Corn Maze and Other Fall Fun!

I feel like we’ve been slacking this year when it comes to our typical traditions, but it is what it is. We never did get to a pumpkin patch, but Josh’s dad treated us to some fun at a local Corn Maze, which ironically we never even ended up doing, but there are lots of other things to keep kids busy.  Unfortunately, it was also really cold that day… much colder than the weather was supposed to be. So begins the season of bringing hats and gloves and coats everywhere we go because you just never know.


Corn pits provide endless amounts of fun… who knew?!  It was thankfully a bit warmer under the tent which helped block some of the wind.



The kids also got to play with their cousins, which was an added bonus.


Oh glorious giant bouncy pillow.  The kids had a little trouble getting up at times, but they had such a blast. It’s the little things, you know?





While the kids bounced, I found hot cider and stole Josh’s jacket because he’s a walking furnace on most days anyway.


The kids did at least go through the mini hay bale maze.  It always amazes me how much the kids change from year to year.  They’re so independent now!





And of course the big slide. Usually one of us always goes down with Enzo, but this time he was like, No thanks, I’ve got this.  He handed his money over to the person in charge, and carried his own sack up the steps with his aunt and cousin and grandpa and Phoebe.  We were worried at first how he’d do and he definitely got nervous, which is when he started going down crooked because he tried to slow down, but then he got brave and the look of joy on his face is priceless. Phoebe was terrified, but was thrilled when she got up. Ha!









Oh, fall.  Never change. One day the kids will think these silly slides and things are just lame, and I do not look forward to that day.

Get Outside

The past week was a busy one, and the weekend ended up being no different.  The kids were up bright and early and were ready to GO.  Our original plans changed, so we pulled out Plan B – when in doubt, go to the zoo!  We invited Josh’s dad Mike to come along with us and away we went!  Despite it being overcast, the temps were surprisingly nice and it was the emptiest the zoo has ever been when we’ve visited.  It was AMAZING!


Finding a table to eat at was a breeze and the kids were able to wiggle and move around as much as they wanted!


I didn’t pet the sharks, but everyone else got to, which was awesome. It’s usually really hard to find a spot for the kids when we’re here so they were thrilled.


It might seem weird to document your kids using a hand dryer, but this is the first time EVER that they have agreed to use one. They usually are afraid of the hand dryers.  More winning!


Onward, ho!


Also, my husband was winning because I was able to take a few photos with my big camera and I’m actually in more than 1 or 2 photos and don’t have totally weird face!


It was so nice for the kids to be able to run around and actually get up close to see everything without any crowds.  We don’t often get to do that and it was especially exciting at Grizzly Coast (the boys were in the water up against the glass rough-housing) and it’s awesome to get to see the bears up close.


You’re also more able to get away with putting your kids on the fence to give them a better look at critters. Don’t worry, the Takin’s looked fairly harmless. 😉


She’s a tree in the wind. Seriously, though… no crowds!!  We even managed to walk past the carousel and the kids didn’t even argue when we said we weren’t going to ride it that day.  Say what?!?


Telling Grandpa all of the things and enjoying the fall leaves on our walk.  We’re already at that point where so many more trees are beyond peek and heading into the dying yellow color than are at the glorious red and orange point.  Such is life.


My favorite.  I love mountain lions so much… bobcats too.



We headed home a little before 4:00 and Phoebe of course crashed on the way, which also meant she didn’t want to fall asleep at bedtime, but we could also hear someone with some thumping bass, so that didn’t help.  Sunday I woke up to this glorious tree outside our bedroom window:


Then at some point I realized I need to go grab groceries, so I loaded up Phoebe and away we went!  She managed to pinch her finger in the shopping cart wheel when we got back to the car, and was quite upset the whole ride home and most of the afternoon.  I kind of wanted to punch the old man in the parking lot who looked over at me and shook his head in that way that clearly meant I was an awful parent.  She has a blood blister, but no long-lasting damage and I have a feeling she isn’t scarred for life.


Happy Monday… oh… errr… Tuesday. How is it Tuesday?


Huzzah and other things you say at a Ren Fest…

Fall for me isn’t really fall unless we go to the Renaissance Festival. It doesn’t really change ever, but I do so love it and even though we didn’t dress up this year, next year it’s happening because it doesn’t feel right not to!  This year we ended up going on the last weekend, but ended up working out quite well… the only thing we had going against us was the weather ended up being much nicer than we had planned. Yep. We overdressed thanks to our weather app being completely wrong.  Overcast and 60 degrees ended up being sunny and in the lower 70’s so we ended up roasting, which is better than freezing… you win some you lose some.



The kids were excited… sort of. We started things off by walking to the joust and a nice lady gave the kids some little things she had won.  Alas, the actual joust wasn’t actually taking place at this time and the kids started whining for food.  The second we leave the house all they can talk about is food and plow through any snacks I bring.  Enzo saw someone with pizza, so off we went to find pizza, hoping that afterward they’d be more thrilled about aimlessly wandering and exploring.


Josh got the kids settled with pizza while I made my way to find mead because where else are you encouraged to start drinking  before noon?  What’s not to love about having a beer at 10am and being cheered on to do so?


The pizza was really good (I had their leftovers) and Josh found me a massive chocolate cupcake that I didn’t take a picture of, but must have weighed 2 pounds and was glorious.  GLORIOUS!


