Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

We gathered up our 3 Things a couple weekends ago and headed south to the ever-popular Mountain Orchards to pick and gather ourselves some juicy, sweet apples.

We made the trip with our friends (who also happen to be our neighbours . . . how cool is that?) and we all had a fabulous time. It ended up being pretty darn hot (at least 25 degrees for sure) and we all broke a sweat trudging through the fields and climbing up trees in search of the perfect red one.

Take a peek at the 3 Things reaching new heights. The shot was so perfect I did have to let go of the ladder in order to take a picture. No Thing was harmed in the taking of this photo.

Thing 3 had a very bad habit of taking one bite and then throwing the rest of the apple in the bag. She's kinda too cute to stay angry with for long.

Thing 2 proved to be an expert apple-picker for a very inexperienced three-year-old. He picked out the very smoothest, reddest, most blemish-free apples . . . and then ate them.

Thing 1 came pretty close to the earth's atmosphere when six foot many inches D.J. lifted him up in a tree.

Yes, I have concluded that a day at the apple orchard on a beautifully gorgeous sunny Sunday, with lovely friends, and wide open spaces through which your children can run wild - and wait - did I mention the trees??? Trees for them to climb every way you turned your head. Yes, this was definitely a fantastic way to spend a day.

Mountain Orchards is famous for their apple cider donuts. So famous that at least a dozen people randomly spoke to me about them. And, since there is no moss growing one me, I did indeed wait over 30 minutes in this painfully long line for a taste of the greasy apple goodness.

They were so delicious, in fact, that I never stopped eating long enough to snap a photo of them.

Are you, too, stuck with dozens of apples coming out your ying-yang? I suggested a list of apple recipes to try on A Crafty Mom Cooks. I've made a few of them and so far the applesauce is by far a family favourite.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Back in the Saddle

While it's been what seems like an eternity since I last blogged, I figure there's really no better way to get back into it than to dive in head first.

And dive in we have.

We are all settling into a very new fall routine. Thing 1 is in Senior Kindergarten this year, while Thing 2 has started his first year of public school and is in Junior Kindergarten. The brothers take the bus together each morning and attend school for half a day, returning home on the bus before lunch time.

Let me clarify. This "half day" connotation is a bit strong in my opinion. My kids get on the bus at 8:00 a.m. (which truly feels like dawn for a family who has not needed to get up and be anywhere at 8:00 a.m. for the past five years) and then come home and make their way down the steps of the big yellow school bus at 11:00 a.m. That is THREE hours . . . not a significantly long time for a busy mom to accomplish any number of items off her to-do list. With an extremely active 20-month-old little girl at her side.

But in all seriousness, it is an unquestionably easier schedule for me to handle than what I had to deal with last year. The boys go to school in the morning, I have some alone time with Thing 3 every day, they return home in plenty of time for us to all eat lunch together (and not so rushed each day, like it was last year), and we all have some down time in the afternoon while Thing 3 takes her nap. As she is a bit older now, she is flexible enough to nap a bit later in the day, so it's even possible for me to take the kids out for a couple hours after school before she needs to rest.

The boys seem to be doing very well - I couldn't ask for a better beginning to the school year. I was nervous with Thing 2 starting school so young - he is only three years old and does not turn four until later in October - but he has exceeded all my expectations and is adjusting to his new routine like a true champion.

That's not to say that we aren't tired. The boys are EXHAUSTED by the end of the day and after nearly a month of school are still not entirely used to getting up so early. I am continually nudging bedtime back a bit more each night, and they are out cold like wet noodles the minute I turn the light off in their room.

And after spewing on about my beliefs on the importance of not over-scheduling young children in extra-curricular activities, it seems as if the boys are this fall enrolled in swimming lessons on Monday nights and Thing 1 has started Beavers on Wednesdays. Am I hypocrite? Yeah, maybe. But so far, so good, and I have to admit to liking having a couple evening activities that really help pass the time a little faster as the colder weather approaches and the evenings get shorter and darker.

So, I introduce to you after a long summer hiatus, Thing 1 and Thing 2, on the first day of school on their way to the bus stop.

The perfect "first day of school" shot was interrupted by the Things complaining that the sun was in their eyes.

As things have worked out, we tend to walk to the bus stop as a family of five because Daddy catches his bus downtown at the exact same time that the school bus comes.

I'm sure this will get pretty old, pretty fast when the snow hits in January, but for now we quite enjoy our little morning excursions.

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