Monday, October 17, 2016

That Time of Year Again...

Well, it was a sunny Saturday in October with temperatures in the mid-70s, so you know what that means--time for the pumpkin patch.  Of course, the rest of Rochester thinks the same thing, so we knew we were in for a busy day at our favorite pumpkin patch.  I won't lie--it kills me knowing how much it costs us to go there every year, but given all of the activities and the fact that the kids will only be little enough to enjoy it for so much longer, it's just one of those things you suck it up and do every year. 

Sure enough, we got there in the early afternoon and the lot was parked out to the road.  Luckily we got a decent spot vacated by an early arriver.  But it was certainly very busy inside.  The good news is that it's such a giant place that people were pretty well spread out at all of the activities, and only a handful of lines were really lengthy waits.  Getting in might have taken longest of all!

After I took the picture of Craig and Carter while we waited in line, Jacob wanted in on the action!
 It wouldn't be a trip to the pumpkin patch without one of these...

We hopped on the hayride to go to the back of the farm...only it was minus the hay because they were running a couple trailers for the big crowd and this one only had benches...

Jacob wanted to go to the sports thing (more later) but Carter wanted to go to this tire climb.  He enjoyed climbing up and into the top tire and through a tunnel around it.

Then he wanted to do the corn maze.  I normally don't do corn mazes, as the one here pretty much scarred me for life nine years ago at our first visit here.  But this one was actually super easy if you didn't want to participate in a contest they're running, so we had a nice walk through the corn.

Back on the outside, Carter wanted to play tetherball.  It was right at head level so it was a bit risky, but hearing him squeal with joy as we played and he ducked was pretty fun!

We finally caught up with Craig and Jacob, who had headed over to the apple guns!

Jacob enjoyed his annual shooting and actually hit a good one off a cow target!  Carter then wanted to go to the playground, and in between climbing and sliding, he did this twice to talk to us and I couldn't stand the cuteness.

The big boys split off again to get Jacob some water, so Carter and I went to this giant cargo net climb with a fun slide.  He impressed me last year with how well he climbed by himself, and this year he had to go it while fighting off a large crowd of kids.  I was a little annoyed that he cut in line for the slide, but when I got up there after he dragged me with him the second round, I found out that everyone was cutting in line.  And here I thought educated kids were so used to turn-taking and lines from school.  Guess not.
Fun slide!

We tried this confusing color maze (you had to follow color paths and change colors at white squares, but had to go in a certain color sequence--I never did get it!) and played some cornhole (bean bags), then checked out the straw crawl.  Carter liked to throw it (I told him to stop), but clearly other kids were too as there was a fine haze of dust in the air.  Probably good we didn't stay there long.

We moved on to the big slides--a giant tube slide built into a big hill, and a set of racing slides on the other side.  The tube slide always shocks me with its speed by the end....it's crazy!  Carter loved it, of course.  I took this picture while in line the second time, and it perfectly captures the gorgeous fall day...

The racing slides are pretty high and fast, too. 
Waiting at the top!

We had a blast on them, and then Craig and Jacob got in on the act.  We raced as a family, and then Jacob decided he really liked it and did a couple more rounds himself.  Of course, he almost injured himself climbing up the wrong part of the hill, but perhaps someday he'll learn to follow our advice.  Ha.  Here he is on one of his runs...


We did yet another slide in a wooded area before heading over to the animals.  We visited the goats and got there just in time to see the cutest little baby goat climb through the fence!  A girl held on to it while Craig and Carter fed it...and it was seriously adorable.

I couldn't help but share the picture of this duck in with the turkeys.  Doesn't it look like he's got a Donald Trump coif going on?

Jacob wanted one more round at the sports area, throwing balls...

...and then we headed back toward the front as we were running out of time.  We did have a  short detour on the spider web...
Not often I get them in the same shot!
Then we visited more animals, including baby pygmy goats...

