Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

 Happy Halloween, dear readers! A snapshot of our holiday:

Pumpkin Carving on Sunday
My Maddie pumpkin and her little pumpkin

 "I like the goopy stuff inside!"

Trick-or-Treating on Monday
Cowboy and Pocahontas, ready to roll

Gotta love Mel's handmade signs for the grub!

 Holbrooks and Joyces gettin' wound up

 Our sweet neighbors, the Walkers


 What might be his fourth "pop-pop" of the night

 Joyce, Holbrook & Larson kiddos, post trick-or-treating

The Joyce Family

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

random thoughts from the week

Relationships are really, really, really hard. Loving Jesus is essential to relationships marked by forgiveness, reconciliation, seeking the others' best and practicing humility.

Sometimes the adventures that seem best in theory suck in reality.

I am crazy about pinterest. I finally joined after keeping it at arm's length for months. I like it WAY more than facebook.

Sometimes the best light just happens to fall during the worst moods.

I am really thankful for my hubby. 

Most of the time, I am not very good at pursuing people who don't seem interested in me. Yet it always surprises me the amount of insecurity, loneliness and desire for community that presents in people who've at one point or another pushed me away. It takes a lot of courage to push past the initial scruffiness, but beneath there is a lot of potential for love.

 My children have the capacity to absolutely melt my heart and make my day unforgettable, but also to drive me absolutely bonkers and make me want to hide in the bathtub all night.

Sometimes a new bra is all the lift you need. Pun intended.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Crawdad-Huntin' We Will Go

Got our bucket, got our pole
Headin' off to the fishin' hole
Sun's above and earth below
Oh, a crawdad-huntin' we will go

Oh, I'm tired and my legs are sore
I'll rest here against this pole
Snuggle-bug factor makes my Mama's heart flow
Oh, a crawdad-huntin' we will go

The water's just right, the line slides in
Mud and leaves making the view quite dim
But they'll come out from their watery holes
Oh, a crawdad-huntin' we will go

We've got our salami tied on tight
With meat like that, crawdads won't even fight
Soon they'll grab on and into the bucket they'll go
Oh, a crawdad-huntin' we will go

Waitin's fun as we sit in the sun
Snappin' away pictures of little hon-buns
Sister feels somethin' a tuggin' on the pole
Oh, a crawdad-huntin' we will go

She fishes them out, brave and strong
tosses them in the bucket, singin' a song
"Into the bucket, hey hidey ho,
Oh, a crawdad-huntin' we will go"

Patience pays off as the bucket fills up
Red creepy crawlies, struttin' their stuff
Raisin' up high with claws open just so
Oh a crawdad-huntin' we did go

After all that work, brother takes a rest
Snugglin' up close with a boy's best pet
Sister runs off to join a friend
Mama's left behind with a bucket full of red

Mama looks the other way and tosses to the sky
Eight squirming creatures on the fly
The sound of them splashin' in the creek lets us know
They'll be back when again, crawdad-huntin' we will go

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Patch!

One of my all-time favorite traditions is visiting the Pumpkin Patch. I realized this year that I like it as much as picking out a Christmas tree. Don't get me wrong, Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday, but the joy of visiting the patch, walking the rows of pumpkins, and watching the kids pick out the perfect one brings me such joy!

This year I got to go twice: once with both kids for Maddie's class and another time just with Sam and his classmates. 

The best farm first: G&M Farms in Livermore is by far the most fun & organized patch we've visited. They charge only $7 and that includes: a tractor-pulled hay ride, teaching time in the "cornfield classroom," small farm animal exhibit (with learning tools), hay maze, corn box, play structure, pumpkin, indian corn and decorative gourd!

Sam especially enjoyed the play structure and corn box! :)

If I could have one of these year-round, I would totally do it! The corn is coarse and the texture feels really nice on bare feet. It doesn't stick in all your crevices like sand, and is easy to shake out. All of the kids thoroughly enjoyed it! Even I took off my shoes and wandered in for some photos.

Sam was also really excited to try out the maze. He played in here for about ten minutes, following other kids around, trying to find his way out. Eventually he just hopped on top of the bales and walked out. Hilarious.

There is an indoor section with spooky things that light up, laugh, giggle, and move. Sam thought they were funny and kept returning to check everything out. (Not my favorite part of Halloween).

Gratuitous cut-out shot:

Me and my little pumpkin after a fun morning at the patch:

With Maddie's class, we visited Forest Home Farms in San Ramon. For $10, we got a pumpkin, a couple rides, and a pea plant to grow. It was less organized, a lot more chaotic, fthe rides were a little crazy, but if was fun nonetheless.

Maddie really wanted this "BIG" pumpkin but after paying $10/kid plus knowing another patch trip was upcoming, I was too cheap to buy an extra pumpkin. :) We found a couple small ones that were included with our fare.

It was a weird day, weather-wise. It was incredibly humid and maybe that added to my lack of interest in staying any longer than we absolutely needed. The kids grabbed their pumpkins and then we hit up some rides.

My two pumpkins:

On the first ride with their friend Christopher:


On the second ride, kind of like an enclosed teacup, one that spins:

The first trip on this particular ride was smooth. They hardly spun at all and really loved it. The second trip both kids climbed in with a group of four five year-old boys. When the ride finally stopped to let one kid off, I peeked in to find Maddie and Sam on the FLOOR of the ride. It was spinning so fast that Sam fell and when the big boys wouldn't stop spinning Maddie got down with him to keep him company. They both looked a little queasy when they got off.

Probably the most fun part, at least for my kids, was getting their own pea plant. They grabbed some soil, pushed a pea down in, and added water. A few days later, they both have little shoots growing up. Very fun, fast and rewarding.

Maddie and her friend Barrett from school:

Yay for visits to the pumpkin patch!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SF Fleet Week

Last Friday Ben and I had a special treat: a trip on the USS Potomac to watch Fleet Week's practice run through San Francisco. It was an AMAZING day in the city. For most of the trip, I wore a short-sleeved blouse. It was a little windy, but sunny, warm, and absolutely delightful.

The USS Potomac is also considered the "floating White House." It was FDR's personal yacht and houses some fun antiques and memorabilia from his presidency. Accompanying on our trip was FDR himself:

Yeah, I thought that part was a little weird, too. Moving along...

There were beautiful views of the city throughout the three-hour tour. Our friend and former neighbor Vijay was able to join us:

And the two of us (my hair showing the wind's power as we motored along):

There were lots of huge shipping containers being loaded onto the boats in the harbor. Pretty amazing!

It was really fun to see the city from the water. Ben and I had both been on boats in the bay, but not since we were kids (well, I was 12 when I took a ferry to Alcatraz. Ben probably was a little older the last time he was out, considering he grew up here).

The air show was incredible. The Blue Angels are really, really fun to watch. At times, they just looked like the pilots were playing, totally enjoying the feeling of twirling in the g-forces. Or whatever.

Our boat went all the way out to the Golden Gate and then slowly motored back to port, the planes flying directly overhead.

On our way back we enjoyed more views of the city:

And after our fun trip, we hit up Happy Hour at Yoshi's for sushi (me) and oysters (Ben). We walked around the city, enjoyed some conversations with the homeless folks we encountered, shopped around Cost Plus, then caught a movie in Jack London Square. It was a great date day following an awesome week in Carmel!