On the first day they got here (Thursday the 16th), we went right from the airport to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. It was really fun! We parked in the fair parking, which was by some stadium and big building, and then had to walk like a mile to the fair entrance. As we were walking the girls were checking out their cousin Ezra, whom they hadn't seen since May. After playing with him for a few minutes, Ellie told us "This is my favorite friend."
The fair grounds were pretty; much prettier than the OC fair that we were used to. We walked in next to this little lake and a bunch of pine trees, with pretty lights strung across the walkway. The first place we went was to the children's barn, where they had a bunch of bunnies and chickens in cages, and a couple bigger and smaller animals (like a cow, and little chicks) around the edges. The kids loved it. Ellie inspected almost every rabbit and chicken in the place. One of the chickens had feathery legs and feet, and I pointed it out to her, saying "Look Ellie! This one has furry feet! See its furry feet?" And she nodded and pointed at the chicken next to it and said, "And this one has chicken feet!"
After the children's barn we walked through the big food area and over to another (much larger) barn, where we got to see some of the show cows and spin a wheel to win some knick-knacks. Ellie and Ezra both won little tape measures, which they loved. We also got a cool paper that had a chart of every cut of beef, what part of the cow they came from, and how to cook them. It's cool! We have it on our fridge now.
Also, just outside this barn we saw the two cutest cows ever getting hosed down. They were so fluffy. I didn't know cows could be fluffy like these cows were. And their legs were so thick. They looked like big, fluffy, teddy bear cows.
We went to a third barn after this, where they had different species of cows, goats, pigs, and sheep. AND THEY HAD GIANT VEGETABLES. I was so excited for this part! Rows and rows of prized giant vegetables. It was just how I imagined county fairs are supposed to be. The biggest pumpkin on display weighed something like 1400 pounds, and they had giant watermelons, and potatoes, and all sorts of things. And also little peppers! They had more types of tiny little peppers than I knew existed. It was so cool!
Ellie and Ezra's favorite place in the vegetable section was the "Vegetable Petting Zoo." This was such a great idea, whoever thought it up, because Ellie was dying to touch all the vegetables on display. And she got to here! Plus they had one of those fun face cut-out picture things. :)
After this barn, we went looking for food. There were tons of delicious looking food stalls, but it wasn't until we'd ordered a steak sandwich at our first one that we found out they only took cash! Luckily we had enough on hand to cover that order, but we had to find an ATM after that, and then we found out that there was a $5 charge to get cash out of the ATM! So we were like, eh, we'll just get more food on the way home. Which was kind of disappointing, but what are you going to do?
On the way out of the fair we stopped and went through the garden exhibits, which were totally cool and beautiful (and smelled really good!). Ellie's favorite part was this little electric train that was winding its way through a town of miniature plants. We also ran into some of Jason's classmates here, which was fun! And there was a cool old guy carving amazing faces into gourds and squashes and stuff. Jason and Alyse took a break with the babies on a bench, and Ellie and I walked through the gardens in the back, which were all decorated with lights and flowers and flocks of plastic flamingos. It was really fun. :)
After that, we made our way out of the fair and made the long walk back to our car. Which is when we found out...our car was dead. The battery had died because we'd left the lights on when we got there. There were some poeple just in the next row who were willing to give us a jump (we had jumper cables), but because of some anti-theft security thing on our car, we couldn't put the car into neutral with the battery dead, which meant we couldn't get it into a position for the cables to reach the other car. So, we called AAA. Remember when Jason and I bought a membership to get a discount on the rental truck for our big move this summer? So glad we spent that $25. They said that it would take a little while for them to get there, so Alyse and I got all the kids in the car nice and comfy and Alyse pulled out Baby Einstein for them to watch on her computer, and Jason went to wait outside and make friends with the parking lot security guy.
When I told Ellie that our car battery died, she asked if the "crazy builders" were going to come fix it. This comes from about a month ago when the power in our house went out one morning, and to explain why we couldn't turn the lights on we told Ellie that our house ran out of batteries. Somehow she decided that the guys who have been building the house next door (who we refer to as the "builders") were going to fix the house battery. And, when the power came back on an hour later, she said that the builders fixed it. And at the fair, I guess it made sense to her that if the builders fixed our house battery, they could fix our car battery too! So when the guys from AAA got there, she called them "the builders" and was asking me questions about "the builders." Also, a couple times since that night she's asked me, "Mom, is our car alive again?"
