Love Overflowing

Tailgate Party!

I am going to start out by saying that I am not a real big football fan. It’s not that I really dislike the game, I just honestly don’t understand it all that well. That said, I never turn down a chance to have a good time away from the kids with my husband.

Stephen’s work bought a huge block of tickets to one game and offered them first come – first served to the employees. Not only were the seats amazing, but they were having a tailgate party before the game. Free food, free drinks and fun. Unfortunately, it was friggin’ cold! Our winter has been unusually mild but, of course, the day of the game and tailgate was miserable. It was cold and rainy. Think 38 with yuck wind. We were troopers though and bundled up in the name of burgers and mimosas.

My sister-in-law and her boyfriend met us for the tailgate and the game. It was nice to get to spend some time with them, even if there wasn’t a lot of conversation involved. After we froze, we headed to the dome for the game. Our seats. Definitely not like the seats Stephen’s dad has. We were behind the goal post and only about 8 or 10 rows up. You could actually see the players and the cheerleaders. It was so funny seeing middle-aged men with their binoculars ogling them during their dances. Unfortunately, the Rams are horrible this year. The game was pretty close though for a while and we thought they were going to pull out a win. And in true Rams fashion, they blew it.

Despite the loss, we really had a good time. The tailgate party was fun and our wonderful seats made it okay.

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Christmas Traditions

The weather has been unseasonably warm for December. We decided to take advantage of our good fortune and take a quick walk down Main Street. Their annual Christmas Traditions were taking place and we wanted to check it out. We didn’t get to experience everything that was offered since we were short on time but Emily got to meet many of the characters down there.

Apparently, many people had the same idea we did with the gorgeous weather. The sidewalks and shops were packed! I would like to make one more trip down there. They have a “Santa send-off” parade on Christmas Eve that I would like to take the kids to if the weather cooperates. I think that would be a good tradition to start.

By the way, I swear Zachary was there. He just isn’t in any pictures since he was strapped into the stroller and not real willing to cooperate, hence our shortened visit.

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A visit to the jolly fat man

The kids and I decided to head over to the Bass Pro Shop to check out their Winter Wonderland last week. I have heard that it is a lot of fun but it is super busy. We live very close to the store and know that traffic is atrocious on the weekends and try to avoid the area at all costs. I decided that I would take the kids to see the fat man after Zachary’s nap one day so that we might have a fighting chance of seeing Santa without feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Wonderful decision!

We headed over there around 3:30 and there was one child ahead of us to see Santa. Poor little girl was about 2 or so and wanting absolutely nothing to do with him. Emily took her turn and sat right down on Santa’s lap. She told him all the things she wanted for Christmas, the big one being a new bike. She also told him that Zachary loved cars and he wanted a trike. When it came time to have Zachary sit on Santa’s other knee I began to question whether or not he would do it. It took a little coaxing and arm twisting but he did it. I am sure I told him that we needed a picture for Gaga at one point. I can bribe that kid with Gaga all day long. He wasn’t too sure of the situation but we got a decent picture and that’s what counts!

After we gave Santa our list, we decided to check out all the fun things Bass Pro had set up. We rode the little carousel three different times. It was awesome! There were no lines; no waiting; no worrying about what animal we were going to sit on. The kids got to play with the remote control cars and even take target practice with the toy gun game they had set up. Zachary loved the train set they had set up.

Definitely a good experience. Definitely glad we went during the day.

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Take a (short) hike

A few weekends ago we had beautiful weather. We decided to take a drive after Zachary woke up from his nap and enjoy the rest of fall. We ended up at Klondike Park near Augusta. One word- beautiful! There are tons of trails to explore and a scenic overview to walk up to. We didn’t have time to hike through the woods, as the rain clouds were moving in but we did have enough time to hike/walk up to the scenic view. It was a pretty steep walk up but Zachary trudged along pretty well for being a little guy. It was a slow go with him but totally worth the view. We decided that we needed to come back in the spring. Both kids will be a bit older and we will be able to explore a little better.

Of course, I had to snap a few pictures.

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Another patch

Pumpkin patch that is! Stephen took a day off and we headed to a new pumpkin patch with the kids after Emily got out of school. We have been to this place to pick peaches and apples but never pumpkins. Note to self: go in the morning. We went after lunch and the place was full with school groups. Needless to say, we had a bit of a wait before we could get our wagon ride out to pick our pumpkins.

The kids didn’t mind so much because they got to play in the castle, go down the slide and play in the greenhouse. After about an hour, Zachary was starting to get tired. Luckily they were finally ready for us. It was pretty cool because we had the wagon and the patch all to ourselves. The neat thing about Herman’s Farm is that you get to pick and cut your own pumpkin. We have never been to a place like that. Normally they are already picked and sitting waiting. It was a lot of fun walking through the field, trying to find just the right one. Although, I think Zachary’s feet only hit the ground a few times. He was so tired that he didn’t want to walk much. We did find some pretty awesome pumpkins. Stephen even found this a big one for us. We’ve never had a big, big pumpkin before. I swear this thing is 30+ pounds!

