Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Today Lily officially became a four-year-old.  All day she kept asking me - "am I four yet?"  Finally at dinner time I could tell her - "yes, honey you're four now".  Playing that little game with her made me wonder if I had forgotten what time she was born.  It seemed crazy to think I got to the hospital at 6AM, but she didn't make her entrance until twelve hours later!  On the way home from dinner she remarked from the back seat "I dont' FEEL like I'm four".  And boy can I echo that sentiment - how can our baby girl be FOUR?

Four years feels like such a long time - as in how can she be SO OLD?  Yet, at the same time it's such a blip in her life.  I know I hardly remember anything about being four.  How can it some so young and yet so old at that same time?

Our baby girl has changed a lot this year - and although she still enjoys being wrapped in a blanket post-bath so we can ooo and ahh over the "cute little baby" - she is very much a pre-schooler now.  She can write her name and a bunch of other things.  She can read some words here and there.  She asks us math questions formulated around allocating cookies.  She is independent, stubborn and mouthy.  She is her Dad, through and through, but with her Mom's quick temper.  She is fiercely inquisitive and is quickly driven to tears of frustration when she can't get an answer to a question quickly.  She likes figuring out how things work.

She is getting an education in comic book super heros from her Dad and has latched onto J'on J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.  Her favorite music groups are the Somerville Sunsetters, They Might be Giants and the Monkees (in that order).   She does not like having her picture taken or wearing tutus.  She likes to wear bright colors and has organized her clothes into "special day" and non-special day categories.  The distinctions don't exactly align with how her Mom would like it.   She requested a short haircut, "like Quinn's".   Her favorite TV shows are Curious George and Between the Lions.  She loves doing puzzles and is pretty good at them.  She loves books.

She is sweet, playful and sharp as a tack.   She still likes to cuddle, but has informed me that I tell her that I love her "too many times".  She is growing up way too fast for my liking. She is angsty and has taken to telling us that she doesn't like us or that we're mean.  But she loves to make cards for us and runs to greet us at the door when either of us comes home with a big hug.  We put sweet dreams in her head every night before she goes to bed and we both sort of like it when she occasionally crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night.  She still likes to be carried and enjoys riding on my back while singing "Piggy-Back Rider" to the tune of Paperback Writer.

Happy Birthday Lily.  Thank you for another fantastic year of awesomeness.  We are so lucky.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Madness: Illumination Tour

The true beginning of Christmas for me every year is marked by the Somerville Arts Council Illumination Tour. The Arts Council gets together a bunch of trolleys to take folks on a tour of the awesome Christmas light displays in Somerville. It's a pretty big deal locally and everyone gets really into it. The tickets go on sale at Blue Cloud Gallery a couple of weeks before the tour and you have to get there right when they open in order to get on an early trolley.  This year I managed to run up there during lunch so we snagged the LAST four tickets on a 4:30 trolley.  Success!

The Tour takes place the weekend before Christmas - this year it was the same day as Lily's birthday party.  Having just finished the birthday festivities it really felt like the Illumination Tour opened up the Christmas festivities.  Finally we had all the other celebrating behind us and could just hang around since Jingle Bells while stuffing Christmas cookies in our mouths.  (okay, so maybe we still had to BAKE said cookies, but whatever, we'll get to it).

We've done the tours four years in a row now - the first time was when Lily had just turned one.  This year was Quinn's first tour  -last year he was feeling a little under the weather, so Gordon stayed home with him while I took Lily.   The tour doesn't change that much from year to year but I still love doing it.  I get all misty-eyed when the tour guide talks about the 70 year old guy who builds all his decorations by hand in his downstairs woodshop.  Or the couple from the Azores who have been decorating their house for 30+ years.  Old the 70 year old man (yeah, they're all about that age in my memory) who decorates his house as well as those of his daughters next door and across the street.  I usually have to actively wipe my eyes when the proud home-owners show up on their porches waving at the trolley.  I'm such a sucker for adorable, holiday, community, happy stuff.

