Last night was our family pumpkin carving night. The kids were so looking forward to it! All day long they reminded us that "we're carving pumpkins tonight!" I have to admit, I always think I'm going to enjoy this event more than I actually do. I don't particularly enjoy scooping out the guts, but Dan really doesn't like it so it's usually my job. Every year I get each member of the family a pumpkin, but the kids still can't really carve their own yet, so it means Dan and I each carve two. But, like many traditions, we do it because the kids love it. And I do enjoy choosing a design and carving ONE pumpkin...
This year we shared with the kids about how making a jack o'lantern is like what happens when we invite Jesus into our hearts. He picks us up and cleanses us from our sins, He scoops out the yucky stuff inside of us (doubt, hate, selfishness) and replaces it with His light that shines for everyone to see.
Dan and Drew getting ready to carve
Ava and Mommy cutting off the top
Ava loved scooping out the seeds
Drew did a good job scooping too
Ava Drew her own face and helped carve it
My hand was hurting on my second pumpkin and I was carving ghosts, so the kids helped me by making ghost sounds "whooooo"
Our finished jack o'lanterns-Ava's happy face, my ghosts, Drew's scary skull and Dan's happy face
Today I got to go on a field trip to Bishop's Pumpkin Farm with Drew's first grade class. We had a lot of fun! I was a volunteer driver, so I drove Drew, Abigail and Kathleen. I had never met these friends of his, so it was fun to have them in the car and listen to them talk on the 45 minute drive to the farm. It was freezing in the morning! I had on a fleece and a jacket and gloves and was still cold! The kids got to go on a hayride, a train ride, see pig races (kind of), visit a petting zoo, play on coyote mountain, and of course pick their pumpkins right out of the patch! We also packed a picnic lunch and I snuck over to the bakery to buy pumpkin-apple muffins (delicious!) and a carmel apple to bring home. We had so much fun and I was exhausted when we got back! I even took a little nap. I'm so glad that I'm able to stay at home with my kids so that I can take advantage of these opportunities. They are growing up so fast and I just want to spend as much time with them as I can.
Abigail, Kathleen and Drew
Drew and best buddy Alex
Drew's giant pumpkin!
The kids with their pumpkins
Drew petting a baby goat
Me and my boy on the hay ride
After we got back from Drew's field trip, I had to take Ava to get her pumpkin since we had used hers to make pumpkin pies. I took her back to the Pumpkin Farm (it's close to our house) and let her pick out her pumpkin for carving. It was bigger than her! We are all ready to carve our pumpkins on Friday!
Tonight was Ava's last soccer game of the season and team party. It's all she's been talking about all week. She's been so excited for her "trophy party" and she's been counting down the days until she gets her trophy. She's had a lot of fun playing on the Fruit Loops with her Daddy as coach. I think she's even learned a little bit about the game of soccer. She seems to prefer practices to games, she really likes when they play Sharks and Minnows and will sometimes cry during the game if her coach (Dan) puts her in back to back quarters. She wants to play one quarter and rest one quarter. She also prefers to play defense. At least she knows what she wants. :) Of course, like most of the other under 6 players, the highlight of each game for her is the half time snack, the after game snack, and the player tunnel after the game.
Tonight's game was fun and the Fruit Loops played a great game. We don't technically keep score, but our team was really good, and if scores had been kept I believe we would have won all of our games except for 1 or 2. These 4 and 5-year olds were really good at passing the ball and spreading out on the field. It must have been their excellent coaching. :)
After the game in the rain, we headed over to Round Table for our pizza party. The kids had a great time eating pizza, playing games and of course, getting their trophies! Dan presented each child with a trophy as well as a candy award. Ava got the "Wild" Berry Skittles because of her wild personality on the field. That sounds like my girl! We ended the celebration with a trip to Lickey Split for some ice cream. Fun times!
Some friends of ours who are also UCD alums invited us to join them for the UC Davis homecoming football game. It was a lot of fun! We hadn't been to a game on the new field yet and it was pretty impressive. We had grass seats, which are only $10 and the kids had a great time running and rolling up and down the hill, watching the Aggie Pack and cheerleaders and giving the mascot, Gunrock, a high five. To make things even better, the Aggies won! Go Ags!
