On Saturday I had a wedding that I thought would end dave earlier than planned, and it did, so I got home just before 6:00 just in time to whip the kids into their costumes and head 1 minute down the road to our YMCA which, as the crow flies, is just through the woods and over a field.
Saturday was their Haunted Hike on the grounds of Camp Halfmoon and it was very cute. Just the right amount of creepy for Parker and Drew's first haunted experience. We got there at the perfect time, which was just at the tail end of when it was still light, and it very quickly melted into total darkness for the walk in the woods.
Other than our corm maze, we haven't done much Halloween stuff this year (yet) because I REFUSE to do any more apple picking due to our experience a few years ago, but this was a great little excursion to break them into haunted events. More fun later this week!
Back in May, Parker and I went to NC to visit my parents and it was his first real trip anywhere. He was so amazing! In fact, months later, the only thing he mentions that he didn't like about the whole thing was the fact that we had to wake him up sooooo early that morning to go to the airport (4:30am). He's still bitter about that. :) But he really did love it. He loved the planes, the airport, my parents' house, their cats, etc. He's just a kid that loves doing things and going places and seeing new things. Just like me!
Here he is having some vanilla bean ice cream at Maxie B's.
One of the funniest things about his experience was that he was kind of confused about how we brought some of his own things with us, and yet Grandma and Granddad had things at their house too, which he couldn't understand. For example, he thought I had brought the pillows and blankets on his bed with us. And when he ate Eggo waffles for breakfast just like at home , he thought I brought those with us too.
I'm happy that one thing he loved so much was COOKOUT!! His first shake was the banana pudding, and I barely got any of it. Everytime we passed a Cookout in the next few days he would point it out and say something about getting a milkshake.
Brotherly love..... they still bathe together as they have ever since Parker outgrew the inflatable duck. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes not. Parker whines and pitches a fit every single time about not wanting to take a bath, but of course once he's in there we can't drag him out. Just like Drew says he doesn't like bubble baths, but after he got over the horror of the bubbles stuck to his fingers he kept asking for more. Hmmmmm.
I thought I would do the Elf on the Shelf thing this year, because everybody was so into it last year, and then I snatched it up for 50% off at Target after-Christmas clearance last year. Well, it has not been the biggest hit thus far (Day 2).
Starting right after Thanksgiving, we read the book to the kids to get them used to the idea of it. Parker was kind of oblivious (he doesn't get it, he's just grasping the whole Santa concept) and Drew went into the fetal position, sobbing in Dave's arms at the very THOUGHT of this weird elf in his house. I emailed his therapist, thinking this was some kind of adverse autism thing, maybe a splash of anxiety, you know..... something. She was kind enough to give us lots of suggestions for how to make it work for Drew so that he would be okay with it.
Now (in retrospect) I'm thinking it wasn't really much of an autistic reaction at all, it's just the reaction of a smart kid because this thing is FREAKY. He's not old enough to really understand the point of it, so all he sees is very strange activity going on. Fair enough.
One of Cass's suggestions was to see if Drew would be okay with having the elf come just for Parker. And he was mostly reluctantly agreeable with that (as he is MORE than happy to throw Parker under the bus for any reason whatsoever). So I told him, the Elf is coming on December 1st, just for Parker. And he goes, "is it REAL, or is it PRETEND??" He was very concerned about this.
The elf appeared on the mantle, perched on the "Wish" word. Drew stared at it for a second then pointed to his brother and said, "PARKER." But he didn't cry or anything. We had to choose a name. They had no suggestions at all, just blank stares. See? They really just don't GET it in the foggiest. Drew eventually wanted to call it Pinky, because his current favorite stuffed animal (a penguin Pillow Pet) is called Pinky. Dave said, "no, we can't have 2 Pinkies; how about Finky?" So they were vaguely confused and were like whatever, okay.....
(Parker later suggested "Time" as his name. This, coming from the kid who has sort of named his Pillow Pet "Hurt." I'm thinking he has no idea the point of naming something.)
