Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat! Happy Halloween, Love Chris and Sam...aka Batman and Robin.

Our friends the Julius girls came over to Trick or Treat with us. We had mass hysteria kind of crazy going on, with Thing 1 and Thing 2, and the Superheros who try to save them. But there was a lot of Cuteness at the same time.

Watch Out Bad Guys, Supergirl and Batman are on the loose!

And we learned why Edna says, "No Capes". Robin's cape got locked up in the wheels of the wagon, aka The Batmobile, and wrapped around it so fast, it pulled right off the velcro. Daddy and Batman were able to retrieve it for Robin, but it was touch and go there for a bit. Good plan, No Capes.

We got to stop at our friends houses in the neighborhood: The Sinkovics, The Welsh's, and The Steinke's. Emilie S. had quite the haul for our little crew. And her fiance Brian helped Batman use his 'powers' to turn on the car. It was so cute, Chris didn't even know he had it in him.

But the powers of Cuteness are strong with these, I tell you, even with only hitting a few houses, they had quite a good haul. I love that Chris enjoys handing out candy with me just as much as going door to door. Days like this make me think Halloween is my favorite holiday, not just for all the chocolate I live on, but because of how much Joy it brings my boys, brings me a lot too.

Say Cheese!

This weekend we met our friends, The Julius's, at Fair Oaks Farms, about halfway between Chicago and Indy. They were returning from their Fall Break, and well, while it was no longer our fall break, we were just looking for an excuse for good cheese. And the World's Best Grilled Cheese sandwich. But first, I finished the boys' other set of costumes.

I made Christopher a Cat in the Hat sweatshirt, and we found a Hat amongst our things, I think we got it from Uncle Karl. I think he was more interested in Sam I Am's Green Eggs and Ham than Sam was.

I had the lofty goal of making Sam a hat. The one we found was big for his head. He had trouble balancing it. It would stay, but then he'd move his head one way or the other and down it would fall.

And have you ever noticed how hard it is to make a 2 1/2 year old pose for a picture?! Hard. Sam I Am did not want to pose for me at all. As it was, this shot was right before he flopped on the ground.

Well, better to go and feed them Cheese. Fair Oaks Farms makes some really good cheese. That selection is like heaven for Eric.

For us, it's the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, though!

My boys thought it was a Dairy Good day to go to the farm.

We met our friends the Julius family at the entrance, and the big kids started playing jump off a rock, while everyone took their turns powdering noses.

These two younger ones were having lots of laughs, "dumping" (jumping) off this cone.

And running wild.

We decided to get bracelets for the big kids, and just play outside. We bypassed the indoor play area and tour bus completely. But it's probably the last time we will be up there while the little ones are 2 and free. Not much longer.

There was plenty of park for them to play on. They all had fun playing on the playground equipment. Sure, it's a little strange to drive an hour and a half to slide, but actually it was for Grilled Cheese, AND a slide!

And a Train. All 5 kids squeezed into this little train car. It had a bell, and the kids rang it all the way around the track. It was like a little clown car, small people just going in and in and in, and coming out and out and out.

There was also a little game called the Cow-abunga. It was bungee jumping for sweetboys. Chris had a great time jumping. Emily managed to do a backward flip. Chris was content to bounce on his bottom and knees, alternatively. So Much Fun to watch!

After that we sent the kids on the tank car ride. It was tanks, just big enough for a small child to ride in, attached to a tractor zipping around the parking lot. And the big kids had a great time. The little ones had to hold on for dear life.

The one in the middle is not ours.

The last playing for the kids were the boys and Emily taking turns riding on the tractors. They were so cute.

We had grilled cheese sandwiches when we first got there. I got a sweet swiss and Eric got a cheddar. After some play time we were all hungry again. We couldn't choose a cheese, so we ordered a sandwich with all three. It was so rich and cheesy, but with so much cheese, not all of it could be melted all the way through. Still mighty tasty with pepper havarti, sweet swiss, and cheddar. So Good.

Really?! It's the best grilled cheese sandwich, and I like mine Sweet Swiss. When I was pregnant, they brought me one, uncooked, and Eric cooked it up for me. And on my birthday I've been known to request a trip to this grilled cheese mecca. Oh yeah, it's that good. Exhausting trip though. Probably why we don't do it more than once a year or so.

It really was a "Dairy Good Day!"

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Garden Walk

Yesterday I got outside for what will probably be my last Garden walk of the season.

Tell you what, I love our new backyard. We have Trees! Trees I love. And it's GORGEOUS!

How cool is that?! There were ladybugs crawling on our pillars. The Halloween kind, scrambling up and down, hard to chase the little guys, they move fast.

Then to kick it up a notch, the sun came out!

One of the blogs I stalk was having a Colors of Autumn photo contest, the theme was orange. I didn't think I was going to have any luck, so much rain and blech on our road trip last week, but the last couple days, our luck improved.

