Reunited With Some Old Friends

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner, Pregnancy

A few months ago, I climbed a ladder in the garage to grab bins and bags full of clothes marked “onesies 3-6 months” or “pajamas 9-12 months” or “dresses and leggings 18 months.” God bless my wife – she’s so organized. As we readied the nursery, we furiously unpacked the clothes and meticulously hung them in the closet, running out of hangers in no time. This girl is going to have some wardrobe! Alison was close to crying multiple times – either just from getting emotional about seeing Madelyn’s old clothing, or being sad that some of them were ruined by milk stains gone nuclear after three years to really seep in.

Then, a few weeks ago, it was time for round two of digging into the storage areas of our garage – this time to find and haul out all of Madelyn’s original baby gear. Mr. Jungle Gym Mat. Mrs. Swing. Dr. Bouncer. Professor Pack-and-Play. All of our old friends, tucked away in boxes, now entering the world again. Out of retirement. Back in service. I feel like it’s Toy Story or The Brave Little Toaster and these items are all secretly gleeful to be getting ready for use again.

All I had to do was remember how to put them all back together. Not from scratch, but from some variable level of disarray – just enough to have packed them nicely away in boxes. From upstairs I’m sure Alison could hear gasps of “Oh yeah! I forgot about this piece!” and “Argh! I remember this being a pain last time too,” and “What was I thinking packing it away like this?” But before too long, everything was back together, ready and waiting for the new resident to join our party.

But of course, before the new baby can use them, they must be tested by their previous inhabitant and current preschooler.

Wheel of Fortune: Before and After Category

Wheel of Fortune: Before and After Category

Hey Bouncer! Nice to see you again. Meet Mr. Rock-n-Play. I swear, you're not obsolete. We have a bunch of rooms now!

Hey Bouncer! Nice to see you again. Meet Mr. Rock-n-Play. I swear, you’re not obsolete. We have a bunch of rooms now!

It took me three years to finally get The Animal Fair out of my head, and only three seconds to get it back! The sight of Madelyn pushing the buttons and flipping the switches on this stuff was really something. The last time we saw any of it in person she could barely hold her bottle, let alone push buttons or flip switches. I think with Madelyn in the house, I will have to replace these batteries a little bit more frequently.

There’s only one week to go before the pack-and-play, swing, bouncer, and jungle gym mat are officially reenlisted into active duty. And of course, I look forward to meeting up with Miss High Chair and Colonel Jump-a-roo again real soon too. Needless to say, I’m excited for all the brand new experiences to come, but it sure is nice to have some familiar old friends around.

  1. sharon
    2/24/2015 7:59 PM

    I LOVED reading this blog entry and seeing Madelyn in the then & now pictures with all the baby gear. Great idea. It looks like you’re ready. Let the countdown to next Wednesday begin!!

Not Over It

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

It’s at this point in any pregnancy, when you grunt while simply getting out of a chair or you massage your own lower back as you shift weight when standing or you run to the bathroom in a Niagara Falls-like pee-mergency only to encounter two measly and underwhelming drip drops that people give you a sympathetic look and say, “You must be so over it!”

And yet, I’m not.

At 36 weeks pregnant with three weeks to go until scheduled eviction day, I am not over it. I’m not ready to be done. I’m not hoping for the days to fly by so that March 4th can hurry up and be here. I am actually wanting more time, more kicks, more 4:45 a.m. on-the-dot potty wake ups.

This is our second* and last baby. And then that’s it. Babies grow up; I get old. This phase of my life will be over. Yes, I know, then have more babies. But damn. College is expensive. So no, the fiscally responsible thing to do is to quit while we’re ahead. Two heads, to be exact. Two precious heads of girly, curly cuteness.

I’m one of those weirdos who really likes being pregnant. And I come with my own fair share of weird pregnancy symptoms, so it’s not even like I’ve had the most perfect and painless human-making experience. I’m suffering from an itchy belly that makes me want to go to town on my skin with a fork, turning it fifty shades of red, which is a whole new brand of a hurts-so-good franchise.

My leg is also going numb now, so that’s fun. If I stand for more than five minutes, a chicken breast-size area of my lateral quad goes tingly and cold and I can’t feel anything superficially. It is SO. FREAKING. WEIRD. My little bundle is sitting on a nerve, I guess, which is really a lot of nerve.

