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Preview: Our Pumpkin Patch

Our Pumpkin Patch

A blog about our family and how our growing children help us grow, too.

Updated: 2017-10-09T03:20:14.864-07:00


Making a switch


I've decided to try a different way to blog.  I've switched to Tumblr because it is much easier and more convenient, mainly because I can post directly from my phone. (It has an app.)  I've tried it out over the last week, and I've been making posts often, so for now at least, I'm heading over there.  If you're interested in checking it out, here's the link:



 Madelyn turned 10 last month.  Ten!  We celebrated at home and Mom and Dad were here to  celebrate as well.  We also had snow on her birthday, so we had a great time celebrating.Here she is with her Mickey Mouse pancake with a whipped cream face. Of course, Julia needed one too.Isabel made Madelyn a book since Madelyn likes to read so much.She received more books.And a PerplexusPerplexus helmet:Playing in the snow:Cake time:For her birthday, she asked if she could go with a few friends to a "real" restaurant, so these cute girls went with us for a fun girls' night out.Three weeks later, Pierce had his birthday. He's eight!  Goodness.  He had a great day with opening presents, taking Dunkin' Donuts to school, cake and ice cream for dessert, and opening presents.He also received a Perplexus.And some books and Legos.For Pierce's birthday outing, we get to go to the circus tomorrow! [...]

Another Snow Day


 We got about 4-5 inches of snow yesterday afternoon into early this morning.  The kids have already had a great time and played for about an hour before they decided they were cold.  It probably won't be melting much anytime soon, so I'm sure they'll venture out again.A very helpful neighbor:Pierce stuck in the snow blower blizzard:Fun with sledding:  My sweet snow angels:[...]

Christmas continued


Mom and Dad came and visited for a few days before Christmas.  We opened presents with them, and family was very generous with their gifts for the kids.We spent a week with John David's parents and enjoyed a lot of family time.[...]

Hooray for a snow day!


We have a much needed snow day today.  Madelyn has been sick, and we had a very busy weekend that ended with a sick Madelyn and an ER visit for Pierce resulting in 5 staples in his head.  Everyone is fine now, but we needed a recovery day.  We prayed last night for a healthy Madelyn and a snow day; Jehovah Jireh!  I took the obligatory snow day pictures before arguing, snow ball fighting, and Julia screaming about being cold happened.  The big three are still outside, but Julia is cozy and warm and watching a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Happy Tuesday!



Between busy schedules and major technical difficulties, it's been hard to update photos and the blog, but I'm finally back online with a useful computer.  We had a busy Christmas season with parties, concerts, Grandparents' Day at school, and family Christmas celebrations.

Our kids' school hosts Grandparents' Day on the last day before Christmas vacation, so John David's dad and Mom and Dad came to the fun.  John David's mom, unfortunately, had to work.  Both of the kids did great in their roles, and a good time was had by all.  Here are a few pictures and videos during their performance.

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Day at Sea World


We went to Sea World in Orlando while we visited Mom and Dad over Thanksgiving.  It was a lot of fun, and it had been a really long time, like maybe more than 15 years, since I had been there.  Here are a few shots from the day:

Here is a link to the rest of the photos:

Pool Time in Florida


 We had a couple of warm afternoons while we were in Florida to enjoy the pool.  The kids really liked the slide.[...]

Lego Land


We spent the week of Thanksgiving with my parents in Florida.  Our first excursion was to Lego Land.  The kids love the place and I'm always amazed at what can be done with little plastic bricks.  Here are a few pictures from Lego land.

You can click HERE to see more pictures from our day there.

Happy Halloween!


