Apple Picking: Take 2

A few weeks ago we went apple picking with our friends and had such a good time we decided to go again yesterday. This time we tried Saratoga Apple.  It didn't have the wooden playground or the goats and alpacas that Bowman's has, but surprisingly, the three girls hung in for much longer than expected.  MiniM.E. picked six or seven apples (twice as many as last time!) and the other two girls picked almost whole bags!  The apples were much lower on these trees so the girls could actually pick.  And the branches were so low that the girls were really into "apple houses" and had a great time playing in the trees and making piles of dried grass clippings.

After our apple picking morning, we stopped back at one of our friend's houses for some kitten cuddles.  MiniM.E. loves Pico and has been wanting to see him pretty much every day since we kitten-sat a few weeks ago.  She even picked out a present for him last time we stopped at Petsmart to watch the puppies get hair cuts.  He is a pretty cute kitten.  Here his is playing in the water while the girls washed their hands in the sink.

In other news, MiniM.E. had a SUPER day at preschool today... despite the fact that it was a pretty rough morning full of "please don't make me go"s and "but I just want to stay with Mommy"s.  At least she's doing really well while she's there, and being at preschool has definitely brought her out of her shell a little.  We just have to get over the anxiety of getting there... 


Ellms Family Farm

This weekend was the much anticipated opening of Ellms Family Farm.  I'm pretty sure MiniM.E. has been looking forward to the opening of Ellms since it closed last fall.  She talked about it all winter, all spring ("the snow is melting, is Ellms open?"), and all summer.

I think it lived up to her expectations.  As for me, it was a lot more walking up and down hills than I remember, though the last time we were there I was not carrying around a full-term baby, which might have had something to do with my exhaustion and confusion as to why we never had to buy $3 bottles of water last year.

I've already promised her we will go back next weekend.  It was that good.

MiniM.E. had her whole day planned out before we got there: "First I want to do the Moo Choo Train.  Then the bouncing pillow.  The zip line, but I only want to go on the yellow one.  Then the roller coasters..."

We ended up at the zip line first, but only because it was on the way to the Moo Choo and there was no one to drive it yet.  (Did I mention we were the first ones there??)

A quick roller coaster ride for the same reason...

And then the MooChoo.  I was the designated photographer because its a bumpy ride... no need to have a baby in a cow car...

Then the jumping pillow.  MiniM.E. needed Daddy's help last year, but this year she quickly wanted to do it by herself.  All the practicing at gymnastics and on Gram and Grumpy's trampoline paid off!

We met up with some friends since Ellms was the place to be over the weekend, though at a place with so much to offer it's hard to keep three toddlers entertained with the same activity at the same time...
at least we walked together for a bit

MiniM.E. wasn't even ready to leave when it was time to go, but Mommy and Daddy were exhausted. More from Ellms next weekend...


Inside Activities

While there have been a lot of nice days lately, we've also come across a few cool rainy ones.  And MiniM.E. is so spent after preschool that we needed some down-time activities.  I'm also trying to test out fun ideas that are simple to set up and might entertain us on a rainy day or that I can sit and supervise without too much intervention, say, if I have to nurse a baby...

So here are a couple things we've done recently.

Milk, Food Coloring & Soap:

This is so easy and tons of fun.  Kept MiniM.E. entertained for about 2 minutes per batch... was hoping for 15, but maybe we'll get there...

Fill bottom of container with whole milk.

Add drops of liquid food coloring.

Swirl toothpick in dish soap and watch everything move!

Rainbow Bubbles:

This took longer to prep than I expected and requires a mixer, which MiniM.E. did not like because of the noise.  But it was worth it for the 30 minutes of play time in our master bath.

Mix 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbs. dish soap and liquid watercolors in a mixer, dump into big container, play where the mess is contained.

Loving Fall

MiniM.E. is doing so much better at preschool.  In fact, today we dropped her off and she didn't shed a single tear.  That's right- NO CRYING!! Which is huge.  And Wednesday she had a great day- did everything the other kids did and was playing happily on the playground when I went to pick her up.

Which is not to say we are out of the woods yet...

Our preschool mornings have been increasingly difficult.  Wednesday it was a solid half hour of crying- at the YMCA where we ate lunch after gymnastics- before school.  Today, it started as soon as we woke up and she asked if it was a school day.  By 11 she was a crying mess and even refused to eat lunch "because if I eat lunch then after I will have to go to school.  I don't WANT to go to school!!"  I guess she takes after me in that respect- anxiety about stressful situations before they happen.  Poor kid.  Fortunately, I will pick her up in an hour and she will have had "medium fun" at preschool and we'll be done until Monday morning...

In other news, we've been LOVING the fall weather.  It's so nice to go out in a sweatshirt, or run around outside (not me- MiniM.E... I'm not running anywhere this pregnant!) without getting sweaty.

We've been spending a lot of time at the playground.  I love taking MiniM.E. to any playground, but I feel like playgrounds are definitely a spring and fall activity- it is way too hot to be pushing a kid in a swing in the middle of a sunny summer day.  Plus all the slides get hot, kids get hot, moms get hot, everyone gets cranky...

