Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Our original plans for this weekend included going down to Aunt Jeni’s to meet Baby Cousin Evelyn. Unfortunately, both kids had/have the sniffles. Baby Evelyn is only a week and a half old, so we stayed home. 😦 We don’t want to make her sick!

So we ended up staying home and having some pre-Halloween activities. Saturday night we, well, Mama, carved our pumpkins.
Mama is not the least bit artistic. I drew the plain face, and that’s as good as it gets as far as artistic ability. I’m pretty good at following the pumpkin patterns though!
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I always forget how long it takes! Dada ended up feeding Peyton dinner while I was finishing up and then the rest of us had a late dinner. The results were worth the effort! The smiley face pumpkin is Spookily and the ghost is Sebastian. Spookily is a character in a movie Allie watched on Disney Junior, and Sebastian is a ghost in a pumpkin who was on Doc McStuffins.
Pretty good!
This was my effort to get a picture of Peyton with the pumpkins. Mama was trying to hide behind Peyton, but that doesn’t work when I’m trying to hide behind the baby!
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I love seeing the pumpkins out on the porce! I’m glad we waited until a few days before Halloween to carve though. The pumpkins are already showing wear… I suppose the fact that is was 70 degrees today didn’t help!
Today we went to Halloween at the Zoo. It was a lot of waiting in line for the trick-or-treat stations… but totally worth seeing my kiddos dressed up! Such cuties!
For those who don’t watch several hours of Disney Junior a week… Allie is Princess Sofia. She wanted to be Elsa, but the store we went to didn’t have any Elsas in stock, and we didn’t want to look all over. So we persuaded her to be Sofia instead. Peyton is our cute little monster. He has a fish costume too. I don’t know which he’ll wear on Halloween.
We waited in line a lot and didn’t go to all the trick-or-treat stations. The kids did pretty well in line though.
Peyton was pretty cranky and tired… we went at the start of his nap time window. And I think we didn’t give the kids enough for breakfast, oops. Peyton usually jumps in front of any camera and yells, “cheese!” Not so much today. I wasn’t able to get any really good pictures of the kids together. Hopefully on Halloween!
Well if you have to wait in line for 45 minutes… at least you get to see some animals! The lion was pretty animated, maybe because so many people were disturbing his slumber.
We got to see the seals, the tiger and the giraffes too.
All the animals had jack-o-lanterns in their enclosures… I think the tiger ate his. The giraffes were poking around theirs too.
Still in line… we thought we were almost there and then walked through the covered tiger viewing area… to see the line wound around for awhile longer!
But finally we got to trick-or-treat. Allie liked this horsey.
Peyton liked playing around with his candy in the bucket.
I love the zoo, but I don’t love zoo parking. Really… there isn’t any. They have two small parking lots that we don’t even bother to check for a space when we go most of the time.
Anyway, we had to walk to and from the zoo. Allie did really well with the walk. She didn’t complain at all! In fact, I think Mama and Dada complained more during the walk back to the car.
We thought we’d taken all of Peyton’s candy away from him, then we discovered he’d managed to keep a piece of gum. He chewed through the paper and got to the gum. He didn’t like it though. He did really like this little bottle of bubbles.
Allie is such a beautiful princess!
And just look at the beautiful trees. Most of the leaves have fallen off the trees in our neighborhood and most of the leaves are raked up. Not by the zoo!
Can’t wait for Halloween! Allie got sick right before trick-or-treating on Halloween last year. This poor kid has missed so many trick-or-treating nights from being sick! Hopefully we can get out there this year!
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Museum day

