One of the best things about parenthood is that you get to re-live (and reinvent) your favorite family traditions with your children. As the “grown-up” you get to decide what’s important to do as a family and what values you want to instill. I’ve always looked forward to autumn and everything that goes along with it… the changing leaves, Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, baking, etc. One of things I looked forward to most as a child was going to a farm in New Jersey to pick apples and pumpkins. The lush, wide open space was a welcome change of pace from where we lived on Staten Island. I loved being able to select my very own pumpkin, I would carefully examine dozens before finding the perfect one.
I wanted to continue that tradition by taking my son to a farm to select his very first pumpkin. Although you can buy pumpkins at any grocery store or from the little “pumpkin patches” they set up in parking lots near malls – going to a farm supports your local economy and is so much more fun. We went to Oma's Pumpkin Patch at The Van Ommering Dairy Farm in Lakeside, about 30 minutes east of San Diego. Although Grayson’s not quite one, he loved it! He had a blast crawling along the pumpkins, looking at the cool trucks and tractors and petting the goats. Of course we took advantage of the many great photo opportunities. There were a number of playgrounds and a large sloped “play-pen” full of cotton seed that the older children were rolling around in and sliding down like snow! When it came time to select a pumpkin, Grayson’s approach was slightly different than mine; he grabbed the small pumpkins with the longest stems, so he could get a good grip and tossed them as far as he could. When he tired of that, he held on tight to the one that was left. Despite my efforts to examine it and make sure it was a “good one” - that was his pumpkin!
We concluded the lovely morning with a scenic hay ride to see the cows, including an adorable one day old calf – so sweet. By the end of the slow, bumpy ride Gray was barely able to keep his eyes open and slept all the way home! I know this will be a place that our family will enjoy going back to year after year.
What is your favorite fall family tradition?
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Photos by Kari Burks