Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thomasson Family Farm and Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday October 8th was your typical Washington morning; cold, foggy and a forecast of nothing but rain.  However, a tremendous amount of our Darcy Read Memorial Preschool parents and students bared the weather, bundled up and strapped on their rain boots for the annual trip to the Thomasson Family Farm.   We gathered up at the entrance to the farm just before ten am and were greeted by one of the farm’s owner’s- Mrs. Thomasson.  She welcomed us and explained the variety of activities we would enjoy; first up was the Hay Ride.

The farm attendants occupied the children with a fun song; “This is a hammer, this is a nail.  When this tractor’s moving keep you pants nailed to a bail.”  The farm’s fields were very muddy from the rain so they drove the kids in a figure eight around the parking lot.  The children loved the ride but were ready to attack the main event:  The great pumpkin search.  The farm was expecting many field trip groups that day and they had prepared by lining up a bunch of preschooler sized pumpkin in front of a row of flags for the children to select from.  It was run to see how each child made their selection.  Some children picked up the first pumpkin that made them crack a smile and were ready to move on to the next activity while others hustled away from the group as far as they could before making their pumpkin selections. 

While the children refueled with some chocolate milks, the farm assistants talked about how they grow the pumpkins from seeds, discussed the different colors and types of pumpkin seeds their farm uses and also how they recycle their unsold pumpkins. 

The next sets of activities were also a big hit.  First; the kids waited in line and took their turn on the Tractor Train.  When they were done enjoying the Tractor Train ride, they were free to play on the farm’s one of a kind play ground.  The playground included such a variety of activities that every child found something they enjoyed.  The playground area included a two story playhouse, a bubble wand station, a tractor, a cow milking station, slides and wooden animals.  The playground was a fabulous place for the children to use their imaginations and explore safely. 

Up next was the Corn Kernal Pit. Think of a ball pit made of hay barrels filled with corn kernals.  There were a few kids who went in and came right back out because the texture wasn’t appealing to them.  However, the fast majority of the children jumped and wiggled around with grins upon their faces.  After the Corn Kernal Pit we enjoyed a Hay Maze.  The hey maze was defiantly age appropriate for our preschoolers.  Being inside a barn in a large open space allowed the children to yell and run around. 

The final activity at the Thomasson farm for the day was an all around crowd pleaser; a petting zoo.  The farm had a few kittens, sweep, baby pigs, bunnies and a sleeping donkey.

Our group left the farm around noon.  We made it through all of the activities before the Washington skies opened up dropping rain, sleet and hail on our way home.  The field trip was a complete success because of the fabulous staff at the Thomasson Family Farm and because of our wonderful co-op families.  The children and adults alike had a memorable experience.  I was happy that Tyler was able to take a personal day from work and enjoy Issac's first field trip with us.  More fun memories ahead!

Preschool here we come

Last Spring we began to discuss preschool options for our four year old son.  With me being a stay at home Mom we felt it was important to socialize him, get him used to taking directions from other adults outside our family and also get him adjusted to a classroom routine. As we began our search we quickly realized that full time pre-k courses could cost $500 a month and up.  One perk to our location on the west hill of Kent is that we were surrounded by options.  I stumbled upon a cooperative preschool in Des Moines.  It is about a ten minute drive away and the teachers are all just amazing.  A few weeks before school started we meet up with some of the children, moms and teachers at the park for a play date.  Issac was super excited and picked out his outfit beforehand.  At the park both children interacted very well with all the students, parents and teachers and I knew it was going to be a great fit for us. 

On the first day of school Issac woke up at 7am, ate his yogurt and cheerios, got dressed and tried to walk out the door.  It was almost four hours too early! We leave at noon for preschool so an 8am out the door is a little much.  The entire morning he was filled with excitement and asking tons of questions like; “how many boys will be in my class?” 

 Above- Lunch before school.
Bellow- Josie wanted a sign and pictures too.

On the way to the first day I lost my marbles.  I took the absolutely longest way possible, driving miles out of my way to prolong the first ever drop off experience.  I had to pull over on the side of the road near Salt Water state park to vomit, no joke.  I felt guilty for dropping him off, what if something happened to him.  What if he exhibited an outburst and the adults present couldn’t handle him? What if he spent the entire class time in the corner crying?  My children have never gone to daycare and the one time we left Issac at the Ikea childcare center he was freaked out because we left him and he couldn’t find us.  Then there is my worst fear of all; what if I left him there and I never saw him again? 
I was able to breathe and I gathered my composure when a little voice in the back seat said, “I will always love you Mom but I’m four and it is time for me to go to school.”  We arrived at school early despite the long detour.  Issac was in a rush to get inside, speed walking through the parking lot & barely allowing me to snap more pictures.  We were the first to arrive.  