And, in an act of betrayal by my own girly parts, I also suffered through some pretty gnarly procedures and pains that went so far as to motivate me to buy an undergarment I endearingly called the Over the Shoulder Vulva Holder, so there’s that. I promptly returned it, in case you were wondering, because my condition was beyond this device’s capabilities, and minor vascular surgery was a more direct remedy. Really good times. Really.

And yet, here I am declaring that I don’t hate pregnancy. Clearly, growing a human has also made me delusional because why else would I enjoy it even with these symptoms? I just do. I’ve never felt more female and feminine. Creating life makes me feel powerful. I find a growing belly to be extremely beautiful. Also, not caring about the combo of jeans and a muffintop is always nice, and I really love maternity clothes (my credit card does not).

But even more than the pregnancy experience, becoming a mother was what I always wanted. The mystery and miracle of pregnancy had always intrigued me and, by the end of this second daughter’s gestation, I will go from having experienced 18 months of this wonder and then never to experience it again in my life. My job as a woman will be over and then I’m not cooler than my male parenting partner. He’s pretty cool, though, so I don’t mind being on his level, but the parts that make me a lady, the ones that will have hosted two healthy and happy girls will essentially have no reason to do their jobs. They will be “displaced,” no longer with the company, fired, actually (and I will still have to pay severance once a month, which seems even more unfair). Yay for being almost 32 with a completed family.

I’m going to enjoy the itchies and the numbies in these last three weeks before Baby Girl Friedman 2.0 comes because I will never associate them with such a happy thing ever again. Future skin rashes will just be annoying, and potential numbness of body parts means something might actually be wrong. But now, these inconveniences I’ve endured are simply battle wounds from a great victory.

And while I am trying to enjoy the ups and downs of my final pregnancy, I am also holding onto the greatest gift of my first go ’round: one-on-one time with Madelyn. It’s hard to imagine she’s closing in on her experience as an only child, one that I know all too well. She’s the light of our lives and the center of our universe. Sharing it with another little girl seems impossible and I can’t wrap my head around how that works, but I’ve been told it does. Each cuddle session and hug we exchange every night and every morning are becoming more and more special, that I regret not breathing them in even deeper for the past three-and-a-half years.

I know she’s about to also enjoy a new adventure and title as Big Sister and I’m excited to watch her blossom, which is what’s keeping my eye on the prize as I count down the end to our perfect little threesome. I just keep telling myself that being Madelyn’s mom is like getting to eat one giant piece of chocolate cake and that adding to our family is getting TWO giant pieces of chocolate cake, and really, who doesn’t want more than one piece of chocolate cake?!

BRING ON THE CHOCOLATE CAKES.

Especially because they don’t require paying for college tuition.

So no, Nosey Lady At Trader Joe’s, I am not miserable or looking forward to being done with pregnancy. I am savoring these last bits of what I believe to be my greatest purpose. And then I suppose it’s time for Phase 2: raising two well-adjusted girls who will only slightly hate me as teenagers. And I’ll be so old, I won’t even care about tight jeans and muffintops again.

*Princeton is under the impression I am concluding my third pregnancy.

Aloha All Day Every Day

Now that we’ve been back to reality for a month and the tans have worn off and the aches and pains from sitting on an airplane have been replaced by aches and pains from {insert all activity while 34 weeks pregnant here}, I figured it was time to do a little nostalgic hula down memory lane.

The flight to Kauai was just over six hours and it was rough. The crew was nasty, the plane was packed, and my body was not impressed with being confined to a seat for so long. Madelyn, on the other hand, was a total champ. She slept for two hours and managed to stay happy thanks to coloring books and 79283742 episodes of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” We bought her her very own set of headphones and she wore them very proudly and stayed entertained. There is no doubt that she was way better behaved on the flight than I was!

We arrived at our hotel to enjoy a great room with a pool and ocean view. Bryan and I stayed at this Marriott property on our honeymoon and it was great to be back, especially after some nice updates and renovations. We rested and cleaned up from our travel day, and then walked the short path to Duke’s for dinner, but not without Madelyn modeling for the camera first.

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Madelyn couldn’t wait to go swimming in Kauai. We had told her that our hotel had a gigantic pool and she was so excited to wear her floatie and swim.

