It’s a word that gets thrown around often.  Not just with me; we all use it.  Busy.  We’re ALL busy.  Caps, bold, italics.

“Sorry I never got back to you; I’ve been so busy!”

“How’s your summer?” “Busy!”

Me, personally?  It’s never occurred to me to keep track of how many times a day I say it, hear it, think it.

Any time I take my boys (three of them, all under age five) out in public?  At least one casual observer will offer a grin and a sympathetic “I bet you’re busy!”

When my husband reluctantly asks me to do a favor or take care of something household related because he works pretty crazy hours anymore?  “Babe, I know you’re busy enough already, but if you get a minute during naptime or whatever, could you…?”

When I look at the stack of library books on my nightstand or on the end table in the living room? “Ugh, if I wasn’t so busy, I’d be through those already!”


A lot of my busy-ness is of my own making.  Apparently I took Aesop’s Fables a bit too literally as a child, because every time I ignore work to do something pleasurable, I’m reminded of the Grasshopper and the Ant.  Remember that story?  The ant worked and worked, never taking time off, while the grasshopper, all “Carpe Diem!” played and forgot to prepare for winter.  So when wintertime rolled around, the ant was warm and full, while the grasshopper died a cold, hungry death.

That must be it.  I hate being cold.  And hungry.

So I stay busy.  Not always particularly productive, but definitely busy.  And when I say busy, I pretty much mean in the sense that I start 349587348962 projects and approximately 2 get done.

Take, for instance, this spring.  I found an ant infestation in my spider plant (here we go with the ant theme again). So I carried the plant to our back deck, where I drowned those suckers out, then gave them a nice, healthy dose of old coffee grounds to show them I meant business.  Apparently, ants hate coffee.  So maybe I’m not as much like an ant as I thought.  Anyway… my spider plant.  I didn’t want to bring the ants back inside, so I let my plant sit on the deck for a couple of days.  It was still spring, and we weren’t finished having frost then, so a few leaves on my plant were sacrificed in the effort.  When I pulled them to make room for new growth, I put the dead leaves on top of last summer’s hanging basked from the deck, my Mother’s Day petunia from Ryan and the boys, which I never emptied last fall.

Fast forward to late July.  This past Saturday morning, Ryan took the boys with him to run an errand while I stayed home.  After they left, I wandered back to the deck to pick up yesterday’s swim suits and towels, and decided maybe it’s time to finally clean out that hanging basket.  What I found when I moved those dead spider plant leaves took me by surprise.



My point is, yes, I’m busy.  We’re ALL busy.  Caps, bold, italics.  It’s not exclusively a parent thing, or a student thing, or a career thing or a sports thing or a…well, you get it.  Life is hectic, and messy, and crazy, and unpredictable.  And sometimes, under all that busy-ness, there are surprises budding that we aren’t expecting.

And aren’t those the best?






Could Not Be Fuller

Holy crap, guys.

It’s been way longer than I thought since I last posted here.  I haven’t posted anything in nearly a year and a half.  Do y’all even remember me?  Do you know what’s happened in a year and a half?  Obviously not much, if I haven’t been around to tell you about it, right?  Except…

The last time I was here, I was the mother of one amazing, beautiful, perfect little boy.

Today?  Today, I’m the mother of three amazing, beautiful, perfect little boys.

Yep, you read that right.  Three.  For the next two weeks, three under the age of three.  Boys.  Three. Boys.

My heart could not be fuller.

I always said I wanted three kids.  I come from a large family (I’m the oldest of five), Ryan comes from a small family (he’s the oldest of two); three seemed like a good compromise.  You should’ve seen our faces when, at a six week ultrasound for my second pregnancy, the tech announced, “There’s one.  And there’s two.” (Actually, I would’ve liked to have seen our faces.) Obviously, she was telling us we were getting twins, but we were a bit slow on the uptake.  It took us both a moment to catch up.  Um, ok, it took us quite awhile to catch up.  In fact, we spent the next few hours in almost total, shocked silence.  Until one of us would say, “Holy crap, twins.”  Or, “Wow.  There are TWO of them,”  Then we got in the car and drove two hours to tell our families in person.  Some days I think we’re still a little shocked.

