Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Fest and Jack-o-lanterns

Wednesday night we went to Pumpkin Fest at our church. It was a lot of fun, and I'm sure it will be a yearly tradition for us. The Varsity had a truck there, so we ate a yummy supper before we started all the booths. We even got to have some roasted corn with our hot dogs. The corn wasn't from The Varsity though. There was every kind of sweet treat you normally find at a fall event. Caramel apples, ice cream, popcorn, candy, and cotton candy. Andrew decided that was what he wanted our treat to be. So we stood in line and got one to share. Coleman didn't want any part of it. Andrew tried to eat it, but the texture wasn't his favorite. So Brent and I ate most of it. Just another one of those parental sacrifices.

After we ate the cotton candy, we started playing and doing the booth games. What event is complete without a bouncy house? The boys loved it.

I had to work a shift at our class's booth, so Brent and the boys did several fun games while they waited on me. They did beanbag tosses, football throws, and Andrew played a rousing game of musical chairs. Brent was unable to document those with the camera however. Wrangling the yahoos was job enough, he said. After my shift was over, we played a few more games.


The fishing hole - Do you see the nice man in the chair? Andrew beaned him with the bag of candy when he reeled it in. He was very nice about it and said it had happened all night long.

They had set up a little hay maze for the preschoolers. Coleman chose to play on the playground instead.

After the playground, we came on home. It was a really fun night.

Then last night, Brent and the boys carved our pumpkin.

They really got into scooping out the goop this year. Lots of laughing went on.

I found one of those kits that has patterns and special tools to use. Brent said it made the pumpkin carving and scraping much easier than using our regular knives and metal spoons. The designs were fairly intricate, so Brent finished the carving after the boys were in bed.

It turned out great, and the boys loved it when they saw it this morning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preschool Party

Today was Andrew's first holiday party at school. He got to dress up in his costume, and I got to go help with the party at the end of the day. Many, many thanks to Amy who kept Coleman for me to be able to go!

Two and a half years ago, when we found out that Coleman was going to be a boy, I told Brent that when they were two and three they'd be Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Halloween. I have been looking forward to this costume for a long time! Fortunately, Andrew loves it too. He has been so excited all week about wearing his Thing 2 suit and hair. I had thought he'd be Thing 1, since he's the oldest. However, he has always referred to himself as Thing 2. Here he is before school this morning.

When I got to the school, Andrew's class was outside. He was extremely easy to spot. I could not believe he still had on his hair. I figured he'd have gotten hot or tired of it around 10 and it would be inside. Wrong! The teachers made a point of telling me how he wore it all day long. He didn't take it off until he sat down to eat at the party.

getting ready for the party and lunch

Andrew's classmates included Snow White, a ladybug, Pooh and Tigger, Dorothy, and a Halloween princess.

munching on a frozen banana

After lunch we did a candy corn craft. I mean, project.

Finally, it was time for cupcakes! I didn't get a picture before he ate the face off of it.

The party was really fun. Stay tuned for more of Thing 1 and Thing 2. . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aunt Mer Mer

Aunt Mer Mer came for a visit this week! She arrived Sunday morning and stayed until Tuesday night. We had a lot of fun while she was here. This time, we were a little more low key with our activities. We ate at Cracker Barrel, took her to the library, ate at Lawrence Pharmacy, saw Green's Grocery, played at home, and went shopping at the outlets. Here are some pictures from her visit.

playing with the new sand table

reading time

art time

baking pumpkin bread

Andrew loves to help cook. While his egg-cracking ability has improved tremendously, you can see we still need a little more practice measuring flour. And you can see he's at that "weird smile" stage.

Aunt Mer Mer, we had so much fun with you. We can't wait to see you and Uncle Roger at Christmas! Thank you for coming to visit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gold Brook Pumpkin Farm

Saturday afternoon, we travelled out to Gold Brook Pumpkin Farm. Gigi and Papack took the boys to a pumpkin patch at the beginning of the month and got lots of pumpkins, so we didn't get any this time. We just went for the other fun activities available. It was pretty chilly, so they kept their jackets on over their pumpkin shirts. There was also a huge corn maze, but we decided against that for this year.

sitting in the biggest rocking chair they've ever seen

getting ready for the hayride

Andrew and Daddy on the train ride. We tried and tried to get Coleman to look at the camera, but he couldn't take his eyes off the engineer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Painting Pumpkins

A few days ago, I saw a friend's blog about painting pumpkins with her girls. Andrew and Coleman both love to paint, and so I thought this would be a great activity for them. Saturday night during the Tech game, they got to paint their pumpkins while Daddy got to watch the game uninterrupted for a little bit. You can see they both enjoyed it, and took it very seriously.

