Birthday Party's and Pumpkins Galore

Happy Monday. We had a fun filled birthday and fall celebrating weekend. I need a day to catch up on everything, that isn't in the plan until maybe Saturday. We have a crazy busy week planned again. I am also fighting this sinus infection or allergies or cold or something that just won't hit the road. Hoping to start feeling better soon.

Saturday we had Aubriella's Monster High themed friends birthday party at a local bowling alley. This was the first time I let her have a friends party. We invited all the kids from her class, her best friend from pre-school, our play date friends, and kids in the family. There ended up being 21 kids. I am glad it wasn't at my house. It went very smoothly. I am very thankful that most of the parents stayed and helped their kids who were 5-6 years old with bowling. 
For the party we had 2 hours of bowling plus pizza and cake. All the kids really seemed to enjoy themselves. 

Ella wanted to wear her "witch" tutu costume skirt. I got it done on Friday night. Was very easy to do, but time consuming. (more details on her Halloween costume soon). I also made this coffin photo prop that says "Aubriella Turns 6." I have to admit not many kids even took pictures with it since a lot was going on with the bowling. 

My niece, Claudia liked it though. 

Here is Aubriella and her best friend from pre-school being goofy.

When I sent out Ella's invitations we politely asked for no gifts. We had planned to not open any gifts that could have been received at home and not at the party. Gift opening takes so long, there always seems to be a competition between someone, kids don't enjoy watching other kids opening gifts, and kids can't hide their disappointment or "I already have this" and sometimes feelings are hurt. This went smoothly of not opening gifts. Not many parents listened and brought gifts anyways though. 
Aubriella didn't get any duplicates and LOVED everything she got. I can't tell you how many times she said "OMG I love this" or "I really wanted this", even to things I have never seen before. 

Saturday night we had another surprise present for Aubriella. We had been given tickets to the Cleveland Monsters hockey first game of the season. Aubriella loves going to watch the Monsters and seeing the cheerleaders. 

She got her hair painted blue (hard to see next time we will make sure her hair is in a pony tail or braids)

This year the painter let her have a heart on her face instead of the Monster logo, which she loved. 

Our seats were great. We could see the whole rink and we were close to the cheerleaders. Brian noticed that other kids were getting their pictures taken with the girls so I took Ella down there to see if we could get her picture taken. She was so excited but shy and she wouldn't talk. At least I got a smile out of her. 

Aubriella and Brian enjoyed themselves. Brian's brother and best friend also came with us. Even though the Monster's didn't win, it was still a lot of fun. 

Sunday we packed up the kids and headed to a local pumpkin patch. 

Mapleside Farms Pumpkin Village has become our new family tradition for fall activities. We went last year on Hometown Hero Weekend and this year it was The Great Pumpkin Fest. There is so much to do and family friendly for all ages. 

Aubriella and Brian went down the huge 311 foot slide. Austin wanted nothing to do with it, maybe next year. 

Isn't this the cutest picture. Unplanned in any way. When we got to the front of the line and waited for the "pig wagon", they were waiting to see it come around the corner. 

Austin sat by himself this year, instead of on his dad's lap. He did so good and really enjoyed it. As soon as the tractor stopped though he got up and tried getting up himself. Mr. Independent. 

Aubriella and I sat in front of them. We each had our own seat this year too. Last year both kids were on our laps. 

What pumpkin patch wouldn't be complete without adventuring through a corn maze. Ella lead the way and we didn't get lost. Austin had fun, but tried picking up every rock that he found along the path. Good thing his arms weren't big enough. Magically they disappeared and we didn't take any home. 

One of Ella's favorite things at Mapleside is the huge straw bails to climb up then jump off of. There is a cushion of straw at the bottom to soften the landing. It is still a mothers heart-attack. 

The last activity we did was the hay ride. The ride takes you back into the apple fields, unfortunately you can't pick your own apples. (Most farms by us don't let you pick your own apples off the trees anymore, but you can pick fresh apples and mix and match varieties in their store. 

We couldn't leave Mapleside without getting our picture taken with the pumpkin wall. There was a nice family in front of us in line and we took turns taking pictures for each other. 
Before we left we also visited their store and purchased a bag of apples (now what the heck do I make), local blackberry wine, fresh roasted and salted peas, yogurt blueberry pretzels, yogurt pumpkin pretzels, and fresh bottle apple cider. We also stopped by one of their food booths and bought homemade chocolate chip cookies, apple cidar donuts, chili mac, and walk away taco. We ate some of the food as lunch. 
Mapleside Farms is so much fun. I can't wait to go back next year when Austin is a little bit older and we can do the slide, watch pig races, pet farm animals (he wanted nothing to do with them this year), and play on a bouncy balloon. It would also be a gorgeous wedding venue. 

We ended our weekend and Ella's birthday celebration with a family party at Brian's parents. We had a delicious lasagna dinner. Ella got lots of presents, again that she loved (she woke up early this morning before school to start playing), and instead of a birthday cake, Ella got a huge chocolate chip cookie birthday cookie from Sam's Club. It was very soft and sweet.

Ella has said she really enjoyed her birthday. Her favorite part was the surprise Hockey game. She doesn't have a favorite present, she just loves them all. Now to make half of her old toys disappear. I need help purging kids toys.  

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