Monday, October 31, 2011

A Little on the Soggy Side

 I'm glad we stretched Halloween into a 4 day event because the real deal was a little damp. Today's forecast called for rain, rain and more rain. Someone at Andy's preschool took this clever picture of him marching in the 'parade' on Friday morning. I just love it and had to share.
 We convinced Eli to try on his costume a few times so that he might actually wear it tonight. He is just about the cutest Mr. Fix It I have ever seen!
Well, 66% of my little posse was ready and raring to go. Poor Finn McMissile. We went to the indoor bouncy place this morning to pass some time and he started looking pretty pathetic. He could barely put on his costume and he collected candy from about 5 houses before he was begging to go home. Luke and Eli, on the other hand, had a grand old time and came home with a load of goodies. Eli came in the door, pulled out a butterfinger, opened it and took a bite. He doesn't miss a thing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Costumes and Rides and Ice Cream, oh my!

 We kicked off our weekend with a dress rehearsal for Halloween. Actually the mail man delivered the costumes so we simply had to try them on. I have a partially dressed construction worker, Finn McMissile and Commander Cody this year. The youngest wasn't sure what to make of all of this but he doesn't mind posing for a picture.
 We threw caution to the wind on Saturday afternoon and went to the fair...along with 9,467,233 of our closest friends. OH, THE PEOPLE. Crowds and crowds as far as the eye could see. And they were not happy with me and my jogging stroller that kept squashing their toes and nipping at their ankles. However, we threw elbows and arm wrestled our way to the kiddie rides. Luke and Andy loved the roller coaster.
 We walked and walked in search of the game that involves shooting bb guns at star shaped targets. Luke is apparently quite proud of his results.
 We were just about out of steam and headed for the exit when we spotted another favorite: the giant slide. They went back again and again. The look on Andy's face makes the hassle and inconvenience of a long line absolutely worth it.
 We had high hopes for the ferris wheel as our grand finale but settled for the carousel instead. Andy had the women next to me laughing hysterically as he entertained us with his crazy antics. Each time he went around he dazzled us with a funny face or amusing gesture. What a ham.
Face paint and a giant ice cream cone. Who could ask for anything more, right? This ice cream was, for the record, the most disgusting thing I have tasted in a long while. I didn't protest for a second when he tossed in the trash. As the sun was setting we slogged our way back to the car, drove home and tucked 3 exhausted little boys into bed. So long, state fair. I'm not sure we'll miss you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Little Mister Hits the Pumpkin Patch

 It's a big day in the life of the third child: Eli's first trip to the pumpkin patch without a sibling OR a stroller. That's right: he hit the patch completely unrestrained for the first time in his short life. He clung to my leg in trepidation at first and I was a bit discouraged. I figured out he's afraid of the motor that keeps the bouncy house inflated. So we hung out with our buddies at the duck race. My friend stood at 1 end and pumped the water so the ducks would race toward Eli. He was so excited, yelling and shaking with delight.
 Next we took a hay ride out to the actual pumpkin patch and got to choose our very own pumpkin. Eli is quite pleased with his selection.
 Holding it close with great pride, just so everyone knows that this is his pumpkin. He is such a hoot. He didn't have much to say about the actual ride. We also rode the cow cars, which looks like barrels tipped sideways on wheels and painted like cows. The whole chain of cars is pulled by a tractor. I rode in a barrel and held on to Eli. He was speechless the whole time until we went down a small hill and I heard one very quiet little, "weee!"
 We strolled through the corn maze. He followed after his little friends, very curious to see where the path might lead.
Not the least bit interested in hanging out with John Deere. Just as soon as I plopped him in the seat, he tried to get down. He kept heading for the gate, I suppose he had seen and heard enough for one morning. It is a lot to take in when you are used to seeing it from the safety of a stroller. Proud of you, little mister! We sure had fun.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Bee Sees the World

Steve just returned from 2 weeks in China.
Here he is riding a bike along the city wall in Xi'An, a city of great historical significance. 
Steve attempting to mimic the exhibit behind him.
Steve, 2 other men and 7 women from his HR team left Beijing and rode on a train for 12 hours through the night to see the city of Xi'An. In America, I suppose we would call this a team-building exercise? I still can't imagine inviting 10 colleagues from another country to visit the states and then whisking them away to Manhattan or DC to see the sights. We hoped and prayed for a job that would give Steve the much-coveted global HR experience. Be careful what you pray for , right? I am so proud of Steve for bravely embarking on this adventure as the only American in the group. I think I just might have flipped out. 
A big highlight of the trip to Xi'An was the Terracotta Warriors. Basically in 600 AD this chinese emperor convinces that he needs an army to protect him in the afterlife.  So he commissions 700,000 people to build this elaborate tomb with about 1000 statues of warriors.  Buries the whole shebang 15 feet underground.  In 1974 this peasant farmer is digging for water in his pasture.  His shovel hits the head of one of the figures.  Then from there they go on to find acres and acres of these things.
This totally blows my mind. Not only the attention to detail and the massive number of warriors, but also the fact that 700,000 people would devote themselves to a task for one man's protection in the after life that from my perspective won't be anything like what he anticipated. 
A view of the city from a pagoda

Although it was challenging for the boys and I to be without Steve  for 2 weeks, I think the trip stretched all of us and helped us gain a little more confidence in ourselves. We had a great visit with Steve's parents and his mother spent a whole week with us, getting to know her grandsons and helping me hold everything together. Steve was able to see another part of China: not just in terms of a geographical location but also the history, cultural and social expectations that drive the people of this huge nation. We were well cared-for here at home by new friends and new neighbors that we didn't know the last time Steve traveled. I wouldn't sign us up for regular international travel at this point, but I would call this latest adventure a success.