...and a cow, which Carter and I fed...
It felt funny!
We also saw this emu.  His neck was all tucked in as he laid on the ground, and just as I was trying to take a picture, he looked me like this... 
He pretty much looked like he wanted to eat my camera.
Carter was obsessed with the elevated goat feeding system (where you crank a can of food up a belt to a goat waiting on a catwalk above), but the food vending machine was out.  We were visiting with this guy instead...

...but then someone who had food offered some to Carter.  The goat up above was eager!

Carter was really into it and didn't want to leave, but there was no food left for him.  Of course, I couldn't help but be distracted by the baby piglet across the way.  Last year there were adorable baby piglets, and this year I saw online that another one was born a couple weeks ago.  I couldn't wait to see it!
It is so tiny!  The picture doesn't do it justice!
At first he was nursing, and then he was running around the enclosure like a speed demon!  I tried to catch some video to show his size relative to the staff that was in there, but was only a little successful.  The mama is so big in comparison.  But seriously...too cute!

While Carter and Craig rode the train, Jacob needed a bathroom break.  I couldn't help but snap a picture at the top of the hay bale mountain we climbed on our way back to the pumpkins.

We ended up not buying pumpkins since the line was long and we have another place we can get them.  But while we debated kettle corn and donuts (both no), Jacob asked me to take his picture with the giant jug of maple syrup...?
?????
Our next stop was our favorite gluten-free pizza and cookie place...only this time we were also getting donuts.  Real, gluten-free donuts!  We got glazed, chocolate glazed, and pumpkin glazed.  It's crazy to think this was Jacob's first real donut (not the odd frozen ones we get for special snacks, like when school has donut holes for parties) in three years!  He loved them!

Meanwhile, we always laugh at Carter stuffing his face here...

And he was rewarded with a piece of donut for dessert...
Victory!
As we were eating dinner, I noticed that the sky looked ripe for a gorgeous sunset.  And every time we get far enough south to go to the gluten-free place, mentally I know we're just down the road from Geneseo, home of my alma mater and some of the best sunsets I've ever seen.  Well, I convinced Craig to do one more mini-adventure for the day, and we drove there just in time to see the sunset.
I caught this one as we drove there.
We stopped in the parking lot below one of my old dorms, as I knew we'd have an unobstructed view there.  And this, my friends, is why we always tried to get dorm rooms that faced the valley...





It was really beautiful.  Eventually everyone was getting a little antsy in the van, so we drove back around so Jacob could see the new stadium across the street.  By the time we were back on the road, the sky was looking different but still beautiful.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture of it while we drove, but just as we crested a hill near the interstate entrance, we saw the most amazing moon rising!  It was huge, and apparently called a "hunter's moon".  Again, I had a hard time doing it justice from a moving vehicle, but this was the best I got. 
The thin clouds around it made a pretty glow, too.
It was a long, full day, but honestly it went really well.  We only had a few instances of the sibling rivalry that makes us nuts, and both kids were overall very well behaved.  I don't know what magic hit that day, but I will take it!

Yesterday was back to the same old stuff, with a lot of fighting (by the kids) and yelling (by us).  We actually had the kids with us in church yesterday (special single service at a different site, so no Sunday school), which was a little exhausting, plus I was cranky because I wasn't allowed to eat anything interesting all day because of a test I did this morning.  I ate only three pieces of dry toast, two giant bowls of white rice, a piece of plain baked chicken (no breading), and a crapload of salt, as that was all I was allowed to season with.  It was pretty awful, as all I wanted was something sweet.  It was nearly impossible to snack with the limitations, so I tried to keep myself busy so I didn't think about it.  I also couldn't eat or drink anything after 8pm, so I was very hungry by mid-morning this morning during the test, but now it's over and my belly is full.  While I was there I got one other test result from bloodwork on Friday, another one that makes Celiac disease look unlikely, but we'll see what today's test (looking for small intestine bacterial overgrowth) shows.  It's a good thing I have no real symptoms or else I'd be much more concerned about all of this stuff.  At this point it's just figuring out why my intestines are a bit inflamed, but at least it's not bothering me.  Just another day of 2016, the year of the medical bill...

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