A family vacation and playing in the leaves - six things that brought me joy this week

Inspired by one of my favorite blogs I thought it would be a great idea to look back each week at those things that brought me the most joy. This is far too fitting for my blog to ignore the idea so I look forward to posting these each week!

It was an amazing week! We packed in quite a bit on our vacation and the kids were such troopers with the out of the normal schedule. They got to try new things, see lots of family, and enjoy some favorite fall activities. I think we are all going to have a bit of a hard time adjusting back to real life after such a great trip!

1. Road trip pit-stop

Micah and I decided to pull the kids out of school two days early for fall break to take an extended vacation. We left right after school on Monday afternoon on a road trip. It's only about a four hour drive but kids get restless in the car pretty easily. They were such troopers so when we stopped at a rest area that had a playground we knew we needed to let them enjoy the break. Mercedes was still a little under the weather but she road down the slid with Micah. We only played for about ten or fifteen minutes but it was enough to revive everyone's spirits and make the rest of the trip a little easier. I'm so thankful that many of these roadside rest stops have a place for kids to have some fun!

 

2. Amusement park

One of the reasons we went on vacation early was to take advantage of a big discount offered on Tuesdays at the indoor amusement park near where we were staying. We were able to splurge and get unlimited ride wristbands for all five kids for the same price it would have cost for two on a normal day. Such a treat! And the little guys are finally big enough to go on many of the toddler rides as long as they have a chaperone - so Micah and I got to ride everything for free! 

It's been years since Micah and I have gotten to go on a ride at the same time and it showed us how we are slowly entering this new chapter in raising kids. We aren't fully into the next chapter but we've peeked at it and are liking what it's showing us. The little kids are becoming more independent and are less and less "little" each day. The big kids are much more useful as helpers and when they help it actually helps (most of the time). I'm really looking forward to the next chapter! 

 

3. Leaf pile

We don't have trees at our house so the kids don't get the chance to do any leaf pile jumping. My parents, however, have loads of trees! I pulled out the rakes and leaf blower and we all worked together to make big piles in the front and back yards. The kids thought it was hilarious when I would make the leaves blow all over the place with the leaf blower and they also really enjoyed rolling around in the pile and hiding under all the leaves. It brought back so many memories from my own childhood in that same yard!

4. Carving pumpkins

It's been years since we carved pumpkins! Last year we painted pumpkins but the big kids really wanted to try carving them. Grampy and Nana picked out pumpkins for each of the kids and then they got to choose what to do. Well, the big kids chose. They cleaned out their pumpkins (with some help) and then drew on a design. Then the boys got to try their hand at carving and Mercedes got help from Grampy. I drew the designs on the little boys pumpkins to go along with their birthday party theme. All the kids were so excited about the pumpkins and loved seeing them all lit up on Saturday night. Sometimes it's the simplest things that bring kids the biggest joy!

 

5. Birthday party

Saturday was the BIG party for Parker, Anders, and Cade. Micah's parents, grandparents, and siblings + families and my siblings all came over to my parents house to celebrate. There were eight kids 8 and under! My mom made a "Hamm" pinata and I made a cake to look like Andy's bed from Toy Story for all the little figures to sit on. The cousins had so much fun playing together and whacking the pig pinata until it exploded. Everyone spoiled the kids with snacks, toys, and clothes. Thank you to everyone that came and made their party so special. We are blessed to have you in our lives!

 

6. Tuckered out little boy

Because of the party we let all the kids skip nap/quiet time. Once the party was over and everyone had left it was about 4pm and Cade was so tired. He curled up next to me on the couch and snoozed for a bit. I'm so grateful that he still does this. These quiet moments of stillness are rare and fleeting so I'll soak them up any chance I get!

 

Where did you choose joy this week? Are you getting the chance to try some fall fun? What did you love this week? Tell me in the comments!