For the first time in years, and I mean years, we traveled on Thanksgiving. The plans were set a couple of months ago when Colter’s Aunt who lives in Houston invited us to her new home in Barton Creek to spend the holiday with all of the family there. It is a little confusing because yes, we have family in Austin (who we did see too) but we were going to Austin to see the Houston family. Wrap that around your brain a few times to get it straight.
The packing lists for all family members where compiled and worked on the day before by yours truly and then on Thanksgiving morning we hurried about getting everyone fed, dressed and some minimal playtime before loading into the car and
heading out. With an uneventful drive behind us we arrived just in time to let the
boys run about for a half hour to 45 minutes (when there usual naptime is) and then sit down to Thanksgiving “dinner”. Yes, I actually said sit down. Believe it or not with one kid (Caden) who hadn’t napped at all and was overdue by an hour, and another kid (Everett) who decided 15 minutes of sleep in the car was enough no one thought they would be in the mood to sit. However, we also had the bonus of hungry tummies so sit they did.
Maybe I shouldn’t say sit. Stayed in their chairs…standing, kneeling, sitting….standing, kneeling, sitting. That may be shocking to others but to us, it was a total victory. At the table AND eating with everyone? Win.
Caden melted down shortly after but with some convincing and some settling into our room there (he doesn’t much like sleeping anywhere but his room and his bed and his nightlight) he konked out leaving us with one little one to wrangle.
I was useless. A turkey and car coma left me so tired that I should have laid down but with everyone else up and about and not wanting to leave Colter alone to play with Everett since he had done all the driving and was tired too we forged ahead!
Fortunately, the boys had their cousins there. Locke and McKee came in time for the Thanksgiving meal and then JP, Braiden and Kaylie arrived for dinner that night. The boys LOVE their cousins as I have mentioned before and it continues to be such a joy to watch them ask about them and get excited to have the chance to play with them. They ran around out back enjoying foam footballs I packed and the “magic” of the house (an automatic sun shade screen over the patio windows). We also had the added bonus of a pool vacuum cleaner which Caden just can’t believe is anything but a robot that he has to check on constantly, show everyone and chat about.
We were able to catch up with and chat with Colter’s Aunts & Uncles, his cousin, both brothers and my sister in laws, and some other extended family members from marriages that we hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet. Naturally catching up while chasing all of the little ones around is a little different than just sitting arou
nd and catching up but to us, it was catching up!
The real adventure was sleeping. All of us in one room, which for one night, was fine but sleep deprivation was most definitely the tune and theme of Friday. When the kids are older they won’t care where they sleep, or who sleeps with them and will find it exciting to have floor pallets, or bring sleeping bags and all of those fun traveling experiences. Right now, ours just don’t travel exceptionally well in the sleep department and are more confused, scared and unsettled than exhausted. When you add in the exhaustion that they really do have running through their veins it makes for an interesting, restless, up and down night.
I will say it was a highlight hearing them upon putting them down for bed comforting each other over the monitor. “It’s okay Everett, I’m right here, don’t be scared, I’m not leaving.” Sweet boys.
I did enjoy stumbling out in the wee hours of the morning in our PJs and slippers with Caden to try to let Everett, who had finally passed out get a couple of hours of sleep. Tom’s mother Evelyn had just woken as well, put on a fresh pot of coffee and it was quiet and cute. Caden ran up to her for a big hug, warming both of our hearts telling her “Good Morning” and then chatting away. You would think she was his best friend all of the things he had to tell her. After a couple of minutes he said “I don’t think I know what I am talking about.” We both agreed.
Yes, we packed up early and headed back to Dallas, but we had a limited reservation
at the vet for dog boarding and though it is tempting at times didn’t want our pups to be homeless, or our bank account to be empty because of added fees.
With a quick stop at his other Aunt and Uncle’s organic farm, which was SO fun and nice for the boys to run around and see their 2nd cousins we were off. Sidenote: If you live in the Austin area, you MUST go buy some fresh produce from Springdale Farm. It is fresh (obviously), family driven and fun to see all right there
Traffic was atrocious but we survived and boy were the kiddos glad to get home and run around!
So we did it! We traveled on Thanksgiving, shared our thanks with family and the boys got to see all of their Kazmann family members all at once. A success indeed.
We took a whirlwind trip to Austin for Thanksgiving and are back cozy and comfy at home. With the Countdown to Christmas officially on (I feel like I have run a marathon already and it is only December 2nd) I decided I better reminisce on all of our prep and fun for Turkey Day.