Granted, this was not a total surprise.  My dad is a fraternal twin.  My maternal grandfather had fraternal twin siblings.  But because I always joked about how cool it would be to have twins, I think I had talked myself out of the possibility.  Mentally.  I think I had a gut instinct though that they were twins.  Because this is what happens to someone who has the perfect singleton pregnancy first time around, breezes through the whole nine months and labor, then wonders why people get so stressed out about infants.  Life hands those people two more at the same time, in conjunction with the terrible twos/ threenage years.

We’re managing.  In fact, we’re more than managing; I think we’re doing really well.  Our days are not nearly as stressful or as chaotic as I had envisioned.  I can still get all three of them out the door before 10AM without help.  Everyone is fed, bathed (at least every other night), wearing clean clothes, and getting individual cuddle time.  I can still get a hot, cooked meal on the table at least three nights a week, and Friday is still always pizza- homemade, more often than not.  This week I baked two batches of cookies, homemade pretzels, and a batch of zucchini bread between naptimes and diaper changes.

Of course. it can get stressful.  One can be stressful, three (without ever experiencing two) has, admittedly, brought me to my knees a time or two.  But it’s the best kind of stressful, and there’s nearly always humor to be found in the midst of it all.  “Twin B” has a tendency to wait until his diaper off to show off his ability to impersonate a fire hose.  This has earned him the nickname “Squirt” (he was also a full pound smaller at birth; he was such a little squirt!)  “Twin A” is often on his third outfit of the day before 9AM.

I used to judge stay-at-home moms.  I never understood how a person could sacrifice a career that they’d worked their tail off for, to stay at home.  To trade analyzing data for analyzing the color of the substances within a diaper; to trade dressing up for yoga pants and a ponytail; to trade business lunches for being on the receiving end of launched pureed peas.  I didn’t get how giving up a paycheck made sense.  Now I get it.

This isn’t about me.  It’s not about my climb up a corporate ladder, or breaking any glass ceilings.  It’s not about whether my boys are wearing Burberry onesies and riding in a $4,000 stroller.

New classic check Check Cotton Twill Shirt - Image 1

(Image from Burberry.com)

It’s about them having me at home because we can have it this way, spending time and making memories and learning from one another as we navigate this road as a family.  I used to be embarrassed, when asked about my career, to admit that right now, I don’t have one.  I’m still working on my education- and I’m damn proud of it.

I’ll have lots of years to go back to work, to build my career as long as it works for our family.  For now, I’m trying to savor every second I can with these precious gifts, stockpiling the love and the snuggles they give so freely for a day when they’ll be “too big,” or “too old” to show Mom affection.  For now, my job- my career- is Mom.

And I couldn’t be prouder.  My heart could not be fuller.



One-Month Check-In (A.K.A. the monster has been released)

30 days into our home-owning experience, and I have to say, things are starting to look and feel like home around here.  Most of the boxes have been unpacked, most everything has found its own place, and we’re falling into a new routine.  And best of all, the interior designer in me is indulging and reveling in the decisions I’ve been making for the past many years, preparing for this house, for this moment.  The home I’ve been planning in my head is finally becoming our reality, and, since this is (kind of) a blog where I like to brag talk about decorating and design and such, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of the befores-and-afters.

We started in the living room.  Obviously, besides the kitchen, it’s the room that gets the most use.  And since we needed new living room furniture, we kind of got to start from scratch here.  The funny thing is, we actually decided to keep the same wall color we used in our rental when we painted last spring, so we weren’t really starting from scratch- just kind of.  Being consistent in the wall color has definite benefits though; for example, the stuff I had on the walls still works.  And the wall color really brings out the warmth of the wood floors and the banister on the staircase.  And finally, the contrast between the living room and dining room wall colors is really eye-catching.  Wanna see?  (Obviously, if you don’t, you probably aren’t reading anymore.  Which means I’m basically talking to myself.  Moving on…)

So, we can start with our living room at our little house, to really add the element of contrast:

