Fall fun! (well, except for the face painting)

photo-416Fall colors are at their peak here, and we had gorgeous weather this weekend. I’m also realizing that Halloween is no longer a day but a season. Fortunately, I don’t think a few extra mini-Twix bars are going to hurt anyone.

Friday was a fairly chill day. I had the little kids during the day, and we spent some time crawling around on the grass in the backyard, admiring the trees. I had a babysitter come at 4:30 and I took my 8-year-old with me to pick up the 6-year-old from Lego Club. Then we rode bikes around the playground, which is also just fantastically colorful. Having a few extra sitting hours is really helping me feel like life with 4 kids is doable. If I’d had the baby, I couldn’t have let the 6-year-old pedal around on his bike as long as he did. I actually had a lot of moments this weekend of feeling like it was doable, partly because the baby is sleeping, finally.

Friday evening my husband and I succeeded in doing a date night. We ate at Kensington Quarters in the Fishtown area of Philly — mostly because it was written up in the Wall Street Journal and sounded cool. You walk through a butcher shop to get to the tables, which removes some of the mystery of eating, but it was good. We were home at 10, and I went to bed before too long, but the boys (including my husband) elected to build a fire outside and sit around that.

Saturday featured not one, not two, but three Halloween-themed events. I took the 6- and 4-year-old to a local church’s fall fest for an hour while the 8-year-old had swimming and the baby napped. Then we got costumes on the kids and went to my husband’s office Halloween party. It was mostly good except for…the face paint.

I will digress here and say that I hate face paint. This, to me, is the downside of various fall festivals, all of which seem to feature face painting. I spent much time Saturday night scrubbing paint off the kids. I wish I’d been quicker at it, because the 8-year-old had already removed half his paint by the time I found him. “Oh,” I said. “That’s good but…” Pause. “What did you use?”

Him: “Those towels in the bathroom.” Me: “Not those!” Yes, he used the new white decorative towels with gold embroidery that perfectly match the new bathroom. Fortunately, it seemed to come off in the wash. Coupled with some massive diaper blowouts I wound up doing a lot of laundry this weekend.

photo-418Anyway… work party, then some downtime, then I took the 6- and 4-year-old to the Please Touch Museum’s Monster Mash. I think the highlight for me was the Shake Shack booth with marshmallow/vanilla custard and brownie bites. The kids hated it, so I was forced to eat theirs. Forced.

My husband made wings and nachos after, and I started watching the Texas A&M game, but I lost intensity at halftime. I was asleep by about 10:15, which made it all the more crazy that I woke up with my alarm at 6:50. The sleep! It is amazing! I got ready and drove to a nearby trail to do a brisk 7-mile run with blog reader Jane. The colors were utterly amazing against the gray sky, and it was 60 degrees, so the slight drizzle wasn’t bad at all.

After that, I managed to get 3 of 4 kids to church (the 4-year-old had soccer — she scored 4 goals!) We had downtime until we left for the zoo’s Halloween fest at 2:30ish. The zoo was crowded, but the animal watching was about the best it’s ever been — I think it’s the twilight element, but all the big cats were out and active. Indeed, the male lion was apparently too active for one of lionesses, who kept shaking him off. None of the kids asked what was going on. A mother next to me explained to her son that “they’re kissing.” Yeah, something like that.

photo-417Then it was off to Linvilla Orchards to go for a hayride with our church’s young families group. The kids had a blast bouncing around in the wagon and then cooking hot dogs and s’mores over the bonfire. We were probably dancing with meltdown mode by the time we left, and the baby screamed for big chunks of the drive home, but he got into bed soon enough. Now I just need to track down all the miniature candy bars in people’s coat pockets…

23 thoughts on “Fall fun! (well, except for the face painting)

  1. oh face painting. yes. I find it extremely tedious, there’s usually a long line, and my kids take forever and then end up choosing the weirdest possible option! Looks like you hit up every single festival in town this weekend! Happy that you’re getting sleep!!!!

    1. @Ana- fortunately there wasn’t much of a wait at the office party, but yes, taking it off is no fun. Especially since after a day of hitting everything in town I just want the kids to go to bed!!

  2. Sounds like a full, fun weekend!

    We had a really nice one too. Josh was on call, yet I feel like I NAILED the ‘optimum dose’ of activity 🙂 I really feel like I savored it! Such a great feeling.