Just in time to be too late for the contest. But now I have some autum glow to enjoy as the rainy days kick back in again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Long Road Home, Day 5

As great as it would be to just sit in a hotel room and watch cartoons all morning, we had to get back to reality. We wanted to try to take the trip home for a bit more fun and a little less sadness. We stayed in the 'family suite' at La Quinta about an hour outside Columbus. We joked it was the penthouse since we were on the top floor. What that really meant was 2 rooms, one with a foldout queen for the kids (and Eric) and the other a king, for Lisa and I. But after we put the kids down the grownups watched a Chopped marathon and drank a lot of wine. It was nice. Quite nice! In the morning, we took the big kids for a swim before we hit the road. Again, a casual start in the morning makes for much happier children, AND parents.

We didn't hit the road until almost 11. And we called my Dad and MB, they were about 20 miles behind us. :) So we decided to break together for lunch. We stopped after about 20 minutes for gas, Starbucks, and McDonald's. A road trip bare necessities. The McDonald's had picnic tables around back, and a grassy area for kids and pooches to play.

So Daddy let Schnitzel, their 2 year old german shepherd puppy out to play. She was barky, but loved the kids, and they loved her too. Schnitz thought Charlie particularly tasty!

It was refreshing, and a lot less sad to have a better change of venue for the kids to play with Oma and Opa.

Chris was playing peekaboo with Opa, which morphed into tag, and they were just so sweet, I couldn't help but laugh.

Posing by the Ronald McDonald statue.

Oma and Opa weren't able to stay with us as long, they didn't need the play time. ;) So they hit the road, and the kids ran around the grassy knoll for a bit.

Before we hit the road, we wandered down to the lake for a peek at the geese.

Not quite sure which ones are the silly geese.

The kids did really well not getting too close, and I was able to hold my camera out to to the holes in the fence and get cool pics.

Pretty cool.

When the geese got up to go for drinks in the pond, we took that as our cue to hit the road.

Our next and last stop was the Amish Cheese shop at the Connersville exit, about 20 minutes inside the Indy border. Oh my word. We picked up some scrumpdiddlyumptious cheeses, but the Cheddar Jalepeno Bread that had just come out of the oven Rocked my world! So Good, we were eating it by the fistful, and it was only through conscious effort it made it home. However, even with scrumptious snacks, that last leg of the journey was the roughest. The kids were done.

There was a lot of trying to find good music, switching movies, and fighting over books and the magna doodle. I did think it was pretty adorable that Chris wrote down the names of everyone in the car.

The players were: Charlie, Annie, Lisa, Daddy, Mommy, Chris, Sam. I'm grateful for their joining us on this adventure, it was a Blessing to have them along. And a bright sunshine in a sad trip.

The Long Road Home, Day 4

After the funeral, we stayed that night, and decided to head home the next day, being Saturday. But we weren't in a big rush, we wanted happy children more than we wanted an early start on the road. So we started off the day with a family swim to at the Holiday Inn pool. Did I mention it was warm like bathwater? Too bad the halls weren't that toasty, but the water was wondrous, and the kids were angelic. The kids had a wonderful time swimming.

They were actually just fine about hitting the road. We got all loaded up by 11, and then met Daddy and MB for lunch at Anderson's for Beef and Weck before we headed out of town. We didn't get on the road until about 12:15, and within in minutes the kids were asking to watch movies. We held out for about an hour before caving. I told them we'd wait until we could see Grape vines.

We saw Lake Erie too, but the kids really didn't care about that.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania we needed to get gas, we held out until the kids were giving us signs that they needed a break too. We exited for a town called Girard. Only Girard, and it's mythical gas stations were no where near the highway. We spent 20 minutes hunting, finally asking for directions, and when we were finally headed into 'town' we crossed this bridge, and saw near a dozen guys standing in the creek fly fishing in the bits of sunshine that were starting to peep out. Just lovely.

The photos don't do the day justice though. The kids weren't too happy we didn't let them out once we finally found gas, we wanted to get back on the highway, so the next rest area we came to, we stopped. And we couldn't have picked a prettier place and time to stop. The sun came out, but there was a nice wind.

We were surrounded by pretty trees and plants, and there was lots of room for the kids to run. We let them out, and I went exploring to see some of the pretties.

Burning bush with red berries.

I don't know what this plant is, but it sure was pretty in the wind.

Dandelions can really be pretty. Weed is in the eye of the beholder.

The kids loved finding a few sparse dandelions still alive. They thought they were great flowers. And they didn't mind running through the muddy field to pick a few.

Annie and Chris both found flowers to bring me. So sweet!

Then Charlie had to join the flower picking party!

It really was a very lovely rest stop. The kids were having a great time just running.

And the trees were in color. It's amazing how Beautiful God can make death.

Sam couldn't decide if he wanted to 'nuggle' Daddy, or to play with the other kids.

Who could resist playing Peekaboo with this one?

Or to see the Beauty of a running child?

The trees were simply lovely. It really was a perfect break in our day.

Annie wouldn't hold still for a moment, she was all over the place. She kept finding pretty leaves and stuffing them into Lisa's pockets.

As Eric was buckling in the kids for the last stretch through Cleveland and beyond, we cleared out Lisa's pocket. It was hysterical how many leaves that child stuffed in there.

But Beautiful too.