Pumpkin Patch Pickin’ 2013

After our awesome time at Roca Scary Farm last year, Aaron and I knew we wanted to take Shepherd back this year. We expected that, since he’d be older, he’d enjoy the farm even more than he did on his first trip. We were right, and the pictures prove it! Shepherd didn’t want to stop for photos at all; he was too busy exploring all of the areas of the farm as fast as his legs could take him there.

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For comparison’s sake, here’s Shepherd with Plumpy last year and this year:

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One thing that made this year’s trip extra special was who joined us: my mom and sister were visiting us (unfortunately, my dad can’t travel during football season), so they came, too! Growing up in East Texas didn’t lend itself to trips to the pumpkin patch, so being able to go with Mom and Jillian was almost as fun for me as it was for Shepherd.

The highlights of the day: the petting zoo, the pumpkins (of course!), the slides, Hillbilly Bowling, and the giant lollipops in Candyland. Shepherd ran up to each lollipop yelling “yum! yum!”… it was really cute. He also had his first caramel apple and shared a funnel cake with Aunt Jillian (our family calls her Aunt Pookie). Shepherd has the biggest appetite of any toddler I know, and having the chance to eat all of these treats made his day. His eyes were like saucers as he kept looking at us, as if to say, “can I really eat that!?” Luckily for him, Birdie was in town and was more than happy to provide the treats.

The only lowlight of the day was the weather—it was 80 degrees and humid, as it had stormed all morning. I told my mom and sister to bring warm clothes (the forecasted high was 50 degrees) and we all were pretty disappointed that it was so hot! We went on the first weekend in October this year, and the trees hadn’t quite turned yet, either. We’ll probably go a little later next year (like we did last year).

This year was just as fun but in a different way. Shepherd wanted to see and play with everything, so we could have spent all day there. We went on a Friday evening, which was the perfect time: there were hardly any other people around (probably because of the rain) and we didn’t have to wait in line for the hayrack ride to the pumpkin patches. Roca Berry Farm is an absolutely gorgeous property, and a visit out there really makes it feel like fall.

We came home with a big carving pumpkin, an heirloom pumpkin for baby brother, and an assortment of mini pumpkins for decoration. Here are a few of our favorite pictures from this year’s visit. (You can see the entire album here.)

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Special thanks to Roca Berry Farm for providing us passes to the pumpkin patch in exchange for the use of our family photos on their social media pages. We love visiting Roca Scary Farm and pumpkin patch, and we can’t wait to go back next year!

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No. 1 Bro

Shepherd has no idea how much his little world is going to change in only two months.

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Sometimes, I feel the same way. I can’t wait to meet baby boy number two, but I’m also uneasy about the change for our first baby.

I’ve thought a lot about how we can make Shepherd’s transition to big brother less abrupt, but I’m not exactly sure there’s a clear way to do that with a year-and-a-half old. We talk about baby brother a lot, and Shepherd likes to kiss him (by kissing my stomach). He is very interested in babies in general, but I think that’s as much as he comprehends. I talk to him often about how brother is going to come home with us soon and what a helpful big boy Shepherd is to me now and will be then.

We are trying to make all of these changes exciting for him, but one change looms in my mind: Shepherd’s new room.

Right now, my main concern is transitioning Shepherd to his big boy room. The room isn’t finished yet, but, barring emergency (aka the baby arrives very early) it will be ready for Sheppy by mid-November. I don’t expect that we will actually move him to his room until the new year, though… he will probably stay in the nursery while baby brother is in the bassinet in our room for the first few weeks. I don’t want Shepherd to feel like we are isolating him in one part of our house while mama, daddy and baby brother are together in another area. I’ll gauge his interest as we get his room ready together; he is pretty easy-going about things like this, and I think having his familiar things will make him much more willing to try out his new arrangements.

It has been very sweet to watch Shepherd “help” me sort and clean his hand-me-downs. He loves seeing the baby things we take out, like Sophie the Giraffe and his old bottles, and we’ve been talking about and practicing where to put Brother’s things. I’m anxious to see how moving rooms will affect him, but, ultimately, we’ll just go with the flow. (This has been the worst part about our current home: the bedroom layout is not conducive to having small children.)

Until then, I’m trying to soak in the last two months of our family of three. Admittedly, it’s not always easy. I’m tired and sometimes worn out by the time Aaron gets home. But, at the end of each day, when I go in to Shepherd’s nursery to say goodnight, I can’t help as my eyes well up with tears as I think back on our last twenty months together. I have been given such a gift in being mama to my sweet Shepherd. In the midst of cheerio dust and spilled water and sticky fingers and newly-emerging tantrums, I am quick to forget that.

As we finish the nursery, Shepherd’s new room, and various other home projects, I’m struck by how little time we have left as a party of three. I’m thankful for the generous paternity leave at Aaron’s work, which will allow him to spend the first few weeks of Brother’s life at home and gives the four of us the opportunity to adjust at home together. I don’t know what else we can should do to prepare Shepherd at his age; we’ll just have to wait and see how he reacts and help him as much as we can (while realizing that he is still a baby himself!). Only eight-or-so weeks to go…

Do you have any tips for helping prepare Shepherd for being a big brother? I’d love to hear them!

And, here are a few pictures from our weekend. I can’t wait to frame some of these in the nursery; baby boy is so lucky to have Shepherd as his brother! (To see the whole album, just click on a picture, and it will take you to the Flickr set.)

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