Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Fun

We had some fall fun a few weeks ago with an event each day because of the previous weekend's rain out. I always feel like there are so many fun fall things to do and not enough weekends to do them! On Saturday, we went on our annual apple-picking trip. It is ironic to Kevin and I that we went apple-picking, since we've been cursing the apple trees in our yard for over-producing this year and giving us so much yard work to do! However, our backyard does not have wagon rides, pig races, ice cream store, or a pumpkin-shooting cannon like the Eckert's Family Fun Farm.

Last year, Ainsley was not yet a walker, so she was able this year to pick apples off the tree. However, decaying, bug-infested apples on the ground were also equally enticing choices.
The most exciting part for Ainsley was carrying the bag around. Do not try to touch or help her with the bag. Even if it has gotten so heavy that breakage is imminent.
Reiley has a yearly tradition of sitting in an apple tree. She's very interested in climbing trees (or at least attempting it) right now, so her typical fear of heights was forgotten.
Eating ice cream at the "country store" is always a big hit, typically cited by Reiley as more important that the actual apple-picking. This year's wagon ride and tree-sitting must have very exciting because they were rated as "the favorite thing I did at the apple farm" this year.
On Sunday we made a trip out to the Missouri prairie for "Prairie Day". Reiley was psyched because she loves Little House on the Prairie books, and there were going to have "a REAL covered wagon!!" We had to take the shot that all parents take at the wooden stick-your-face-through-a-hole-and-smile cutouts. Reiley is playing the part of over-worked prairie girl fairly well, and Ainsley as the boy reminded me of all the wooden cut-outs that I made MY little sister look through. "Look, Meg, you can pretend to be the boy!"
The girls played in a house made of sod. I love Ainsley's look of wonderment in this picture. "Could I really live here??? A house made entirely of mud?!" She ran around the house, hitting the walls, saying "Walls - mud on them!"
The girls (Ainsley especially) had a lot of fun petting the sheep. Though Ainsley extrapolated "OK to touch sheep" to also mean "OK to stick fingers in chicken cage", and received a quick snip. She was more shocked than hurt, but Ainsley has been telling us the story since the incident, "The red chicken...bit me...NO chicken!" Prairie Day was much more walking than I had anticipated, and the weather was fairly humid, so we were getting hot, tired, and sticky near the end. This felt AWESOME as a hugely pregnant lady lugging around too-tired toddler. When the girls and I were walking toward the shuttle while Kevin took a bathroom break, I heard a grandma-aged woman say, "Look at that poor pregnant lady, carrying around that baby." Two minutes later, a woman passes me as I'm carrying Ainsley and holding Reiley's hand, and said "Oh my gosh, you seriously have your hands full - do you need help?" Perhaps I'll have to post a separate blog entry about how people feel they have liberty to say anything to a pregnant woman. I was just trying to walk to the freakin' bus, people! Give a tired, sweaty pregnant lady a break!
We took a moment to take a picture near the end because the wildflowers were so pretty - and I don't think I look nearly as pathetic and distraught as the Prairie Day folks believed me to be.
Happy fall to all!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bend It Like Heffern

Soccer season has begun! Reiley is playing soccer for the first time on our parish's co-ed 4-year-old soccer team, and Kevin is one of the coaches. I'm liking it because all of the coaches are focused on the kids learning through small-group, fun exercises, with a few team scrimmages at the end of the season.

The temperature was in the 80s during the first practice, and we wondered how typically heat-resistant Reiley was going to feel about the sweating, and the heavy soccer shinguards and socks.

Reiley was also the second-youngest kid on the team, so you never know what the experience will be like with the "bigger" kids. The team sat in a line on their balls, and counted off into four groups. Reiley was in a group with three boys and one other girl (who turned out to be the one kid younger than Reiley). Reiley had a great time - split between playing with the boys and trying to console the other girl who was clearly not comfortable with the whole team sports thing (as evidenced by a nearly continuous stream of tears). At one point, Kevin was trying to encourage the other girl to join in the "Simon Says" game, and Reiley said, "Dad, it's ok if she doesn't want to do it right now. She'll start when she's ready."

By the end of practice, Reiley was ecstatic.

Reiley: "Dad, I had fun with you and Coach Tim and Coach Mike and Coach Eric, too, but I need a shower when we get home because I'm very sweaty."
Kevin: "You're right, soccer makes you sweaty. Some of the other kids told me they were getting sweaty and thirsty, too."
Reiley: "Yeah, but even though I was thirsty, I didn't say that. I just KEPT PLAYING until the coaches said it was time for a break."

Reiley also said her favorite friend from practice was a girl named Lindsey. Kevin didn't remember a Lindsey playing so he asked Reiley which girl she was. "Dad, do you remember that girl with a blue and yellow flowery dress and flowery sandals? That was Lindsey."

Yep, her best friend was the six-year-old big sister who was watching practice from next to the water bottle bench.