 Meet Izzy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates:

 Thanksgiving table with Madelyn's head as the main course:
An Ewok:

a ninja warrior:

and the best shot of all four:

The one year anniversary of our trip to the Grand Canyon


We are well into our 36th year of life, so we thought it was about time we wrote (belatedly) about our 35th birthday trip to the Grand Canyon.  We actually took the trip last October, but JD’s grandmother died right after we got back and life got very busy for a while. We had been talking about where to go for our 35th birthdays for a while and were leaning towards New Orleans, but then Carey had the idea to go to the Grand Canyon.  JD started looking at different trip options and itineraries online, and one of the things that seemed really cool was a mule trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  The trip is two days long and on the night in between you stay in cabins at the bottom of the Canyon.  The only problem was that the trips frequently sell out 14 months in advance and we didn’t decide to go until January 2013.  When JD called, the trips were already sold out for all of 2013.  So he persistently called every other day to check for cancellations and eventually we were able to get the trip scheduled for October 19-20, 2013. We made plane and car rental reservations and arranged for JD’s parents to come and stay with the kids.  We were less than 3 weeks away from the trip when the federal government, including all national parks, shut down because of the budget debate.  Even though the mule trip is operated by a private company, the mule company told us that there was no way to get access to the Canyon if the national parks remained closed.  Fortunately, the Grand Canyon was separately reopened with Arizona, not federal money and we kept our plans.  In any event, the entire federal government reopened on October 17 so we would have been okay in either instance, but we met several people on the trip that had postponed plans because of the shutdown. We flew out on Friday the 18th and landed in Phoenix around 900 AM.  We picked up our rental car and started heading north towards the Grand Canyon.  The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon is around 3.5 hours.  There aren’t really any mountains, but you can definitely feel the climb in altitude from Phoenix to Grand Canyon as you drive up to the Colorado Plateau.  We stopped for a quick lunch in Flagstaff and got up to the small town of Tusayan around 1 PM.  We tried to check into our hotel but our room wasn’t ready so we went into the national park and just drove around for about 45 minutes.  We caught a few glimpses of the Canyon but didn’t get out to walk around. From there we went back into Tusayan to take a helicopter ride over the Canyon.  We had initially booked the helicopter ride with Papillon Helicopters when we were worried that the park was going to be closed but even after it reopened we decided to keep it.  It was a very cool ride - the pilot took a slow loop up to the Canyon and then zoomed out over it.  So we went from being about 100 feet off the ground to instantly being several thousand feet above the floor of the Canyon!  We saw a lot of the more remote geological formations that are away from the touristy areas.  We were both wearing headsets so we really couldn’t talk to each other, but we just enjoyed the scenery.  The total trip took about an hour and we were back on the ground around 4 PM. From there, we drove back into the national park, parked the car and went inside Bright Angel Lodge to get our mule trip supplies.  We then took a bus out to Hopi Point to watch the sunset.  Sunset was around 6 PM and we were able to get a lot of pictures before and after.  Even better was that there was an amazing full moonrise soon after sunset!  We both agreed that the moonrise was even more beautiful than the sunset.  We finally got back to[...]

Isabel's 5th Birthday


Isabel  turned 5 last week, and we celebrated on Sunday because JD was traveling last week.  She left 4 behind with a bang, as we ended up in the E.R. on Monday night after she split open her forehead on the front steps.  We had a small celebration and invited a few kids from the neighborhood to have cake and ice cream.  They were all so happy to run around the backyard and eat the cake that it made me wonder why I ever planned more elaborate parties.  Isabel at five is spunky, determined, petite, the youngest in her class, and the loudest in her class and of her siblings.  She is a funny girl, and we love her so.[...]

North Myrtle Beach


We went to North Myrtle Beach last month with my parents and had a great time.  I hadn't seen the beach (unless you count 1.5 days in Italy which wasn't too shabby) in 6 years, and I just loved it.  I'm definitely a beach girl, and all of the kids loved it, too.  No one was scared of the ocean and they all loved playing in the waves. 

I took a lot of photos with my cell phone camera. I forgot my "real" camera which was just as well because I would not have wanted to take it out to the beach every day.  So, the pictures aren't the best quality, but I love them anyway. 

Here's a link to the photos:
Myrtle Beach 2014

Isabel's First Day of Kindergarten


Isabel started kindergarten today!  She finally got excited about school, as most of the summer she kept saying she didn't want to go to school every day.  Her preschool has a half day kindergarten program, and it seems like a perfect fit for her.  Our plan is for her to do kindergarten again at ICS next year, so this is just a warm up for her.  Here are some pictures from her first day; this kid has the best expressions even if you don't like the attitude behind them.  She was all smiles today, though.[...]

