October Versions of Us

We talked for a couple of weeks about where we wanted to take the kids to pick out pumpkins. There are several options that I’m aware of out here in Northern California: The dime-a-dozen roadside pop-up patches where they throw down a bunch of hay and pumpkins in the parking lot, there are a few farms in Half Moon Bay that host a couple of huge events, hay rides and other activities, and then there’s Rodoni Farms in Bonny Doon where we’ve gone since we moved from New York City. Rodoni Farms is close enough to home while still being perched overlooking the ocean, right next to a shriveled up corn maze. There’s a cool old car that sits in the middle of the lot surrounded by tons of beautiful orange, white, green and yellow pumpkins and squashes, along with a kids playground area and it is all dog-friendly. We made a day of it this year, now that it’s 40 minutes from home rather than 20.

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There’s something that is so nostalgic and even somewhat melancholy for me during these fall months. The beginning of school, the end of summer, the birthdays that come around one after another for our family so consistently. Fall of last year feels like it was yesterday. Weren’t we just here?

Jack and Zoe are getting so big, it’s as though they’re actual people-children, hilarious, sarcastic and responsible. They get dressed, take showers, brush their teeth, and listen to directions all on their own and it’s sort of left me stammering in the corner but wait, I actually kind of liked doing all of those things for you what do you mean you can get your own lunch? Beau is still as loud, emotional, and physically aggressive as ever and Evangeline is really coming into her own. She has personality and humor that is so clearly a Shyba trait it’s almost unnerving.

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These new cooler seasons bring out all of the sweaters that are too small and the memories that are so close and so big that they feel like they might just suffocate me. I just took Jack to the choo-choo train, dressed like a monkey and riding in a Little Red Wagon and his eyes were so huge with wonder about all of these new and totally bizarre traditions. Zoe was dressed in a little fall outfit that it was probably too warm to wear even then, surrounded by fields of corn, crops and dirt just like we should have been. And then there’s Beau as a baby, dressed in a little faux-leather jacket and Yankee’s baseball cap, running around the pumpkins in the middle of Manhattan at barely nine months old.

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Three different versions of themselves, three different versions of me.

I love it even more each new year, but I do wish that I could find a real pumpkin patch with apple trees and really huge bails of hay with tractors and the chill of fall in the air. I have my memories of New York in October, and I might just need to take my growing family back with me to experience it again.


Another season, perhaps.




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  • We have the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch hayrides here in Southern NJ it’s a beautiful time! You’re so right to miss it! Thanks for the post.

  • Nothing beats fall in New England
    You should try to come back…the colors are magical and it is everything that you remember it to be!!

    • Take the trek to Apple Hill up HWY 50. You could make a weekend in Tahoe out of the occasion. I guarantee you will get your Fall fix! Cutting down a Christmas Tree in the chillier months of November/December at one of the farms there is pretty incredible too!

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