Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pick of the Patch

So as I mentioned we went to the pumpkin patch last week and I took a whooping 166 pictures to ensure that I got some good shots. I always view the pumpkin patch as two things - for one it is a great photo op for Halloween/fall time but also it is a great and fun experience and I wanted to capture both posed and candid photos of our trip this year. Hence the embarrassing number of photos. So many in fact, that I have to split the trip into THREE separate posts. Three of my favorite posed pictures were featured in my Wordless Wednesday pumpkin patch preview last week. Today I will focus on a narrative of our trip and all the fun activities we took part in and finally tomorrow, I will wrap up with some great photos of the kids individually. Phew!

Every year the Live Oak Canyon Tree Farm Pumpkin Patch does a unique and special display at the entrance, usually the best place to take posed pictures. Here is this year's:

I was determined to find a way to be some pictures, even though Joe was not with us. Sooo, I let each of the kids take a picture of me with the other one. That's right folks, Jake took this picture and it only required minor editing:

And Jadyn took this picture of me and Jake. I was so impressed that she didn't end up taking a picture of the ground, not to mention that by letting them take part in the picture taking, they were way more receptive to letting me take pictures of them:

The kidlets at the entrance:

While Jadyn still manages to keep a pretty natural smile (even though her eyes seem to wander), Jake on the other hand has started producing this new cheesy grin that he has invented. I had been warned that this would eventually happen:

Aunt Tawnya and cousins Madison and Ethan joined us at the patch and here is the whole group on top of the hay castle, a yearly tradition at the patch. It was sheer coincidence that Madison and Jadyn had on the same candy corn pants:

New this year was a giant corn maze. Here are 3 out of the 4 kids holding hands as they lead us through:

And Jake's excitement as he lets us know, "This way!"

Almost to the end. It was Ethan who finally found the way out:

Bouncy slides. The kids were told beforehand that we were limiting the rides to 2 each because a) to me that is not the point of the pumpkin patch and b) it gets expensive quick:

Here are all the kids running through the actual pumpkin patch:

And Jake and Jadyn's teamwork in lifting this big pumpkin up:

After Aunt Tawnya, Madison and Ethan left, the kids wanted to go on one more ride - a ride that in the 3 years prior Jake had been too scared to go on. Not this year:

Back around to the hay castle where Jake and Jadyn enjoyed jumping off over and over:

Then we made a stop at the petting zoo to feed and pet the goats, amongst other animals:

Towards the end, Jadyn started to get tired and she kept hugging and leaning on Jake. It was really cute:

It was here under the pumpkin tent where we finally made our purchases, including the two big pumpkins that we will be carving later this week:

So stay tuned folks and try to hang in there. One more day of pumpkin patch pics before I put this one to bed. And I have to say that this was the best year ever as far as getting good pictures AND having fun. The kids had an absolute blast, even though Daddy's presence was definitely missed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Magoomba Monday #22

1) Jake's hernia repair surgery has been rescheduled for November 20th due to a conflict in the doctors lecture schedule. This is both good and bad news. The good news is that I no longer have to worry about him having surgery on Friday the 13th. The bad news is I will be out late the night prior to his surgery as that is the night of the midnight release of the Twilight Saga: New Moon (and yes tickets have already been purchased). I decided that even though I will be tired the next day, this is really good news too because it will be something to keep me distracted from unnecessarily worrying. Plus, Jake will have that whole next week off from school for Thanksgiving break, even though the doctor assured us he wouldn't need the extra downtime. So in the end, I think it is good news all around.

2) Speaking of New Moon, a couple of you had asked about the soundtrack from the movie and yes, I finally did pick it up. Although I wasn't not initially impressed, there are some tunes that I really like including Death Cab for Cutie's Meet Me on the Equinox, Band of Skull's Friends, The Killers White Demon Love Song and of course, Muse's I Belong to You. I still favor Stephenie Meyer's personal playlist for the book, which you can view and listen to here, but I understand what they were trying to do with the soundtrack and it is growing on me.

3) Last Monday we went to the pumpkin patch and I took a total of 166 photos to ensure that I got some really great shots. There will be a separate post with major pic overload forthcoming.

