10.05.2008

a classic fall weekend... cox farms and shaeffer farms

a classic fall weekend...

it was a classic fall weekend
a weekend that offered the potential for a cyclocross double header
two race options each within an hour of my home
but alas... no cyclocross racing for me
as it was in fact a classic fall weekend

the weekend started with a flurry of excitement
having to work late on friday had me miss the evening party in the alley
dean having a baseball game had the rest of the family missing the alley party as well
I arrived home to a dark alley filled with a swarm of children
as I walked in the back door lisa and the boys came in the front
the boys raced straight through the house
in the front door and out the back... chasing the sound of screaming children that was coming from the back alley

I followed with a key to the garage so I could make sure that bicycles and skateboards were options for the boys
I also wanted to put some lights on their bikes and helmets on their heads

night blended into morning in the with a collapse from exhaustion after a long week
only to rise and then walk the dog before a mad rush to Dean's soccer game

the morning game is always a great excuse to get the boys out of the house early
without the saturday morning soccer agenda I fear that we would not get the boys out of their pajamas until after noon time
on this morning we were on the field playing by 9:30
halfway through the game the other team's coach asked if we could pull a kid off the field so that they could let one of their kids go home

I was already trying to get our four substitutes equal playing time
then the coach on the other team offered to let one of our kids play on their team for the second half

I grabbed my son dean and asked him to put on a blue jersey and play for the other team

he made me proud
Dean played just as hard for the other team as he would have played for his own

it must have been tough to play against his friends and to work to keep his team from scoring more goals
after the game we gave our "2-4-6-8" cheer and grabbed some post game snacks and rushed off

normally lisa will try to go to yoga while I go to soccer with both the boys
but having lost her wallet her morning was spent trying to get a replacement driver's license... the MVA Express was anything but express
when dean and I returned home from soccer grant and lisa were also returning home from the MVA... sans new driver's license

in an effort to beat the fall festival rush we loaded the Element and made a mad dash for the interstate

headed west on I-66 towards manassas virginia to go to cox farm

the parking lot was already starting to fill when we stopped the engine
it was ten minutes past noon... had it not been for a wrong turn we would have met my desired noon arrival time
with a swipe of the credit card we were on the grounds
the boys climbed and crawled through a series of hay tunnels while I
swipe my credit card in exchange for a variety of food options
not even thirty minutes at our location and already a hundred dollars in the hole

hamburgers... hot dogs... bbq sandwich with slaw... french fries, and a pb and j
everything split in half to give everyone some options
whining and complaining for a full hot dog had me purchasing dean a full hot dog

at my return more whining and complaining had me back at the register buying grant a full hot dog
minutes later both boys were finished and full
each had a remaining half a hot dog
from there were started in on the slides


from slide to slide with stops to view the animals in between
that is pretty much how our afternoon went
we tried to hit each and every slide

always trying to focus on the slides with the shortest lines
the hay ride is always a good place to rest and fuel up on kettle corn
while the new corn maze is a great addition
the petting zoo was mistakenly missed
the boys were ready to leave after we gave them the instructions of one last slide


sure there were some complaints about not enough time in the penny pit
but my parental logic could not stand the notion that our time would be spent having the children dig for pennies when more money could be found by removing the cushions from our couches at home
so with pumpkins in our hands we headed for the car

but not without purchasing a few bails of hay

the Honda Element is not as big as you think
especially once there are two adults, two children,
and four bails of hay packed inside the vehicle
it was here that we learned that it was not last year's batch of hay as much as it is hay in general
lisa is allergic to hay...

four bails of hay being tossed around and broken down in the backyard may make for some watery eyes and sneezing
this is the last year of the backyard hay

we drove home with the usual parent to child in car conversation
are we home yet?
I have to go to the bathroom!
I'm Hungry!
and...
I can not move my lets... this bail of hay is in the way

the drive home was quicker than the drive out
as we did not get lost driving home
but somehow it felt longer
I tried to explain to dean that if we want to have adventures like skiing in west virginia or mountain biking in the shenandoahs we have to endure the drive
it was then when dean made it clear he does not mind the drive there

it is the drive back that gives him issue

back home I was amazed that the boys did not collapse on the couch
instead the boys again ran through the house following the sound of screaming children
in the alley

while the boys rode their bikes and skateboards in the alley behind the house I started to clean up the de
ck a bit
leaves and sticks were racked and bagged