The water was cold in the pool! Bryan went in with her most of the time because I am a wimp when it comes to water temperature. But I was also her partner in vegging, and she very quickly got accustomed to resort life.

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Bryan was also Madelyn’s sand castle partner. He showed her all the techniques and introduced her to proper ratios of water and sand. He taught her how to dump bucket molds properly and about accessorizing castles with sticks and seaweed. I loved watching my little architect become so passionate about sand castles. I was happy to let them have their building bonding time because I don’t like sand in my bits and sitting on the beach means getting stuck on the beach. #pregnantproblems

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We also ventured away from the hotel pool and beach. The great part about visiting Kauai is that it’s small and with a car, it’s super easy to get around to see all sides of the island.

We took a drive to the very end of the road past Hanalei but made stops along the way to see waterfalls, burgers, boobies, and beach.

With two must-have burger joints on the road, we couldn’t go Sophie’s Choice on the meal and decided to have lunch twice; once at Ono Char Burger alongside the resident roosters and a few hours later at Bubba Burgers in Hanalei. Bubba is also next door to a pretty delicious shave ice place, so of course we had to enjoy our first shave ice of the trip. Madelyn had no idea what was coming. Her mind was blown.

Between our burger breaks, we visited Kilauea Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is not that exciting, though it is a pretty structure. The real draw to this stop is the gorgeous views from the tip of the island and the sanctuary of boobies. Boobies are birds. It’s fun to talk about boobies in public and how they fly and swoop. Boobies boobies boobies.

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We finally made it to the end of our drive at Ke’e Beach where the road ends and the Napali Coast takes over with its monstrous, lush jungle mountains.

Madelyn was so thrilled to be at a new beach that she tackled me with love and how could I resist? Bryan had the camera ready and I’m so glad he caught these moments of her love attack. On day three of our trip, she continued to be in the happiest of spirits, never complaining and always appreciating everything we showed her in our beloved Kauai. It was at this moment that I was reminded how lucky we are to be raising Madelyn who is so positive and delightful. She really seems to “get it” and we love that she has the travel bug, too.

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Madelyn took in her new surroundings and ran around the beach before settling into the sand with Bryan for another creation.

Then, we spotted our first rainbow and Madelyn was pretty enamored with the sight. It was one of those perfect rainbows that disappeared as quickly as it came and showed vibrant colors at its pique. I was hoping we’d get to see a famous Hawaiian rainbow on our trip, and this day did not disappoint. This rainbow reappeared over and over again over the course of our hour at the Ke’e Beach.

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We learned the day before at the beach at the hotel that Madelyn does not like going into the ocean. The waves scared her and the endlessness of it seemed to make her nervous. It took a little convincing, but she was finally OK with going in the water at Ke’e Beach because the water was calm and smooth like glass. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to float in the Pacific Ocean with my best girl, so I got over my water temperature snobbiness and we bounced around together, singing and giggling.

After our fingers had turned into raisins, Madelyn relaxed on the beach while Bryan snapped a few belly shots. Apparently we wanted to remember what 28 weeks looks like the second time around. Then Madelyn wanted in so she could give kisses to her little sister. And I melted into a puddle that was bigger than the water we’d just come out of.

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The next day, we spent the day at the hotel pool and beach again to take it easy after our adventure the day before. We met an older woman from Mississippi on the beach who managed to tell me her entire life story and how her granddaddy built her Baptist church and that every Sunday, she and her husband sat in the pews named after her family and she sings the loudest during the hymns. She also blessed me a million times for my pregnancy and upcoming baby. She then kneeled down to Madelyn and gushed about how she reminded her of the angels in her Sunday school class that she teaches.

She followed up her friendly and kind conversation by asking Madelyn if she likes to sing. Madelyn confidently nodded her head. So the lady asked her if she knew the song “Jesus Loves You” and Madelyn stared at her like she had 50 eyeballs on her head. When she didn’t answer, the nice lady gave us her own personal recital and giggled to us that Madelyn must be shy for not singing the lyrics with her. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that not only did Madelyn not know the words to “Jesus Loves You,” but that we were also on a family vacation during Hanukkah and that the last song she sang at preschool was about a dreidel. This experience was one of the funniest and most bizarre moments of my life, but this lady was so nice with good intentions.

