Baby's First Pumpkin Patch

Friday, September 25, 2015

Seeing as Rayna was fresh out of the baby factory last year, we never made it to any of our normal pumpkin patches. It somehow seemed like an unfinished fall without a hay ride and a glass of cider. This year, it was perfect because she was so interactive with the animals. Her face lights up and she has this high-pitched screech sound she makes when she sees animals. She tried to pet the baby chicks like she pets our big moose of a dog.

My workplace is amazing. They sponsor a day for their employees every year to check out Mulberry Lanes Farm. Rayna's due date was the exact date that the trip fell on last year, so we obviously didn't RSVP.

Mulberry Lanes offers hay rides, horse rides, and a bunch of petting zoo stuff. You can try to catch a chicken or a turkey. You can feed the goats and hang out in the pig pen. We always spend way too much time in the little cage where they keep the kittens.

Momma, you didn't save me any coffee!
Dunkin Donuts has the best.

Our favorite spot
No, you can't bring one home

After you're done petting all the animals, each person gets to choose a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch to take home. 

My cabbage patch kid

And my cool kid

The weather was absolutely perfect for this trip. The kids were wearing flannel and I was in long sleeves and we got a bit hot, but it was a perfect day. See you next year Mulberry Lanes!

Milwaukee Zoo Trip 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Every year Hubster's work sponsors a picnic at the Milwaukee zoo and we always try to make it. One year Hubster was in a wheelchair due to an injury to his knee. Last year he insisted I stay in a wheelchair because I was only a few days away from my due date.

That yellow sign behind me says "Baby on Board"

They always do such a great job providing lunch, drinks and attraction tickets. One of the attractions we went to was the dinosaur exhibit. We tried that about 3 years ago, and Kayne was just as scared this year as he was then. 

Our first stop was the petting zoo. Rayna gave the goats hugs as is normal for her with animals. She has this high-pitched squeal she makes when she sees an animal and she pats them really nicely. She's already an animal lover.

My boys tried out the ropes course this year, which was so cool to see too. Rayna and I hit the air conditioned shops for some souvenirs while they were doing that. Kayne got a necklace with an encapsulated scorpion. Just up his alley.

Then, we walked through all the requisite exhibits.

At one point, Kayne excitedly pointed out a momma peacock walking across the path with her babies. After the video, the momma peacock decided to fly over one of the motes around one of the bear exhibits. Everyone stood around and watched to see if she was really just going to abandon her babies. But actually, after hesitation, unsure of themselves, they each flew, one by one, to momma.
A video posted by Jessica Collins (@boun_seejess) on

After that, we headed back to the petting zoo and had one last run through the ice cream shop and headed home. Another amazing summer day!

Monarch Butterfly Migration

Saturday, September 19, 2015

We had a magical day last weekend at the Butterfly Gardens in Appleton, WI. A friend suggested that place after I told her that we missed the big beautiful migration that happened in Stephen's Point.

Baby caterpillar

It just so happened on that weekend, they were also participating in the Monarch Migration. Each family was given a monarch. We got to tag our own monarch and release it outside. They check each butterfly for OE and identify it as male or female. We got a female. The cool thing about tagging is that if any other nature centers that participate on their way to Mexico find your butterfly, they will give you a personal call or email. 

My mom and sister also came along, so we both had butterflies to release.

We took our envelope with our butterfly outside to their butterfly gardens. They have an amazing field of butterfly-attracting flowers with a mowed path in the shape of a butterfly. There's a lookout tower over the field, which is where we bade farewell to our flying beauties. It was a neat moment.

Next, we explored the trails and looked at more butterflies in the wild. It was about 95 degrees and humid, but we didn't care.

After the trails, we headed inside to the butterfly house. They have a greenhouse-like house where you can go inside with hundreds of butterflies. They give you a Q-tip dipped in Gatorade so you can try to catch them. It was so cool to have the butterflies right in your hands. We spent a lot of time out in that house.

My nephew Amadeus was complaining about not being able to catch anything. When he finally did get one on his Q-tip, he actually caught two of them! They were "cuddling."

There was also a little pond with turtles and frogs. 

We happened to find a few butterfly wings from some dead monarchs (they only live about 6 weeks). I'm hoping to figure out how to make something neat out of them. The boys want something too, so I'm trying to figure out what to make with them that won't be too girly.

Turns out Kayne's first science unit in school will be about butterflies. I have a feeling he might be ahead of the game:)

I really loved our day with the butterflies. It's such an amazing memory.

Wild Rose Camping Trip

Friday, September 18, 2015

A few weeks ago, we went on a family camping trip. Yep, 10-month-old baby and all. Admittedly, I was pretty worried about how Rayna would sleep, but we had taken a short test camping trip earlier in the summer. I was thinking that that trip would be a good primer for a longer trip. And it sorta was. Rayna slept awful the first night but did pretty well the next few nights. We scrapped the travel bassinet though and put a bunch of padding on the floor between the two back beds and put up a baby gate as a makeshift crib for her. It worked perfectly, even for naps!

Anyhow, on to the trip. We stayed at a campground in Wild Rose, WI called Camp Luwisomo. It's a Lutheran campground where one side has huge buildings and halls for retreats and the other side has a public campground. I wish more people knew about this place because it's absolutely beautiful and absolutely affordable! But there was no one there.

We ended up with the entire campground to ourselves except one other family behind us that we befriended. We're thinking they were Mennonites and we loved getting to know them. We shared S'mores around a campfire and lots of chats. And the kids played with each other every day.

Each day we did a small little something with lots of rest and taking casual drives in between. One day we went into town and visited the fish hatchery. Sadly, it has diminished since we were last there several years ago, but it was still fun to buy feed for a quarter and watch them feed.

This is the sexiest thing I've ever seen!

Funny enough, I have an image of him exactly like this from the same place, 5 years ago:

And one more for good effect

Another day we went into town and played miniature golf and had ice cream:

Hubster and I tied for first place!

Our campground also offered a cute little miniature golf course that we tried too.

Another day we went into town to dinner and found a cute hiking path. They even had fresh spring water that we filled our water bottles with.

While on the trail, I made one fabulous #pinchbouquet

This was another diner which is it?

And finally, on the last day, before we packed up to go, Kayne got to go on his very first horse ride. The campground offers guided rides for kids his age and he was so enthralled!

We brought some carrots for the horses

They also had free-range goats that were pretty friendly.

First signs of fall in August?

And just for fun, here's a picture of an electric chair, I kid you not, they had on display in a thrift store in Wild Rose. Even though I knew it wasn't even remotely in operation, I still sat at the very edge of the chair, not touching any part of it. It gave me the creeps.

Once we got home, we found this little hitchhiker on my Tone It Up Fit, Fierce Fab book.

This simple little trip was exactly what we needed as a family. Every night of the trip, we curled up and watched movies together. We took the days as casually as anyone ever could. We didn't spend very much money either, so that didn't weigh on anyone's mind. It was just another perfect trip!