pumpkin patch pictures. . .

Prepare yourselves because my daughters were very photogenic during our annual Pumpkin Patch pictures.  For the last four years, Dustin and I have taken Emma and then a few years later, Ellie, to the Pumpkin Patch to take a “few” pictures.  I love watching the girls run around like chickens with their heads cut off thinking that any moment the pumpkins will disappear and so they have to grab as many as they can.

I was very happy to see the little red wagons this year because they not only make an excellent prop, they save me from carrying all the pumpkins that Ellie tends to put in her mouth. . .here’s hopin’ this will be the last year for slobbering pumpkins.  The girls had a blast and between Papa and myself, I think we captured 70+ pumpkin moments.  Hey, I narrowed it down to I think 30 pictures for this blog entry.  Enjoy and Happy Halloween! 

And just to warn you, I’m deleting all the pictures on my card so Halloween night just might have 300+ pictures for me to share of the Pirate and the Kitty!

Emma & Ellie at the Pumpkin Patch 2008

Dustin looking at Nana, Emma looking at Papa , Ellie looking at Nana and I’m looking at Papa

Dustin looking at Nana, Emma looking at Papa, Ellie looking at Papa and I’m looking at Nana

Yah!!!  Everyone’s looking at the same camera!!

“Now Ellie, it’s quantity over quality.  The more pumpkins you get, the more Mama will have to put back and she’ll just give in because she’ll be ready to get the hay out of her shoes.  I know how this lady works.”

Emma approaching the 3/$1 box of pumpkins.

“Mama can you believe it???  Three pumpkins for $1!!!”

“Ellie!!  Quit looking at the camera and start grabbing pumpkins!!”

A sweet one of big sister Emma.  Ellie is surrounded with little pumpkins and in her own little world.

This is Ellie’s OMG face because we’re approaching pumpkins bigger than Daddy.

Emma wanted to go for a ride, so Daddy was in charge of pulling 60+ pounds of children and roughly 2.8 pounds of baby pumpkins.

Emma caught her second wind and off they go to another 3/$1 crate of pumpkins. . .but these pumpkins are orange, not white like the other ones.

“Okay, three pumpkins each, girls.  Holy crap Dust, that a huge pumpkin for $0.33!!”

Ellie waits for Emma’s orders on where to pull the pumpkin wagon.

Emma’s rearranging pumpkins because it’s time to look for some Emma and Ellie size pumpkins.

Ellie found hers.

After realizing Ellie could not lift three times her own weight, she opted for a smaller pumpkin.

Even with Ellie’s failed attempt, Emma was determined to get that pumpkin.

“Ohh God, my pancreas!!!  Help Daddy!”

Ellie pushing Emma. . .she was pretty worn out after lifting the heavy pumpkins.

“C’mon baby sister just a little further.”  When Emma wants Ellie to do something, she always calls her “baby sister.”

“Wait Emma, I found another one!!”

Emma and Ellie doing teamwork to make it to yet another 3/$1 crate-o-pumpkins.

Said pumpkin crate.

Ellie reaching for pumpkin #15.

If you just glance at this picture, it looks like the girls’ wagon is overflowing with pumpkins, but there’s only three big ones in the wagon.  Now this is a poster for determination.

“Just a little further Ellie.  Mama’s already taken off one shoe, I think were good!!”

“I think I see another 3/$1 crate.”

“I’m tired Emma.”

I always get a shot of Dustin walking off with the girls down the pumpkin aisles.

Hey look, I’m in one of the 70+ pictures. . .eventhough you can’t see my face.

Such a tired baby.  I think it’s naptime for Ellie.

“Please let me go home, I’m so tired!!”


proving me wrong. . .

We hadn’t planned on moving Ellie into a big girl bed until after Christmas, she’s way ahead of schedule.

This is the bottom bunk of Emma’s bed that we’re going to use until Ellie’s old enough for the bed that has stairs on one side and slide on the other.  There would be no sleeping in this house because we’d hear, “Wee!” at 3:00 p.m. in the morning when Ellie decided it’s time to play.

5:00 p.m. ~ Still loving my big girl bed.

6:00 p.m. ~ I’m such a big girl!!

All put together, way to go Daddy.


Papa’s dresser from when he was a boy.

This is still really cool!

The excitement is starting to fade. . .

The girls were pretending to be asleep.

Asleep at last.

Ellie cried so much the front of her shirt was soaked with slobber and probably a few runny boogers.  Anyone eating a snack while checking out my blog?!?

Teddy, Lamby, a hidden binkie and Ellie

Ellie the Big Girl!!  This picture was taken at 6:30 a.m. after spending her first night in her big girl bed. . .about two and a half hours before she normally wakes up.  I’m getting a taste of what Jess’ life is like and I don’t like it.



