Tag Archives: Holidays

So spoiled

I’ve written a few times about the epic pumpkin patch my mom’s cousin used to own just outside of Redlands, CA. We started going there when my now 8 year old was a month old. Being family we did all the activities for free and basically for the years before we moved here, I had all the fancy (and tasty) heirloom pumpkins I could stand for free. Well change comes to us all and we, um, moved across the country. Last year I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for a pumpkin patch, plus we were super busy so we just picked up jack’o’lantern pumpkins at Walmart and called it meh. This year a friend invited me to go with her and her son to a local Pumpkin Patch (one of about 87 in a 5 mile radius of our house…turns out when you can grow things like corn mazes, people do.) I finally got my spoiled self in gear and made peace with the fact that no it wouldn’t be the same, and yes it was going to cost me both my arm and my leg. Sigh. The munchkins were beyond thrilled with the experience so I’m thinking we may be back in the proverbial holiday tradition saddle once again.


People either love these things or hate them. I hate that I love them. And the disembodied cow/sheep heads? fuggetaboutit.

I’m not sure if I can adequately express the magnitude of my gratitude, that my kids are both easily entertained and easy to please. Tire and dirt? We’re set for hours, Mom!

Not pictured is the huge silo fort with air cannons. Not sure how I was so negligent in my picture taking that I have no pictures of it’s magnificence.


But the real star, the real icing on our fall extravaganza cake was this little barn thing filled with corn. We spent a solid hour in here and they probably would have stayed longer. True I had to fish corn out of pants and skivvies, but it was the best sensory exploration activity of the whole season for all the ages. All of the things we did just reminded me and threw into stark relief that 99.9% of the time, simple is the right answer (and not just for kids).

We rounded out the day with a haunted hay ride to a field of perfectly placed (if not exactly grown) pumpkins to find our Jack’o’lanterns. Corra had a huge (fake) spider almost land on her head and ghosts came out of the trees. It was pretty great.

So next on our tradition documenting docket: Halloween itself!



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Filed under crafts, Holidays, homeschool, life the universe and everything

Very Serious Business.

My husband is the king of excel spread sheets. He has used them for everything…responsible uses like our budget/ledger and less responsible uses like possible element combinations in a computer game (there were about a billion and I don’t know that I have ever seen a greater waste of time than that game). Last night I knew our discussion of which fireworks to buy today was serious business. My husband had busted out Excel.

We love fireworks. Living in the desert is kind of a downer in that regard…you know, all that flammable brush. All aerial anythings are illegal. But we soldier on, doing what we can to eek out the most awesome Fourth of July experience possible within the confines of our stupid county laws. Sigh. Anyways, spread sheet shopping list and coupons in hand we headed out of the county this morning to buy fireworks.

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After we shopped (and I chased Miss “I’m two and have my own agenda so back on off Mom!” all over the store) we stopped at a McDonald’s play place to use up some energy before getting back in the car to go pick up our new rabbits (That story is coming soon). See that picture of Garyn? That is some nifty photographic foreshadowing right there.

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That is Naomi’s scared fairy face. She was a fairy and as we all know fairies are afraid of humans. And who knew that the coolest play place ever was in a tiny town in Nevada?

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It was a apparently too long a drive (one hour there and one back) out to Pahrump, the home of our closest Phantom store. Little man and Little girl were about to strangle each other on the way home and Little Little girl took the easy way out. But we made it home with our loot and two new additions to the farm!

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Here is all of the stuff we got. Since we are limited to fountains, we decided to do what we did last time we bought fireworks at an awesome store…we split them between 3 events. I mean, you can only watch so many fountains before they blur together. So this stuff is going to be for this Fourth of July, this New Year’s Eve, and next Fourth of July. I’m so excited!!! And we may or may not have set off some ground flowers. Tonight. Right next to our rabbit run. Because we are responsible adults like that. Oops.

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Filed under Holidays, life the universe and everything

#4 and Happy Christmas

Christmas this year was just lovely. For the first time, since I’ve been the Grand Maven of Christmas (at least as far as my family is concerned) I came close to that elusive Peace that everyone talks about this time of year. Christmas Eve (probably my favorite part of the whole deal…Thanks Mom!) was perfect. Peaceful and natural, it didn’t feel like a pageant or a to-do list like it has some years. Well, and I got to make my Mom and Grandmas’ mouths hang open for a good solid minute when I announced that Baby #4 is on the way, but here we go:

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The elves did well this year! And afterwards we got to listen to our traditional reading of “The Night Before Christmas” compliments of my little sisters. Who are never allowed to leave the city, ever.


But before we got to the poem…I came down in my own new jammies with this tag on my belly that said “Do Not Open until August 2013.” It was so awesome to watch it click for everyone, including Big Brother and Big Sister. They’ve done this before but that didn’t stop them from a celebratory hug and dancing around the room. The consensus is that we want another boy. We’ll take a girl, of course. However, a boy is the order that was placed.

We finished up all the cool things we do every December 24th and headed home to await Santa.

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Look closely. This is the last time my front room will be spiffed up and clean for a good long while. Reading the Christmas Story. Last year I felt like I had failed to make Christmas mean what it was suppose to mean…the focus felt all wrong. This year was better. Definitely better.

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Love the first Christmas where babies actually care about what’s going on!

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Also love that the older kids are old enough to put some thought into presents for each other and us. Little man got me some great earrings and bracelets and Naomi got her brother the one toy he has played with more than any other (weird Lightning McQueen grabber thing).

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Fun story about that stroller: Little girl loves it. But Christmas day, after we had dinner, Layna was trying to put a baby doll into it. That got Neil to wondering if maybe she’d like to push the baby. Oh yes. Yes she did. It was the first time she has walked independently (minus the stroller) ever! IT WAS AWESOME!!! She was so proud of herself and I got video to prove to her therapists that she can do it. I need proof because she has refused to do it since, but still! She is getting there!

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Christmas morning after we finished we headed back to my mom’s to do it all over again. Little little girl just wanted to get down to breakfast and the older ones jumped into paper dolls. I’m so glad I made boy dolls! and to be honest, I’m so glad Naomi likes them as much as she does and has played with them so much. If she didn’t care about them, that would have been a bit soul crushing.

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That would be me, in probably my favorite present this year. My mom made me an apron with my Angry Dwarf on the front. So GREAT! And this would be my Grandpa reading my daughter an Angelina Ballerina book, in probably my favorite picture this year.

I hope your Christmas was beautiful and that you found some measure of that Peace stuff everyone is always talking about. And if not…meh. Go see Les Miserables or The Hobbit. It will at least give you something to sing along to until you find it.


Filed under Holidays, life the universe and everything