Remember that duck pond I found on my extra long bike ride in July? Well, I started taking Dylan there on a fairly regular basis. He really likes feeding the ducks and watching them eat (while he has a snack too). The playground nearby is more for older kids, but has a really long balance beam type thing that he likes to walk on.
We did spend a lot of time on playgrounds this summer. I wasn't as good about bringing my big camera along (or pulling out my iphone) as I should have. I was probably too busy talking to my friends while our kids played. The other reason for a deficit of photos this month had to do with losing the camera battery charger for our small camera. When we finally did just go buy a new one, we found out that the camera itself didn't want to work anymore and ended up buying a new pocket camera. So, in a month or two you'll see more photos. :)
The thing to do here in August is to go blueberry picking. Our friends Laura and Willow invited us to go with them to Artic Valley to pick blueberries. Unfortunately, the berries were pretty picked over, but we had a good time hiking around through the tundra anyway. I did take my good camera along that day (since I had Denny with me too) and had fun taking photos of everyone.
A panorama of Anchorage from up towards Artic Valley. Click here to see it nice and big.
Here are our friends Laura and Willow picking some berries.
Denny entertains Dylan by making him "fly".
I love this shot of Willow!
Here are my sweet giggly boys again.
Dylan does love rain puddles and we certainly had our share of those this summer.
And I believe I mentioned in my July post about Dylan's love of letters and spelling. Here he is playing with letter tiles and spelling rhinoceros.
My little speller.
In August, we had the first moose (that we saw anyway) in our yard. We were just sitting watching TV one evening and Denny looked up and was like "#$*&! there's a moose!". I managed to get a few bad photos on my iphone despite Safety Boy asking me to be really still (he was afraid the moose would see our motion in the window and ram into the house). The moose actually hopped over our fence into the back yard without any trouble at all. She sampled various trees and shrubs and then meandered toward the garden. We held our breath...the garden fence is higher than the one she had jumped...would she attempt to get in? She snacked on some of the sugar snap pea plants, stood by the garden gate for a minute or two and then turned back around and came back towards the house. She hopped the gate back to the front yard again and then walked off down the street.
There's the moose. You really can't get a good idea of just how huge a moose is from a photo...they really are huge!
Denny's birthday was in August, which means only one thing. More CAKE! I had Dylan help me decorate with sprinkles. That boy loved shaking on the sprinkles. And then he realized the brown ones were chocolate and started picking them back off to eat.
The cake was sprinkled a lot! And Denny didn't mind at all. :)
Dylan started his new preschool in August. Unlike last year when we had to leave our crying upset boy on the floor in his classroom, he was very happy to go to school this year. He even asks to go to school on weekend days. He loves to sing and really likes circle time. The first few weeks of school we'd get concerts of the songs he'd learned at school. Also, unlike last year when it took him a really long time to start singing along with the other kids, this year it only took a couple of months. Dylan still has a hard time interacting with the other students. He's happy to hold hands with the other students when they are walking, but he doesn't initiate any sort of conversation and doesn't tend to pay attention when another kid is trying to talk to him. He's adjusting to being in a large group of kids (well, there's 8 in his class...and that's a lot for him) and hopefully, like last year, he'll have made a friend by the end of the year.
Dylan and his teacher.
We visited the Anchorage Museum again in August (that membership really pays off) with our friends. Dylan discovered a few new things he hadn't played with before (and of course visited his old favorites).
Dylan likes making these gravity balls bounce.
Willow, Faith, Denny and Dylan check out the water feature in the museum's atrium area. Everytime we go by that now Dylan asks for a coin to throw in.
Dylan loves crawling into this bubble and making faces at me.
We visited the Alaska State Fair in late August. It's kind of odd that the fair is after school starts. Lucky for us, Dylan's teacher let us take a Friday off so that we could go on a less busy day. We saw lots of extra large vegetables, lots of animals and ate some yummy food (salmon quesadilla anyone?). And then we headed over to see what the rides looked like. We tried the pony ride again, but unlike the last time he rode a pony and really liked it, this time he wasn't into it at all. I had to walk around beside him to keep him from being upset. Poor guy. We saw that same tall purple slide we saw on July 4th (and spent lots of money on....it was Dylan's favorite) but it was closed because of the rain. So, we had to divert Dylan with the train and the carousel.
