Autumn Fun

October 24, 2011 06:43 by ehouston

This, without a doubt, is my favorite time of year.  Although, I will say that I miss the summer this time around.  Only because it seemed that once summer got here it was just too bloody hot to actually go out and enjoy it.  So, it felt like we spent most of the lazy days inside where it was bearable.  Lucky for us the warmth has continued into October and we have had some wonderful weekends for doing another thing I love…checking out festivals!  If it were possible I think I would try to drag the family to everything that comes up on the calendar, but since the county we live in hosts an enormous list of festivals we had to narrow things down a bit.  This year I decided that the Little Guy was ready for the Midlothian Village Day Festival, which includes a parade and mini-festival at the middle school.  The mini-fest consists of booths advertising local business information, crafts and food, plus games for the kids.  The highlight [;o)] is the entertainment.  All the local dance companies that walked in the parade send their classes out on stage to perform for everyone.  Some of them are really good and some of them are like a dance recital with the little kids going in all the wrong directions, but having fun the whole time.  It’s pretty funny to watch. 

The thing that sent the Little Guy over the edge was the parade, and especially the part when the Shriner’s raced their mini cars in all different types of intricate patterns, like figure 8’s, etc. 


Oh gosh!  Here come those crazy Shriners!



It was nail-biting fun to see if they would make it without running each other over, plus seeing all those grown men smooshed into those little cars was pretty entertaining too.  I kept hearing, “Fat guy in a little suit” from the movie Tommy Boy going through my head as they raced around.  My Little Guy loved all the cars in the parade, but in the end I think the dinosaur sticker he won at the “Dinosaur Dig” game made him the happiest.  In fact, he kept asking me to stick it on him up until the following weekend, when it finally just would not stick any more.  Oh yes, and THE CANDY! 


This was his, “look at me, I’m cute AND I have my candy bag all ready.  Will you throw some over here?  Please?” routine that he used throughout the afternoon.

I almost forgot about the candy, or should I say the current bane of my existence.  Since last weekend every day has been a battle of “no candy before (insert meal of the day here)”.  I keep telling myself he is learning negotiation skills and to stop getting annoyed.

This past weekend we hit up a pumpkin patch for “farm” fun.  We went out to Boulevard Gardens down in Colonial Heights, VA again this year.  They have a simple set up and they don’t nickel and dime you in the same way as the other pumpkin patch/farms do this time of year.  We started with a screaming run up to the piles of pumpkins…


…and followed that with a hay ride to the play area out back with a screaming bunch of kids!


In his mind it was not a “hay ride”, but a ride on a tractor!!!!  And at this point he was very concerned about the location of the tractor.


After pointing it out at the front of the trailer he was ready to start playing with the hay.  Within moments of us finding our spot and taking some pics we were bombarded, make that BOMBARDED, with an enormous group of kids from the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC).  They literally climbed all over us and pushed the Little Guy to the brink of tears by their shear rambunctiousness.  They were just excited and having a great time, but it was definitely overwhelming, even for an adult like me.  I know to my itty-bitty son it was absolutely freaky!

We decided to check out all there was to do, rather than just hitting the pumpkin patch and then taking off.  So, we walked around the play area to see what to do first.  After a quick scan and realization that we needed to let the huge group of crazy kids make the rounds before attempting to do anything, the Little Guy promptly informed me that he wanted to eat!  Just like me, he always wants to eat first.  While we were eating our hotdogs and chips he took notice of the barrel train in the distance and after hardly any actual eating, he was done!  I persuaded him to wait until I finished and then we headed over for the ride of a lifetime!



The look on his face would never give away his actual excitement at riding on a train, all by himself, around the pond, but the minute he was pulled from that dirty ol’ barrel and his feet hit the ground he demanded another ride.  Instead of waiting through that again I redirected him toward the goats, which he patted for a split second and then decided he wanted to take a spin through the sandbox.  And, that is exactly what he did.



He walked in, found some trucks, spun the wheels about 10 times, walked around the tractor tire that was embedded in the sand and was ready to go to the next thing.  I think our next lesson to work on might be patience.

