Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Red Riding Boots

Big brothers are usually good at many things. In our house, Mase is usually the fight instigator and bully most of the time. I know he really does love his brother but he likes to put Griffin in his little-brother-place. I bought the boys slippers for this winter, as I usually get "My feet are cold!" in the mornings getting ready for school. They love wearing them and have donned the phrase "Little Red Riding Boots". At the library last week, Maysen picked "Splat the Cat" and has been reciting the book over and over. On this night, sitting by the fire, Bubba asked Griffin to sit by him as he recited, word-for-word, Splat the Cat Goes to CatSchool. They really are good pals ...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

LonePine Farm 2010 .. another year.

It smelled the same as it always does; crispy breeze carrying the smell of kettle corn through the dusty parking lot as we all bailed out of the van. We parked on the field lawn - a zillion yards away from the actual farm itself. It is like we've done every year for the last 6 years. There was a sense of annoyance in me mainly because I don't necessarily enjoy crowds and this tiny little farm houses four hundred million crowded into a city block radius and no one and I mean NO ONE knows how to drive around there. But we do it ... for the kids.

We spend $5 on handfuls of feed to feed the overweight and bloated sheep and goats with the other 200 kids behind us waiting to stuff the goats as well. But the kids love it.

We revisited the genius of a creation that is the ATV roller coaster. Built only out of used parts from chairs and barrels, this $7/ticket ride is a must every year. We scoff at how much money they must rack in every single year from this thing ... but at the same time marvel in the simplicity of this gold mine ... and the kids love it.

When we finally make our way back to the pumpkin fields the kids dart in 86 different directions in search of the perfect pumpkin. Meanwhile, Nate and I are left in the dust to maneuver around vines and disintegrating pumpkins that 325 people before us have trampled on. But we do it ... for the kids.

Then there was the majorly hazardous new hay maze they had this year. They stacked hay bales 5 high and created a maze for the kids to wander through. I watched in horror while 728 kids all ran around on top of the bales with little or no parent supervision. The nurse in me was envisioning a little one getting shoved out of the way by bigger kids, little on falling over backwards and landing on head, arm, leg wrong resulting in fractures or worse. Paranoid? Admittedly a bit, probably. But still. The kids love it.
Yes. I sound a bit critical in this post. The fact is, every year it feels like a duty to our children to go. However, as I sat watching the boys getting chased by my 6'2" husband as he loomed over the hay bales pretending not to find the boys in the maze, I heard quiet whispers behind me. As I turned around I noticed this tiny older couple in their presumed 80s. I smiled as they nodded my way and asked if those were my boys. We chatted about how fun this place is and the woman, weak and tired-looking said, "You know we used to bring our 2 boys to the farm every year. They are grown and gone now but we still come to the farm every fall just to watch all the young families and reminisce." I turned around to watch my husband snatch up the boys from where they were trapped, them screaming with anticipation. It was then I realized that this wasn't a "duty". Every year we come, there might continue to be the same things. However, the boys experience it different. This year Griffin could carry his pumpkin and he wasn't scared of the roller coaster. This year Maysen wasn't afraid to feed the goats and he was able to load the pumpkins and push the wheelbarrow. Their experiences change every year there and it truly is a blessing to get to watch this transformation every year.

We walked hand in hand out of the parking lot. Maysen squeezed gently, smiled, and said "I can't wait to do it again next week!" I knew he meant "next fall". I simply smiled, "Me either, buddy. Me either."