Monday, October 5, 2015

It's that time of year again...

Per my last post, our October is filling up quickly.  I knew that we pretty much had only a couple opportunities to do the yearly visit to the pumpkin patch, and since the weather was looking promising for Sunday I really wanted to get it in then, because I knew that if we waited, inevitably our other day would be cold and rainy.  Either option pretty much involved us skipping church, unfortunately, because the place we usually go gets very busy as the day goes on, and the only shot we had of not completely destroying Carter's nap meant going as early as we could.  We got there around 10:30, I think, and the crowd was as light as it's probably been in all our trips there, but still pretty solid for early on a Sunday morning.  We chose to once again go to Stokoe Farms, generally a top choice in this area even though it's a bit out in the boonies.  It's also a bit pricey, but for the cost there is a ton to do for all ages, so ultimately it's worth it.  You'd pay 2/3 the price most anywhere else and get proportionately less to do.  I find myself disappointed anytime we go anywhere else, quite frankly, because they just don't have the variety...and with a couple very different kids, usually they only want to do a portion of what most places have to offer, and before you know it, you're paying $8 per person for a hayride and a straw crawl.  As you'll see, we all had a nice full day for our $12 admission fee, and even Craig and I got in on the fun.

We started off with the hay bale mountain.  Both kids were eager to climb it...

I had to help Carter up a bit, but he eventually got the idea that he didn't have to treat them like stairs and could just crawl up instead.

I took a picture of Jacob similar to the one of Carter below, back when Jacob was three.  Oh, and Jacob wore that same hoodie back on our trip here when he was two.  I happened to unearth it in Carter's closet during phase one of the clothing shift this weekend, and offered it up to Carter as an option.  He chose it, and I figured it was appropriate.

We all went down this giant slide, which Carter loved...

And then we headed over to the hayride.  We usually take a pretty short trip on the hayride since there is fun stuff to do at the first stop.

Carter wanted to ride the pedal-powered go-karts.  We've avoided these for a few years since Jacob has long had trouble with pedaling and we didn't really want to bother fighting that battle.  But since Carter was small enough to not care as much, he was just an eager passenger for our two loops around the track!

In the meantime, Jacob and Craig went to play this fun version of volleyball with an oversized ball.  Carter joined in the fun after our ride.

We skipped the corn maze (we haven't done it since our first trip there, when Craig and I went alone and I was probably pregnant with Jacob but didn't even know yet), and moved on to this sports ball throwing area.  You can throw footballs and baseballs at hole targets, and basketballs at a bunch of hoops.  Carter made it over the fence, at least, and you can see his joy here...

We wandered over to a playground (one that I'll always remember Jacob going up in and not wanting to come down), and Carter took a swing.  He's not smiling much here, but he was enjoying himself, I swear!

In the meantime, the big boys were shooting apples from a big gun.  They did it last year, too.  They were actually pretty good, almost knocking out a window on the old van that was one of the targets!

Next we went to a new feature, a metal grain building with a straw crawl inside and a fun climbing/slide apparatus on the outside.  Jacob climbed it seven times! 

Believe it or not, Carter made it all the way up by himself, too!  I climbed behind him to be safe, and in three trips up the only thing I had to do for him was guide him a little when he stepped on his pant leg with the opposite foot.  He wanted to move the other foot but couldn't figure out why it was stuck!  But he mostly figured it out on his own and did great!  At the top there was a slide, and the first two times we went down together, and the third he did it all by himself!
It was a lot higher than it looks here!  The top was probably a good 12 feet up!
I took a detour after that to go on the zip line, which is my favorite activity there but one that always has a long line.  The line was already pretty long, but a 10-minute wait is nothing compared to an hour wait that I heard someone else talk about.  Since Jacob has never wanted to do it I've usually passed it by, but I couldn't pass it up this time!  You sit on a disk hanging from a rope, and you fly down a low but long cable.  It's really fun and I was so happy to do it.  Maybe next time Jacob will come with me!  While they were waiting, the boys checked out the goats and a cage full of exotic birds like pheasants and a peacock!

Next up was Billy Goat Mountain, a series of slides.  We have no pictures of actual sliding, but this was Carter's favorite and I literally had to drag him away!
The big tube's probably about 30 feet long, at least!

There are three different slides, two tubes of different lengths, and one very high four-lane open slide.  We did the smaller one a few times, and then I convinced him to do the four-lane one with me, in separate lanes but holding hands.  Then he did the big tube one, all by himself!  My little daredevil!

We made our way to the animals, where we got to see the baby pigs!  These weren't potbellied pigs like I remember seeing there a couple years ago, but these fuzzy ones were super cute and tiny.  How adorable is this shot?

We saw a yak and emus, too.  We then headed over into the section with all of the ride-on toys.  Carter was so cute riding on the tire horse!

He also liked being on the tractor, which freaked him out last year...
He tried to ride a bunch of the pedal-powered ride-ons, but seeing as how his legs are short and his pedaling skills aren't great, that didn't go so well.  Even the Little Tikes car didn't want to drive properly!  He enjoyed the rubber duck races, and Jacob played a big with the sit-on diggers in the gravel pit. 
We saw a few more animals, including the baby chickens and some sheep, before heading over to the train.  It's made out of barrels, and each one is a different animal.  We had a horse.  Carter enjoyed the ride, but asked where the track was.  This was a train on regular wheels.  Smart kid.  

We moved along to the barn with the corn box.  As you can see, Carter is not a fan.  He lasted about one minute.

He liked riding on the "horse", and he and Jacob tried milking the pretend cow.

Just as we were getting ready to go, Carter decided he wanted to jump on the pillow, which he had refused to do earlier.  He was so cute up there, bouncing and running and falling on purpose!  Of course, it was all fun and games until one of the bigger kids (I think a little too big for that pillow, but he was on it with his younger sibling) tripped over Carter, and then he was done.  Poor kid.  It was fun while it lasted.

We didn't actually end up buying any pumpkins.  They actually didn't have as many as I remember them having in the past.  We were all just ready to go and it's easier (and probably cheaper) to get them elsewhere--either Wegmans, a farm market, or the indoor pumpkin place we've gone to before.  Good excuse for more pumpkin fun, I guess!

The boys have taken advantage of a couple days of better weather to play lacrosse outside a bit.  I'm still trying to sort through my crazy week at work, and thinking ahead to Craig's surgery next week.  Jacob's had a nasty cough and is insisting he stay home from school every day.  He's complaining of nausea, but we have yet to find a lot of proof of that.  The cold is unfortunate, but there aren't enough symptoms to keep him home.  Carter is as sweet as ever, giving lots of hugs and kisses and "I love you" declarations, but he's also developed a bit of a 'tude when it comes to bedtime or not getting his way.  The boys are driving each other nuts as much as ever, with Jacob having mini-anxiety attacks every time Carter gets near his room.  Talk about exhausting.  OK, I'm yawning just thinking about it all, which means it's time for bed.  Well, after I fold a load of laundry and wrap up an opened package of beef I forgot I was supposed to make meatballs with tonight.  Sigh.  Tomorrow is another day, right?

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