In the fall I will happily stand and push a swing for hours.  Or watch MiniM.E. fly down slides.  And encourage as much running around as possible!


School Days...

MiniM.E. is still a wreck about school.  Friday was much better than Wednesday, she actually participated in a few activities and cried less, but after a weekend home with mom and dad, today was a miserable drop off.  She insisted she would cry until snack and then wait for me on the playground until I picked her up (after crying for half an hour at home and begging me not to make her go and to please stay with her and then clinging to anything that might delay me putting her in the car to go).  So we'll see.  Hoping it gets better, because this is really stressful for mom!

We had a good weekend enjoying the fall weather though- it was beautifully cool and I LOVE IT.  I LOVE FALL.  We got out Saturday to Malta Community Day before it started raining and MiniM.E. rode a pony and did the inflatable slide 20 million times.

Sunday we were booked for the afternoon with a Daddy-daughter date and a BBQ.  And in between it all, I'm trying to get my list of "things to do before baby comes" done.


The First Day of School: Take 2

So yesterday was MiniM.E.'s first REAL day of school.  Like the day when I had to bring her there in the car (to the whines of "I don't WANT you to leave!!!"), pull into the parking lot (at which moment MiniM.E. insisted, "I need to take a NAP.  RIGHT NOW!!"), get her out of the car, and get her into the preschool.  After a pep-talk and a "let's stand on this REALLY HIGH ledge by the REALLY NEAT playground and take a REALLY CUTE school picture", MiniM.E. let me lead her to the school if I promised to hold her once we got inside.

I carried her to the classroom door and she let me put her down while we found her cubby for her lunch and the hook for her backpack.  I successfully pinned on her name tag and we checked in together with no problems.  Things seemed to be going smoothly as I suggested we walk in and check out the items in the bin with all the other kids.  She let me lead her there by the hand.  And then I told her I'd be back...

The tears didn't start until round three of me trying to leave and her clinging to me for dear life... 

and once she started crying I was about to cry and I didn't want her to see me upset because then she would have been more upset, so with a quick, "I love you and I'll be back to pick you up after the playground," I quickly left my screaming child and made my escape.  I was a mess on the way to the car and I had to shield my face from the other moms following their excited toddlers into the building (I'm sure they all cried later, right?).  But after a few (10? 15?) minutes of welling up in the car I pulled myself together.  After all, this it what preschool teachers sign up for, right?

Despite my list of "Things To Do While MiniM.E. is at Preschool" I accomplished nothing during the two hours I was home.  (Which also can be attributed to the fact that I definitely broke my toe Tuesday night-- which does not seem like a huge deal, but trust me, when you are chasing a toddler around and climbing the stairs 20+ times a day and squatting down, is a VERY HUGE deal-- and I really couldn't do much moving around.)

I counted the minutes until it was time to get in the car to pick her up.  Then I over estimated the time it took to get there and had to sit in the car in the parking lot for 7.5 minutes so I wouldn't be TOO early.

Good news is she was not crying and screaming when I arrived.  She was calmly (though definitely not happily) sitting on a stool in the playground.

The teacher came over and gave me the run down:  She cried and screamed for an hour.  Then she was so exhausted she fell asleep for an hour.  Reluctantly ate snack and followed them out to the playground.  

Could have been worse, right?

The funny thing is, she wasn't upset once we got home.  We talked about preschool and she told me all about it.  "I cried a lot.  I cried because you took too long to come back.  Then I took a nap in two places.  No one else was crying, just me.  Bella was there but she was wearing different clothes than last time.  I didn't want to eat my snack.  I didn't go potty but they have magic soap there that comes out when you wave your hand under it.  I forgot to use the typewriter.  I didn't have fun at preschool and I don't want to go back there because I don't like the teacher and I don't want anyone else to be there."  

Better luck Friday?

Bowman Orchards

Tuesday we met up with friends for the first apple picking trip of the season.  We went to Bowman Orchards, mostly because they were one of the few places open, but also because we were all south that day and they have a really neat wooden playground.

This will be our third year of Bowman Orchard visits, though last year we only went once because we found Ellm's Farm which has a lot more for a two-year old. 

MiniM.E. remembered everything about it (as usual) and insisted we first find the floppy eared goat.

Flashback, here she is two years ago with the same goat:

We had a great time at the playground.  Since the first time we visited they added these pony tire swings and they are MiniM.E.'s favorite thing- she likes to have horsey fights where the two swings crash into each other.

We had to wait for everyone to arrive before we went apple picking.  We drove into the orchard and MiniM.E. proceeded to pick exactly THREE apples before she insisted she was done.  Fortunately, I convinced her to hang around by suggesting she eat an apple which took her approximately 20 minutes.

I managed to squeeze in a few extra minutes by finding this "hiding" apple and a few mini ones she was excited to pick:

After apple picking it was back to the playground for a picnic lunch and some more playground fun.

The best part of the day?  This:

Our adorable budding photographers.

(MiniM.E. only managed a shot of our stomachs, which is definitely NOT making the blog!)

Thanks for a great day, girls!