The Death of Pumpkin Patch Magic

We had done the tractor ride, the hay maze, the giant slide, the pony ride, watched the dog race, and pet all the stinky farm animals.  The baby was starting to fuss and Roy was ready to take her home for a nap.  But I refused to leave without a pumpkin.  Would Camden have noticed?  Eh, we could have swung by the grocery store later and grabbed one and his little heart would still be intact.  

But when it comes to traditions I can get kind of crazy.  I wasn't leaving that farm without visiting the pumpkin patch.

Roy took Hallie to the car and I told him that Camden and I would take the hay ride out to the pumpkin patch, grab a pumpkin, and meet him back at the car stat.  All was going according to plan, other than the fact that most of the pumpkins were scrawny or squashed.  Camden and I were the only people in our section of the pumpkin patch when a truck pulled up.  

The truck was pulling a huge open trailer loaded with those big cardboard containers of pumpkins that you see at the grocery store.  Exactly like at the grocery store.  About eight men jumped out of the trailer and started strategically placing big, plump pumpkins from the trailer out into the field!

Hence my title.  Picking a pumpkin from our pumpkin patch here is a LIE!

Okay, I'm done being dramatic.  We still had an awesome time and we will be going back next year too.  This was our second time going with the Bowens--a fun tradition.

Camden was so excited about everything.  He ran from each thing to the next on his tiptoes with his gigantic grin on his face.

Hallie was happy to watch.

Meanwhile, Hallie took a nap in her stroller.  Clutching an umbrella bag.

And since there simply weren't enough pictures of this sweet girl in this post...

The Very First 1st Day of School

At this point preschool has settled itself into our normal.  But back when I took these pictures {arg, I'm so slow to catch up!} I was a mess of nerves.  Letting my baby go have experiences without me on a regular basis???  It seemed big.  This huge monumental step for both Camden and for me too!  

Roy honestly thought the whole preschool thing was unnecessary, so when I also busted out a bunch of new "Beginning of School" traditions he was... well he puts up with me because he loves me.

So the day before school began we had a New School Year's Eve dinner where we talked about what school was going to be like, but we also talked about our family theme for the school year.  It miiiight sound familiar to anyone who isn't living under a rock these days, but I absolutely love it.  

Have Courage and Be Kind.

What better phrase to engrain into the head and heart of a three-year-old boy?  Have courage.  Stand up for what is right and for others who need help.  Be kind.  Look for ways to make other people happy, despite whatever differences.  This motto has been floating around our house for a while now, but it's officially framed.

After the dinner we recorded an interview with Camden, which I hope to do every year.  It will be fun to see how his answers change.  When I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up he said, "A Daddy."  Heart melted.  He loves his daddy so much.  {And cookies, and his "Lego Man".}

The next morning we took the obligatory first day of school photos.  Who am I kidding, I've been looking forward to taking these pictures for years.  I just love the new haircuts, the backpacks, the everything.  

Granted, I went a little nuts-o on the hair gel and the backpack isn't actually allowed at preschool, but I'll cherish these pictures forever!!!  Just look at that out-of-his-mind-excited smile.

Every time I picked Camden up from preschool I asked what was his favorite part of the day.  100% of the time he answered "SNACK!"  So I changed the question.  Now I ask, "What did you do at preschool today?" and he answers, "I had animal crackers."

Typical Camden.


He also likes when the teachers read them books, loves learning silly songs, and is excited to bring home his letters to practice tracing.  But the best of the best is being the snack helper.  I love my big preschool boy!

Summer's Last Post

It still feels like summer down here in Arizona, but it's time for me to buckle down and accept that we are in the middle of autumn.  The only way I'm going to be able to catch up on the rest of our summer {and early fall} is if I do a huge photo dump right here right now.  It's gonna be a bit messy, people, fasten your seat belts.

Or your hammock belts.  Obviously I'm not sponsored or anything, but I'm sharing this shopping hammock with the world because it's a game-changer.  I hated taking Camden to the store when he was an infant.  I wish I'd had this thing.  Hallie never makes a peep in this hammock because she can really see everything and everyone around her.  She's entertained, comfortable, and happy.  We love it.

So here's the website, you're welcome:  It's the best.  But I have to warn you, it will make all of your shopping trips longer because every person on the planet will stop you to ask about it.  {Especially if your baby is adorable.}

On to the good stuff.  I woke up on my 28th birthday to this festive little setup by Roy.  My man made me feel special all day long, starting with cupcakes for breakfast!

While he was at work Camden and I played "balloon soccer" and went to lunch with a bunch of our friends.  That night Roy got a babysitter for Cam and took us girlies out for dinner at an interesting Mexican/Chinese/Italian place where we got to sit outside under a lit tree beside a babbling creek.  Best jalepeƱo macaroni and cheese I've ever had.  Even though the birthday hype isn't the same as an adult, I still love everything about it.  But you know me, I'll take any excuse to turn an ordinary day into a party.

