Saturday, July 31, 2010

The annual family and fruit pilgrimage

We went on our third annual family and fruit pilgrimage north. It actually started in 2006, but we skipped 2007, which was the summer (August) the twins were born. I call it the family and fruit pilgrimage because we meet Grandma Dee and Aunt Krissy in Mansfield to pick blueberries and apples or peaches (depending on the month). Since it is about midway between the the three of us, we meet there to spend some time together and the bonus is it has a ton of great orchards.

The day's pickings... the next day, I made a big batch of applesauce and blueberry ice cream (frozen yogurt) and froze tons on blueberries and peaches. And, of course, enjoyed peach bellinis with a couple neighbor moms.

The first place we went this year was Blueberry Patch (which also has raspberries, not yet in season) where the blueberries were bursting off the bushes. It was fabulous! We happened to hit two days after that section of bushes were peak. Last year, however, we were not so lucky... and two years before that, it was much of the same (though the first year we ended up more in raspberry season, which was also good, aside from the ginormous very colorful spiders hiding in all the bushes... between the thorns and the spiders and having a one year old, picking sounded a little like "ouch, AHHHHH!, mom, take Ethan out of here before something eats him!"). So, this year was awesome! We picked five buckets... in about 1 1/2 hours... with a five year old and twin two year olds... who were eating, not picking. They pretty much ate their way through the patch... which made for an interesting day after... if you know what I mean. I can't blame them though, blueberries right off the bush are so good. The boys actually did really well even though it was seriously the hottest day of the summer - really, I think that is what they actually called it on the stations. It was miserable. Collin only darted a couple of times and Ethan and Oliver pretty much stayed with us (dare I say, it just might be getting easier... uh, as long as there are three adults along too!)
Look at all the blueberries... they were like clumps of grapes.

After blueberries, we ate lunch then headed up to the peach orchard, Apple Hill (also an apple orchard obviously). I was super excited about the peaches since there have been very little in Ohio over the last three years due to spring frost. This year, however, they were bursting. We picked a 1/2 bushel in a half an hour, so much less painful than blueberry picking. The boys liked it, but really had more fun playing with sticks, dirt and a peach tree pretending to be rescue heroes... I think. I also snagged a couple bags of Pristine apples from their market store (they are not open for u-pick apples just yet).

This photo cracks me up. It's one of like 30 that I attempted to take (with Aunt Krissy and Grandma Dee behind me dancing and begging them to look and smile... good thing no one else was around), none of which turned out great. This one makes me laugh because of the stances and faces.

Rescue hero central.

We then headed over to a park down the road from the peach orchard, where the boys ran and played as if they got their second wind. On the other hand, there was not a shade tree near the playground, and I am pretty sure that the three of us adults were half melted at that point. Really... melted... I'm not joking. The boys had a blast, though. Both Ethan and Oliver were scaling everything, tall and scary (to me).

Still very much in rescue hero mode, Ethan was climbing everything.

Oliver followed Ethan up this... Oliver believes he can do anything Ethan can do... and most of the time does it. After I took this photo, I was underneath him the entire time spotting him.

Looking down at me once he got to the top. "Ha! I did it mom! What were you afraid of, that was a piece of cake!" He then did it at least a dozen more times.

Collin liked to climb the stairs and then run along the top portion of this giant play structure. He would stop in this little open area to talk to me... and then hang out forward just to mess with me.

These are from the old metal section of this playground. The paint is peeling and it looks nasty, but they have this super cool "clubhouse" like structure. It's kind of like a round short cage like thing, which you climb up into on a latter through a small hole. We are always pressed to get them out of this, once they get in because it's "their clubhouse." (or as Collin calls it "our hubhouse")

This face cracks me up.

It was a great day of spending time with family and picking oodles of fruit... even if it was a million degrees.