Running to check out the awesome tree at City Hall before the tour:

Gratuitous picture of cute pre-schooler and giant silver ornament

The gorgeous wreath at City Hall

The lights are hard to capture on film - but our intrepid photographer was right there anyway!  Here are a few of the shots that he managed to get.   After decorating a SINGLE deck rail with icicle lights this year I am just in awe of how much work these displays must be.  Perhaps some day Lily will be proud of our house too ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Madness: The Carousel and La Salette

Every year my Mom's school, Holy Name, rents out the Carousel at Battleship Cove for a Christmas party.  We've driven down there to take advantage of the unlimited carousel rides - and get bonus Grammy and Papa time - for the past three years.  I dare say it's become somewhat of a Christmas tradition for us.

This year was the first time I'd been there not pregnant or toting around a little baby.   Lily spent most of her time on the carousel and could ride and switch horses all by herself for the most part.  She was again totally uninterested in the Santa Claus part of the day choosing instead to stay as far away from the Jolly Old Elf as possible.  Quinn was more interested in Santa, but stopped shy of actually going up to chat with him. At the end of the day he did go up Santa and yell "Bye Santa! Bye Santa!" very enthusiastically.  So there's some hope for this one and the whole "magic of Christmas" thing yet.

 A carousel action shot.  The stripey blur in the center is Quinn.

Lily practicing her surly teenager look.  I suspect she's going to have this down pat by the time she's actually a teenager.

Being goofy - a face I much prefer!

Apparently Quinn takes his carousel riding VERY seriously.  I swear he was having a much better time than this picture suggests.

Even Mommy got to ride on her own this year!

After the Carousel we decided to drive out to La Salette Shrine with Grammy and Papa on our way home.  My parents took me there many times when I was little and Lily loves Christmas lights  - so we were eager to take her.  It was a pretty mild night and as a result the crowds were pretty crazy.  We sat in a ton of traffic, but eventually managed to get there.  It's hard to capture the beauty of the light display in photos.  But Gordon made a valiant effort:

Despite the crowds we had a nice time and Grammy was excited to share the beauty of the shrine with the kids.  Our favorite Lily quotes from the night:
  • Upon exiting the car and seeing the amazing display of lights: "There are too many lights! It hurts my eyes!"
  • After Grammy explained the "praying steps" to her: "Grammy, what's a prayer?"  (I cannot even count the number of relatives of mine that rolled over in the graves and began reciting Hail Marys at that one).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Madness Begins: Tree Trimming

[Ed Note: We are in New Jersey now visiting family and in a fit of fit time while the cousins play out in the snow I am going to try to do some catch-up here.  It would be lunacy to try to, you know, actually catch up - so let's just see if I can post about our December]

December is a particularly crazy time for us.  It starts back on November 16th with our niece Sera's birthday and then just accelerates into insanity.  Soon following is Thanksgiving and then my Mom's birthday on Nov 28.  Next up is Gordon on Dec 8th, his Mom on Dec 12th and Lily on Dec 22nd.  Then there's Christmas.  I literally spend the entire month in a state of panic and usually flub on at least one birthday gift a year (this year it was Gordon's - sorry honey!).

The official start to the season of nuttiness in the MasterWong household is Thanksgiving weekend.  We spend Thanksgiving in Fall River at my cousin Gail's with extended family and then head back to Somerville for a pretty lazy few days.  Later in the weekend we have my parents and Eric and Liza over for yet another dinner, tree trimming and Mom's birthday cake.  One reason we can get the tree up so early is that we're still rocking the artificial tree that we bought 5 or 6 years ago while we were living in Medford.  Every year I think that perhaps we'll get a real tree - but then cannot resist the siren song of the pre-lit, happy little number sitting in our storage closet.  Perhaps when we move into a bigger place.....

Lily is super into decorations so she loves the tree trimming frenzy. Quinn got pretty into it this year too.  Here he is making sure we assembled the pieces in the right order:

Jeh Jeh quickly came over to show him how it was done.

Note that the tree decorating is proceeding nicely with ornaments well placed on the tree - some on the bottom and the top.  You should know that our tree only looked this way for one day.  After that the ornaments quickly migrated to the top of the tree as Quinn took them off and hid them around the house.  Sometimes he'd bring them to me "Here you go!".  By now the bottom third of the tree is completely bear, and I'm sure we'll be finding ornaments in the couch cushions until we move out.

Getting help with the all-important "filling of the ornament bowl".  The bowl is then placed where no little hands can reach it so we don't like end up in the ER or anything.

Uncle Eric takes his tree decorating duties very seriously.  Good thing he hasn't been around to see the state the tree is in now.

