For those of you who don't wish to torture yourselves by going through the hundreds of new pictures we just posted on Flikr, here is a slightly abridged (albeit long enough to still be embarrassing) photo post/catch up post:
The best time of year in Michigan is Fall. And the best activity in Fall is the Cider Mill. You basically gorge yourself on homemade cider and doughnuts, pick a few apples or pumpkins yourself to feel more wholesome, and try not to spend all your money on the myriad of activities meant to lure in families with young children. This year, we took along our friend's baby girl, Jane, so they could catch up on housework. I have to admit, it was fun pretending we had twins plus a toddler - although I was disappointed at the lack of reaction among the general public. Apparently, having two kids with white hair garners a lot more attention than having twins and a toddler two years apart. Hmm.
I have to say, seeing Robbie with Jane made my ovaries ache. Sigh.
Emerson quickly took to the idea of thumping pumpkins to test how good they are. So we had to pat ALL of them.
The strangest sight was seeing them "stock" the pumpkin patch. Yes - we drove on a wagon out to this field that used to be a pumpkin patch, but had long ago been picked over. As we are staring at the "planted" pumpkins, a truck pulls up and workers start unloading more pumpkins. So people crowd around to get one, seemingly unconcerned with the absurdity of this ruse. Technically our pumpkin was no different, but just on principle I refused to get one directly off the truck.
Next stop was the farm petting zoo, full of animals that had overdosed on prozac and looked long gone to the world. The woman at the front refused to charge us for the two babies since she assumed only the toddler would enjoy it.
She had it backwards.
Emerson fails to grasp the concept of sticking your head through the wooden display for a picture.
He also fails to understand why we are making him stand on a large haystack.
A few weeks ago, Emerson was in a family wedding in his first-ever ring bearer gig. I was the officiant, but let me tell you - being the mom of the ring bearer was much more stressful. The first step was getting fitted for his tux - and discovering the magic of mirrors.
Incidentally, they took every single measurement possible, then turned and asked me, "What size does he wear?" When I answered 3T, they turned and pulled out a 3T tux, saying, "Here you go. We don't rent this one, so you need to buy it for $70." My initial reaction was, "Why the hell did you make him sit through all the measurements if it's based on standard sizing?" My second thought was, "Screw you Men's Wearhouse, I'm buying this tux second hand." The next day I found the exact same one at a resell shop complete with vest and tie for $20. SO there.
My handsome men before the wedding rehearsal. These rare moments when I can force them into complementary sweater vests almost make it ok that I don't have a daughter. Almost.
Emerson did...poorly...at the wedding rehearsal the night before, so we came prepared with gummy bears to bribe him down the aisle. He ate all 75+ of them in the hour before the wedding started. Then we had to hide the empty bucket that he refused to relinquish under the ring pillow.
The plan was for Emerson to hold the flower girl's hand and be dragged down the aisle. Unfortunately, we forgot to take into account her need to use both hands to throw flower petals as she walked. So Robbie sent him down on his own. He walked a few steps, looked around in confusion at everyone staring at him, Robbie gently pushed him down the aisle a few more feet, and the cycle repeated. Needless to say, it took a while to get him all the way down. Ah, memories.
Next to his dapper brother, Fionn looks a little like the crazy, drunk uncle who is always embarrassing himself at family parties.
During dinner, cousin Ricky leans over to taunt Emerson, "Hey, can you make this face?"
I nearly reply, "Don't challenge Emerson to a crazy eye contest because you will go DOWN" But then I think better of it.
(Yes, I'm aware that I'm a horrible person.)
Fionn literally danced his socks off.
Watching the mother-son dance, I had one of those stereotypical moments of tearing up with the realization that someday I'll be taking the dance floor with my own sons. Sigh.
The ever-cool man, Emerson starts scouting for the best after-parties.
At the end of the month, we had to make a mini trip to Chicago so I could complete my interview with the Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy. This is a major hurdle where they decide if you have enough of what it takes to be a minister and recommend that you either continue on or give up now. But they state it a lot better than that. I did ok and passed the interview, but a combination of having a sick stomach (no I'm not pregnant, so don't email me all in a tizzy) and having some recent doubts about my ministry path made this a challenging trip. With all this weighing heavy on my mind (and stomach) the morning of the interview, we decide the best medicine would be to eat greasy diner food in Hyde Park.
Hyde Park from a 3-year-old's perspective.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon exploring the Museum of Science and Industry. I prayed that my sour stomach would clear up before my 5pm interview. It did not.
Emerson, being Emerson, loved the endless ramps and the water ball pit.
Fionn, being Fionn, enjoyed just about anything that involved getting out of the sling.
And I finally got to live out my dreams of going to space.
Emerson's first trick-or-treating experience was the downtown Halloween parade the day before. By the time we walked down there, he was passed out - but I was determined to get some trick-or-treating in before the parade ended in an hour. So I shook my kid awake, bribed him with the promise of candy and dragged all three of us through the rain to get it done. My violent illness and squirming kids be damned - we were going to have FUN! And despite my insane drive to force my children into enjoying themselves, they actually did have fun. The moment people started putting candy into his bucket, Emerson was wide awake and babbling an excited stream of chatter that included the word "wow" and "candy" several times. It was priceless.
Fionn's First Birthday/Halloween Party. The number of babies in attendance and resulting chaos was a sight to be seen.
The moment he saw the cupcake, he burst into tears because we weren't giving it to him fast enough. Needless to say, he did not share his brother's aversion to digging in and getting messy.
Notice the single tear for dramatic effect.
Six teeth and a tiny stomach notwithstanding, Fionn devours every last crumb.
Despite an entire day of partying, we still have a night of trick-or-treating ahead of us. Emerson is thrilled that the generosity continues, although I will spend the next few days trying to convince him that we can't go outside every night and collect candy from our neighbors.
After nearly two hours of trick-or-treating, Emerson falls into a deep coma.