A Busy Halloween Eve

After an exciting pre-Halloween trick-or-treat at Skidmore last weekend, MiniM.E. was super excited to trick-or-treat with school.  Add to the excitement the fact that Daddy was taking the day off from work and she was bouncing off the walls.  Until we got to school... drop off is still hard, even with Daddy.

But we soon returned and she was happy as a clam to be collecting candy as a fireman with Mommy and Daddy in tow.  Unfortunately, the walk was not wagon friendly, so even though LittleL.G. came too, she was just herself.

When we got home, the weather was so nice that we decided to take the mess of pumpkin carving outside.  After we almost forgot to carve pumpkins last year, and made a giant mess in the kitchen the night before Halloween, I'm really glad we were able to use the deck for this mess!

MiniM.E. helped me think of an idea for her pumpkin last year, but after the guts were scooped out, that was the end of her participation, and she went to bed while we carved.

This year was awesome because she saw the two of us drawing our designs on our pumpkin and just started drawing right along with us.  Of course, she couldn't use the knife, but she did all the "popping out" of the pieces.  I am 100% sure I have never seen a more adorable pumpkin than this:

After we did some major clean up and Leah woke up from her nap, we drove some dinners down to our friends who have a new baby.  Since it was a long drive, we made it worth our while by visiting a playground we've never been to, Clifton Commons.  It is an old wooden playground with lots of tunnels and stairs and both girls had a great time exploring.

Until it got cold and we had to go home.

If that wasn't enough excitement for the day, we were invited to a Harvest Party by our neighbors and couldn't pass up one more chance to dress up.
It was a really cute event with lots of games and candy, a bounce house, face painting and snacks. MiniM.E. had a fantastic time for an hour until she was suddenly so tired that she almost fell asleep in my arms, even with all the commotion!
What a day!

Baby Jack

A couple weeks ago one of MiniM.E.'s very best friends became a big sister.  MiniM.E. was over the moon, as she has repeatedly suggested we add another baby to our family because she "misses LittleL.G. being a BABY baby".  While we are certainly not providing MiniM.E. with another sibling in the near future, a friend's tiny baby would fit the bill for an afternoon.

sure I'll hold the baby and just watch TV for a while

LittleL.G. doesn't seem to feel the same as her sister

Welcome Baby Jack! Here's to a few months of you being a "baby-baby" so MiniM.E. can borrow you and we don't have to think about a new sibling quite yet.


Another Day At Ellms

Today was our last trip to Ellm's for the season.  Even though I've been feeling a little Ellm's-ed-Out, I am so glad we went because today was definitely the best of the season.

It started out rainy and miserable, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  It warmed up quickly, and soon we wished we were wearing t-shirts.

Since it's a weekday, Ellm's doesn't open to the public until 10 and even though there were field trips, most didn't arrive until 10:30 or 11, so for a couple hours it felt like we had the whole farm to ourselves.  No lines for anything and the kids could do whatever they wanted.

Starting with a few (or ten) trips down the zip line:

Some roller coasters, animals and jumping:

The jumping pillow all to ourselves:

A Moo-Moo-Choo-Choo ride:

And then as we were walking back up the hill from the moo-moo-choo-choo, the skies opened up and for the next hour we huddled in a barn eating cider and donuts and watching the rain pour down in sheets.  By the time it cleared, MiniM.E. had had enough for the day and we headed home.  Even with the rain, it was a fantastic day.  See you next year Ellm's!


Pre-Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Yesterday we excitedly dressed up the kids to go trick-or-treating at the Skidmore College Campus. Students in the apartment housing were giving out candy to hundreds of children affiliated with the school.  

And what kid doesn't love an extra chance to dress up and trick-or-treat?? And what parent doesn't love to see their kids dressing up, having a great time and getting lots and lots of candy that they beg to eat as soon as the sun comes up every day for the next three weeks? Well, maybe that last part isn't my favorite.  And I have a child that somehow memorizes the number and type of candy received so that I can't even steal pieces when she's not looking share.  All worth it for how excited she was.  LittleL.G. wasn't excited at all, likely because she had to wear a ridiculous dalmation hat, but she was a trooper- stayed in her truck the whole time, waved at people, and happily munched peanut butter crackers.

It was a great evening.  To be honest, I'm not sure actual trick-or-treating on Halloween can top this. At least MiniM.E. is excited to try!

Bye-Bye Baby, Hello Toddler

It's finally happened.  LittleL.G. isn't a baby anymore.  Over the weekend she decided to start walking (more than a few steps at a time).  While she still prefers a hand to hold, especially over unfamiliar terrain, she now always attempts to walk before she resorts to crawling.

I really shouldn't say finally, because though it is exciting that she can walk I am really enjoying the more relaxed parenting of a second child and I would have happily kept her a "baby" a little longer.

She is a master of standing on her own (and is so proud to do it) and it is adorable to see how excited she is with her newfound skill.


Playing Outside

On days like we had yesterday, it's hard to believe that in just a few short months (and hopefully no less) it will be too cold to play outside for more than an hour or so at a time (and even if it is not too cold, unlikely that we will last outside for longer than an hour).  

On days like today, it definitely seems a lot closer as we bundle up with hats and mittens and the wind drives the cold into fleece lined sweatshirts and we try not to play in the shade.

Regardless, since there is no snow and it isn't freezing YET, we are going to try to spend as much time as possible outside as long as we can.  It's going to be a long winter indoors!


