Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apples, Pumpkins and All Things Fall

That has pretty much been the theme around our house this past week. Last Wednesday we went to the orchard with a bunch of other moms. They have all kinds of activities for the kids to do. Gabe especially enjoyed the corn pool. He mostly liked to run around the edge on the bails and then jump in but he also found going down the slide quite enjoyable. Ty didn't mind it too much although I think he had a hard time getting around in all that corn and he doesn't like his mobility hindered by anything. Gabe also liked the pedal tractors, they have all kinds of pedal tractors for the kids to ride and they made a track for then to pedal around with tires. He also really enjoyed the jumping pillow, a big trampoline type thing filled with air, it is low to the ground and has sand all around it. He loved jumping on that. We didn't actually make it to the orchard part of the orchard with all the other stuff to do. That afternoon Gabe got to go on a special trip with Grandma and Grandpa on the Boone Scenic Valley railroad, I don't have any pictures or that yet but I was told he enjoyed himself until he fell asleep. On Friday the boys and my mom and dad headed up to Burt to the farm. They had to take a trailer back and Gabe loves the farm and Great Grandma loves to see the boys we we decided to go along. Gabe got a tractor ride, a mule ride(the motorized kind) and got to see Dave's goats. My grandma also has some apple trees in her backyard so we went out to scope out the apples and brought several bags back with us. I have made 5 apple crisps and an apple cake and still have a bag left. Gabe liked looking and eating all the apples. Ty even tried one although I don't think he really ate any of his. We also walked down to the beans to check and see if they were ready yet. Grandma Mel informed Gabe they were still a little bit chewy so they weren't quite ready yet. On Saturday we went out to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins. This is early for us since usually we put it off until the end of October and then only have them a week or so. Gabe loved all the pumpkins and even pulled the wagon with all of them around the shed. When we got home he designated which pumpkins belonged to which person and he checks on them every time we leave the house. On a not fall related note I found a food Ty likes! This is big news at our house since he is a extremely picky eater. I made acorn squash for lunch today and scooped some out and put it in an apple sauce container(I was trying to trick him into thinking it was apple sauce since he likes that) I tried to give him a bite and he wanted nothing to do with it. So I gave up thinking it was a lost cause and just put the spoon in the container in front of him. He then took the spoon and ate over half the container himself. I helped him get it on the spoon and he also used his hands but when he likes something I don't mind so much when I have a mess to clean up. Gabe used to like squash when he was younger but todays reaction was not the one I was hoping for. Today he gagged and I honestly thought he was going to throw up, luckily he didn't but he decided that he does not like squash. Oh-well 1 out of 2 isn't too bad!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Week Ago Today-Final Installment

