Wednesday, October 30, 2013

all good things must come to an end!!

 On our last day in Buffalo we went to the world's greatest pumpkin farm!  every fall we go!

we started the day with Paula's donuts- a buffalo 'must'.   Zeb, Ike, and Kent's favorite food is probably a donut- so they were all very pleased with breakfast!

Luckily the donut shop at the pumpkin patch was closed.  I can only handle so many donuts.

I took more pictures of metta than anybody else.  It's because she's the cutest.  Her little pigtails make every picture better.

 Henry and Zeb are pretty good pals.  And look quite a bit alike for some reason :)
Miss Milly goat.

 Milo. the baby.  Being around him made me remember why I don't want another baby yet.  They make me so uncomfortable.
I think we were pretending to eat the pumpkin. Metta likes to play a lot of pretend.
 She has amazed us with her love for all things Halloween.  She's almost never gets scared- but smiles at everything instead.  Laney's kids scream and wail around these creatures.  Zeb and Ike don't care anymore.
 We did find the one creature Metta was afraid of, though :)  It is pretty scary in her defense.  I love scaring my kids.
 After our trip to Buffalo- we were pooped.  exhausted!  we'd been in the car for over 24 hours in six days!  but we had one more day for adventure- so we drove to Columbus to do 'boo at the zoo'.  It was great fun.
 This Ikester loves Kent SO much it's ridiculous.  He asks about him first thing every day when he wakes up.
 Zeb is my little pal.  He's so funny and grown up and wise these days.  The zoo has a big dinosaur exhibit and boat ride that the kiddos were dying to try out this time!  it was so worth the money.  Metta was terrified!!!  the boys LOVED it.
 I think Zeb was worried about the giant spiders here.
 we were about to approach the spitting dinos.  They sprayed us and got us all wet and the boys LOVED it.
 this pictures cracks me up.  pure joy.  he was laughing so hard he turned red!!
 And then we rounded the corner to the big roarrrrring dinosaurs.  and metta got so so scared.  It was so so funny.
 I can't help posting these pictures of her.  she was terrified of the t-rex at the end. so so terrified!!

My kids really aren't actually afraid of that much.  They get nervous - but they are willing to try new things.  even if they are screaming while doing it. 
we spent much of the evening waiting in line for the superhero show!!
it was a pretty big hit with everybody.   thor was the largest man I've ever seen.  pretty impressive, really.
 We put on costumes in the evening and went trick or treating through the zoo!  it was a lot of fun and everybody loved our costumes :)

Somehow I got -this- the perfect picture!  everybody looks adorable.  There was nobody in the background even though the zoo as packed!  I love it.  And I really love halloween.  the costumes, the candy. the events!  all of it!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

a day without kids!!

Our nine year anniversary came and went a few weeks ago- and while we went to dinner- it was a pretty rushed day so I was determined to do something fun and kid free on Kent's time off.  The stars almost didn't align when the day we were set to leave we couldn't find Kent's passport ANYwhere.  After much prayer- it turned up- and off we went!  Laney and Taylor owe us about a week of free childcare- so we cashed out just a bit of it with a trip up North.  But- shhhh- it's a secret because I don't think Kent is allowed to cross borders.  And speaking of borders - we were detained shortly on our return to America because the border agent accused me of recording our conversation.  He was one nasty man.  And I couldn't stop giggling at his accusations and questions :)  We're lucky we weren't really detained!!

We hit the big city- Toronto- the day after the Canadian Thanksgiving.  I love visiting big cities.  I love the feel, the people, the chaos.  All of it.  I don't want to live in it- but I love the adventure of a visit!

Our first stop was St. Lawrence market!  It's an indoor street market with shops of every kind! I love big city markets!!
They had the most delicious fresh pastries!  

and lots of nasty meat cuts on counters :)  I'm sure that's semi common in some New York City neighborhoods- and other big cities- but it seems so foreign to me.  It reminded me of Russia and Kent of Brazil :)

We spent a lot of time just exploring the city.
It was a gorgeous fall day.  And I love just wandering around places and taking pictures so it was lovely.

lots of great art-

and several beautiful churches spread throughout the downtown area!

