October 20, 2014

Pumpkins and barrel-rides and 95 degrees - Oh my!

It seems to be in the last several years, the pumpkin patch thing is all the rage.  What college raves are to 20-somethings, the pumpkin patch scene is to the 30-somethings with young kids.  It has seemed to grow in popularity and I'm not quite sure who exactly we should blame.  Pinterest maybe?  The blogosphere?  Instagram and it's Lo-Fi filter?

When I was growing up, I don't remember this being a thing.  Pumpkins were bought at the grocery store and there was nary a patch to be found.  Now, you can find one on almost every corner or church parking lot and anyone who is anyone goes to the pumpkin patch.  It's like the big October outing that everyone goes to.

Every single year, I've gone with great pumpkin-sized expectations and I'm met with greater disappointment. All I want is a picture.  Just one.  But, the sun is in Tommy's eyes.  Or someone is crying.  Or it's muddy or 95 degrees or sometimes - horrifically - it can be both of those things.  To this very day, I have never been able to capture a great picture at the pumpkin patch.  Five years of trying and I'm still holding out for that perfect photo.

And there are people out there - real, live, actual people - who have managed to take their children to the pumpkin patch and get precious pictures of their babies.  I have seen them.  They exist.  I've even watched it go down in real life.  Their adorable baby giggles.  Their five children, all lined up in a row and matching outfits sit like civilized human beings and take pictures without fussing or complaining.

If you are one of these people, I know who you are.  I've long envied you.  I've coveted your pictures and your children and your perfect sweater appropriate weather.  And this time every year, I greatly dislike you.

Every single year, I join the pumpkin patch masses, thinking it will be my year.  I will get the picture of my dreams.  I will finally get the long awaited picture of my boys smiling or laughing and sitting perfectly on hay bales next to corn stalks, perfectly propped up next to round, orange pumpkins.  And they will be happy because we are at the pumpkin patch and this is the most wonderfulest day ever and how can they not be thrilled?  All of my fall dreams will come true.

And I'll take that picture and blow that puppy up on a giant canvas and display it in my house every fall as a trophy of the time I got the perfect picture at the pumpkin patch.  I will have the pumpkin patch picture of pumpkin patch pictures.


It just doesn't go like that.  Like never, ever.

We did the pumpkin patch thing on Saturday and made a family day of it with Todd's parents.  I coordinated the boy's outfits.  I optimistically wore a scarf.  Clearly, my hopes were high on how this day was going to go seeing as the high was like 175 degrees.

We drove an hour away from home to go to the patch of patches.  It promised games, hay-mazes, hayrides, barrel rides, pony rides, face painting, pumpkin painting, photo-ops, pig racing, watching how apple cider is made, a pettzing zoo and plenty of necessary junk food snacks.

After we had lunch at a questionable restaurant in a tiny town where our chicken tenders tasted more like catfish, we arrived at the pumpkin patch already hot, sweaty and irritable - every last one of us.

And then, the picture taking commenced.
This one is my favorite.  I had to laugh because Jacob burst into tears.  Because of course.
The sun was so bright, because it was a million degrees and felt like summer and Tommy couldn't look up at the camera even if I had bribed him with his very own pony.
 In the words of Jen Hatmaker, "I just can't even."
Todd and I at least got a couple of sweet shots.  He knows better than to squint or burst into tears.  And after all the picture-taking nonsense, I ripped off that scarf and put it in my purse where it belonged on a 90 degree day.
Of course, post photo-op with the pumpkins I wanted, this one decided to show off.
I mean seriously, this kid has the most magical smile. Can you see why my I want those darn pumpkin patch pictures so badly?!
We attempted some activities.  Tommy got to do the barrel-ride and I'm pretty sure it made his life.  We looked at ponies and ran through the hay-maze, but an hour in we were all dying of heat exhaustion and nothing sounded better than getting back into a packed car.  Because - air conditioning.

I left feeling a bit defeated.  Another year gone by without the pumpkin patch pictures I went there for.

But then my five year old pipes up in the back-seat, face covered in ice-cream and hot fudge, because we had to enjoy some ice-cream on this summer-like day and he says, "This is the best day of my life!"

And even if I don't have a canvas-sized trophy as proof of the best day of his life, maybe that's okay.

But only maybe.  Ya'll better believe I'll be back out next year.


  1. My daughter could have written this post! All of those pictures will bring back cherished memories someday! Again, beautifully written!

  2. Oh girl, we have had the exact same experience! I have no idea what bribes are used for those perfect family photos...but we obviously haven't found them! Regardless, your babies are too precious and the perfect memories would be much less memorable than those with obstacles!