Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fish, trains and birthdays

Josh turned 6 today, and it has been a fish-filled birthday. Chris' parents are in town, and they bought Josh a fish tank today, which he is thrilled about. He also received a fishing pole and tackle box from my parents and Nemo cake from me, so he is well-equipped in everything having to do with fish!

After the fish tank extravaganza, we drove to the N.C. Transportation Museum for a special Thomas the Train event. Josh and Molly currently are obsessed with Thomas and all of his train friends. Unfortunately it was raining and we couldn't do some of the outdoor events, like Thomas the Train putt-putt golf, but we did get to ride on a train pulled by a Thomas engine.

Here are Josh and Molly being their usual difficult selves around the camera, posing in front of a picture of a friend of Thomas.

Josh and Chris on the train

The museum offered professional pictures in front of the Thomas tank engine, but they were charging $15 for the cheap version and $40 for the "recommended" version of the picture. We walked down a little from the official photo shoot and took our own pictures. Behind us are the people standing in line for the professional pictures.

Josh wanted to know why Thomas' eyes weren't moving. I hesitated, then told him that Thomas in real life doesn't have eyes that move. Chris quickly stepped in and said that Thomas had to concentrate on the track and was always looking straight ahead. Not looking good for when we have to deal with the Santa Claus issue!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Farm Tour

We headed off to the countryside to tour several farms that we buy some of our food from. We saw everything from piglets to peacocks, and we ended our day with a "ham"burger prepared from pork at one the farms.

Josh and Molly were especially taken with the pigs at the first farm we visited, and they enjoyed jumping at the pigs and watching them run around the pen. The farmer assured us that the harassment was good for the pigs, as they needed some exercise.

Josh learned to mill corn by hand

Molly checks out the multi-colored eggs

Our next stop was an organic dairy farm that produces milk for Organic Valley. Josh was very disappointed to learn that the cows were milked by a machine and that we wouldn't be milking them ourselves, and neither kid was too impressed by the opportunity to pet Blackberry the sheep.

Molly did, however, like her "chocolate juice," Organic Valley chocolate milk that the farm let the kids sample.

The farmer's son took everyone on a hay ride through the cow pastures, which was fun until it started to pour down rain.

We arrived at our third farm three hours after Molly's nap should have started, and things were getting a little dicey. We decided to forego the 45-minute tour of the pig habitat, and instead enjoyed a hamburger picnic while the kids played with the farmer's son and his puppy.

Molly loudly announced that she had found a monkey in the garden when she came across this Buddha statue. I tried to correct her, but she continued to argue that it was a monkey. I gave in.

I'm not sure what happened to Josh in the second picture below!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Greek Festival!

The gorgeous fall-ish weather we've been having here made it a perfect evening to enjoy our favorite annual festival. We stuffed ourselves with gyros and Greek desserts, then waddled over to the games. Josh and Molly are both in this Ferris wheel cage thing--you can see Josh on the right.

As usual, the kids are not happy about posing for the camera.

We've also been eating our daytime meals outside because of the nice weather--and we now have a decent deck to eat on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Molly's First Day of School

Molly FINALLY started preschool today, and she seemed pretty happy to meet her new teachers and new friends. The teachers reported only about 2 seconds of crying after I left, so I hope she acclimates quickly to her new classroom. The few hours of quiet I have now in the mornings are greatly welcomed--I should have taken a picture of the huge smile on my face when I dropped Molly off this morning!

Monday, September 7, 2009

We Camped

We survived our first camping trip, although our ears are still ringing from the inordinate amount of whining that accompanied us at times.

Here's what the kids said they liked:
Sleeping in the tent
The fire pit
Cooking hot dogs on the fire pit

Josh did not like:
The uphill hike, which apparently hurt his legs and made him too tired to proceed

Roasting marshmallows also didn't got over too well. Josh preferred his unroasted, and Molly sat by the fire with a slightly roasted marshmallow in her hand and licked it for about half an hour. That was one of the moments I wished we had foregone the "primitive" campsite for one with a water spigot.

We also took the kids on a hike to find a geocache, but Josh whined so much that we stopped about a quarter mile from the cache and turned around. He made an amazing recovery when we turned around and quickly made it back to camp.

Here we are heading into the hike, and Josh already has a look of hesitation on his face. He should have been glad he didn't have a 30-pound kid strapped to his back.

This geocache involved finding several intermediate points, where someone had nailed pennies to trees (not the easiest thing to find in the forest). The dates on the pennies were part of coordinates to the next point.

We actually managed to find all of the pennies, so it was pretty disappointing to have to turn back before we reached the geocache. Here's how Josh looked right before we told him we were turning around. It pretty much sums up his attitude toward hiking.

We had planned to take the kids swimming in the Green River this morning, but it was cold and overcast. We packed up our campsite early and headed to the apple orchard we usually go to in the fall. There were lots of apples this year and several vines full of grapes.

All in all, it was a fun trip, although cleaning up and putting away all of the stuff for a 24-hour camping trip has taken several hours. I'm just hoping I can get the dried marshmallow out of Molly's hair tonight!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Camping preview

We've bravely decided to take the kids camping in the N.C. mountains for Labor Day, so we set up the tent in the yard today to make sure we knew how to do it. The kids are beyond excited, so much so that Josh decided that he would spend his nap time this afternoon in the tent, complete with a fan, an air mattress and a pile of books.

The last time we went camping, Josh was about 2 and a half and I was pregnant with Molly. Camping with two kids should be quite the adventure, and hopefully we will actually get some sleep.

Here's Molly trying out the air mattress in the tent:

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Purple Day

Josh has taken to school quickly this year, and today he earned the coveted purple crown (his only explanation was that he was "being really good) for outstanding behavior. I spoke with his teacher this morning (same teacher as last year), and she said he schooled the class yesterday on their daily calendar exercise, when apparently he was the only student who knew which day yesterday was. His obsession with calendars and dates is paying off.

Not unexpectedly, Josh wanted to ride the train to celebrate. Today he loudly announced each stop to the other passengers, who looked only somewhat amused.

Here are some pictures of the kids playing on the lawn in front of Imaginon.

Josh loves the arcade games at a nearby pizza parlor, so tonight we let him play one round of the driving game as a reward for earning the purple crown. He was 10th out of 10 drivers.