Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wal-Mart Really Sucks Monkey Butts

The kids and I had a super-adventurous visit with my parents recently. Kissing lions in the park was only the beginning.

Elsbeth has decided that animals in any form are fabulous and was particularly delighted with this lion sculpture at Brook Green Gardens in Myrtle Beach. He didn't know quite what to make of her.

Andrew decided pig riding was more his speed. Interestingly, this pig was in the children's garden, and after several minutes of letting the children climb all over him we noticed a sign that said he wasn't supposed to be touched. Come now. You're going to put a giant, affable-looking bronze pig in the middle of the children's garden, right at the children's level, and you don't want him touched?

While I'm on the subject, I'll go ahead and confess to you that I continued to let the children climb on that snooty pig even after I read the sign because I thought it was stupid. Not being one that brazenly disregards rules (in public) on a regular basis, I felt a little self-conscious, but my disdain for the moronic Garden Rule-Makers far outweighed my goodie-two-shoesidness. Then, a little farther into the children's garden there was a whole line of giant bronze turtles that had no sign, so I was able to enjoy watching Andrew and Elsbeth play on them with no pangs of conscience. That is until a mom came walking up the trail with her kids and, spying mine, said (loud enough for me to hear ... obviously), "You guys are not allowed to do what those kids are doing." Even now I kind of hate her guts.

Our beautiful and rebellious day at the gardens turned out to be only a very mild adventure indeed. The real madness came about on Sunday when my dad decided to take me on my very first (and only!) kayaking trip. A beginners trip, perhaps and hour or so long on Lynches river just to give me some quiet daddy/daughter time away from the little ones. Here we are, happy and dry and not bleeding, ready to scoot off to the river for some peace and relaxation ....

... and here we are about 6 hours later, wet and chilled to the bone and bleeding and barefoot and so exhausted we could barely stand.

It would take pages for me to describe the insanity of this little venture. Suffice it to say that low water levels, lots of fallen trees, totally bizarro quicksand-like clay bogs and kayaking don't mix as well as one would think. There was lots of capsizing and hauling of kayaks and frantic digging of legs out of muck and swimming in cold, alligator and snake infested river water. But it turns out facing death and giant hairy spiders with someone is quite the bonding experience. I'll never forget our trip together, Dad! I'm so grateful for you (and that you didn't sink to your death in the bog).

Once back in Atlanta, our little foursome had a cleaner, more subdued adventure at one of our favorite little spots, Southern Belle Farm. Such a perfect place to enjoy the fall season! I've decided that a family photo of us on the hay ride needs to be an annual tradition.

Hayride 2010

Hayride 2009
We also watched a pig race, walked through the corn maze, rode the cow train, slid down a giant slide, chased goats and ate delicious, very festive food. Elsbeth snarfed my corn dog and I let her, which shows you the depth of a mother's love for her child. Anyone else would have drawn back a bloody nub

We also chose a fabulous pumpkin which we promptly carved into a jolly jack-o-lantern who is now standing guard by our front door.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Corn Is Like An Angel

The kiddos and I made at trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens this week for the first time. It was so lovely! A fabulous way to enjoy a glorious fall day. (Eowyn, I thought of you - you must come! You would love it!) I am so grateful to Gillian, not only that she shared a "buy one, get one free" admissions coupon, but that she took the above picture that, should I get hit by a bus, will stand as one of the the few pieces of photographic evidence that I do, in fact, exist.

I've been very into outdoorsy-ness lately and got this great idea to work on a flower bed with my Nibblet and the Precious. Things like this often end up being so perfectly charming in my mind and a little more exhausting in real life. After a bazilliondy trips to the Wal-Mart Lawn and Garden Center (sometimes with my wallet, sometimes without) and repeatedly explaining to Nib that pulling the freshly planted snapdragons back out of the ground isn't all that helpful ... also dirt dumped down the front of my shirt and discovering the planting spot was full of red clay and being bitten in payment for thwarting Nib's attempts to walk on the flowers ... I decided half a flower bed is pretty good, too. Throw in a couple of potted plants and call it a day!

A happy, togetherness moment before the biting and red clay discovery.

Not done with our outdoorsy adventures, we made a trip to the Yellow River Game Ranch with a couple of friends from our new church. All kinds of wild animals to observe very closely, if not feed from your hand - it was so fun. And right down the road - I had no idea! Below you see Andrew feeding a peanut to a very bold squirrel ... a favorite moment.

Andrew and I have been reading Charlotte's Web together in anticipation of seeing the story performed at the Atlanta Center of Puppetry Arts next week (another really neat place we will be visiting for the first time). Between that and Halloween coming up, we decided to make spiders out of egg cartons and pipe cleaners and spider webs out of cooked spaghetti noodles. I feel like this is some sort of parenting milestone, doing a egg carton and pipe cleaner project. I love the idea of arts and crafts projects but rarely come up with anything beyond crayons and watercolors. Now, thanks to Google, I have cutesy spiders and webs hanging all over the kitchen. Now if I can do a craft involving dry beans, pine cones and felt, I will have arrived.

And finally ... drum roll please ... Andrew has grown tall enough to ride the Big Wheel he got from Nannie and Papa for his birthday! He just loves it and many a beautiful afternoon will find me walking the trail near our house with Elsbeth in the jogger and Andrew in front, riding his awesome bike.