After she left, we blessed the sand with our own creation: a Madelyn Mermaid. She loved being buried and giggled about her sandy fins.

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That evening, we got cleaned up to go see a Hula show in the same shopping center as one of our favorite restaurants, Roy’s. However, we were in lots of traffic going into Poipu, and we missed the Hula show. I was so sad because I wasn’t sure when else we would be able to go before our trip ended, so we let Madelyn run around to get some of her wiggles out from the long car ride before dinner and her silly antics cheered me up.

We went to the beautiful nearby Hyatt resort to walk around the property and ended up watching a Hawaiian singer in the lounge where Madelyn danced to his music and put on her own little show for us. We also learned we could come back to the Hyatt a few days later to take a Hula class and see a Hula show. I was so glad to have that final option and couldn’t wait to come back!

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We bought a pineapple earlier in the week at a nearby market and it was finally ready to eat, so the next morning, I called for room service to bring up a knife and I performed major surgery on that gem so we could enjoy its juicy island flavor.

Madelyn was so excited to eat real Hawaiian pineapple and she loved watching me slice it up. It was a yummy way to start the day and it sure beat room service.

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With our bellies full of pineapple, we woke up our appetites to grab some delicious Mexican food from a food truck I’d read about. We drove to Koloa Town to try Chalupa’s and it did not disappoint! Our food was delicious and was the perfect lunch before making the long drive to the other end of the island to check out Hanapepe and Waimea Canyon.

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Hanapepe is an old little town and we went to show Madelyn the swinging bridge. We walked across the bridge 6.5 years before when we came to Kauai for our honeymoon, but we thought Madelyn would get a kick out of crossing a river on a suspension bridge. And then walk back. It’s very anticlimactic, but it’s quirky and kitschy and something you’ve just to go do when visiting Kauai.

And it must’ve made some kind of impression on her because every bridge we saw or walked on throughout the rest of the trip, including the bridge over the pool at our resort, was called a Hanapepe Bridge.

Plus, the photo opps were fun!

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After a long and windy drive up to Waimea Canyon, we woke up a sleeping Madelyn to take in the miraculous view of the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. As many times as I’ve seen Waimea Canyon, it’s still a breathtaking sight.

No photo truly does it justice. The ropey red mountains with a cavernous valley below are so powerful to take in. The waterfall gives the perfect dose of Hawaii. The breeze is the only sound over the murmur of amazed visitors who exchange buzzes of conversation for photography trades. We also partook, and thank goodness, because it’s not often we’ll have a family photo with this landscape.

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Back down the windy road, we stopped for a late lunch at the Shrimp Station, which was decorated for the holidays. Madelyn loves shrimp and was totally enchanted by the shrimp on a sleigh in front. Bryan and Madelyn also managed to polish off some shrimp platters, while I cursed the windy road that left me nauseous and totally unhungry. I was sad to miss out on one of my favorite eating experiences that I was excited to return to, but I could not force any shrimp into my upset belly.

I was too much of a wimp… for shrimp. Womp womp.

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We drove back to the hotel and I spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening curled up in a ball, stewing over how mad I was for feeling sick on vacation. We called it an early night and I felt so much better the next day. We relaxed at the pool again and then got dolled up in repeat outfits for our Hula night back at the Hyatt.

Dinner at Puka Dog was quick, but delicious. Kauai travelers will enjoy visiting this simple hot dog shop that’s anything but boring. The dog is wrapped in a cylinder sweet roll and there’s a variety of tropical relishes to use instead of the usuals. This is no ballpark hot dog. And as a picky hot dog eater who has the audacity to hate all condiments except for ketchup, even I like the relishes!

We arrived at the Hyatt for our Hula lesson and we learned a dance and a song. It was super fun and I appreciated learning about storytelling with my hands. Madelyn did a great job following along when she wasn’t being harassed by another little girl who had no interest in watching the teacher and only wanted to play with Madelyn. Poor Madelyn was so torn, loving the attention from a new friend, but also really wanting to Hula dance. She did the best she could and we ended up having a good time before heading down to the lounge to watch the children from a local Hula school perform for hotel guests. Madelyn ate it up. She loved watching little girls not much older than her shake their hips and use beautiful props to dance.

