Yesterday we took Jonathan to the Louisville Zoo for their self-described World's Largest Halloween Party. I don't know if that is accurate, but there are a lot of flippin' people there. Particularly if you went yesterday, which was the last day for it (it's every weekend in October until Halloween) and even more so because it was sunny for the first time in five or six days.
The concept is pretty simple--dress your 11 and under kiddos in their Halloween costumes and take them to the zoo for trick or treating and train and carousel rides. Since we are zoo members, the event is free so there really wasn't any good reason not to go (but for the three million other people, of course). Here is my precious little mailman standing in the massively long line of people waiting to get in. This was around 3:40 and the event started at 4:00.
Here are Daddy (dressed again in his overalls--he loves those things!) and Jonathan waiting to get started. Both of them were amazingly patient.
We headed to the train first, which was Hogwart's Express themed. The train is one of Jonathan's favorite things at the zoo; I find it a bit boring, but I was looking forward to it this time because there was a headless horseman:
I like Jonathan's face in this picture, even if there is some odd purple bluriness at the bottom. This is what he looks like every time we ride the train:
After the train, we headed into the trick or treating part. They have different themed areas--Shrek, Snow White, Willy Wonka, etc.--and stations along the way where you get candy. Here is the entrance:
Jonathan sat very nicely in his stroller and calmly held out his pumpkin for candy each time. I forgot our Pottery Barn Kids felt pumpkin so we borrowed this from Nana. It wasn't quite as cute, but it did the trick:
Each time Jonathan got a new piece of candy in his pumpkin, he would hold it up, look at me and say "Open that?" Each time, I told him to wait until we got all the candy and then we would pick a piece to eat. IT WORKED. I guess he missed us on Saturday and thought he'd better behave or we were going out of town again!
We completed our visit with a ride on the carousel. It was pretty much the same as usual but it was "spooked" so it ran backwards. The kid riding next to me told me that the zoo people had just hit reverse. I thought that sounded like as good an answer as any!
This trip was good practice for the main event--real door to door trick or treating on Wednesday night. I don't know about Jonathan but I can't wait!
Bryan and I went to Berea, Kentucky for an overnight on Saturday. We packed Jonathan off to Nana's and headed to breakfast early Saturday morning. Bryan is NOT a breakfast person, but since it was our anniversary weekend, he agreed to go to breakfast at this new place in town called Wild Eggs. After a delicious meal of eggs benedict for me and biscuits and gravy for Bryan, we armed ourselves with Starbucks and got on the road.
Berea is an arts and crafts community about thirty miles south of Lexington. It is centered around Berea College which, founded in 1855, was the first integrated college in the south for almost forty years. Today, Berea College admits only low income students who, in exchange for full tuition scholarships, are required to work 10-15 hours per week in order to offset a portion of their college expenses.
Neither of us had been to Berea before, but we were very happy with our trip. We stayed at the Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant. One of only two Kentucky hotels on the national historic registry, the hotel was very nicely located within walking distance of several very nice arts and crafts shops. The room on the second floor and on the right-hand corner of the building was ours.
We learned by talking to the person at the front desk that our room was the only room with a queen sized bed until fairly recently. We also learned that the hotel is closing for renovations next month and is aiming to gain four-star status. I hope they don't do too much to change the rooms. All of the furniture has been made by Berea College students over the years, a fact that I find fascinating.
It was really cool to know that our room was decorated thanks to the generosity of a fellow Louisvillian.
There was even original artwork hanging in the room. Over the bed hung this picture, which, as the story hanging beside it advised, is a picture of the lady who donated the money to decorate the room. It was commissioned by a soldier that she and her brother met on a Greyhound bus trip to visit their grandparents.
Also cool is the fact that the hotel still uses actual keys:
The one unfortunate thing about Berea is that is a dry county, meaning no alcohol. Luckily Bryan and I found this out ahead of time and packed our own. Here is a self portrait of us breaking the law and enjoying wine:
And here we are after figuring out for the first time that our camera has a timer. This is despite the fact that we have had this camera for almost three years:
The hotel had a restaurant where we ate dinner. What should have been a lovely steak dinner, however, turned into a disaster. Apparently some sort of service breakdown occurred, leaving Bryan and I with no entrees an hour and fifteen minutes after we ordered. We ended up pretty much ignored by our server (and we were sitting in the middle of his pathway) and decided we'd waited long enough (particularly considering that we were talking $30.00 per person for an entree). We ended up being met by the manager who gave us all our food including dessert for free. The food turned out to not be so great anyway, but it was still better than the Cracker Barrel we were going to eat if our food had not been ready right when we were leaving.
