Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall Fun on the Farm

As I've mentioned before, it if weren't for our children, we'd have zero social life. It was only because Meredith included Ashley and I in an e-mail about - what else? - children that we became friends. We also met Debbie, Andy and their girls, Myla and Eliza, through Mer and added them to Zoey - and now Holden's - circle of friends.

Like myself, Debbie likes to celebrate the day she gave birth. But with our children getting increasingly wiser and selfishly wanting their birthdays to be all about them, Debbie and I have relegated ourselves to the background where we just quietly high-five each other on delivering such awesome little people. And with our children getting older, it seems like most of what we do each year is celebrate a long string of birthdays. Which is fine - they're not yet old enough to acknowledge all us adults in the corner with a case of beer. Anywho! This fall, Eliza turned six so we were off to yet another birthday party, this time at the farm.

 But first - cupcakes!

 That Myla didn't at all enjoy...

 Zoey did too but she was more interested in the rings that sat atop each cupcake (a child after my own heart).

 Afterward, all the ladies - Eliza, Myla, Whitney and Whitney's daughter, Jules - gobbled up some Holden. He hated it.

Holden and his harem.

 Coincidentally, this farm - Sartorie Farms - happened to be right around the corner from our old house but it took four years and new friends to learn about it.

Mesmerized by peacocks.
 All ready for Thanksgiving, fellas?

 Llamas and alpacas.

"Well, if you're going to look at me, I guess I'll just look back at you."

 Finding our way through the corn maze.

 Which felt very Wizard of Oz.

 Over the river and through the maze to a pumpkin patch we go!

 Found one!

 Mer bringing sexy back to the pumpkin patch.

 It was "late" in the season, most people picking their Halloween pumpkin in September, but we managed to find a good one. We completely forgot to carve it so it kept for over a month before I hacked it up and pureed it for pumpkin pie.

 Picking pumpkins with my pumpkins.

 The Great Hinman Pumpkin! Mer, her step-daughter DeLaney, and Zoey, who made it her mission to find the perfect pumpkin for the Hinmans.

After collecting our gourds, it was time for the tractor ride.

And what's a birthday party without presents?! Zoey desperately wanted to show Eliza what we got her (a bracelet making kit) and Eliza was thrilled. Debbie said she started making them as soon as she got home that day and everyone in her family now has a blinged-out bangle. Andy, in particular, looks stunning in his.

We're very fortunate to have the friends that we do, and that, as a result, our children have such nice friends. I hope there will be many more birthday parties to come (with many more cases of beer).

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy HalloweenS

With Thanksgiving right around the corner this is only an appropriate time to talk about Halloween. And to remind you for the millionth time that Jacob and I have never been big fans. We spent Zoey's first Halloween hunkered down in the back of the house with our porch light off, and that was the last year of doing such things. Now that it's been a few years, we've, surprisingly, established a few Halloween traditions of our own.

First off, Halloween is slowly morphing into Christmas in that celebrations span more than just the actual day. It is now appropriate to decorate as soon as the clock strikes October 1st, and any celebrations become Halloween-themed by default, which is good for kids who want to wear their costumes for more than just an hour or two for Trick-or-Treating and/or suffering in it for eight hours at school. That is, if they're even allowed to do that anymore.

 Getting our decorating on.

 And vice versa.

 Cookies aren't just for Christmas anymore! Enter: Zombie Cookies!

 Even Grandma got in on the cookie fun.

 I tired to make an eye-ball. As you can see, I succeeded.... (PUN!)

 My first attempt at homemade decorating thanks to Clinton Kelly on The Chew. (Skull courtesy of - what else? - the Dollar Tree.)

 The very friend who helped throw my Meet the Baby Party is having a baby of her own. And since Halloween is her favorite holiday, it was - naturally - Halloween-themed. After a lot of back-and-forth with Zoey about what she wanted to dress up as, her final answer was to be Izzy from Disney's Jake and the Neverland Pirates; thus, Jacob was - who else? - Jake, I was Cubby, and Holden was Tick Tock Croc. For those childless creatures or the otherwise uninformed, here is a visual aid.

No, Zoey's costume wasn't at all like Izzy but it was pink and pirate-y and she was happy with it. We ended up winning Best Family Costume thanks to years of cutting up old clothing for handmade Halloween costumes as a kid.

 The Mama-to-Be (dressed as the Death Star) getting her baby-fix with Holdy, who didn't mind one bit.

 Spooktacular treats for all!

Tick Tock Croc knows how to party.

All preparations and celebrations are, of course, precursors to the actual, BIG, candy-grubbing, diabetes-inducing day. We started it off early by getting Zoey into her costume and heading to IHOP for a free Spooky Face pancake.

But kudos to me for being able to cram some semblance of real food into her mouth before all candy-hell broke loose.
 Ok, hot dogs might not be "real" food but they're at least a break from candy.

 Drop some ketchup on them and - BAM! - Bloody Mummies. :-D

 Spooktacular grins from apple slices, peanut butter, and marshmallows.

 Veggie Brains - pumpkin-carved peppers filled with spaghetti.

 All was a big hit with Izzy the Pirate, Snow White, and Tiger Elsa.
(I hate to admit this, especially in writing, but all food ideas came from the new, don't-at-all-understand-how-it's-a-hit daytime talk show, The Real. Think, The View only with transvestite hookers.)

 Ridiculously excited for Trick-or-Treating. 

 We continued our Drink-or-Treating tradition with Meredith, her husband Mark, their dogs who "dress up" as Adult Beverage Carriers, Debbie, her husband Andy and their daughters but moved the festivities from Meredith's neighborhood to ours since it was our first year Trick-or-Treating in our new neighborhood. It wasn't quite as Hollywood-esque but the kids didn't care as long as the free candy kept flowing.

 More Beer, food, and conversation is how adults do post-Trick-or-Treating Halloween.

The next day was like Halloween didn't exist or, at most, was nothing more than a time-waster until Christmas. But it was fun, and - luckily - something we can go back to ignoring once the kids are too cool to hang out with us.