Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Off to the Farm

Last week Chica and I went on our annual pumpkin picking fieldtrip with her preschool. For the last eight years we had gone to this one farm which now is apparently closed. So off we went to another farm on a glorious day. This was the first time that I can remember when I didn't have at least two kids with me for this fieldtrip!

We took our tractor ride soon after we arrived so that we could get that done before the busloads of other kids arrived.

After that fun ride we spent some time feeding the animals. There was an adorable litter of baby piglets, goats, cows, and a peacock. Oh, and not to forget these lovely llamas (or alpacas?) and their pretty teeth.

We walked through the Hay Maze with the kids and got them all to pose together when we were done.

Finally, it was time to pick the pumpkins. Whereas in the past we got to actually stop in the pumpkin patch during our tractor ride and pick pumpkins right off the vine, at this farm we were directed to a specific area where there were pumpkins were sitting on the ground.

Chica made her "final" choice a handful of times. She spent time inspecting and reinspecting her pumpkins and then repicking. I never thought I'd get out of there.

But alas.....she made her final-final decision. And one cute pose before we departed.......

Celebrating Six

Three weeks ago tomorrow Luke turned six. As always, it is a very challenging time a year to schedule a birthday party. The sporting events and the Columbus Day holiday throw a wrench into my planning every year!!

Luke really wanted to see the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs so we invited some of his friends to come see it with him. The kids all came to the house first and we played a couple of games and then went right to the cake, ice cream and presents.

I decided on cupcakes this year and decorated them with 'spaghetti and meatballs'. I thought they actually came out so cute. I spread some yellow frosting on the bottom then squeezed yellow tubed frosting with the smallest tip. Then I put on some red frosting from a tube (bigger tip) as the sauce and topped them with Boston Baked Beans candy. I had gone up and down the aisle at the grocery store looking at the candy and the Boston Baked Beans were the closest I could find to meatballs. Most of the kids pulled them off and put them on the side of the plate when I told them they were candy-covered peanuts. Oh well...they looked good anyway.

My big six year old during his birthday song...

Luke was super excited to get some Bionicles, games and cool army-guy stuff. All were right up his alley. After presents, the crew below loaded up and headed to the theater to watch Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 3-D.

It was a fun afternoon of celebration for Luke and his buds!

Friday, October 23, 2009

When Mats Attack

It's always when Chewie is looking his absolute cutest that I start feeling the mats of hair around his body. And the mats continue to expand and multiply until it is too late. This is the second time that our little cockapoo has gone from this.....

to this......

That cockapoo coat is tough to maintain. It requires lots of ongoing maintenance which we, as a family, are just not good at. It would be easier if Chewie liked being brushed!!

Luckily he doesn't mind the cold. He's a tough little 7 pound cockapoo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pure Fun - The Series

Last weekend at Ben's soccer game Chica had a playmate, Mr. K, a brother of Ben's friend and teammate. They were having lots of fun playing while I was trying to catch some pictures of the boys playing soccer. I moved myself to the opposite side of the field for a better angle and a little while later I saw these two running toward me, having a grand old time. Luckily I was armed and ready to shoot a series that is too cute for words.

They stopped and stared at me when they realized I was pointing the camera their way. They almost looked guilty.

And then said 'ta heck with it and kept right along with their fun!

I don't know whose idea it was to hold hands and run, but it was so darned cute. They were just having the best time, their smiles so big and genuine.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


It's not Thanksgiving yet, but today I was feeling very thankful for a few things.

I was thankful for the bright sunshine that helped warm the cold temperatures so Luke and his team could play their soccer game without completely freezing.

I was thankful that there were no conflicts with the other kids' activities so that I could be there to watch Luke's game.

I was thankful for the sun so that I could get some pictures of Luke playing. Conflicts and cancellations have made that difficult lately.

I was thankful for Luke's good mood and willingness to play and try hard.

I was thankful that his efforts paid off with a goal.

I was thankful that I was there and could pull it together to lift my camera and grab some pictures of his excitement.

And thankful that he has a great, patient and supportive coach.

