Thursday, October 29, 2015

All Things Pumpkin

While visiting in Houston, Adrienne took us to such a fun pumpkin farm out in the country.  The spectacle was so much more than just a mere pumpkin patch, that I hate to even allude to it just being a patch.

Think more mini-carnival with kettle corn and roasted ears of corn and hay mazes and slides and duck races and train rides and much more.
 

We had a ball running around (and with these two crazy kids, I DO mean running.  Poor pregnant Adrienne was a TROOPER!)
The icing on the cake (vine on the pumpkin??) was the pumpkin patch at the end of our visit. Adrienne taught Palmer the tricks of the trade ("pick a pumpkin as big as your head so that you can carry it" and "the stem is the key to a good pumpkin") and off they went...
Meanwhile, I chased lil "miss I can run away from you now"...
At least one kid wanted to pose for me:
Two kids?  Haha.  Yeah, right.
Love these little pumpkin carts.  They work well for children, too:
Back at home, we decorated the pumpkin Jordan-style: with stickers.  This might be the last year that I can get away with avoiding a proper carving, but I will take it.
"Palmer, smile!"
(umm, thanks...)
Much better (with pre-carved fake pumpkin, mind you...)
-Bethany

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Neighborhood Bike Races

On Sunday afternoon, our doorbell rang and a neighbor boy wanted to know if Palmer was home.  I told the kid Palmer was napping and was asked if Palmer "wanted a ticket for the bike races at 3pm".

Umm, yes he did!!

Upon Palmer's wake up, I informed him of his invitation to participate in the bike race.  Usually grumpy after a nap, Palmer leaped out of bed and went into the garage to quickly get his helmet and bike.

Ticket in hand, we were around the corner at the starting line in minutes.

The biker gang:
A handful of kids ranging from 4 to 9 took this race very seriously.  With a few bossy girls taking charge, kids were organized into age ranges along the starting line initially.
Eventually all the kids raced at one time in a block-long dash downhill, u-turn, and back uphill (parents guarded from cars at both ends of the block).
video
The peanut gallery:
Palmer mostly enjoyed leaving black tire skid marks by braking as hard as he could during the u-turn.  Yes, I do worry about what he will do with a car one day...

Sunday Funday.
-Bethany

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NASA

Palmer has been super into space for over a year now.  You may recall his astronaut Halloween costume last year to kick off the obsession.

When people ask me if our family has an interest in going to Disney, my answer at this point is no.

Palmer isn't that into Disney characters and although he would enjoy the rides, we have Six Flags in our backyard, so why fly elsewhere?  Grace is too young for us to gauge her princess interest level yet.  However, I would qualify a visit to the NASA Johnson Space Center up there as something like Palmer's version of Disney.

We made a visit down to Houston last weekend to visit dear friends Persis and Adrienne.  While there, I talked Persis and 4-yr-old Olivia into a morning at NASA.

Palmer could not have been more excited.  He told his teachers, classmates, and outright strangers about his pending trip to "see mission control".

The kids were so hilarious on the morning of our trip.  Palmer came out in his astronaut costume.  Olivia followed suit and came out in...her Cinderella dress.
Palmer looked at Olivia confused and was like, "Um, we are going to NASA..."  Olivia said, "I know.  I'm ready."  Palmer: "That's not what you wear at NASA."  Olivia, "You are wearing dress up and I'm wearing dress up...."  I was rolling with laughter.
The kids got a ton of attention with everyone saying, "Hey cool.  Look at the astronaut.  Oh and...the astronaut princess."  I told Palmer to say "CHEESE" for a photo and he replied, "BLAST OFF".  I told Olivia to say "BLAST OFF" and she sweetly gestured, "CINDERELLA".  Hilarious.
But seriously, Palmer was in heaven.  He loved everything about the trip and I wish we had time to pack in more of the interactive exhibits.
Palmer spends a lot of time reading space books and knows quite a bit of technical information.  To see the inter workings of "space" in the flesh and to learn more proved to be very valuable.  The kids played "rocket ship" back home a lot of the rest of the weekend.

