Parker at the Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch 2014

It wouldn’t be October without a trip — or in our case, 2 trips — to the pumpkin patch. The first one felt like the middle of August, while the other felt more like late November. Gotta love central Illinois in the fall.

My dad and stepmom joined us for one trip, while Zach’s parents came along for the other. And what a difference a year makes; it was so fun to see Parker running around and participating in all the activities as opposed to just serving as a prop for photos, like he did at last year’s visits ;)

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Although he doesn’t look particularly thrilled in this photo, Parker LOVED the horses. He had a blast on the horse-drawn hayrack ride, and has been making horse sounds nonstop ever since. The other highlight for him was the owners’ little dog, who rode along with us.

As for the actual pumpkin patch part? There were wayyy too many other interesting things occupying his attention; maybe next year he’ll have some interest in walking through it and picking out a pumpkin.

Parker and Pumpkins

Every year at this time, I’d watch my Facebook newsfeed blow up with pictures of children posing with pumpkins. Adorable, yes…but I couldn’t fully appreciate this particular photo opportunity until I had a child of my own.

The theme of last weekend was pumpkins! On Saturday morning, Zach, my mom and I took Parker on a trip to Bomke’s Patch, a pumpkin patch not far from our house. It was so much fun walking through the patch, and of course, posing Parker in a wagon full of pumpkins.

He wasn’t quite sure what to think at first, but after he got over his initial skepticism, he started to enjoy himself and we got lots of smiles. My mom got this great shot of all three of us.

Doesn’t Parker look so grow up in his little jeans and sweater ensemble? We have his Aunt Rebecca to thank for the outfit, which once belonged to his cousin Mason. It was the perfect look for a day at the pumpkin patch.

We also ran into the “other” Parker, whose dad is a friend of Zach’s. They were so cute meeting for the first time! It’s so funny how little Parker looks up to bigger kids when he’s around them — I think he’s jealous that they can get up and walk around by themselves ;)

The pumpkin patch also had a cute area filled with different things for kids to do, so we got a few more shots before we left. By the end of the trip, I think Parker was a little tired of being posed next to various fall items like these mums. But he was just so cute, we couldn’t help it.

After Zach filled his dad in on all the great photo opportunities he missed out on, we decided to go back with him the next day. This time we went all out and dressed Parker up to match the scenery…haha!

It was a gorgeous fall day, and we were all loving life — especially Parker!

It really is amazing how having a child can make just about everything in life much more fun. I have a fresh perspective of everything we do together as a family now, and I can’t wait to experience all the upcoming holidays with him!

In addition to visiting the pumpkin patch (twice), Parker actually spent some time inside of a pumpkin last weekend. Yes, we put our baby in a pumpkin. But believe it or not, he didn’t mind it too much! Zach’s dad got some amazing photos; these might be my favorite EVER taken of Parker.

I think the only reason he tolerated being stuck in a pumpkin was that he could gnaw on it (though I made sure he didn’t actually ingest any!). Seriously, I cannot handle how cute he is. And I’m pretty sure Parker can’t handle another round of ridiculous photo shoots, so we are laying low this weekend.

Fall Freebie Alert!

Free Fall Song Download

If you aren’t familiar with Tuned Into Learning®, then there is no better time to hop on over and check out this amazing resource. Their collection of music for special education is unparalleled, and I am beyond flattered to have the opportunity to offer one of my songs as a free download today. Get the “Fall, Fall, Fall” mp3, instrumental mp3, and lead sheet here.

Tuned in to Learning® helps special learners ‘tune in’ through the powerful medium of music.  They offer a wide range of special education songs and curriculum designed by an Autism Specialist and team of Board Certified Music Therapists. Their songs, books, videos and downloads help teach essential skills to students with autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, brain injury, learning disabilities, speech disorders, orthopedic impairments, and other special needs.

It’s awesome to have so many high quality options when it comes to finding new material for my work with kiddos who have special needs. After you download my fall freebie, be sure to check out all that Tuned in to Learning® has to offer!

Fall, Fall, Fall

Fall, Fall, Fall

As of Saturday, it’s officially fall! My kitchen is stocked with pumpkin waffles and pumpkin spice Coffee Mate, there’s an “autumn leaves” scented candle burning in my office, and I’ve broken out the cold weather cycling gear…yep, summer is over. So it only made sense that this week’s new song is dedicated to the new season.

“Fall, Fall, Fall” is a peppy little number — perfect for a brisk Monday morning, right? I’m pounding the keys and working the drums in my recording, but when I use this song with my students, a simple uke or guitar strum will do just fine. After all, the focus is on the words, which are all about…you guessed it…fall ;)

It will be nice to give my older autumn anthems a little rest as I add this to my repertoire. And while it’s crazy to think that Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner, I’m already getting excited about pulling out the songs that go with them (and of course, writing new ones). Happy fall, y’all!

Sunday Singalong: The Sneezy Scarecrow

There are lots of reasons I love attending the national music therapy conference, but today I’m adding a new one to the list: the opportunity to record my first-ever guest edition of Sunday Singalong!

Actually, it’s kind of funny that I had to come all the way to Atlanta to see Meryl Brown, who lives an hour north of me in Bloomington, Illinois. Meryl and I were in the graduate program at Illinois State University at the same time, and have since kept in touch via our state association and social media. She runs a successful private practice, Developing Melodies, and always has excellent professional advice to share with me.

When she told me about her scarecrow song on the first night of conference, I immediately asked her if she would mind sharing it in a video. She agreed, and Andrew Littlefield volunteered his guitar for her use. I must say, us music therapists are excellent team players!

Be sure to check out Meryl’s website and follow her on Twitter. I happen to know that she has many more fun songs like this one up her sleeve, and you never know…she just might be making another guest appearance here in the future.

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