I love how focused Coleman is on getting the stem just right.

Andrew is still getting used to having his right arm available. You can see him holding it up in the air like he used to with his cast.

So this is just pitiful. I didn't take the official finished pumpkins picture that night because I wanted the pumpkins to be dry and the boys to be clean. After the pumpkins dried, I put them in Andrew's room so the boys could enjoy them. I kept meaning to make that picture, but didn't get around to it. So Brent comes to find me the other day and is holding Coleman's pumpkin. Which has rotted from the bottom where it is easy to see that it is broken. Thinking back, I remember finding both pumpkins in the hall one night, but I didn't realize Cole's was broken. By the time we found it, it was way beyond saving. So we just quietly put it in the trash.
Here is the picture of the boys with Andrew's finished, dried pumpkin. Coleman has just been told that his pumpkin broke and had to be thrown away. His face is the epitome of disgusted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Charleston - The (Very Long) End

On Tuesday morning, the rains had stopped, but it was still cool and overcast. We decided to take a carriage tour of the city. We found it very interesting that the city closely regulates this industry. The carriages must each stop at a booth near the market, register their mules and driver with a city worker, and then get assigned their route for the tour. I thought we'd see all the famous sites, but it was completely random how we were assigned the route. They use a lottery type machine that spits out a ball telling the driver what route we are to take. It really makes sense, since they couldn't possibly have all those carriages tying up traffic seeing the same things all the time. Our driver was a young guy named Mike who did a terrific job.

Here's a picture of Laverne and Shirley, our mules. I don't know why in the world we didn't get a better picture, but oh well.

We toured the northeast corner of the city, south of Broad, and the homes along the battery. Mike pointed out a ton of interesting, historical things. We were really impressed with how well he knew his American and European history. Here's a great example of the wrought iron that is on lots of gates and fences in this district.

I thought these were the prettiest hanging baskets I have ever seen.

The houses were built one room wide and very long to try and take advantage of the sea breeze. The little door on the front faces the street and is called a privacy door. The porches, or verandas, run the length of the house and face a garden.

I can't remember the name of the family who lives here, but they have continually lived in this house since colonial times. The only exception was for the few years when Cornwallis lived here and made it his headquarters. After the war was over, the same family moved back in and its descendants still live here today.

This park, White Point Gardens, is right on the battery. We walked down to it Tuesday afternoon to do a little reading and relaxing on the benches under the oaks. It's also where 49 of Blackbeard's pirates were hanged. Charleston has a very colorful history!

These are just some pretty homes along East Battery Street.

This home was at one time the largest private residence in the US. It has over 24, 000 square feet. It's now a museum that you can go and tour.

The front doors of the home are Tiffany glass and are insured by Lloyd's of London.

The historical preservation movement is huge in Charleston. If you even want to get a new roof in certain areas, you must have committee approval and must post the permit during the work. There is a rule that nothing older than 75 years can be removed. This little hat man is painted on the side of a store. The building used to be a haberdashery. Now it's something else, but since he's older than 75, he can't be painted over. He has to be maintained just the way he is.

The Customs House where Cornwallis used to work and the dungeon is on the bottom floor.

Shortly after "The Late Unpleasantness" (aka the Civil War), Charleston was hit by an earthquake that measured over 7 on the Richter scale. Of course, the city was destroyed all over again. Many of the buildings that had survived the war were badly damaged, but there was no money to rebuild them. So someone came up with a bolt system. All over the city you can see lines of earthquake bolts around buildings. Apparently, it was a pretty good fix since the buildings are still standing.

The tour company we used is housed in a red barn. Brent wanted a picture with one of the other barn inhabitants.

looking up Broad street

White Point Gardens on the battery

looking down the battery

homes along the battery

Okay. Here's a picture that really shows off Jonathan.

While we were walking the battery, we saw a troupe of dolphins playing in the shallow water. This is the best picture we could get. They were jumping and splashing all around.

Rainbow Row. It is impossible to get a picture of it like you see on postcards.

looking up East Bay Street

Our last night, we had dinner with a friend from high school, Michael Sanders. He was nice enough to take a picture of the two of us together, looking more rested and relaxed than we have in who knows when.

We had a super time, and will definitely be back.