The celebratory "First Tree We Win" Dance.  Let the crazy commence!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween is a big deal in our house  - it is hands down Lily's favorite holiday.  I'm not entirely sure why this is as neither Gordon nor I are big Halloween people. But man that kid - she loves Halloween.  She was talking about her costume months before.  We went through a bunch of potentials.  First she wanted to be John Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants - I was supposed to dress as John Linnell.  As much as I adore "The Johns" I was quite happy when she gave up on this idea as I had no clue how to pull it off.  I just pictured myself trying to explain to all the neighbors "you know, like from They Might Be Giants?" while getting a bunch of empty, concerned stares.

The next memorable costume idea had me wishing for the days of John and John again - "a bad guy with guns".  I have no idea where she got this idea (okay that's a lie - I do - at school).  But she was adamant about it.  One day, on a whim,  I let her look through one of those costume catalogs that start showing up at the house in October.  She paged through the whole thing, skipping over fairies and princesses and every other thing 3-year-old girls are supposed to be in to.  She only paused when she got to this.  Yup, folks - that's Jango Fett.  And for those not in the "nerd know" - he's a bounty hunter from Star Wars Espisode II.  Lily picked him out and said - 'hey! he looks like a bad guy! and he has guns!"  Those that knew me as a young'un may not be surprised by Lily's affinity for science fiction characters - but you guys - this is a child who does not watch any TV besides the occasional Curious George and Between the Lions.  Is it possible that this stuff is just hard-wired?  

Anyway, since "bad guy with guns" was out of the running for so many reasons we ended up agreeing on a spider.  And I decided to try my hand at making her costume.  So I searched online a little and decided that I could take this one on.  I bought a black hoodie and some black kid tights.  I cut the legs off the tights, stuffed them with poly-fill and sewed them onto the sweatshirt.  I also glued a bunch of eyes on the hood, but you can't really see them in any of the pictures.  My grand spider-vision included black tights with rainbow stripes on them and a black/silver/purple tutu.  But Lily was having NONE of the tutu idea.  She flat out refused.  "I. Don't. Like. TuTus!"  She insisted.  So in the end she wore plain black jogging pants to complete the look.  She made one adorable spider if I do say so myself!

Quinn is still to young to have much opinion about this kind of stuff.  AND we had Lily's monkey costume from 2 years ago just sitting here waiting to be used again.  When Lily wore the costume she was nearly 2, but Quinn wasn't even 18 months yet.  I was a little worried that it'd be too big for him.   Instead he filled it out much better than she ever did - because he is a ginormous little toddler.  At first he didn't like wearing the little hood with the monkey face on it, but Lily convinced him to do it.  He thought it was hysterical to walk around making little monkey sounds "oo oo oo ah ah ah".  Too flippin' cute.  Here is walking on the wall outside with Papa.  It's really tough to get him to stand still long enough for picture taking these days.

Here's Lily and her Dad - I guess you can give even BETTER hugs if you have 6 arms (+2 legs) instead of only 2.  See the ghost and pumpkin signs in the lawn there?  I bought those this year in an attempt to make the building look festive for Halloween.  Lily begs to decorate the house like crazy every year.  She found this attempt sorely lacking.  She told me that these guys don't count at all because they are not scary.  Apparently smiling pumpkins are totally uncool.  Next year she is demanding a giant spider crawling up the side of the house and zombies on the lawn.  Ummm.. help? I'm in so in over my head here.

Grammy and Papa came up to go trick or treating with us.  We started by walking up to Kathy's - where Quinn spends his days while I'm at work.  We visited with her and Paul a bit and then walked over to Lexington Street.  It was totally hopping with kids and elaborately decorated houses.  We walked Lexington back down to Hudson and then visited with our own neighbors.  Both kids had a great time, although Quinn tired out about 3/4 of the way through.  There are quite a few front stairs to haul yourself up and down and he has little legs (and a lot to carry around on them)!

We had a great time, as always and the kids came home with quite the haul.  Lily picked out a little to keep and the rest was left out for the Switch Witch.  She visited us later that night and swapped the candy with some fun activity books for Lily and stacking pegs for Quinn.  

Lily's already talking about "next Halloween".  Apparently she's going to be a skeleton. She also told me the other day: "Mom, I HATE that it's not Halloween anymore".  I tried to explain to her that "hate" wasn't such a great word and that it shouldn't be used lightly.  I told her it was a "serious" word.  She replied with, "well I'm serious about this!".  Sigh, how many more days to I have to get my act together?