A week ago today we got up early and the packing or should I say cramming things in suitcases began. We inevitably ended up with more stuff then what we took so packing to come home was a bit of a challenge. Add that 50 lb. per bag rule that the airlines have and that adds even more fun to it. Em took the morning off so she could drive us to the airport. Fortunately our flight didn't leave until 11:30 so we didn't need to be there until around 10:00. I finally got everything into our two suitcases and 4 carry-ons and hoped that the two we were checking wouldn't be too heavy. We loaded all our stuff and headed to the airport which was a much shorter trip this time around since there was no memorial dedications going on. Gabe was very sad on our way, he kept saying he wanted to stay with Em. He was definitely not ready for vacation to be over, even the enticement of getting to ride on another airplane was not helping the situation. When we arrived at the airport our big bag weighed in at.....52 lbs. The lovely man behind the counter said "this bag weighs 52 lbs. it is only supposed to weigh 50...watch it" that is it he didn't charge us and we kind of thought how in the world were we going to know the difference between 50 and 52 lbs without having a handy dandy scale like they do at the airport, oh-well at least we didn't get charged for being over the limit. We got through security no problems and sat and waited for our flight to Memphis, we couldn't get a direct flight for the way home since we used a frequent flier ticket for one of our tickets. Everything ran on time and the plane from DC to Memphis was little larger then the one we flew from Des Moines to DC. There were three seat across and then the aisle, which was nice so we could all sit together. The kids did a great job again, Ty only had one minor mishap when he got in a throw everything mood and chucked a little rocket ship into the row in front of us hitting the guy sleeping against his window. Oops the lady next to him handed it back to us without a word, I don't think they were too thrilled about sitting in the row in front of the kids. I have decided that people who get crabby at people with kids on planes have never traveled with kids on planes themselves. Our kids did a great job and I could count the number of times they were noisy on all our plane rides on one hand, we were very thankful their behavior was good those days. On the plane from Memphis to Des Moines it was pretty full so we weren't really looking forward to the flight however we were pleasantly surprised when no one sat in the seat next to Carl and Ty could have a seat all to himself for the flight. He loved being able to stand up on the seat and play with the window shade. He also liked to stand on the floor in front of the seat and play with his toys on the seat. It worked out really well and he did a great job. We arrived back in Des Moines by 3:30 and my mom was there to get us. Ty was especially excited to see Grandma and started kicking his legs and and swinging his arms in the stroller the minute he saw her. I think that made Grandma pretty happy as well. We got our bags no problem and headed home. I was sad to see vacation come to an end but glad to be home at the same time. Looking back on vacation there were times I wondered why did I want to do this with a three year old and a one year old(and a 27 year old for that matter) but then I remember Gabe's face when the train was pulling into the station for the first time, the look of excitement as he plastered himself to the window, his goofy grin while riding on the carousel, the open mouthed wonder as he watched the airplanes take off above our heads, the look of awe as he saw just how big the ocean really is and the sheer joy of just being a little boy playing in the biggest sand box that God has made and I realized that all the struggles were all worth it. I will remember those looks for as long as I live. I don't know if Gabe will remember any of this vacation as he gets older but for now I will take joy in the fact that still one week later he asks me everyday when we are going to go on our next vacation. I'd say that is a successful trip.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Week Ago Today Part 6

A week ago today we woke up to overcast skies but that still didn't deter us from heading down to the restaurant and eating breakfast and then heading out to the beach. By the time we got our suits on and made our way down it was raining lightly but decided we could weather it. It was pretty chilly on the beach this day so even Carl who said he was going to go in the water didn't venture in. Gabe still had a great time playing in the sand and letting the water just hit his toes. The waves were pretty high in the morning and had washed up lots of shells. Gabe and I found a few that weren't broken to bring back with us(since then I'm pretty sure most of them are now broken as well, oh-well) We were probably only out there 20 minutes and the rain started in even harder. We decided we better just call it a day so we headed back to our room to pack and get ready to make the drive back to DC. Gabe was not a happy camper as the rain didn't bother him in the slightest but we needed to be out of our room by 11 anyway. We left and both boys fell asleep on the way back. We stopped in Annapolis again for lunch and also tried out some ice cream while we were there. We made it back to DC and took off on one last train ride for the boys. We actually met Em at L'Enfant Plaza and she took the boys by herself on the train and then the bus(she is a brave girl) back to her place so Carl and I could go to a Nationals game. We had a great time at the game and this is the first year for the National new park so it was cool to check it out in it's inaugural season. They had these creepy presidents races, much like the sausage races in Milwaukee only with huge oversized presidents costumes. We found them amusing and kind of scary all at the same time. We got back to Em's house and heard about her adventures in getting the boys back to her place. All went relatively well and everyone was sound asleep when we got back.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Week Ago Today Part 5