Our living room at our "little house," after our spring face-lift last year

Living room in our new house: before

Living room in our new house: after

So, yeah, maybe I was being a little facetious about the “contrast” between our old living room and our new one.  There are some definite similarities, and the wall color pronounces them in a big way.  Oh, and the angle looking into the dining room:

The living room, however, is literally the only room in our new house that bears resemblance to our old house.  Take the kitchen, for example.  I thought the kitchen in our small house was huge.  And, compared to the rest of the house, it really was.  Remember that room?  We just painted it in October:

Here’s our new kitchen (before I made Ryan slave with a paintbrush and roller to splash my color of choice on the walls):

…and our new kitchen, post move-in:

…and, looking into the eat-in area:

Finally, I’ll show you the master bedroom.  We love this room- it’s really, really big compared to our little house.  This room posed some major design problems that we didn’t realize until after our closing.  See, the previous owners had put up wallpaper that they later painted over, and decorated with a chair rail.  Our plan was to remove the chair rail and paint (we didn’t know we would be dealing with wallpaper).  So when we got in here and started trying to remove the wallpaper- both by peeling and using a steamer- we discovered that it wasn’t going anywhere without taking the drywall with it.  We decided to paint over it (again) and hope that our color covered the dark stripes that were showing through the paint job that was done previously.  Here’s the “before”:

And, (from a different angle), here’s the after:

And for now, that’s kind of it for our improvements.  For being one month in, I don’t think we’ve done too badly.  We Ryan still has some painting left to do, but he’s been a real trooper (even though he’s opened at least two of the paint buckets and thought that his wife had completely lost her ever-lovin’ mind).   Our weekends, for the next, well, couple of decades, will be filled with projects and items from the honey-do list, but we’re comfortable with what we’ve accomplished so far, and we’re excited to continue making this home our own.





A Cucumber Sandwich to Call Our Own

Cucumber sandwiches.  Remember that post from last summer?  The one which related our search for the perfect home to Ryan’s quest for the perfect cucumber sandwich?  Remember how frustrated I was, how absolutely worn out by the whole real-estate purchasing process?  Guess what, friends?

It’s finally over.

We bought a house.


Two weeks ago today, we signed the final batch of paperwork and bid a tearful goodbye to our amazingly patient real estate agent, and now forever friend, Suzanne.  We have moved.

For the first time ever, all six patterns of my dishes fit neatly into one cabinet in our kitchen.  All five sets of wine glasses have found cabinet space.  My big orange Paula Deen stock pot that used to live in the front hall closet, along with the nesting set of multi-gallon capacity Tupperware containers, is in a cabinet.  The crock pots and serving pieces and cake plate and the plethora of other “stuff” I haven’t been able to use since our wedding, have homes.  And soon, all of my shoes will have their own closet as well.  No more concussions caused by the avalanche of falling high heels!

Can you tell I’m excited?  Can you tell how incredibly relieved I am that the whole saga has finally reached a happy ending?   I’d be lying if I denied the fact that I wholeheartedly believe we’ve earned this.  It’s been a long, sometimes impossible road leading here- to this place we call home now, just miles from our first home.  We’ve shed sweat and tears, literally, to find the perfect home.  And that’s exactly what we’ve found: a home that has everything that we ever wished for in a home- even some of those items we had been willing to compromise on in the past.  The house is the size I was hoping to find, on the size lot we said was our hope.  It has the exact number of bedrooms and bathrooms I wished for, with one of the bedrooms already being set up as an office, which was what we would have planned to do with an extra space.  The basement has additional living space, AND Ryan’s “man cave” (the space where he can set up his RC workshop and not have to charge batteries on the kitchen counters where I’m trying to make dinner), and the main floor is open and spacious, with a ton of natural light.  Not only do we have an eat-in kitchen as I had hoped for, but we also have a dining room.  And guess what?  One of the first things we did when we signed those papers was to paint it plum purple.  I’m still searching for the perfect table to put in the dining room, but in the meantime, it’s the exact color I had pictured.

