Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fall....ummm...Winter Hayride

(November 8)

Pam and Lyle had a wonderful hayride and bonfire party planned down at the farm to celebrate the fall season. Lucky for me, they were kind enough to incorporate Jonny and Auntie Barb's birthdays into the celebration plan also. I can not tell you how WONDERFUL it was to NOT have a birthday party at our house again. Sure, they are fun and all, but after 9 per year, plus separate kid parties, St.Patrick's Day, and our Christmas Eve gathering, this tired Mommy is pretty burnt out on parties at her house!

After what had been one of the most warm and gorgeous "Indian Summers" in recent history, the weather changed just a few days before party day, and our fall went to winter in about 12 hours flat. The wind whipped around mercilessly at 20-30MPH, blowing dustings of snow across the fields and roadways, while plunging the temperatures into the low teens at best. Instead of roasting hot dogs and s'mores on the bonfire, images of hunkering down under woolen blankets and warming our toes around the fireplace in the living room seemed much more appropriate.
Being the hearty Minnesotans that we are, I poured my kids into their snowpants and winter jackets, covered their heads and hands with appropriate apparel, and we climbed aboard the trailer for the planned upon hayride. IT....WAS.....SO......COLD!!!! Despite extra blankets and our winter gear, we found ourselves freezing and shivering as we toured the farmland for about 40 minutes near Madison Lake. Besides a few deer hunters we disturbed on our trail, and one crazy dog who thought he could outrun us, there was no other sustainable life to be found on this blustery winter's day. At one point, Uncle Alan stated he did not think his heart could take much was scary....I think he was totally serious. It was looking like my dad might have to utilize his CPR skills again! The kids had a blast anyhow, and even Alex got into it, playing some kind of balancing game with Jonny, and was enjoying himself in the out of doors. He'll need to toughen himself up for those cold Canadian winters once he leaves for college (thanks to Obama for scaring my son away). When we returned to the house, the two sane people who remained behind (my mom and Barb) greeted us warmly as we all tried to recover some much depleted body heat. The warm chili, hot apple cider, and fresh cornbread did just the trick.

The kids (12 in all) busied themselves with board games in the basement while the adults enjoyed uninterrupted conversation. I can not remember the last time that ever happened! The large farm house also provided a hide and seek sanctuary with plenty of nooks and cranies just perfect for little bodies to crawl into....this kept the interest of most of the kids for hours...literally. So though not quite the party as planned, no one was suffering from the lack of outdoor activity today. It was great.

Thank you Pam & Lyle for such a great day!

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