Skip to main content

...summer's beginning to give up her fight.

It's officially fall, and I am so happy about it! It's outside coffee, Ugg boots, sleep-under-the-blankets-but-keep-the-windows-open, red leaf weather. Fall is my favorite.

My little family kicked off the first day of fall with a family outing to a farm about an hour away from us in Howell, NJ. The day was a perfect one- in the high 60's with white, fluffy clouds dotting the sky. The drive was gorgeous and we arrived at Horse Sense Farm ready to ride horses and run around!

Look at that smile! 
We recently started taking parts in outings arranged for children with Autism and their families. Often, our group is the only one at the facility in question, which allows the kids to play in an environment that meets their sensory needs (quiet, low-stim, not crowded, etc.) and avoid stares from people who might not understand why one of our children is crying/humming/flapping/etc. Joining this group has been such a blessing. We have met some wonderful families and PJ has had the opportunity to make friends with some stinkin' awesome kids!

Pulling up to the farm, we saw our friends walking the grounds, petting goats, swinging on swings, and riding horses. Pete and I weren't sure how PJ would take the horses- he has certainly never been that close to an animal that large. We got in line and let him watch his buddies put on helmets, saddle up, and be led around the farm. After initially balking at the helmet ("Nooooooooo helmet, Mommy!") we were able to talk him into the required headgear and helped him into the saddle and onto the back of a lovely horse named Nala.

No fear from my Dude! He grabbed the reigns and rode with a huge smile, leaning in to stroke Nala's mane ("Nice to horse!"). PJ was just full of joy, loving every second of his ride and I just could not get over him! I felt a little teary watching him sit in the saddle, seeming so confident and assured. One of the staff led our boy around as he beamed from the saddle.

Don't you want to kiss her?
After our first ride, we ventured into the barn to visit with some of the animals. We met sweet little Daisy, a three-legged goat the owners of Horse Sense took in. She is still there, as I refrained from trying to put her in my purse and bring her home. Have I ever told you about the thing I have for goats? They are so cute!


Animals had the freedom to mill around, dodging running children and parents running after said children. A fat, black pig named Maxwell ambled by the adults chatting. There were kids drawing with chalk in the driveway, playing relay race games through the grass, and swinging on the obligatory farm tire swing in the gorgeous afternoon sun. The farm was, clearly, seeing more foot traffic then it was used to, and yet it seemed like all of these kids could live there. The activity and fun was effortless on this first day of fall.

After another ride on Nala, we headed to a welcoming circle of chairs to have a snack and enjoy the weather. Two seats were carved from tree stumps, one with the initials of the couple who owns the farm scratched into the backrest. It was a revolving door of sorts, with parents rotating in and out of chairs as we alternately sat down to rest and jumped up to chose wayward kiddos. One of the owners sat down to join us, giving us a little bit of insight into a lifestyle that sees you checking on the animals in the barn after a formal event and feeding goats in the evenings finery. He watched our kids with a smile on his face, happy to offer such joy just by opening his gate.

Chalking in the sun.
The day was a perfect one, the kind that you file away in your heart, or blog about so you can have a tangible reminder, even if you wouldn't forget it, anyway. After our fractured summer, our trip to Horse Sense was the only way, really, to start this new season.

{...some more pictures from our day at Horse Sense} 

Handsome helmeted horse rider! 

Hanging by the stall of his horse friend! 

Perfect day...

The tree chair with the owners initials carved in it...

That's Delilah. I know, right? 
...and that's Maxwell. I seriously chased him down to give him a hug. 

Big hugs for Nala! 
Ride 'em, PJ! So proud of my brave Dude! 

Swinging on the tire swing...
PJ, Mommy, and what seems to be some sort of
boogie situation happening in his nose.


I freaking love goats and pigs. I want one of each. And chickens. I don't think they'd go over well in a rowhome in Philadelphia even if I do have a larger side yard. LOL

I'm so glad you guys are involved with this group and PJ gets to go out and do awesome things in an environment that's comfortable for him!
Gwen said…
I love these pictures! I'm so glad that PJ enjoyed this and I'm VERY glad that you were able to convince him to put on the helmet!

Popular posts from this blog

My LTYM Experience or How I Accidentally Ended Up On A Stage

The final chapter of my participation in the Listen To Your Mother Show ended with our live performances. I turned 39 on May 3rd and on May 7th, I was on a stage at the beautiful South Orange Performing Arts Center with 12 other souls  (as well as our incredible producers, Sandy, Brooke and Deborah) that handily out-shined the beauty of the space. It all still feels as if it may have been a dream. A very gratifying, emotional dream.

It ended the same way it began, with my worrying about clothes. Before our first rehearsal, I was stressing out knowing that the next morning, I would be meeting a room full of strangers. Not only that, I would be taking a cast picture with these strangers and reading a story of the worst moments of my life. It seemed like too much to be vulnerable about my story and about my precarious self-esteem at the same time.

Despite all of that, I got into my car on a Saturday morning, armed with coffee and the soundtrack to "Hamilton." Clad in the pink a…

Maybe I'm An A-Hole, But I'll Pass On The Pity Date

Do not hate me for this one, guys.

It would seem that "Prom-posals" are the new thing. It's when one teen asks another to prom, but makes it an event. Balloon bouquets, flash-mobs, celeb cameos, flower arrangements- some of these put my actual marriage proposal to shame, much less my awkward heywannagotoprom conversation I had with the guy I was dating my senior year.

It just occurred to me that I should dig up one of my prom pictures. {shudder}

Anyway, back to proms. These extravagant invites have become the stuff of YouTube videos everywhere and, even thought I think the way these have become over-the-top is kind of insane, I'm totally along for the ride. Roses in math class? A flock of minstrels from the glee club to serenade a prom hopeful? I will watch the shit out of that. I think the romanticism is sweet.

At some point, I start to think about PJ as a prom-goer. Right now, while he's in kindergarten, it's hard to know if that's in the cards for him.…

There's still much to learn, so many dreams to earn...

{ of consciousness}

Today is April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, and it is Autism Awareness Month.

The month begins on the heels of news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Autism is on the rise. 1 in 68 children in the areas followed by the CDC are identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, up from 1 in 88 just a few years ago. In New Jersey, the numbers are far higher then the national average at 1 in 45. 

You can view a summary of the latest CDC report here, but there are two points of the report that stood out to me:
Less than half (44%) of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by the time they were 3 years old.Most children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.Content source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
PJ was diagnosed with Autism shortly after his second birthday. Pete and I had already utilized an e…