Saturday we went to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque. We’ve been there a few times and have loved it every time. This museum has tons of stuff to do. We were there three and a half hours and didn’t come close to seeing everything. Its a bit of a drive to make it feel like a special trip, but its easy to get to doesn’t cost a ton of money. One of the aspects we really enjoyed Saturday was the scenery. The drive is straight down US Highway 151. With the rolling hills and farms, it is particularly scenic in the fall. I managed to snap a few good pictures as we drove.
The last time we went was when Peyton was about a month old. He decided he needed to eat about four hours before we could leave. So we went even though it was getting really late. We stopped for lunch and at one point Allie bolted into the kitchen when I went to the bathroom. Dada was back at the table with Peyton. This time went much much better! It was so fun to see Peyton running around. Both kids really enjoyed it.
Since we were going to the aquarium, Allie wanted to wear her t-shirt we got her from the aquarium in Las Vegas.
They had a little observation tower we didn’t remember from when we went before. It was a nice view of the river, though not so scenic right out the window.
One thing I think is cool about Dubuque (but that I would hate if I lived there) is all the hills. They have all these big pretty houses right on top of the hill.
One of the big hits of the museum was the RiverWorks hands on water exhibit.
The kids really liked playing in the water. They did a little splashing, and then we saw on the rules splashing wasn’t allowed. Oops!
We all tried the bike exhibit where you pedal to drip water into a bucket and then it fills up and rains to show the water cycle. It was harder than it looked, particularly when you couldn’t reach the pedals!
I could reach the pedal, but it was super hard. That bike is not a nice spinning bike!
After the RiverWorks, we walked outside to the other building with the aquarium.
We saw a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk (I think? I can’t remember the name of the second), that were on display because they aren’t capable of surviving in the wild.
I think Dada and Mama were a bit more impressed than the kids.
Inside, Peyton was excited to sit in the little chair.
Allie has a stuffed turtle from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago named Nickel, after the big turtle they have there. There was a special turtle exhibit in the aquarium and she was pointing out every single one and said they were all named Nickel.
One of the bigger tanks. Peyton kept protesting when Dada tried to put him down.
The big catfish tank! In between running all over the place, Peyton kept going back there. So fun to watch!
Upstairs in the turtle exhibit there was a turtle shell to climb in. Allie started saying her name was Nickel for awhile!
We were at the museum for about three and a half hours. Thats a lot with two kids, especially one a toddler who runs around like crazy and doesn’t listen when we tell him to go somewhere! Peyton was starting to get cranky after the turtle exhibit, so we explored outside a little more before heading home. Allie met Mark Twain.
They have a wetland area around the outside and we liked exploring around there.
More pretty fall scenery!
After that, we took some pictures in front of the big paddlewheel…
Well at first Allie didn’t want any more pictures. She was more interested in her map.
But then we got some good ones of Mama and the kiddos.
We maxed out Peyton’s limit with this trip. Both times we let him walk outside he would get going to fast and then trip and fall. I will admit it was funny because he’d just lay there on the ground like a turtle himself.
Confession: This was the last time he took another tumble and he actually hurt himself! We were on our way to the car and by time we got there, he had quite a goose egg!
Ooops! In my defense, I wouldn’t have taken a picture if I’d realized he was really hurt! By Sunday morning it wasn’t quite as much of a bump, but he has quite the scrape and bruise there! His long hair covers it up pretty well though. It was hard to get a good picture.
So Peyton woke up around 5:45 Saturday morning. He did sleep on the way to Dubuque for about 30-45 minutes. We figured with getting up so early, basically skipping his nap, and walking maybe more than his little legs ever have in one day he might sleep on the way home and/or sleep in on Sunday morning. That was a no on both accounts, though he did nap for three and a half hours Sunday afternoon.

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Loving learning

Allie loves school. Its fun to see. I love hearing about all the things she is learning and about her friends and school adventures.
She’s started writing her name by herself! She still needs help with the s though but she’s getting it.
She enjoyed dressing up for her first school picture day this week. We won’t get the pictures for a couple weeks. It will be good to get some new portraits!
Yesterday parents were invited for the last hour of school. This week the class theme was going on a bear hunt and we helped make a map, watched the kids sing a bear hunt song and they had a special snack.
We have fun with family projects for school. A couple weekends ago we decorated a pumpkin picture Allie named Mr. Moustache for his big grey triangle nose. She’s so creative.
Allie can write her name, count to 20 or more (though she tends to leave out 15), name the days of the week, sing fun songs she’s learned and so much more! The kids are learning to write and Allie is getting so good at identifying letters on our T-shirts and in other places. Earlier she was pulling out bath letters and telling us what almost all of them were, and she got most of them right!
She’s also developing quite a social life. A couple weekends ago she was invited to two birthday parties! Luckily they were not on the same day. We were happy when we visited school to see her interacting with her friends when we were at school because she tends to stick close to us when we are around.
The first couple weeks of school Allie complained because she didn’t like riding the bus. Then one day she came home talking about a friend on the bus and after that she didn’t complain anymore! She has a spring in her step walking in and we can tell she likes to be there. The first two weeks she groaned when we told her she had school tomorrow. Now today , Saturday, she’s asking if she can go to school on Sunday.
My little baby girl is learning so much and growing up too fast! I can’t believe she will be 5 in less than two weeks!

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Zoo Run Run and Roo Run Run

Allie and Mama ran a race together on Sept. 28! The timing when Allie started asking about running a kids race was perfect as the Henry Vilas Zoo Run Run and Roo Run Run was coming up. We didn’t register until just a few days before because Mama had been sick and I wasn’t sure Allie would go through with it. But she kept saying she wanted to do it!

Allie was really excited going into the race weekend. We picked out her running clothes and laid them out the day before. And on race day Allie said she wanted to wear a headband just like Mama. Just look at my adorable little runner!
And of course we had a Mama and Allie selfie. Yep. She’s my daughter!
And we took a picture in front of the giraffes once we got our race bibs. We like the Zoo Run Run because Dada and the kids can hang around the zoo while Mama is running.
I decided to run the 5K in order to be done in time to run the kids race with Allie and also because my mileage had been pretty low recently. I was bummed when I realized I accidentally left my camera in the car. But my camera has been taking pretty good pictures lately. Maybe the updates have increased the camera quality. Anyway, all these pictures are phone pictures.
Dada got a good picture of me starting the 5K. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had been sick and had only run once in between when I was sick and the race. I was hacking pretty good as I started and not sure I could keep myself going. I had some shortness of breath before the race too, partly from the residual sick and from being nervous. That happens before races sometimes. I have no idea why!