Dylan and the big pumpkin. Although this one wasn't as big as the one we saw in Ohio last year.
Dylan kicked back on the train ride.
Denny's band played for the Anchorage Fire Department in August and Dylan and I went too. They had a family day with lots of fun activities for the kids. Dylan got to "drive" a fire truck, go through an obstacle course, put on a real fireman's hat and shoot water out of the fire hose and listen to his dad play guitar. Oh, and did I mention he got to eat a donut? He overheard one of the band guys saying they had donuts and promptly asked for one. :)
September brought with it more fall weather. We had a few warm days towards the beginning of the month, but by the end most of the leaves were off of the trees.
This playground is near the duck pond. Dylan likes balancing and walking back and forth on this balance beam. And that's my hat on his head. That sun is bright!
On Labor Day, there was a union sponsored festival downtown with free bbq and bouncy fun for the kids. Our friend Laura invited us to meet them there. Dylan loved climbing up and going down the slides.
Denny and Dylan come down one of the slides.
I lost Dylan's hat and we bought him a new one. He wore it happily and looked even cooler "playing" the drums in Best Buy's music section. (Of course, I found his other hat after a couple of weeks of it being missing).
In the garden, the sugar snap peas and snow peas were ready to pick. Dylan loved going out in the garden and eating "sugar snack peas" right off the vine.
The vines grew nice and tall. I think I'll need to tie them to the fence for more support next year.
The cauliflower was also ready to pick and eat.
Dylan in the garden with a sugar snap pea in one hand a raspberry in the other.
There's a little person in the garden. As you can see, the collards and chard did really really well.
On one of the warmer days, we took Dylan to the Chester Creek Park for a bit of creek stomping. Don't be fooled by Denny's shorts, when I say warmer, it means above 60º and the sun was out. The sun here is really intense and can make it seem warmer than it actually is.
And here's a totally random picture. We were making a card for Dylan's friend Faith, and he decided he needed a sticker on his nose.
We took our first trip to the Alaska Botanical Gardens for their harvest festival. The kids got to make real Mr. Potato Heads with pipe cleaners and fruit and googly eyes. They also had apple dipping and a bean bag toss. We didn't get to check out the whole festival because we had a birthday party to go to. We'll have to go to this again next year. The Botanical Garden will be nice to wander through in the summer for sure.
Dylan and his potato head.
Dipping for apples.
We also had our first trip to Cheney Lake Park with our friends Laura and Willow. The fall colors were in full array and were lovely reflected in the lake. There's a multiuse trail around the perimeter of the lake as well. Dylan and Willow enjoyed watching the ducks and playing on the playground. Dylan had fun climbing on a big rock too.
Dylan on his rock.
Since September is the month for Harvest type festivals, we were able to go to one on a farm. Pyrah's Festival is one of those big events...lots of people. Next year we'll be sure to go right when they open and are less crowded. It reminded me a bit of Young's Dairy back in Ohio. They had tractors to climb on, a hay bale maze and a little train for the kids to ride on.
Can you find Dylan in the hay bale maze?
Dylan wasn't as excited as I thought he'd be about the train (he was busy concentrating on his snack). However, Willow and Faith were way happy.
Dylan in the tractor wheel.
Just across the main road from our neighborhood is an elementary school with a nice big playground. It's open to the public during the summer and on weekends. And luckily for us there is a pedestrian overpass across the big road so we don't have a cross the busy street to get there. On this trip to the playground, Dylan road his tricycle and Denny carried up the stairs of the overpass.
This yellow tree was so pretty near the school.
We had our first leaf pile of the season (after I finally decided I needed to rake...:) and Dylan had fun running up to the pile, stopping, and then jumping in.
We went to yet another festival in September at the Chester Creek Science Center. It was their Public Lands Day and they had all sorts of activities. We met our friends Stephanie, Joss and Aidan there and share s'mores with them. We tried orienteering (using a compass and following clue type directions to get to certain points) and we tried geocaching. The geocaching was our favorite of the two. It was a lot of fun to tramp through the woods looking for treasure.
Dylan had his first s'more.
Towards the end of the month we had our first snowfall. It didn't stick, but we were amazed at the size and shape of the snowflakes.
