Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween

We purchased pumpkins a few weeks ago to eventually carve.  We carved them – one a day – while Jeremy was on a trip to California two weeks ago.  I had never used actual pumpkin carving tools before.  Usually, I just hack away at the insides with a spoon, and the face with a butcher knife.  This time, Ellie and I purchased a kit at the store.  It came with a few miniscule tools and patterns.  So, that is what we used.  Each of us picked our own pattern out to do.  I still did most of the carving, but the girls got in on scooping out the innards.

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Ellie chose the bat and pumpkin.  I chose the witch’s shoes.  Madison did the owl with the moon.  (Jeremy also carved a pumpkin when he returned – a block “C” in honor of the Indians in the World Series.  I took this picture before he did his pumpkin.)

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For Halloween, we usually go to Trunk-or-Treat at Living Water Church.  They do a fantastic job.  We don’t really have a neighborhood to canvas and meet people, so this is the next best thing.  I really like it because I think the people are incredibly creative with how they decorate the trunks of their cars/trucks.  They are usually quite elaborate.  This year, we went there again, but it had been raining in the hours leading up to it, so they moved the event inside.  I thought it would diminish the creativity, but they just set up their stands inside.  I think I still prefer it outside because it allows for more space, but I was impressed with their impromptu relocation.  The girls were super excited to get dressed up.  Madison was a Flower Fairy.  Ellie was Doc McStuffins.  Both of them wore their outfits with confidence!

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Grandma Yoh met us there again this year – a tradition that we had had the last few years with her and Papa. 

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We get to see a lot of our friends from church, school, and the community there.  Ben, Steph, Cale, and Landen were right behind us coming into the building; we walked with them for a little bit.

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We also saw about a third of my volleyball team there dressed up at one of the stations as scarecrows.  So we got a picture with them, too.

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From there, we went to Grandma and Grandpa Ediger’s house.  Grandpa pretended to be a monster coming out of the basement. 

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I enjoy seeing the joy kids have dressing up at Halloween.  I know they like getting candy about as much as I dislike having to police it for the next month.  But that is not the only reason they like Halloween.  It is fun to be creative and dress up and step outside of the norm, but still fit in with others who are doing the same thing.  Until next year’s outfits…

Ramseyer Farm

Ramseyer Farm is a local hotspot for fall fun.  Jeremy had never been before. I had only been on Ellie’s preschool (which gave limited access to the fun).  Madison and Ellie had been in the past with Maynard and Gloria.  This year, we went as a family with Grandma Yoh.  It was a perfect night.  I know, it might be an exaggeration, but that is how I felt.  It had rained on Thursday, but Friday was a great fall day.  So, we picked Madison up right after school to head over.  We arrived around 4:30.  The girls were like kids in a candy store.  They looked around and had no idea where to start.  The place has so much to do!  We went in the pumpkin house, looked at the goats, banged on the musical garden made of common household pans, and meandered around for a bit. 

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Our first activities were the Hamster wheel and the Rat Race – both fun.  The Rat Race was more do-able for the girls because they were heavy enough to get the pipes going.

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The Hamster Wheel was a great workout once you got it going! 

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We used the diggers in the sand for a moment. 

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Then, we headed to the tunnels and slides.  These were awesome!  I enjoyed going down the slides as much as the girls did; I think Jeremy did too!

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They give you two potatoes each when you enter to try your hand at sling shotting toward targets.  That was our next destination.  While Jeremy introduced the technique to the girls, and I managed to not hurt anyone, Grandma Yoh had the most accurate shot – the only one to hit the target!

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We took some time for the fun picture spots as well.

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Probably my top fun thing to do here – the pedal tractors.  They had a track for adults and one for kids.  It was so fun to race around the track. 

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We also rode the small wagon train,

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did the Snoopy corn maze,

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ate a packed Subway lunch, played in the corn bins and play sets, and (my second favorite part) jumped on the jump pad.

It was a perfect night.  The weather was a gorgeous fall evening – cool for a sweatshirt, but not cold; sun was shining, no major wind.  There were people there, but it was not crowded (too many important local football games happening!), so there were no lines.  It was fun-filled and had me feeling like a kid myself.  Thanks, Grandma Yoh for a fun night.