When we left it was Josie who wouldn’t stop crying.  She wanted to go to school. She wanted her Issac.  She didn’t want to leave him behind as I pulled from the parking lot.Day two was a little easier; on Wednesdays Josie goes to the neighbor’s to be babysat while I volunteer in Issac’s class.  Josie enjoys the time away and Issac enjoys having me in his class

 Well, I don't know about your house, but at our house Chocolate can fix almost anything. So while Issac was at his first day of school Josie & I made cupcakes.  Our mister thoughtful; Issac shared them with all the neighbor kids.

 Above- Josie's chocolate frosting face 
Bellow- Issac at pick up.
Now that we are six weeks in to the school year our entire family has adjusted.  I make crockpot meals on school nights, Tue/Wed/Thur, and we gather our clothes before bed the night before.  I enjoy watching Issac interacting with the teacher and his fellow classmates each Wednesday.  I am watching as his personality grows and changes.  I see him in a different light.  He wants to be helpful and he is usually the first person to voice concern for someone’s safety or offer sympathy when someone’s feelings are hurt.  Since going to school he has begun to listen better.  Issac has also begun to write.  He has been able to spell all of our names and our last name for some time but had shown no interest in writing until he started school.  Issac spent two weeks voicing “I want to learn to write my name and one night after dinner, he sat down and did it.  Then the next morning he woke up and asked to practice and also wrote “Josie”. 

I’m really happy in our preschool choice.  We are very excited to watch Issac grow and master new skills this year.  We are also excited to make new friends and increase our knowledge. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Six Sipresses Camping

Early on in the summer we had discussed a Labor Day camping trip with Tyler’s brother Jayson.  We haven't been camping since before we had Josie.  The age of our kids concerned me a little because of the fire and the woods.  As June rolled in to July and August approached we realized we needed to get on it.  With Jayson's school in session we wanted to be considerate and pick a spot close to them.  I had read an article online about the most kid friendly camping locations in Washington State & that is how we choose Battle ground State Park. I reserved the very last available camping site for the long weekend.  Although it was not our site of choice, our campsite was very large and fairly private.  The six of us and our three dogs had plenty of space.  

To avoid the Friday traffic madness we decided to leave Saturday morning first thing.  We stopped in Kelso where my brother is buried and dropped off some flowers on our way.  There was no traffic so we arrived ahead of schedule.  Tyler set up the tent and organized the campsite while the kids anxiously awaited the arrival of Uncle Jayson, Aunt Andalyn and their dog Cooper. 
 Above & bellow- the kids waiting for uncle Jayson & Aunt Andalyn.
The weather for the entire weekend was blue skies and sunshine.  It was almost 90 degrees both Saturday and Sunday.  As soon as we got everything set up, we headed to the lake for some swimming.

 As with any camping trip we spent some time enjoying some wonderful food, exploring the trails and swimming.  For their ages the kids did very well.  Going to sleep in the tent with ease and sticking to their usual sleep, food and pooping schedule.  Josie fell a ton so she came home covered in Band-Aids and bruises.  Issac did fairly well but he was a little over zealous with the sticks and wanted to wonder off on the trails. 

 Above & Bellow- The kids show off- "GUN SHOW"
 Bellow- Uncle Jayson gives Josie a lift on the trail.

By Sunday Morning everyone was ready to head home.  As we packed up the kids were overly dramatic and argumentative with each other and us. We took a walk after we loaded the cars and then headed home.  Issac is STILL talking about our camping trip.  I can’t wait for next summer’s trips.  Tyler & I want to go camping 3-4 times next year, we've already started talking about a bigger tent and camping locations.  I'm so happy our children love to be outside, getting dirty and using their imaginations.  Summer 2014- more Fun memories ahead! 

 Above & Bellow- hanging out around the campfire

 Tyler & Josie enjoyed glow sticks & a star gazing walk with Jayson & Andalyn.
 Sunday morning the kids wanted to do their normal gig of milk & books first thing in the morning.

 Above- Issac's guilty face!!!


The kids love their time with Uncle Jayson & Aunt Andalyn.  The time they get isn't often but when we do get together Jayson & Andalyn make the most of every moment.  They give the kids lots of attention and Issac & Josie remember every moment.