Wow, yet again I have let months pass without blogging. I guess my only excuse is that it's been a busy few months. My New Year's Resolution is to start blogging regularly again. So, here is a month by month catch up on what we've been up to here at the Pack house:
In July, we flew to Idaho to spend two weeks with Denny's family. We had an amazing trip full of beautiful backyard time, family, waterfalls, and camping in the mountains. I (of course) took a ton of photos. Just click on the links to go to pages with all of the photos from each event.
Dylan sniffs the daisies.
Eating all the raspberries.
Dylan was fascinated by Sue and Ward's lovely garden. He found his own little spot amidst the beans that weren't doing so well and used a stick to poke around. I loved the view of him through the rows of corn that now graces the header of this page. We also enjoyed looking at all of the beautiful flowers and picking succulent raspberries that didn't make it into the basket.
We took several little road trips to see some of the local sites near Twin Falls. The first was Cauldron Linn, a swirling waterfall carved into the Snake River Canyon. We took a winding narrow road down into the canyon and walked to the edge. Amazingly, there is no railing, or anything to block a hiker from exploring. So, we took turns going down closer to the falls and taking pictures.
Our second waterfall trip was to see Shoshone Falls. I've seen these falls before and remembered how amazing they were. This trip didn't disappoint. It was a beautiful bright sunny day and the mist from the falls created not one but two rainbows. What an amazing sight!
We don't get to see Garth and Aimee very much (only when we head to Idaho to visit), but they are the kind of friends that make you feel welcome, as if you get to see them all the time. We had lots of fun playing Rock Band at their house (Dylan especially liked to rock the microphone - unplugged of course). This album has a collection of all our random fun in it.
The second week of our trip, we all loaded up into different vehicles and headed to the Sawtooth mountain range for a family camping trip. Denny's parents pulled their fifth wheel, and we got to use the little camper that Denny grew up camping in. I'd never camped in a camper before and I really enjoyed the experience. We camped on Stanley Lake at the foot of Mt. Gown. Denny's sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephew were a couple of campsites away and spent most of their time with us. We played games, had lots of art time with the kids, did a bit of wading in the lake and spent some time digging in the sand. Dylan really enjoyed playing with his cousins, climbing on the rocks around our campsite, eating marshmallows and playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with Grandma.
One of our days in the sawtooth mountains, we drove north to the ghost town of Custer, Idaho. They have an interesting set of buildings with artifacts on display from the days of mining in the area.
Grandpa and Dylan at the Drilling Rock.
A family picnic in Custer, Idaho.
On our way home, we stopped a few times for lunch and photos. Dylan really enjoyed the whole trip. For a couple of weeks after we got home he'd randomly ask to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I think one of his favorite things was the little barrel train he got to ride at the arts festival in downtown Twin Falls. Lucky for him, Young's Dairy has one too.
Dylan riding the little train in Twin Falls.
In August, we didn't take any exciting trips, but we did have fun at home. We spent lots of time outside, in the little pool, at Young's Dairy, and in Yellow Springs. We celebrated Denny's birthday and found a beautiful sunflower field.
In September, we took another trip. This time, we drove to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for a Labor Day family reunion with my Dad's family. I hadn't seen many of these cousins in over 15 years and our reunion was at the same hunting camp that the previous reunion so many years ago was. We spent three days with my cousins, eating, drinking, playing cornhole (I've never called it that, but apparently that's what the yankees call it....in the south it's just plain beanbags), and catching up. The weather was beautiful and Denny, Dylan and I did a bit of hiking around the area. One of the reasons for the gathering was the spreading of Uncle Bill's ashes around the camp, one of the places he loved best. I was glad that I was able to be there for Aunt Barb. In true Shermer fashion, my cousin Mark made us laugh several times with stories of Uncle Bill.
This was also the weekend that Dylan started trying to draw letters. And he wasn't half bad at it...he successfully drew A's, T's, J's and L's. And possibly some others, but I don't remember which ones. Since then he's gotten better and better and I've been working on teaching him to write the letters beside each other instead of wherever there is space on the page.
A group shot of the first batch of Shermer's. We never did take a second one after my cousin Scot and his kids arrived. Back row: cousin Mark, Uncle Jack, cousin Tom, cousin Jimmy, cousin Kevin, cousin Eric. Front row: Mark's wife Cecil, cousin Nancy, Aunt Jane (with Eric's son in her lap), Aunt Barb, Tom's girlfriend, and myself and Dylan.
Also in September, we went to Day Out With Thomas with our friends. We did this last year too. Dylan was excited to see the big Thomas engine and to ride the train. He also really enjoyed stamping at the art station.
We did Yellow Springs a lot in September as well, up until our CSA ended. One of our favorite trips was going blackberry picking with our friends Mary and Mary Claire. We followed up the blackberry picking with a trip to Young's Dairy to see the pumpkins.