Memory Walk 2010

"Reggie's Runners" 2010

This year we decided to do the Memory Walk in Newport, RI instead of Portsmouth.  We were hoping to get the whole gang to walk this time, but as usual our efforts were thwarted.  My poor Mom ended up with a terrible case of pneumonia that landed her in the hospital for over 2 weeks!  The Walk was during the first weekend of her hospital stay.  So we had to split up the team - Eric and Liza stayed behind to keep Mom company at the hospital while the my Dad and the rest of us went to Newport to walk with Lisa, Eric and Victoria. 

While we were more than a bit bummed not to have everyone together as planned, we still had a great walk and enjoyed the time thinking about Grams.  The kids were completely psyched to see Victoria, as always.  She had even made Memory Walk shirts for Lily and Quinn since the ones that they gave out didn't come in children's sizes.

Hanging out with cousin Victoria

Showing off the fabulous "Reggie's Runners" shirts

Thank you to all who supported our team - we raised over $500 by the online tally and potentially more if folks supported the old-fashioned way.  I love that we come together to do this in Gram's name every year.  Miss you Grams!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HONK! 2010

Every year I mean to write about the HONK! festival here in Somerville and every year I seem to fail.  But this year - I'm doing it because really - it's one of my FAVORITE things about Somerville (hmm I bet I say that about a lot of things...)  But really - it's the bomb.  Just imagine a whole slew of "activist street bands" from all over the country and the world descending on Davis Square during some of the best weather of the year and you have HONK!.    From Friday to Sunday the square is completely alive with the sounds of horns and drums and the sights of unicycles and colorful costumes and people dancing on stilts and men in tutus with tubas.    I'll never be able to really do it justice, so you can read about it more at their official home on the internet.

This year as the 5th year for the festival.  Gordon and I discovered it quite by accident three years ago when his parents were here for the weekend and we got a chance to sneak out for some dinner and later drinks in Davis.  When we got to Davis there were people everyone and amazing bands on every corner.  We had no idea what was going on, but had a great time talking it all in.  Then on Sunday we ran into the HONK! parade driving home from apple picking.  So last year we got to the square for a little while to enjoy the music, but made a special effort to catch the whole parade.  And let me tell you - the parade is quite the spectacle.

This year we were lucky enough to get a visit from the Holzes the same weekend as the festival.  Lily and I made it up there Saturday to picnic and watch a little of the kick-off.  Then later that day we took a walk up with the Holzes soon after they arrived.  We were heading up the bike path and could hear the bands already from some distance away.  Quinn was completely tuned into it already - stopping to sign and say "more more" anytime there was a break between songs.

We had dinner at Flatbread and then spent a while listening to more bands and dancing.  The kids had such a fabulous time.  I thought Quinn was going to explode with happiness.  At the end of a set he'd turn to me looking forlorn and make the more sign expectantly.  He didn't seem to understand why I couldn't keep an endless stream of music going for him all night.  At some point we made our way back home, reluctantly leaving the music behind.

But Sunday we went back out for the parade.  We had great seats on the corner of Elm and Russell where we met some friends, ate some lunch (yeah that's an Anna's quesadilla in my hands... mmmm) and took in more of the sights and sounds of HONK!.  The pictures don't quite do it justice, but hopefully you'll get a feel for the awesomeness.
Watching with friends 

Serious fans 

Bye HONK!  We already can't wait for next year.  Thanks to all the bands for giving us a great show, as always.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Got Pickles?

About a year ago, when my Dad was still not quite himself and my brother and I were falling all over ourselves and each other to just DO SOMETHING to fix the situation damnit! we found ourselves going through my parents storage unit trying to consolidate it and save them some money.  That day is a story all by itself as we ended up in a horrific fight brought on by many years of sibling issues topped with a nice dose of current family crisis which eventually led to a very nice dinner and the first honest conversation we've had with each other in - well maybe ever.  So that is the real story of that day in the storage unit, but instead I'd like to tell you about the purple tote of books that I found and carried home with me.

In that purple box was the complete collection of Sweet Pickles books.    These books were hugely popular when I was younger and my parents had enrolled me in the book club so I received one a week in the mail or something.  I loved the books and when I found them was so excited to bring them home to share them with Lily.

