So we bought a house. In the country. Here are some sweet little country pumpkins, bought at a country pumpkin barn on our new front porch.
It’s always been my husband’s dream to have a country home. For a while, when Bunky was a baby, we thought about leaving the city and starting over in the country. We searched for months and even put a bid on a house near New Paltz, New York. But at the very last minute we realized it wasn’t possible for us. My husband’s business relies on the city, and so in the city we shall remain.
But clearly his dream didn’t die. It just hibernated. Like bears. Don’t even get me started about bears. I’m going to pretend that they don’t exist near our new house, and if they do, they are like the nice ones in my and B’s favorite book, Blueberries for Sal.
This past weekend we stayed at the house as a family for the first time. I hadn’t been there since the scorching summer day we took a look at it. Bunky got stung by a hornet almost immediately, so to be honest, I wasn’t paying 100% attention, but I did notice that the house was lovely. And new. There are wide board pine floors and a tidy basement with nice high ceilings. No dank cobweby cellars for me, thank you very much.
Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, it’s true. I’m a bit afraid of nature. Bears and spiders in particular. I am not a city girl by any means. I grew up in suburban New Jersey. We lived in the “woods” which meant our house was surrounded by trees. There was an unfortunate infestation of what we called “jumpy spiders” in our basement that chased me around the house until I left for college. I still have nightmares about them.
But here I am. A country homeowner. Here’s our front door. It’s a beautiful house.
On our first weekend all together, we invited our friends, Tom and Jerry (my nicknames for them) and their two adorable daughters. The older girl is close to Bunky’s age and has a peanut and egg allergy. It was a no brainer to make it an allergy free weekend. Jerry tried to tell me it was okay to bring peanut stuff if we wanted to, but I said NO WAY. I know how crappy and anxious I feel when surrounded by stuff that makes my kid sick. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be surrounded by stuff that could stop my kid from breathing.
I checked all our labels before packing up our enormous food stash, leaving behind anything made in a facility with tree nuts. Our Glutino pretzels that may have traces of sesame (not technically a tree nut but can possibly cause a similar reaction) were left in the car. Since B’s school is nut free it was pretty easy to make it happen.
We had a great weekend. We cooked safe meals together, our girls enjoyed safe treats – hello, nut and gluten free graham crackers with nut and gluten free marshmallows! Yum. Jerry skipped the chocolate chips to be on the safe side, but both girls ate up all their S’mores and then proceeded to run around the house in crazy happy sugar circles. Bunky called them, S’nores, which cracked me up.
The two big girls got along so well, playing fairy and princess dolls, and having about a hundred tea parties. The younger ones tagged along, playing with what they could hang onto. Little Guy really enjoyed eating the tea set.
On Sunday we went to a big crafts fair and festival in nearby Bethel, NY, on the same gorgeous green hilly site where the original Woodstock took place (no, it didn’t happen in Woodstock, though it was supposed to). It was quite chilly, but the kids had a blast climbing on tractors and listening to the local bands.
Food was not an issue. We all ate lunch before arriving and then avoided the huge gluten-peanut death tarp where dangerous food vendors lurked, and concentrated on what we could do, which was look at gorgeous crafts, run in a cornfield, and take a super fast ride on a horse drawn carriage (me and Little Guy watched from a safe distance). We did manage to find two safe things for Bunky to eat while our friends checked out the Woodstock museum – corn on the cob and some beautiful maple candies shaped like leaves, which were eaten up in mere seconds, so no pics of those.
It was a picture perfect weekend. Except for one teen tiny downer moment when Little Guy fell off a super high bed. Onto the hardwood floor. On his head. He was fine, thank goodness, but I totally freaked. Obviously. Moments later he was attempting to do the same “trick” again and smiling, so we could all breath easier. But man, is that kid fast.
Not every weekend is going to be this easy, food-wise. We’ll no doubt invite friends and family whose kids have no restrictions, and that will be challenging in its own way and fine, but this sure was a nice way to kick off our country place. (Which we’re totally renting out, by the way, so let me know if you’re interested. Seriously.)
I’ll end here with a picture of our “backyard.” Apparently John Lennon and Yoko Ono owned those far off mountains. Cool. But cooler still, Bunky and her dad on a nature walk. Many more to come.