Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Pumpkin Day? Whatever!

How many times have you said “Happy Pumpkin Day!” to someone? Probably never, right? That’s because the holiday is not Pumpkin Day, it’s HALLOWEEN!

At least that’s what it is to 99.5% of Americans. But because it might offend the 0.5% of the population that doesn’t like Halloween, the schools are now having Pumpkin Day.

Leave it to our public schools to suck the fun out of yet another holiday. No costumes, no games, no party…at least not in the traditional sense.

Yesterday Molly’s class celebrated Pumpkin Day. This is what the party consisted of:

First, the kids sat on the carpet and got instructions for their Pumpkin Day tasks. Note the lack of costumes. Next year they will probably ban Halloween tee shirts and anything orange and black.IMG_6800

Next, the kids broke up into groups to work on their Pumpkin Fact Book. Just look at the joy and excitement on Molly’s face. “Oh boy, instead of playing games,eating candy and having a Halloween costume parade, I get to weigh and measure a pumpkin!”IMG_6802

The highlight of the pumpkin exploration was carving the pumpkin.IMG_6804

Even this couldn’t be too joyful because they couldn’t just scoop out pumpkin slime and carve……IMG_6808

Nope. Instead the kids had to count out pumpkin seeds into group of ten to represent 100. Yipee!IMG_6810

My friend Suzanne (Max’s mom) was in charge of planning the party. Bless her soul. She has so many fun things planned until she talked with the school and got the official script which explained exactly how the party would be run. Step by step. No deviation.

There really wasn’t anything for her to plan. She basically had to coordinate volunteers to implement to official school version of Pumpkin Day. I commend her for doing a great job with the task she was given.IMG_6812

Here are the kids in our group with their carved jack-o-lantern.IMG_6814

Molly’s good buddy Allison and her Mom.IMG_6815

At the end of Pumpkin Day, each kid got some cheese and a cupcake. It was the only thing that we did all day that even remotely resembled a party, in my opinion. IMG_6816

Please don’t misunderstand. Everything that the kids did during Pumpkin Day was worthwhile. It was a very good learning experience which made kids think, explore and investigate. I have no problem with that.

But make no mistake. It.Was.Not.A.Party. And it should never replace one of the things that makes a kid’s childhood memorable. I say bring back the costumes! Bring back the games! Bring back the Halloween Parade! Bring back the joy of being a kid!

Stay tuned for the Great Big Halloween post where Molly WILL be wearing a costume, she WILL eating more sugar than she is usually allowed, she WILL be giddy with excitement, and she WILL be celebrating the holiday as it was meant to be celebrated.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Max and Molly

Max and Molly get together to play a lot. Max only lives about a half a block away, so it’s pretty easy to arrange. But it’s more than just convenient. They love playing together.

In many ways Molly would rather hang with the boys. Don’t get me wrong, she is still my girly-girl. Has to be in a dress. Has to have the hair fixed just so. Hair pretties and shoes must coordinate with the outfit. 

But she loves to play like a boy. Loves to chase. Loves to race. Loves to tumble. Loves to climb.

It’s always interesting to see her in a mixed group of kids. Most of the time she will still align herself with the girls, but I see her looking longingly at the boys, jealous of them chasing and yelling while the girls are acting more refined.

But I digress, once again….

So anyway, Max’s mom and I  provide lots of opportunities for them to play with each other. Which also gives us lots of opportunities to be with another adult having conversations about, well, our kids.

A couple of days ago Max came over to play and they asked me to take pictures. Who am I to refuse!

Max and Molly playing with play dough.IMG_6785


Molly wanted her picture taken with some of her creations…IMG_6786

So of course, Max wanted one with his!IMG_6787

Play dough lasted a little while but soon, the kids were running around the house chasing and screaming. We decided that it was time to head outside.

They screamed and chased each other for a while, then decided to build a nest out of pine needles. Yes, those stupid pine needles that need to be raked. Again. Lame evergreens, that don’t stay green.

