Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fast Fall Flashback

I know... it is December & fall is done.  I think I'm still running 3 weeks behind ever since our big summer road trip... I've just never gotten caught back up.  So in my world, it is still kind of fall!  So here is a quick recap of the things I've neglected to post the past couple months...

Gram always does a nice fall display out by the gate.  This year it was adorned with pumpkins that Grandpa grew in one of the gardens.  We've gotten a picture of the kids every year... it is fun to see how they've grown & also how Gram's display changes from year to year...

2006 Brandon (almost 3) & Melanie (5 months)

2007 - Melanie (17 months) & Brandon (3.5)

2008 - Melanie (2) & Brandon (4.5)

This fall, Melanie informed me that it was the twins' (Lil, aka Honey, & Phil) birthday, so we had to throw them a little party.  She was so excited & spent the day making them gifts & then we planned a fun meal/party for them.  Oh what fun it is to be 5!

We had a gorgeous fall... a nice, long one with great weather.  So we tried to take advantage of it & got out on one last fall bike ride.
We headed to the Lanesboro area & hit the Root River trail to do some biking & geocaching.

We even hopped off the bikes for a little hike around an area to collect a few caches. It couldn't have been even nicer.

The kids picked pumpkins from Grandpa's pumpkin patch & spent some time coming up with ideas for their design.  Melanie seemed to be inspired by Brandon's, so they ended up looking quite similar! 

Halloween is full of fun...from class parties (Brandon, above, with a few classmates) to Trunk or Treats (Melanie, below, with friends Audrey & Clara) & Halloween fun around town... it ended up being a 4-day event this year...

Of course there was Trick-or-Treating on the actual day for our young Jedi & our Ballerina Kitty... 

We had a relatively mild Halloween temperature-wise, for Minnesota standards & that made for trick-or-treating fun with friends!

In early November, the guys headed out on the annual deer hunt & they were fortunate to have had nice, mild temps for deer hunting!  One of the benefits of hunting on our farm is the availability of the tractor once the deer is out of the woods.  Ever since they were little, the kids have liked helping Grandpa drive the tractor!

With deer hunting out of the way & nice fall weather, Mike & the kids hit the woods for some squirrel hunting.  The kids take their BB guns along... unfortunately, with all the chatter (mainly of the little sister), they didn't see a single squirrel this time but they had fun anyway!

We had an exciting "arrival" this fall as well...
A PIANO!!!  It came all the way from my mom's house in ABQ to us.  The kids were beyond excited... 
 Brandon plays non-stop & has quite a Christmas repertoire all ready for the holidays.  Now we need to look into "real" lessons for them as up until now, I've been teaching them.

Brandon & Melanie are in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) school option that started this year in Winona.  All grades (K-4) did a unit on Monarch butterflies.  In November, they rounded it out by hosting a Monarch Fair where we were able to see the projects each grade worked on.
 The 2nd grade had to make a project to design some sort of defense mechanism to protect the caterpillar or butterfly in the event one of the monarch's natural defenses fails.  Brandon gave his caterpillar radar to help it find enemies & food.

The Kindergarteners each made a book.  They illustrated all the pages & types the words to go with it... it was quite the undertaking for these kids but after a lot of hours spent on it, they got it done!  Melanie's was on the life cycle of the Monarch.

We enjoyed getting to see all the projects the kids did in all the grades!

And with that, November was almost over which meant Thanksgiving was upon us!  We hosted our first Thanksgiving in the new house (since we weren't in last year in time for it)... but sadly, no wild turkey for us even with all the birds we saw over winter.  They were rather elusive this spring when turkey hunting was going on!  Oh well... we had a fabulous turkey anyway!

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving day... warm enough for a nice hike after dinner & before dessert! 

Of course, for our kids... their favorite part of any family event is getting to see their cousin Allison!  They have a lot of fun with her!!

And now that fall is caught up... we can move onto winter & Christmas!