Getting Ready for Halloween, Part One

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This year, Halloween is a sort of a big deal in our house because Zoey is much more able to understand what’s going on than she was last year. So we’ve gotten much more into it with carving pumpkins (Zoey picked out her own), letting Zoey pick out her Halloween costume, getting a Dora the Explorer book about Halloween and buying some Halloween window clings for Zoey to play with. It might not seem like much, but for her age, we felt it was a good way to kind of introduce the concept of Halloween to her.

This year, she’s all about the pumpkins. Every time we drive past a home with jack o’ lanterns out front, she yells, “Punkins,” from the backseat. Too cute. Greg and I made a little family time a couple weeks ago to take Zoey to the park near our home and then to a pumpkin patch right down the road–BIG success–she loved picking out her own little pumpkin. And honestly, if it had been up to her, she would probably have had us buy every pumpkin she saw.

But let’s talk about our trip to the park on that day first before we get to the pumpkins.

This park is just about three minutes from our house, so it’s super-convenient to take Zoey there when all three of us just want to get out of the house for a while.

Naturally, the park boasted all kinds of fall colors:

So, at first it seemed we had the whole playground area to ourselves. Zoey ran straight for the slide, which, other than the swings, is her ABSOLUTEFAVORITEOMG.

She was busy climbing and giggling and Greg and I were following her around with the camera when another little girl and her mommy approached the playground. At first, I didn’t think anything of it until they got closer and I realized I knew the mom–she had been my ABSOLUTE BEST FRIEND EVER in elementary school. Talk about bringing memories back. Just seeing her reminded me of how I hung out with her family, she hung out with mine–I just adored her until we got to high school and I wasn’t cool and she was and that was pretty much the end of our friendship (which broke my heart back then). We’re still very cordial and it was really good seeing her again–even though it was for only a few minutes at the park.

We talked about family and friends we had in common; she got to meet Zoey and Greg for the first time. She said her daughter has a thing for monkey bars and they had stopped at the park on their way home to visit the monkey bars and take a walk. She and her beautiful daughter looked like an ad in a magazine–her daughter with bright blond hair and an adorable smile, calling to her mom as she hung from the monkey bars in her little fall jacket and cute boots.

In the meantime, my kid was throwing handfuls of stones at the slide.

We talked for a few more minutes and then they wandered off for their walk. I turned my attention back to Zoey and Greg just in time for Zoey to decide to go down THE BIG SLIDE OF DEATH. Seriously, you guys, this slide looks harmless enough until you follow your kid up the ladder and you realize you’re ten MILLION feet above the ground.

Here’s a picture of the slide I took back in March–just to give you an idea:

I remember loving slides that tall when I was a kid, but now that I have Zoey and, apparently, a healthy fear of heights, that slide is just a leeeeettttlllee too tall for me. In fact, when Zoey went down it the first time, she didn’t remember to keep her legs together in front of her and she would have rocketed off the side at the bottom had I not been there to grab her. But her second time down, Greg told her how to keep her legs in front of her and she had a perfectly safe ride, which meant Mommy didn’t have to stand at the bottom and have a heart attack every time she slid down.

Look at my loves:

So after going down the slide a few times, we headed over to the swingset. On the way, Zoey found another way to be completely adorable:

Okay, look, I LOVED swings when I was a kid and Zoey totally inherited that love because if she sees swings anywhere, it’s like she’s pulled towards them. She’s at that stage where she’s mostly in a baby swing, but she can handle normal swings as long as she doesn’t go too high–but that doesn’t mean watching my little girl on a big-girl swing doesn’t make my heart stop and a tear come to my eye.

A few minutes after we got to the swings, we noticed a definite change in the weather; the air was getting colder and since Greg and I knew the forecast had called for rain around dinner time, we figured we should probably get this show on the road and head over to the pumpkin patch.

On the way to the car, Greg and Zoey found some little flowers and picked them. Greg leaned down and whispered something to Zoey (she totally looks like she’s thinking, ‘Don’t worry. I got this, Dad.’:

Then she walked over to me, handed me the flowers and whispered, “I luh loo.” And my heart melted all over the ground. I gave her a big hug and told her I love her too. And then I wore a goofy smile on my face all of the way to the pumpkin farm because my daughter, oh, I love her so much.

And now for the pumpkins.

Theresa’s Pumpkin Patch was just about a minute up the road.

We got out of the car, grabbed a wheelbarrow and got to work:

There were tons of pumpkins to choose from:

Zoey found a little pumpkin that she just fell in love with:

Of course, she had to hitch a ride on the way back through the pumpkin patch:

We paid for our pumpkins (four in all–of different sizes) and the pumpkin lady was nice enough to take a family picture of us:

Up next, part two: our pumpkins turn into jack o’ lanterns

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