Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin Patch FHE

For family night this past Monday we took the girls to a pumpkin patch near our home.  Originally I wanted to check out a farm/pumpkin patch called Joan's in Livermore but they close at 6:00 everyday and we started out too late for that.  But we ended up really loving Moore's, which is tucked away in the hills of what I think is Castro Valley.  Or super east Dublin.
 
 
Anyway, they have these great little wagons and the girls had a great time riding around in them.  Clara was a good big sister and held on to Rose the whole time.  She took it very seriously. 


Rose started sliding down a little and Clara thought it was a perfect position to kiss those chubby cheeks.  Rose didn't seem to mind a bit.


The pumpkins were all set up on hay bales on a hay strewn lot.  There were loads of cornhusks and old-fashioned carnival lighting and character cutouts around so it was a very charming atmosphere.  There were also a number of carnival rides, too, and we told Clara she could go on one. 





The girls were pretty content to just hang out in the wagon rather than walking around selecting pumpkins so Paul and I picked for them.  There were lots of massive pumpkins the size of Rose (which is saying something because she's pretty good-sized herself).


A little explanation behind Clara's face in the next picture:  She was not loving that Rose got the smaller, cuter of the small pumpkins.  She didn't throw a fit about it or anything (though she mentioned it) but she swapped them out and then declared the smaller one to be hers later on when I had lifted Rose from the wagon for a bit.  At least she has learned her lesson about not taking things from baby sister and waited for Rose to be "done" with it?


Rose seemed to think that uncooked pumpkin stems make good eatin'.


Clara thought it was pretty cool to be Mickey Mouse while Rose was Minnie Mouse.


Just a couple of family pumpkin patch shots to go with ones from past years in our Halloween scrapbook album.



See Clara's glee?  That's the smaller pumpkin she has now commandeered in this picture after the previous family photo op.



Paul's parents got to come with us because they are out here visiting before our annual Yosemite trip.  This is the third October in a row that they have been able to go to the pumpkin patch with us.



Clara had SUCH a fun time on the super slide and totally charmed the ride attendant so that she got to go again even though we didn't have any more tickets left.  I took her the second time and she giggled the entire way up the stairs.

 
And while Clara rode the slide, Rose decided to stand up in the wagon all by herself.  Such a big girl.
 




We kind of loved Moore's, especially since it was very different from the pumpkin patches we have gone to in the past, and we will probably go again next year for an FHE just because it had kind of that magical quality with the nighttime carnival lighting and the girls thought it was a special treat being outside late. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

September Little Things

I have a number of random photos collected over the past month (lots are instagram pics) so its time for a quick recap of the little things that have happened around here.  First up is a typical Sunday morning in our home getting ready for 9:00 a.m. church.  Because our building is shared by our family ward and the singles ward, we will always have church at 9:00 and won't switch times at the new year because the singles ward likes the afternoon slot apparently.  Paul's new calling is as 1st counselor in the Elders Quorum presidency, which means he often has Sunday afternoon and Tuesday evening meetings and/or visits but it is awfully nice having him home to help me get the girls ready on Sunday mornings after his last calling where I had to do that job myself most of the time.  I was called to be the Gospel Doctrine teacher (again! yay!).
 

My parents were in San Francisco with their gardening group in early September.  Each fall the group travels to a different part of the U.S. to learn about gardening there (I know there is more to it but that's basically the gist of what happens I think) and tour local gardens.  Their schedule was pretty packed but we snuck in one quick dinner with them in the city.  First I took the girls to see Paul in his office though because they hadn't been there and Clara wanted to see the "tower" where daddy worked.  He has a pretty sweet view.


 
We ate at the Boudin Bread Factory Restaurant for the first time.  Usually we just eat at the sandwich/soup counter below but we wanted to have a quieter area to sit down with the girls and my parents had already eaten there for lunch earlier in the day.  It was such a fun dinner and the girls did great.  Clara loved the calamari and the hot crab, artichoke, and spinach dip.  And the fish and chips were possibly the best I've ever had (and I'm not even a big fish and chips fan).




We finally got a little bit of rain around here.  Barely much of anything, but after months and months with nothing at all and the terrible drought we have been going through, it certainly was welcome.  When we woke up to a light drizzle, I let Clara go outside in her nightgown with her umbrella to enjoy it.


I'm growing out my bangs.  They are in that stage where they are driving me bonkers.  Also, I'm sort of getting desperate for a haircut (it's been about 7 months I think).  But that means finding a new hairstylist, which I hate doing.


Speaking of hairstyles, I finally figured out these rope twists on Clara's hair and I adore them. 