As the days slowly began to get shorter, Camden and I started up our pajama walks again.  He loves having a flashlight in his hands, and I love the one-on-one time with him.  (No filter on that Arizona sky.)

I also soaked up all available one-on-one time with Hallie.

Most of the summer was spent exploring activities that were fun for Camden but not too much for Hallie.  We bought board games for the first time, got super into Play-Doh, and I tried to convince Cam that coloring is fun but... he's still not buying it.  However, we did discover that we love building forts and crawling around in them for a few days.

To Cam's dismay, we made it to our community pool only twice over the summer.  That was just all I felt I could handle with Hallie being this young.  So when Mom and Dad were in Phoenix and invited us to swim at their hotel pool, we were very excited.  Not just for the pool, either.  It was great to see Grammy, Papa, and Mason, who runs around non-stop with our energetic little boy.

Sweet Girl and I decided to take a little snooze poolside while everyone else splashed around.  No complaints here!

Just before school started Camden mastered the spelling of his name.  His last name is gonna take a little more time, I think.

But I had to document his first written letter ever.  We have letters taped up on our fridge that he traces with his finger whenever he wants to.  Then one day he peeled one off, flipped over the card and asked for a pencil.  He drew that M on the right all by himself.  When he was frustrated that it didn't look like the M on the other side of the card I made him a little dot-to-dot M to trace.  Still he wasn't satisfied.  I think this is why he doesn't like coloring.

I'll look at his scrawlings and say, "Oh, what's that?" and he'll say, "It's nothing.  It's just a scribble."  Or when I say, "Draw whatever you want," he will say, "I don't know how to draw anything."  Such a logical thinker.

One of the first weeks of preschool they had a "Father's Night" where the kids put on a program and did a craft with their dads.  Camden was sooo excited and both had a fun time.  I love that we are starting these cute things!

Meanwhile, Hallie is being adorable...

They're both pretty adorable, I don't know how I got so lucky with this little fam.

{Do you spy Camden refusing to be in the picture?}

Hallie's favorite things to do are to see new faces and go for walks.  Camden still likes riding his bike but sometimes he pulls his wagon so he can collect pinecones, leaves, bugs, and cool rocks.

In October we had our true last summer hurrah when we went to Rocky Point with some friends.  At first Camden was very timid about the water, which I thought was strange since he had loved the water at Lake Powell.  I sat down with him and asked him what was up.  He told me he was worried that a big wave would come and pull him to the bottom of the ocean.  {Thank you Disney movies.}

Once I explained to him that the waves on this beach would stay teeny tiny and that his daddy and I were watching him, he loosened up and had a great time.  It's a great place to get away, forget about your phone, and be together.

Somehow Hallie snuck her little hand off of the towel and sampled a fistful of sand.  Document first, clean up after, like a good mom.  That smile, tho!

So funny, but this is the best family picture we were able to manage, haha!  The summer really did go by in a flash, and then suddenly Halloween was over... oh geez I need to catch up on Halloween now!  But you know what, I hope it doesn't slow down anytime soon.  Love these people who keep me busy.

Hallie's Nursery

When we moved into our house we wanted a guest room, but we didn't want the kids to share a bedroom at this point.  The solution: make our giant master closet Hallie's bedroom.

In a lot of ways it made sense.  For almost four months she slept in there, where it was dark and quiet- removed from the noise of the house, and close to me so it was easy to get her and bring her in bed with me in the middle of the night.

But in the end it just wasn't worth not having unicorns.

I'm glad we moved her out of the closet.  It's worth each and every extra step across the house in the middle of the night to have this many shades of pink in our lives.

When Camden saw me taking pictures around the room he insisted on helping.  Thought I'd share this budding talent.

{Ignore me laying on the ground in my robe in the background.  Slow morning.  Beautiful baby.}

Behold... a curtain.

This smiling sweetheart is actually five months now.  I am keeping up on her pictures, but not posting them just yet.  Hallie is in the 60th percentile for weight and the 82nd percentile for height.  She enjoys playing with her toes, splashing in the tub, and loves it when someone is singing to her.  She doesn't care that neither of her parents can carry a tune, she thinks we are amazing.

She's so wiggly that taking these pictures is already a struggle.  This girl doesn't like staying in one place.  Her favorite place to be is outside, and her favorite thing to do is smile at new faces.  Still, her favorite person is her big brother.  Camden is quick to console her with his high-pitched voice reserved especially for her, and plays peek-a-boo with her on the daily.  She likes to be surprised, which Camden takes to extremes sometimes, but she always laughs.

Hallie is sitting up for short periods of time and prefers it to being on her back.  Of course everything goes straight into her mouth, be it a toy or a nose.  Beware, cuz she's got a really strong bite!  It kills me the way she wrinkles her nose when she smiles and the way she sticks one finger into the corner of her mouth.

How did we ever survive without this girl?

Guests will have to put up with sleeping in the living room, Hallie loves her nursery.