Family and Festival Fun

posted by harlie in family, fun

We just spent a whirlwind weekend in Texas, visiting family and becoming godparents to one of our totally adorable nephews. We flew in Friday evening and left Sunday afternoon, so we didn’t get a ton of time with everyone, but we tried to make the most of it.

While the big deal for the grown-ups was the baptism and I personally loved watching the kids all play in my mom’s garden (slowly becoming overrun with gnomes, ceramic animals and other various knickknacks…so great!), I think it’s fair to say that the highlight for the kids this weekend (other than getting to play with all their cousins, which is a rarity) was the Pumpkin Hallows Fall Festival.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect and I was a bit wary. The only website info I could find about it was on Craigslist. Now, I have had perfectly fine experiences with Craigslist, but it’s also an attractor for a lot of sketchiness. Still, we decided it was worth checking out. The event happened to be right down the road from my parents’ house so we didn’t have far to go (and come back) if it wasn’t quite legit and it’s a pretty nice area which generally doesn’t attract a ton of sketch. Plus, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a big family holiday outing.

We got there and it wasn’t just fine — it was great! No sketchiness to be found anywhere. It wasn’t the largest festival I’ve seen, but it was a great size for our group. The admission was very reasonable, plus kids 3 and under got in free. That meant almost all our munchkins got in gratis! A nice bonus. Everyone got a mini pumpkin for free (there were other, larger pumpkins for purchase if you wanted) and there was face painting and pumpkin carving. We all shared drinks, funnel cakes and caramel corn. There was even a petting zoo, but the rides were the big winners. There were pony rides (oh, man, did our kiddo love that!), twirly tea cups, slides, carousel swings and bouncy houses.

Lil’Man had never, ever been in a bouncy house — usually there are just too many big kids going crazy and even purposely crashing into each other, so I never felt safe letting him try one. However, there were several bouncy houses at this festival and most of the kids were playing in the biggest two. The smallest one was completely deserted! Lil’Man had it all to himself and he LOVED it.

I love that beautiful, beaming face radiating pure joy. He did really well jumping around considering he’s never been in one. He spent a good long time in there before I could coax him out with promises of a carousel ride. And funnel cake. I knew he’d love it — the kid’s a jumper.

The older kids liked all those rides, but it was the GIGANTIC slides they homed in on. When you hand over your ticket, you get a sack cloth to sit on so you’ll slide really fast on the way down (also prevents slide burn, because slide burn sucks). I totally would have gone up there if I weren’t pregnant. Seriously, carnival rides are awesome, but they are not a pregnant woman’s friend. However, I did go on one ride despite my mom’s loving, cautionary disapproval — the carousel swings that go round and round and round… They make the Mr queasy, but I could ride on those all day long. And it seems as if Lil’Man inherited that from me. He made his dad ride with him four times! I’d have gone with him instead (and totally wanted to!) but he kept asking his papa for the ride while I was getting food or a drink or taking photos of my nieces and nephew as they conquered the giant slides and, apparently, my boys could not wait for me. Lil’Man loved those swings more than the pony rides, which says a lot.

Anyhow, I took tons more photos and I’d love to share them, but…I didn’t take them with my camera. That was left at home because I didn’t want to deal with it on the plane. Hopefully my dad will kindly send us some of the photos I took of all the fun. Otherwise, I’ll have to raid his computer next time he visits (Love you, Dad!). Until then, enjoy the few iPhone photos above.

‡ On my side of the family, Lil’Man has about 6 cousins so far, all between the ages of 5 years and 8 months. It’s a good spread of ages, especially for Lil’Man who is pretty much right in the middle of the age range. He’s little enough to still relate some to the baby and the 1 year old, he’s old enough to play nicely with the 3 year olds and he is totally in awe of his 5 year old cousins. Especially his cousin Gabe (who, in return, is pretty happy to have another boy around since we apparently are overrun with girls at a ratio of just less than 2:1).

Oh, and there was a new puppy, Glory. Not a cousin, of course, put a significant addition to my brother’s family which was a huge deal to the kids. Lil’Man ranged from cautiously curious to wary to downright scared of Glory, but no matter. Since coming home, he has been dropping hints that we need to get a puppy, too. Hints like, “I want Papa to take me and our puppy fishing,” and, “I want to take our puppy to the zoo!” I’m so not ready for this.

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