A week ago today we borrowed Em's car and drove over to Ocean City. We stopped in Annapolis first to visit the Naval Academy. With only a minor mishap in directions getting to the academy we found a place to park in their city parking ramp and walked down by the city dock. We loved Annapolis it's city dock area was awesome with lots of old shops and restaurants and all the boats in the dock. We ate lunch at a neat restaurant that looked over the bay. I finally got the crab cakes i had been craving since the last time we were in the area. After lunch we walked the few blocks to the Naval Academy. I was hoping to catch their noon formation but with our extra time actually finding the academy and two very hungry boys we missed it but it was still really neat to see none the less. They have a beautiful campus and it is cool to see all the midshipmen walking around in their uniforms between classes. Everything is kept so nice and neat no garbage anywhere in site, no signs about upcoming parties, lectures, etc, everything looks so nice and kept up. Gabe especially liked the torpedoes they had on campus, I'm pretty sure he liked them though because he thought they were rockets. After we left Annapolis we drove the rest of the way to Ocean City and found our hotel. Since it was September I was able to find a pretty nice hotel right on the beach. We checked in and then headed down to play in the waves and the sand. It was pretty warm the day we were there so it made for a great beach day. Plus being a Monday in September it wasn't busy at all. I will never forget Gabe's face when he saw the ocean for the first time and how he laughed when he went in the waves. Ty really liked the sand as well but wasn't too crazy about the water, it was a little on the cold side. The first thing Ty did was pick up a large handful of sand and put it in his mouth. He soon figured out that sand is not something we eat. Carl was perhaps the biggest kid of them all(not too uncommon) he loved the waves and playing with the boys in the sand. I love this picture of the boys watching Daddy in the waves. We finally decided it was time to head in to our room since by this time it was well past supper time and we had two hungry, tired boys. We just ordered pizza to our room and everyone slept well after such a great day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Week Ago Today Part 4

A week ago today Gabe and Daddy took a special trip on the Metro to the Air and Space Museum on the mall. I stayed home with Ty as he needed to take a morning nap since we had plans for the afternoon. Gabe and Daddy saw lots of airplanes and rocket ships. Gabe loved looking at everything and getting to ride the train again. They got back to Em's mid-afternoon and Gabe had fallen asleep on the train ride back. He did not want to nap when they got back. Ty didn't do so hot with his afternoon nap that day either so we decided to head out and go to Great Falls. It wasn't too far from Em's place and definitely worth the drive out there. We weren't sure where would be the best place to park so we ended up walking a little further then we would have needed to but the view was gorgeous. There was even a brave guy out in a kayak while we were there. Both the boys loved to watch the waterfalls and just liked to be outside. After we got done at Great Falls we took Em out for dinner for her birthday in Old Town Alexandria. It was good food and the kids liked that they gave them dough to play with at the table. After dinner we went back to Em's place and ate some birthday cake that Grandma Nancy had sent out. Gabe was excited he got to help blow out the candles. After another short on naps day the boys headed to bed early.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Week Ago Today Part 3

A week ago today we woke up early but didn't get ourselves ready to go very quickly. Having all 4 of us in the same bedroom was not condusive to sleeping in but we laid around and watched cartoons and let Ty get in a morning nap before we ventured out for the day. After he slept for awhile and we all got ready we headed out to the National Air and Space Museum by Dulles Airport. We had been wanting to go there for quite awhile but it just had never worked out in the past so it was at the top of our list this time. When we got there it was lunch time so we ate at the McDonalds in the museum, $38 later(yes 38 dollars for 3 value meals and 2 happy meals, ridiculous) we headed out to look in the museum. We walked on the upper ramps first where you can overlook the floor of the museum. We saw the Enola Gay and a concorde jet. It is amazing how much stuff they have in there. On the floor Carl was amazed by the fighter jets. This one is the kind they use in Top Gun for all you 80's movie lovers out there. In the back part of the museum they have the space stuff. An actual space shuttle which is huge and many other rockets and things they have used for space exploration. There is also a tower in the building where you can watch flights coming into Dulles. They have a radio that says what kinds of planes are coming in. While we were up there we saw a 747 coming in for landing. After we spent way too much money in the gift shop we headed home hoping the boys would take naps. They didn't accommodate that request very well as they both fell asleep in the car on the way home but then wanted nothing to do with a nap once the actually had a bed to lay in. After we decided nap time had failed miserably we headed to a park at the end of the runway at the airport. We had discovered this park when we worked out there several years ago and knew Gabe would love watching the planes take off. He didn't disappoint. When they took off he stared at them with open mouthed awe and even ran after them a few times. We have video to prove it. It was extremely hot that day so we didn't stay as long as we would have liked but still had fun. It was just as well the kids needed to get to bed since nap time was very short. The grown ups picked up Chipotle and the kids ate PB and J when we got back to Ems and then went to bed.