Sunday, September 05, 2010

The First Leaf of Fall

Well, I thought it was a little early, but there it was on the ground, the first leaf of Fall. The maples are always the first to turn (and sycamores and oaks are always last- though oak leaves often just turn brown and don't even fall), so it really is early, but fall is always such a happy time, that the first leaf of fall is a very hopeful thing. As you may remember, I suffer from Summer SAD. It's totally undiagnosed by anyone who knows what they're talking about, but still, I know that I have it. How do I know? Because, as I have explained in detail before (so I won't bore you again), I hate summer. This summer was the first summer that I can remember that I was actually looking forward to. And of course, compared to the way things had been going for a while, this was a really great summer (what a surprise, the night before the last day of school- you've got a job! time to move!). Still, on the odd days where I have felt low in the past few weeks, I have reminded myself that it's not so odd to feel disoriented and displaced after one moves to a totally new place where she knows no one, that it's not surprising that one would feel overwhelmed and intimidated when she takes on the task of teaching both first and fourth grade for the first time and answering to the government with pages of paperwork for said task, and that after all, it is summer. So, finding that leaf on the sidewalk on a rainy Sunday evening last week was a happy thing, a reminder of good things to come.

I wrote all of this a week ago and haven't had time to post! This was my crazy, two birthdays in nine days week. Add a visit from George's parents and grandparents and the fact that we were still totally unpacked and disorganized- and that George had to paint every room in the entire apartment!- and you have a good excuse for my absence. But I shall be back soon with pictures and posts and of course, pumpkin recipes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fun at the Fair

Two weeks ago, we went on out to the Iowa State Fair. I can't believe it's already been two weeks, but, without further ado, here's what that was all about:

Here's the gang in front of the gondolas. It's cool to me that these are a permanent part of the fairgrounds. When we visited in May, they were there along with dozens of permanent buildings and booths. I wanted to take a ride, but there just wasn't time for everything.

First stop, the learning center. This is where all the baby animals are. A baby cow was born just moments before we entered! These are the baby pigs. And this is why people think pigs are pink. When they're born, they are pink! They look like that soft, shiny fabric that lovies are made from! I want one! These guys were so snuggly with each other and their Momma. Momma's feet are right there in the corner.

We couldn't pet the brand new babies that were still with their Mommas, but there were older baby animals there for petting.

This black sheep was a hoot to watch for this black sheep. It really was the only black one in two pens full of lambs. It kept squeezing through the bars and running away. I tried to get a picture of one of its escapes, but they brought the food and then it was content to stay in the pen. Hilarious and adorable!

Look at my lil punkins in front of this pumpkin! You're reading that right, 1,323 pounds! Wow! I wonder how long it takes a pumpkin like that to grow.

And here's my little knucklehead in front of this cabbage head. I have never seen a cabbage anywhere close to this big! George says no one ever uses knucklehead as a term of endearment, but I think surely they do. Just to be safe, maybe I'll think of a different pet name now that I have posted this picture.

Award winning corn. There were so many different varieties of corn! I don't pretend to know a thing about it, but behold, corn.

There were also beautiful gardens to explore with live offerings (as opposed to the cut corn, pumpkins, cabbages, etc.), and this tunnel-trellis that ran through it so kids could run through it. August said it was his favorite part of the whole day.

There is no question as to what the least favorite part of everyone's day was- when Daddy made them ride on the roller coaster! This picture is taken before the fateful trip, or rather, as the caterpillar rolled out onto the pink track of treacherousness! Okay, so it will interest the reader that we lived minutes away from Six Flags for two years and that, during this time, there was much begging and pleading to ride a roller coaster. When we found out we were moving to Des Moines, we promised the children an exciting trip to the State Fair where they might finally take the longed for ride on a roller coaster. However, when they saw the roller coaster, a jolly looking caterpillar that crawled along a pink track studded with neon-lit metal flowers, they were suddenly apprehensive. What about the airplane ride? Nope, this one didn't want to ride the airplane ride. What about the motorcycle ride? Nope, this one didn't want to ride that. What about the giant slide? Nope, that one didn't want to go on the giant slide. Well, what if these two did this one and then those two did that other one and then... This could get expensive! George made a quick executive decision, everyone on the roller coaster, and only the roller coaster. Elspeth is on the other side of Amabel in this picture. It is fitting that you can't see her, because, after the first time around, she spent the remainder of the ride with her face buried in Amabel's shirt, so she didn't see anything either! The only thing I can figure out is that the one part where it speeds up is a little loud. Or perhaps all this time they were talking about a roller coaster, they were really thinking a swing at the playground? I guess I'm not a very compassionate mother about this. I really was at the time. I ran to get them off as soon as I realized Elspeth was upset. Unfortunately, what I hadn't realized when we put them on was that it went all the way around three times. So when they hated it the first time, it was pretty much torture the rest of the way!

After that, we tried to console everyone with a funnel cake. George and I really talked this up, and here again, we struck out. It was the worst funnel cake I have ever had. I am convinced we just found the one crappy vendor. But sadly, it had a sourdough taste that is just not desirable in a funnel cake. Was it supposed to be sour? We didn't know. But it was pitched in disappointment.

After that, and because this little one (and her brother and sister) had pretty much had enough, we headed back to the car. No worries though, by the time we were rolling out of our parking spot, everyone was already remembering the roller coaster fondly. I'm not sure how that happened, but I think it was something like being proud of doing it. Elspeth is all about being a "big girl," and a roller coaster with her big sister is a very big girl thing to do. Not long after that, talk began about what we'll do next year. I guess I should not be surprised. A Google search just now revealed to me that the fair's website is already gearing up for next year too. Just in case you wondered, it's 343 days, 22 minutes, and 34 seconds away (for now).

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