Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bengtson's Pumpkin Farm 2013

It's been a beautiful week as fall rolls in, and I for one am totally on board for everything fall related... pumpkins, apple cider, Halloween, Thanksgiving-- I love it all.

To celebrate this beautiful fall day, we checked out Bengtson's Pumpkin Farm in Homer Glen. I highly recommend this place for a day of family fun in the coming month! Admission is $12 per person (children under 2 are free) and includes:
Unlimited Free Kiddie Rides
Fun Barn
Feeding and Petting Zoo
Fun Slide
Hayrack Ride
Corn Maize
Pig Races
Children's Playhouse Village
Children's Playground
Haunted Barn
Jimmy Cracked Corn Boxes
And more!

You'll pay extra for food and beverage, pony rides and pumpkins.

Henry really seemed to enjoy it all, and experienced his first amusement rides. We spent nearly three hours walking (and riding!) around and enjoying everything that Bengtson's had to offer. 

This will surely become an annual family outing for us! What are your favorite fall activities/traditions?

(click to enlarge)
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20in13: 20 Random Things About Me

This post is part of the 20in13 series. For more information or to participate, check out this post. 

20 Random Things About Me:
  1. If I'm in control of the remote, the volume can only be set in increments of five. So if it's a little too quiet, or a little too loud, tough cookies. The same goes for the temperature settings in my car.
  2. The first book I will read to all of my children is The Little Prince. It's one of my all time favorites. I originally read it in French, so having to decipher the translations is also part of what makes it so magical for me.
  3. I prefer iced coffee to hot coffee regardless of the temperature.
  4. I've recently started sleeping with my phone as far away from me in the bedroom as possible (versus on the nightstand) because I read a study where plants wouldn't grow near a cell phone-- and I figured that can't be good for my sleeping brain. But admittedly yes, the rest of the day it's within arm's reach.
  5. I finally learned to tell my right from my left by remembering which hand I put over my heart during the Pledge of Allegiance in third grade.
  6. In addition to everything pumpkin, my favorite fall food is Gala apples. And I'm loving the current crisp weather, especially since I seem to run about ten degrees hotter when I'm pregnant.
  7. We've lived in our new house for over a month, and I'm still staring at totes full of who knows what in my living room, which I refuse to put away until they are "organized."
  8.  My favorite numbers to bet when I play roulette are 13, 22 and 23.
  9. I still don't consider myself a "grown-up." Will I ever?
  10. I was born in 1986. If you say "10 years ago" I still think the 90's in my head.
  11. My husband's pet peeves for me: I like too many lights on, especially at night. And I crunch my food too loud (even though my mouth is closed.) But in my defense, is there a quiet way to eat a carrot?
  12. I remember the first time I cheated in school. I was in first grade and it was during a spelling test. The word was "of." I knew "ov" wasn't correct, but for the life of me couldn't remember the correct spelling. So I peeked over my neighbor's folder (remember propping those up?) Once I saw the correct spelling I was sort of like, "Oh, yeah." But I felt so guilty afterwards. I think that one small cheat led me to be a really good student in the future. But it's good to get that off my chest.
  13. I can't wait until my children are old enough for me to read the Harry Potter series to them. I also can't wait until our first Disneyworld trip.
  14. When I was younger I confused the words "deliberately" and "literally." I remember telling my fifth grade teacher once, "I deliberately ran into him." I meant literally. It sort of changes the meaning. (Shout out to Mr. Reeves, he was one of my all time favorite teachers!)
  15. I love, love, love laughing so hard it hurts. Or you pee a little.
  16. I believe that communication is the key to life. I didn't know I believed that until the Men's Purdue Swim Coach (Shout out to Dan Ross!) put it into words for me.
  17. I love sock monkeys. I hate sloths. I don't understand how so many people think they are cute. They move slow and they have creepy hands. Yuck, yuck sloths.
  18. I learned to sign the alphabet in first grade and never forgot. I learned to sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" in Japanese in 8th grade and also never forgot.
  19. I don't have any tattoos, because I can't make that kind of commitment. If I could get one that I could change every year, I'd do it, but they are too long-term commitment for me. Plus even though I'm 27, my Dad would kill me!
  20. I think happiness is a choice.
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Oh, Dunkin', my Dunkin'...

You know you're pregnant when you decide to dedicate a blog post to your love of Dunkin' Donuts. (I also apologize in advance if you are pregnant and reading this post, because by the time its over, you'll likely have to take a little drive to Dunkin'.)

Where do I begin?

To start, Dunkin' Donuts, to me is a piece of nostalgia. My Dad used to wake me for morning practices at the crack of dawn when I was little with the quote, "Time to make the donuts!" The line was lost on me for a long time. The commercial was before my time and I didn't actually see it until twenty or so years later in a college advertising class.

After practice we'd beg to stop at Dunkin' and to this day my favorite is the Boston Kreme donut. And a box of Munchkins still makes me feel like a little kid. (Stuff your face quickly! Before the "good" ones are gone!)

Dunkin' Donuts' plain bagels with strawberry cream cheese got me through my pregnancy with Henry. And their Iced Carmel Lattes got me through many, many long days after he was born. This pregnancy it's pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Especially their pumpkin muffins. And I already have the pumpkin k-cups stored away for when my caffeine consumption can begin again after this baby.