As we were headed toward the pumpkin patch we learned about the hay maze- whoo-hoo!  And, we were off!


He bravely got right to it and veered off the main path to find his way out.


Then, I think he saw a minotaur because he came running and screaming out the other side.


Toward the end of the maze he cheered up again and had some fun with a few other tunnels and windows.

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch and again he went running and screaming toward the pile.  The search began….”dis one, dis one, dis one”.


After picking up at least a dozen he settled on this “lil’ baby pumpkin”.


…but wait, what is over there?


Maybe we should go over that way?


Here’s another…..

That’s when I pulled the plug on the pumpkin hunt and started hiking back toward the tractor and trailers for a ride to the gates.

Upon his insistence, we picked out one more tiny one for the dog, from the piles of gourds up front and then made our purchase.  I thought we were done, but I was wrong.  The whole way to the car he kept talking about the bouncy house, which surprised me because he never wants to get in those things with all the other big kids.  And, frankly, I don’t blame him.  They usually act obnoxious and make it miserable for the tots.  But, he insisted and I caved….only after trying to get a couple of decent shots in the flower garden first.


He agreed to show off his Halloween shirt from Auntie B, but refused to let me fix his hair or to smile.  Punk!



I got a big, “What the what?” when I tried to get him to stand with this goofy thing.  So much ‘tude!

We stood in line forever to get the two tokens to jump in the bouncy house, which almost ended before it began when he had a breakdown while in line.  He pulled himself together, but the whole time I was thinking he is never going to do this once we get over there.  Well, I was wrong!  He got right in and started going bonkers when it was empty….



…as soon as a couple of other kids got in he came over to the edge and started chanting, “out, out, out”.  I just wanted to bop him on the back of the head for this, DOH! moment. 

Of course on the way out he insisted on one last food item, which I could not resist either- kettle corn!  Man, I LOVE that stuff.  We finished the afternoon sitting on a bale of hay, getting sticky fingers while watching other kids jump and bounce to their hearts content. 

It was a lovely autumn day!

Kitsch Krafts

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The Christmas Shopping Starts, NOW!

November 1, 2010 08:55 by ehouston

It’s only November 1st and I have spent most of the day already working on my Christmas gift list.  Every year this task seems to become more and more daunting.  As all of us get older I find it harder and harder to come up with things that we need or want that we can’t just go buy for ourselves.  If the Mister had his way everyone would “get a card” and he follows that statement every year with a “Bah-Humbug”!  Sorry, but no matter how small the budget, that just won’t do!  I love making things, but find that the love of handmade does not, unfortunately, run through the family.  Or, maybe I have yet to find the right handmade things to give.  Again, this task always feels overwhelming to me.  Last year was great because the Little Guy was new and I was still in the mom-zombie stage.  So, I created a calendar with his pictures, printed that bad boy up and sent it out.  I think I better do something new this year, so I have set to work trying to figure it all out.  I will give myself a little pat on the back for having already purchased all the little kid gifts and I also placed an order earlier for one of the adults on our list.  So, that’s 6 down and about 25 to go!  ugh, I think I just threw up a little…

We did make it through another Halloween (my personal favorite holiday) and the Little Guy did just fine.  Although he would not tolerate the original costume idea I had for him and we had to REALLY simplify things this year.  We live on the main drag coming into our neighborhood, so we don’t get trick-or-treaters at our place, and since we have a 13 month old we did not want to do the trunk or treat thing and have a bunch of candy laying around calling our names.  With the coming Thanksgiving feast and Christmas baking, we don’t need anything else to run all over our moderately good eating habits.  So, this year we decided to head out to a local pumpkin patch to enjoy the scenery and take some pictures. 


(Here’s Charlie Brown picking his Great Pumpkin!)

We had a nice hayride around the farm, took in some handicrafts and sword fighting by a group of medieval festival folks and picked a pleasantly plump pumpkin for carving. 


(Here he is later, showing off his Jack-O-Lantern.)

So much for fall!  It feels like it went by in a blink.  Now, we are on to the Big One!  Are you guys making anything special for people on your list this year?  Do share!

Kitsch Krafts

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