Overall, definitely a nice trip. I purchased a hand knit bright pink hat as an anniversary gift to myself. I am sure it will make an appearance on here at some point...
Four years ago today, I married my best friend. I know that sounds cheesy, but in our case, it is totally true. Here is a wedding day photo:
I look at those faces is the photograph, so full of life and of hope. Not a day has gone by since October 25, 2003 that I have not felt thankful for the seemingly random occurrences that brought Bryan and I together. Now I look at our family, at Jonathan and the incredible life we have created for him, even at Arthur and the contribution he has made to us as a family.
The concept of a soul mate is a bit hokey to me, but I have truly found in my husband the person with whom I was meant to spend my life. Bryan complements my strengths and is the perfect balance to my weaknesses. He gets me like no one else does. I had no idea when I took a position at the Commonwealth Attorney's office as a law clerk in May of 2000 that I was making a decision that would change the course of my life. I am so happy that I made that decision; what I thought was a career move turned out to be more than I had ever imagined.
So Bryan, if you are reading this, and I suspect that you are, please know that I think you are incredible and I thank God every day that you are willing to put up with all of my idiosyncricies and that you accept me for who I am. You have given me some amazing gifts, the most important of which is our son. I truly love you with all of my heart and I cannot imagine my world without you in it. Happy anniversary and I hope this is just but the early stages of many more happy years to come.
This morning we headed over to Huber's Orchard and Winery to pick out a pumpkin. You take a tractor ride out to a huge field of pumpkins. This is the second year we have done this. Last year, Jonathan was a relatively new walker and took all of two steps before he insisted on being carried for the rest of the day. Here's a blast from the past:
Jonathan's favorite part this year was definitely the tractors, much like when we visited the Pumpkin Festival in West Virginia earlier this month. After having delicious freshly baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast, we hopped on the tractor and headed out to the patch.
The requisite family self portrait:
Jonathan is, of course, a seasoned walker now but he was still hesitant to walk around amongst the pumpkins. This required he and Daddy to have a little talk as I was not about to carry him around the whole time. Both Jonathan and Daddy were in costume for this outing, Jonathan in a pumpkin shirt and Daddy in his denim overalls:
Although there were pumpkins as far as the eye could see...
...we only found one pumpkin that we really liked. After we made our selection, we rode the tractor back to the farmer's market. Jonathan was thrilled with the fact that they had several tractors set up on display. He wanted to sit on each one:
I was happy that he would stick his head through one of the cutouts--I LOVE those things:
We had a great time and I am happy to continue what I hope will become a family tradition!
I have not blogged in FOREVER, mostly because this week has been pretty ordinary. Jonathan is home from WV--he had a great trip and Bryan and I got to spend some time together. Bryan was sick this week with strep throat but, happily, he is on the mend. We are going to Huber's Farm tomorrow in Starlight, Indiana to pick a pumpkin, so I should have some good pictures to post this weekend.
Until then, I must share my current obsession, if you will. I think I have a bit of OCD in that I must have order in most aspects of my life. For example, at work, I must do everything in the order it arrives, the first in, first out approach for my fellow Economics majors out there. If I must do something out of order because the nature of the problem warrants it, I CAN do it but I really don't like it.
It is really not too much of an issue except for when the OCD turns to objects. Like when I was pregnant with Jonathan, I became completely obsessed over what stroller we were going to get for him. I read every book and consumer report I could find, scoured every online review and wandered the baby supply stores all over Louisville to make sure I found the "perfect" stroller. Why this was so important to me, I have no idea, but I would actually wake up in the middle of the night and go online to Amazon.com to make sure nothing new was available that would sway me from my decision. It was truly sad.
It has been a while since that time, but I am currently obsessed with the following:
I would like to blame Kim for this as she posted a while ago about the increcible Christmas gift she found at Costco for precious little Sophie, but honestly, it was bound to happen again sooner than later. I spotted this at Costco about a month ago and I have thought about it every day and about how much Jonathan would love if Santa brought it for Christmas.
