I couldn’t write a post last week.
I woke up last Monday morning to see the devastating news that there had been a(nother) mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. Just a few hours later, friends started texting to tell me that Tom Petty had died. It was a gigantic bummer of a week, to say the least, and I just couldn’t come up with anything to say that didn’t feel trite.
As far as Tom Petty goes, I know that there are larger things happening in the world; things that affect people’s mental and physical well-being, things that have a far-reaching ripple effect, things that seem impossible to overcome. As a huge Tom Petty fan, however, I was very sad about his death. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert again in August, and it’s something I’ll always be thankful for – but I’m sad that my kids won’t get to have the same experience.When it comes to the Vegas shooting, I remain short on words. It doesn’t feel like we are as shocked by these horrifying events as we used to be. I hate that they are as relatively commonplace as they are. I hate that I can no longer go to events like the music festival where it happened without the thought crossing my mind: what if. I hate, more than anything, the pointless loss of these lives, and that the families and friends of the victims have to find a way to go on without their loved ones.
I used to think tragedies like this brought our country together. Instead, it feels like they only serve to divide us further. Somehow, the conversations around them immediately devolve into political arguments. I use the word “devolve” intentionally. When was the last time we had a meaningful and constructive discussion around how we all want to move forward as one body of people? When was the last time two people who differed in political viewpoints listened to each other with an open mind and heart? When was the last time people were able to persuade each other to think about things a little differently?
This goes without saying, I hope, but I don’t claim to know the right answers. I understand the level of complexity involved in these issues, and my network is made up of people who run the gamut in terms of political points of view. I just hope with all my heart we can find a way to unite our country again, and that it doesn’t take a tragedy even worse than this one to do it.
When things feel the most dire, kids really can be such a breath of fresh air. For better or worse, a 2-year-old’s patience level (or lack thereof) doesn’t allow for a lot of time spent dwelling on the bad news in the world.
September and October have thus far been gorgeous in Seattle, so we have been finding plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the perfect crisp and sunny weather. I know your Instagram and Facebook feeds are currently filled with pictures of people’s kids sitting in pumpkin patches, but you can do with a few more, right?
If you are in the Seattle area, you can find this year’s list of the best nearby pumpkin patches in Red Tricycle. It is a fairly long list with detailed descriptions of each patch, and is worth reading in its entirety. The farms vary widely in admission price per person, what activities are offered, and the age range they are most appropriate for. For example, some are decorated in a slightly scarier Halloween theme, whereas others are thematically more in line with a fall harvest. Corn mazes, farm animals for petting, even tractor and trolley rides – each one has a little something different to offer, and because most are a bit of a drive from Seattle, it’s worth figuring out the right one for your crew.
Since we just have a tiny tot at home, our criteria for the right pumpkin patch included two things: plenty of animals Serena could get up close to and space enough where she wouldn’t be trampled by rambunctious older kids. We were also highly cognizant of the need for a midday nap and her limited pee-holding ability, so we couldn’t venture too far from home.
For us, that meant the Fairbank Animal Farm in Edmonds (actually closer to Lynnwood), north of Seattle, which opens to the public on weekends in October. Their setup is great for toddlers and preschoolers and it was only about a 25-minute drive from Seattle.
At the door you are handed a small cup of food that can be given to “anything with feathers” – and there are plenty of eager takers! Walking paths take you to several mini-pastures with small flocks of ducks, chickens, pheasants, and peacocks.
A small barn lets the little ones get right up close to ducklings, litters of noisily nursing piglets, and hatching chicks.
Signs lead you up a small hill to the pumpkin fields so you can scout out the perfect party favor.
Right near the exit is a little yard where you can hang out with the farm’s ridiculously mellow pygmy goats.
For families with smaller kids, I highly recommend exploring Fairbank Animal Farm! There is plenty of space to spread out and ample opportunity for fall photo snapping.
And did I mention the super-mellow goats?