Monday, October 22, 2018

Pumpkin Patch

I finally had a weekend day that was concert and rehearsal free and the good weather had managed to hold out for another week, so we took the boys out to Bob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch yesterday as part of our fall festivities. It was quite foggy, which added some nice atmosphere to the experience. We spent the first half of our visit eating pumpkin donuts and roasted corn. And taking pictures with the cutouts. Mal is very into making silly faces for pictures. Gareth, for the most part, feels embarrassed that you would even ask if he wants a picture with the cutout. Though he was willing to participate in the first one.

Then we headed over to the big corn maze via hay ride. Gareth was our navigator in the maze, using the postcard map to guide us through. As much fun as it would be to get lost in the maze, that still felt like a bit much to handle with a 6 year old. Maybe in a few years we'll start trying it without the map. Kettle corn helped sustain us as we wound our way through.

After finishing the maze, Ryan and Gareth went off to jog through the maze again as quickly as they could (somewhat limited speed due to crowds of people) while Mal and I headed over to the pumpkin patch to start scoping out pumpkins. Mal really wanted the big one he was sitting on, but I was a bit nervous about it as it seemed to tip over whenever it wasn't in this precise spot. In the end, Gareth found another large one he wanted for his planned design, and Mal found a medium-sized pumpkin that he liked.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Early Fall 2018

School is back in full-swing for the kids. It's felt strange to not be heading to campus daily anymore when taking them to school and to realize there's a whole new cohort of students starting that I don't know at all!

Mal didn't want a first day picture taken of him. I snuck one in while he was standing in line, but he was looking exactly as unexcited as he felt, and I don't think it would be fair to include it here when he was very clear about not wanting one. School is not easy for him, so starting up again was tough. A couple days before school started he told me and Gareth, "My teacher is going to be very serious.". When we asked why he thought that he replied, "Because teachers in older grades are more serious". We met his teacher at the open house the day before school started and she seemed lovely, so I was happy that his first report when I picked him up after school was, "My teacher isn't at all serious!". I think she and I were both a little worried when all of 3 days into school he decided to write a sentence for an assignment in white crayon. She tried to get him to rewrite it in pencil, but he adamantly refused. When he was telling me about this I discovered that he had good reason - it was so cool in white crayon because then it was like it was invisible and a secret message! Then he got a glimmer in his eye and told me, "She wanted me to write it again in pencil, but I didn't!" in a very, "I showed her" tone. Why, yes, I do sometimes wonder how we're going to successfully get this kid through high school.

Gareth has been walking to school with friends this year. He told me I didn't need to accompany him since I wouldn't always be around and that he needs to start doing this stuff without me. Of course, despite saying they'd back away from walking with the kids after a couple weeks, the other kids' parents haven't done so for whatever reason, so they're not without adult supervision during their walks. He also started cross-country this year, which he is enjoying greatly. He plans to participate in the school track team in the spring.

The day before school started for the kids, I attended my first board meeting for the orchestra I play in. It will be interesting to see the administrative side of running the orchestra and to try to help support the orchestra in this way rather than just through playing and ticket sales. I'm very excited about the other new members of the board, who all seem committed to taking action rather than just sitting and talking. Of course, it hasn't been without its frustrations already, as Ryan could attest to in his new role of Patient Listener while Erin vents.

Aside from the orchestra board, I also took the plunge and joined a nearby gym and am working with a trainer there. I made sure to let them know when signing up that I have a degree in nutrition, in order to prevent anyone trying to sell me supplement/nutrition bullshit. I'm excited to work toward being more physically active after the past couple years of inactivity. My trainer has been great to work with so far; I've been going a couple times a week and trying to get a walk with intermittent jogging in on the weekend. The big test will be seeing if I still make myself go to the gym in a couple weeks when my trainer is on vacation.

I'm also having fun trying out some new baking. This last week it was pumpkin banana bread, which was delicious (or scrumptious if you want to use one of Mal's vocabulary words).

Mal is very excited that it's "October season" as he calls it. He watched Nightmare Before Christmas twice this weekend and insisted we get out our few Halloween decorations. The neighbors have had theirs out since last weekend, which he faithfully recreated in a school assignment:

"I like to look at the dackorashionse". The drawing even includes their back gate and the rose trellis that one of the skeletons is hanging on. He's pretty upset with me that I won't buy large skeleton decorations for outside. I keep trying to tell him we have nowhere to store them when it's not October - he doesn't see what the big deal is when we clearly could just store them on the floor in the foosball room. Or next to the couch. Or in his closet (I promise you, the closet is way overcrowded already).