Coming from our little ranch rental, I sometimes feel almost lost here.  It feels strange for Ryan to not always hear me when I speak to him.  And I also feel terribly naughty painting dark and dramatic colors on our walls, even though I’ve had some of these colors picked out for several years.  When I remind myself that this house is ours, though, that feeling goes away, and I am learning to revel in my long-buried interior designer persona.  I get to call the shots now- with my husband’s help, of course.  Aside from being my personal painter/handyman, I think he’s also enjoying making design decisions with me.  We’ve purchased furniture together (and as we contemplated our options, I made mention of another decision we had made.  At that point, he gasped and said, “Now I see!  Ok, let’s go with this!”).  And he also made decisions on at least half of the paint colors we’ve chosen so far.

For her part, Clohe has adapted very well to her new house.  In the weeks leading up to the move, I had frequent “talks” with her about what was going to happen when we moved to the “new house.”  I would point it out when we drove past, I would tell her that’s where the boxes were going that I was packing and stacking all over the place, and I would explain it to her as she snuggled with me in bed or on the couch.  I explained to our dog how the move was going to affect her.  (After all, we are the kind of people who feel the compulsive need to explain our major life decisions to our golden retriever.)

The day after we signed the papers for the house, I packed up the car with boxes bound for the kitchen, and all of our cleaning supplies, and Clohe.  I packed her beds and all of her toys, and she was moved in first, to help her to get settled.  (After all, we are the kind of people who feel the compulsive need to explain our major life decisions to our golden retriever.)

She seemed to settle in right away.  Within the first day, she had learned her way around, found some good places to lie down, and knew the exact boundaries of our property without us having to show her.  After our first day of working to prepare the house for our move, we walked to my Auntie’s house across the street, and didn’t leash Clohe.  She walked between us the whole way until we reached my aunt’s property line.  At that point, Clohe took off running through the yard and straight to the garage door.

Last week, we took Clohe to our empty little ranch house to load the car with the last of our belongings.  We took her in the house to show her that our things were gone, and after a brief “run through and sniff,” she seemed satisfied that we wouldn’t be leaving her in the big house all by herself.  We went outside to load the car as Clohe made one final run around the property.  We could almost see her saying goodbye.    Finally, when we were ready to leave, I called to her and said, “Clohe, let’s go home,” expecting her to go to the door between the garage and the kitchen.  Instead, she went to the car and stood by the door until we came to get in with her.

I think explaining our major life decisions to our golden retriever has paid off.  And I think she likes our cucumber sandwich too.




Novel Idea

I’m kind of addicted to my Kindle.  It was a second anniversary gift from my amazing husband last year, and from the day it arrived in the mail, I’ve been in love.  So in love, in fact, that I converted my aunts from their “other brand” e-readers.  And also, I taught my mom (who is a self-proclaimed technophobe) how to use hers after my brothers and I bought her one for Christmas last year.  Mom’s addicted too.

My sister has begun composing her Christmas list, and today she informed me that she was placing the Kindle at the top of her list.  Queen of corny and stupid jokes as I am, I intentionally led her into a conversation with a punchline.  Apparently, she’s getting a little old for my childish humor, because here’s how the conversation went:

Peanut: “I made my Christmas list for this year; I really want a Kindle.”

Me: “What will you do with a Kindle?”

Peanut: “Read.”

Me: “Read what?”

Peanut: “Books.”

Me: “Hm.  What a novel idea!  Ha, get it?  Novel?  Like a book?”

Peanut: “Ok, Danielle, I have to go.  Bye.”

Guess she didn’t think I was as funny as I did.  Dear Santa, please bring me a book of grown-up jokes.  Better yet, just bring me a new sense of humor.  Preferably one that’s age appropriate.



My Dog and I Have the Same Sense of Humor. And I’m Kind of OK With It

When Derek and I were little, my mom used to rake up huge piles of leaves for us to jump in.

There was one stipulation: once we were finished jumping in the leaves, we had to help scoop them up, into these giant orange trash bags that had pumpkin designs on the front.  The pumpkin-leaf bags would sit in our front yard as decoration for Halloween, and then would be discarded.  It was kind of genius for Mom to use this logic: first, she had helpers to rake the leaves, because we always wanted the biggest pile possible.  Secondly, once we were done jumping, we got to help fill these awesome decoration bags.  We were willing to do yard work.  In other words, we were suckers.