The boys are SO lucky to have a wonderful school and teachers that work extra hard to celebrate holidays with them and reinforce the meaning behind each one. We had been receiving an abundance of “I am Thankul For” papers, crafts and hand print placemats to decorate or refrigerator and tables with throughout the month of November.
Each day when I picked them up Caden would have a new “turkey” song in his head that he had been working on for his big performance and Everett loved showing me the turkey he made flying from his classroom ceiling. You know we have an allergy baby, when Everett’s placemat said “I am thankful for, my mom & dad, my brother, preschool, hummus and naptime.” Ha! All the other kids surely had goldfish, animal crackers or the like and our sweet boy is thankful for his hummus. Sad but true.
The 3 year class at preschool performs a Thanksgiving recital that was much anticipated in our home. Caden was quite excited that
A. He got to have special lunch at school.
B. Mommy got to come to HIS school to see him sing his songs.
While he had been practicing in the car, at the dinner table and during naptime I was curious to see how he would handle the stage and audience. He knew I and the other Mommy & Daddies would be coming to watch them so he was a little prepared. Upon walking on the stage, he was a little unsure about the bright light that perfectly spot lighted him and his little eyes and all of the eyes looking at him. But then, he found me.
He gave his wrinkled nose, head to shoulder bashful smile and then held his arms up like ’What?” to show that this was all just so silly. I was impressed that he sang the songs at all. During his 2 year end of year recital all the songs he would sing at home he just smiled and giggled though during “showtime” which is equally as adorable. He did do the “wobble, wobble, wobble” move of “Hello Mr. Turkey” throughout all of the songs, and loved looking behind him at the big screen but sang he did.
Proud of his extra festive turkey shirt he would open it wide and point to his belly every time they said turkey. Every time. He did good, they all were so cute and basking in their pre-school glory of nose-picking, refusal to sing, dancing, and even singing right on cue. There were no tears among any of them (that I saw) and they were on and off the stage like little pros.
Later that week, I got to pick up these two.
What a Thanksgiving pair.
My little pilgrim and my little turkey.
For this, I am thankful that their preschool still does the whole feather headdress, paperbag vests and pilgrim hats. My photo albums and brain are benefitting from the memory big time.
” Hello Mr. Turkey how are you? Hello Mr. Turkey how are you? With a gobble, gobble, gobble and a wobble, wobble, wobble, hello Mr. Turkey how are you?!”
In Summary, Your Answer to Questions About Brothers 20 months Apart.
A parenting first for us was having both boys in full costumes this year excited and ready to take on the neighborhood for trick or treating. They had been doing lots of studying thanks to Disney Junior’s Halloween episodes of Mickey, Jake, Little Einsteins, our Spookly the Square Pumpkin movie and who can leave out Curious George’s Boo Fest. So, they didn’t need much instruction from us.
Here comes in our super creative, out of this world creative costumes to compete with all the themed families and home-made threads. NOT! I wish I could get into the costume thing, but I just can’t…I have full overboard potential on just about anything but Halloween was never huge in our family as far as elaborate costuming went so it just doesn’t happen here. What does happen is adorable kid-chosen, parent-influenced costumes that are inexpensive, use clothes they already have (orange courdoroys) and can happily be re-used for dress up or daily wear (raincoats) and are for sure something they are into and all about. I present, our most adorable firemen!
I mean really. It is just TOO cute. Too, too cute. The best part is that they were SO excited. We had been telling them that they were going to get to have firemen costumes leading up to the 31st when they were doing their “studying” and seeing that this whole shindig was really about a fun costume. With this age though, you never know if when you pull it out you are going to get a “I don’t want to be a fireman anymore! I’m not wearing that!” So, I held my breath, thankful that I do have a “dress up” bucket for them (construction workers, shield/armor, pirate from last year and cowboy clothes thanks to western week at school) until we whipped them out. What did we get? Sheer excitement and joy over their whole outfit and SUPER pumped about their “Super Boots” as they call them that were picked out the week prior by Everett as a pre-birthday gift.
Naturally, this meant that younger brother followed his superhero fireman lead. What other choice was there?
They were just adorable. I obviously can’t say that enough! They also were surprisingly understanding that we had to wait a little bit before walking around. Thanks to Mickey’s Treat episode, Caden, who is recently scared of the dark knew we had to wait until it was a little darker and he was fine with that. Mickey waited for the “moon to come up” so he could do. Phew! What did we do while we waited? Played baseball of course!