How cute are they sitting in their nest?IMG_6788IMG_6790

Of course Molly wanted a picture alone in the nest.IMG_6791

Which prompted Max to ask for a picture alone in the nest.IMG_6793

Eventually, it was time for Max to go. Of course the kids realized if they begged for more pictures it would lengthen their time together so that's what they did. And they made themselves look so darn cute that their evil plan worked. IMG_6794At least for a while.

Finally, Max did return home. Both kids moped, said their sad goodbyes….and then saw each other 20 minutes later at the bus stop!

Silly kids.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Allison

When Molly got off of the bus on the very first day of school she told me that she had made two new friends on the ride home. One was named Max and one was named Allison.

I figured that she would make “friends” with a lot of different kids before any of them really stuck. Well, you know what? Max, Allison and Molly have become The Three Amigos. They love each other!

When Allison turned six, her mom asked who she would like to invite to her party (this was a family party with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). Her answer: Max and Molly. That was it. Out of everyone in her class, she only wanted Max and Molly.

We were honored to attend the sixth birthday party of this little cutie.IMG_4086

The girls.IMG_4082

The boys.IMG_4084

Molly, Max and Allison…best buddies!IMG_4087

Opening presents.IMG_4090IMG_4091IMG_4098

And eating cake.IMG_4100IMG_4101

Playing in the backyard.IMG_4104

Hope you have a great year being six, Allison!

Thanks for including us in your party!

Down on the Farm

Going to the pumpkin farm this year made me just a wee bit melancholy.

You see, we have gone to the same pumpkin patch since Molly was a year old. We rode the same hay ride, petted the same goats, stuck our heads through the same scarecrow cut-outs, ate the same kettle corn, and took a picture by the How Tall This Fall sign.

It’s the How Tall This Fall sign that really got to me. No picture by the How Tall This Fall sign to add to the collection this year. The end of an era—okay it was a very short era—but it’s still the end.

I had to settle for a picture by the fireplace instead. Just not the same. Boo Hoo.IMG_6670

Determined not to wallow in pity, we selected a new farm to visit and headed out with anticipation and enthusiasm. Most of the enthusiasm was displayed by Molly. She’s like that, you know. Makes me wish I was five again.

So we arrive at the farm and step up to an admission booth. Admission booth? Our old farm was FREE. This farm cost $9. Each. Regardless of age. Do the math—that’s $27 just to get in the gate! IMG_6720

Once inside, the farm had some of the same things our old farm had. There were cut-out pictures that we could put our heads through…IMG_6723IMG_6725

…and some fun little things to play on like this barrel swing.IMG_6726

They had this big bouncy bubble thing that was pretty fun. For a five year old.IMG_6730Not so much for a forty-seven year old. But Molly didn’t mind jumping by herself for a bit while I looked for some Dramamine.IMG_6737

Molly got to ride the cow train.IMG_6738IMG_6739

And pose for some more pictures in cut outs.IMG_6742

We found our way through the corn maze. We picked the kid version instead of the adult one. The kid’s maze had alphabet letters to help you get out.IMG_6744Good thing because with my sense of direction, it would have taken us week to find our way out of the bigger one. IMG_6745

We took the hay ride…. IMG_6748IMG_6751IMG_6753IMG_6755

….that got us to the pumpkin patch.IMG_6756For 27 bucks one would think that you would get a free pumpkin or something, right? Nope. Pony up another 8 bucks for a pumpkin.

Still more to do! Molly played at the playground…IMG_6761IMG_6765IMG_6769IMG_6770

And visited the animals.IMG_6772IMG_6779IMG_6781

One final stop at the water pumps. You pump water and make your rubber ducky swim to the end of the trough. Now that’s worth the price of admission right there. (note the sarcasm).IMG_6784

They say the best things in life are free. I’d say they are exactly right, at least when it comes to pumpkin patches. Our old pumpkin patch didn’t cost a penny (well except for the modestly priced pumpkins) and was way more fun. It was more farm and less amusement park. And it had a How Tall This Fall sign.

Oh well, live and learn. Next year we’ll try a different place.

The important thing, I guess, is that Molly did have fun at the new pumpkin farm. And we did come home with a $35 pumpkin. Just saying!