Friday was the annual statewide Inservice Day that we traditionally have used as our trip to the pumpkin patch with the cousins. So, this time, we got to take a trip up I-5 with both Brayden and Mikayla - as well as Whitley.
Brayden was in a GREAT mood - which can either be really fun for me - or kind of a nightmare to keep him contained (especially if he is in pester-mode). The way up was the mostly-fun version - in fact there were a few moments where I was literally thinking, I wish I could just "screen shot" this moment in life of both my kids laughing and playing with Whitley in the back seat and how sweet it was. (Despite what this video might indicate - a shouting match between Brayden and Whitley regarding his desire to rename her stuffed giraffe, "Squeakers" - "Oscar".....)
The weather was also a bit serendipitous. We encountered this view on the freeway, and once we got enveloped in that big, ominous patch of fog Mikayla was practically bouncing out of her seat with excitement about how perfect this weather is and ideal for a pumpkin patch day. She is "jonesing" for rain and cooler weather, that's for sure. (Definitely my "seasonal child"). Her joy reminded me of the kind of joy I feel on the first day I let myself listen to Christmas music.
I'm gonna be as nice as I can in saying this, but Whitley really is a "Shopping Buzzkill". She's gotten better about the time in between shops - content to go fast in the stroller, push it, or walk herself, but once we get into a store, she is not content to be contained and has to be watched like a hawk or she'll "hide" (her favorite "give-Stephie-a-heart-attack" game) or pull items from racks like a shoplifter. I changed her into her outfit while giving my kids a chance on their own to peruse the Nike store undistracted (the main attraction at the outlets), but then we had to conquer and divide to get anything else done. Brayden kindly took her to the Toys R Us outlet while we hit up Aero for Mikayla - and then we all hit the Disney Store.
A little preview here - we had been debating Mikayla's Halloween costume choice between repeating her role as "Violet" from last year - or because she could pull it off so stunningly, becoming Queen Elsa ("Frozen") this year. However, upon looking for the Elsa costume online, we ditched the idea because of cost and lack of availability. (I'm pretty sure every young girl is going to be Queen Elsa this year). BUT, at the Disney Store, we found a costume at a somewhat reasonable (expected) price, and figured, let's go for it. I think it's more me, wanting to transform my daughter in to a fairy tale dream, than even Mikayla going for it - but, you know, these days are passing quickly - and why not. Plus, this year, she'll be serving at Camp Harlow's Harvest Festival at Halloween and I have a feeling the little "Elsa's" will be quite enamored/attracted with and to a bigger-girl version of her....
However, as you can tell - Whitley certainly doesn't fit that category. She did NOT LIKE Mikayla in that costume and wanted her to take it off right away. I was cracking up - I don't even know what it was that bothered her about it. Maybe she wants to be Elsa? Mikayla realllllllly wants her to be a little "Princess Anna" along side of her, but I have no idea what Travis and Stephanie have in mind for her costume this year.
We finally emerged from the Disney Store after all of the kids having a meltdown and made our way back to the vehicle. But, not without a visit from this little charmer....finally, a dog exactly Whitley's size.
At 12:30, we met up with the Schilling clan at Willamette Valley Fruit Company. We had found some Living Social deals, so that's what secured this as the choice for the year, though, as soon as we pulled up, the bigger kids realized it was not gonna be as good as they'd hoped. A lot of the attractions were only going during the weekend, and there was no corn maze this year. Combine that with a large crowd and an inability to manage it well by the employees, and we were all feeling disappointed. Except for Whitley. It was all one giant playground for her....
And, she was the center of everyone's attention.
I should also point out how incredibly excited she was to see everyone - she'd literally screamed in delight at the prospect of seeing Ellie, Nati, Chele, and Traig - and needed hugs and to be held by each of them upon greeting. SOOOO sweet.
This place did have a lot of little attractions. Again, IDEAL for Whitley's age, but on the "lamer end" for the bigger ones - though, don't underestimate Brayden's capabilities for making the attraction work for him. Case in point, the pics later on in this stream where he and Mikayla are wrestling over balls and Whitley's just excited to get one airborne.
This guy did NOT want to take a selfie with his aunt. Too bad. =)
I like the background of Michele sharing photos with Traig...
This attraction - with a softball being sent down a PVC pipe was such a hit for Whitley. I sat at the bottom, tossed the balls to Michele who was standing next to Whitley and she sent them down as fast as could be. I think she could have done this all day (especially with Michele and I at her beck and call).
The duck races were also a big deal to her.
No surprise that with Brayden seated next to her on the way home she did not sleep - even after all of this activity. I finally got her to fall asleep in Mikayla's bed for a mere 45 minutes upon arrival at home. That kid is one "Energizer Bunny" - and so full of life and smiles.