Our 6th grade neighbor who was going to trick or treat with us and his little sister came over while she was still getting her fancy Cindy-Lou-Who hair styled and entertained the boys with Colter running around playing baseball. What is cuter than two firefighters you ask? Two baseball playing firefighters! It held them off until dusk and then they were ready to pick up their dollar store pumpkin buckets and head out.
When we asked Caden what he thought he was going to need to say up at the door he thought about it. “Hmmmm. Ummmm.” “How about, I think I might like to have a treat please?” Yes, son, that will do. In fact, I think that will get you extra candy. Some might say it is a little wordy, but “I think I might like to have a treat please,” will do just fine.
It was helpful to have our older neighbors to blaze the trail for them which helped them to not be hesitant, thought a bit of hesitation going up to the doors is fine by me!
We also weren’t sure how Everett, who can’t actually eat any of the candy given out was going to react to getting all of these treats in his bucket. Not that he knows they are treats since he hasn’t had them, but you know how kiddos just know? Usually, when he gets something new he wants to devour it right then. Fortunately he was pumped to just be filling his bucket. By filling it, I mean he was coming away with some serious loot. It is the cuteness factor
(I know it because he totally stole the Best Costume award away from the Canyon Creek Country Club Halloween party the weekend prior because the DJ and main judge just couldn’t get over how cute this not yet two year old fireman was. His very first trophy setting the tone for years of award sweeping. )
A successful and enjoyable Halloween it was. The boys loved the ritual. After each house I would get a “Mommy, can you hold my hand? Mommy, which house do you think we can go to next?” We made a decent trek around about 1/3 of our neighborhood before Colter and I decided that their full buckets, the dropping temps and the later hour had given them plenty of trick or treating experience for one year. After all we have years ahead of us where we HAVE to go to EVERY.SINGLE.HOUSE. Why kill ourselves now when they are satisfied and ready?
Sweet Everett hauled his bucket around the whole time, barely lifting it above the ground stating “I got it. I got it,” anytime we asked if he would like us to hold it from him. No way was he letting all those treats that he wasn’t going to eat out of his sight.
They held hands, they said please and thank yous and they came home ready to go through their treats. Everett was so thrilled and into it that he began taking as many handfuls as he could out of our own big bowl of candy (that we had yet to hand out since we had been walking) and dumping into this own bucket. He had figured it out.
In true toddler tradition, they each get to pick out just one treat from their bucket to enjoy just before bedtime. After all, they are just little ones and don’t need to fill themselves with sugar. Caden, just like last year picked out a Reese’s Cup (good choice son), which I don’t think he has had since last year but he picked out every night last year. Everett so conveniently picked out one of his corn syrup free lollipops that I had so fortunately grabbed and placed front and center right before showing him his bucket and over-enthusiastically saying “Oh my, a LOLLIPOP!” It worked. He was beyond pleased. We all won. Phew!
I personally was happy that we got home in time to still give out some candy since I had bought it not thinking about both of us being out trick or treating ourselves. Last year we sat in our driveway after only hitting a few houses with Caden passing out the goods and he loved it so I was hoping for them both to get to experience the other side of it again too. It was perfect. We had just changed them into their skeleton PJs and to the door they ran every time to see just who was there and just what they picked. It was at this point, that Caden all on his own, yelled to a really sweet young girl out trick or treating by herself as she walked away, “I just love your pretty costume.” Be still my heart. A sweet compliment from his own little heart to a shy little girl and I think it was just what she needed. She stopped, turned, smiled and said “Oh, thank you!”
On another “parenting first” topic, during dinner that night, I got the feared ”Mommy, where is your costume, what are you going to be?” Oh no. I just couldn’t break his giddy little heart and say “I’m going to be a Mommy,” because my very specific child wouldn’t have bought it. Then I remembered that last year when they were 50% off I bought Minnie ears. BINGO! When I answered him the sparkle in his eye was enough to know I did good. ”What? What you said? How? Where is your costume?” While I planned to just throw on the ears I realized I had a new polka dotted sweater that I could throw on. They just couldn’t believe it. My two favorite statements were “Mommy, Minnie wears those shoes with the sticks on then like this (points two fingers up) so that they stand up well.” He was speaking of Minnie’s high heels which I informed him I would not be clopping around the streets in. Nice try. I then added a touch of red lipstick and received a jolly, “Oh! I just love your pretty red lips like Minnie!” Seeing their happiness over my “costume” was so worth it. The boys told everyone those they came across that I was Minnie and even a few other little ones stopped and looked up at me happily as they saw me go by. Bonus points earned for sure. Yes!
