Thursday, October 28, 2010

One of the First "Lasts"

It wasn't until I started thinking about blogging about our trip to Elm Knoll this year that I realized it was the last time I would go there with my kids' preschool. All four of the kids have gone to the same preschool and it's been a run of 9 consecutive years (if I've counted correctly!)...starting with Jack in 2002. There were even years when Jack and Ben were both attending and I was driving there every day.

The annual pumpkin picking field trip has been at Elm Knoll every year....with the exception of last year when they had closed for the year. I think there may have been another year when we never made it on any trip because of bad weather. And this year, Elm Knoll had changed physical locations. But it still felt and looked the same.

It was a cool but gorgeous day for a field trip. Chica was bundled up in a double layer of fleece.

The trips always begin with the morning song.

We were the only group there so we got the first hay ride to the field! Chica left me in the dust in line and chose a seat in the back next to her friend.

I was happy that the cows made the trip to the new location. A herd of them come running when they see the tractor pulling the kids. The kids are given ears of corn to hand feed them. The cows were sure hungry that morning! Chica was a little timid at first and it was a bit of a tease to the salivating cow!

Those that have been on prior trips know that there tends to be an explosion of dogs. It got to be a little out of control in our last couple years at the old location...the dogs were everywhere, including on our picnic tables. But the owner only brought over one sweet dog to the new location....Rosie. Big shocker that Chica was all over her. Rosie came on our hay ride with us.

The pumpkin selection was great, although it takes my girl some time to pick the perfect pumpkin. She ended up with one that was both green and orange.

A view of a pumpkin patch from our hayride.

There were donkeys and goats to feed!

And a great big hay pile with a great slide that the kids enjoyed.

And there were opportunities for silly pictures...

And there were munchkins and juice and a big huge box or corn...

And one thing I will always remember about the Elm Knoll trips is that you get to know the other parents and build relationships. This year we had moms, dads and grandmas and it was such a nice mix of people.

It was the perfect way to end the run of field trips to Elm Knoll. I'm surprisingly more sad than I thought I would be. I am the type of person who always is excited about the next steps for my kids. But admittedly, I am starting to feel the end of an era....and end of innocence....and the end of many memorable preschool years. It's going to take me all year to prepare for that graduation!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I've Been Missing

Yesterday was one of the most glorious fall days on record. Not too cold, not too hot, beautiful blue skies, gorgeous colors everywhere.

I've lived in this town on and off for approximately 32 years and I'm embarrassed to say that I don't recall ever taking a hike in one of the few spots around town that people hike with their families and pets. A friend (who did not grow up here!) posted some pictures on her blog from a hike through a local preserve and I sort of invited myself on her next hike.

I decided to bring Buddy with me on the hike. This proved to be both a good and a bad idea. Buddy loved the exercise and oooooh...the smells!! But he desperately wanted to keep up with his new friend, Stella, who was off leash. I was too afraid that if I let Buddy off leash he would put his nose down and be gone forever. So, he pulled me up and down the trail and I am just thankful that I didn't trip over a tree root or twist an ankle.

My friend and I stopped a several times to enjoy the sites and grab a picture or two. The photo opportunities were endless, especially with a macro lens. I wasn't overly impressed with the foliage. But the colors haven't been as bright this year and the leaves seem to have turned and fallen early than normal.

But I did manage to get a few shots to document the wonderful hike.

Some bittersweet...

Stella in a clearing with some nice foliage in the background...

Bittersweet encroaching on the apple trees...

There is an apple orchard along the way and the apples looked so much better than the ones my son brought home from a local commerical orchard.

Photographing nature doesn't come super easy to me and was even more difficult with Buddy in tow. But I was happy to come home with this photo of Stella. This was a lucky shot, but definitely in my comfort zone.

Thanks, Becky!! Let me know when you want to go again! Although I would also really like to join you for chocolates and white wine!!