In which we are just like Humpty Dumpty

. . . because Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall!

Har har har!

But we’ve had a few fun autumnal adventures the past several days.

First off was a trip to BrickCon, the LEGO conference that happens in Seattle every fall. It’s been about five years or so since we took our children. When I realized that none of the kids remembered anything about our previous visit, I decided it was time to go again.


I’m still on the fence a bit about whether or not it was worth it.

I mean, the builds were cool. Incredible creativity going on here — although I admit there were no giant showstoppers like the Hogwarts Castle and Rivendell builds we saw previously (each one was roughly the size of a minivan).


And it was also very, very crowded. My kids could hardly see any of the exhibits because there were so many people shuffling by the tables. Katie got overwhelmed, so I took her upstairs to the children’s area while Brian continued to look at builds with the big kids.


There were several tables where kids could simply build and play. This cheered Katie right up. (And I got to read a book while she worked! Win-win!)

She says this is a portrait of me. Yay?

The following week, we got a lovely visit from the Shirts grandparents. Randy and Kathryn recently returned home after serving as missionaries in North Carolina. It had been over a year since the kids had seen them. Predictably, we spent the entire week pointing out in minute detail all the ways the children changed and grew during that year.

Regrettably, because of my music theory class, I couldn’t tour them around the city. So we just went out to lunch every afternoon instead. It was nice to have an excuse to visit one of Kathryn’s favorite haunts, the Scandinavian Specialties cafe in Ballard.

Best of all, on Friday we went to visit Kristen at her new job as the . . . .okay, I’ve forgotten the official title, but she’s like the Cutting Room Manager or something at a small local apparel company called Crescent Down Works. They make beautiful bespoke down-filled snow parkas. (We even got to go into the down-stuffing room and put our hands in a box of down! Which was even more insanely soft than I expected!)


On Friday night, we had a special treat: a members-only preview of the new Burke Museum of Natural History. I’ve been excited to see this new exhibit space. The overall focus is on “transparency” — that is, they have lots of glass walls and doors so museum visitors can see what projects all the scientists and archaeologists are working on.

Jeff asked great questions and we had some interesting conversations about how to tell when ancient animal bones were eaten by humans instead of other animals. (The secret: humans are the only animals who twist bones to break them.)

The following day we had even more fun with a trip to a pumpkin patch for some autumnal delights. Kathryn and I spent probably far more time than was necessary researching pumpkin patches and farms and chose to go to the Jubilee Farm.

We had hot cider, and a hay bale ride out to the pumpkin field.

Everyone picked a pumpkin, which in retrospect may not have been the wisest idea (we are now the proud owners of 70+ pounds of pumpkins).

We also watched the farm launch a pumpkin trebuchet:


Ran around a hay bale maze in the barn:


Saw some sheep (not pictured, but William found them “so adorable” that he immediately began to quietly hum “Baa Baa Black Sheep” Dang, I hope that kid never grows up).

We also helped grind some apples for cider:


Eleanor found a dahlia garden (which is one of her favorite flowers, which I did not know):


Then, while the big kids went to watch Trebuchet Launch #2, I stood with Katie to wait for a pony ride. Awww.


The grandparents went home on the same day that Brian left for the annual ASHG conference. In other words, we switched overnight from Family Fun Time to Lonely Time, and that was kind of a bummer.

I kept my cool by making sure we had lots of freezer meals ready to go, by skipping Katie’s evening swim classes for the week (it was the end of class anyway) and in general trying to keep things perky. But I admit I was exhausted as usual by the end of the week.

In the meantime, all three big kids went to the homecoming assembly at the high school (William was there because he’s part of the student government at the middle school), Jeff went to his first Homecoming football game (they lost), Eleanor went on her first backpacking trip (skipping the homecoming dance to do so):


. . . and William went to his first opera. (Rossini’s “La Cenerentola,” aka Cinderella, which he found fast-paced, engaging, and really fun.)

But Brian’s back again, hooray! SO GLAD HE’S HOME.

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