Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza

Last night, in the spirit of Halloween, Greg helped the boys carve their pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.

This was a hilarious and yet extremely messy experience.

Henry kept trying to hug the pumpkin. He is an affectionate child, but really? Pumpkins aren't that cuddly.

Nick tried to draw a face on his pumpkin, and instead drew with the dry erase marker on his face.

Henry decided that the pumpkin tops made a perfect hat.

I think the guys did a superb job of carving, considering Nick had never done this before and Greg and I hadn't carved pumpkins in years! They took the task very seriously.

Nick got really excited when we added candles and put the pumpkins on the porch to glow. He kept peeking out the window looking for them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marmion Abbey Pumpkin Daze

On Sunday, we went up to Aurora with a friend of mine and her two boys to visit Marmion Abbey for the Pumpkin Daze festival. It was very cold, but the kids had an excellent time.

I really liked the petting zoo. There were very patient farm animals, and the boys loved them! Henry kept hugging the goats and sheep.

I was surprised at how kind the goats were to Henry. He was fascinated by their horns, and even tried to ride one. I stopped him as soon as I noticed, though!

I think it's good for kids to see the animals that we eat. The next time Nick and I munch on goat cheese, I can show him this picture and remind him of where goat cheese comes from: a mommy goat!

I love fall. The hot cider, the apple donuts, the crunchy leaves, all of those things can be savored at a pumpkin farm.

We have now visited three pumpkin farms this year. This one had unlimited bouncy-house visits.  :)  The boys adored the unlimited bouncy visits.

Nick liked the games, though they weren't fancy. He loves anything where he can throw stuff. I can understand the allure of that.

Nick loved having older boys to play with--he gets bored with bossing around Henry. We walked through a corn maze, too, but I didn't take any pictures of that. I find corn mazes fairly boring. Throwing beanbags is much more interesting.

This pumpkin farm didn't have carnival rides, a haunted house, or face painting. But there was a hay ride, a petting zoo, bulldozers and tractors to sit on, and a racetrack. There were also some really delicious donuts!

Henry can't reach the pedals yet, but he was sure trying!

My verdict? It was a sunny, chilly, busy day.  I couldn't feel my ears by the end of our visit, but man, did those boys sleep well Sunday night! We tired them out. I guess racing around can do that.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Brunch and a Boo-Boo

This morning we went out for brunch with Grandma Toni at Mimi's Cafe. We like going there because the servers are so good with the kids.

I had the best foamy cappuccino and yummy pumpkin pancakes, and Nick got "Mimi Mouse" pancakes. I love going out to brunch, because of the relaxed atmosphere, the slow drinking of coffee, and the joy of eating a meal over which you can pour syrup. I think Nick loves brunch, too, especially when he gets to sit next to Grandma Toni.

Oh, about the boo-boo. . . You might notice a dent in the center of poor Henry's forehead. This mark is proof that no amount of childproofing is ever enough. He slipped in the bedroom and whacked his head on the metal bed frame. Poor little doodle.

Sitting on the same side of the booth is about as close to a date night as Greg and I have gotten lately. It was nice to sit next to someone without sticky fingers and a potentially full diaper, though. We need to get out more.   :)

I love this picture of Henry with Grandma Toni. It looks like Henry is trying to feed her some Tabasco sauce. Grandma Toni does NOT like spicy food.

I'm already a little sad that the weekend is ending. I wish I could have a redo of this lovely Sunday, starting with sleeping in and a nice brunch. . .

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Halloween Party!

On Friday night, I went with the boys to my school's annual Halloween Party. We went in costume, and I was excited to have the boys all dressed up. 

Henry is a lion this year, and I even added whiskers to his face. He's been pretty snuggly lately, and he kept putting his arms up, asking me to pick him up. 

Nick dressed up as a growling bear, and he even stomped his feet and said "Grr!" upon request. His favorite part of the party was the bouncy house!

Both boys adored playing the Halloween games, though they didn't always understand the rules. 

Henry kept trying to get back to the ring toss, even after his turn was over. He loved putting the rings on the witch's hat.

Nick tried a sack race, but I don't think he quite understood the concept. He laughed a lot, though.

