Autumn at Vala’s and Bacon by the Fire

Fall is probably the best time of year to be outside, enjoying the crisp autumn air and seeing the trees bursting with color. Of course, the temperature still swings wildly from the chilly 40s to the near-summer 80s in a matter of days.

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On Wednesday I took the entire day off for our our annual trip down to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. I learned how much more fun this autumnal amusement park is when you have no lines, no crowds, and tickets are half price. We kicked off our trip at the pig races (which included ducks for some reason), and then our kids got to have some quality time on a slide or two. They played on the new obstacle course and had a few more photo opportunities on some tractors and at the storybook village. Hannah also got to give Little Bo Beep her annual hug.

We eventually met up with Jenny and Kody at the bouncing pillows before moving along to the corn bin, the dragon, and the Rocking Chair. The sun went down and we got some dinner around a campfire with the folks at Bellevue Christian Center before calling it a night. The temperature dropped to about 48, which was a little too chilly for us, so we didn’t get to see the new “eggshibit” that Jenny and Kody went along to look at. We all still had fun, though, even if we only saw a fraction of the attractions available. (Sorry, Pumpkin Mine. I think this here map is was wro-o-ong.)

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On Sunday afternoon, we had attended a “FUNdraiser” for congressional candidate Don Bacon down at Scatter Joy acres, a therapeutic animal farm hidden away north of 49th and Sorensen Parkway. The farm itself was built over a hundred years ago, back when this area was still part quite rural before the “hood” grew up all around it (though it still felt like being in the country). Our kids got to interact with pigs, llamas, ponies, cows, and several other farm animals before we made our way to the picnic area. Both kids got to paint pumpkins in-between playing on the various farm attractions in the play area. Don Bacon was there as well, of course, meeting and greeting everyone and even giving an extended interview to a reporter from Sweden, who came all the over to cover the Presidential Election.

It was probably the most fun, family-friendly political event I’d been to since Ben Carson came to Council Bluffs last August. I was also disappointed that I can’t vote for Bacon, since we’re no longer in his district, but I did enjoy getting to shake hands and ask him a few questions face-to-face. (And despite appearing in a photo with volunteers for Gary Johnson, he is, in fact, “holding his nose” and voting for Trump.)

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In other news, both Hannah and Aaron got their Halloween costumes for the year, just in time for trunk-or-treating in a week or two. We’ve also been getting in as much park time as possible. We visited Thompson Park on Saturday, which was unseasonably warm compared to Vala’s on Wednesday. Hannah got to practice ballet in the tennis court, and she brought along her new Peppa Pig for some of the fun. Then on Monday, we walked up and down the Keystone Trail taking in as many of the fall colors as we could before the leaves all fell off. Enjoy it while you can, everyone — winter’s on its way.

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