Saturday, October 18, 2008

10/18/08 Two pumpkin patches

I wasn't planning on going to two pumpkin patches today, but this morning while Dave and Gabriel were at Gabriel's piano lesson, Katrina made being inside at home completely intolerable.

A new tantrum method is to stand and scream and cry at anything and everything I do (especially something she claims she wanted), and when I approach her, run away crying and close doors behind her. Sometimes that works to my advantage, but even behind closed doors, a screaming tantrum escalating with no end in sight is very irritating.

Julian's good-natured and patient attempts to distract her only incited her more. I think that bugs me about her tantrums the most, that I have to insist that Julian leave her alone, when he's just doing his best to help. I always tell him it's not his fault, she's just being a pest and that he's the sweetest brother ever, but I also have to tell him to just stop and leave her be, and I hate doing that.

So, out we went. I knew the 2004 group was having a small, impromptu pumpkin patch outing at a nearby place (really a parking lot converted to a place to sell pumpkins for Halloween season), so there we went. That did break Katrina's fuss, sort of, though mostly she enjoyed running away from me, and then had fresh reason to throw a fit when it came time to leave.

(Julian doing a scarecrow imitation.)

Later in the afternoon, we went to Webb Ranch, a farm/pumpkin patch up the highway. But first, costume photos!

Gabriel is a policeman, in a costume I did not put one stitch into. It's cheap, but it does the job well. I am such a sucker for a guy in uniform -- so handsome!

Julian is a shark. This costume I made, except the hat. That black thing on his stomach is supposed to be -- surprise, a stomach, filled with things the shark ate. It doesn't really work very well, but he doesn't mind.

Unfortunately, I sewed on his dorsal fin upside-down!

Contrary Mary, predictably, would have nothing of this cozy family scene.

But, back at the ranch, I was able to get a shot of all three on a hay wagon.

This pumpkin patch in many ways is a real pain. It's dusty, hilly, the sun is always in our eyes, hard to get around, parking is limited....but the kids love it. Gabriel was reunited with longtime friends he's played with since babyhood, though there are only a few he knows well at this point. Naturally, you recognize Gina, leading the charge up the hill as usual!

So cute!

Gabriel's hat was of interest to several kids, and twice I watched the same scene unfold: Gabriel's hat was snatched by another kid, and then run away with. At first, Gabriel thought it was funny, but then he wanted his hat back. One of those times, the hat got passed back and forth between several kids, and another time, there was a 3-way tug-of-war for it. Curiosity and confidence kept at bay any temptation I had to intervene, and sure enough, he came out of it both times with his hat, all forgotten and ready to play. Maybe partly because he's so skinny and small compared to other kids his age, I'm glad to see him handle these things so well. The day he comes crying to me about someone taking something from him, I'll know something really bad happened.

Who can hold a grudge? Gabriel was too busy running up and down the hill anyway. And losing his hat on his own.

Katrina, meantime, found a wagon immediately, and kept Dad busy pulling her up and down the hill.

In retrospect, I'd have skipped this pumpkin patch trip if Dave weren't there, since Katrina could well have unleashed her formidable power to trample any modicum of enjoyment I might have with the boys. But she, and Dad, had a pretty good time.

But not good enough to attempt to take her to a crowded pizza place the rest of the group was going too. She rarely eats pizza, and this place involves too much standing and waiting to order to deal with her. Still, I was in no mood to cook, so we went to Outback.

This plan quickly turned four-letter when she threw a complete fit after I mortally offended her by washing her hands. Dave and I were both amused that the table next to us apparently was a baby shower for an expectant mother of a girl. Katrina's behavior was going to put a serious damper on any celebrations about baby girls! Somehow we got her distracted, and she ate enough of Outback's new whole grain wild rice side dish for good humor to creep back in.

As I was waiting outside Outback with Gabriel and Katrina for Dave and Julian to finish up and come out, I struck up a conversation with a lady who had 4 children and 8 grandchildren. Actually, Katrina struck it up, by tottering right up to her and showing her her "guy," a Lego piece she's had in her hand all day. Katrina really brightened up for this lady, stamping her feet from side to side, giggling, running away, then running back. Somehow, she just took to her, and the lady delighted in it.

Grandma-of-8 said during our conversation that she wanted to write stories about her kids' childhoods to leave as a legacy for them, but to her surprise and dismay, she was finding she couldn't remember any stories. She urged me to write down stories now, while I still remember them. She's right, and of course I blog, but that's too current, and far far too much information to work as a story remembrance later.

When we got home, talking to Gabriel, it came up that Katrina's costume had been his, and he wanted to see a picture. So I pulled out a scrapbook and showed them the page I'd done from Halloween in 2003. The boys were fascinated by the scrapbooks, and sat poring over the pages, asking questions about the photos and the moments the pages capture.

It hit me then: there's my legacy. There are the childhood stories, captured in snippets, illustrated with photos, decorated with little touches that at the time seemed over-the-top, but now are charming and homesy. Scrapbooking isn't just a time-consuming, expensive hobby, it really is memory-building. Especially seeing how the boys love the books, I know I must get back to it immediately.

Besides, of ALL events, I have to scrapbook Halloween! A dual pumpkin patch day is not to be forgotten!


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