Happy Halloween 2017!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

This year's Halloween was such fun! C is now old enough to really get into the spirit, and LOVED all of the celebrations he had throughout the week. Parties, trick-or-treating, and Halloween cookie decorating were the favorites! I probably asked him about 100 times what he would like to 'be' for Halloween leading up to the big day, and he had no consistent response until the week before. I have a hunch we can thank 'career day' at his school for this! After going back and forth between superman, firefighter, and policeman, he finally landed on dressing as a policeman as his top choice for this year's celebration. Lucky for him, this mama is an Amazon Prime member, and had the perfect costume in my cart just in case.

We kicked off the holiday week with our annual tradition of carving a Jack-O-Lantern with Gma & Gpa N. C has had so much fun with this in the past few years, and G was ALL about it this year now that he is more mobile and able to lend his 'help'. C's main request was that we make a 'happy' Jack, and I've got to say that I'm pretty impressed with how it turned out!

On the trick-or-treating front, the boys had no real experience going into Halloween, aside from limited trick-or-treating with Grandparents last year, and they were at best, curious. After getting all dressed up in their costume, they decided this was kind of fun, and they could really get into the whole Halloween thing! The police whistles on their costumes were of particular fascination for G, who figured his out right away (and thoroughly annoyed T & I while driving to and from Halloween happenings all the while listening to him whistling), while C loved the pretend walkie talkie, police sunglasses, and hat that were part of his costume.

We broke into the Halloween trick-or-treat festivities with a special kids party that a local event center hosted the weekend before the holiday. It was the perfect amount of 'trick-or-treating' for little people with little focus on actual candy, and lots of focus on fun hands-on Halloween games (think pumpkin bowling, walk the plank, ring toss, pin the spider on the web, etc), and after about 30 minutes of playing games and admiring other kid's costumes, C let us know he was ready to go. At C's school on Halloween day, one his teachers brought pumpkin shaped sugar cookies to decorate, and he had a ton of fun decorating them with frosting and sprinkles. Judging by the overall shape of his costume, and the orange frosting all over his face when I picked him up, I think it's fair to say that he likely ate more of the cookies than he did decorating!

To round out the spooky holiday, we went trunk-or-treating at Gpa & Gma W's church. Halloween night ended up being super cold, so most of the event was held inside, and it was the perfect amount of festiveness for our little people. T, heading into the event was super disappointed to not be going door-to-door for a 'true' trick-or-treat adventure, but by the end of the event, was more on board with the decision as he realized it was just the right amount of fun for our boys. Happy Halloween!

Apple Fest

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Another fun fall tradition we've done the past couple years is attend Apple Fest at Community Orchards in Fort Dodge. I remember going on visits to the apple orchard when I was growing up, and I think it's so fun to be able to share this piece of my childhood with the boys. That being said, it has become a much bigger production, and MUCH more kid-oriented than 'way back when', and it is so much fun to see how much the boys enjoy our visits. The biggest draw by far is the 'Back 40 Playground'. Corn boxes, slides, pedal tractor racetracks, a goat playground, wood playground train, duck races, tractor pulled choo-choo, and a giant bouncy 'pillow' are just a few of the attractions that bring in the crowds of kiddos. Aside from the super fun kid activities in the Back 40, there is also a corn maze, scarecrow contest, pumpkins, and of course apples. Lots and lots of apples. Upon discovery of this small wonder, and a taste test of a few varieties, G was perfectly content to sit and eat and entire apple to himself...right down to the core!

C was a bit nervous of this giant bouncy pillow, but G couldn't get on it fast enough. It was quite comical watching T try to keep up with our little speed crawler as he went from one end to the other!

Yum yum yum!

After our visit to the Apple Orchard, we stopped by the football field on the unseasonably warm fall afternoon, and C had SO. MUCH. FUN. playing football with cousin J. These two have such a blast together, and are always having a good time!

University of Iowa Homecoming 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

For the past several years, we have made it our family tradition to travel to Iowa City for The University of Iowa homecoming weekend with our littles in tow. After much planning and preparation, we nearly cancelled this year's trip when the forecast predicted 90% chance of rain during tailgating and game time, but ultimately, we decided to take a chance, and drove through monsoon style rains to get the five hours to Iowa City from our home on the opposite side of the state.

Because of the rainy weather, we ended up skipping the Homecoming parade on Friday night (sad), and got to town with pretty much only enough time to grab some takeout, stretch our legs a bit, and get everybody situated for bed. Anticipating our shared sleeping quarters, we had all the gear with us, including our Pack'N'Play and this toddler travel cot that C thought was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Aside from a late bedtime, the boys did well with their sleepover at Uncle B & Aunt C's place, and we were all excited Saturday morning to see that the potential downpours the weatherman had predicted had turned into more of a light drizzle, and wouldn't stop us from our much anticipated date at Kinnick Stadium to cheer for the Iowa Hawkeyes. On the way to our tailgate spot, I'm not sure who was more excited, T or C!

Before heading into the game, we weren't entirely sure what to expect with G. He is a much different kid than his brother was at the same age, and is typically go. Go. GO!, so I honestly wasn't expecting to be able to stay for more than about five minutes of the game. To everyone's great surprise, G LOVED the game! He enjoyed watching the players, clapping for big plays, and even threw up a 'W' or two when the Hawks scored a touchdown. During the second half, I had the foresight to hit the concession stand and load up on snacks, and both C & G spent the majority of the final two quarters plowing through a giant bucket of popcorn. 

Back at the tailgate after the game, C was SO EXCITED about watching the football players in a real game, that he was 100% bursting with a need to play football with just about anyone who would catch a pass or practice running plays with him in the grassy lawn next to our tailgate spot. He is a football fan for life I have no doubt!


Fun at the County Fair

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

One of our annual favorite fall traditions is to attend the world's largest county fair...the Clay County Fair. Lucky for us, it is right down the road, and doesn't require much planning aside from making sure our stroller and a small cooler with snacks and drinks for the boys make it into our car. Of course, this means you can usually find us there several times during fair week :) This year's visits were so much fun because the boys both were really curious about everything going on, and loved getting out of the stroller to participate a bit more than in the past.

C's fascination with all things train related was put front and center as the fair has an entire building, 'The Depot', with miniature trains and different scenes set up. This year, he was particularly curious about the restaurant in the top of the space needle, and the snowplow trains in the mountains. G enjoyed the trains too, but for him, the animals were where it was at. He LOVED visiting Grandpa's Barn, a barn catered towards kids filled with all sorts of baby animals, and had a few close encounters with the baby calves, who came right up to him and licked his hands.

 Another BIG highlight of this year's fair-going was spending some more time to watch some of the arena shows. This year, the boys had so much fun watching cowboy mounted shooting (a timed event involving shooting balloons while racing through a cone obstacle course), and the horse-drawn carriage event. G could hardly contain his excitement, and tried just about everything he could in order to get into the arena! If he continues to be this excited about everything, we may have a future 4-H-er on our hands! Other highlights included playing in the corn box at the John Deere Pavilion, driving tractors, sipping on an overwhelming amount of strawberry smoothies, and dragging both sets of grandparents all over the fair!

We had a great week at the fair, and look forward to visiting again next year!
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