Monday, October 31, 2011

Fun in the Fall

I love the fall.  Hands down, it must be my favorite time of the year.  Of all the seasons I missed while living in the South—I missed the fall most of all.  There are just so many great family activities in the fall, it is impossible not to find a great way to spend time with the family. With every sip of locally produced apple cider I am reminded how glad I am to be home.  I especially love how fall festivities are very low key in preparation for the much more stressful holiday season. 

The past few weekends we’ve been able to get out and enjoy all that the fall has to offer.  One weekend we went apple picking.  Another weekend we attended a fall festival and then celebrated with a family potluck with tons of great food.  The following weekend I went on a shopping road trip with my mother (aunts and cousins too).

Last weekend Rich, Peanut and I had a blast at a local pumpkin patch.  We wanted to do a corn maze and pick out a pumpkin.  We invited my brother and his family—including  peanut’s cousin who is about a month his senior.  When you live in the Midwest, corn mazes and pumpkin patches abound and you don’t have to look too hard to find one.  Even though the corn maze was a mere 5 acres, we settled on the one that was the closest since both little ones were overdue for their naps. 
It had rained everyday during the preceding week and we really should have thought twice about the whole outing, but the day was very sunny and mild for this late in October.  When we arrived at the farm, two things became obvious.  One, we were not the only people who had this idea. And two, based on the mud in the parking field,  I was relieved I had remembered not to wear my new white tennis shoes.

Armed with strollers and warmly bundled babies, we entered in to the festivities.  The smell of fresh doughnuts and apple fritters filled the air while the sounds of children laughing and cash registers ringing reminded me of the true spirit of Halloween.  Peanut was amazed by all of the kids—and the goats.  His first encounter with a goat found him grabbing its nose.  They must have very patient and understanding goats at these events.

With a coupon from the internet we had printed before arrival, we paid our buy-one get one admittance to the corn maze—or should I say corn bog.  I did mention that it had rain a lot during the week—and Northwest Ohio’s clay soil isn’t known for its exceptional drainage properties.  We sloshed and slid through the field, navigating from one map post to the next—generally trying to chose our route not based on efficiency, but on which looked driest. 

Packed in their strollers, the kids stayed mostly dry.  We let them out a time or two when we noticed a dry patch they could maneuver without too great a fear of a slimy slip. We soon discovered the trick for muddy fields--if you steped to solidly or stood too long, you were destined to slip.  However, if you walked quick and light, you could manage adequately well  About twenty minutes later we emerged the victorious conquerors of the maize maze.  We passed on the hayride which wouldn’t accommodate our strollers.

We next tackled the games barn, where peanut struggled to climb the hay bail tower, but loved to slide down it just the same.  He also explored the kiddie bike track marked by hay bails as well.  Then we attempted to pick a pumpkin.  Rich recommended one large enough to fit peanut this year.  (Last year, Rich placed a much smaller peanut in the pumpkin shell)  I thought $25 was a bit of a waste of funds for such a purpose, despite the fact that it would have been a quality photo op.  Peanut wanted very little to do with picking a pumpkin, though he was very excited to run around and chase other kids.

In short, we had an amazing family outing and hope to continue this relatively economical tradition.  I could see where this would be the sort of place that starts out as a simple trip to the pumpkin patch, but with so many a la carte expenses, could soon become torture if you have a kid with the give-me’s—I pray peanut does not become one of those kids. 

Today we’ll be carving our jack o lanterns and trying on costumes—can’t wait for  Peanut’s first Halloween.