It has been an eventful October for us!  Our weekends this month were bursting with activities surrounding all things autumn; in fact, this would be a very generic fall blog post (or still is…you be the judge) about pumpkin patches and cooler weather if not for significant details that made each weekend different and special.  It’s not typical for us to have overnight guests at our house because we live in a very cozy 2-bedroom cabin, but some stars aligned in our extended family’s schedules and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend quality time with all of them.  That also meant we had different family members at our house three weekends in a row!  I think I’ve washed more bedding and coffee cups in the past month than I did all summer, and I’ve joked with our guests that I was trying to earn a 5-star rating on Yelp for my “B&B”.  Reflecting on it now, I’m so grateful that it happened this way because there is so much to do in the fall and we made a lot of great memories because of it. 

Full house, full heart
For weekend number one, I invited my sister and her family down to see us.  They live a couple hours away, and with three very active kids and a busy schoolteacher’s schedule, I think they appreciated the quick getaway for the weekend.  I was so happy for their visit and a chance to catch up with the kids, who seem bigger and so much older every time I see them.  Especially my niece, who was the first baby in our family and is now a freshman in high school! 

During their visit, we ate lunch at one of the best home-style restaurants around, we checked out a grand opening for our new local produce market, and later, we were treated to a family photo shoot by my very talented sister.  My favorite part of the weekend was taking advantage of the mild sunny day and going for a walk around our neighborhood; the younger kids collected items for an impromptu scavenger hunt on our walk, and everyone at least attempted to skip rocks when we reached our halfway point: our very scenic, but also very flooded, lake.  That evening I made chili cornbread casserole and my sister introduced me to some spinach-artichoke dip from Sam’s Club that I think I could eat every day for the rest of my life! 

Keeping up with the kiddos
Our second weekend started out with Cora and I visiting our local library to check out their book sale and biscuits and gravy fundraiser.  Our day became more exciting when we met up with Justin’s niece and nephew, who were staying with us for the evening.  They bracket Cora in age and are always super easy to entertain and fun.  Though this was their second time staying with us, we didn’t improve much on everyone’s sleep that weekend, so I plan to be more delicate in the future about calling our time a “slumber party.”  It does seem like everyone had fun though, and I just needed extra coffee to get me through Sunday! 

While the cousins were visiting, the girls crafted and played while my nephew helped me make macaroni and cheese for supper.  We had a short amount of time to play outside before we loaded up to go to the cornfield where Justin was harvesting.  On our way, we had to strategically plan who would ride in the semi, the grain cart, and most importantly, the combine (3 kids, 3 machines).  I don’t think you could have seen a more excited kid than my nephew, who opted for the role of combine trainee.  And that was certainly confirmed later by the combine operator who shared how inquisitive and knowledgeable my nephew was!

Finally, a pumpkin patch
The last weekend we had guests, my little sister brought her two kids to town for a visit; her birthday is in October so fall is kind of her jam.  I was glad they chose to come when they did because they got to join us for Cora’s preschool fall festival and fundraiser.  There were endless snacks, and the kids had a fantastic time getting faces painted, crafting, playing games, and more.  It’s safe to say the kids had no trouble falling asleep that night! 

Our busy Friday night was followed by a very slow Saturday morning.  As you may have guessed there was lots of coffee.  Eventually, and since the weather turned out to be beautiful later that morning, we got around to heading for our local pumpkin patch and “fun zone.”  You can’t go wrong with the traditional hay rack ride where you get to pick your pumpkin out of the field – call me a purist but it’s my favorite part!  And from jumping pillows to a petting zoo to a potato cannon, the activities there were seemingly endless and fun for every age.  I loved watching how thrilling it was for the kids to go down the giant slide together.  My idea of a pumpkin patch is one where there are lots of photo opportunities, but this one really delivered on the action too!