Ellms Field Trip

Yesterday was MiniM.E.'s field trip to Ellm's Farm with school.  Just like last year, it was a cold, rainy day.  As we were driving separately (this year no one rode the bus), MiniM.E. informed me that she didn't want to go to Ellm's with school.  Even though it is one of her favorite places.  We arrived in the cold drizzle of the morning and between trying to get two kids' winter attire on, wrap the baby and remember important things from the car like the probably necessary snacks, drinks, and dry gloves we were the second to last family to arrive.  Not my usual pecking order.  But no matter.  

MiniM.E.'s teacher did a great job getting the kids excited to be there despite the weather and as the drizzle subsided and it warmed up a little, we all had some good soggy fun. We picked pumpkins from the pumpkin patch:

Rode on the hayride, pulled by a tractor with GIANT wheels:

Saw some animals:

And did the corn maze and the zip line.  It was a pretty short field trip, but we stayed after for a while to do the jumping pillow and the zip line a few more times.  We even met up with a friend on a field trip from her school!  It was all going well until MiniM.E. slid off the jumping pillow because her socks were wet and hurt herself, claiming she couldn't even walk anymore.  As much as I would have liked to carry her, my smartly chosen bag that fit a water bottle, snack and extra diaper left me carrying three jackets, two hats, five sets of mittens, and two pumpkins (one that was the biggest in the patch!).  Definitely no room for a 35lb. 4 year old.  The injury turned out to be less intense than I thought when MiniM.E. insisted she was okay for a few more times on the zip line and she was also able to make it back to the car (not without whining and dragging and clawing and hanging the whole way there).  I didn't think it would ever happen, but I think I am just about ready to be done with Ellms for the season!


More Ballet, Walking Practice and Playground

Yesterday MiniM.E. had ballet after a week off because of Columbus day.  Like anytime we have a break from something a little stressful (usually involving not being with Mommy), MiniM.E. was not overly thrilled about going even though she almost cried last week when we didn't have it.

But even though she was anxious as we arrived, she bounced into the room with the other girls and had a great time.  With LittleL.G. to entertain while we wait in the hall its tricky getting photos without a baby banging on the door distracting the dancers, but they were too cute not to watch for a little while.

Back in the hallway while we were waiting, LittleL.G. was practicing her walking.  She's getting pretty good! (Ignore my ridiculous grin and clapping!!)

Today, we wanted to enjoy the nice weather and went back to the new playground in Milton with our friends.  LittleL.G. practiced some more walking and the big girls climbed and swung and went down the huge slides.


A Weekend of Birthday!!

We started birthday weekend (actually, it was more like birthday week since LittleL.G.'s birthday was Tuesday) Thursday on MiniM.E.'s actual birthday.  Gram was there to celebrate, but it wasn't our "big" celebration, in fact, there wasn't even any cake.  MiniM.E. got to choose the day's activities so we had ice cream for breakfast, went to the TreePaad, had breakfast for lunch and she had plenty of time to play with Gram.  Both girls opened their birthday presents from Mommy and Daddy when Daddy got home from work.
new camping chairs

MiniM.E. was so excited because ALL she wanted for her birthday was an American Girl Doll, and she finally got one after months of waiting!

LittleL.G. was most impressed with all the paper lying around for her to tear into confetti sized pieces (which I am still finding all over my house).  She loves the toys she got now, but at the time I think she was a little bewildered by the whole experience.

We didn't do a cake celebration because Thursday was also Daddy's birthday, so we went out for his birthday dinner while Gram stayed home with the kids.

On Friday MiniM.E. had school and we did some preparing for the weekend party.
LittleL.G. enjoying her chair

Saturday we had a small party for both the girls with fancy cakes and a big tent and lots of balloons (per MiniM.E.'s request).  Originally she also requested that the party be just us, but with all that work we had to have at least a few extra guests to make it worth it, but we tried to keep it small so the girls wouldn't be too overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, the day was super chilly and windy (but no rain!!) so most of the party was inside and we didn't make much use of the tent and balloons.  At least they looked pretty from the windows.

The highlight of the party was definitely singing and cake.

what are we all waiting for?
why are all these people singing and staring at us?

let me help you with that

It was so cute to give LittleL.G. her smash cake because MiniM.E. has been so excited about it since we started talking about parties months ago.  She couldn't wait to watch LittleL.G. go at it.  I was hoping (mostly for MiniM.E) that it would be a little more exciting than MiniM.E.'s first birthday smash cake (which she did not smash but offered to us in the most adorable way), and it certainly was.  

post cake "cake dance"

 MiniM.E. is at the age where present opening was the most important part of the party.

After some of MiniM.E.'s friends left, LittleL.G. took a book break with Aunt Donna

Sunday MiniM.E. and LittleL.G. had a few more small gifts and opened their big gifts from Gram and Grumpy.  They are two spoiled little girls.

And to top of Birthday Weekend MiniM.E. had her "just us" party with a cake that she decorated all by herself.  She loved every minute of her 4th birthday.

Today she woke up so sad that it was all over and "all the fun people are gone and even Daddy has to go to work!" *sigh*  But after talking about it, she realized that even though sometimes we feel let down after big, fun events, it's better to have all the fun and feel disappointed it's over than to not have it at all.  I think she's already looking forward to birthday #5.