Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This year we spent Thanksgiving with my grandparents, known as Nona and Grandpa Red to all the great-grandchildren, as well as with many more in our big Brand family. It was delicious, and wonderful to gather as a family again.

Once back home we also got to visit with my dad who stayed for two days. We went to the Oakland Zoo and the kids had a great time with Grandpa.

Nona and Grandpa Red working hard in the kitchen while Annabel and Lucy were drawing up a storm with the new art kit Grandma got them. Kept them busy for hours!

Grandma and her girls

Kevin and Gina (Lucas was sleeping)

Paul, Nona, Annabel, Grandma and Lucy enjoying dinner

Kim and Nona

Grandpa Red and Uncle John

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, let's eat.

Sammy and Lucas had fun playing chase.

Grandpa Red and Lucy

Grandpa with Lucy, Annabel and Sammy at the Oakland Zoo

Down at the Valley Children's Zoo area there are fun webs and such to climb.

Sammy caught in the web

Grandpa helping Sammy and the girls on the snake sculpture


Off to ride the train, with a quick stop to pose on the friendly, golden lion

The train is now called the Outback Express. It chugs through an animal enclosure with wallaroos and emus. This is a female wallaroo lying right next to the tracks.

This is a male wallaroo. The heightened testosterone in his system turns his hair that dark brown. He's also larger than the females.

A beautiful clear day. We were treated to this lovely view of the City as we rounded the bend and headed back to the station.

Halloween 2010

Halloween this year was as event filled as ever. Sammy's costume was a dragon, as he requested, and he had many opportunities to wear it. Both girls went as Barbie again this year (this Barbie kick is lasting a while!). Annabel went as a Merliah Summers Barbie (of the movie A Mermaid Tale). Lucy was Barbie from the movie A Fashion Fairytale.

Sammy at Mommy & Me class

See the fire? He's a self-described fire breathing dragon!

Trick-or-treating with Miss Erin, his teacher

The shaky egg dance at closing circle

Lucy at her school's Halloween parade

Spinning during the parade; it's what dresses are made for (and why she insists on wearing a dress daily).

Getting ready to pose with her classmates

The night of Trick-o-Door at Lucy's school the kids got dressed up and were ready for candy.

Lucy took a turn at her classroom handing out candy. It's her favorite part of the night.

Annabel got to help too.

Time to carve the pumpkins they got from their field trips.

Sammy drawing his pumpkin's face. I have to admit I didn't follow it exactly when carving.

Annabel drawing her pumpkin's face

Now for the goopy part, scooping the seeds and slime out!

On Halloween afternoon we went to a new pumpkin patch near our house to ride the ponies.

Lots of farm fun for the kids...

...kids big and small

Wagon ride

Covered wagon attraction

Pony rides at last!

Annabel rode too

Dressed up again for trick-or-treating in our neighborhood

Annabel: "I love candy!"

A house nearby puts on a huge display each year. This year it was a dinosaur theme: moving dinos, lights, a soundtrack and a water feature. It was a huge hit with the kids.

Sammy can't take his eyes off it. Annabel was looking pretty tired at this point. And Lucy, as usual, was a ball of energy still.
Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Patch Field Trips 2010

This year I accompanied all three of the kids on each of their respective pumpkin patch field trips to G&M Farms in Livermore. Sammy was first (and it was his first ever field trip, too!), then Lucy, and finally Annabel. Needless to say, I knew the drill by trip No. 3, but it was fun for them, and I was happy to get all the pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn to decorate the house in fall style.

Sammy and me on the Mommy & Me field trip

Happy little guy ready to ride the tractor-pulled hayride

Sammy on a steer

Playing in the corn box

In the wagon with the pumpkin he picked all on his own

Lucy riding a steer (that's tag-along little bro in the background)

Lucy playing in the corn box with her school friends

Lucy pulling her wagon with hand-picked pumpkin

Annabel on the hunt for her pumpkin

Annabel and her friend pulling their pumpkins

Annabel playing in the corn box with preschool friends

Annabel looking pretty excited!