Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Corn Maze

Last weekend, in honor of pumpkins, Halloween, and all things fall, I took the boys to Froberg's Farm (where we picked strawberries last spring) for the corn maze and pumpkin patch. As I had hoped, the maze was a hit with the boys - and with me. We spent at least an hour dashing back and forth, finding dead ends, wandering in circles, brushing against corn stalks, hearing but not often seeing the other maze-goers, and looking up at the blue, blue sky above. Sebby kept dashing ahead, always disappearing around the next fork in the path, while Misha lagged behind, trying his best to keep a record of all the different paths in his notebook to serve as our guide back out again. With visions of Theseus and Harry Potter in our heads, we navigated the labyrinth and successfully found eight of the nine "stations" where we punched our cards before reaching the exit. When I asked them if they wanted to go back and find the ninth station, the answer was a resounding YES, so back into the maze we went. After a little more wandering, we found the missing station and emerged victorious. Hooray! The boys were excited to receive their ice cream prizes.

On the "hay" ride to the maze.

Into the maze

Peeking out!

Which way?

Sebby charging ahead, Misha sketching his map.

After the maze, we bought ourselves some much needed cold water and visited the pumpkin "patch," which was really a cutesy field of already picked, washed, and strategically placed pumpkins.

Fall portrait of Misha :)

Fall portrait of Sebby!

Time for snacks - the roasted corn was quite good! The fried pies were delicious too.
Sebby and his ice cream prize.

They planted their own strawberry plants. I was shocked to learn that Froberg's plans to open strawberry picking around Christmas time.

Shopping for some fresh veggies, including pie-making pumpkins.

Back home: They were totally engrossed in their own Lego game for hours.

We finally returned home, exhausted and ready to tell Daddy all about it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Summer into Fall: Recap

Summer is over ... and I have to say, I am glad for fall and the cooler weather it brings. I love that we can open the windows now and not be choked by humidity. Our July and August were filled with plenty of activities - and it's about time for a photo session to catch up on my blog! Biking, going to the park, going to the beach, visiting the Kids' Museum, and moving into an apartment were a few of our summer achievements. Plus, Misha got to take a two-week trip to Boston to see friends he made in Kyrgyzstan and attended first grade with.

Upgrading to a bigger bike!

Enthralled by seagulls

Kids' Museum fun!

Me, myself and I

Rocket launching

Slip n Slide

A friendly woolly bear

We quickly filled up our new apartment and made it feel like home.

Playing soccer outside in the complex

Playing cavemen

Chess break in the middle of unpacking

Risk: Time to take over the world!

Misha's trip to Boston gave me some quality time with Sebby. One weekend, he and I went to the bayou and explored. He ran up and down the paths with his magnifying glass, looking at leaves and berries. We observed wildlife - mainly insects, which was just fine with us!

On the move


A bee

A beetle with "eyes" on its back

A big beautiful blue dragonfly

Orange butterfly


And the prize sighting: this fabulous spider, so large and brightly colored that it's reminiscent of a rubber toy. Incidentally, the day before, we found this spider in Sebby's new National Geographic book from Grandma and Grandpa, where it was labeled a "black and yellow garden spider." Sebby remembered that the large spiders with the large webs are usually female, so he thought this spider must have been a girl. When we passed the spider a second time at the end of our walk, we saw that she had caught two damselflies in her web.

Skyping with Misha in Boston

Having the apartment pool at our disposal meant that Sebby got tons of swimming practice. His eagerness to swim, his fearlessness of the water, and his perseverance to try again and again meant that he learned how to swim across the pool by himself in just a few weeks. Way to go! The goggles really helped him, since he can move more efficiently when swimming underwater. 

Meanwhile, Misha had a really good time with his friends Pasha and Yan at their home in the Boston area. They moved back this summer from Bishkek, where they lived for five years. Not only did Misha get to explore forests, the Atlantic Ocean, castles and parks, but he got to do it all in Russian, bringing back his own confidence in the language. Since this was his first big trip alone, he missed his family, of course - but we called and skyped almost every day. When he came back loaded with presents from his friends for us, he was eager to shower them on Sebby to make him happy. What a good big brother. And Sebby certainly missed him while he was away!

S'mores with Pasha and Yan!

Misha with my friend Alesia, who took care of Misha like part of her family.

Trips to the beach.

Chess competitions

Feeding the geese!

Forest romps

Boys in nature - the best excusions

Cozy with cocoa


Two weeks flew by, and then it was time to pick him up in the airport! 

Another trip to a little local beach with the boys.

School started at the end of August. Since we moved to an apartment in a different area, Misha had to get used to yet another new school, but he has adjusted very well. He is doing well in all his subjects, still loves art, and was even invited to participate in the school's literary magazine project. As for Sebby, he loves his preschool and continues to amaze his classmates and teachers by reading bits of Frog and Toad to them and translating his favorite Russian poem for them. He loves the field trips, art activities, and show-and-tell days so much that he is the one reminding me of everything.

Ready for the bus!

Once when I returned from walking Misha to the bus, I found Sebby waiting for me on the front steps like this.

One of Sebby's school papers required them to practice writing a few As. 

One of Misha's homework assignments was drawing a map highlighting countries that a family member had been to. He chose me.

One day we made our own clay figurines. Then they took them to the park and played with them there all afternoon.

Homemade bread! So delicious.

Sebby was so happy to have "homework" when Ashley gave him a few workbooks. :)

Misha and I created a 90-piece "revealed-flower" origami ball ...

which opens to expose the blooms.

Kid Talk:

Misha often says quite wise things. For instance, before his Boston trip, he noted: "I have discovered that one minute is a really long time and two weeks is a really short time."

Sebby has started to note the difference between southern and non-southern speech. Once while talking, he caught himself saying, "I do even cooler things than y'all! I mean ... you guys. That was silly! What is 'y'all'?"

I have previously mentioned how Sebby often recites the name-game rhyme with random words. When he is upset, he often growls, "Urg!" - but sometimes, it comes out "Urg Urg Bo Burg!"