There was so much we wanted to see- and parking all over town is OUTRAGEOUS- so we ended up parking on the lakefront (Lake Ontario) and renting 'BIXI' bikes for the day!  it was CRAZY.  they only cost five dollars a day! but there is one stipulation- you can't have the bike out for more than 30 minutes at a time without getting charged an extra dollar per ten minute increments!  There are 40 something bike depots spread throughout Toronto so you have to make it to the next station and 'click' in your bike to exchange it for another within thirty minutes.  It was NUTS. and a little like 'The Amazing Race' Toronto version.  And Kent and I once again confirmed we would not fare well as partners on the show!!  navigating a new large city while being timed can be VERY stressful :)
I love this picture.  We are at a red light and Kent is feverishly trying to figure out the map we took a cell phone pic of that has all of our bike stations on it.  We were in a rush to get to the next spot and we could NOT find it for the life of us.  So I'm sure I was giggling while simultaneously blaming him for our predicament. and snapping pictures.  so funny.
It was really fun!  and a little scary at times.  and a lot crazy.  We got to see so much of the city and were only penalized once for not making the time cutoff :)  And we blame our tardiness on construction!!
Toronto is very much a biking town!  and I'm sure all of the regulars and business men and woman didn't love me and my touristy bike riding and picture taking!  Kent was a little worried about me, too.  He thought for sure I was going to veer into traffic!  we just rode in the lanes with cars and hard core bikers flew past us during rush hour with crazy traffic and fast cars!  it was really adventurous!!
In several spots- we dropped off our bikes at stations and did a lot of walking around.  We spent quite awhile in China town and loved it.   Toronto is such a melting pot!
The shops were filled with all sorts of crazy trinkets and toys.  Imagine this lady telling us over and over with a thick chinese accent: 'no pictures! no pictures!  toy 15 dollars! 15 dollars!  no pictures! no pictures!".

 Those are intestines. of some sort.
We love all of the Great Lakes! Toronto is on Lake Ontario.
I'm so glad that Kent shares in my love of adventures- small and large!   and I can't wait to explore more big cities of the world together!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ohio to New York...

Kent had a week of vacation, the fall colors were in full bloom, and Laney's husband was off work thanks to the government shutdown.  Perfect timing for a visit to Western New York!!   We go every fall and the drive through all of Ohio, Northern Pennsylvania, and Western New York is stunning.

Plus- we got to make a pit stop In Ashland to see our very favorite Ohioans!  the Starkeys!!  these are some of the best and kindest people you'll ever meet.  They've hosted us for Easters, Thanksgivings, Halloweens, and all sorts of weekends in between.  Definitely our Ohio family.

We had dinner- used the bathroom- and enjoyed the most delicious ghost cookies I've ever tasted. mmmm.
Metta LOVED their cats and dog.  

Once in New York- the weather was perfect.  absolutely perfect.

Day 1. Hike to the eternal flame.  Some flame that's burning in a mini cave in a mountain.  It stinks like rotten eggs. But it looks nice.

The men and their babies.

This little girl loved being on Kent's back.  

Much of the trail ran alongside/through a creek.  The water was FREEZING- but the kiddos didn't seem to mind in the slightest.

Milly goat only calls Kent- 'Dr. Kent'.  It's pretty funny. 
What are we going to do when cousins don't live a day's drive away??  I'm sad that these regular visits may be coming to an end soon!
I love fall.  I love leaves.  
I love her.
I don't know if baby Milo had as much fun as metta.  

we found a great little frog on the trail and all took turns kissing and holding it!
He's pretty cute, right?
I put him on Kent's shoulder so metta could pet him- and then the frog bolted. Jumped right off.  You can see his hind leg in the picture.  She never even got to touch him.  Kent thinks he broke some bones on the jump down.  I think frogs are meant to jump long distances.
There were some fun 'climbing' spots.  This looks tremendously more dangerous than it actually was.  The angle makes it look pretty steep.  I did not let my little Zeb scale a slippery treacherous mountainside.
Finally- the eternal flame. Right behind Zeb's head.  I thought it was going to be bigger.  And not so stinky.

Metta insisted on bringing along a 'baby'.  She talked to it, kissed it, loved it.  She is obsessed with babies.
After our hike we had a big Family Home Evening with my very best friend from college- and his family.   He lives near Laney and we all got together with our crazy kids.

I love this pic of my metta.  Holding onto her baby tighter than tight. while riding her bike.
 So crazy to think that twelve years ago we were in college and now we're all grown up with kids.

 Brad and I met at Ricks College in the year 2001 before our missions.  Man- I'm getting old!!!
 I've got zillions more pictures to come!