Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oktoberfest Famers' Market

 We went to the Pumpkin Weighing at the Oktoberfest because we thought it would be cool to see giant pumpkins, but the boys were bored after approximately a minute and a half.  On our way back to the car, we went down to the Farmers' Market, which was really cool.  DoodleBugs had a kids tent, so Mattie and James got to make visors, and Mattie had a tiger painted on his hand.  Then we had some ice cream and walked along the path near the waterfall.

We came back in the afternoon and did the hayride (very nice, past the scenic old train depot, complete with a delicious cup of cold cider) and scarecrow-making, and then went to Island Park for the playground.  They had German music, beer, and food there as well -- Mattie loved the spaetzle, and Mike and I had a great chicken schnitzel sandwich (James liked the pretzel with cheese).

I was excited for the "Big Chicken Dance" because I envisioned a park full of people all chicken-dancing.  Alas, my enthusiasm was not shared -- the "big" chicken dance was perhaps 25 people.  Ah well, at least we introduced Mattie and James to this important cultural tradition.  :)


 As part of the local Oktoberfest celebration, a florist's shop had a "make your own scarecrow" station.  Matthew was pretty excited about this, and luckily, we found it (it was a bit off the beaten path from the rest of the activities).  I was expecting table decoration sized scarecrows, but these were full size, taller than us scarecrows!

Matthew and James are hoping that yellow jackets are also afraid of scarecrows, but I told them not to get their hopes up.  :)  (Fortunately, we got rid of the yellow jacket nest in the front yard, so that's not quite so much of a concern any more!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday Night at the Drive-In

 One of the local burger & ice cream places near us has a classic car gathering on Tuesday nights.  (How do we know this?  Because apparently someone mistakenly put our phone number on the car club flyer, so Mike was fielding calls asking if there was a car "cruise" that evening!)  So, we headed over to the former drive-in (now you actually go inside) for dinner and playtime.  It was a beautiful evening -- the boys got to play on the playset, we saw some cool vehicles, and they even had a DJ playing golden oldies (50s-60).  This place is just so idyllic!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let the Patching Begin

The pumpkin patching, that is!  It's just the start of pumpkin patch season, but I don't trust October weather, so we seized the moment and went on Saturday.  Kelkenberg Farm is not far from our house, and it was great!  The kids especially enjoyed the pony rides, the hay ride, and the straw maze.  We thought it was cool that the hay ride went to an actual pumpkin patch -- although the fact that pumpkin vines have prickles was an unexpected surprise!  Of course the boys wanted to pick out the biggest pumpkins they could (and why not, since it's included in the admission fee), and they had fun washing them off, too.

There was an opportunity to pet farm animals (which the boys didn't much care about), rubber duck races with an old-fashioned pump, and getting to make their own rope (including picking the colors, which the boys loved).  All in all, a fantastic afternoon!

(Oh, and Mike's favorite?  The sugar and cinnamon donuts!)

Let's Go Fly a Kite

 Hey, this windy weather is good for something!  :)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Book Fair

The boys' school had a welcome back Book Fair (fundraiser, of course), and Ice Cream Social.  The boys had fun picking out books.  Matthew was particularly excited to find a Plants vs. Zombies one.  :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Matthew and the Big Questions

Matthew has been asking questions about death a lot recently, and in particular has been worried about me dying. (I have assured him that I hope to be around for quite some time.)  I think this is maybe just a developmental stage, but I'm not sure -- death has been very much on our minds recently because a close friend of mine, Darcy, was in hospice care for the last month and died last week. We have intentionally not discussed this in front of the kids, but I wonder if Mattie heard something that worried him.

Last night Matthew said, "We have a lot of days before we die, and it's like unlocking new levels in a game."  I said, "Yes, we learn new things and have new experiences every day."  Then he said, "When we die, it's like the levels end, but just in our mind.  The days still go on."  (Wow.)

Then later he said, "I wonder what will happen when all the people die. I know dinosaurs won't come next because they happened before people.  So it's dinosaurs, then people, then something else.  I hope it's not monsters!"

(James, on the other hand, doesn't seem to really get the idea of death yet, or even of people being sad about others dying.  He will discuss it quite cheerfully, like it's a math problem -- given their age, how many years might people have left?  He was doing this at dinner one night when Grandma and Grandpa were here, going around the table, and said to me something like, "When you die, we'll be grown-ups, with kids of our own. So, that's all right!"  Meanwhile, during this conversation, poor Matthew's face was getting paler and paler, and then he burst into tears and jumped into my lap.  "Mommy, how long can people live?"  "Well, some people live to 109."  "I want you to live to 109!")

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Alter Ego

James is a very good-natured, cheerful little guy, but his stuffed Angry Birds are not such a pleasant bunch. (Maybe it's just because they're supposed to be angry??)

We found his little Yellow Bird (who had been missing for a few days) in the car the other evening, and James said, "This is his home."
Me:  "Don't you want to take him inside, so he can be with the other little birds?"
James: "No, they don't like him. They peck him."
Me:  "Well, maybe you can help them all get along and like each other."
James:  "No, they don't listen to me."

(That cracked me up.)


 The boys are loving their new playset!  The neighbor kids are pretty excited about it, too.  :)