(however, on the way home all I could think about was how much I couldn't wait to take a shower the minute I walked in the door... actually dreaming about it excitedly...)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visitors and the zoo

Grandpa Ron, Grandma Lorrie and Aunt Krissy were up the weekend before last for a visit. We, and by we I mean Aunt Krissy, decided it would be fun to visit the zoo... on a Saturday... when it is ultra crowded... on a thousand degree day... with 1 million % humidity... We joked with her, but it was fun. Hot, very hot, very crowded, but fun.

The first thing we did was visit our Polar Bear exhibit. They were just hanging out eating ice... did I mention it was a thousand degrees when we were there? After watching them for a while and learning some interesting Polar Bear facts, we went below to the under water observation area. As it turns out, one of the Polar Bears was using the glass as a seat (oh yes Grandpa Ron, I'm going to go there...), so Grandpa Ron thought it would be funny to say to the boys "can you say Polar Bear butt?" Yes, I know. Note: I was not allowed to say butt in any context until I was grown and out of the house. Can you guess what the boys started repeating? And I am sure there were other children around doing the same thing, as I told Grandpa Ron that night, there were probably ticked off parents going home and discussing "that man who told our kids to say 'Polar Bear butt' and laughing all day." Mind you, such things are hilarious to little kids... Ethan repeated it laughing over and over... into the night. As a matter of fact, Monday night (over a week later), as we were eating dinner, out of the blue, Oliver said, "Can you say polar bear butt? Can you say polar bear butt? Can you say polar bear butt? hah, ha!" And there it started... all over again... all three boys... laughing and repeating it.

The now famed "polar bear butt."

After this we went to an indoor exhibit which the kids loved as it was more or less a nature themed play place... that was AIR CONDITIONED. We let them play a while.

Bottlenecks in the log...

Laying on the fake bed, having fun.

After petting some goats and wandering around a little more, we headed to lunch (okay it wasn't really leisurely like that, the boys were READY for lunch). This is where Grandpa Ron did it again. I caved and got the boys a hot dog to share (this after eating pizza, which Oliver wouldn't eat for some reason, thus my caving) and knew that Ethan would insist on ketchup so I got a little cup of that. Ethan tried to slurp the ketchup out of the cup, before even putting it on his piece of hot dog... not something I really wanted him doing. After I told him not to do that and then attended to another child (we had two tables), I turned to see him hunched over kind of facing the window doing something. Oh, I see... he has his tongue in the cup. Oh yes, Grandpa had given him the pointer to use his tongue instead... So he was hunched down hiding, like a junkie, while trying to lick the red treat out of the small cup. Can you say "bad influence?" (and kid's delight).
See the glassy eyes and distant stare...

We also fed the Lorikeets which Ethan and Oliver loved but Collin refused to do.

Actually, Collin was just done with the crowds and the heat at this point so he kept us moving... toward the exit. On the way out, Oliver insisted on walking (no stroller). He decided to hold Grandpa Ron's hand, it was pretty cute.

When we got home, we were all spent. Fortunately I had fresh picked peaches ready for bellinis all around, after the kids were in bed.

Coloring with Grandpa.

Failed photo attempt #128... I gave up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Water + Bunnies + Big Hill = Good Time

We took the kid's to our favorite (so far) splash park a couple of weeks ago. They had a blast and I have a ton of photos to prove it... not that you were in doubt... more that I just couldn't narrow my selections down...

Signature Oliver... no fear.

Trying to stop the water with their hands.

Oliver found a bucket...

Water smack in the face... loved it.

Ethan knowingly sitting on a water hole... before it went full force... um....

Yoda finally comes out of the dark to check it out.

Yoda Collin: "Closer will I get."

Yoda Collin: "Cool this is."

Yoda Collin: "Walk will I."

Yoda Collin: "Following me they are."

Ethan leading Oliver to a waterfall.


I love this!

Collin (as himself): "I came, I saw, I conquered this joint."

Having fun...

Dancing bunny statues...

Rolling down the giant hill...

Collin trying to roll down...

Collin: "Ready, set, go Ethan and Oliver!"

The sixty fifth (I'm not kidding!) roll/run down the hill...
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