Michigan

Some people in Ohio won’t utter the word Michigan – that rivalry between Ohio State and “that team up north”.  But I have to say, that the two mini-vacations that we have taken to Michigan have been fun.  Jeremy and I went when the girl(s?) were little.  We discovered the Henry Ford Museum; I highly recommend this.  We need to take our own kids there in a few years.  This year, the girls and I tagged along on Jeremy’s work trip to Lansing.  There really is nothing extrordinary about Lansing – well, it IS the state’s capital, but besides that.  Madison and Ellie were just really excited to get to go somewhere.  We made it to Lansing on Thursday night in time for a swim in the hotel pool.

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I think if we drove to Wooster and checked into a hotel with a pool, it would be just as awesome as vacationing anywhere.  I let Jeremy be the pool guy that night.  I knew that my time would come the next morning!  We managed to get the wound up tikes to bed by about 10pm.  I used the threat of no pool time to reign in their girlie sleepover giggles as they shared the same bed.  (I know… I am a mean mom sometimes, but I also knew what the next day would look like on even less sleep than they were already getting!) 

The next morning, Jeremy let me get some alone time on the treadmill, while he monitored kids in the room.  We had breakfast together before Jeremy took off to work downtown, and the girls and I hung out at the hotel.  We spent 1-1/2 hours of that hang out time in the pool.  Then, we soaped off the pool water and got cleaned up for the day.  They enjoyed Paw Patrol and Doc McStuffins on Disney Jr, while I got ready.  Jeremy returned to the hotel to pick us up at check-out time (noon).  We headed to McAllister’s Deli for lunch.  I like Panera, and Zoup is okay, but this place was infinitely better than either.  It doesn’t feature the bakery like Panera, but I had an amazingly good salad with an equally tasty sandwich.  The girls had kids’ meals – baked potato for one, grilled ham and cheese for the other – for only $4.  Too bad there isn’t one around here…

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Jeremy went back to work in the same building we spent the next 3 or more hours.  He was in the SHPO office (I think that is the abbreviation, don’t ask me what it means), and we were in the Michigan Historical Museum.  Jeremy had seen some school buses there and thought it would be a good place.  (We had been planning to go to a science museum – Impression 5; it probably would have been more fun, but what you don’t know…)  We were off to a bit of a slow start when Ellie decided after the first room that she didn’t think she wanted to walk; we would be walking for most of the next 3 hours!  I convinced her to get moving and let her take some pcitures with the camera and then she became a more willing participant.  It was actually pretty cool.  We spent a lot of time looking at everything because I knew we had a lot of time to kill.  It had stuff from the Ice Age through present day.  Some highlights:

The time before Europeans kicked the Native Americans off their land… we got to see the land, use a large mortar and pestle, and play with furs.

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The log cabins, the carriage that you could ride down a small track and the lumber barons home with rooms set up as they would have been in that time period.

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A one room school house complete with slate boards to write one, a reminder of the women’s suffrage movement, an old movie theatre (no pic)

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Modern day music hit the radio waves

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Then, we spent at least an hour in this room: a large bicycle to try out, a drawing table, books to read, and various types of blocks to put together.  The girls worked on making “mouse houses”

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Jeremy finished up his work, and we headed to visit our friend Andrea that had moved to Michigan from Columbus.  She is married with two kids, but her husband was out of town, so we helped her and her mom (who was also visiting) pass the time.  Andrea’s children are Ava and Logan, and the kids kept each other busy, especially as they had time to warm up to each other.

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The next morning (Saturday), we went to Dress-up and Donuts at her church.  It was a new even their church was trying out.  It was fun.  The girls got another wear out of their Halloween costumes, enjoyed a bounce house “race track”, ate a donut, had their faces painted, played in their decked out kids’ rooms, and just had fun. 

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We ate a light lunch at Andrea’s house before leaving.  Andrea was Jeremy’s college friend, but I so much appreciate her friendship.  She is so down-to-earth and welcoming.  She is a good listener and shares openly, too.  It is just relaxing being with her.  We lamented that we live so far away and can’t do play dates. 

We made it home Saturday evening, unloaded the car, and scavenged for food.  The nice part was we still had one more day to enjoy the weekend before the work/school week started back up again.