Sunday, October 21, 2007

autumn activities

I must say, I'm proud of myself. For the first time ever, Hubby and I have found time to do all the seasonal activities we wanted with the kids. This is especially difficult for us because we only have Big Sister every other weekend and it apparently took me seven and a half years to realize that this means we need to get going on holiday stuff sooner. Usually, we end up dyeing Easter eggs hours before the Bunny is scheduled to arrive or putting up our Christmas tree on the 23rd. This year, though, fall was different. I actually got my butt in gear and made sure we did an ample number of autumn-type things before the snow came. Here's a look at what those things were:

1. About a month ago, we went apple and pumpkin picking at a local orchard. The weather was beautiful, the kids had a great time, and hopefully they have a better understanding of how apples and pumpkins grow. (This has literally been on our To Do list for seven years. It feels great to finally be able to cross it off!)

2. Last week, we went to a corn maze at Escobar's Highland Farm in Portsmouth. Unfortunately, Big Sister was tired and decided at the last minute she didn't want to go. Normally we would have just rescheduled, because of course we wanted to all go as a family, but they were having Harry Potter day. How could I resist? I wore my Gryffindor scarf (knit by my Grandmother six years ago, before you could buy the cheesy replicas they have now) and my Weasley raglan (knit by me over the summer. Yeah, I wore a sweater in 80 degree weather, but as it was the first sweater I've ever knit for myself, I'm sure you understand.). We got sorted into houses (I into Ravenclaw, the baby into Gryffindor and my husband into Slytherin. Tee-hee. He's in Slytherin.), and I took a HP quiz, which I enjoyed way too much. We told Big Sister we'll go again if she wants. I'm sure she'd have a great time. Magic Baby, my 20-month old, absolutely loved being chased through the corn. See?

The tractor ride through the farm was a big hit with him, too. What I'd like to do someday is ditch the kids (or at least the baby) and get a ton of people together, split up into teams, and race through the maze. Hey, I never said I was hip, but you have to admit that would be a lot of fun.

3. Last night we went to Pumpkins in the Park at Pawtucket's Slater Park with my parents, some friends of ours and their two little girls. There were some pretty nice hand-carved pumpkins, a few people in costumes, and a bunch of those inflatable Halloween decorations that my mom keeps buying for Big Sister and I keep "forgetting" to put up. Magic Baby liked looking at everything, but his favorite part was when I took him out of his stroller and let him run around. (Apparently 20 months is the age at which nothing beats a good run.) The pumpkins at Pumpkins in the Park were nowhere near as nice as the ones they had a few years back at Roger Williams' Zoo. Those pumpkins were amazing. They've moved those awesome pumpkins from the zoo to McCoy Stadium. From what I've heard, the pumpkins still look great, but part of the whole experience (in my opinion) was the natural vibe that came from having it at the zoo. They had incorporated the trees and landscape and everything really well, and I just don't think I would like it as much at a baseball stadium. Of course, if you happen to be a baseball fan, you might like the whole being-inside-a-minor-league-stadium aspect of it, but I still think I would miss the trees. Maybe it's me.
Slater Park also has a Haunted Tunnel. Big Sister, being all of seven-and-a-half, felt she was ready to try it, despite repeated warnings on my mother's part. She's tough. She could totally handle it. So, Hubby and my mom bought three tickets and waited 45 minutes with her. (My dad, Magic Baby and I waited outside. I admit to being a total chicken when it comes to these things.) After the long wait, Big Sister was still strutting around like she owned the place, and Hubby thought things were looking good. Then, it was their turn. The lights were dim, there were decapitated bodies all around and some creepy vampirey-looking guy with white contacts opened the door. Big Sister freaked. She started backpeddled into Hubby, pushing him with all her might. (Not unlike I did years ago when he took me to a haunted house, but I digress.) She wouldn't go in. My mom convinced her to try again, but it just wasn't happening. She said it was the white eyes that did it. I don't think my husband "laughing like a hyena" helped, but that just may be me. Needless to say, she has since sworn off all haunted houses, iParty, and a commercial for Prison Break that came on during the Red Sox game. (I'm not sure what Prison Break has to do with vampires. Except that it sucks. Yeah, I went there.) Oh, and she slept in our bed last night.

Overall, a pretty decent variety of activities revolving around the fall, I think. Hubby is going to carve pumpkins with Big Sister on his weekly visitation Thursday, since Magic Baby enjoys in addition to running, taking things that he's not supposed to have and shoving them in his mouth. I'll let him use some nice, non-toxic paint on his own pumpkin next week. And that's about it for fall. I'm always on the lookout for cool things to try, though, so I'm sure we'll keep busy. For now, I'm just glad I remembered to start early and was actually able to fit everything in for once. Next up: Thanksgiving. I wonder if it's too early to bake that pie I always mean to bring to dinner on Turkey Day and never seem to have time for?