Yesterday the kids and I headed to Millersburg, OH to visit Amish Country with our Wednesday morning playgroup. It was our first official playgroup field-trip and we loaded up the cars with 4 mommies (gripping tightly to our saving-grace Starbucks coffees) and our 8 children ages 4 and under. The drive was a little over 2 hours, and since the air-conditioning in my Jeep is on the fritz, I had to drive the whole way with the windows down and the highway noise blaring in. On the upside, the scenery all the way there was beautiful rolling farms, rich greenery, and tons of uber-stinky farm animals that delighted the kids. On the downside, I didn't listen to any music because I couldn't hear it over the wind, Eli was sure he could be heard over the noise if he just kept raising the volume of his voice, and I arrived at our first stop with a sweaty back and sunburned left arm. But I was feeling more Amish already as they certainly can't crank up the AC in their buggies.
We went to a working Amish Farm and were able to take a tour of the houses, the barns, the school, and the grounds. The parts of the tour I heard were quite fascinating and being that our guide was born and raised Amish herself, she really knew her stuff. However, I spent most of the tour stepping outside or rushing off with my screaming Norah who was flailing against me in the Ergo and desperately overdue for a nap. Not until we were lead into the irresistibly smelling kitchen filled with cookies and sweets for sale at the end of the tour did she perk up and decide to settle down for a few bites of cinnamon roll.
The boys loved visiting all the animals in the barn and got to pet goats, sheep, pigs, puppies, kittens, horses, and baby bunnies. Eli especially loved all the liters of puppies that seemed to be coming out of every corner, and he snatched up a few of the slower ones for a little bit of toddler lovin.'
We took a buggy ride with a nice man with very long beard and I was thankful that Eli didn't make any comments about his facial hair. He did stare at him a little too long and told him that his horse was stinky, but that's not so bad. You'd be surprised at how nice of a breeze you pick up going at a good pace in the those buggies. It was not nearly as hot as it looks when you pass them on the road and feel sorry for them.
After our time at the farm we drove to a big Amish store and enjoyed cheese sampling and perusing of delicious down-on-the-farm treats, trying to remain calm as our children tried to pull down dozens of rows of spices into the isles. At this point we were starting to feel majorly out-numbered, or at least I did. The children were growing more devious by the nano-second and the tears and tantrums were kicking into high gear. We made the wise decision to call it a day and save the last part of our Amish tour for another time.
Eli and Norah were asleep within the first 10 minutes of getting in the car and I drove the rest of the way in a hot, relative silence, as the wind whipped through the car and I hummed along to the tunes of road.
It was a fun day with great friends. I always tell myself that even though these activities take so much effort and planning and stress, I will not let myself regret going on a fun adventure with my children. These are the memories that turn life into living. And I know when I remember them, it wont be the stressful parts.
*please excuse the poor quality of these photos. Along with my car, my camera is also on the fritz since my France trip. Apparently its not a great idea to stick an open bottle of water and a camera in the same bag at the same time. Who knew?