Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apple Season

Earlier this month, we met two families at Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Maine. It was a perfect Saturday, and as soon as we arrived, Ben went out and smelled the pumpkins (I don't know why he loves to do this, but he does) while Chris purchased some warm pumpkin doughnuts from the farm store (a little bit crunchy and not too sweet--YUM).

After that, we explored the family fun area, which included a mini disc golf course, moon bounces (a tad unsettling for young Ben), friendly livestock, a hay maze and mountain, real and toy tractors, a corn maze, and the absolute highlight, the corn bin. We all jumped right in. Aside from being a tad dusty, Chris and I considered the benefits of having a bed at home filled with dry corn kernels.

After a picnic lunch, we drove to the apple orchard on top of the mountain. The view was breath-taking--you could just barely see Mt. Washington. It'll be even better with fall colors. Ben enjoyed a ride with his buddy George in one of the wagons while we picked Fujis, MacIntoshes, and Macouns. We hitched a ride on a tractor trailer to pick what was left of the sweet, juicy grapes (best I've tasted since living in California), and then headed home.

I highly recommend Ricker Hill to everyone, whether you have kids or just want a whole bunch of fresh, crunchy apples! It's only an hour's drive from Portland. I thought my 20 pounds of apples would last quite a while, but after an enormous apple crisp and a big batch of apple butter, plus a bit of snacking, they disappeared!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gardens are more fun when I don't have to weed them.

A couple of weeks ago, when Ya Ya and Paw Paw came to visit, we visited the botanical gardens in BoothBay Harbor. It is supposed to be one of the best on the Eastern Seaboard, and I can see why. It was a hot day, so Ben wore his swim trunks and splashed in the fountains.

The children's garden was by far the highlight. It featured fanciful little cottages, treehouses, and characters; a vegetable garden, a chocolate garden, and a rainbow garden; and a maze, a reading room, and a bear cave. Only a fraction of the fun is pictured here. I highly recommend it for little ones as well as adults.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nap? Nap!!!

Ever since we sleep-trained Ben as an infant, he has gone to sleep on his own. When he was tiny, sometimes he'd cry a bit, but for the past year and a half he pretty much goes to sleep shortly after his head hits the mattress. However, for the past two weeks, I'd put him down for his nap when he's drowsy and yawning, and he'd do this:

He has been spending 1 to 2 hours at every nap and some bed times, talking, playing, and giggling to himself contentedly before falling asleep. I began to worry that he might be trying to drop his nap, although I was still convinced he needed it. So once again I referred to my favorite parenting blog as a reference: Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. I have found it helpful on many occasions, if only as reassurance that I am not alone in my experiences. This time I learned that babies have to retrain themselves about 5 times in life. The physician that Babywise Mom talked to mentioned 2 months, 18 months, and 2 years as being three of those times (and that's been consistent with Ben's experience). So it's just a phase Ben is going through, and I can listen to him giggling in the monitor without worrying he's dropping his nap. (I really need that nap time to recharge!)
Incidentally, in the video above, he kept saying "no" and "uh-uh" to himself, which cracked him up. Apparently when I tell him "no," it's just a big joke!