There comes a time when I am wrong.  Granted in five years of marriage (if you ask me) that hasn’t happened yet.  However, my children apparently have a game going on to see who can prove Mama wrong the most.  The culprit:  Noelle “Ellie” Cambryn Tow, 2’7″, 28 lbs.  The crime:  Attempting to climb out of her crib. 

I said it couldn’t be done and apparently Ellie overheard me and took that as a personal challenge.  Ellie is really smart and does follow directions very good.  Now if she’s in front of other people, she gets shy and then becomes the child that hides behind your legs and refuses to do her “ohh yah baby” for an audience.  But if there’s shoes in the livingroom, she knows where they go and if I ask Ellie to bring my something from another room, she does.  I’m really lucky to have kiddos that don’t scream no at me every time I ask them to do something or throw fall on the ground tantrums when they don’t get their way.  Then again, my husband and I are proud supporters of spanking. . .and McCain and Palin (just thought I’d throw that in there too!).

Wednesday afternoon was an eventful taking down of the crib and putting up of the big girl bed.  Ellie loved her big girl bed.  She kept telling Emma “night, night Emma,” and Emma would turn the light off for her.  Ellie just laid in her bed.  She laid in her bed at 5:00 p.m.  She laid in her bed at 6:00 p.m.  She laid in her bed before dinner at 7:00 p.m.  And after 8:00 p.m. bathtime, her and Emma laid in bed and posed for pictures.  It seemed as if Ellie had fallen in love with her big girl bed and this was going to be an easy transition. 

We rock from 8:45 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. right before our TV show comes on and Ellie hops to Emma and gives hugs and kisses.  She hops to Daddy and gives hugs and kisses and then hops to me and I wrap the blanket around her.  (Both the girls bedtime routine incorporate hopping.  I think it’s a phase thing, but Emma and I hop down the hallway to her bedroom each night)  We walk to the big girl bed that she has been loving all day and I lay Ellie down in it and it’s like Mama has lost her mind if she thinks I’m sleeping in this oversized crib with no rails.  I’m Elwee Ta (that’s how I would spell the way Ellie says her own name) and I will not go down peacefully.

Gosh almighty, that kid has a set of lungs and the waterworks to go with it.  Ellie understood “she can’t crawl out of her crib” but “DO NOT GET OUT OF BED” was lost in between one of the ear piercing “MAMA!!!”  I made it down the hallway to go watch my show. . .and so did Ellie. . .twice.  We walked back down the hallway, got our spankings and were put back to bed.  And then I pulled out my bag of tricks and tried the Super Nanny approach.  I don’t agree with the Super Nanny’s no spanking a child theory, but I tried the sitting in the room by the dresser where Ellie couldn’t see me. 

Ellie screamed “MAMA!!!!” and I said I was right here and it’s like something clicked and she stoped the waterworks, my hearing came back as well as Dustin, Emma and most of the residents on Maple Avenue.  Moments like this makes you feel good to be a Mama when the sound of your voice can calm down your child.  Ellie was asleep in 10 minutes, but didn’t sit up, get up or make a sound.  Wednesday night took one hour to get her in bed.

But Ellie’s second wind came back around 2:20 a.m. and it took some “convincing” or me loudly whispering, “you’re going to wake up Emma, now quit screaming and lay down!”  I sat back down in front of the dresser and Ellie was fast asleep in a couple minutes.  Then my “alarm” woke me up around 6:30 a.m.  It was Ellie through the baby monitor repeating “Mama” every couple of seconds.  When I walked into her room, Ellie was ready to get the hell out of the oversized crib with no rails and was joined to my hip for the remainder of the morning.

Naptime went a little smoother.  She didn’t get out of bed and I remembered Emma’s old routine of reading a story, so I started that.  Ellie obviously observing the situation knew that a silly little children’s story was not going to do the trick.  I left the book on her bed in case she wanted to look at it and with a little bit of whimpering, Ellie was off to sleep in 10 minutes.  WE HAVE A NEW RECORD. . .but we’re up at 2:00 p.m. ready to start the next six to seven hours of the day at full force.  I did find it funny that when I walked into her room after naptime.  The Hazel the Helful Fairy book was sitting on her Princess ride-on toy.  That little girl got out of bed and put it on the ride-on before she went to sleep because she did not want it sitting on her bed.  Twenty bucks says she never moved so quickly thinking I was going to walk in on her at any moment.  And another twenty says Ellie had her teddy, lamby and binkie in tow with her because if she’s going to get caught, they’ll comfort her with her nose in the corner.

cheap fun. . .

It amazes me that over the last 4 1/2 years of buying toys, we’ve spent well over a couple thousand dollars.  If you think about the big toys, not to mention birthdays and Christmas, there’s alot of money invested in toys that aren’t as fun as kitchen bowls and running into each other.  I wonder if I could buy the plates I want and give them to the girls for Christmas???  Would a KitchenAid mixer make a good stocking stuffer?  Would it fit in the stocking?!?