Since this was Everett’s first year to have a costume (just wore a pumpkin shirt as he rode last year) I don’t have a real comparison photo, but here is a look at Caden!
We hope you were just as successful and have been stuffing yourself with sweets like us so we aren’t alone coming down off of the Halloween sugar rush.
It is a good even number.
It is the side you always want to roll on the dice when playing Monopoly.
It is enough to justify baking muffins and only eating half of them.
It is also a perfectly reasonable number of squares to eat on a Hershey bar where you feel total chocolate satisfaction but can still claim you didn’t eat the entire thing. Who is with me?
According to numerology, 6 is considered the most harmonious of all single-digit numbers. The most important influence of the 6 is its loving and caring nature. Properly nicknamed the motherhood number, it is all about sacrificing, caring, healing, protecting and teaching others.
Well, we have officially been married for six whole years today. Six years full of love, learning, sacrificing, caring, grieving, growing, guarding and protecting each other and our home. Not a bad way to go.
Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit, no matter what the holiday is, like PJs.
Nothing says Halloween, better than small kids in mini skeleton PJs.
Not even candy.
Okay, maybe candy.
High five for candy.
No wonder they are skin and bones, what a workout! And just for fun,
Between pumpkin patches one, two and three, crafts, school fun, neighborhood parties and the usual playdates and pre-school, these boys have had more than enough pumpkin fun for one October. We are moving full steam ahead and looking forward to trick or treating with boy boys for the first time – or as Caden says when asked what will he say when going around in his costume,
“Ummm…I think I might like to have a treat please.”
Happy Hallow’s Eve!
(Check out my candy corn sugar cookies for a last minute Halloween treat)
Being at home with the boys allows me the opportunity to do all sorts of seasonal activities and outings with the boys throughout the year during the week. Now that both boys are in pre-school it has limited that time a little bit but we are still able to get to most places and play dates we would like. The perk is that weekdays tend to not be as busy and many locations or are just so with other children and families in their age range. The downside is that Colter rarely gets to experience this with them and see firsthand their reactions.
I know that he doesn’t mind missing out on all of the fun with the boys as there are a reasonable amount of meltdowns, negotiations and plans made during it all but I also know that he misses having to miss out sometimes.
Enter Newly Found Local Pumpkin Patch
I had recently discovered a new small Pumpkin Patch just 15 minutes from us in Rockwall at Blase Family Farm. With the standard animal feeding, tractor hayrides, hay maze, pumpkin piles and signs in store for another affordable fee ($6 on weekends) I mentioned it Colter as an outing possibility on a Saturday after breakfast. Since our boys are early risers we are the perfect family to be anywhere right when it opens before any potential of it getting busy.
Well, on the weekends it opens at ten instead of nine and while we weren’t the only ones with this plan we still got in before there was a crowd and a steady stream of families continued after us. It was a great family friendly, small fall stop to take up just enough time for a morning outing. There were several brightly painted signs like this growth chart, or cutouts you could put your faces through to top off the festive fun. The boys enjoyed romping through the very small hay maze which had really just turned into a disheveled hay pile – more fun for them anyway!
Since the boys are experiences in feeding the animals at Owens they weren’t hesitant here at first. In fact, Caden loved this feeding area because it wasn’t just goats. Both boys loved seeing for the first time sheep, a calf and a Longhorn.
They have only seen cattle up close near our house, but have never gotten a really up close and personal encounter. While Caden was very brave and confident in feeding the goats and sheep by hand, he wasn’t too sure about those horns! He took a “drop the food through the fence just close enough” approach with the Longhorn and calf. Everett just enjoyed singing “Old MacDonald” throughout our feeding time while playing with the food and waving. He had enough finger nibbles for his taste and was ready to move on!
A crowd did gather for the tractor ride causing us to have to wait while one group went ahead of us. However, it really benefitted us because then we were first on the next group and were able to get spots on the hay bales right up behind the tractor for prime vehicle viewing. It was a lengthier tractor ride than Owens and they had decorated some areas of the trails with fake spider webs, spiders, and painted hay rolls which was cute for the kids. They were instructed to “Watch out for spiders”, so with each turn the décor was pointed out and squealed about. A definite thumbs up for effort in trying to make it something other than staring at trees.
