A Sincere Pumpkin PatchPosted: October 19, 2008
I haven’t blogged in a while about my life as a mom, so I thought I would catch up today.
On Saturdays in the fall, our schedule is typically ruled by the ND football game. Manfrengensen is a bit of a fanatic, you could say, so he must be in front of the TV at kickoff, and for the most part, it is best for the rest of us to just vacate the premises. But this week was an off-week for ND, and it was a beautiful, near-perfect autumn day, so we thought we would go get our pumpkins as a family.
Usually we go to the local pumpkin patch, which is small, but fairly sincere. We pick our pumpkins, Manfrengensen pulling the wagon up and down the rows of the field, with the children jumping on and off of it. After we pick our pumpkins, the kids disappear into the corn maze, or run through the little straw bale one they have, running circles through its simple path. Edison just attended a birthday party two weeks ago at that pumpkin patch though (and while we were there, all three of them thought the most fun thing about it was to roll down the big hills that surrounded the parking area) so I thought it might be fun do do something different.
For years, I have been hearing about this farm that’s about a forty-five minute drive away called Linvilla Orchards. We checked out the website, and it looked like fun. They have a little park, and Manfrengensen and I figured we could pick our pumpkins, the kids could play a bit, and we could call it a fun little family outing. We loaded them all into the car and drove up there.
The first sign that this was a bigger deal than we had anticipated, was the parking lot. There was a guy there with a red flag, waving us in, usually a sign of a huge event. And an event it was. It was a lot of fun, but rather than the small pumpkin patch we had expected, it was like a huge fair. There were so many things that we couldn’t see them all in one day.
You walk onto the grounds, and they have a little band playing. Behind the stage were carnival-like food stands, selling all kinds of junk, soft pretzels, pizza, hot dogs, fries, caramel apples and more. They had face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, pick-your-own pumpkins, pick-your-own apples, a craft fair, jarred foods for sale, all kinds of farm-related activities. And it was teeming with humanity.
One rest room area with two toilets each.
But anyway, we explored a bit and then let the kids ride the ponies. Edison and Clooney loved it, but The Princess only let the pony take a few steps before she got off of the thing. She was tired. She had actually fallen asleep on the way there, and she’s never good in the first half-hour after you wake her. After that, we went on a hayride, which was fun, and then we took the kids to the playground. And the playground was insane. You pay a dollar to get in, and they have all these wooden structures in there. Kids were running everywhere. They were climbing. They were jumping. They were sliding and shimmying, and skooting. Again, it made my head spin. But the kids had a great time.
After that, we got a snack, and to be honest, between the hayride and the pony ride, the hay bale maze, the park and the food, we’d expended all the cash in our wallets. Plus, it was such a long walk back to the car (across the street from the farm and down a big hill, all the way to the opposite end of the parking lot) that we didn’t want to lug a huge pumpkin all the way back there. So we ended up leaving. A fun day, but no pumpkin.
Manfrengensen is even more obsessed with the election than I am. It’s awesome. Friday night we went out to dinner, and it was pretty much all we talked about. Funny, because usually when we go out, and it’s just the two of us, even though we’re so excited to be out without the kids, the kids tend to be the main topic of our conversation. Talking excitedly about something other than the kids takes me back to the salad days.
Then we went to see Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which was pretty cute and fun. Very well-cast with a thoughtful, sincere script. Not a great movie, but a satisfying excursion.
Today, it’s back to typical Sunday morning. Though rather than watching ESPN, Manfrengensen is obsessed with the Sunday morning pundits and watching CNN. I got to sleep in, and then I made pancakes, though only The Princess ate them. Not because they were bad pancakes, but because the boys are picky eaters. (Please no advice on that, believe me I have tried everything. Talked to the doctors, tried every tactic, even have snuck nutritious things into the foods they like to no avail. Ultimately it comes down to two things: How can you get kids to eat vegetables who won’t even try pancakes?? The power struggle has run its course. And also, I think of my brother, who ate nothing but french fries and poptarts for the first four years of his life. He’s now the most adventurous eater of all the kids in my family. My kids are healthy and in no way overweight, so I am relaxing for the most part. It will work itself out as they get older.)
The boys are eating their lunches as I write this post, alternately chewing and talking into a little recorder, the playback of which drives them both into fits of hysterical laughter. Even though, I know that in a few minutes I will have to take that thing away from them, lest its shrill, repetitive sound drive me insane, I do so love being their mom.