Monday, December 9, 2013

Fall Fun - Pumpkin Patches!

As I mentioned in a previous post, Autumn is my favorite time of year. One of my favorite activities is visiting the pumpkin patch. Chris and I even did this a few times before we had children, and I used to dream of the day that we would be able to take our babies there. 

During Brianna's first Autumn, we took her to Carmichael Pumpkin Patch and loved it. The next year, we returned to Carmichael, but also visited Livesay Orchard with my friend Christie and her daughter, Callie. Last year, we continued our tradition of visiting Carmichael and Livesay Orchard, but we also added a visit to the Bit-by-Bit Pumpkin Patch with my sister and her family. I vowed this year that we would not be adding any more pumpkin patches to our Autumn traditions! I wasn't even sure that we'd make it back to all three patches this year, but we did!

The first patch we visited this year was Carmichael on the weekend of October 3rd. The weather doesn't generally cool down much for us until October, but this year it was 90 degrees on the day we visited Carmichael. Ugh! Oh well, at least it wasn't raining.

My rule (and I make this very clear to the children) is that we get good photos first, then we have fun. I love decorating with my pumpkin patch photos, and I appreciate good ones!

Brenson wasn't as cooperative as I would have liked, but I have to remind myself that he is only 1.

I was happy with several of the ones I got of him, though.

This was my favorite of Brianna . . . even though it is a bit of a fake smile.

And I love this one of Brenson!

We had to work really hard to get these out of the children, so we didn't even attempt one of the two of them together. We did, however, ask someone to take a family photo for us. I was happy with how it turned out, minus Brianna's hair blowing in my face. Really though, everyone is looking, eyes are all open, and no one is making a crazy face. I call that a WIN!

After photos, we grabbed a wagon and started exploring. The children really enjoy riding in the wagon.

Brenson was okay with being put in this caldron at first, but he quickly changed his mind.

Haha, love this!

One of our favorite part of Carmichael is visiting the animals. Brianna especially enjoys seeing them and feeding them. She liked this goat . . .

. . . until he bleated at her. Then she was scared!

Love my sweet girl!

Daddy showing Brianna the ropes of feeding the sheep.

The Bs were carrying on quite the conversation with the sheep.

Brenson kept saying, "Hi, hi, hi."

Brianna was soon a pro at feeding the animals. She is an animal lover. Trust me when I say that she does not get that from me!

They loved this baby goat. I must admit, I thought it was pretty cute, too :-).

At some point, Brenson decided he needed to pull Brianna in the wagon. We couldn't believe that he was actually able to do it, but he did!

Love him!

I remember very vividly when Brianna was 1 she kept trying to pick up the pumpkins (which were obviously way too big for her) and would say, "heby, heby". Brenson did the exact same thing! So funny!

This year we did something we have never done before and that was allow Brianna to ride on the ponies (it costs extra so we just skip it). She had a ball. She said later that it was her favorite part of visiting the pumpkin patch.

We also picked out a few pumpkins and gourds to decorate our house, but I didn't take any photos of them for some reason. Visiting Carmichael remains one of my favorite Autumn traditions.

A little over a week later (on October 12th), we visited the Bit-by-Bit Pumpkin Patch with Lisa, Russ, and Chloe Jo. This pumpkin patch is in the town where they live, and benefits the Bit-by-Bit program (a therapeutic horse riding program for special needs children).

This pumpkin patch has a few more games and activities than Carmichael, but also has some animals. So, we started our visit in the barn.

Seriously an animal lover!

She remembered all about feeding the animals!

One of the Bit-by-Bit employees was helping Brenson feed these horses, but he didn't really like it.

He also didn't care for these goats who were a bit rambunctious.

We took a photo like this last year, so I was trying to recreate the memory.

Chloe Jo does not like animals AT ALL, so she spent most of the time we were in the barn trying to make a run for it. She did decide she liked these little piglets, though.

Chris was cracking us up talking to the goats. I was waiting for the goat to lick him right on the mouth!

Sweet Chloe Jo.

Lisa asked me to take a few photos of their family, and I thought this one turned out really good.

After the barn, we decided to do the hayride. It was fun, and the children especially enjoyed it.

I tried and tried to get a decent photo of all three of them. I never did get a perfect one, but I love the series.

It was windy this day (always in our part of the world).

Bit-by-Bit also has this cute train for the children to ride on. Last year, Brianna rode with Lisa, but this year she insisted she was big enough to ride by herself.

It's nothing too exciting . . . it just makes a few laps around this make-shift track, but the kids think it's great.