Anyway, AAA jumped the battery! And we were able to finally go get dinner. We stopped at a good barbeque place in Cary on the way home, picked up some food to go, and once we got home and put all the kids to bed we were able to eat it.
The rest of Alyse and Ezra's visit was soooo fun. On Friday we stayed home, and played outside in the yard a lot. We took Alyse and Ezra down into the woods and the meadowy-place behind the woods at the bottom of our yard. Ezra had a lot of fun in the yard and in the woods.
|We tried to get a picture of all the cousins in their Halloween costumes. This was the best one, haha.|
On Friday night Alyse, Jason, and I made miniature crossbows out of popsicle sticks, hair clips, and hot glue. Because. You know. Awesomeness.
They're really fun! After Jason made a slight modification to all of them by bending the hairclips for slightly more tension, they all shoot at least 10-15 feet. (They shoot q-tips, by the way). We had shooting contests that were really fun. And I think we all really love our miniature crossbows.
On Saturday morning Alyse watched all three kids so that Jason and I could go to the temple. It was the first time we've been able to go since we moved to North Carolina. The Raleigh Temple is so pretty, and so tiny! For our California friends, for a comparison, the Newport Beach Temple is 17,800 square feet; the Raleigh Temple is 10,700.
|My adorable husband :)|
Back at home, Zelda was running around like this:
I'm so glad Alyse got these pictures because Zelda does this all the time, and she loves it. She can see through the holes in her blankie, so she'll put it on her head and walk around giggling, while we ask her, "Where did Zelda go?" and pretend to look for her.
On Saturday afternoon our big outing was to Sunni Sky's ice cream. They have like 100 flavors, but as soon as we walked in, Ellie knew exactly what she wanted - the pink flavor directly ahead of us, which turned out to be strawberry. There were a lot of other people in line ahead of us, so we didn't get to order for like ten minutes, and the whole time Ellie just kept reminding me over and over and over that she wanted that pink flavor. This time I tried the bubblegum flavor, which was great. Alyse and Jason both got chocolately flavors. We ate our ice cream sitting in the rocking chairs in the porch. Ellie and Ezra sat on the little kids' chairs (Zelda did, too - she had a lot of fun getting on and off the chair a bunch of times) and after a while decided they wanted to clean the little kids' table with wipes.
|Ellie took this picture of her feet on the way to the ice cream shop. She took about 200 pictures on the camera this week. This is my favorite.|
|And seeing Daddy. :)|
Later that day, we played at home on the deck:
The next couple days were spent mostly at home, with a few excursions. On Sunday we went to church, and on Monday Alyse and I went to Michael's craft store and then the dollar store (where we went crazy - I mean, I spent a whole $20! That's me on a shopping spree, haha.). Here are more pictures from playing at home on Monday:
This is when Ellie told us, "I look like a yellow lion!"
What happened next was a kind of crayon war between Ellie and Zelda. See how, in the picture below, Ellie is lining up the round crayons all nice and straight?
Well, Zelda noticed, and started shoving them off.
Which Ellie immediately fixed.
And then Zelda started getting more aggressive, and chucking them off the table, and laughing with delight, and Ellie was laughing too and shoving them back on.
|I love this picture. Notice that pink sphere in the air next to Ellie? It's a flying crayon that Zelda has just flung.|
|Ellie about to draw on Ezra's hand (he doesn't realize yet).|
On Tuesday Alyse took our family pictures (which are so cute and which I'll post tomorrow!), and we got to go have frozen yogurt with one of her former BYU roommates that now lives here in North Carolina. And then on Wednesday Alyse and Ezra had to go home. :( Here are some pictures from Tuesday:
We loved having Alyse and Ezra here. Alyse and I got to talk a ton and have lots of sister time, which was great. We also watched a bunch of episodes of Restaurant Impossible, haha. And the cousins LOVED EACH OTHER. So much. They were so happy playing together all day, every day. And Ellie loved Alyse, and wanted to spend every waking moment with her. Cuddling, playing with her phone, telling her about whatever she was doing - she just always wanted to be with Alyse. On the first morning Alyse was here (after we'd picked them up from the airport and gone to the fair with them the night before), Ellie woke up yelling "Alyse! Alyse!" It was the first thing out of her mouth. A couple days later, Ellie fell down while playing, and Jason and I were trying to comfort her. But who did she want? Alyse. And it was the same when she woke up one night in the middle of the night - she didn't want Mommy, she wanted to cuddle with Alyse. :)
We're so glad that we only live a two-hour flight away from Alyse and Tanner and Ezra, and hope we can see them again soon.