Oh, I lied, the first thing we did was walk by the elephants and the kids immediately wanted a ride. I felt kind of bad for the elephants, but let the kids go anyway. I made Josh go with them because I didn’t really want to smell like elephant and also I don’t like heights. The kids were so excited, which made it totally worth it… I think. Okay, I really want to free the elephants.





We wandered and the kids got souvenirs and we snacked.  Enzo was getting a tad cranky, however, and Phoebe was getting ornery. She also kept dropping her wand out of the wagon so it’s really amazing it made it home in one piece.  Enzo decided against a wand when I told him that unfortunately it didn’t actually do real magic like Harry Potter.  Instead I had to watch his poor little face fall as he was introduced to the disappointment we all have to face as we grow older and realize that life isn’t nearly as cool as it is in books and movies.  Trust me, Kid, I KNOW.


So, we went to find some fairies… more disappointment there since it was just girls dressed up as fairies. We wandered a bit more, listened to some Stary Olsa and bought their CDs and then decided to head out before we had full on mutiny on our hands from our wagon pirates who Josh was towing around all day.  Huzzah! Until next year when we will probably leave the party poopers at home! 😉

Impromptu Apple Orchard Visit

After seeing the raptor release we weren’t sure what our plans were and figured we’d give the kids a few choices and let them decide.  While there was an apple orchard right next door, we decided to head home and go to the Luce Line Orchard since it’s so close and I knew it had a play area and lots of room for the kiddos, and you’ve gotta love small town fun. While we weren’t able to actually pick the apples off the trees it was still enjoyable.  First, though, we had a little picnic lunch before hitting the road.


Phoebe was also obsessed with big smooches that day because she’s obsessed with makeup and was hoping that some of my lipstick would transfer to her lips if she kept kissing me. Haha!


Once we arrived I was worried we’d never move from the stack of hay bales.  Really, kids?  All you want to do is climb hay?  There are apples and caramel and caramel covered apples even!  Come on!


Eventually they moved on, once they saw the tractor ride, of course.  They were both very excited to get their own tickets and give them to the gal doing the driving. I was a little worried that Phoebe would freak out when she realized Mommy and Daddy weren’t coming and wouldn’t be nearby for a few minutes, but she had a blast!  They both did!




I also forgot they have food there and it’s a great place to just hang out and spend an afternoon. Definitely have to go back and will probably get some pumpkins there too.  I think that’s where Phoebe and I got our pumpkins last year.  We’ll also have to be back every year, however, maybe next time Josh shouldn’t be trusted to take them all. :p


Phoebe was struggling with the concept of standing like Enzo so we could get an accurate measurement of height.  Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking a foreign language when talking to toddlers… “Put your feet together” becomes “spread them out as far as humanly possible” and then she kept standing on her tippy toes. Haha.


Goofballs. Phoebe and I rocked our matching leggings. I admit it, I get as excited as she does to match. Haha. I know there’s a limited time frame for how long we’ll be able to do so. I asked Enzo if he wanted to get matching leggings and he told me leggings were for girls. Stinker. :p


We took a little stroll and then grabbed a bag of Sweet Tango apples and caramel for dipping and headed home.  I was counting on the kids crashing hard after all the running around they did and it was nice to just take it easy until bedtime.


One last Enzo tidbit… as we were walking along, he held up his hand as though he were looking at a phone and kept saying, “According to my phone, we’re going the wrong way.”  I’m not sure if that’s a sign we’re on our phones too often or if it’s just a normal sign of the times and instead of pretending to read a paper map like when we were kids, he’s just doing the updated version. Either way, we got a good chuckle out of that.

U of M Fall Raptor Release

Who doesn’t love eagles, hawks, kestrals and owls?  Birds (especially raptors) are fascinating and while we’ve been to different raptor centers, we’ve never watched a release of raptors back into the wild.  I figured we might as well go check it out and the kids seemed interested, so bonus points for that! Granted, the day started off a tad on the wrong foot when we didn’t leave the house as early as I wanted to.  We actually almost missed the first releases.  It was chilly and overcast, but the smell of fall was in the air and I was kind of glad it wasn’t warmer out because long walk carrying camera and a child would have made for a very sweaty and gross situation.  As it was, the field would not have been conducive for a stroller or a wagon so the kiddos had to walk through kind of tall grass. Due to our late arrival, we couldn’t get very close to the stage, but we were all still able to see the birds.  Now… pictures. The majority were a tad blurry.  I had my biggest lens zoomed in almost all the way, it was cold out and I had a child sitting on my feet for part of the time.  Ha ha.


It was very cool to see two hawks, a kestral and a young bald eagle being released, though.  To watch them take flight was just so awesome and when the first hawk was released, a bunch of turkey vultures showed up overhead and it was a big celebration.


I’m not super bummed about the blurry photos… these kinds of things are best experienced in person anyway.


After the release, we went to see some of the other raptors that they had outside… ones that would not be released for various reasons and now help educate people.


I love owls.  I’m hoping to go out on an adventure by myself this winter in search of owls.  Since it’s a few hours drive north, I figure it’ll be a good time for the kids to stay home with Josh since they get a tad fussy when it’s cold out.  We see owls now and then where we are, but I’m heading north to find Great Grey Owls.


Those eyes!!

Okay, and this little guy was just too adorable.  Had he not been attached to that guy, I would have wanted to stick him in my bag and take him home.


And of course, the magnificent and ever so regal Bald Eagle. Amazing birds.



I’ll save our Apple Orchard visit for another day. 😉