  3. Yay for baby sleep and soccer goals! I don’t mind face paint, but I do get tired of waiting in line for it. I use cold cream to clean it off the kids’ faces quickly and painlessly. And I am definitely already tired of all the parties and events. We’re not even the type to go to every single thing offered/invited, but we’ve already been to two. There are two more on Friday (back to back, at least, instead of concurrent) and of course Saturday. All I’m looking forward to is the time change!

    1. @Meghan – you’re looking forward to the time change? I dread it – I guess I like the afternoon sun rather than in the morning. I feel like possibly the baby will sleep later if it’s dark in the morning. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

      1. Well, we have to be up and out by 7:15, so the time change will help here. Especially since we finally haven’t been able to bike to school now that sunrise isn’t until 7:45! But yeah, it’s hard when you don’t want to be up. Honestly, I just want “them” to pick a time and stick with it and stop the time change altogether!

  4. Hooray. Now I’m famous. 🙂

    I went to one Halloween event on Sunday at our church, and I’m already feeling DONE. I hope this will not be the case for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Face paint scares me actually. I’ve seen face paint done “so well” that the kid’s face is virtually replaced by that of a lion or zebra.

  5. Sounds like you guys had a jam packed weekend. We’re having a beautiful fall here, in the South, too. My electric bill is thankfully much less, too. As far as face painting goes, I make the kids wait until bathtime to take it off. Easier for everyone.


      1. Yes, I know a mom – not dropping names here – who’ll just let her kids rinse off at the Y shower after swim lessons and call that clean enough. She may actually make her kids take a bath or shower the next day, though, but you’ll have to ask her to confirm.

  6. Sounds like a great weekend! I feel like you are lucky that your kids are at ages when they don’t yet have a lot of homework. My oldest are in Grade 6 and 4, and middle school homework is quite voluminous. It puts a crimp on family plans for sure. On Sunday, my husband and I and the 3 youngest kids went for a beautiful fall hike but had to leave our oldest at home to study. I was sad about it, but he seemed to relish the freedom, quite honestly. (In case you’re curious, my nanny was home – but off duty – for most of the time, but we have also started letting him be home alone for short periods of time. Both terrifying and liberating – for me, at least! He loves it.)

    1. Just curious: Can you specify “short periods of time”? 1-2 hrs? And did you start doing that with your 6th grader this year? Does he have a phone? My oldest is only 7, but I am so looking forward to the day when we can do that.

      1. @Jane- this is a good question. Maybe it’s own topic for a blog post. We’re not quite there yet either, though I suspect I’d allow my 8-year-old more latitude if he were the youngest of 4, rather than the oldest of 4. I’m still in little kid mode where we need to always be around.

        1. In PA, I don’t think there any laws regarding leaving kids home alone. (Cue Macaulay Culkin’s scream) I’m not sure if this is good or bad, I do know that my oldest will absolutely seize the day when my husband and I finally allow her to stay home unsupervised. She was born to be a first-born.

      2. Jane – we just started doing this toward the end of Grade 5, when he was turning 11. First, it was for like 10-15 minutes at a time, if say my husband had the other kids and I wanted to run to the store and buy milk. Now, it’s up to about an hour or so alone. All told,we were out of the house on our hike for 2.5 hours. My nanny was in the house, in her room, for about an hour and 45 minutes of that. The other 45-50 minutes, my oldest was in the house on his own. We went through a lot of safety “training” and what-if scenarios with him before we started doing this, and he’s had to prove that he is responsible in other ways. He does not have his own phone, but that isn’t an issue when he’s in the house. We’ve also allowed him to go some places on his own – he must call when he arrives – and bigger differences if with a group of friends (safety in numbers). Perhaps when my own 4th child turns 11 (at which point my eldest will be almost 22 – gah!!!!), we’ll be letting him do even more.

  7. Here is how low my standards are: I don’t bother telling them to wash face paint off. Then when people ask them the next day “what did you, uh, used to be?” the look of bafflement is priceless 🙂 . Yes, it’s a real race to the bottom around my house 🙂

  8. Somewhat fortunately for us our older one was terrified of face paint until age 4 so we never had to deal with it, and for whatever reason, the kiosks at the zoo and at Disneyland were *always* closed when we saw them. So for us facepaint is a rare, rare occurrence, and the only regret is the time we let her nap with it (well, forgot about it) and it was ALL OVER the white sheets. I’m not sure that ever washed out completely.

    I thought of you today when a friend told me about her #4 who was just born 2 weeks ago. They are slowly adjusting to the new guy 🙂

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