Caden peeked, sang, and enjoyed the breeze while watching the tractor tires and living out his dream job. Tractor man. It is right up there with fire-fighter, construction worker, big rig driver…you get the idea. Everett gets a little spooked by the bumpiness on the tractor rides so he is always at ease in someone’s lap. In this case, he was thrilled to have Daddy for a change and leaned into him the whole time like a little man.
Overall it was a cute family outing that wasn’t too much of a time or bank account commitment. I loved getting to do something seasonal with ALL of us and the boys like chatting about “that time Daddy got to come too”. Family memories being made and weekends being spend somewhere other than home. Success!
It is a joy of mine to say that it is Pumpkin Patch season. As mentioned, October is my month. I love it. I feel at home in it, and while I am not really a “Halloween” lover, I am an all things fall inspired fan.
Know what is inspired by fall? Pumpkin Patches
It was last year at almost one and 2 1/2 that I got to observe the boys’ joy in visiting the pumpkin patches, enjoying the weather and taking part on the fall festivities. They seemed smitten which really sank in with me. Plus, I think we have some fabulous pumpkin options in this area, all affordable, all precious and all with their different perks. That being said, we do have to spread them out and fill the month so as not to pumpkin overload everyone. Okay, minimal pumpkin overload. Owens farm has been around for what feels like forever to me, because I went there as a kid and now my kids get to go there and experience all of the small farm fun they have to offer and I have shared several of our visits with you whether it was planned, or desperate spontaneity. In September, Ashley asked if we had Owens on our pumpkin patch hit list this year and if we might like to go together. The date was set, the weather was looking good and a few days before our visit the press release was out that Owens would be closing its doors for good come November. That turned it into a sentimental pumpkin patch visit as I mourned knowing the boys would not get to continue our annual summer visit, playdates and pumpkin season! So, during the very first week of October, it was time to take full advantage and enjoy the farm. The boys LOVED it. LOVED, loved it.
Really, I could sum it up with this expression as we were waiting to enter upon Everett’s sighting of the farm.
Or…. Okay, you get it. They were beyond entertained.
We had been this summer and they actually went earlier this same week (prior to the patch opening) with Dad and Jill so they were very familiar with the routine of animal feedings, kitten peeking and tractor rides while being quite giddy about the new options of maze running, hay roll climbing and fall fun. It was a bright yet cloud covered morning with perfect fall temps for romping in the fields, rolling in the grass and just goofing off together. The boys are spending more and more time these days playing their own games, immersed in some make-believe scenario or conspiring together. The pumpkin patch at Owens farm was no exception to their brotherly shenanigans. We must have spent a good 30 minutes plus just sitting in the grass down by this pumpkin painted hay “jelly roll” as my Dad taught them to call them. Between crawling through the tunnels, hanging from the bars, climbing on top of the hay and running back and forth they were thrilled with this one spot for most of the morning. Being the mother to these two little angels, I enjoyed watching them run in and out of the maze with Caden so protectively guiding his brother through.Once Ashley and Lane arrived we made our way up to the goat pens to help them get their grub on. Man do these goats like to eat. Fortunately, the boys are practically professional goat feeders now and aren’t leery of them fighting their way to the gates to be the first goat in line. With their cups at the ready, they held their hands out nice and flat just as the farmer told them and got to work feeding their furry friends. Once Caden, Everett and Lane had their fill of filling the goats up it was off to the tractor ride which they had been waiting for since they first caught wind of their trip to Owens. Caden had been chattering away about the “bossy goose” that guarded the tractor and boy was he right! Honk! Honk! Honk! The employees would have to chase away this one goose who just wasn’t so sure he appreciated everyone coming so close to his pond all the time. I’m lucky enough to have a toddler who loves impersonating that goose’s honk. Wahoo! It is a short little tractor jaunt, but for the season they have a “scarecrow farmer”, Farmer Terry, who is hidden throughout the loop for the kids to try to find as they ride.
Everett’s spot on my lap made him feel just secure enough to enjoy the bounces and bumps through the field as we circled back to the farm to finish up at the pumpkin patch. The maze was run one more time, pumpkins were chosen and hauled to the car all while I checked off a successful fall pumpkin patch visit to Owens off of our October Bucket List.
The staff has always been beyond friendly to our boys and I still think it is one of the best $5 for your child that you can spend. Local farm kid enjoyment, outside and away from toys and technology, family time. I will continue to hold my breath until Owens officially closes after pumpkin season this year in hopes that we will still have this easy, affordable and entertaining stops for the kids in the future!