It’s fall! If you were in Northwest Iowa today, you may think we’ve skipped right to winter! Nonetheless, I love this time of year. The changing colors, the combines in the fields, the comfort foods, the gigantic piles of leaves, and the pumpkins are all good for the soul!
Once October rolls around and Halloween draws near, many of us start our annual pilgrimages to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. We have many patches in our corner of the state. In fact, I wrote about them awhile back here. Many memories are made at these patches. I’ll always remember the first time we picked out pumpkins as a family. And the time we rode go-carts, jumped on a gigantic pillow trampoline, and ate caramel apples.
And while it is fun to reminisce about these fun times, it doesn’t always happen that way! I don’t want you to get the impression that all our adventures are made of butterflies and roses. My girls (and occasionally myself) have fits, get itchy, melt in the heat, and cry, sometimes all within a matter of seconds. It’s just a lot more fun to share the happy stuff on here!
The point is, I’m just like the rest of the moms out there. While I think my family is pretty great, I know we are far from perfect. We have outings that seem more like disasters than adventures. But when we look back, we can find bits of fun and humor in the chaos. It’s more about perspective than it is about the facts in my opinion. While our adventures may not always go my way, looking on the bright side can help make things seem a lot better.
This brings me back to the pumpkin patch. I love them. My girls love them. My husband even has fun at them. The girls ask (more like beg) to visit them and pick out their own pumpkins. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work to go. The last couple years we got lucky. The girls had field trips to area orchards and pumpkin patches. Thanks to their school, they got that magical experience all kids deserve when it comes to picking out the perfect pumpkin! We managed to find time to have pumpkin fun as a family too.
Then this year rolled around. Our weekends were busy, or it rained, or something got in the way of a pumpkin patch excursion. There were no pumpkin patch field trips this year. Not to disappoint my kiddos, or myself for that matter, I came up with a plan. It wasn’t what I really wanted to do, but I tried to remember my perspective philosophy. As long as we had fun and picked out our pumpkins, that’s all that really mattered.
And that’s just what we did. One day after school, the girls and I had our own pumpkin patch adventure. At the grocery store. Yep, you read that correctly, the grocery store. Fareway in Storm Lake, IA to be exact. It was a cold and windy day, and my girls somehow made it to school without coats (I swear the forecast said it was going to be warmer). But we were picking out pumpkins!
We searched for the perfects ones. We turned them over and inspected them, just like we would have done at a pumpkin patch. I heard “Mom, come see this one!” on several occasions. The girls found the ones they wanted to carve and paint and then helped me hunt for fun ones to use to decorate. The bumpy ones and most unusually colored or shaped pumpkins and gourds made the cut. By then we were all shivering and ready to go home. We paid for our pumpkins and went home to decorate!
The girls helped dig out the fall decorations, found Halloween music on Pandora, and went to town adding a little cheer to our home. We had fun, and we our had pumpkins. It turns out, you can make pumpkin patch memories in a grocery store parking lot. As one of my girls said, “Fareway has the best pumpkins!”
So, if you haven’t had a pumpkin patch experience yet this year, don’t fret! Just bundle up, head on over to your nearest grocery store, and pretend you are in a field full of pumpkins. Once you shift your perspective, you can find an adventure just about anywhere!