And lastly, I am the most thankful that 11 years ago today Chris and I were married and began this family. Happy Anniversary, hon. Love ya.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tractor Mac - Way Back

It has been a long, long time since I posted Way Back Wednesday. This seems like a good time to post a before and after of my boy, Ben, at our popular area fair. This fair is a annual fall tradition. And the last couple of years we have been pulling the kids out of school a little early to make it even more special and exciting.

So the 'way back' part relates to a red tractor which Ben was very excited about back in 2003 (he was 2 1/2 years old) because the tractor looked just like the tractor in the book Tractor Mac. In 2003 we took this snapshot of him standing in front of Tractor Mac.

The same as every year, Tractor Mac was again set up outside the building with the cows, sheep and llamas. We had Ben, now 8.5, pose for another picture. I guess we've been feeding him well. Look how this boy has grown.

So we did our fair thing....got food...went on lots of rides....looked at some animals. I had my Canon ELPH and I can't stand the quality of the pictures compared to my other Canon. But here are some highlights.

The whole crew posing

Luke and friend Jessica on the bumper cars.

The ride Chris went on. Jack went on earlier and wouldn't go back on with his Dad when he wanted him to. Chris was right in the front.

Chica and Dad on the merry-go-round. She wasn't much of a daredevil. She wouldn't even go on one of the moving horses.

Jack, Ben and Jessica on "Niagra Falls"

Coming out of the haunted house.

Jack being a trooper and taking Chica on the train.

Milking the cows....

Me and Chica.

And one of my highlights....the Belgian horses pulling competition.

All in an afternoon's fun.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Off to the Orchard

After a long tag sale day Saturday and lots of football and yard work on Sunday, I left Monday open to do something fun with the kids. We hadn't been apple picking in a while, so we packed up and went to a local orchard. The weather started off perfect....sunny and a little cool.

There were lots of smiles (and photo opportunities) to be had as we waited for our ride out to the orchard to begin.

These two were particularly mushy and ready to pose for me. This picture alone (aside from the bad exposure on Chica) made the trip completely worth it.

There were lots of freaky and cool decorations but the kids weren't at all fazed.

I made them pose next to this fake carcass hanging but as you can see, Jack was just ready to get to some apple picking.

The apples ready for picking were mostly empires and red delicious. The apples weren't as big I was expecting, but they were very tasty.

Chica was pretty focused and finished filling her bag first. Then she patiently waited for her brothers to get out of the trees with their bags.

Next step was the pumpkin patch. The pumpkin selection was extremely sparse, but the kiddos did end up finding a good sized pumpkin each.

As we waited for the tractor to swing back by and pick us up I grabbed a few more pictures of the crew.

We certainly weren't dressed for a possible Christmas card picture with these outfits. Luke just wanted to finish eating his apple.

Now to figure out what to do with all these apples!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Debut in Net

This past Wednesday Ben had an early evening home game. I was surprised when I looked across the field during warm-up and saw him with the bright yellow pinny and goalie gloves on his hands. He had not played goalie for the team yet this season. I was secretly bumbed because I love watching him play in the field. But I also knew what he was capable of in goal....because he has no fear and is not afraid to dive or sacrifice his body. I've seen him make some pretty amazing saves in goal.

The beginning of the game I still had some sun to work with so the pictures were fairly clear. He made it through the first half without letting in any goals. But his team was clearly dominating and most of the action was down at the other end of the field.

He went back in goal in the second half and I was really surprised. Usually they switch it up at the half. But he continued to keep the balls out of the net.

The sun went down behind the trees and the lighting was just not good enough for my camera to get crisp action shots. So my best two action shots of him in goal are on the blurry side. But I liked them too much to exclude them!

Here he is focused and ready to take a shot by the other team's best player. Saved that one.

And here is his coming out to meet his opponent. Aggressive move....

He finally was subbed out by a teammate in the middle of the second half for a chance to play out in the field. He proudly left his position in goal with a shutout.

He was eager to run and played well and aggressively while he was out. The team ended up with a nice win to start the holiday weekend!