After a hiatus on major house projects, we are slowly getting back in the groove of things.  Paul demolished the shower walls in the master bathroom so that we could have the plumbers come in and take the double sink plumbing down to one sink plumbing and move the shower head up (the ceiling was built down and we wanted to raise them and increase the height of the shower head for a more enjoyable shower experience).  He also installed a new light and fan/vent in there, as well as new can lights in the living room, which took most of last weekend.  Hopefully he will be able to get to the lights in the family room next.  I've been working with tile guys this week getting bids on doing the tile work in the bathroom (one of the things that we have decided to sub out) so maybe, hopefully, the master bathroom will be done before Thanksgiving.


Clara and I made another paper dress in her favorite color. 


I was off doing some stuff and Paul was home with the girls on a Saturday.  Apparently Clara had a little spill and got a tiny scrape so Paul bandaged her up and told her to make a sad face so he could take a picture to send to me.  He said that she was laughing and smiling and this was the best fake sad face they could get and really her owie was hardly anything at all.


We have been watching these Chariot Cougar II bike trailer/jogging stroller/double strollers on Craigslist after a friend showed us theirs.  With Yosemite coming up we knew we needed something so we could do bike rides with the girls and I have missed being able to bike places this summer.  They are crazy expensive to buy new from REI, who makes them, but we lucked out and scored one in amazing condition for about 1/3 of the price when I saw one posted on Craigslist as part of a garage sale.  I had to drive to Berkeley to get it but it was totally worth it and we have loved going out on family bike rides again.  One Monday evening we rode with the girls to Yogurtland for Family Home Evening and they loved it.  The only problem is that it doesn't attach to my bike so it has to go on Paul's bike which doesn't have any gears (mine at least has 3 which makes a huge difference).  So when there is much of an incline and both girls are in the trailer, whoever is pulling them gets a pretty intense workout. 



Clara had her first visit to the dentist.  Zero cavities and she did awesome letting the dental hygienist clean her teeth.  I know she looks like she is not having fun here, but she actually didn't have a problem at all and was focused on watching "Frozen" which was on a tv directly in front of her.  This is more her concerned movie watching face.


We finally checked out the local Saturday morning farmers market in Pleasanton.  It is a nice one that is open year round so we will probably hit this one up fairly often. 


Clara was obsessing over the puppies and kitties at the farmers market that were looking for homes through a pet adoption agency.  For now though, there is no way that we are getting a family pet.


And that is what has been going on around here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Preschool Pumpkin Patch Trip

One of the moms in our preschool group heard that one of the local pumpkin patches did a little preschool experience for groups that signed up and it sounded like the perfect thing for our kiddos so we used Monday as our first field trip day to go to G & M Farms.  Of course Clara and Rose got to wear their Halloween outfits for the first time, which Clara was pretty excited about (everything is from Janie & Jack in case anybody was wondering).  That girl and clothes - seriously, already it is out of control how obsessed she is with dressing up.  This may be my favorite picture ever of our two little punkins'.
 

We got to go on a hay ride around the corn field where we were pulled by a big tractor and listened to fun fiddle versions of preschool songs. This is our whole group.



Part of the preschool field trip experience (it cost $8 for everything which included the hay ride, a large pumpkin, a mini pumpkin, and an ear of indian corn) included a lesson in the cornfield classroom about the farm itself (G & M is a working farm) and the life cycle of a pumpkin.  We had to walk into the corn a little way where they have created a small open space set up with three rows of hay bales and a table in front to form a unique little "classroom".  Then one of the workers had examples of pumpkin seeds, pumpkin blossoms on the vine, and budding green pumpkin knobs in early growth stages that she took around to show each of the kids.  It actually was a great little lesson totally appropriate to their ages and the kids were super engaged.


Rose enjoyed eating some puffs and looking at the corn from the comfort of her stroller.


Clara and two of her little buds, Molly and Dax.


This is the best shot I got of Clara's preschool class.  Clara is the oldest by 5 months and Molly (on the far left) is the youngest (she just turned three this week). 



After the lesson and class picture, the kids got to play in the hay maze.



And then they got a chance in the cornbox (after a much bigger preschool group moved on and it wasn't as crowded).  It's like a giant sandbox except with corn instead of sand and Clara told me afterwards that it was her favorite part of the day.  She absolutely loved it.



And then finally it was time to pick her pumpkin that came with the preschool package.  She was adamant about the pumpkin she chose and carried it down the field to put it into our wagon, then pulled the wagon all the way back to the car on her own.


 
We are looking forward to another trip to a pumpkin patch this season on a night when Paul can come too and then we will get our bigger, Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins.