After our wonderful week at the lake vacation, school loomed before the kids like a big dark cloud. The nice warm summer-like weather lasted well into fall, so we were able to do many nice day excursions to various attractions in the area.
Not even a week after we got back from our trip, however, Corbin had a "trip" of his own. Needless to say, he will no longer be sliding down the banister at home (or hopefully anywhere else!) Here he is at the "scene":
Don't feel too bad for him, with those big sad puppy eyes. Here is the real Corbin:
That didn't prevent us from still having many fun adventures. He only had to wear a cast for 3 weeks, and it healed wonderfully.
Before we put the gardens to bed for the fall, Nora wanted to show everyone how huge her marigolds got. She planted them in a small cup at preschool, and when the weather became nice enough, we moved them outside. Just shows what a little love can do for a plant!!
Since we had bought a state park pass on our vacation, we figured we might as well put it to use. The nearest park is a bit of a drive for us, but boy is it worth it! Sibley State Park has a great mix of longer and shorter walking trails, forests and plains, and a nice swimming beach.
We walked a beautiful trail around a pond, Caleb birding along the way.
We also visited a neat lookout on top of a hill. It was rather windy at the top, and there were ladybugs everywhere! They landed all over us. Nora seemed quite delighted, but Rosa wasn't so sure (and neither were the rest of us!)
The bugs were really bad on the stone walls, and right after this picture was taken, all 3 ran off screaming.
Corbin was not happy about his cast being in the photos, but I managed to convince him someday he'd look back on the whole ordeal and be glad we have some photos of it.
It was getting quite hot and muggy out, so we headed for the beach area for our picnic. The kids went exploring, and Caleb found a tiny baby snapping turtle!
After we ate, the kids wanted to cool off by wading in the water a bit. Corbin had to make sure his cast didn't get wet, of course.
Anna did her usual drink the water by fistfuls while dad isn't looking act.
The kids (except for Corbin) waded out deeper and deeper until they were basically swimming with clothes on.
Nora didn't think it was such a grand idea once she got out and felt wet and cold, however.
We also managed to go to the Nelson Farm on another unseasonably warm day in late September. Caleb was determined we wouldn't get hopelessly lost in the corn maze this year. He had spent hours studying the maze's layout in the local paper, and was ready to lead us through. And he did!
The highlight for the girls was all the farm animals. Nora and Rosa each got a pony ride.
They all played a round of farm mini golf, which was hilarious to watch, being that none of us know anything about golf.
Caleb, Corbin, Nora, and Rosa loved riding on the "train."
Anna is quite into balls, and Rosa and her really loved the big "horsie" ones.
The kids also got their faces painted, played on the playground slides, did some wagon down the hill rides, and panned for marbles and gems. We all had a fun time. Here's the gang by the farm's giant tin man (the farm's family is really into the Wizard of Oz.)
We struck gold again with yet another beautiful and unseasonably warm day a couple weeks later. We decided to find a somewhat close by apple orchard to do some apple picking and have some fun. We came across Apple Jack Orchards. They had many fun activities to do, but the place was swamped! Everyone else in the area must have had the same idea.
My personal favorite apples are firesides, so we headed off for those trees. Soon the gang was busy picking.
The apples were in great shape! There is nothing like eating a fresh apple right off the tree.
After loading up the van with 4 pecks worth of apples, we decided to skip the maze (too hot and crowded) and see what else the orchard had to offer. Nora, Corbin, and Rosa got their faces painted. (Snake, race car, and butterfly, respectively.)
Nora found some goats to feed. She was disappointed that the pony ride line was deemed too long by her parents.
Behind the barn was a river. That area wasn't so crowded, so we headed down there. The kids went exploring.
Soon they had reported seeing many frogs, and Caleb caught a gater snake, much to Nora's delight.
They also noticed many of the trees along the shore had neat "caves" in them.
Anna enjoyed hanging out with Grandpa the most.
The kids were getting rather hungry, so we hit a neat little pizza restaurant on the way home.
That was about the last nice warm day we had. Soon the weather turned much cooler, and autumn was in full swing. But that's another adventure.