Now…What  should we do with all of our pumpkins?!

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Pumpkin Land!

I love fall. I love pumpkins and going to pumpkin patches. There are so many in the local area to choose from. One that we have gone to for the past 3 years is right across the river. Pumpkin Land has a huge are for the kids to play in. They have zip swings, a huge pirate ship and a corn maze just to name a few. You can spend a several hours there while the kids burn off energy.

We got there shortly after they opened this past Saturday. After the kids played for a few minutes we headed over to take a wagon ride around the farm. They take you on a tour of their farm and try to explain some of ins and outs of the farm. I think Stephen and I enjoy the wagon ride more than the kids but that’s ok. They get to play and we get to sit for a few minutes. After we were through with our wagon ride, the kids played more. We tried getting some pictures next to the big pumpkins. Try being the operative word here. Neither one of them really wanted to cooperate at the same time. We then decided that we would try the corn maze for the first time this year. It was fun. Took us a while to find our way and I ended up carrying Zachary the last part but we had a good time.

You can’t leave Pumpkin Land without picking out a pumpkin or two! We also left with quite a bit of homegrown produce as well!

PS- We also discovered that Zachary really dislikes the feel of hay. It’s pretty amusing…..

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Staying busy in the afternoons

Zachary, of course, still naps in the afternoons. I have been trying to do some more one-on-one activities with Emily during that time instead of spending the precious hours cleaning while she watches a show on TV. There are still days where it’s necessary because, well let’s be honest, the bathroom is not going to clean itself and she only wants to help for so long. We have been finding some stuff to do though and it’s been fun.

Flipping through Family Fun magazine a few weeks ago, I ran across “Jar-o’-lanterns”. They looked like an activity that Emily would have fun with and was easy enough to do. Surprisingly, I had no empty jars on hand. During a Wal-mart run one day, Zachary and I found a case of canning jars for $5. The craft possibilities with them are endless. That afternoon Emily and I got to work painting. We did the activity a little different since I couldn’t find the painter’s tape. We painted faces onto the pumpkins and we made ghosts as well. Cute and fun. One ghost resides at Grandma’s house and the rest of our creations have a place of honor on the mantle.

While Emily was painting the jars, I decided to make a ghost. I found an old pillow cover in the basement and painted a ghost face on it. I then used a couple of styrofoam bowls and packing pouch things to give it shape and strung plastic string through it. It is hanging on our porch. We are getting all decked out for Halloween.

Our next activity arrived in my inbox one day, bird seed ornaments. (I’m a little smitten with Hoosier Homemade. So many cute ideas and wonderful recipes.) The best part of this activity, I had all of the ingredients in the house already. Yes, even the bird seed. Emily decided that she had to be fancy while she made yummies for the birds. She did most of this herself as well. My tip- use thinner cookie cutters. If you use thick ones, don’t fill them all they way. Takes forever to dry and impatient mommies little girls cannot wait and tend to break off pieces. Although, those broken pieces were lots of fun to the one year old that loved throwing them on the driveway.

activity #3 actually involved Zachary. Surprise, surprise I found it while surfing Pinterest. This hand art screams fall. Emily did a great job with it and really went to town with the falling leaves. She never does anything half way. Zachary really didn’t care for the paint on his hand and arm. And he didn’t really want to cooperate with the leaves so I was happy with what we got. I am used to Emily, who loved painting and coloring at his age. I know, two totally different kids. These pictures now grace the walls in our living room.

The last activitiy was just something I decided to do. Probably got the idea from Pinterest. I could probably find the link if I took the time to look. Zachary and I poor kid has to run all these boring errands with me were in JoAnn’s Fabrics the other day on a mission when we ran across these 3d cardboard letters. I chose a “J” to play around with. I panted the sides of the letter with some acrylic paint and then traced the letter onto some scrapbook paper that I had in the basement and then used modpodge to adhere the paper to the letter. After it dried, I put another layer of modpodge on and sprinkled some clear beads on it to give it a little depth. Then I sprayed an acrylic coat on it.

Seems like a lot of activities but they weren’t done in one week. I actually did have to do laundry and clean the bathrooms at some point.

 

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It is fall… It is fall….

The leaves are falling every where. Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin mousse. Oktoberfest. Apple picking. That’s when you know that it is fall. The leaves haven’t started falling yet but the morning chill is here to stay. I have to say, fall is probably my favorite season. I love all things pumpkin and Halloween. We usually celebrate fall by attending our local Oktoberfest and go apple picking. Knowing that we had a busy calendar in October, we decided to lump the two into the same weekend.

Saturday morning we loaded the wagon in the car and headed down to Main Street to enjoy the Oktoberfest parade. It’s not a major parade but it’s fun nonetheless. The small crowd definitely gives it a small town kind of feel. And more candy Emily would tell you. Even though Zachary went to the 4th of July parade this year, he still wasn’t sure what to think when the bands came by. He finally warmed up and was waving at every one as they walked past. Emily, on the other hand, is an old pro at parades. She can turn on the charm and get tons of candy thrown to her.