At the end of the night, we enjoyed a family walk and a cuddle on a hammock under the stars. It was a perfect evening and a wonderful memory.

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On our second to last day, we took one more drive north to check out some other beaches with a shave ice stop on the way because shave ice. We enjoyed the beach at Princeville and then found ourselves at Lumahai Beach which is one of our favorites. It’s rarely crowded, easy to get to once you know it’s there, and the waves are fun! They are also huge and I’ve never seen anything like them. On our honeymoon, we went there and I wore a bikini (a bik-what???) and the waves at Lumahai left me without a bikini. So, there’s that. Needless to say, Madelyn took one look at those waves and ran away back toward the car. We promised her she didn’t have to go in, but Bryan enjoyed some thrashing around in the water while we watched.

There’s also a really cool river alongside the bottom of a cliff that feeds into the ocean. It’s super calm and like a wading pool. Madelyn much preferred that atmosphere. She chased floating banana leaves and splashed in the water.

We ended up eating dinner in Hanalei that was just mediocre. We didn’t feel satisfied after, so we did what any hungry people do after they’ve eaten a proper restaurant meal: we got burgers at Bubba’s. Shameless. Who says dessert has to be sweet??

At the end of the night, my depression sunk in that our trip was ending and we’d rest our heads on the pillows of our hotel only one last time. Madelyn loves hotel life. She thinks the little bottles of toiletries are a blast and being roomies with mom and dad couldn’t be cooler. We taught her about hotel etiquette and that we have to be quiet in the hallways since people might be sleeping. We told her this once. From then on, eery time we walked down the hall, she put her finger to her lips and whispered “Ssssss!” (she can’t say her “sh” blend). One morning, a horrible man was talking so loudly on his phone and we could hear him through the door. Good thing I was already awake or I would’ve ripped his ear off with the phone. Madelyn shook her head in disapproval and scolded him from inside our room. Already, such a savvy traveler.

She slept in a sofa bed for a week and did great. Better than great. In fact, every morning, she did something new that she’s never done at home. She would get out of bed when she woke up (sometimes before us), tip toe to the bathroom, pee, come back, and go back to sleep or get dressed and read her books while letting us snooze. She also woke up dry every morning even though she wears Pull-Ups to sleep and essentially nighttime potty trained herself on this trip. What?! I never imagined vacationing with a three-year-old would actually be a vacation for all of us.

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The fastest week was also the best week we’ve had as a family. We had the best time showing Madelyn what we love about one of our favorite places and we loved watching her take it all in. Even a month later, back at home and back at the old routine, Madelyn consistently tells us she loves Hawaii and misses it.

But in typical Madelyn fashion, instead of harping on the vacation she had, she looks toward the future and always says, “Let’s go to Hawaii again, but with Baby Sister when she gets here.”

Sign me up, Big Sis!

Over the Moon from the Familymoon

Last December, Bryan and I went to Maui for a week sans Madelyn. It was really wonderful as any Hawaiian getaway should be. We hadn’t been back to the island since our honeymoon, and it was our first big trip being non-parents since we became parents. We felt young(ish) and it was liberating and, in all honesty, we went thinking we’d end up with a newborn 40 weeks later. The baby make-cation ended up being unsuccessful, yet here we are, almost exactly a year later, leaving the state of Hawaii again, this time, 7 months pregnant.

Obviously, we didn’t need Hawaii to get our pregnancy (as it happened six months later on the mainland), and in hindsight, I’m so glad it didn’t happen when we planned for it to happen. That was our big mistake: planning!

To think that THIS December, right now, we would have had a three-month-old if our Maui antics had worked makes me sigh in relief. This past week in Kauai with Madelyn, who’s three years old and four months, was the most magical and perfect week. Having an infant in our lives would have made this trip nearly impossible, and if we’d taken this “familymoon” before Maui Baby was born, Madelyn would have been just over two-and-a-half, and, well, not nearly as fun.

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Timing and circumstances have a funny way of working out. This is hard for someone like me to understand if I wasn’t living it first-hand. As a planner and self-labeled control freak, the concept drives me bonkers. Strangely, though, motherhood has taught me to relax a little, and while that stick is still firmly planted up the rear end, being a parent has enabled me the power and advantage of ignoring it on occasion. Stick, be damned! So what that I didn’t get my way when I wanted it… or for five more months after that. So what that we didn’t end up with an autumnal baby, who would have been a blob to carry around for Halloween. So what that we can’t make bad wink-wink jokes with finger quotes about Bryan’s “COCONUTS” or that we did the (more finger quotes) “HULA DANCE” for the baby to start out life in Maui. The timing was not right. The circumstances were not right.

