Fall Traditions & Halloween 2013

Autumn has been CRAZY BUSY and a lot of fun so far this year, but since I haven’t had a moment to write a personal post yet, I thought i’d cram as much as I could into one giant post, {so I apologize in advance for the photo overload!} Ever since we got home from our trip to Greece at the start of fall 8 weeks ago; My husband Dean turned the big 3.0! We had a little party for him with the kids, then went on a date to get dinner and massages and watch Wolverine! Braden started preschool and is loving it! He has made some good new friends, and has learnt to write his name, do some basic reading and Math. Gemma started dance classes. She flat out refused to dance for weeks, but last week we finally had a break through when she danced up front with the teacher and did AMAZING! My husband’s cousin, and our BFF from college, Brandon, moved to Mattawa with his wife to work with my hubby! We’re SO excited to have them here! He and Dean went to Las Vegas and New Orleans for work. I decided to quit doing photography “professionally.” Mainly because I just didn’t have the time for it anymore, or the passion for it that I used to! :-( So there have been a lot of big changes to adjust to, and a lot going on, so far this fall — but here are some of the more “fun” things we have been doing over the past few weeks:

Central Washington Fair
Every year at the beginning of autumn we love to go to the Central Washington Fair in Yakima. This year was by far the most fun yet! We went with our friends, the Birds, and the kids were big enough to ride most of the rides for the first time ever! 

Here’s Gemma; all pretty and ready to go! SONY DSCBraden riding the big boy swings! I would have ridden with him if it didn’t make me really sick!
SONY DSCGemma’s friend Trinity was such a sweetie! She held Gemma’s hand, took her on all the rides, helped buckle her in, and helped her off again. It was SO nice that Gemma had her to play with. She definitely wouldn’t have had as much fun without her there!
SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Braden had his friend, Dalton to play with too. They had SO much fun together riding in the cars and Harleys! SONY DSCSONY DSCOne happy boy on a motorbike!! {He will be a real Harley rider one day just like his Dad and Gpa and uncles!}
SONY DSCSONY DSC I <3 this pic of Braden and Gemma, hands in the air!SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCEven with Trinity by her side, they still wouldn’t let Gemma ride on some of the rides by herself, so I got to go on them with her! Go me!
SONY DSC Braden and Trinity holding hands… SONY DSCFollowed by Gemma and Dalton holding hands! They did this around the whole fair…. at one point, we kinda felt like we were tagging along on their double date! Haha. Cutest pic ever: SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCI LOVED going on some of the bigger rides with Braden this year! Here we are on the “fast” ferris wheel. Braden was SUPER brave and loved it.
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Gemma got stuck in the haunted house… she didn’t like it very much! SONY DSCThe boys loving the “fair food.” This is the main reason why Dean’s so excited to come very year. 
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Bryan always photobombs our pics…. and makes them better! Haha
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The kids participated in the John-Deere-sponsored tractor pull together! The big kid in the blue t-shirt below took it by a landslide. Braden did AWESOME, but really, he didn’t stand a chance! :-(
SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSCGemma was too little to be in the race, but they let her drive the tractor anyway, and she did so good! {Probably because she wasn’t pulling anything!} ;-)
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The kids always love seeing the animals at the fair. This year year there were some freaky ones: this cow’s horns are SCARY big!
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and all the mutant sheep had THREE horns! SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCThey had bear cubs and lion cubs to feed!
SONY DSC The kids had a BLAST on the teacup ride… give them a few years, they might change their minds! {Speaking from experience!} SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCWe had some tickets to use up, so Bryan and I raced down the giant slide with the kids! It was awesome. I don’t know how he kept beating me!! 
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SONY DSCThis year Braden was JUST at the exact height he needed to be to ride on the scary dropper ride. It goes unbelievably high, then just drops you randomly, all the way down so your stomach lifts up over your head. Everyone was pointing and commenting at him on there: “Oh my gosh! Look at that little guy on there! He’s SO brave!” Haha. I was screaming, but he didn’t make a peep. He didn’t even change facial expressions. Just sat there, emotionless. Either he was in shock, or he wasn’t phased by it. Dean said: “did you have fun?” “Yes.” “Do you want to go again?” “NOOOO!” I don’t think he liked it all that much! But it was AMAZING how brave he was!
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The Country Mercantile Pumpkin Patch
Our other yearly fall tradition is to visit the Country Mercantile Pumpkin Patch. We love it there and have been every year since Braden was a baby. One year my little sis came to visit from England so we took her with us, last year my older sister and Mum came to visit from England, so we took them. This year our BFF Brandon got to come along! It was kinda cold and rainy, but it was still a blast. 


