Sunday, October 25, 2009

Annual Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

We decided to take our annual visit to Pa's Pumpkin Patch on Saturday. I'm sad to say it was a huge disappointment!

Was it me?
Was it the kids?
Was it the place?
Maybe it was all three.

It just wasn't what we (me especially) was expecting. Maybe it was just "too much" of some things and "way not enough" of other stuff. Branden said it had a church carnival feel and that is certainly not what we were going for. The kids were only interested in the rides - I know they are kids so that was to be expected. But at $15 for 10 tickets the boys were really made to decide how they wanted to spend their 5 tickets. It was also super crowded and because it was later in the day, I felt nervous a bit if they ran to far ahead and we couldn't see them. Speaking of running, there really wasn't much space for them to run around anyways. It just was disappointing overall. Worst of all we didn't get our usual family photo. I was super sad about this. The boys were jumping around being crazy and Annabelle was asleep on my chest in the baby bjorn - it just wasn't going to happen!

You all are probably reading this thinking "gee, Nicole haven't you been going to Pa's your whole life. What made you think it would be different this time".

Great question! The answer, unfortunately, I don't know!
I guess I wanted to be with my family somewhere that felt like Fall, especially since Saturday had been a pretty hot day. I wanted there to be lots of pumpkins, hay bails and orange and brown leaves everywhere. I wanted it to feel like Fall, like Halloween.

Needless to say, although it wasn't our most favorite adventure, the boys still had a lot of fun. As I look at the pictures I can see it in their eyes and their smiles. Just take a look.

Jack decided to go down with the lady at the top,
Brave boy Ben loved flying solo.
They both said it was super fun and wanted to go again!

Sweet Annabelle sitting with mommy waiting for her big brothers.
This was her first visit to the pumpkin patch, unfortunately she slept through most of it.

The boys looking back at the big slide they had just gone down

The pirate ship and the flying elephants

Pumpkin BEN

Pumpkin JACK

The boys went on the bumper boats for the first time

I realized later that night that I wanted our evening to be like all of the Fall pictures I've been seeing on my friends blogs that live in other parts of the country. I wanted something that I was NOT going to get at Pa's Pumpkin Patch on PCH in Long Long Beach, California.

We decided that Pa's is most likely going to become a thing of the past for us. We are going to make some new Fall traditions next year. We know this might involve driving a bit farther and making a day of it but we are committed to having more fuller experiences that involve less carnival rides and more connection with nature and the welcoming of the Fall season.

When the kids were finally in bed I was still feeling a little disappointed about how our night had gone. So I decided to take a look at the pictures from last year's trip to the pumpkin patch since I had been reflecting on it all night "as such a great visit". The funny thing is that the pictures all pretty much looked the same - same rides, very few "harvesty/pumpkin" pictures and it looked crowded as well. We did however get this family picture (below), which we weren't able to manage this year.

As I was looking at the picture so fondly I realized that I was wearing the EXACT same outfit! OMG -one year later I pull out the exact same shirt and sweater to wear to the pumpkin patch. I had to just laugh. I knew my wardrobe was lacking a bit, but that's ridiculous.

After that laugh I realized that my pouting seemed as silly as my outfit. I know that I may have wanted more from the night than I got (i.e. a family picture) but oh well. The most important thing is that we were there together as a family even if some of us are still wearing last years clothes.

I'm looking forward to creating new Fall memories in a new location in a new outfut next year!


Greta said...

Oh man, I know just what you mean. I hate Pa's Pumpkin Patch even though the kids love it. It is hot, dusty, ugly and right next to a busy road. not picturesque, not fallish, not cost effective.
I too long for that apple picking, fall color, cozy sweater experience. But I think we live in the wrong part of the country. This is really the only time of year that I long for different weather. But if we had it, we'd probably complain about that, right?
I guess it is all about having a good attitude, which you managed to do. And the kids had fun, so that's good too.
If it makes you feel any better, I went to a pumpkin patch in Fallbrook last week. It is on a pretty farm with nary a carnival ride to be seen. But even at 4:30 pm, it was still so hot that we only stayed long enough to get some shots of Lilly and then we went out for iced coffee. Maybe we just need to go to Maine for an annual fall vacation. I wish!

Four Flights said...

Nic, don't EVEN get me started on the whole fall thing and how much I despise living here in Southern California right now! I was pouting the other day too about it being so hot and how "I just want a stinking tree to be shaded under! Is that too much to ask for?!?!" Art looked at me like I was having a hormonal meltdown (as he usually does!). But back to your post, this post just made me smile, not at your expense per se, but I really could have written it myself! We, that is me, decided to skip Pa's this year for all those things you talked about and thank goodness our preschool made a trip to Tanaka Farms or else the only pumpkin patch my kids would have been seeing was the bin at Stater Bros! Good for you for sticking it out though and trying to look at it in a positive light. The kids obviously had a great time, which is the absolute best thing about pictures. They can get you out of a funk quicker than anything. Let's try to do apple picking next year maybe?

Greta said...

Nicole, I thought of something else that might make your trip a whole lot better. A friend from church who has 3 teenage children told me a great story about Pa's. She was driving by the pumpkin patch with all 3 kids in the car. One of them said, "remember when we went to the pumpkin patch every year?" Another said, "let's go right now."
So they did.
She said they had so much fun being there together and remembering the things they loved as kids.
You are building a treasure trove of memories with your kids. They might not be what you imagine they should be, but they will be important and meaningful to the kids.
We'll be heading to Pa's this week. I'll let you know how it goes. I just won't be looking for fall leaves or anything too pretty! :P

Four Flights said...

oh and BTW, you know me to be pretty fashion-conscious right? I too was wearing the EXACT same outfit to Tanaka Farms last week as I wore last year when we were there for watermelon picking. I mean the exact same thing, same orange shirt, same hat, same jeans, same belt (I think the only thing that was different was I wore a newer pair of New Balance sneakers). So there, it happens to all of us!

Anonymous said...

pa's stinks. that's right, i said it. yes, and so do all the 'gimmicky pumpkin patches' around here. they all are SO expensive, the kids play on the rides and they don't get the idea about how special it is.
we drive all the way to Escondido to go to a farm that has a corn maze, horse drawn wagon rides, tractor rides around the pumpkin fields, bales of hay to destroy ( well, the are meant for fun but c'mon now!) i think it is very noble of you to chose to do something else for your family. Matthew gets so grumpy when we decide to go to pa's, then we are both moody the rest of the afternoon. have fun in your new adventures.

ps ,we never get a family shot at pa's either.

The Beard Family of 5 said...

I have to say I just loved reading this... I couldn't stop smiling!