It was a little strange though and made me feel slightly old to be there among all the very young college students, who are actually ADULTS, even though they look (and in some cases, act) like children. I wanted to tell them, hey, straighten up drunkies, I've got my kids with me, and believe it or not in 10 years you'll be bringing your kids back here too and will probably be appalled at the way these youngsters are acting. But I refrained, so as not to reveal my true old lady status. Strange how much life can change in just a few years. :)
Ava decided that she wanted to use her pumpkin from the pumpkin patch to make pumpkin pie. It ended up being a two day process. First she scooped the guts out (and saved the seeds so we could roast them). Then I baked the halves in the oven until the flesh was tender enough to scoop out. We pureed the pulp until it was smooth. Then the next day Ava helped me make a pie crust and we added all the ingredients to make the pumpkin pie filling. It was a success! Both kids loved the homemade pumpkin pie! And Ava is such a good helper in the kitchen. She is always wanting to help me cook. I love that girl!
Today I went with Ava's preschool class to the Pumpkin Farm. It's very close to our house and has so many fun things for the kids to do. First there is a short presentation about the farm. Did you know that corn is in the grass family? Ava and her class do! After the presentation they got to go on a hayride around the farm. Ava loves the animals--she especially liked feeding the goats. We went through a corn maze (Ava ran ahead of us the whole time), then they got to go down a big, giant slide, and play on a hay pyramid. We decided to skip the haunted house. Too scary for preschoolers! Ava and I each picked out a sugar pie pumpkin to take home and she decided that she wanted to make hers into a pumpkin pie. Which is just what we did!
Drew gets out of school early on Thursdays, so when Faye mentioned a fun homeschool field trip she was going on, I thought about taking Drew out at lunch time so we could go too! He only missed about an hour of school so we did it! We took the kids up to Apple Hill so they could pick their own apples and make apple pies out of them. It was a very warm day for apple picking, but still a neat experience.
Of course, first we had to pet and feed the farm animals. Both my kids love to see the animals when we go up to Apple Hill. These llamas and goats were very friendly and hungry!
When we went out into the orchard to pick apples, Ava had a hard time finding "perfect" apples. She didn't want to pick just any old apple and we were the last ones to finish picking. Drew on the other hand was pretty independant and just chose his apples on his own.
After we picked our apples, it was time to head back to the kitchen to start making our apple pies. This was such a fun project for the kids, and a good lesson in letting them have experiences, even messy ones, for me. I had to resist the urge to "help" roll out the dough and keep the flour from getting everywhere. And it got EVERYWHERE!
First, we rolled out the dough for the pie crust.
Then we filled the crust with the apples that we just picked.
Finally, we rolled another pie crust for the top. While the pies baked the kids also got to make cookies with the leftover dough. Overall it was a very fun experience, and educational as well! Thank you Faye for inviting us!
Ava with some apples
YUM! The kids with their finished pies. They were delicious!
Drew is a happy 7-year-old who loves his family, his friends, and everything Star Wars! He was born with a CHD, specifically interrupted aortic arch, VSD, hypoplastic aortic root and DiGeorge Syndrome. He has had three open-heart surgeries, the most recent was in May 2008 at Stanford. He is so strong and brave and we are very proud of him.
Ava is a spirited 5-year-old girl. She loves her family, friends and climbing, jumping and dancing. She brings us a lot of joy and a lot of drama! She is heart healthy. We love to see all the adventures she has!
This is how Drew's heart is now!
One and a half ventricle repair 1) VSD closed with a patch 2) Conduit from right ventricle to pulmonary artery . Drew still has the SVC connected to the PA in the upper left. Thank you Dr. Hanley and Dr. Mainwaring!
In the dark times, the eye begins to see. The dark times in life are not our enemy. Dark times empty the world of things that would otherwise distract us from seeing the important things. Enter the darkness with confidence.