Those are my thoughts on my past and present with Dunkin', but the future? I just hope I can create a bit of nostalgia for my kids with occasional special trips to Dunkin'. Henry is already quite familiar with Munchkins, and seems to think that since they can technically fit in his mouth, he should eat them in one bite. Someday I'm sure my kids' hearts will flutter a bit when they sees that box of orange and pink goodness, and all the possibilities inside.

Did you know Dunkin has been around since 1950? Here's hoping they are around forever! What's your favorite Dunkin' treat? Dunkin' memory?

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

20in13: Favorite Parts

This post is part of 20in13. For more information or to participate, check out this post. 

Today's topic: What is your favorite part of your body and why? What is your favorite part of your personality and why?

(I also go into least favorites because I'm an overachiever. Not necessarily part of the assignment if you'd like to join in.)

At the moment my favorite part of my body is my pregnant belly. I'll be honest, I thought I would be one of those people who just glowed with their pregnancy, who just absolutely loved being pregnant. But I am not one of those people. I hobble around with all these aches and pains, and I'm tired all the time. But one thing I do love is my pregnant belly. I was blessed with one that doesn't have too many stretch marks or the dark line up the middle, and my belly button never fully "pops." 

Don't get me wrong, ALL pregnant bellies are beautiful, but I really did luck out. And for the record, just because my pregnant belly is on the pretty side doesn't mean the rest of me lucked out, there are plenty of stretch marks other places... but as they say "I've earned these stripes."

When I'm not pregnant, overall I'm happy with my body.  I was blessed to be raised with a high-level of self-esteem when it comes to this, for which I consider myself lucky because many women struggle and are so hard on themselves physically. In fact, I didn't even know "body issues" were such a real problem until I got to college and saw other girls obsessing over their figures (which were ideal, as we were athletes) Of course I loved my college-bod, a little more than my post-baby bod... but I think that's a common occurrence.

But weirdly, my favorite parts are my feet, (which are not as cute while preggo!) my butt, my wrists, my collarbone, and the sprinkle of "beauty marks" on my face. 

And just so we are being honest, my least favorite part: my arms-- even when I was putting more miles on my body in the water than on my car in college, I've never had the definition I'm so envious of in other women.

On to personality portion of the competition:

My favorite parts? 

I try to see the humorous side in everything, or at least appreciate the fact that maybe a given situation will be laughable later. Even if its hard to see the humor in the present.

I also try to see the beauty in the little things. I try to take mental snapshots of things that make me smile (Light filtering through the trees, the feeling of a crisp fall day after a week of hot summer, the sound of Henry's giggle...) I believe happiness is a choice, and taking note of these little things allows me to be happy.

I like to think I can say what I'm thinking, but present it in a way that isn't blunt or hurtful, even in a tough situation. In my opinion communication is the key to life, and I think I'm a very good communicator.

And even though this wasn't part of the question, probably my least favorite part of my personality is I can sometimes be a bit of a complainer and exaggerator. I didn't realize this until college. And I'm incapable of making a long story short, so...

I was at a party one summer in college with some of my girlfriends near campus. They were charging to drink, and instead of paying, we just stole a few of the zip-ties out of the back-pocket of the host (who we barely knew) to put on our wrists. This signified that we had paid to drink. Well, since we'd stolen them, we didn't have the scissors to cut off the excess tie. So over the course of the afternoon, my zip tie got tighter and tighter and tighter. When we eventually got picked up from the party by a friend, I explained the story and my oh-so-painful, pitiable situation. He looked right at me and said, "It's always something with you, isn't it, Lauren?"

I totally appreciated his honesty in that moment as it allowed me to know myself better. Sometimes outsiders have a more accurate perspective. Since then I try to think a little more about what I am trying to accomplish before I speak. 

But like everyone, every day I get to know myself a little better...

It sure must be an enlightening moment, the day you come to know and understand yourself completely.

So, what about you? Favorite and least favorite parts of your body and personality? How well do you know yourself?

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

"Words are but symbols of the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere to they touch upon the absolute truth." -Friedrich Nietzsche

I thought this infographic was pretty interesting and wanted to share. Do you know of any other untranslatable words from other cultures? Share in the comments!
11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

(Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.)

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tiny Heartbreaker

I've loved seeing everyone's back to school pictures these past few weeks. Everyone in their new school clothes and adorable little backpacks.
And while the kids all look excited (or occasionally, none too thrilled that Mom is taking that picture) I can now identify with what the lady behind the lens is going through.


There are two ways a child's first day can go, whether its pre-school, kindergarten or in Henry's case a 2-day a week nursery school program.

Scenario 1: You drop your kid off kicking and screaming and in tears.
Scenario 2: He's very excited and doesn't even look back.

We fell into the latter category. I walked Henry in, and he was immediately taken by the new kids and teachers. I took a few pictures and snuck out, but he didn't even look to me for a little reassurance.

I have mixed feelings. I'm so proud to have raised a little man who isn't afraid of new experiences. A little man who doesn't need to hold mommy's hand when he meets new people. A little man who seems to LOVE school. When I picked him up on the first day he was all smiles. So confident looking in his little backpack and "Flag Holder" name tag. I smiled the whole drive home with pride at my independent little man.

But he also broke my heart a little. Henry has been my whole life for over two years now, and he didn't even need a hug goodbye.

But I did.

Yes, now I know what that lady behind the lens is going through. She's wanting a tiny hand to hold from the smallest heartbreaker she's ever met.

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