Pumpkin Prowl

27 10 2009

Last Friday, I took Alex to the Pumpkin Prowl at the Woodland Park Zoo. The Pumpkin Prowl is a fundraiser for… actually, I don’t know what it’s a fundraiser for. Does it really matter? Kids parade through the zoo in costumes. Even if they were raising money for Dr. Evil’s Foundation for World Conquest, we’d go anyway. We met one of Alex’s school friends at the zoo. Unfortunately, last Friday was Patrick’s first day of fever, so neither he nor Molly joined us.

We’re lucky we found parking at the zoo. We had just a small hike from one of the west parking lots to the south entrance. On the way, Alex (in his Gymboree lion costume) starts walking next to another little boy with the best homemade robot costume ever. It had lights. Every parent we passed stared in open admiration at the robot and oohed-and-aahed over him. Our cute little lion only got passing attention from the other parents, when they thought the two kids were going to the zoo together as the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. I now know what it feels like to be the plain girl who’s best friends with the homecoming queen.

Tin Man and Cowardly Lion?

Alex and the robot.

I don’t know if it’s because Alex and the robot were about the same size, but the two of them really hit it off on that short walk to the zoo entrance. They talked a lot, walked next to each other the whole way, and even introduced themselves (although I didn’t catch the robot’s name). And then, just like that, they parted ways once they entered the zoo. Didn’t think anything of it. Only preschoolers seem to make and forget friendships so quickly.

There’s an entertainment stage set up near the zoo entrance. That’s where we met Alexa, who was dressed as a pink butterfly. When we met, a young ballet troupe was performing some strange dance routine on stage. (I’ll admit I’m not a dance person, so all dance is “strange.”) They hadn’t attracted much of an audience, but our two preschoolers were fascinated and stared at them until they left the stage.


Alex and Alexa watch the ballet troupe.

With the dance distraction gone, Alex and Alexa set off on their next conquest: Trick or treating. There were about a dozen trick-or-treat stands set up around the zoo, each sponsored by a different local business. Both kids mastered an enthusiastic “Trick or treat!” battle cry before swooping in to seize candy. Surprisingly, I didn’t have a hard time convincing Alex that he couldn’t eat all of the candy that night. He seemed happy just collecting it into his bag.

During the Pumpkin Prowl, most of the zoo grounds are closed. They keep everyone moving along a pumpkin-lined loop that leads from the south entrance to the Zoomazium and then back again. And for the Pumpkin Prowl, the Zoomazium gets transformed to the Boomazium, a small and not-very-scary haunted house. (Very appropriate for a preschool audience.) The most challenging part of the whole trip was convincing two three-year-olds to wait in line for the Boomazium. They couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just stroll past everybody and go right in.

Before the Haunted House

Waiting to get into the Boomazium.

All in all, it was a successful trip. Even days later, Alex was still talking about it. Hopefully we can get Patrick out to it next year!

A Fearsome Roar

Even fearsome, roaring lions need blankies.

Flourescent Flamingos

Spooky flamingos at the Woodland Park Zoo’s Pumpkin Prowl.

In Constant Motion

26 10 2009

Trying to photograph a three year old boy is like trying to freeze a candle’s flicker.

In Constant Motion

Alex is constant motion when he’s awake. So it was really strange when he told us tonight, “I don’t want to eat dinner. I just want to go to sleep.” While we convinced him to eat a piece of celery, he was in his bed, quiet, by 6:30. The trend over the past few weeks has been to use every trick in his book to stay up later. (“I want a drink of water.” “I’m scared of the dark.” “What if a wolf comes in my room?”) Maybe the poor kid’s finally giving in to exhaustion, or maybe he’s starting to get sick. Patrick’s had a fever on and off since Friday, so I fear it’s the latter. Although nobody’s slept well in the house since Friday, so maybe we’re lucky and he’s tired, just like his parents. Whatever the reason, I’m going to take advantage of both kids going to bed early to catch up on sleep myself. In bed by 9:00 – joy! (This is what my life has become.)

The Spark’s Still There

21 10 2009

Both Molly & I forgot it was our anniversary.

Parent of the Year Award

21 10 2009

Pigtails, originally uploaded by B.K. Dewey.

Why, yes, that *is* Alex in pigtails drinking wine from a shot glass. Why do you ask?

The Boys, Together

20 10 2009

My mom pointed out that I don’t have many pictures of the two kids together. I’ve tried recently to fix that, but it turns out to be surprisingly hard. Take these two photos.

At the weekend birthday party, I tried to get a picture of the boys together in their costumes. However, no amount of pleading or bribing could get Alex to stay still next to his brother, even for five seconds. I captured this fleeting moment that Alex deigned to give his brother a hug. He was off like a feline rocket two heartbeats later. (In preschool this week, Alex learned that lions are carnivores and they bite other animals in the neck. I suppose this brotherly encounter could have turned out a lot worse!)

