Saturday, November 6, 2010

What I've been doing when I haven't been blogging

I've been telling Eric today different things that I want to do with my extra hour this evening. This is funny, because I never plan on things that I'm going to cut out with the hour "lost" when daylight savings time begins. I am tickled nonetheless for the chance tonight to not feel so bad about going to bed late, and so here I am at the blog with a quick-and-dirty to record some of the past few weeks. 

Sutter's Ridge Farm
One afternoon Eric had three hours in between clinic and overnight call, so we went to a nearby farm to play in the sand, feed the goats, ride the kiddie tractors, get lost in the corn maze, and enjoy the caramel apples.
One detail: there were signposts hidden throughout the maze that we had to find to receive a prize at the end, and the two older boys were surprisingly systematic about the search. They would place two corn husks in an 'X' to mark spots where we had been--it took us over an hour to finish, but we did it!

Old Woman Park and the Zoo
Isn't this the most charming slide you've ever seen?
We spent a day at the park, then we walked from the park around Lake Wingra to the zoo, where the active animals were an absolute pleasure.
One detail: There was a UW Badgers game that afternoon, and we were surrounded by tailgating parties all day. It made it even more fun--a festival of red.

"Day Camping" at Lake Kegonsa
The kids always ask to go "day camping," which basically means that we go to a state park to poke around, make a fire, and eat s'mores. This time we also caught a fish, burned a dump cake, and lit a bonfire. Isn't the reverse sunset gorgeous?
One detail: When I was cleaning the fish to cook it, Zachary pled to "see its brains! PLEASE let me see its brains!" After I showed him what I thought looked like the brains, he said, "Now can you take off your skin? I REALLY, REALLY want to see your bones!"

Jacob's school play
Jacob has a phenomenal teacher, who helped her class write, memorize, stage, rehearse, and perform a humorous play about an overzealous school principal. Jacob played the narrator and hammed it up. I was blushing by the end, I was so proud.
One detail: Ever since the play, Jacob has been using his dramatic "stage voice" when he reads books to the younger boys. I love it!

Eric's Birthday
For Eric's birthday we went on a date to go target shooting and shoot clay pigeons with some friends who live outside of Madison. Later the kids arranged a scavenger hunt for Eric's gifts and we had cake. It was pretty much a perfect day.
One detail: Eric got a fitted Milwaukee Brewers cap for his birthday, and he has pretty much worn it at every opportunity since. Handsome guy.

Chicago, for the Giant Eyeball
A month ago when I told Zachary that there was a 30-foot eyeball on display in Chicago, he began talking about it daily. So even though the thought of driving for six hours and trekking around a big city with four little boys by myself was initially intimidating, I got up my nerve and took them last week! The giant eyeball did not disappoint; and the Sears Tower, Millennium Park, the Chicago Temple, and Dunkin' Donuts were a huge hit!

One detail: I took the boys around the city by wagon, and the two younger boys were so exhausted by the end that they fell asleep on top of each other in the wagon bed. They looked like little puppies cuddled up next to each other--we were an unlikely sight tromping alongside business folks on a Thursday afternoon!

Halloween Celebrations
Our church Trunk-or-Treat and Halloween carnival were an absolute blast! We also went to a spook alley (staffed by costumed local high schoolers) and a preschool Halloween party. On Halloween night, the kids made construction paper monsters and posted them all over our house while we greeted trick-or-treaters. The kids wore different costumes to every Halloween event that we attended, so they were constantly confused when adults asked them, "What are you going to be for Halloween?" Oh well.
One detail: At the Halloween carnival, the kids scored big at the cakewalk. Zachary came home with this haunted chocolate mansion,
and Jacob snagged a dozen of GiGi's cupcakes!  
The wins were especially ironic, as I've been constantly quoting this book lately:
We decided to save some of Dr. Sears's advice for our post-Halloween resolutions. :)

My Birthday
Last night Eric and I biked through a beautiful nature trail, where we saw deer, opossum, rabbits, and more! When the sun went down, we went out for some sukiyaki and sashimi. Eric and the kids planned a family party afterwards, the little darlings.  
One detail: One time I called a friend on her birthday and she told me that she was cleaning her house as her birthday present for herself. I tried to do that on my birthday, but I kept feeling entitled to something more fun and ended up spending most of the day reading books with the kids by the fire. It was lovely.

And a few more details...
First of all, what is it with the kids writing on other people? Zachary labeled Adam the other day (the 'r' and 'y' are on the nape of his neck). I also have a picture of Adam with Jacob's name on his forehead from several months ago. Today I saw that Zachary had "DAD" carefully printed on his back and "ZOO" on his stomach. I don't get it.
Also, I never liked the song "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" when I was a kid. It was so laborious to repeat all those animals' names. But my kids love it, and we've been making all sorts of visuals for it:

They also can belt out "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "On Top of Spaghetti," and "Little White Duck" with amazing enthusiasm. Our time at the piano is so precious to me.

The two older boys' project is making pinewood derby cars with Eric whenever they have some time in the evenings. The endeavor has necessitated new woodworking tools, a bench, and Dremel attachments, which Eric assures me will be indispensable in the coming years as Cub Scout parents.     

And now I've spent more than my extra hour, but it will have been worth it. I love rereading the blog and remembering all these joyful little experiences.