Knowing that it is right around the corner, we've been squeezing in as many fall activities as we can, and it has been... interesting.
We took advantage of Cael's birthday to visit Bloomsbury Farms, a super-huge farm and pumpkin patch about 30 minutes from our home. We visited Bloomsbury last year as a family and were impressed by its imposing size and abundance of fall paraphernalia. That sort of place is heaven for children and autumn-obsessed mothers like me, and a necessary evil for Joel. He is a good sport to come along and humor me, just like I am always ready and willing to spend a few hours at Bass Pro Shops or Scheels, perusing tackle boxes and perfectly preserved severed deer heads.
I live for that. Ahem.
|Foreman Family at Bloomsbury Farm - 2010|
I think he reads my blog.
Once we'd made rounds through several of the attractions, we took advantage of the short lines and jumped on the hayrack ride. A family photo on the hayrack has become a bit of a self-imposed family tradition, so my sister snapped a few shots of us before we jumped off to grab a pumpkin.
|Foreman Family at Bloomsbury Farm - 2011|
Just as Amy, Keaton, Cael and I were contemplating gnawing the stems off of our perfect pumpkins, the hayrack let out a grunt and left us in the field without tools to MacGyver our way back to the farm.
Once back, Joel and Ethan had decided to take a trip through the haunted house they'd assembled in a large barn on the grounds. Thinking the attraction was more "fun" house than "haunted" house, Daddy brought Cael along.
You know, because we hadn't thoroughly messed him up.
Ten minutes later, a quivering Cael emerged from the barn, sniffling, talking nonstop about a very scary clown and trying his best to push his PTSD way, way down inside so that we would stay at the farm and he could ride his most favorite attraction of all-- the barrel train. Since we first set foot out of our van, he'd spotted and remembered the barrel train from last year's visit and felt that neither his birthday nor his entire year would be complete without a spin around.
He took a turn on his own and then one with Graham, all the while sitting very quietly and not exhibiting his traditional enthusiasm. After his second ride, he disembarked his barrel and quietly said to me, "Mommy, I still don't like that scary clown."
Why can't they fill those haunted houses with images of used hypodermic needles and teenage pregnancy so as to create a useful phobia for my son?
Next time I assumed control of the tool and raked (and raked, and raked) crisp, red leaves into a pile for Cael, who begged with fury to jump in them. After creating a large enough pile to cushion what I knew would be a catastrophic collision with the ground, Cael promptly announced that he wanted to go inside and watch Thomas the Train.
How could I make it more interesting?
I ran in the house and emerged with beat up cardboard box and a blanket-- the fixings for a leaf fort that I knew they would love and not want to leave. I pulled the box apart to create a three-sided shelter, and piled the leaves around the box and above, with a blanket to close up the rear.
The boys were ecstatic and giggled as they crawled in and out of their tent. Cael announced that he wanted to have his supper inside the fort and sleep out there at night. They invited Oscar inside as a goodwill gesture to escape the evil monster otherwise known as Mommy. (How come I'm always grotesque and villanous in their fantasies?) Wait-- don't answer that.
As my boys and my dog played, I happily snapped photos, knowing that these are the moments my boys will remember as they look back on their childhoods, just as I lovingly remember the same things from my youth.
And then the dog dropped a deuce in the tent and Graham put his hands in it.
"Mommy! It's dark in here and I don't like that clown! MOMMY!"
Happy Autumn, friends. Off to the psychiatrist...