Where is everyone???

Ellie’s still wondering where everyone is and Emma is now joining the fun.

Ellie still wondering. . .

Still wondering. . .

I think of the movie The Goonies and Ellie saying, “Hey you guys.”

Sisterly love.

Ellie hugging Emma. . .no wait, that’s her putting Emma in a headlock, my mistake.



One of the best things about having a birthday is all the “free” meals you get, but if you had one of my economics teachers, you would already no the term TNSTAAFL. . .pronounced tin-sna-full.  That is THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH.  Which is totally true because most of these free birthday meals have a little asterick (*) by the word free.  Which also includes the phrase “with purchase of adult meal,” etc.  We go to Red Robin for everyone’s birthday because you actually do get a free burger for your birthday or within two weeks of your birthday.  TISATAAFL. . .THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A FREE LUNCH. . .amazing I know; however, you must check the receipt, not pay in cash and not leave the restaurant without taking said receipt.  Yep, our what we thought was a cheap lunch was in fact not as cheap as it should have been because the waiter didn’t apply the free burger coupon.  Sad, I know, but my California Chicken Burger with onion strings was quite delicious and my birthday ice cream was enjoyed by all the Tows.

Ellie and Daddy, I’m pretty sure this is the exact same booth we sat at last year and in the exact same spots.  I’ll have to go back and look at last year’s blog entry which Dad is doing right now.

Mama and Emma, is it the same booth Dad??

Ellie and her celebratory Mac & Cheese. . .let’s take a moment to pray that she continues this awesome ability to look at the camera AND smile for her 2-year-old pictures that are around the corner.

Emma and her celebratory cantelope she requests every time we go to Red Robin. . .mmmmmm.

Mama and her celebratory California Chicken Burger. . .thanks Dust.

Yep, that’s the birthday girl. . .hands off fellas, she’s taken. . .

Yep, she’s really not single, in fact her husband considers himself happily married. . .

Dustin about to enjoy his 5-alarm burger that is usually quite mild, but was a little hotter this time.

Mmmmm. . .tasty. . .me like burger. . .

Mama and Emma after Emma had eaten a couple bites of ice cream.  Do you see what sugar does to this child?  Not to worry, before we left the restaurant, she was already tired.  The power of sugar on the Gibson family is somewhat like a coma-like state.

Me like ice cream. . .me like Daddy. . .

Wanna bite honey?!?

Here’s the coma-like state on bite number four.  You can see it in those eyes.

After an afternoon of burgers, ice cream, hair salons and Wal-Mart, it was 8:30 p.m. and we still hadn’t ate dinner.  Nothing like Taco Bell for the girls and Arby’s for the adults to top off a birthday weekend.

Tacos are a weekly staple at the Casa de Tow.  The girls can’t get enough of them. . .even in their mouths. . .pieces usually end up on the floor or in this case in Wal-Mart bags.


happy birthday. . .to me. . .

L to R:  Emma, Ellie, Ady and Aubrey enjoying some cupcakes.

CHEESE Mama!  Ironically, I put both the girls in “birthday” related t-shirts.  I’ll have to find a 27T at Children’s Place for myself next year. . .make that 28T.

The cupcake was a mini cupcake, meaning very tiny. . .yet my 4-year-old still managed to get it all over her face.

Emma:  “Happy Birthday Mama!”

Ellie:  “Appy Birday Mama!”

Here is my plethora of birthday cards.

We had a spur of the moment birthday party Sunday evening which included some Panhandle friends, briskit, cupcakes and small children running amok.  Is that a real term?  Yep, there it is on dictionary.com.  Scary how my sister’s degree in English has lead me to spell check everything before it is posted.  Let’s not forget the “volmit” mistake of ’07 that Jess had a field day with!

Anywho, back to me and my 27th, what Dustin calls my “late” 20s, birthday party.  Dustin had Monday off, until his manager threw a bitchfest (sorry, there was no nice way of putting it) and made the guys take vacation time for it.  What was that ever-so popular term Jess used to talk about my ex-boyfriends. . .”if I ever see them in a dark alley. . .” needless to say, that’s how I and apparently many other people feel about Dustin’s manager.

Again, the tributary comes back to the main river and we go back to my original story.  Spur of the moment was definitely the theme of the party and we had four other couples plus their children and children-to-be (one pregnant couple in case someone didn’t get that) at the house for the party.  It was a great night and we just hung out and watched the kids play outside. 

And only until I broke out the mini cupcakes for the kids did I realize I hadn’t taken any pictures.  So for my 27th birthday party, there are no pictures of me. . .at least not until Emma gave me her card she had worked on after church.  There’s something about having kids that you don’t care about the gifts and the money anymore.  She colored a picture, put it in an envelope and saved it for me to open on my birthday.  I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift. . .I’m not naming names, but I have yet to receive a card of some sorts from a particular sister that will remain nameless. . .