October 23, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
To the pumpkin patch we go....

  • 6:20 is really, really early to wake up in the morning and then 6:40 is really, really early to wake up your sleeping kids just for a trip to the pumpkin patch. Anderson was already wide awake when Robby went upstairs to go and wake everyone up.  When the kids are excited about the day, they can get up and put their clothes on quickly.
  • The night before Anderson said he had a bad dream and dreamed about monsters.  But this morning, he told me that he didn't dream about monsters because he prayed about it before he went to bed-that right there made waking up so early not so bad!
  • They gobbled down their breakfast and we climbed in the car at 7:26-six minutes later than I would have liked to have left.  Our meeting time was 7:40 and when I turned on to Lawson and saw a line of cars only going 15 miles per hour, I was starting to sweat it.  I guess the traffic was just volume because there was nothing slowing us down.  Thankfully, we made it-we were actually the first ones to pull into the Heart Hospital to meet the others.  (Sara had overslept but still pulled in at the same time that Amber did who had gone to get gas and make her crew potty one last time.)
  • With Amber and her kids plus Laynie and Sara and her kids, the van was completely filled-all 15 seats.  That would be 12 kids and 10 car seats!  It was a tight squeeze but we made it and the ride there was non-eventful.  About the last 5 minutes of our hour and 20 minutes trek, I did think about turning the tv on.  The kids did really, really well-here is the run down of who sat by who-back row: Ethan, Graham, Noah and Anderson, 3rd row: Eden, Campbell and Laynie, 2nd row: Brody, Keaton and Lily, 1st row: Reagan (who didn't really have a buddy in our car), Sara and Whitman and Amber sat up front with me.  
  • The man who was directing traffic asked if we were a bus full of kids and we said we sure were so we got to park in the front.  Whoop!  There are so many benefits of having my van-riding with all of your friends and then having front row parking!  Candice and her kids and Jodee and Kennedy rode together and beat us by just a few minutes.  
  • All the workers knew the home school group was coming-all 22 of us (17 kids).  The first thing we did was take a few to the potties-porta potties that were surprisingly clean.  We actually heard that the potties were cleaned yesterday and since they have about 200 kids a day, we came on the right day!
  • Then we lined up and paid our fee and soon we entered the Arkansas Frontier.  Our first stop there was the Dog Trot house.  The lady told us about the house and then the kids were free to milk the pretend cows, make cornmeal and look at some of the animals.  Then we proceeded to the one room school.  It was interesting but didn't compare to Laura and Mary's school in De Smet.  
  • Next up was the Indian Village and the guide told us way more than we would ever want to know about Indians.  But playing in the teepees were a pretty big hit.  Campbell did grab a pole of the teepee and for a few moments we did think the entire 20 foot tall teepee might possibly come crashing down on us.  We quickly scurried on to our next stop after that.
  • I can't really remember what we did next but I bet it was play area.  They had the water pumps where you could pump the water and float the ducks down a gutter.  This was a big, big hit and the kids stopped here every single time we were anywhere close to this.  They also had a few slides to scoot down and tires to climb all over-which we did over and over.
  • One odd stop was the Dino Dig.  A man told us about a few types of dinosaurs and then the kids dug in a sand pit to find a dinosaur egg and then they traded it in for a little toy dinosaur. That little toy dinosaur Whitman immediately put in his mouth-the poor child looked at me like he wanted to say "hey mom, I've already been in my car seat and then in this stroller for hours and if I want to eat some plastic, then let me eat some plastic."  I still didn't let him eat any but that child is the most perfectest baby ever!  He was wonderful all day (and who can blame him for having a fit during pumpkin patch picture time!)
  • Soon we stopped and had lunch.  The sun wasn't out yet and it was still chilly.  The kids had had their coats on and off all day but I didn't take my coat off until almost 2.  Everyone ate lunch and then they had more time to play in the play area before we headed to the gemstone mining.