So then, Day 2...... Finky relocated to inside a wreath. We had to remind the kids to even look for him. They were so not interested. They kind of look around with that expression that you might have when you've just seen a spider, and then it disappeared, so you're kind of looking around in all the corners going " Where DID IT GO?????"
I swore I never wanted to forget Parker's very first day of school, because he was SO cute, and so excited and so completely opposite of everything that Drew was on his first day. Not that it's better, or worse, just different.... and it was definitely awesome to see the other side of that coin.
At home, he was so excited about getting ready, getting dressed, and when it was time to leave, he grabbed his backpack and went right out to the car. We left a little too early, and got there before they were letting kids go in. We sat in the car quietly for a couple of minues, before his little voice from the backseat said, "Daddy, I'm ready to go now."
We got out and brought them both up to the front of the school. I kept looking at Parker and he was just wide-eyed and excited, and wanted to go right in.
Meanwhile, Drew was breaking down and freaking out because it was still very early in the school year and three teachers walked down to us to escort Drew into the building, and somehow in all that commotion, I remembered to look up and see Parker going into the building like this:
So calm, and confient. I knew he was going to be fine.
We have to thank our somehow-relatives Laurie and Joe, and Kelly and Aaron, for the awesome Home Depot car that was the biggest hit ever of the late summer and fall. In June, they offered it to us because Austin had outgrown it, and finally in August I remembered the offer and went to pick it up. I hate that I waited so long, because they (Drew and Parker) sure would have loved it throughout the summer, but I'm a moron and can't remember anything and completely forgot about it. I'm often reminded of an old Married With Children line, when Kelly Bundy said, "See, if you take a gallon of knowledge and pour it into a shot glass of a brain, you're gonna spill some. In other words, certain basic information had to be sacrificed." Mommy brain. My biggest problem comes from wandering around trying to figure out what in the HELL it was I was supposed to be doing.
Anyway, the kids loved the car. Understatement. What's not to love? I was actually really impressed with this little thing, the battery life is awesome. Usually we plugged it in every night, but often times we forgot and it was fine for a 2nd day, and a 3rd. Great battery! It's so funny how quickly a 3 year old can learn to navigate a 3-point turn, and travel in reverse just as easily as forward. Hard to say who loved it more, Drew or Parker, but they both absolutely loved every minute of it. And they share so beautifully. It was an issue that was totally non-negotiable and they know when their turn is up and it's time to hand it over. This is happily a common theme with all toys, and they share beautifully. I don't know how we did it, but it's not an issue.
This little man is the cutest, sweetest little ray of joy in our lives. I just love seeing what he's going to do next. Spontaneous hugs, please and thank yous, questions and observations, and of course a spirited mind of his own are all things that I enjoy about him every single day. And- I won't lie- he's got a bit of an evil streak too.
This kid is friendly. He says "HI!!" and "BYE!!!" to everybody and everything he runs across.
Today Parker didn't take his nap. Which is not all that unusual. Most days he does, but sometimes (increasingly so) he opts out of it, and on days like today I go in there after listening to ignoring him jumping around and squealing for over 35 minutes, I find him naked from the neck down, diaper flung across the room, and one arm stuck out of the neckhole of his shirt. He says "Good morning! I'm wake up!"
So apparently he has some energy to burn so I bundle us up and we go for a walk in the pumpkin field. I cannot stand to look at him for ONE MORE MINUTE in that green coat he's been wearing for two years, so I find another coat in the closet which I thought was too big but actually wasn't so bad. It was very cold today, but still such a pretty day and I've been enjoying the winter landscape so much this winter (because there's no snow yet!) I do love a snowless winter because it reminds me of home and it FEELS like a proper winter to me. I rather like it. The pumpkin field is vast and stark and empty. We saw one lone turkey who looked like it had one leg hopping around in the lower part. Then he flew away.
He found a golf ball in the field, and asked me to take a picture of it. :)
It was a much better way to spend an afternoon than sleeping, I think. Parker likes these pictures, he looks at them and talks about his gray coat, blue shoes, hat, and his teeth. :) And he likes the walk in the field.