Fast forward two decades, and I’m still always anxious to get outside to rake leaves.  In years past, time has been limited and we haven’t always gotten around to it.  But these days, my calendar is wide open.  And this week, the weather has been far too perfect to tend to my indoor chores, so I picked up the rake and went outside.

Monday I did some picking up and burned some sticks and things around the property.  Today, I raked.

Oh, and apparently?  That sixth sense parents have when their child is getting into mischief never goes away.  Because as I raked my gigundo pile of leaves into which I planned to propel my body, my mom called, to ask a question and also to see what I was into today.  While I was talking to her, my Daddy called me, just to check on me since I hadn’t talked to him in awhile.  Daddy doesn’t call very often, because he doesn’t really like the phone, and also because his location changes frequently so his service changes accordingly, and he’s usually in bad service areas.  My parents knew, from a distance of over 150 miles, that I was about to do something stupid.

And, yes, what I proceeded to do next does qualify as stupid.  Mostly because I’m supposed to be a mature, responsible adult, but also because I was mostly alone.  As in, except for my dog.  But we did it anyway, and we had a blast.

Dance like nobody is watching, right friends?

Happy Fall!



The Field Report

This weekend was a rough one for some of my favorite football teams.  Penn State, fortunately, managed a win- the 409th in Joe Paterno’s career, by the way.  But my fantasy team took a hard hit, leaving me with a sorrowfully losing record for the season and newfound motivation to do some hard-core trading in the coming week.  In addition, my favorite pro team suffered a hard loss last night after trading off one of my favorite running backs, which in turn negatively impacted my fantasy team.  Rough week, like I said.

However, my very favorite football player had an amazing week, with one win on his high school JV team, and one loss with some notable plays on his varsity team.  Oh, and this amazing player?  He just happens to be my youngest brother, a sophomore in high school.  Proud big sister?  Yeah.  That’s totally me.

Cory went out for football early in his middle school career, but I had named him our family football player almost from the day he was born.  It’s in his bones.  It’s who he is.  And that first year, his quick movements earned him the name “Crazy Legs” from his teammates.  He moves quickly on the field, his determination obvious in the way he carries himself and the football.

Now in his sophomore year of high school, Cory has spent this season playing on both the JV and Varsity squads.  Though his teams have both had a rough season, my brother still pours his heart and soul into every game.  To watch him dressed at a game, watching from the sidelines, one can see how ingrained the sport is in his very being.  He becomes so engrossed in what his teammates on the field are doing.  He sways his body in the direction he would be running.  He shakes his head in agreement or disagreement with the refs’ calls. He shifts his weight anxiously from one leg to the other, itching to get out there and do what he was born to do.   And when he makes it to the field, the focus in his stances make it evident that his only thoughts are what his coaches taught him in practice.

This past week, the whole season’s worth of hard work reached its climax when, during the last JV game of the season, Cory scored three touchdowns and racked up over a hundred yards’ worth of runs.  The final score of the game was 20-0, all 20 points belonging to Cory.  The following day, our hometown newspaper printed Cory’s team picture, with a caption listing his accomplishments from the night before.  But my brother is so modest that getting him to talk about earning those points was sort of like pulling teeth.  Here’s a rundown of the text conversation we had following the game:

me: I haven’t heard from anyone; how’d the game go?

Cory: Good.  I put 20 on the board.

me: Sweet!  Way to go kid!  So you won?

Cory: Yeah 20-0.  It should have been more but there was a penalty.

By the end of that conversation, my jaw was scraping the floor and I was literally jumping up and down, unable to contain my pride and excitement.

Friday night, Cory’s varsity coach gave him the opportunity to get in on one of the biggest rivalry games of the season.  My brother didn’t disappoint, as the next day’s newspaper reported: “Sophomore Cory Brooks was the star of the drive for Punxsy, receiving the kickoff as the up-man and returning it to the Chucks’ 41 and finishing the drive with runs of 11 and two yards, with the two-yarder putting Punxsy back within 13 at 27-14.” (PunxsutawneySpirit.com).