Inside the Country Mercantile {farm store & restaurant}: 

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCWe took a train ride through the maze of maize 
SONY DSC SONY DSC And played on hay stacks {we probably could have done this in Mattawa!} ;-) SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC Here’s me sad because I hate having pictures taken by myself! My kids are getting too big & independent! :-( SONY DSC My handsome hubby. {He loves having his picture taken too!}   SONY DSC Brandon with Gemma: she absolutely ADORES him! SONY DSC
The kids running around the hay maze SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC The hay ride to the pumpkin patch SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Braden was being our little photographer! He makes Dean and I laugh, he’s good! SONY DSC SONY DSCAbout to enter the maze of maize: it’s really hard to get Braden to NOT pick the corn, he loves it! 
SONY DSC SONY DSCIt’s even harder to get Brandon not to throw the corn though! ;-)
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We let Braden and Gemma choose one thing each to do: Braden chose the airplanes, Gemma chose the ponies!
SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC It’s not a proper childhood without pony rides! SONY DSC…or catching the rain on your tongue!
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Grandview Pumpkin Patch
Last weekend we went to a pumpkin patch at Grandview with our friends the Harts and the Birds. We all travelled up together in a bus, and I think the kids loved the bus ride more than the actual pumpkin patch!

I couldn’t decide whether or not I liked this pumpkin patch better than the one at the country mercantile, but this one was a photographer’s mecca! Everywhere you looked there was something gorgeous to take photos of… and of course, I left my camera battery at home in the charger! {I am good at that!} Luckily I have good friends who let me steal theirs! This place was the epitome of autumn! It looked like autumn, it smelt like autumn, and it just felt like autumn! They had hay rides, apple cider pressing, a corn maze, caramel apples, fresh pumpkin donuts {which were the highlight for me!} And WAY better pony rides than the other place! 

This “pumpkin patch” was dedicated more to apples than to pumpkins, which is kind of funny because the Birds grow apples for a living, and our home is surrounded by an apple orchard back in Mattawa. Next year we’re just going to set up a couple of stands and host our own fall festival! We went on a little hay ride. Here is a pic of the group minus Heather and I; plus a creepy guy who’s holding onto the Bird’s stroller like he’s part of the group! haha. {Photo-bombers!}

group1My good friend heather and I with her baby Liam me&heather1A group shot of all of us amongst the beautiful apple orchards. thegrp1 trees02kidssign1 poy2 pp6 pp4 babe1pumpkins005 2 kiddostractor pp2 patch2
Haha. Nice one Braden! pumpkin2The girls. girls1
This little train was so creative, and the kids LOVED it! kiddos004On the ride home, watching movies in the back, while the adults could chat and hang out up front. 
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Halloween 
Halloween was kinda CRAZY this year! My friend Heather and I were in charge of hosting our ward primary halloween party and trunk or treat for roughly 40 kids between the ages of 18 months t0 11 years old. We started decorating at 8 in the morning, and ran around non stop all day until 8pm when we were taking it all down again. It was pretty chaotic, but the kids had a blast, and they got SO much candy from the trunk or treat, that they were all pretty darn happy! I was thankful to all the people who came to support it, and I was thankful when it was all over!!

Early the next day Braden had another halloween party at his school with a haunted house, cupcakes, costumes and even more candy… and a random toothbrush in his candy bag! {“America!”} I thought we could call it good and be done with Halloween for another year, but the kids really wanted to go trick or treating in tricities with their cousins. Ever since our boys were babies we have tried to do halloween with them every year, so it’s kind of another “fall tradition” we love! I was reluctant to go at first, because I was pretty exhausted, and thought the kids were pretty “candied-out,” but I am really glad we went! We had a fun pizza night, and Kristen and I walked the kids around the neighborhood while they ran door to door trick or treating together while the boys stayed home and “handed out” candy to other trick or treaters. Braden would knock on people’s doors with his Thor hammer! They were all really polite, and it was fun to be in a friendly, safe, neighborhood, where halloween is really celebrated. {I never celebrated halloween as a kid growing up in England! So… I live vicariously through my kids!} We had the BEST halloween ever this year! So here are some pics:

Here are the kids all ready for the ward halloween party & trunk or treat: Braden wanted to be THOR this year, so Dean and I named him: “Thorden!” and Gemma wanted to be sully from monsters inc, so we made her a “girly” version. I was supposed to paint some purple spots on her skirt, whoops!

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSCI told Braden to smile for the camera, and he did this: much better! The guy’s a natural! ;-)  
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I thought I better dress up for halloween this year since I was hosting the ward primary party, and the only modest costume they had in the entire store was a vampire! I don’t like looking pale and freaky!! 
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The kids decorating halloween candy bags at the primary party. We decorated a couple more rooms with games, but forgot to take pics  
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The kids leading out to the trunk or treat: I was too busy wrangling my own kids, and the whole of primary to take decent photos! :-( SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCThe Superheroes!  
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Gemma & Braden’s sugar crash! {I wasn’t the only one who was exhausted!}
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Getting ready to go trick or treating with the cousins: 
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Kristen dressed up her kids so stinkin’ cute, it was worth going just to see them!! 
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I hope you guys all had a very happy halloween too, and are enjoying this beautiful fall season!
<3 Sarah