Well they sat in that purple tote in the garage for a while, but one day Lily was having sort of a rough night so I decided to go down there and bring up the first book, "Who Stole Alligator's Shoe" starring Accusing Alligator.  Lily LOVED the story and was enthralled by the listing of all 26 characters and the map of the town of Sweet Pickles at the back of the book.  She studied the map and wanted to know where all the animals lived.  She couldn't wait for story time the next day to meet the next character (Bashful Bear).

Did anyone else have those as a kid?  They're such great little books.   I love that the characters just are who they are - without judgement really.  Jackal is jealous (and really pretty much a jerk), Pig is positive, Camel is clever, etc.  The traits get the characters into "pickles" but the experiences don't necessarily transform them.  At the end of the story Alligator is still accusing and Bear is still bashful.  I love that children can relate to the different personality traits without feeling bad about doing so.  The stories illustrate the consequences of some traits without saying that you shouldn't feel this way or that way.

The Bashful Bear story was particularly awesome because at the time Lily had been complaining about stomach aches that we thought might be somewhat due to her being worried about something and not a real physical ailment.  In Bear's story he wants to call Pig, but is too shy.  When he does call her, he hangs up without saying anything and then his stomach hurts.  I loved that Lily could totally relate to how Bear might be feeling.  A few days later she wanted to talk to him to help him call Pig.  she was pretty upset that we couldn't actually go visit Bear, but I was able to convince he to write him a letter or draw him a picture while she was school that day instead.

One somewhat annoying side effect is that her favorite character seems to be Kidding Kangaroo who goes around teasing people.  But even then we've had some nice opportunities to talk about teasing and the difference between making people laugh because you're being funny and saying mean things that might make someone else sad.  I think those are tough things to learn as a little one, and i like that Sweet Pickles have given us a chance to explore those aspects of social interaction with her, even if it's taking her some time to figure it out.

By now we've read all forty books and they have a special spot on a bookshelf just outside the kids room.  These books are always the first to go into her backpack when we're traveling somewhere or going to Grammy and Papa's.  We still read one nearly every day.  I love that my Mom kept these for me and that I've been able to share them with Lily.  I can't wait for Quinn to start enjoying them too!


Lately I've been thinking a lot about communication.  I'm participating in a fluency clinic over at BU for the semester.  If you're reading this blog chances are you've known me for some time and you know that I stutter.  I always have - as far back as I can remember talking.  I've done a bunch of things therapy-wise over my life: speech therapy through public school, a private therapist, and an intensive program as an adult.  Each experience has helped me in some way, but as a 35-year old adult, I still sometimes struggle to say what I want to say.  Now that's not to say I don't talk - because I do - a lot - probably too much.  Sometimes I wonder how much MORE trouble my mouth would cause me if it didn't occasionally just refuse to work.  I strike up conversations at the park, I present at work, I'm a member of a few volunteer boards, I make phone calls to lawyers and doctors and contractors and whoever else I may need to speak to.  So I wouldn't say that my disfluency holds me back in any real way - but sometimes it is still a bit of a burden.

I read to the kids quite a bit - at least once every day and more when I'm home with them all day.  Lily loves having stories read to her and is getting into longer ones.  I'd love to start reading her chapter books, but I'm afraid it would be difficult.  I tend to stutter most when I read.  Lily is really patient about it and has never said a word to me or asked me not to read to her.  Sometimes she finishes a sentence for me, but I love that because it shows that she is remembering the stories and maybe picking up some of the words on the page.   Quinn seems less patient, but that may just be him in general.  He often brings me books, sits down to listen and then halfway through closes the book and hands me a new one.  I have no idea if that is commentary on my reading skills or just a short attention span!  So my big goal for this program is to be able to read out loud a little easier to my kids.  I'm planning to buy some chapter books for Lily for the holidays and I'd like to be able to start reading them to her.

Anyway, I've been to three session so far and it's been - well a lot of things.  There's an individual therapy component and a group session as well.  In the group we've been talking about communication and how there's so much more to it than just the actual words that you're saying.  Facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice all carry the bulk of the message.  We haven't even gotten to the meat of the therapy yet and I'm already finding it fascinating to really think about how I communicate.  It's been fun observing others communication and noticing what works and what doesn't.  I like doing the observations because I think it could make me a better listener.  For someone who doesn't really enjoy the sound of my own voice that much I sure flap my gums a lot!