Saturday’s local newspaper printed my brother as the “Player of the Week,” recognized and saluted by the town as one of the strongest student athletes for the week.  He has one varsity game left, this Friday night.  He’ll be going in with 3 rushing touchdowns and 1 interception for a touchdown on the season.  He estimates that he’s run for between 200 and 300 yards

My brother lives for two different kinds of fields: the football field and wide open fields where animals roam to serve his hunting hobby.  After a hard week of work on the football field, Cory spent his free time over the weekend hunting- something he doesn’t have time for during the week, as he leaves the house for school before it’s light out, and comes home from practice long after dark.  Saturday night I received a text message from Cory saying that he was bringing home a five-point buck he shot.

Not bad for a week’s work, huh?

Keep up the good work, Cory; we’re proud of you.




I’ve been waiting so long for this!

See this?

It’s a concert ticket.  And it’s been hanging out idly in our “junk” (we use that term loosely) drawer for nearly two months.

When our beach vacation was cut short, it put us home in time to purchase two last-minute tickets to this concert.  It seemed perfect, as I had been lamenting the inconvenience of the concert date in relation to our traveling since we had learned of dates, so when we got home and ordered the tickets, I couldn’t have been happier.  I really do like to have my way.  So we dressed to go out, grabbed the tickets, and with my purse in hand, we headed out the door.  Before we made it to the car, my phone notified me of an email, which I quickly glanced at, only to realize that it was a comment on my Facebook status announcing that we were going to be attending the concert, letting us know that the lead singer- the amazing Pat Monahan- had vocal laryngitis and would not be performing.

We were crushed; not only had our vacation been ruined, but our contingency plan had, as well!  We were informed that we should be looking for a reschedule date, and I scrubbed off my mascara and got back into my stretchy-shorts and tee-shirt for a night at home.

Two months later, we finally got to do this:

The show was incredible.  Pat was back in tip-top shape and put on an amazing show for his hometown.  (*Note: I may never be able to sing “Save Me, San Francisco” again without emphasizing the “Aw, hell no!” part.)

We sang along to the classics like “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter,” “When I Look to the Sky,” and “Get to Me,” and observed one of Ryan’s coworkers proposing to “Marry Me.”  By the time we left, I barely had a voice left.

But seeing this band perform, in person, in their lead singer’s hometown?




Pumpkin Farm- Part II

…So where were we?  Oh, yes, the pumpkins!  These lovely, colorful little fruits we picked with care to accessorize our home for the season.

While these little beauties are adorning my counters, before long they will be transformed into more yummy treats

Yummy treats like these seasoned seeds:

And my first ever pie from a real pumpkin!

Preparing a pumpkin to bake with was far easier than I had anticipated.  After I finished the first one, my mom told me the easiest way to clean a pumpkin is to bake it first; I microwaved this one, using my go-to microwave steamer.  I sliced the pumpkin in half first, scooping out the seeds with an ice cream scoop to dry and roast later.  Then I sliced it into chunks small enough to fit into the steamer.  15 minutes later, the pulp easily peeled away from the shell, and a couple of rounds in the blender on the “puree” setting brought it to the perfect consistency for pie.  Following the basic instructions on the back of a can of solid-pack pumpkin, I had the filling mixed up and in a homemade pie shell before too much time had passed.   (yeah, I know; why go through all that if there’s some in the house that’s ready to use?  I guess I just like the challenge.)

Next on my list, once this pie is all gone, is to use the next pumpkin for a pumpkin creme brulee I made last fall.  And I’ll be able to roast some more seeds to snack on too!


I’d love to hear your favorite fall traditions!  Is there a place you go or a treat you prepare, year after year?  





Pumpkin Farm- Part I

One of my favorite memories from childhood was our annual trips to the pumpkin farm.  There was a place about 40 minutes from where we lived that Mom would take us to pick our would-be jack-‘o’-lanterns.  Derek and I would ponder for what seemed like forever- usually making it a competition to see who got the bigger one.  There was also a little shop at the farm where Mom always shopped for crafts and gourds and Indian corn; it was her reward to herself after enduring any length of time with my brother and me and our constant bickering.  That’s all she wanted: some cute little craft, a couple of gourds, and a bunch or two of Indian corn.

