October 10th. In early September, I'd marked that day in my calendar as the day to try to "sell" to our Thursday Night Life Group as the day we should embrace the autumn season in all its glory and cross a whole lot of things off of a "Harvest Bucket List". My plan was to take these girls on the wild hay wagon ride at Johnson Farms, have us all pick out pumpkins, and then return to Heather's home just a quarter mile away for a bonfire and s'mores.
In general, I hesitate to over-sell activities (I leave that to John who compensates for both of us). But, every time I've done this ride in the past, it's been a blast - and always such a serendipitous fall experience. As long as the weather didn't interfere, I was pretty sure they'd agree wholeheartedly. As it turned out, the weather was perfect. Sunny, but brisk and cold - just what I'd wished for. The only downer was that not everyone was able to be there. Suzie and Amanda worked late that night, so Amanda was only able to join us towards the end of the bonfire time, and Suzie couldn't make it at all. Kimmie was obligated to a study going on at Harlow as well.
Heather, Christi, Elaina, and I met early at Heather's house for an early dinner. We were going to walk over to Johnson Farms, but it dawned on me that we might not relish the idea of carrying our pumpkins back. (After carrying Whitley as much as I do, I'm all too aware of the toll 25-30 pounds can take on your lower back when you sway to compensate!) So, we loaded in my "Swagger Wagon" and headed over.
Don't these pictures just say it all? I was so happy. This place evokes many, many cozy memories.
While waiting for the ride to begin and everyone to show up, Mikayla and Heather hit the hay maze. Heather ended up getting stuck. You can barely spot her rubber boots sticking out of the hay bale in the second picture. =)
Not such a great pic, but it illustrates the little farmers market they have inside.
I love this picture - and absolutely adore these girls.
If you want to get Whitley to cuddle, take her over to some goats. Christi was very happy about that. Actually, because these goats weren't loud and aggressive, Whitley was quite enchanted with them.
As was Mikayla - their names are Brownie and Fudge.
Love my girl. Brayden had a football game on this night so he and John were at that. As it turned out, Brayden got ZERO playing time at that game, can you imagine how frustrated I would have been if I'd succumbed to mom guilt and canceled my attendance to this event in order to make his game? In retrospect, I made an excellent choice.
I think I'll be making this my new Facebook cover photo...
The other Mommy-Daughter duo on our trip. The following pics are blurry as they were taken on the very wild and bumpy ride. They show the girls' enthusiasm, the actions made in trying to huck mini pumpkins at the scarecrow head targets along the ride, and Whitley's terror along the way. (Sorry kiddo- I was very thankful Steph had been on this ride before so I didn't have to worry about feeling guilty over leading her astray on what kind of ride it would be...and for the record, she was safe - just very unsure of it all).
After the crazy ride, we ended up at the pumpkin patch where there was a pumpkin catapult launch set up.
Such a cutie - the last pic we have of her here was when she was in first grade. Where does that time go?
Another group pic I love-
Christi took this pic to show us all how big she felt like her (little) belly bulge really is- we are almost down to two months to go - can't wait!
The Stephies and their daughters!
Yeah, sure, I used a little "filter" on this - but I prefer to call it "artistic expression" =)
The set-up of the fire pit at the Darland Farm (where Heather's apartment is) was very impressive. Dry wood, lots of kindling, and newspaper had us with roaring flames in no time.
We each brought unique s'mores ingredients. I brought Ritz and Rolos to switch it up. We also had mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. I think I'm still a purist - but it was all very tasty and well worth the cheating of my diet. Elaina and Christi had gone in together to purchase some fresh cider from Johnson Farms that tasted DELICIOUS.
As we sat around the fire, I found myself giddy with the experience of the evening. It's not often my expectations are actually exceeded on an activity such as this - especially when I'm concerned with the reactions of people I'm bringing along - but, it all worked out so perfect. I'm quite sure it will be my hallmark memory of "Harvest Time 2013".