Puddle Jumpers

Rainy Days are a bummer.  Except that rainy days sometimes bring rainbows, and they ALWAYS bring puddles!

When you play in puddles, you get all wet.  I don’t think they mind.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

This was 2 seconds before she face planted and the fun was over.

It was a blissful 15 minutes though.

These kids are my favorites.

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the first lady and me

Michelle Obama and I have so much in common.  Right?  She was on The Daily Show on Tuesday with her new book:  American Grown.

The Daily Show with Michelle Obama

The Daily Show with Michelle Obama, pt 2

OK, so we don’t have a lot in common, but now we BOTH garden. And she’s totally right. Our kids LOVE fresh fruits and vegetables – I think in part because they help grown them, pick them at a local berry farm, or help pick them out at the grocery store or farmers market. Most of the time, that’s what they eat first off their plates. Both of them chowed down on the green pepper we picked Tuesday night.  And they can put away some blueberries like it’s their job.

I think this gardening thing is going to be much fun.

The raised bed Russ built for our very first garden, filled in with compost and organic gardening soil

A few weeks after we planted…nothing was dead yet:  success!

We purchased plants for the top tier (roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and jalapenos) and tried out organic seeds on the lower tier (carrots, green onion, spinach, cantaloupe, and watermelon).  Russ has been faithfully watering the garden, and I have been faithfully weeding.  Caleb tried to sabbatoge the jalapenos and zucchini by pulling them up (because that’s what it looked like I was doing, I suppose).  But we saved them.  Taylor and I check on the vegetables almost every afternoon to see how big they are getting and if they are ready to be picked.  And Tuesday, they finally were!

Taylor grabbed her bucket to collect our loot.   Then we both went inside to wash everything and get it ready for dinner.  She was very excited and wanted to try all of the goodies that came out of our very own garden!

Our first harvest:  Green pepper, Jalapeno peppers, itty bitty carrots, giant grape tomato, and green onions

We had a mighty good salad last night.  Wow, fresh really does taste so much better!  I highly recommend this gardening thing.  Fun for the whole family!

THE bridge

In the Lowcountry, we have the Ravenel Bridge, sometimes called the Cooper River Bridge, but most people just call it THE Bridge.   It has it’s own website.  It’s a pretty bridge; it’s on a lot of Charleston merchandise, second I would say to Rainbow Row.  People run on it – I even saw a woman running the steep incline part while pushing a double stroller, so the bridge obviously has magical powers.  There is the Cooper River Bridge Run with some 40,000 participants (crazies, I say).   We walked on it at 11:00 pm with 12 middle school girls wearing glow jewelry during a lock-in a few weeks ago.   It has some pretty impressive views from the top.  For us, it’s Pops and Grammy’s bridge because it’s the way we get to their house….you know, over the river to grandmother’s house we go.

As we were out and about yesterday, we caught the bridge from several different locations.

The view from Waterfront Park in Charleston

The view from Shem Creek Park in Mt. Pleasant

The view from Memorial Waterfront Park in Mt. Pleasant

The view from the bridge, on our way home after a busy day

what dreams are made of

Last Christmas, my sister and brother-in-law gave us a fire pit.  We were really excited about, but there was always some reason we didn’t actually USE it…it was too cold or too hot or too light outside or raining…or Russ was working late…or I was working late.  You know, life.  But last weekend, we decided it was the perfect time to try it out.  So great! And now we are hooked.  We did it again last night.

I mean, really, what’s better than sitting around the fire on a crisp fall evening sipping hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music, roasting marshmallows, making s’mores and hanging out with your favorite people?  Nothing.  Nada.  The only thing that would make it better is if Caleb would refrain from trying to touch the fire and therefore be allowed to hang out with us.  So far, he’s only made it 5 minutes before I put him to bed so we can enjoy the time without fear of third degree burns and a screaming toddler.  But the upside of that is that Taylor has gotten some good quality time with the undivided attention from both parents.

Last night we sat around talking for a while.  Taylor finished her hot chocolate, then pulled her s’more apart, ate the melty chocolate, then scraped the gooey marshmallow off the cracker, then decided to put the cracker in the bushes for the ducks.  Then she wiped melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow on her jeans (*note to self:  bring wipes outside next time).  She sits back in her chair for a minute gazing into the fire before looking at Russ and saying:

Daddy I want to cuddle with you.

and climbs up into his lap with her blanket in hand.

His face was covered side to side with a grin of perfect contentment as he says back to her:

I love you so much.

She gives him a kiss and says:

I love my whole family.

Then she snuggles her hello kitty hat covered head under his chin as he and I share a glance that confirms that this is what dreams are made of.

fickle

Back when it was winter, I could not wait for it to be Spring….to be able to go outside without a coat and gloves…to be able to get in my car in the morning without scraping ice off my windshield.  When Spring finally showed up, I thought “Spring is my favorite season!”  And we went outside every afternoon and played.  I pulled my flip flops back out.  Life was good.  But the love of Spring was quickly followed by the longing for summer and the kiddie pool in the back yard and THE BEACH.  Then when it was warm enough for the pool and the beach and the waterpark, I declared “Summer is my favorite season.”  But then it was hot, with temperatures over 100 for many many days, and I began to long for fall.  When fall arrived, I thought “Fall is surely my most favorite of seasons!”

I mean, with fall comes football, Taylor’s birthday, Halloween, and the fair.  It’s good times.

As fickle as I’ve been with the seasons, I am pretty sure fall is really my favorite season (I know I won’t long for winter).  We’ve had a lot of fun so far this fall.