So I didn't take a whole lot of photos in October. I have a few from the beginning of the month and more from the end (Dylan's birthday). So, we'll start in the beginning. We visited the Anchorage Museum for their Latin America Day. They had great music and different crafts for the kids to do. Dylan and Willow really enjoyed the music.
Dylan and Willow dancing.
With winter on its way, we decided to go ahead and build some new garden boxes so we'd be ready in the spring. Or, I should say Denny built new garden boxes. He did an awesome job and it will be nice to have my raised beds higher next year.
So, now we will skip forward. Mid-October was probably more of the same for us with random outings here and there. Back in August, Dylan's ABA therapy started back up so our weeks our pretty busy. We typically have a tutor here every morning for a couple of hours, then a little free time, lunch, then off to school. Plus, we're on the opposite schedule from our friends who are in a morning preschool class. So, we usually have a standing date on Thursdays to visit the indoor playground nearby and catch up with each other. Although, now that we have snow, we've gone sledding instead (more on that in my November post).
Now we skip forward to the weekend before Dylan's birthday. The Anchorage Museum had a Halloween type festival and the kids got to wear their costumes.
Here's the back of Dylan's tiger costume.
It's Super Why and Tigger!
One of the activities they had at the museum was pumpkin decorating. Dylan wrote the whole alphabet on his pumpkin.
And no visit to the museum is complete without Dylan crawling into one of the plastic bubbles (love that dimple!)
Next up, Dylan's 4th birthday! We got him a kid camera for his birthday and this year I figured out the best way to give him a present. We took it out of it's packaging, made sure it had batteries, and then put it in a different box. I wrote out a note that said "it's a camera for Dylan" and put that on top of the camera. On the outside of the package I wrote a card that said "Happy Birthday Dylan". He is so into words and reading that I thought the best way to draw him into the present was with words. And I think it worked pretty well. I also decorated the house for his birthday to make it extra special.
Birthday decorations: streamers over doorways and if you peek through you can see the fabric birthday banner I made last year and plan on using every birthday.
Dylan's birthday present.
After a little encouragement to get him to rip the paper off, he opened his present.
Checking out his camera. He's more interested in pushing the buttons on the back than actually taking pictures with it so far. But, I have a feeling the other part will come in the future.
I made chocolate zucchini cupcakes for Dylan's class on his birthday and he got to have one after dinner. Here he is listening to us sing "Happy Birthday".
In between Dylan's birthday and his birthday party, I decided it was time to get a new battery charger for our camera (since the one we had disappeared during our road trip). Denny went and picked one out and we charged up the battery. I got to use the camera one last time before realizing it would only focus when it felt like it and then would give an error message and shut off randomly. So, we took back the charger and found a new pocket camera. Which means more photos. Yay!
The weekend of Halloween was the party weekend. Our friends Laura and Willow had a Halloween party on Friday. And then we had Dylan's birthday party on Saturday.
I got to dress up for Laura and Willow's party too. I was Princess Leia and of course, Dylan was a tiger.
Preparations were in full force for Dylan's party the week before. This year, I knew we would have a much smaller party. The past two years we've shared a party with Dylan's friend Jax back in Ohio. Which was great fun and made party planning easier with two of us to plan. However, last year's party seemed overwhelming for Dylan...especially trying to get him to open all of the presents during the party. So, this year, I went for the smaller party. This was actually easier to do since we don't have a ton of friends here yet. I rented out the party area of the Museum of Natural History and all we had to do was show up, set up our food and let the museum do the rest. We ended up with 4 other little ones (and a couple of big brothers and sisters and one little brother) and it was just the right size. Dylan was enthralled by the cake I made and kept running over to the table and touching it. I love to see him excited by things and that so makes the work I put into the cake worth it. All the kids enjoyed the museum and most of them wore costumes as well (since the party was the day before Halloween). The museum also had science experiments set up and the kids had fun checking those out. Opening only 4 presents went smoothly for Dylan and the party was a great success.
Dylan's birthday cake.
Dylan checking out his cake.
Here's the party setup at the museum.
Dylan reacts to everyone singing "Happy Birthday".
Opening a present. This Super Why game is Dylan's favorite to play currently.
He also really liked this "Alaska 1 2 3" book and wanted to read it right away.
I had Dylan decorate the goodie bags by drawing on birthday cakes and writing his friends' names.
Oh yay! I'm almost caught up! One more month to go....and November will be my next post!