Chris rode with Brenson. He (Brenson, not Chris) can't be trusted to sit still by himself quite yet.

Chloe Jo enjoyed the ride.

After the train ride we went down to the {very small} pumpkin patch and I gave a quick lesson about how pumpkins grow on vines. We were even able to see the growth process in all different stages. Because I was busy teaching, I wasn't taking photos :-).

There was also a fun hay-bale maze for the kids to do.

And, right next to the hay-bale maze was a little obstacle course.

The girls were really getting after it.

You can just barely see Bren trying to keep up in the background of this photo. He just wasn't quite coordinated enough this year, but maybe next year.

 The hay bales provided another great photo op :-).

We rarely take photos of just the two of us anymore, so this was nice.

We played a few more games before wrapping up our visit.

Then, we picked out one larger pumpkin and a few smaller pumpkins and headed home. I didn't take photos of our pumpkins here, either. Ooops!

Our third and final pumpkin patch visit for this season was to Livesay Orchard on October 17th. For the last several years, we've had a standing tradition to visit Livesay on the Thursday of Fall Break with my friend, Christie (who is a teacher) and her kids. It's about an hour long drive from our house, but we love it so much that I always feel like it's worth it. This year, my grandfather passed away in the early morning hours of the 17th (post to come), so I found out while I was just getting up and starting to get ready to go. At first, I debated about whether I should cancel or not, but finally decided to go ahead and go. The children were looking forward to it, our friends were expecting us, and being at home all day wasn't going to accomplish anything (we had to travel to be with family, so we didn't leave until the next day when Chris could get off work). We had a great time, but my family and my grandfather were certainly heavy on my mind all day.

The fun thing about this pumpkin patch is that it is a legit orchard. They have all kinds of fun activities, too, but we actually ride a hayride out into a HUGE pumpkin patch and pick our pumpkins out there.

The first year we went we just had the girls. Now, we've each added a boy.

I wish Riggins was looking in this photo. It's so hard to get four littles to pose for the camera!

We began the morning by doing some of the activities. There is so much to do that I didn't even attempt to take photos of most of it. I try really hard to balance playing photographer and being in the moment with my kiddos.

The cow milking was a big hit!

There was legit liquid that came from this cow. Brenson was very curious about it.

Maybe he'll be a dairy farmer?

How tall this fall? (Brianna's eyes are closed because she was staring right into the sun.)

Callie and Brianna are two years (almost to the day . . . both February babies) apart in age, but they get along very well. They've always been little buddies.

I loved this tire horse!

So did Bren :-).

There aren't many animals at this patch, just a few horses.

One of the kids' favorite activities is riding these blow-up horse things. I think they're kind of annoying because the kids always fall off and someone ends up crying. But, for whatever reason (probably because someone always falls off and ends up crying) the kids love them.

Riding together! Brother was not impressed, ha!

Brianna and Callie did the hay-bale maze together while Christie and I waited with the boys at the exit. They are growing up so fast!

Brenson likes anything he can ride, especially this since it's high in the air.

This little boy was being a bit of a stinker this day. It's a good thing he's cute!

In this photo, you can see the tractor that pulls the trailer that takes patrons to the actual pumpkin patch. In the building, guests can buy pumpkins, gourds, local honey, pastries, lunch, etc. We normally pack a lunch but decided to eat here this time. We'll pack a lunch next year :-).

We have photos of Brianna and Callie in this truck from each year we've visited.

Brenson had to get in on it, too!

After playing and lunch, we hopped on the tractor trailer to go out to the pumpkin patch. Little Riggins (who was not quite 14 months old) was ready for his nap, but he was a good sport. We love this beautiful family!

I feel so blessed with many opportunities to teach my children about God's creation and make wonderful memories with them!

Out in the patch, Brenson immediately started trying to pick up the pumpkins and declare that they are "heby". Haha!

It was such a perfect day for an outing. You can really see the patch in this photo.

I tried and tried to get a smile out of this boy, but he wasn't having it.

They were really just wanting to run and play in the patch at this point, not take photos. We did let all the kids play and run for a while, then we picked out one big pumpkin to take home. And nope, I don't have a photo of it!

Oh wait, yes I do! You can see it in our wagon. Both of my kids were tuckered out and wanted to ride (it was pushing naptime), but Callie insisted on pulling them. So funny!

Christie and I met our freshman year in college, so we've been friends for 14 years! I'm so glad that we have little traditions like this with each other. Love you, friend!

We love going to pumpkin patches, and I think we can say we definitely got our fill this year. I'm not sure that we'll always be able to keep up the tradition of going to all three, but I do hope that we visit at least one for many years to come!

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