Now here's where I awkwardly segue into funny stories about the kids.  Because you know who are GREAT communicators?  Toddlers.  They can get so much across with only a handful of words in their vocabulary.   Quinn's word count has shot up since I last posted about it.  So instead of giving you another boring list of words I'll present some examples of exemplary communication by my 17-month old.

  • A couple of weeks ago I put Q down for a nap with only his diaper and a shirt - no pants.   After a few hours he woke up and cried out once, but then seemed to settle back down.  Twenty minutes later I heard him talking to himself so I figured it was time to go in.  I walked in the room and found him laying on his stomach, bare butt in the air and diaper floating around the crib.  He looked up at me, pointed to a dark shape in the corner of the crib and said: "Poo Poo, Poo, Poo".  Score: A, uses appropriate gestures and succinct direct language to make his point
  • He has learned the word "No" and uses it to convey a whole slew of things.   When placed in his chair and given food he doesn't want to eat he lets out a stream of "No! No! No! No! No!" often punctuated by a throwing gesture for emphasis.  If you ask him for something that he does not intend to give up he holds the object close to himself, turns his body away from  you and utters a stream of defensive, and slightly pathetic-sounding "No No No No Noooooo".  Sometimes he uses No just to shake things up and be contrary for the fun of it.  I might say "Quinn would you like to ?"  and he'll look at me and say "Noooo", but then do it anyway.  Score: B+ great use of tone and inflection to convey information, points taken away for the whole sarcasm bit.
  • He's all over the sign language thing lately pulling out the sign for "more" whenever possible.  It's particularly fun when he uses it before he's even gotten anything.  For example, if he thinks I might be walking over to the stereo to put music on he'll start frantically signing more (and saying "more more more more") to indicate that not only does he want music, but he wants MORE MUSIC NOW.  Score: B, reads the other party accurately, but jumps the gun a little.
  • My favorite recent sign language incident was at dinner last night.  Gordon had cooked up some tuna and placed it on the table.  It was unrecognizable as a fish - cut into slices, chunks etc (but very yummy).  The minute Quinn got in his chair he looked at the pieces of tuna, made the sign for fish and then started with "me me me me me me".  I'm still not really sure how he connected the tuna with the happy pictures of fish that he sees in books and the like.  Score:  A, just for being smart and cute AT THE SAME TIME.  Also the sign he uses for fish is a a fish face and it looks like he's trying to give kisses.  ADORABLE.

OK that's all I've got.  In summary: I'm going to speech school, Quinn is still very cute and talky and Lily is probably a better communicator these days than any of us.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Obligatory Pumpkin Patch Pictures

Taking photos of your kids in pumpkin patches - it's just one of those things that you have to DO if you live in New England.   I'm not sure where the rule is written down, but somehow parents all over NE know that as soon as the weather gets a little chilly and the kids start talking about Halloween costumes it is time to get yourselves to a pumpkin patch.

This year we found ourselves in North Conway, NH with some time to kill so we decided to grab life by the horns and find a pumpkin patch.  We had spent the weekend there with my brother, Liza and the Schulers for a visit to Storyland.  I promise that there will be a post on that too - but I've got plans for that post - plans that require a little work on my part first.  SO for today - you can see pictures of the pumpkin patch visit.

Eric and Liza left early on Sunday, but we hung out with the Schulers to do some hiking and eat cider donuts.  We ended up at Sherman Farms - a nice little farm that left us feeling a little like city folks who had just been taken for quite the ride.  (The description of "agritainment" on the website probably should have tipped us off, but we weren't feeling all that picky)  They did have a hayride out to a pumpkin patch.    So here you go!  (Sadly Gordon didn't make his way into any of these - bad form on my part!)

There were also goats and pigs to pet.  Quinn was so into the animals - the goats both fascinated and scared the crap out of him.  He'd get all up close and then once a goat made so much as a move in his direction he'd run away panicked.  One time he turned so fast he ran smack into the pole that held up the little "goat feed" dispenser.  Ouch.  They had a ginormous corn maze that took hours to traverse, so we skipped that in favor of the mini-maze which was just the right size for us. It's funny how the corn sort of looks like bamboo - especially in the picture of Quinn.