Autumn Weekend

I love fall. I’m a big fan of mild temperatures – not too hot, not too cold. This past weekend was perfect, and we took full advantage of it by spending as much time outside as possible.

On Saturday morning, we went to a birthday party for Catie’s friend Morgan. She lives across the street from our old house, so we got to see all of the neighborhood kids that we used to play with. Morgan’s mom, Kimberly, is a friend of mine, so our girls see each other on a semi-regular basis. But Catie doesn’t usually get to see the other kids from the old neighborhood, so that was A Very Big Deal. I was amazed that Catie remembered all of them since it’s been a year since the last time she saw them. One little girl in particular, McKenzie, has a very special bond with Catie, and always has. Catie absolutely adores her, and the feeling is mutual.

Catie & her 'Kenzie

A month or so ago, we ran into McKenzie and her mom leaving the grocery store as we were walking in. We said hi, and the girls exchanged hugs. A few minutes later, in the store, Catie sighed happily and said, “Mommy, ‘Kenzie is my favorite.” Believe me, she’s not lying. McKenzie is 10 now, and in a couple of years, I will totally hire her out to baby-sit. She’s a great kid.

When we finally got home from the birthday party, we both collapsed and took naps. When we woke up, we decided to go to the playground to take advantage of the sunshine and mild temperatures.

I know it's blurry, but this picture makes me laugh

That was a great day.

On Sunday, we met up with my cousin and her crew at the Green Acres Farm. BTW, huge shout-out to Andrea at Lil Kid Things for blogging about the farm because I would’ve never known that it existed otherwise! And it’s only a few miles from our house too, so we’ll definitely go back again.

Catie as a donkey & Elizabeth as a baby calf

After checking out the bounce houses and some of the other kid stuff, we set off to tackle the corn maze.

Catie & Elizabeth lead the way through the corn maze

The corn maze was… well. It was fun for the first 30 minutes or so. Then the dead ends start to get really annoying. And you get tired of saying, “Don’t touch the corn on the ground, please.” “No, you can’t pick that up, it’s dirty.” “Be careful not to whomp anybody with your flag.” (They give you a flag to wave in case you get lost and can’t find your way out.) Considering that we had 3 kids under the age of four with us, I think we did really well. But after close to an hour in there, I think I can safely say that’s about as close to The Shining as I ever want to get.

After the corn maze, we hung out on a tractor while waiting for the hayride.

The closest I got to a happy picture of all 3 kids.

Elizabeth and Catie on the tractor

The hayride was fun, and I think we all enjoyed having a few minutes to just sit down and enjoy the view after that corn maze hike.

After that, it was time for the highlight of Catie’s entire freaking year. Also known as the pony ride.

I think she's a natural-born jockey

Austin is only a year old, so he’s still too little for the pony ride. But Catie and Elizabeth absolutely loved it.

Elizabeth & Catie on the pony ride

After it was over, Catie cried and cried because she wanted to go again. The pony rides are $5, which is my only complaint about Green Acres Farm – that seems a little steep for a 3-minute pony ride. But I’m a sucker, so I caved in and let her go for a second ride.

I know I know, I should be more firm with her. But I thought of how much I loved horses when I was little, and how I would’ve felt if I had the chance to ride a real live pony, and… eh. It’s only $5.

Catie LOVES the pony ride!

Totally worth it.

Raleigh March for Babies

The March for Babies here in Raleigh was today. We had a pretty big team marching for Maddie.

Marching for Maddie
From left to right, that’s: me, Catie, Dave, my sister Tracy, (sitting) baby Austin, my cousin Cat, Elizabeth (in the stroller), Tony, and Megan. We’d never met Megan before today (if you’re reading this, hi Megan!), but she was super fun and a very good sport about us lagging behind with our slow toddlers and general foolishness. (We really are sort of a goofy bunch when you get us all together.)

purple manicure
That’s right, I painted my nails purple for Maddie. And I felt the need to document it with photographic evidence, since it happens so very rarely.

Tracy & Catie on the March for Babies

The walk was good. It was a little hot, but not as brutal as the weather forecast predicted. Also, no thunderstorms – that was the other thing on the forecast that had us worried. We felt a few random drops of rain here and there, but not even enough to call it a drizzle.

I told Elizabeth to smile

The kids had the most fun after the walk. There was a DJ playing all sorts of dance music at the finish line, so the kids (who had either ridden in strollers or been carried for the entire walk) needed a chance to burn off some energy.

my girl makes a run for the DJ booth
I got Catie the smallest Maddie t-shirt I could get, and I still had to knot it in the back so it wouldn’t look like a dress on her. The part that broke my heart was that when Catie saw the shirt this morning, she pointed at it and said, “Maddie!” She knows her face from being on my lap so many times when I’ve read Heather’s blog. I almost cried then, but I just said, “Yeah, baby, that’s Maddie.”

Throughout the day, she kept pointing at her own shirt, or mine or Dave’s, and screaming “Maddie! Purple!” Yeah, sweetie. You got it.

after the finish line

Elizabeth in her purple ballerina dress

After a while the toddler energy was contagious, and we all had to dance too.
Catie on Tracy's shoulders

Dave, Catie & me

And we had to snuggle on some babies.
Austin & his mommy

There was one guy who came over to us to ask about Maddie’s story, because he read her dates on our t-shirts. I told him, and he told us that he has 2 daughters, both of whom were born around 26 weeks. One of his daughters is now 8 years old and the other is about to turn 13. He thanks the March of Dimes for them being here and healthy today. Talking to him for just a couple of minutes was really moving.

Oh, and I believe that when you factor in the almost $200 that my cousin raised through bake sales at her office, our team raised a combined total of almost $1,000 for the March of Dimes. So that’s a pretty great day right there.