When asked if Palmer wants to go to space one day, he usually says, "No.  I want to work in Mission Control."  If I explained something to Palmer during the tour, he would often reply with, "I know, mom.  I'm already in training."  Ummm, there is always room to learn more, buddy.
During our tram tour to Historic Mission Control and the astronaut training facility, Palmer paid pretty close attention to what the tour guide was saying (especially for a 4.5 year old in a tour really designed for adults.)  And Olivia, Persis, and Grace were troopers.  I know these ladies were bored at times, but really played along for Palmer's sake.
Later in the weekend, I put on the movie Apollo 13 to see if Palmer would really sit down and watch an entire adult space flick.  Sure enough, he was fully engaged (with many, many questions) throughout the entire movie.  I'll have to add Gravity to our movie night list next.

Good night from Palmer and his new friend, Cosmo:
-Bethany

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Y'all

Praise God, the temperatures have dropped a little.

September is always that month where in your head, you think it's supposed to be fall-like.  But in reality, it's still hot enough to go swimming and you are mad about it every single day.  (Our local pool just extended their hours into November.  November, folks.)
Anyway, last week the temperatures lowered a tad and we have been celebrating with fall-like activities.

The beauty of the State Fair is that it is 5 minutes from our house and when I have cool perks like free media entrance and parking passes, it makes going to the fair on a weekday night for "dinner" a breeze.
Rick got home a little early the other night and we zipped on over to the fair for a few hours. Unfortunately, it's always a risk when a stranger takes your photo in front of Big Tex.  Poor little Grace didn't make it in the frame for our family photo:
I let the kids pick two rides each.  Palmer picked this slide and a pirate ship fun house.  Ever since the slide, Palmer and Rick have been fighting over who won.  You be the judge.  (I'm always going to side with the underdog and vote for Palmer.)
video
Grace is so teeny tiny that we had a hard time finding a ride that would allow someone of her height.  She loved this ride with Rick:
Sweet buddies:

I'm loving our fall schedule of school/work.

On Fridays, neither kid has school and I've been dubbing the day "Fun Friday" with activities and outings.  Last week, we went to the Perot Museum for the first time in quite awhile.
I like to think I get wiser with age and instead of pushing the kids thru each floor, I sat back and let them spend the entire morning in the children's portion of the museum.
I loved seeing Palmer mature in the way he played since our last visit.  He did things like shop in the pretend market by using a provided grocery list where he could count out "4 apples, 3 bananas, and 1 onion" for his basket.  He also learned about how dams work and why it's important to utilize the structures to keep lake levels high or low.

And fall wouldn't be fall in Texas without hunting season.  Rick and Palmer have been out dove hunting a few times.  (For Palmer this simply means he gets to shoot his BB gun at the beginning and then sit down and watch a movie on his iPad- a true treat.)
Aunt Amanda and Elle joined the fun one weekend.  (Aunt Bethany did not.)
This is such a fun time of year and we are already looking ahead to Halloween fun in the next few weeks!

-Bethany

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Football Fun

Although my Southwestern University alma mater doesn't have a football team, we've taken full advantage of our "hometown" team, SMU, and enjoy tailgating boulevarding during the fall.

Rick actually spent more years at SMU with his two graduate degrees than he did at his undergrad (A&M), so that definitely makes us a pony family.  (And Aunts Samantha and Amanda are SMU grads...)

Anyway, several of our friends have longstanding tent spots on the boulevard and we love to let the kids run around with their friends while we enjoy social time.

Grace's posse (aka siblings of Palmer's friends):
And please note, we don't actually go to the game.  We had free tickets to the Baylor game and lasted there 15 minutes.
It's much more fun to let the kids play outside and in bounce houses than to try to restrain them in stadium seats.

Supporting another local team, we went with Samantha to see the kids who she used to nanny for in her college days.  Now all grown up, Carson is a senior football player and Alexandra is a freshman cheerleader.
We had a ball attending the homecoming game.  We ate at the cheerleader fundraiser dinner and the kids had a blast on the "dance floor" playing with older kids.
And before the game, Palmer got a kick out of high-fiving the football players and coaches.
He proudly wore Carson and Alexandra's buttons on his shirt.
To top it off, one of Palmer's friends happened to be sitting a few rows from us, so the boys sat together and obsessed about when they could go down to the snack bar and get popcorn.  (They were SUPER into the game. ha.)
Samantha's visit centered around SMU's homecoming weekend and we enjoyed a family boulevard outing.  (Please note Palmer's need to wear the high school football buttons to the SMU game, too.)
Fun with cheerleaders:
Hopefully all of our football outings don't have enough of an effect on Palmer for him to want to play.  I really would like to avoid him getting involved with the sport when he is older.  As Rick says, I just like to enjoy other people's kids risking their life for my enjoyment.  Um, something like that.

-Bethany