4) Tuesday, Jake's school had their annual "Lunch on the Lawn" event for the kindergarten class in which parents are invited to come join their students to eat lunch in the quad. Jake and I had quite a nice little picnic lunch with a few of his friends and their parents. It was a very nice relaxing time in which Jake and I got to spend special one-on-one time:

5) Jadyn and I on the other hand get plenty of one-on-one when Jake is at school and I took some of that time to get what I consider to be a classic shot of Jadyn posing with her baby pumpkins from the patch:

Jadyn has these funny little quirks like for instance, with this one particular baby pumpkin. I have them sitting out on our kitchen cart as decoration and every time I turn around it is gone. She keeps hiding it in our bedroom closet. When I asked her about it she explained that the baby pumpkin has pretending baby pumpkin friends in the closet that she wanted to be with. I really can't argue with that can I?

In other Jadyn news, this week she started coloring, and I mean really coloring. I sat down with her one day and showed her how I would go about coloring a princess and she took note and followed my lead. Now she is obsessed with coloring full pictures and not only does she stay within the lights pretty well but she has an eye for detail. Growing up I was never particularly artsy but I did love to color and particularly girls in pretty dresses because I loved to come up with color schemes for their outfits. I think that is a pretty evident part of my personality even now as an adult as I love to coordinate colors so it makes it even more special to me that Jadyn has apparently picked that up from me.

6) I just wanted to be clear that no, Joe has not fallen off the edge of the earth. He has however, been very busy between work and school. Last week he clocked in 40 hours by Tuesday (being called in both Saturday and Sunday of last weekend) hence the reason he was not able to go rock scrambling or to the pumpkin patch with us. On top of that he is nearing the end of his second session at school and has a 10 page term paper due this week. I am so proud of him for taking classes so he can earn his degree. Go Joe!

7) Saturday Jake had a soccer game and Grandpa Bob and Grandma Anne made the trek to come watch him play. He scored 2 goals and had an awesome assist during the game and when he was playing defense, I got some decent action shots, which will also be forthcoming. After the game we enjoyed a nice breakfast out with the grandparents and Jake was so excited that they were able to come see him play.

In other Jake news, he has decided that when soccer is over he wants to try and play basketball. While I played both soccer and softball growing up and Joe was big into baseball, neither of us play or watch basketball so this should be interesting. Not to mention the fact that Jake's physique does not really lend itself to the sport but, it is a nice gap filler between soccer and baseball season and Jake really likes to stay active and seems to love a variety of sports so we will just have to see how it goes. We might just be surprised.

Busy week ahead with Red Ribbon Week at Jake's school and plenty of spook-tacular Halloween activities planned. So I hope everyone's week is off to a wonderful and productive start!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rock scrambling at Indian Cove

One of the biggest reasons the Morongo basin has grown on me is the fact that Joshua Tree is in our backyard. We may have to drive an hour to get to the nearest Target, but who else can be in national park in less than 10 minutes?

And after a wonderful spring in which we went on numerous trails to view the wildflower blooms, I am determined to take advantage of the mild fall weather with more hikes and short trips like the one we took this last Sunday to the Indian Cove area of the park. After Jake and Jadyn spent a good amount of time at the beach this summer climbing the rock jetties, we knew that taking the kids rock scrambling would be a big hit. They even confessed that they had more fun climbing up, over and through the rocks than if we took them to a playground or back to the carnival.

Before I get to the pictures, the following two observations:

1) Being surrounded by nature's unspoiled beauty, I couldn't help but think that this is all I need. For me personally, this is my church:

2) It's pretty ironic that I took the camera with me having every intention to get more candid photos of the kids, only to have them pose every time they climbed a new rock, even exclaiming "Look at me Mom, take my picture!"

On the way to take the kids to school this morning I heard a very interesting fact that makes today's post even more appropriate; this month marks the 15th anniversary since Joshua Tree National Park was created by the California Desert Protection Act passed by Congress in 1994.

And completely unrelated but I would remiss not to mention it; as of today the official countdown begins. Only 30 more days until The Twilight Saga: New Moon hits theaters on November 20th. Can you tell I am excited?