey home. Our trip south was a perfect mix of family and fun.  We can’t wait to make our next trip south in the Spring. 

End of Summer Fun

The third weekend in August, Tyler’s company held their first company picnic in 3 years.  During my first pregnancy, Alaska Distributors was purchased by Columbia Distributing and there hadn’t been a company picnic since.  Ironically, I remember  the details of the event because at the time Tyler’s brother Jayson worked for the company’s Everett warehouse so we went to the picnic with Jayson & Andalyn.   I also remember the event because it took place the Saturday before we found I was pregnant with Issac.  The previous company used to hold an extra large BBQ in their parking lot, with a food spread, a band and a TON of BOOZE.  It was defiantly an adult only event but a good time. When Tyler came home and told me about this year’s picnic I was excited because it was a family event. My Mom was already coming down to spend the weekend with us, so she came along. The picnic was held on a particularly warm summer day at Remlinger Farms in Carnation. I looked online the place looks super cool and next summer we plan to go check out the park where there are miniature carnival rides. However, the company picnic area was seperate from the public farm, being secluded& very nice. The company had a beautiful area with DJ who played music and flip cup type games, face painting, a small jumpy house and a large inflatable super slide all in a large open field area. Then you crossed over a little creek on your choice of two walking bridges and there was a beautiful food spread of burgers, hot dogs and all the fixins and sides, an ice cream freezer full of single serve and a table of chocolate chip cookies. There was a small playground, a fenced in toddler play area, a beer & wine bar and pony rides!!!!!

Our trip to Remlinger farms was a great family day. My kids LOVED every single part of the day. Issac got his first ‘face painting” of a spider on his arm and loved it. The only down fall was that the children had to be 2 & up to go on a pony ride. So although Josie was able sit on the pony & pose for a picture (or two or three), she wasn’t able to go on a ride So there’s a reason to go back next year, because Josie didn’t get to ride the ponies (hehe). Issac however got to ride the ponies twice, once before lunch and once before we headed home. Plus, both kids napped on the way home, that’s a two point score!

Nothing says, “End of Summer” like Labor Day weekend.  Saturday we took the kids to see the Circus at the Kent Showware Center.  It was the first show type of activity we have done with the children and they loved it.  Of course they got a little un-interested during some of the acrobats but man, we sure all had a fabulous time.  From the elephants and camels to the mix of dancers and acrobats, the entire show kept Issac captivated and Josie shaking it. The kids favorite part of the show was the animals.  Towards the end of the two plus hour show they were getting tired and hungry so I pulled out some milk and goldfish to hold them over until the end.  Nothing says BIG KIDS like being able to sit through a two hour show!!!

On Sunday we got a special visit from Aunt Nicole & Uncle Warren who joined us on an adventure to the Zoo.  Nicole hadn’t been to the zoo in over eight years and warren was completely unsure of when his last visit was so Issac took it upon himself to show them around.  We saw all our favorites from the Lions to the elephants and gorillas and penguins.  Before we left, Auntie Nicole took them in to the Zoo store & let them each choose a toy & a hat.  Issac got a helicopter and Josie got a little stuffed monkey that came inside a banana purse.  To top off the trip, Auntie Nicole & Uncle warren bought the kids their first ever dose of cotton candy, which we enjoyed in the park before walking back to the cars.  The kids both slept on the way home and then we enjoyed a yummy barbeque dinner. 

That was it, summer was over.  Not working or having children who are school aged I didn’t even realize the activities we would be missing once Labor Day passed.  On September 17, we took both children to see the dentist for the first time.  The appointment was at 3pm so Tyler could also attend and assist with the kids.  It was hot, hot, hot outside that day.  I loaded up the kids and told them we were going to the Splash Park….When we arrived the splash park was wrapped up in yellow “caution” tape with a sign stating that they would be re-opened next Memorial Day.  Issac was crushed and it was all my fault.  We and meet Dad at a regular park before the dentist and all was eventually okay.  However, all that week Issac told people, “The splash park is broken until next summer”. 

There you have it, the end of summer. We had such a great time this Summer, I can't wait until next Summer already....or maybe that is the rain outside speaking.....