Anyway, its been two weeks so I can’t really remember all the specifics. I just remember being amazed by how fast I started and continued. I didn’t record my splits, but my official time was 35:59, average pace of 11:37! I only walked up a couple hills, not even all of them. A few times I thought I should stop but I felt good so I didn’t. I’ve been going to body pump and running shorter. I think that along with the cooler temperatures are helping me get faster. It wasn’t cool on race day though! In fact, it was about 80 and I decided not to carry my water along.
Dada took a couple fun pictures while they were in the zoo and I was running.
At some point in the last mile, a spectator said it was all down hill from here. As I realized where I was, I realized that was true. I was starting to struggle, but I also knew I was going to end up with a really good time. So I kept at it. And I crossed the line around 36:10 clock time. The course was a little short according to my Garmin. That was fine with me!

Then it was time to recover and wait for Allie’s race. The kids had snacks and I had some water. The Roo Run Run was a quarter mile, half mile and full mile. Allie was running the quarter mile so we had to wait for the full mile and half mile to finish before us. She was pretty cranky by the time we started. I was a bit cranky too. If we’d realized it would take so long, we would have waited to go line up.
But finally it was time to start! I wasn’t sure I would get Allie to run. She didn’t seem too into it at first. But by the time we passed by Dada and Peyton the second time she was having a good time.
And Allie got her medal!
I was so proud of Allie! She was so cute. She wore her t-shirt that day and also wore her medal all day. She said she wants to do another kids race sometime. There are a few coming up, so we’ll see!

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Pumpkin patch time

Today was pumpkin patch day! In spite of the crazy lack of parking and super long lines, it was a super success!
Just look at those adorable kiddos!
Mama, Allie and Peyton ran around the pumpkins while we waited for Dada to get our tickets. Then Allie rode the Cool Bus into the barnyard.
Oh my goodness it was fun seeing the kids see the animals, especially Peyton! He tried to climb in with the llama.
The kids got to pet a bunny, donkey and some goats. And Peyton ran.
The one part Peyton was a huge fan of was when a goat licked his hand. I was afraid he’d get bit, so I’m glad that didn’t happen.
Allie liked feeding the goat.
And she got to hold a kitty! Peyton got to pet the kitty too.
We did our old favorite activities like the barrel train. Allie said she’d ride her own barrel, but changed her mind. That barrel is a tight squeeze with all three of us! Mama and Allie also went on the jumping pillow. Allie liked that one a little more than Mama though.
Peyton liked watching us! He was cracking up. (Unfortunately at some point, a setting on the camera got switched and pictures got some weird coloring even though the sun was obnoxiously bright. I didn’t notice until I was looking at them later).
We got our traditional “How tall this fall” pictures while waiting in the long line for the hayride. Allie is 3 and a half.
We couldn’t really tell how tall Peyton was. Funny little boy didn’t seem interested in being measured. Maybe he’s around 2 and a half?
Finally it was time for the hayride. Right as we were getting on, Peyton decided to have a meltdown. We weren’t sure the trip would go well, but when the tractor turned on, that captured his attention.
Picking our pumpkins.
Peyton tried to pick one that was a little too big!
And Allie found her perfect pumpkin.
A (huge) Allie and Mama selfie.
And a family selfie! It turned out pretty good!
Peyton was in a much better mood on the way back.
Allie is very excited to carve her pumpkin. We’re waiting at least until next weekend though. We want to make sure it lasts until Halloween!
Speaking of Halloween, we’re going to get Allie a costume tomorrow. I need to check, but I’m sure we have something for Peyts. The joys of hand-me-downs!

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Apple fun

There are times when there is just so much sadness to be found. This week has been one of those times. One event weighing on my mind from this week is the news about the couple whose baby was diagnosed with a rare birth defect and they put together and carried out a bucket list for the baby boy. He was born this week and died four hours later. I couldn’t even imagine going through pregnancy knowing that would be the result. To be in the hospital recovering from your son’s birth while also making plans for his burial. I am so grateful to have two beautiful perfect and healthy kids. I am hugging them extra and enjoying their company for sure.

Two weekends ago we had a ton of fun going to a local orchard to run around and pick apples. We had so much fun!
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We took the stroller for Peyton, but he walked a lot.
There was a big hill that we walked up and then down, and then back, to get to another section of the orchard. Peyton walked all the way up and down the first time and then rode up and down the second time. Allie powered up the hill.
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They had pumpkins there but we didn’t get any that day. The kids liked walking around and looking at them though! We don’t get pumpkins until October (today, in fact!).
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It was so hot, it didn’t even feel like pumpkin weather! That was the weekend before our anniversary. It was super hot for the end of September, just like our wedding day.
I spent that Sunday afternoon making apple sauce in the crock pot and an apple pie. Yum!