After the parade, we headed across the street to the park to check out the rest of the festival. We stopped at the kids area for some fun. Both kids had fun in the bounce houses that they had set up. Zachary thought it was more of a comfy area to take your socks off but he’ll get the hang of it. Then Emily painted a pumpkin to take home. After burning energy in the kids area, we headed to the food tent. It was only 11:30 in the morning so we decided that it was a little to early to partake beer but we did have a yummy German lunch. Weisswurst, Schnitzel,  German potato salad, potato pancakes and applesauce. Yummy in the tummy!

Oktoberfest was a success!

After church the next day, we decided to forgo Zachary’s nap and head to Grafton for apple picking. This was our third time picking apples at Eckerts. It had kind of become a tradition in our family now.  We got to take a hayride to the orchard and then pick apples. Emily and Stephen went one way and I took Zachary down another section. Zachary wasn’t as interested in picking apples as much as picking up rotten apples and seeing how far he could chuck them. The boy has an arm on him! After we got our 17 pounds of apples, we headed over to the kiddie area. Emily and Zachary got to ride a couple of rides and Emily rode the pony. Everyone had a good time.

Our apple supply has dwindled dramatically! We have had apple pie, “baked” apples and apple sauce. Up next is apple coffee cake! Enjoying the fruits of our labor.

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Yo Gabba Gabba, YO!!!!

Zachary loves the show Yo Gabba Gabba. He will actually watch a few minutes of it before he runs off to find something to destroy play with. That’s a record for him actually. He really loves the music. I can’t tell you how many times a Yo Gabba cd has saved me from listening to epic meltdowns on car trips. After a late night and an early morning Zachary wake up, Stephen and I brought him to our bed. It was too early for us to function. He kept saying “Watch show. Watch Gabba.” He would slide off the bed and try to open the TV cabinet in our bedroom so we would turn on a show for him. That’s how much he loves Gabba. Heck, he even chose his own Halloween costume, Brobee.

Last year, Stephen, Emily and I went to see the Yo Gabba Live show. We met up with my sister, her husband and her daughter. The girls had so much fun. It was a great show. This year we knew we had to take Zachary to see the show. He would be in toddler heaven. Emily and I were hyping up the show a few days prior to the show. We had him to the point where he would yell “YO GABBA!!!!”. It was pretty hilarious!

We even found a Brobee shirt for Zachary to wear. It’s been hanging in his closet for a few weeks. He has been asking to wear it. By asking, I mean screaming and pulling it off the hanger. Mean mommy that I am decided that we couldn’t risk any stains so it stayed in the closet. I made a Foofa shirt for Emily. I used iron-on paper, an image of Foofa and fabric paint to make it. I also made her a Foofa flower headband out of an existing headband, felt and pipe-cleaners.

The show, of course, was great. We got there a little early so we could peruse the merchandise stand and get the kids some souvenirs. One we might regret because it plays lots of music and Zachary loves it but that’s ok. The kids were able to get their picture taken at the Kia backdrop and with a Muno cutout. There was still some waiting in our seats. Zachary was starting to get a little antsy right before the show started. When the lights went down, he crawled up on my lap and didn’t know what to think. When they brought out Brobee, he started waving. He was in Gabba heaven. He watched with open eyes. Emily sang and danced. I have never seen Zachary sit so still in my life. He would just sit there and take it all in.

It was a great show. Definitely worth skipping the nap. You really can’t go wrong with Biz Markie and I Fight Dragons.  Emily’s favorite part was when they sprayed the crowed with confetti and snow. Zachary loved the whole show. Hopefully they will come back again next year. If both kids are still into Gabba, you know we will be there@

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Play Ball!

While we were on vacation, Stephen discovered that the Cardinals were selling $5 tickets for Labor Day. Emily had been asking to go to a game but we weren’t sure how Zachary would do. For 5 bucks, we’d take a chance. The four of us got tickets for under $32 with all the fees. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

We didn’t realize that we would have had such a busy day the day before since we had originally planned our family visit on Saturday. It would all work out. Zachary slept for about an hour on the way from Mt Vernon so he didn’t want to take a cat nap after lunch. He is a busy, busy little boy. Let the games begin!

Zachary lasted a few minutes up in the seat before he decided that he needed to play with a water bottle. I kept imagining him pouring water down the poor lady in the row in front of us. He was pretty peturbed when I took the bottle away. So he decided that he needed climb off and on his seat. Kicking the ladies in the process. I decided that it was time for a walk. We walked down to the team store and got him a new hat and Emily a pom pom. We walked along the lower level for a bit before we headed back to our seats for a bit. Emily and Stephen were enjoying the game while we were gone. After a snack break, Zachary and I headed out for more walking and exploring. I honestly can’t tell you the score or any plays of the game. We did have fun though. Stephen and Emily got to watch several innings of the game. Stephen got to answer a hundred questions. Zach and I got our exercise in. I especially did on the way back to the car. Zachary was done walking. He wanted carried. And not by daddy.

In the end, the Cards lost. It was cheap family fun and Emily got to go to a game. Win, win situation.

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