  • Every group gets to mine one stone but we had paid extra so each kid could have their bag of dirt.  This was the biggest hit of the entire day.  The man lined everyone up and they all had their mining box (I don't know what you call it but the box with the screen on the bottom that you put in the water) and he would pour their rock filled dirt into it for them to sift.  There was squealing and hollering and yelps of excitement during all of this and that was just from the mommas.  We may have had a bit more fun than the kids during all of this.  Of course, Graham is pretty sure that he found gold and diamonds...maybe he will have that same luck if we go to Crater of Diamonds sometime.
  • Next stop was the hay ride and since the school groups had already gone, we had the huge trailer to ourselves.  It was wonderful and gave us plenty of space to move around and snap a few pictures.  The ride was around the pasture so we saw lots of different animals.  At the end of the ride, there were more animals for us to walk around and see.  My favorite was a baby, baby goat.  And there were lots of bunnies that cause the kids to have a hopping contest-whatever keeps them happy.
  • Next up was a walk through the Enchanted Forest.  It was just a walk through the woods with some wooden cutouts and fake animals but the kids enjoyed it.   But the kids found the huge hay/dirt pile at the end of the walk most more entertaining than the walk.  Of course, I will probably never be able to get all of the dirt out of their clothes!
  • After the forest walk, we let them play on the playground a bit longer.  Then it was time to pick our pumpkins.  Campbell quickly picked the first pumpkin that she saw but I did convince her to look around for one-I still think she went back to the first one she saw.  
  • I did set the kids down to try and get a group picture.  I was actually pretty pleased with how they came out-took about 100 but got one with a couple of kids looking at the camera with decent expressions on their face.  I have learned a long time ago, you take what you can get and be thankful for it!  Really, I was just thankful that I could get them all in the picture and even get them all setting down in the picture.  Of course, I did break my sunglasses in the process and almost fell down after spinning Whitman around so he would be so dizzy that he couldn't stand up during the picture!  Whatever works!
  • After the pumpkins were collected, the patch was shutting down so we headed to the car.  I really couldn't believe that we stayed all the way until 2.  The ride home was a bit more chaotic with a bunch of tired kiddos.  We had passed out a snack early in the ride and then again in the middle of the ride.  But that didn't seem to help too much.  At one point, the kids on each side of Keaton were crying and my sweet Keaton shouted "Be quiet, my Whitman is asleep!"  Love her!
  • We dropped everyone off and since we were so near Krispy Kreme, the kids talked me into stopping there since they had been good so I talked Sara into going to.  (Amber had already driven away or we would have tried to convince her.)  The hot light wasn't on but they were still passing out hot donuts so that was a win for me (and my pocketbook).  I let everyone pick out a doughnut and even saved 2 for Robby.  
  • When we finally made it home, the carpet stretcher man was at our house.  He worked in almost every room of the house stretching the carpet.  He said that whoever laid our carpet didn't know what they were doing.  In most of the rooms, he stretched and cut off at least 3 inches of carpet.  In about 4 places in the house, we had carpet humps that were eventually going to cause a problem-tripping someone or the carpet getting torn.  They were thorough and charged a reasonable price.  
  • While they were working, we kept the kids outside.  This wasn't too hard even though the kids were filthy and tired.  Robby and the boys played football.  Reagan played frisbee and swang. Campbell and Keaton swang, played with Whitman and played on the treehouse.  Whitman did some of it all but his favorite spot today was sitting in the dirt pile.  That child dug, played with car, poured sand, threw sand, put sand in his hair and was a big sandy mess when we finally went in for showers.  
  • We showered everyone off, had hot dogs and then put the kids to work straightening the house.  It didn't take too long for the house to be neat and the kids started playing upstairs. Their toy room was just perfectly clean but was trashed again by bedtime-oh, well they enjoyed playing.  
  • Whitman was the first to go to bed while the others had a snack and then it was time for Bible story time and bedtime!  I think they were all pretty tired tonight.

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