while a few broken toys were tucked in the trash
with the back deck straightened up I unloaded the four bails of hay into the backyard
I cut the strings of the four rectangles of hay in the kid's clubhouse
then I went into the alley and whispered to grant that the hay was ready for play in the backyard
there was an immediate stampede


with a shout and a wave young grant lead the charge

soon all the children from the alley were in the backyard
hay was everywhere
clouds of hay dust filled the air as hay was thrown about


the slide slides faster with the hay

along with the soft buffer that the pile of hay creates
it is awesome
it is madness
it is a great chance for the kids to be kids
to get wild without getting hurt... or so I hope


the boys played for hours
the sunset and they were still playing
I turned on the lights and the boys played more
eventually it was time for everyone to head home


the boys finally came inside and had a late dinner

then a quick bath and then off to bed
no time for a movie
we looked at the photos from Cox Farm together on the computer
then I played them a short video clip of something that applied to our conversation of the moment

bedtime involved the usual battles

dean went to sleep while grant fought us
being lame lisa and I gave into grant's plea and let him climb into our bed
the arguments with us prevent dean from going to sleep
this is a pattern
the parents have enabled some bad habits
but that is a story for a different blog
this is not a parenting blog... or is it?

with the boys asleep I drank a few beers with a friend
too exhausted for much more I was at home in front of the tube with only enough strength to watch the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin debate skit

then off to bed only to wake for more of the same


Dean had a baseball game which gave me some options
Grant did not want to go to the game which then altered my options
my aim to ride my Rip Nine somewhere with someone was altered into something with Grant
I proposed mountain biking on the trail-a-bike to Grant
Grant had no interest in this as an option for an afternoon plan

he did not want to play with me... he wanted to play with his friends
I tried to persuade him... but I could not sway him
then after loading up the car I just took him with me
as father knows best

in my head I debated where would be a better place to take a four year old mountain biking on the trail-a-bike
Gambril State Park was not an option
it really was a choice between Schaeffer Farms and Rosaryville

Schaeffer Farms won the toss
we chatted as we drove up I-270 to Germantown


in the final miles leading to Schaeffer Farms I marveled at the sprawl
it saddened me as it always saddens me to see the growth
anywhereusa sucks! people have to live somewhere... by ryland homes could do better than using the little plastic monopoly houses as a model for architectural drawings
a pathway that was once flanked by open fields on both sides has now blocked in by suburban neighborhoods
the soccer plex is one of the benefits of progress
it pleases me to see the great amount of space set aside for the soccer plex

once in the parking lot I was amused to see RickyD on his funky Jones Bike
we exchanged hellos as I attached the trail-a-bike to the back on my Jamis Exile 29 inch wheel single speed
then grant and I headed into the woods

Grant made the criticism that so many people make about mountain biking....
"but these are not mountains?"

once in the woods we made a series of right hand turns
always taking the girl scout route around the log pyramids

at four Grant is still weak in taking instructions
I am not sure how much of my advice he implements

boys are not so focuses on the relationship of cause and effect
or the worst case scenario
they are more likely to just let things happen and end up scratching their heads asking themselves... how did that happen?

as we rode I warned Grant of bumps and bigger bumps
asking that he hang on tight
reminding him to use his legs as shock absorbers
I was focused forward lacking a rear view mirror so I was never sure of what was happening on the trail-a-bike

things went well
the trail-a-bike tracks like a boat on a trailer behind a truck
which is fine... but I have never driven a truck pulling a trailer
so that did not help

early on we had a mishap where I rolled over a bridge and Grant rolled off the side
which had me more cautious when going over the bridges

we rode out to the open fields
which had been my objective from the house
I thought that this would be the most beautiful and the most rational place to take Grant on the Trail-a-Bike

it was beautiful

we did the fields once in each direction then headed back

Grant loved the roller coaster feel of the mountain bike ride
not sure how much pedaling he contributed
which was no issue
my main concerns were that he had fun and did not get hurt
Grant did almost fall off once... which may have been caused by his messing around

we left hungry with smiles on our faces
Chick-Filet was closed which sent us onto the Interstate with empty stomachs
Grant was asleep a few miles down the highway

we got home and played in the hay in the back yard
it was a classic fall weekend
soccer games and mountain bikes
and of course the requisite hikes with the dog!


1 comment:

KML said...

just rode Schaeffer on Saturday, it was awesome!!!