Thursday, October 30, 2014

Preschool Halloween Party

From my childhood, I only remember dressing up for Halloween on the actual evening and walking around my neighborhood in a homemade costume to get candy. 

As a still fairly new mom, I am discovering that this appears to no longer be the norm. At least we get a lot of use out of the costume!

Last Saturday we met with friends to visit a nursing home and bring a little joy to the residents. Then yesterday Jack's preschool class had their class party.

The parents (typically the moms) are supposed to sign up to host one of the school parties during the year. I signed up for Halloween to get it out of the way.

I had no idea what exactly to expect. I didn't want to go overboard, but wanted to make some fun goodies. I resorted to a goodie bag idea I found on Pinterest, then I drew faces on tangerines to look like mini jack-o-lanterns, and finally wrapped juice boxes to look like mummies.

A party for 2-3 year olds involves eating food, kids refusing to put on (or take off costumes) and flat out refusing a group picture. C'est la vie. There were a lot of cute costumes in the room.

Last night Jack got to wear his costume to church (3rd time in the costume this year). After the cupcakes, cookies and candy from the preschool party, Jack was a bit worn out. I had a rough go of it trying to  get him to stay in his class. 

This involved tears, bribery, taking off and putting back on his costume, before finally agree to "be like a big kid" and walking in the hallway parade for church.

Jack was one of the first kids to walk through the hallway (with me trailing slightly behind). He had a little swagger as he marched confidently in his Transformers costume. It was all I could do to not laugh (or tear up a bit, I am a pregnant mama after all).

Overall it was a successful day of costumes. There is still the actual day of Halloween to dress up. If we decide to, there is also dress up at the library and Zumbini class. All of these parties is enough to wear this mama out.

Previous Halloween Experiences:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sharing the Halloween Spirit

Starting in the 7th grade, and continuing until I graduated from high school, I participated in a visitation program through my church's youth group. On Monday nights we would meet up at the church building as a group and then divide into smaller groups and go visit shut-ins and nursing home residents. Sometimes we would do chores for individuals, sometimes we would sing, but often we would just walk the halls and visit. We would shake hands, smile and talk with the people we met.

During this time of my life I was very much an introvert and sometimes these visits could be extremely uncomfortable, but overall I have very fond memories from these experiences.

Since high school I have only been back to nursing homes on a few occasions, typically around Christmas to sing carols, but it hasn't been something that has been a priority.

Recently our small group from church decided to take our kids to a local nursing home, dressed in their Halloween costumes, to hand out candy to the residents. This experience really took me back to my weekly visits in youth group.

As a parent, I can't really describe the pride I had in all 9 of our kids. They confidently marched up to people they didn't know and handed them candy. They really made a lot of people's day. I loved seeing the nurses excitedly walking the halls with us to make sure we didn't miss a single resident. 

With kids ranging in age from 2-11, all of the kids did amazingly well. The two-year-olds were especially funny in that they were determined to not miss giving a single person a piece of candy. I'm not sharing this to brag, I am just so very proud of these kids that are a part of our lives. I am thankful that Jack has a good example of older kids in his life. I am thankful that these kids were willing to spend part of a Saturday visiting other people's grandmas and grandpas, and that they didn't expect anything in return.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Old McDonald's Farm 2014

This year we continued our tradition of visiting a Pumpkin Patch on Columbus Day weekend. Daniel had to work on the actual holiday so we decided to try our luck and go to Old McDonald's Farm in Sale Creek (about 30 minutes north of Chattanooga) on Sunday.

This was a mistake.

Daniel and I hate crowds and a Sunday so close to Halloween proved to bring out the crowds. 

There were plenty of activities to do, but the lines were so long. If you have a toddler, you understand that lines and toddlers don't go together. So we had to do a lot of divide and conquer.

One of us would hold a spot in line, while the other wandered around with Jack. So much for getting good family photos!

First up, I stood in line for the petting zoo while Jack and Daniel went down the big slide in the barn. Jack really loved this and probably would have done it all day long.

After petting the animals, we moved on to a toddler-sized hay bale maze. 

Jack enjoyed jumping on and over the bales of hay. 


We then proceeded to a bigger pile of hay for jumping. Followed by a corral of bouncy horses.

Finally Jack said he wanted to ride the train wagon that toured the farm. I waited in line for 40 minutes while Daniel and Jack found a tractor to sit on and a game of corn hole.

After the wagon ride, we decided to call it a day. The line for the hayride was even longer and the pumpkin wasn't included in the price (like it is at Crow Creek). 

We let Jack pick out a pumpkin (he knew we were at the farm to get a pumpkin and refused to leave without one). Thankfully he didn't realize that we could have ridden a hayride out to the actual pumpkin patch.

I was disappointed about not going out to the pumpkin patch, but we were all finished with lines and crowds of people. Jack had a good time and didn't seem to be too bothered by the crowds (though he didn't do much standing in line).

Next year, regardless of where we go, we will plan on going during the week.

Also, we really liked the Crow Creek Pumpkin Patch and would consider making the drive down to Alabama in the future.

Old McDonald's Farm cost is $12/person and 2+under are FREE. Your pumpkin is a separate cost.

Previous Pumpkin Patch Experiences:

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

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