“Punkin pickin'” is still part of our fall tradition here in the Merrow household.  Every year when the leaves start to change and the weather starts to cool, Ryan starts asking when I’ll be ready to go.  He likes to plan the outing.  And picking a pumpkin is, for both of us, very serious business.  In the six years since we’ve lived here, I think there have only been one or two that we haven’t had pumpkins.  Sometimes they come from WalMart.  Last year they came from the buffalo farm up the road.  I think once we even dragged a few from Punxsy- from my sister’s pumpkin patch that she plants and lovingly tends every single year.  We just haven’t found that special place yet to make our new tradition.

This past weekend was miserable: cold, windy, and rainy.  It was the perfect weekend to stay inside and eat chili and drink cider.  But by yesterday, I needed to get out and DO something.  Anything.  So when he asked the question, “when did you want to go get pumpkins?  I found this new place we should check out,” I had made the decision and jumped in the shower before he finished asking.  We were going, rain or not.

It was cold.  It was raining.  The wind was blowing and the place was deserted despite the rows of cars in the parking lot.  We approached the admission window for some information, while I said a little “thank you” to my aunties for the Uggs they bought me last Christmas; the rest of me may have been freezing, but my feet were toasty, and for that I was thankful.

When the one lonely lady manning the booth slid the window aside to let us in, she began to run down the list of attractions the farm offers: “Oh, we do hay rides and the haunted corn maze…but they don’t recommend that for kids under ten.  And there are slides over there…you know, for the kids…and there’s a petting zoo…for the kids…and… Oh!  The white barn over there has a cafe and craft shop.  There’s a corn box…for the kids… and over here, you can pick your pumpkins.  So…will you be trying any of the attractions today?”

This was sort of a strange question, and I, at least, was a bit thrown off.  After all, we were alone.  No kids in tow, no stroller, no car seat.  We were alone.  Just the two of us.  Finally, after exchanging a look with Ryan, I responded by saying, “It’s so miserable out today, I think we’ll just check out the craft store and buy some pumpkins.”  This statement saved us the admission fee that’s charged for the other attractions.  Armed with wrist bands, we entered the farm and headed for the barn.

The atmosphere there was a fun one; as we entered, Ryan said it reminded him of what he would expect to find at Roloff Farms of Little People, Big World fame.  There was a small cafe in one corner, with picnic tables lining the walls, and a game of corn hole set up in the center aisle.  In the back corner was nestled a small, cozy primitives shop.  We walked through, staying long enough to see everything, and headed back out to tackle the task of tracking down some pumpkins to take home with us.

There were so many pumpkins to choose from, I got confused.  I would point out one that had a good shape, vibrant color, substantial size, and was consistently round, and then promptly lose it.  Ryan would find one that looked perfect from the front, but was completely planar on the opposite side.  If we pondered and walked around for five minutes, we were there for forty-five.  Finally, we settled on two that were similar in size, shape, and color, and headed for the check-out booth.  Ryan carried them while my eyes wandered to the potted Mums and the boxes of gourds and cooking squashes.  We noticed some wagons, provided to help patrons “cart” their finds out of the patch, and I snagged one in order to continue shopping.  Once Ryan had dropped the two large pumpkins onto the wagon, he immediately suggested we pick out a pumpkin for Clohe.  He found her a smaller one that was perfectly round and perfectly orange, and urged me to pick some gourds to take home.  While I pondered over those, he checked out the pie pumpkins.  “Babe,” he called to me, “do you use these?”  I turned to look, and admitted that I never had, but I knew that they were used for all the wonderful recipes canned pumpkin is used for.  “I could bake a pumpkin pie from scratch,” I said, wheels turning.  He picked out three for me to bring home.

With a new project to focus my energies on, I couldn’t sit still when we got home.  I hauled my gourds and pie pumpkins into the kitchen to wash, while Ryan balanced our future jack-‘o’-lanterns to carry to the front porch.  And I set to work…


More to come!