I’m not one to think about higher powers having any influence about how things have happened. I choose to believe that chemistry and biology were not BFF during our week in Maui last December or the months that followed. Then, boom, science yada yada. Also, maybe wine. But still, science.

And here we are, a whole year later and a whole lot of me knocked up. I am so thoroughly glad to have had this extra time with Madelyn. So fortunate that those months of frustration over not getting pregnant happened. So high off of our wonderful week away with our greatest treasure (so far) (Unborn Daughter: when you read this when you’re older, please understand we had a treasure before you, but then you get to show up 3+ years later and make the bounty grow, OK? Apparently, this is how it works with siblings. This is not second-child complex-worthy and I refuse to pay for therapy due to this blog post).

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The opportunity of no-such-luck Maui Baby made it possible for us to have the most aloha-tastic time with our first daughter. Silver linings. It was hard to see them all those months ago, but now I am pinching myself with glee and gratitude.

I am also extremely thankful for my hard-working husband who made it possible for us to have this vacation of our dreams, our last one as a family of three (Princeton makes us, technically and currently, a family of four, but he’s not allowed in Hawaii, so for purposes of this vacation, we were a family of three) (Also, I shouldn’t have to defend this because my dog, while brilliant, cannot read and thus, will not incur therapy side-by-side with his youngest human sister).

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I will write more about our week’s adventures, but for now, I savor these memories, our last collection of such before a whole new adventure await which will surely entail a little less R & R but a lot more sweetness and love. For all this, I say mahalo.

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Farming Family Fun

Halloween came and went and between Bryan’s work travels, weekend crowds, and uncomfortably hot temps, we never made it to our favorite local family spot for fun on the farm. In past years, we’ve gone to the Fall Festival at Underwood Farms in Moorpark to take photos with pumpkins and scarecrows, but every time we tried to make it work around Halloweentime 2014, it just wasn’t in the cards. Fall on the farm can be a magical time, though, so I didn’t want time to get away from us.

With a seemingly appropriate Thanksgiving harvest digesting in our bellies (and thighs and tush and chins), we decided to pick our own harvest during Thanksgiving weekend after the turkey had worn off. Visiting Underwood Farms after the rush of the Halloween/Pumpkinfest craziness was a huge relief — no crowds, nice weather, cheaper admission.

We hopped on a tractor ride that took us way out into the fields so we could pick our own vegetables. We weren’t sure yet what was out there, but decided we’d cook with whatever we picked in the days to come. Lennie and George would be so proud of us living off the fatta the land. If only Gary Sinise was out there with us to make it really cinematic (and sexy).

My two [human] loves on their way to earn their dinners.

My two [human] loves on their way to earn their dinners.

We picked some carrots straight out of the ground — dirt and all — and I already began seasoning them in my mind, ready for roasting. (Olive oil, Kosher salt, cracked pepper, 375 degrees for 30 minutes — you’re welcome). Then we found the broccoli and navigated our way through the rows of tall, flowering bushes/plants/trees. This was much more nature-y than the produce aisle at the market with the little sprinkler mist that comes on every 30 minutes. We knelt down and only Bryan was strong enough to twist — with two hands — the broccoli head off the bush/plant/tree. The rows were so tall with crops, we had to really climb through to find the perfect pickings. Even Princeton was not too sure about the leaves that were triple his size. We also ended up with butter lettuce, beets, and green beans, and already felt healthy and detoxed just carrying our loot, especially after three consecutive days of Thanksgiving meals and leftovers.

What's up, Doc?

What’s up, Doc?

So thankful that my child runs happily toward vegetables.

So thankful that my child runs happily toward vegetables.

You'll remember me. When the west wind blows. Upon the fields of broccoli.

You’ll remember me. When the west wind blows. Upon the fields of broccoli.

Hey Underwood Farms, I think I know where you're hiding the remaining pumpkins.

Hey Underwood Farms, I think I know where you’re hiding the remaining pumpkins.