First Day of School


The big kids' school started today.  Summer just went by so fast, and I really wasn't ready for today.  The kids were very excited, though, as you can see from the pictures.Second grader: Fourth grader.  When did she grow up?    Julia is most cooperative when strapped down.Isabel was not feeling it. Isabel will start kindergarten next week at the same preschool she's been attending.  More pictures then.[...]

Swim Lessons


 The kids took swim lessons last month and I found these pictures on my phone.    Back stroke action:  Even Julia had some instruction:   Isabel got really comfortable in the water:    Pierce got to play some games: Madelyn received some diving lessons, too: [...]

Isn't she cute?


Julia is 2


Julia turned two on Friday, and there is no mistaking she's at that age.  She's got a huge vocabulary and will occasionally string words together.  She'll say common phrases, "Back up", "oh, no", "Hi, (insert name)".  And since she IS two, we hear, "NO, MINE!" and "NO, DON'T!".  She loves Frozen and constantly asks to watch Frozen videos on youtube.  She got an Anna doll for her birthday and loves it.  We had her party at Lake Anna when we were there a couple of weeks ago, and we had a small celebration here on Friday.  Madelyn made her a small cake using her Easy Bake Oven, and she opened presents after eating cake. Here are a couple of pictures from my phone taken last Friday. Sorry for the quality, but she IS two and refuses to pause for a moment.

Can you tell she has pigtails?  Look a bit more like horns.

They didn't last long.
Happy birthday, Julia!  We're so glad you are a part of our family!

Lake Anna


We went to Lake Anna with JD's family and enjoyed a week of boating, swimming, relaxing, fireworks, and a birthday party for Julia.  I took lot of pictures, so I've just embedded an album for your viewing enjoyment.

Lake Anna 2014

I've also included a video of Madelyn water skiing:

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 JD took the three big kids to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago.  They went up on a Friday got to spend a night in a hotel, which was a lot of fun for them.  They got to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, run up the "Rocky" steps, and hang out with some Red Coats.

Madelyn reading the Declaration of Independence to the crowd, and Isabel doesn't really care.

Top of the "Rocky" steps:

Independence Hall:

Moving West


Madelyn's third grade class studied pioneers and the expansion of the United States past the Mississippi River.  To celebrate the end of the unit, the class performed "Moving West".  The students did a great job, and Madelyn played the part of Annie, a lady whose husband died along the journey.  Here are some photos of her performance: The entire class:Getting ready to play the recorder:  Getting ready to head west:  Annie and her husband, Jacob: Here she is in her role: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560">[...]

Reader's Theater


Pierce's first grade class put on a Reader's Theater where the kids read fairy tales adapted by Margaret Allen.  Three groups of kids read, and Pierce's group read the adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk.  Pierce is such a good reader; he has such great expression in his voice.  It was difficult to hear all of the kids, so the video that we took is pretty hard to follow, but I've included a few pictures from yesterday.  The first picture is of his group reading their script.  The second is Pierce reading his "I'll always remember..." story where he wrote about something he'd always remember from first grade.  He wrote about a field trip.  The third picture is very blurry, but he is receiving his character award and "fun" award.  Each student received a unique character award and another award that was funny but tried to fit their personalities.  Pierce's character award was "Kindness-showing a loving attitude toward others."  His "fun" award was "Future President", which is so funny because I had this pegged 4 years ago.

First trip to the pool


We went to the pool yesterday, and I didn't take many pictures.  This one is indicative of Julia's attitude of both the baby pool and the big pool.  Here, she's mad because JD took her out of the baby pool; we got the same reaction when we put her into the big pool.  She kept screaming "cold, Mama, cold, Mama!"  The water was cold.

Madelyn's Piano Recital


Madelyn had her piano recital today, and she performed two pieces, Boog's Boogie and Evening Concerto No. 1.  This was her third year of taking lessons and performing in the National Federation of Music Clubs spring festival and because she achieved a superior ranking for three years in a row, she received her gold cup.

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Here is a picture of her receiving her gold cup:

Pierce's Piano Recital


Pierce started playing piano in September and has really enjoyed it and learned a lot of fun songs.  His recital was today, and he played Camptown Races.  Special thanks to my parents, my in-laws, and my sister-in-law for coming and making him feel so special.

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