In October, the weather cooled off and the leaves started falling from the trees. And Dylan loves playing in the leaves. He also really liked his little orange pumpkin bucket and had lots of fun carrying it around here and there. I started taking him outside, spreading a blanket out, and having art time. It was nice to be out in the cool air painting and drawing. The tricycle came out of the shed and we worked on teaching Dylan how to pedal. Which he started doing a little bit at a time. That was very exciting.
Of course the big event of October was Dylan's 3rd birthday. We had a joint party with Dylan's friend Jax (like last year). This year, we rented out the leasing office and decorated for a Curious George and the Zoo themed party (Dylan was into animals and Jax was into Curious George, so we combined them). I spent a couple of weeks before the party making animals and a Curious George out of cardboard. I also sewed birthday streamers that we can use for every birthday. And, of course, like last year, I had great fun making the cakes. We ended up with way to much cake in the end, but, it was all still delicous. I made a jungle themed cake and a little rhinoceros cake for Dylan. We rented a bouncy castle for outside, we ended up with lovely weather and spent a lot more time outside than we'd planned on. It was a fun party!
The weekend before Dylan's actual birthday I flew to Washington, D.C. to take photos for my friend Ingrid's wedding. It was a whirlwind weekend–I attended a photography workshop, took photos for the rehearsal, spent the day of the wedding taking photos, did a little shopping, saw my friend from college Yehudi, and spent one day seeing as much of the D.C. sights as I could. I'll make it my next goal to do a post all about my trip.
Two days after Dylan turned 3, he started preschool. He wasn't very happy about it at first. The first day we left him crying on the floor (poor guy). But, after a couple of good days and bad days he leveled off and even started asking to go to school.
And of course October isn't complete without mentioning Halloween. This year I made matching Super Sleuth t-shirts for all of us. Dylan's favorite show is My Friends Tigger and Pooh and they solve mysteries in the Hundred Acre wood as Super Sleuths. Dylan had fun trick-or-treating with his friend Elena (who dressed as tigger).
In November, we spent lots of time enjoying the last days of fall. One day when we were coming home from school, our neighbor had been raking a huge pile of leaves and Dylan went to jump right in. Denny came out and helped rake up more of the leaves and we ended up with a mountain of leaves that we all had fun playing in. We also spent lots of time at various playgrounds soaking up the last of the lovely weather before it turned too cold for such things.
Dylan still loves to help me in the kitchen and in November we made English Muffins and Pumpkin Pie Brioche dough among other things. I also started teaching him how to sew using burlap, a plastic needle and embroiderers floss. And of course what's November without making turkeys. We made hand turkeys and feet turkeys and he even made a paper bag turkey at school.
Thanksgiving was spent baking butternut squash, stuffing, pumpkin pie and apple pie that we took next door to our neighbor's house to share. Dylan and Denny helped me make the apple pie. Dylan helped roll out the dough, while Denny peeled the apples. I chopped the apples and then Dylan put the apples into the pie plate. Dylan helped sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on top and then tried to plant his spoon in the pile of apples.
December was full of Christmas fun and projects. We made wreaths, ornaments, reindeer, cookies, a gingerbread house and an advent calendar. We were very busy all month. Dylan saw Santa a couple of times at various Christmas venues. And he received his very own Santa hat at the band's children's Christmas party. He insisted on wearing the Santa hat from then on.
Christmas Eve we went to our friend Rachel's house for a pajama party. There was lots and lots of food (I made bread and pie), good company and fun. Denny brought his guitar and played Christmas carols while we all sang. After the party, we brought our tired little boy home and tucked him into bed. Then, we came downstairs and got things ready for Santa to arrive.
Christmas morning brought full stockings and presents under the tree. Dylan (and the kitty cat) were both mesmerized by the Shinkansen train circling his tiny tree. Denny taught Dylan how to dump out his stocking to see what was inside. Dylan went through his stocking the way he went through Easter Eggs at Easter. When he found food he stopped everything to eat it. He polished off the peanut butter and jelly M&Ms then found a lollipop. After that, he attempted to open presents with just one hand, because he certainly couldn't part with the lollipop. Santa brought lots of fun surprises for all of us and we spent the day playing with our new toys, reading books and just relaxing as much as we could. Dylan's Grandma and Grandpa sent a little guitar for him and he's been enjoying playing his guitar with his Daddy every day since.
After Christmas we had snow. Not a whole lot, but enough to make a tiny snowman and to stomp around in. Dylan really likes stomping in the snow and has nice cushy snow pants so that when he sits down, its okay. We also went to see the Woodland Lights display down in Centerville.
Dylan and Denny at the Woodland Lights exhibit in Centerville. It was cold, but we didn't mind as we walked around looking at all of the pretty Christmas lights. Some of the paths were iced over and Dylan loved holding on to our hands and sliding on the ice.
Phew, that's one long post. But, now I'm caught up and can start the new year fresh. I have a really cute video to post tomorrow. For now, goodnight!