Pumpkins, Hay Rides and Sunflower Fields

Every year, we go in search of the best local pumpkin patches. Two years ago we went to Pastorino Farms in Half Moon Bay and Webb Ranch in Portola Valley. Last year, we went to Moore’s Pumpkin Patch in Dublin.

This year, we trekked down to Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch in San Jose. Far…near Coyote Valley. It was perfect. Not too commercial, not too much traffic (although I started working at 6 am so I we could leave in the early afternoon on a weekday), pumpkins laid out beautifully, an interactive learning center, a mini-hay bale maze, giant orange chairs, a sunflower field and of course, rides! Namely, a train, a hay-ride, and a barrel train ride. And this doesn’t even include the petting zoo or pony rides, which are weekend-only attractions.

I loved going through the sunflower fields on the hayride. Carter loved running around on the hay bale maze and riding the traditional train. Eventually, he worked up the courage to try the barrel train. Naturally, Aila wanted to ride too. No parents allowed. So, Andy and I had to jog along on the other side of the fence to stay within eyesight for the first half of the ride to make sure she didn’t cry. By the second half, she wasn’t interested in us at all.

We had such a beautiful afternoon playing at this pumpkin patch. We made a little loop around the farm to look for our pumpkins and the kids each chose their own.

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Carter’s pumpkin and Aila’s pumpkin. It was love at first sight for both of them.

It’s always a little stressful to break routine and squeeze in special outings and traditions like this. I always entertain the idea of skipping out on some of these annual activities. But each year, I’m so glad we lose a little sleep and put in the extra effort.

My parents are immigrants and we had our own traditions, holidays and activities, but I didn’t get to do many activities like this when I was growing up. I only read about them. I love the culture and traditions I grew up with and I’ve wanted to bring in some new ones too. Maybe it’s part of establishing my own family. Maybe it’s blending two cultures. Maybe it’s my inner-child wanting to experience everything for myself.

Since having kids, I’ve always thought (and written) about trying to establish traditions and create magical memories with my kids. Now, I realize these traditions are just as much for me as they are for my little ones. I’m creating memories for myself.

And, if I could have, I would have liked to ride that barrel train too.

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