Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Enjoying the fall.

The snow is gone. It took four days to leave.

We're trying to forget the snow. Trying to ignore the fact that it will be back. Enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Getting as much outside playground time as we can before we're driven inside by not only snow but the bitter winter winds that blow across our area.

One of Ainsley's favorite spots at any playground is what she calls the "bumpy bridge". You can see her being so cautious here. She has gained courage. She now stops at the edge, takes a deep breath and runs yelling across it. Runs! The adrenaline rush from accomplishing that carries her down the biggest, twistiest slide at the top.

'Tis the season. We have a local pumpkin patch here. It's a really great little place. Tons of pumpkins and all kinds of winter squashes. The girls picked out pumpkins for themselves and for us parents.

We also got some winter squash for eating through the winter. You pay by the pound and put the money in a jar beside the scale - it's all on the honor system.

Each of the girls picked a favorite decorative squash or gourd to put on our fall table. So many varieties to pick from.

The man who runs the place took us in to show us the gourds still on the vine. Do you see the bottom of it? By his left hand. The top of it goes past the top of the picture. It was so long - stunning.

This is the pumpkin patch itself. If you don't see a pumpkin that you like or if you like the experience of picking your own, you're free to explore the patch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today we...

Ha. I wish that "Today we..." went to the beach.

Snow. SNOW. We have snow. Seven inches and climbing. It hasn't stopped all day. I'd post a picture of it, but I don't have my camera. In truth, I'm dying inside a bit without it. My little one wanted to be with her daddy while he chopped wood tonight, but didn't want to change out of the fancy, frilly pink dress she was wearing. So she's in snow boots, camo fleece pants, a purple and green snow coat, Dora gardening gloves, her mom's warm stocking cap, a pink, fancy, frilly dress poofing out from under the dress and over the camo pants. And I have no camera.

In defiance of the seasonal change, I'm posting about our trip to the 'beach' back in early September.

We don't really have a beach around here - we live in the desert - but Hannah really wanted to go to the beach. So we headed down to a river where we go fishing occasionally.

When we got there, Ainsley immediately headed down to the water. Hannah was busy making sure she'd brought the essentials. "Sunscreen? Check. Necklace? Check. Chocolate? Check. Did you bring a towel, Mother?"

Nothing to write home about, is it?

When you live in a desert, you'll take what you can get.

Hannah spent most of her time exploring the 'beach'.

Ains played in the water more.

They both transferred a lot of pebbles from the edge of the water to about three feet into the water.

Hannah using her telescope to look at birds on the other side of the river.

Not even mid-October. Seven inches of snow. I'm moving back to Oklahoma. Or not. Oklahoma has the same cold, even stronger wind, believe it or not, but no insulating snow - the winter just starts later. Bah.

The real "Today we..."

What did we really do today?

Woke up, looked outside, saw the snow, thought "oh, how pretty - snow that will lightly cover the ground and be gone by 1 o'clock".

Matt had a hankering for crepes, so Hannah and he went to the grocery store to get what they thought were necessary ingredients - pie filling and whipped topping.

I get a call from Hannah a few minutes later. "Mother? Oh, Mother, I'm so sad. We just passed the cemetery and those poor, poor people. They're dead, Mother. Really dead." We've lived a mile north of this cemetery for two years. Sometimes kids have to process something for awhile before they get it, I guess. I shall call this tendency the "cemetery syndrome" from now on. "Mother, they lived when the dinosaurs lived, a long time ago. So the dinosaurs must have killed them. I don't like dinosaurs, Mother." Are you almost to the store? "Yes." Ok, get me some chocolate, please. "I will, Mother. But if a dinosaur knocks on your door while we're gone, don't answer it, ok?" OK, sweetie.

Ainsley and I read "I won't share" seventeen times while Grayson tries to chew on my toes.

I look outside and grumble about Matt needing to get home soon because I need to check on my poultry and don't want to dress up a toddler and baby to go do it if I don't have to. I remember the kittens are outside in a bush and Ains and I run out to check on them. Poor buggers, don't have the sense their momma didn't have the time to teach them and are covered in snow. We bring them in, get them warmed up. I let Ainsley play with them enough to make them want to go back outside.

Matt comes home. Hannah's bought me "a ton" (six, actually) Symphony chocolate with toffee pieces bars. She's thinking ahead. She usually gets me one, I put it in the fridge, eat it at night when they're in bed and I'm doing kid-free stuff, and it's not there for her to try in the morning. So she got me "a ton. Because whoever eats your candy bars can't eat a ton. They'll get too sick. So I got a ton, they'll only eat as many as they can, and then we'll have one left!" I need to start video taping this child.

I throw on my wellies (the one good thing about this weather - LOVE my wellies) and tromp through the snow to chore. Kittens and their food get taken to the nice, warm hay shed where the other cats are and shown a good hiding place. I leave when they forget about me and are busy jumping on each other.

After choring I head inside and eat crepes. Matt's made cherry and blueberry crepes. I chop up the candy bar I ordered and fill mine with that. Hannah eats whipped topping.

We tackle the house in teams, one of us doing a room while the other plays with the kids. Lots of reading this morning. Henry the cat books that I got from the library yesterday are a big hit.

For lunch, Matt and Hannah have a plan - hot dogs cooked over the fire. Hot dogs. We eat them two or three times a year, always over a fire. They're a ceremonial food, only good because of the meaning behind them - we only eat them when spending time with family. They're the only non-aquatic meat we buy. Figures that the only stuff we buy is the grossest stuff, and not T-bones.

Hannah dissolves into tears when she realizes that she's burned her hot dogs. I have to feign a preference for burned hot dogs and realize that I really don't mind them that much. Tears dissolve and she is now proud of her burned hot dogs. Am I destined to a lifetime of burned hot dogs proudly made just for me?

We picnic in the living room. Matt forgets that Grayson can crawl. Grayson ends up in the middle of Ains' mustard covered plate. Matt moves Grayson back three feet, somehow forgetting that Grayson can crawl. He ends up in Hannah's chili dog. Matt moves Grayson - you know the drill - and he ends up in the grated cheese bowl. I take over Grayson duty.

Naptime for the two year old. Wish the baby would take naps longer than 15 minutes. Two year old wakes up after 15 minutes. Glad Matt is here.

Lots of coloring, reading constellation books, asking if the stars disappear in the sky when it's winter, asking when she'll see Orion again, asking if "the man with the black hair will be President of the Who-nited States", running around on stick horses, comforting baby who accidentally got hit on the head by stick horses, demanding Momma nurse baby who is now fine but would certainly benefit from nursing.

Matt and Ains go out to get firewood, Gray goes down for the night, Hannah gets a warm bath ready, and I'm here, trying to ignore the laundry pile.

Matt and Ains come back in, Matt throws snowballs at Hannah in her warm bath. She foils him by not squealing and instead trying to eat the snow before it melts. Good heavens. I hear a squeal from Hannah, but it's her sister who caused it, pouring cold water in the tub. Good heavens.

Matt's fixing dinner, the girls have pulled their chairs out in front of the living room stove and are chatting with each other while getting warm. Every so often, Ains runs over to me and tells me something funny that her sister said or did and then runs back over to her chair by the stove. She's so cute she makes my heart break a little.

It's still snowing. Seven inches and climbing. It's supposed to be in the 70s next week. Hopefully all this snow will melt and our fall will last another few weeks. A girl can dream.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy kid.

Though I think he's done with his bouncy chair.