The Jolly Green Giant has certainly become more handsome.

The Jolly Green Giant has certainly become more handsome.

If Princeton was an Anne Geddes greeting card...

If Princeton was an Anne Geddes greeting card…

Madelyn inspects her broccoli bounty.

Madelyn inspects her broccoli bounty.

Once out of Eden, we decided to enjoy some time with animals. Madelyn rode a pony named Candy and is ready to star in City Slickers III. She loved going around in circles, and I know Candy appreciated it when the official handlers stopped the wheel so she could take a dump. It was especially exciting when this happened in the first of 12 rounds so that all the kids could remark on the smell for the rest of the rodeo. Madelyn was like, “Whatever, guys. This is way more realistic than the horse you can ride for a quarter outside of Rite Aid.”

Jessie from Toy Story should totally be shakin' in her cowgirl boots for her job security.

Jessie from Toy Story should totally be shakin’ in her cowgirl boots for her job security.

All she's missing is a cap gun and a plastic sheriff badge.

All she’s missing is a cap gun and a plastic sheriff badge.

Woooo! Yee haw! Look Ma! No hands!

Woooo! Yee haw! Look Ma! No hands!

Once Hopalong Madelyn’s ride was over, we decided to take in more wilderness with the petting farm. It was a little weak on inventory; usually there are sheep and chickens and rabbits, but this pen was only populated with goats. It took everything in me not to steal one in my purse. I really want a goat. I hear they make great pets. How cute would Princeton and a goat be together frolicking in my backyard?

Madelyn loves to play Goat Beauty Parlor every time she visits the petting corral. She makes a dash for the brushes and then goes to town on their coats. The goats are so patient and tolerant, especially when she brushes their hair in the opposite direction — gah! Kill me! I can’t handle that! — but they really don’t seem to mind. Goats, like Candy, also happen to be extra poopy, so we had to watch out for the deceptive chocolate chips that piled out of them on the go. I’m always impressed by animals who can make doody while walking; no magazine or anything. Those guys are efficient. One little girl in the petting area wasn’t as swift about avoiding the poop avalanche. Thank goodness Madelyn has been well trained or she and her wardrobe would’ve been enjoying a spa treatment in a bucket of Lysol by now.

Oh, honey. Your roots are in need of a good touch up.

Oh, honey. Your roots are in need of a good touch up.

Move over Von Trapp marionettes. There's a new goatherd in town. {insert yodel here}

Move over Von Trapp marionettes. There’s a new goatherd in town. {insert yodel here}

The sun was starting to set and the vibe was calm and peaceful at the farm. Madelyn played on a few more of Underwood’s attractions. Meanwhile, Princeton relaxed in the wagon and waited patiently for his sister to burn off her energy. He got lots of smiles and compliments from the people who passed by as he watched Madelyn play and his beard blew in the breeze. I swear, that dog is a constant source of happiness for me. I think he would’ve made a really good farm dog, but I’m so glad he’s with us in suburbia.

Basking in the afternoon sun.

Basking in the afternoon sun.

One more because... I mean...

One more because… I mean…

Farmer Maddie drives the tractor and goes from 0 MPH to 0 MPH in 3 minutes.

Farmer Maddie drives the tractor and goes from 0 MPH to 0 MPH in 3 minutes.

She -- and time -- just keep running away.

She — and time — just keep running away.

Princeton waits. My heart goes ba-bump, ba-bump.

Princeton waits. My heart goes ba-bump, ba-bump.

It's like finding a Maddie in a haystack.

It’s like finding a Maddie in a haystack.

The farm folks began to gather the wagons that peppered the grounds and close shop on the various attractions as they prepared for their evening work. As we purchased our produce and wrangled our own fruits of our labor — our human and canine children — I was reminded again how thankful I am for my growing family and our special days of togetherness.

underwood21

  1. Cathy
    12/1/2014 7:05 PM

    This is my favoritest post ever!! I love Underwear Farms and the Friedman Family!! You were wise to wait until after Halloween.I rode past there on Saturday (on my bike) and remarked on the lack of cars backed up to the freeway!! That place was INSANE! I know, Underwear and I share the same zip code. Princeton is adorable and I love how Madelyn is practicing her mechanical bull/pony skills so soon!!