Brotherly Hugs

Here, I’m killing some time at our neighborhood playground while Molly cooks dinner. Two things let me get this picture. First, you can’t see it, but Patrick and Alex are standing on a platform that’s about six inches off the ground. Patrick’s learned that he can’t reliably step down, so this kept him in one spot long enough for a picture. The second trick here: There was another mom at the playground who took pity on me. It was probably quite a pathetic sight to watch me wrangle the two boys to be even somewhat close to each other and sort of looking in the same direction. So, she stood behind me and kept up a stream of funny banter. That kept the kids looking near the camera. At that point, near the camera was good enough for me!

The Boys Together

Party Weekend

20 10 2009

Saturday, one of Alex’s classmates had a big party for his third birthday. The family rented a room at Magnuson park where the kids could safely gorge themselves on candy and run around until the sugar high crashed. Because Halloween’s nearby, they encouraged costumes. So here’s your sneak peek at the costumes this year:

The Brave Lion

The Brave Lion

Baby Dinosaur

Baby Dinosaur

Alex ran the whole time. He was a ball of sweat when we finally got him home.



12 10 2009

It’s pumpkin patch time! Prior to having kids, I never visited a pumpkin patch. I’ve also never been that big into jack-o-lanterns, and I’m content making pumpkin pies from a can. However, ever since Alex has been old enough to waddle around, I’ve relished our October pilgrimages to the pumpkin patch.

On Saturday, we went to The Farm at Swan’s Trail in Snohomish. One of Alex’s old classmates from daycare organized this trip. It was our first time to this farm. Compared to our usual farm (South 47 Acres), it’s a longer drive to get to Snohomish. The rewards are views of Mt. Baker and a lot of activities. I’d say that The Farm at Swan’s Trail is 3 to 4 times larger than South 47 Acres. We met two of Alex’s classmates there. We were supposed to meet a third classmate, but the farm was so big that we never crossed paths!

The kids had a grand time. The clear favorite activity of the trip was the hay maze. Inside a dark barn, there was a maze from hay bales stacked two high. Adults had no problem seeing over the hay, but it must have been kind of spooky from a preschooler’s point of view. Alex kept saying he was scared in his first trip to the barn. However, it didn’t take too long for all three kids to get over their fear of the dark. Soon they all learned the quickest way through the ground floor of the barn, up the stairs, and over to the wobbly purple slide that sped them down to a pile of soft, itchy hay. The kids kept running and sliding through the maze for a solid half hour. They would have kept going for a lot longer if the parents hadn’t presented a unified front that we had to do something, anything, else.

We lured the kids out of the hay maze and into the “play area.” This was a large, fenced off compound at the farm (with a separate $5 admission). Inside the play area, they had a huge pit of hay for climbing and jumping, big slides made from industrial plastic tubing, an enormous pit of corn kernels. (Think of one of rooms full of plastic balls, like you’d find at Chuck-E-Cheese or xkcd, only substitute “corn” for “plastic balls,” and you’ve got the right idea.) The play area was totally worth the $5 admission.

Jumping Sprawled

Alex, before and after jumping into a pile of hay.

On a Bed of Corn

The corn pit.

In between those major attractions, we found time to visit the petting zoo, watch a duck race, and watch a dramatic reenactment of the Three Little Pigs. Oddly, the one thing we didn’t see much of were pumpkins. Sure, they had a few pumpkins on display that weighed more than our entire family combined, but we didn’t see the fields full of pumpkins. I’m sure they were there, somewhere, but The Farm is so big we missed them.

Little Piggie

This little piglet was one of the stars of The Farm’s pig show.

Luckily, we returned to South 47 Farm on Sunday. This was a much more mellow excursion. It didn’t have a hay maze or a play area, but it did have a big field of pumpkins visible right from the parking lot! Alex and Patrick had a great time picking out pumpkins for us to take home. (I suppose a more accurate description of the process is Alex put every pumpkin he could pick up into our wheelbarrow. Our job was to “edit” his selections, or we would have brought the entire field home with us.)

This is a Lot of Pumpkins!

Patrick at a table full of pumpkins at South 47 farm.


Alex pushes Patrick in his wheelbarrow of pumpkins at South 47 farm.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Lots of fun, lots of time with friends, lots of time outside. I hope the rest of October is this nice!

Seasons Change

5 10 2009

Autumn and Oak

Autumn’s here, right on schedule. September predictably felt like a month of Indian Summer. Sure, we had some rain (Labor Day weekend was particularly dreary), but it was still warm. That’s changing quickly. Now that the nights are longer than the days, it’s cooling off quickly. When I checked the outdoor thermometer Sunday morning, it was 44 degrees. Brr.

Patrick doesn’t understand why we insist on putting his coat on when we go outside. When he sees Molly grab his blue fleece, he starts running away as fast as his little toddler legs will carry him. Luckily for us, that’s not very fast. He’s easy to catch. He then squeals the whole time we’re putting his coat on. Once it’s finally zipped, he accepts the inevitable and keeps it on.

Autumn Child

Even here in the land of spruce and hemlock, autumn is about changing leaves. I spent an hour in the arboretum over the weekend. Because it’s still early October, there was still more green than red/orange/yellow. However, I didn’t have to look hard to find oaks or maples that were starting to put on a show. I hope I can get to the arboretum for at least a little bit each weekend in October to see in detail how the season unfolds.

Seasons Change