Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carving Pumpkins

What do we do every year on the Monday before Halloween? Carve pumpkins of course!

Jim gets to help Gavin. Gavin wanted a "cat" pumpkin and luckily Jim had the ability to make one. Liam on the other hand, has my lack of artistic ability so both of our pumpkins are "traditional", at least that is what we are calling them.

Getting them set on the porch.

Finished products.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trevan's Annual Birthday at the Pumpkin Patch

Again this year we got to go to the pumpkin patch for my nephews birthday party.
It's fun hanging with the family!!

Gavin had more fun this year.

Nice shot from inside the slide.
Asher obviously thinks I'm crazy and doesn't love my picture taking.

I love Trey's cute hat!

Cute tractor swings!
Liam trying to pet the little horses.

Gavin found a "corn flag" during the corn maze.

And, we took a crazy hayride out to the pumpkin patch where we were let off to pick out pumpkins. We thought they were waiting for us so he hurried to grab pumpkins. We turned around and our ride had LEFT! We waited with all the kids (lots from Trev's party) in the dark until it came back. Then we got to take the very bumpy ride back. Liam found the perfect looking pumpkin! I seriously love Halloween!

Asher and Gavin were too short to reach the pedals so Gavin gave Asher a push. Cute boys!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vineyard Pumpkinland/Fall Break

It's fall break and we had nothing to do. Luckily my sister Andrea and her baby invited us to go to the pumpkin patch.

Gavin found a new furry friend and just LOVED to touch its cage (gross!).

Vineyard is a cheap way to get out of the house. A lot of little activities.

Gavin and baby horse having a seat.

Andrea, Trey, and Liam checking out some pumpkins.

Why this was Gavin's favorite spot, I'm not sure.

Liam is SUPER excited to be here and taking pictures.

Both of my kids are just too excited!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Much Competition Is Too Much Competition?

This year Liam is playing on a coed recreation soccer team. It's been such a good experience. Last year he was on a competition league team and it was...not so fun. The coach was yelling at him to do things that Liam had no idea about. The coach was yelling/swearing at the refs. He was rarely played, partly because he joined a team that was already together and he was just a "sub". He didn't even know why we was having to go. Anyway, he had decided to drop soccer until his friend called to say they were joining a coed rec team. Liam was interested and signed up.
What a difference experience! This coach is so encouraging, the team members are encouraging. There are 17 year old boys on the team that have been in AAA leagues and are refs and incredible players there with girls that have no idea what they are doing. They help each other and nobody kills you if you miss a shot. It's actually FUN!
I had a conversation with a couple of friends about soccer. They were talking about their kids on competition teams and how they were screaming at the other team players and playing to the death. I told them about the league Liam is on and they were almost irritated at the idea. Why on earth would you play for fun and not to WIN? They almost seemed offended that score isn't recorded and placement isn't taken, like it's a waste of time.
So, I started to think about what I am teaching my kids with sports. Do I need to teach them to be more competitive? I realize there are times in life that it helps to have that attitude - selling yourself in an interview, getting ahead in school. But, learning to be sportsman like and having fun is good too. Do we really need to push them so hard in everything? Do we push them to do something to the point of making it not fun anymore? Do we encourage them to step on (or throw to the ground, literally) others to get ahead? Hmmm.....
For us, I think I like our new league. I like being nice. I like having fun. I like being able to have Liam play a lot and feel good about his contribution. I like building confidence without needing to crush others. I don't know. I guess it's just a sport. It's not life. But, to some screaming parents on the sidelines, you would think it's all that matters in the world.
Here is his fun little team.

Yep, they even let Liam try out being goalie (he's there with the yellow goalie shirt). Let's just say that the bigger and taller the player is, the better chance they have of covering that big goal. At least nobody got on him for missing a block.

Canning, Canning, Canning!

This year our garden really did well! We had watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries, green beans, green & red peppers, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, pears, peaches, apples, apricots, grapes! It was crazy and it's still producing. We had to do something with it, so I started canning more than usual.

We have SO many tomatoes! The bushes just grew together and completely overtook their cages. I can hardly get in there to pick them.

Here is my very first batch from the vine. I love home-bottle tomatoes so much more than canned in the store. It takes time, but it's worth it.

So, my first batch didn't produce many bottles but that's OK.
I ended up doing a few kinds of jam, grape juice, tomato soup, canned peaches, and many bottles of diced tomatoes. I still have green ones on the vine waiting to be picked. I better hurry because it's getting cold out there.

Gavin's Trip to Jr High

OK, I love the CTE class!! Liam is now better at sewing than I am. The funny thing is that he really likes this class. They have learned to do laundry (and he did our laundry, thank you), sew, cook, take care of kids. It's great! He had to put together a child activity folder and they each had to bring a 3 or 4 year old to class one day. He was able to take Gavin. He said Gavin was the best behaved! What? You don't believe me?? It's true, he was good. He doesn't like to participate in groups so he sat quietly. Oh well. Gavin had a lot of fun.

Liam Starts Jr. High!! I can't be that old.

Well, at least the school picture turned out nicely. Too bad the background colors don't match the outfit. I remember hating my jr high pictures. I guess we all do.

This is Liam heading out for his first day. It was actually a little cold. He walks with a couple of friends since we are only a few blocks from the school.
It was a little weird for me going into that school since I went there as a 7th grader. He even has one teacher that I had!
So far things seem to be going pretty smoothly. It's a whole new thing needing to be organized and on top of things yourself. Hopefully it will be a good year.