This morning, I was in the shower and started thinking about the train table again. That is when I decided that I needed to take action so I could stop the train-table-shower-fantasy craziness. I am anticipating some resistance from Mr. Jonathan's Mommy, so I am trying to get my plan of attack in order. First, I researced the price to make sure that it was good. Then I learned that the set is compatible with Thomas products (definitely an added bonus). Then I ascertained that, if I move the changing table out of Jonathan's room (he is entirely too big for it now anyway), it would totally work in our house. Add to that the fact that my parents are willing to go in on it with us and the fact that we have not bought him a lot for the last two Christmases due to my whole family buying Jonathan the equivalent of a toy store for each holiday and I am hoping that Mr. Mommmy will be so wowed by my logic that he will run right out and purchase said table at Costco this weekend before they are all gone.
If everyone could keep their fingers crossed on this for me, I would greatly appreciate it...
Jonathan is spending another week with my parents. I came back from WV on Monday but he stayed and will be there through Sunday. I miss him like crazy, but I must admit, it IS nice to get up and leisurely watch the Today show and drink a cup of coffee. In fact, today I got up earlier than necessary just for that purpose.
On Sunday, while we were hanging out with my mom ("Grams" to Jonathan), Jonathan became infatuated with this pumpkin ball mom had laying around the house. For reasons known only to a two-year-old, he thought it was the best toy ever, even more so than the new tunnel/tent/playhouse I got him last week at Costco that had its first real unveiling at my parents' house. His attachment to the ball is obvious in the pictures I've posted below.
This is the one good picture I was able to get in the new toy as, by design, Jonathan wouldn't really hold still for photographs:
And here is my little man sitting on the front steps, looking all too proud of himself:
The ball was with him as he explored the shrubbery...
...and as he petted Mom's metal chihuahua lawn sculpture.
Maybe the ball was like a magic wand because he really seemed to pose while holding it.
Shortly after these pictures were taken, my dad and Jonathan started playing with rocks, some spare drainage piping and dirt. Let's just say that his lovely white shirt was not so white anymore. I cringed a bit but they were having such a good time that I had to let it go. But, really, could someone explain to me why children get dirtier the more expensive their clothing?
This is the phrase I heard at least 103 times on Saturday while Jonathan, my mom and I attended the Pumpkin Festival this weekend in Milton, WV. For some reason, Jonathan always says "mo" (translation: more) twice. He's done it pretty much since the first time he said the word and I still think it's endearing. This was my first time at the Pumpkin Festival despite the fact that I grew up in the area. I was pretty impressed with it--tons of fair food, some really good arts and crafts and, of course, pumpkins! The only things I would have changed were the weather-it was over 90 degrees-and the traffic, as waiting in a forever long line of cars for upwards of an hour was not my idea of a good time. I am definitely happy we went, though, as Jonathan really enjoyed himself and, as a bonus, we got to spend some time with Heather and Andrea and their respective families.
The highlight of the festival is, of course, the pumpkins. There is a contest for the largest pumpkin. This year's winner weighed in at 1192 pounds. Even a pumpkin can't carry that much weight well:
Jonathan preferred the more modestly sized pumpkins of the 400ish pound variety. He actually thought he could move them. This was despite the fact that he had previously tried (and failed) to move a pumpkin that could not have weighed more than ten pounds.
There are very conspicuous signs posted advising not to sit on the pumpkins as they are fragile (you can see the signs in the first picture). Now I ask, how fragile can a 378 pound pumpkin be? I threw caution to the wind and plopped my 23 pound two year old on said pumpkin, resulting in this photo op:
While we were perusing the pumpkins, Jonathan suddenly exclaimed "Pumpkin person, Mommy!" Huh? This is what caught his attention:
Heather and I tried to get Hailey and Jonathan to stand still so we could get their picture together. I am not sure about Heather's results, but this is the best I could do:
Even more than the pumpkins, Jonathan enjoyed the tractors they had set up for display. Unlike the pumpkins, there were no signs saying not to sit on them. Not that it would have stopped Jonathan anyway--he climbed right up on there like he knew what he was doing. I am totally going to have to buy him a John Deere ensemble.
We ended the trip by purchasing a handmade wooden tractor for Jonathan which he absolutely loves. An elderly man had a really nice selection of wooden toys and Jonathan immediately said he wanted the tractor. The boy definitely knows what he wants!!
I'm a mother to our one and only five year old and wife to a wonderful husband. I am an attorney by day but also an exercise lover, an avid shopper, a cake decorator and, of course, a blogger (well, a reformed blogger as I completely fell off the wagon in 2010). With 2011, I am attempting the Photo A Day project. I have also signed up to train to run the Triple Crown and Louisville's 2011 Derby Festival Mini-Marathon. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here!