We’ve had soccer games (Taylor played; Russ coached; I chased Caleb around the field)

Taylor rides her bike every afternoon – it’s getting hard to keep up with her now.

We play in the backyard almost every afternoon as well.  If we don’t, Caleb stands at the backdoor screaming and pointing.

Taylor LOVES doing homework.  If she doesn’t have any, I have to make some up.

And the best thing about fall:  we finally hung my hammock.

There is nothing better than swaying in the hammock while the kids play in the back yard on a crisp fall afternoon.  Nothing.

first trip to the fair

We’re all about firsts this fall.

Last night, we went to the Coastal Carolina Fair.  Until last night, the fair was my enemy.  It makes traffic horrible.  We were trying to get home after the USC game last Saturday to find the exits to our house WAY backed up.  I think if we had waited in the traffic, it would have taken over an hour.  But a couple of U-turns, driving in the median, getting pulled over, and a “warning” later we did make it back to another exit and took the “long way” home.

But last night, it was quite convenient to live so close to the fair.  Especially since we went at 3:00 when it opened and it was overcast, so there was no traffic or crowds or lines.

We paid the $16 to get us in the gate, but I’m not sure what that fee is for considering EVERYTHING else you do costs money – the rides, the food, the games.  We tried to entertain Piglet with the 4H animal tent, which was “free”.  She usually loves animals and petting zoos, but yesterday, she was terrified of the animals.  She did look briefly at the giant pig who was nursing her 8 piglets, laughed, and said, “those pigs are tickling their mommy’s belly.”   (as a currently nursing mother, that sight was terrifying for me).  But when we tried to look at the cows or horses, she cried real tears, yelling, “I want to leave this place”.   Oh well.

So we walked around for a while.  80% of the people we passed commented on how cute Baby B was in the baby bjorn or how clever it was or how “that’s the way to get around” like they had never seen such an invention – of course, it WAS the fair where they focus on inventions like fried butter and fried Twinkies.  seriously.

After wandering and taking in all of the fried options and odd sights, we finally bit the bullet and bought some tickets for the rides.  Piglet was a HUGE fan of the rides.  She would have ridden for hours if we had an endless supply of money.  But alas, she had to settle for three rides (fortunately, Russ got to ride with her fo’ free).

She started out small with the carousel.

Then she went a little bigger with the flying elephants.

And THEN she went on a roller coaster, which she thought was awesome.

She kept saying that she wanted to go on more rides, but we distracted her with dinner and a funnel cake.  I don’t know which she liked better the funnel cake or the rides, but I know she was a big fan of the fair.  She says she wants to go back today.

first field trip

Way back in June when we were still a family of three and Piglet was still two, she made a statement when we passed by her preschool buses one morning that she could ride them when she was three.  I thought she was a wee bit crazy and optimistic.  But LO and BEHOLD and BY GOLLY, she was right!  She started transitioning to the three year-old class the week before her birthday (yes, that was almost a month ago, I am slack and behind in blogging).   She was spending part of the day in her old class and part of the day in her new class.   I saw on her new class schedule that they would be going to the pumpkin patch the next day.  I checked with the director to see if she would be going on the field trip with her new class or staying behind with her old class.  They deemed that she was field trip ready, but then said, “Oh wait, she’s not three yet, she can’t ride the bus”.  She turned three the day after the scheduled field trip, but rules are rules.  They said that I could drive her to the pumpkin patch.  I decided that it would be fun to see her in action with her new school friends, and I could get to work a little late that day.

I thought we would just go play amidst the pumpkins for a while, pick out a super cute one to call our own, then head back to school.  I was very wrong.   This pumpkin patch was at a church that truly saw this as a ministry to the kids.

We started out getting stickers, which Piglet thought was AWE.SOME.  What is it about kids and stickers?  We can get Piglet to do just about anything with the promise of a sticker, especially if said sticker has a princess on it.

Then we went to hear some stories about pumpkins.  These stories were also about Jesus.  Jesus + Pumpkins = good cheesy story time.  Something about how Jesus scoops all of the yucky sin out of us and puts a smile on our faces and a light inside of us.  I’m pretty sure the message was completely lost on the class of three year-olds who were way too distracted by all of the pumpkins in their line of sight.

After story time, we go to go on a hayride.  But they couldn’t find a tractor or a trailer, so it was a hayride in the back of a truck around the parking lot.  But the kids still thought that was pretty cool.

Then, it was game time.  We tossed hula hoops over pumpkins.  The kids were not so good at this and we had to stop shortly after beginning because kids were getting whacked with hula hoops.  BUT THEN, they had a PUMPKIN SHAPED PARACHUTE.  It was Halloween fun perfection for the three year-old set.

Then we headed over to the craft station, then to the plant a pumpkin seed station, then to the potty, then to snack.  Snack was groovy with orange flavored/colored juice, pumpkin pudding and candy corn – these folks know how to make a theme carry through to the end for sure.

Then we finally got to head to the actual patch of pumpkins.  We started with a scavenger hunt – looking for bumpy pumpkins and gourds and other such things.  Then the much anticipated picking out of their very own pumpkins.  It was like Christmas, except it was Halloween.  Piglet picked hers out and said, “I like this one, mama, it’s a little pumpkin”

Then we loaded back in the car and headed back to school – three hours later.  So much for a productive day at work.  Oh well, the field trip was worth it!  I think I’m going to like being a field trip mom!  (But I will NOT, under any circumstances, wear a fanny pack).  I’ll save that for when dad goes on the field trip.