It was parent/teacher conference week this past week and our school district felt that it would be wise to have the students all have four day weekends so teachers could have enough time to meet with all the parents. Really?!?! Is there no other time to do this, like 2am or something?? Does it really seem like a great idea to ask parents to raise their own children?
At any rate, I got to have all five children home Thursday and Friday and I have to say they were remarkably well behaved. Liam's girlfriend (her job is to come twice a week and help him keep his hearing aids in), Kassidi, also happened to be off on Friday so I called to see if she'd like to come help me survive taking all the kids to the pumpkin patch. Being the amazingly sweet girl she is, she accepted the offer.
We started by taking the kids to Pizza Street for lunch. It's a pizza buffet, so the kids were delighted that they could choose whatever flavor they wanted. I was stunned to see Liam pack away plate after plate of fetuccini alfredo. Go Liam!! Things were going really well until the ice cream machine ran out of chocolate. At that point, I felt the need to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Considering the fact that we were in public, I opted to hold back and instead quietly worked on a vanilla cone. Let the record show that I was crying inside, though.
The pumpkin patch was great!! It's in the same town where Byron works, but I would never have found it without my GPS. We arrived, unloaded and headed to the entrance to pay to get in. I was pretty impressed with the fact that none of my five children were hit by oncoming traffic as we attempted to get inside the gate. Honestly, trying to take them anywhere is like herding cats except that herding cats is much less painful.
The kids headed straight for the hay bail maze. It was a cute little town thing where kids could go in and get lost. I encouraged them to get lost frequently, but they kept finding their way out. Figures. At any rate, they had a good time.
From there, we came to the petting zoo. CJ was just sure he witnessed the rooster laying an egg. I didn't have the heart to tell him that wasn't a rooster because he was so delighted to discover that "eggs come from rooster butts". Aiden spent his time trying to distract a bully horse so that a hungry donkey could dine on some most delicious corn. Rachel was working on a plot to adopt a kitten while Drezden meowed at said kitten and Liam attempted to eat anything he could find on the ground.
From there, we moved on to the play area which consisted of several John Deer tractors in kids' sizes and giant sand boxes full of corn. I think this was the area we spent the majority of our time in. Liam really liked filling bins with corn and listening to it shake. Kassidi said she liked how the corn felt between her toes. Really? I felt like it just sort of got stuck between my toes and felt downright weird. Anyway, I digress. The kids really enjoyed spending time burying each other, jumping in, and just generally playing with the corn. If I'd known corn would be so exciting, I would have saved a whole lot of money on toys over the years. I'll consider that a lesson learned.
Outside of the play area were these big crank machines could be used to pull the corn off the cobs. The kids LOVED doing this. Even Liam figured out how to do it. There were buckets and buckets full of corn everywhere. I'm guessing that's where they got the corn for those giant sandboxes. I couldn't believe how hard the kids worked at these silly machines. They had to find the ears of corn on the stalks, put them into the machine, and then crank it. There was a lot of effort involved. I've got to somehow figure out how to get them to put that much effort into things like putting dishes in the sink and flushing the toilets.
After the corn machine, we spent some time on the giant tire swings made from old tractor tires, then on slides made from irrigation tubing, and finally on the train ride. Before leaving, we chose our pumpkin. It's a lovely pumpkin, too. We're supposed to carve it with Kassidi's family and some other families from the ward tomorrow, but it's just such a pretty pumpkin that I can't bring myself to carve it. I think I'll go try to find an ugly one in the morning.
All in all, it was a great day. I'm grateful to Kassidi for helping me out. Just having another human being taller than my kneecaps there to help me made the day much more enjoyable. Maybe I'll be willing to venture out and try other fun things again in the future. I'm not saying the near future, but probably sometime before they all graduate college.