We hung out with a koala friend for a little while. Nick didn't understand why Koala Lou wouldn't talk to us. I told him that she was a quiet koala. Oh, and in case you didn't catch our costumes, we were "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" 

My kids had a great time at the party, and all three of us slept well last night. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Please turn in here, Mommy!

I have trouble every time I drive down Ogden Avenue lately. Whenever I pass the Cafe 'N Play, Nick starts begging. "Please turn in here, Mommy. See? There is the Cafe 'N Play! I want to play with those toys." When I have papers to grade, I give in and let them play.

This place is more expensive than a playground, but it is fenced-in, so the boys can't escape. Henry can grill us up some imaginary food, and Nick can drive like a maniac in their giant plastic hummer car.

Henry loves to pretend to shop. I wonder where he gets that from?

I usually grade papers or get work done and drink coffee while I watch the boys play, but sometimes I bring my nook and sit on the floor in the play area.

I've been known to play a little pretending with them as well. When I sit on the floor with them, I can read a book and eat imaginary food at the same time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Growling Little Bear

Grrr! Here's a preview of Nick's Halloween costume. It came in the mail today and he insisted on trying it on. Nick growled and chased Henry around for a good ten minutes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Didier Pumpkin Farm: Part II

Where was I? Oh, yes, I was telling you what an awesome time Nick and Henry I and had last weekend at Didier Pumpkin Farm last weekend. I already told you about the camels and the donuts, but this place has far more to offer.

Grandpa Mike and Grandma Patty really had fun helping me chase the boys around, and everyone was ready for nap by the end of our trip. There was dancing. . .

in a little house on the property. I'm not sure why the boys decided to start dancing (no music was involved) but they sure enjoyed this little house!

Henry got to sit on some hay. He carried it around for awhile, and I found a few pieces of it in his diaper later on. Random things always seem to migrate into poor Henry's diaper.

One of the best things about Didier Farm was the petting zoo and the pig races. I've been to many petting zoos where I felt really bad for the animals. Often they are kind of mangy and live in very small spaces. These animals seemed, clean, well-cared-for, and pretty happy.

We spent a lot of time hanging out with the animals. I loved this petting zoo. The camel took a bite out of my sweatshirt, though.

The boys went on pony rides, too. Henry kept petting his pony.

Nick was disappointed when his ride was over. I think he'd like a pony in the backyard.

As fall pumpkin farms go, this was one of my favorites so far. It wasn't the cheapest, but it had some really unique features, delicious donuts, and an excellent petting zoo. Plus, where else can you ride on a camel AND go on a horse drawn hayride?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Didier Pumpkin Farm: Part I

Last Saturday, chilly though it was, I took the boys up to Lincolnshire with Grandpa Mike and Grandma Patty. Our destination was a place called Didier Farms, where hayrides, a petting zoo, and of course, pumpkins awaited us.

I had no idea how big or how neat this place would be, and I was really impressed. First of all, the pumpkins were ginormous. Also, the attractions were really cool. Last weekend, we went to a small farm in Minooka and got an authentic "farm" experience. This place was more of a fall festival, but because of the cool weather, the crowds weren't bad at all. Oh, and they had camels.

I had never even thought to ride a camel, but I jumped at the chance to take Nick on one. The camel was "soft and nice," according to Nick, and he seemed pretty mellow. Grandma Patty said that camel-riding was on her bucket list, so she was very excited to climb aboard.

This farm also had delicious apple cider donuts. We warmed up for awhile in the cafeteria area, where Nick tried to sneak in as much junk food as possible. He had some fun times with Grandpa Mike.

We spent a decent amount of time waiting for Nick to come out of the bouncy house. He loves going in, but we have a hard time getting him out.

I have more things to show from this large pumpkin farm, but it is time for story-time and pajamas,
so I think I'll write a part II tomorrow.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Night Dance Party

Henry has been learning to dance. Nick has been showing him some of his moves.

I love weekends where we all hang out in comfy clothes and goof around. Nick always tries to steal the show, but Henry is holding his own.

Oh, and the best part of this dance party? No matter how late it ends, we all have a day off tomorrow to sleep in. (Columbus Day)