At long last, here is the second part to our Little People Big World post. If you missed part one, it was equally packed-out with fun pics and trivia about the Roloff Farms, so please go back and read that one first.
The farm, as I talked about in the first post, is situated in beautiful Helvetia, Oregon. Rolling hills and pumpkins galore. Perfect weather that day too (well, perfect to me- I love overcast fall days!)~ chilly enough to wear hats and boots, but not so cold that it wasn't enjoyable.
We knew ahead of time that the food court would be a little too expensive for our large-family-budget. So, as with most family field trips, we brought our own gourmet lunch: salami, cheese sticks and triscuits, apples, bananas, pretzels and licorice. A well balanced meal, n'est-ce pas? ;)
Lily was in heaven sitting at the picnic table with all the kids. She kept grinning and swinging her boots, and the look on her face seemed to say, "I'm so BIG now!"
The Roloff's dog, Rocky, was wandering all over the eating area, and I bet we weren't the only ones who fell for his "feed-me-because-I-haven't-eaten-for-days" eyes..
Mackenzie splurged and bought us a bag of this scrumptious snickerdoodle popcorn. They make the fresh stuff right there on the farm, so the sweet smell of kettle corn is wafting over the entire place, tantalizing guests with its luring aroma. I'm calling Scentsy right away to tell them about my new idea for a scent that guarantees happiness and comfort with one whiff. to.die.for.
So just a few minutes after we sat down to our feast, the kids started asking what else there was to do on the farm that was free. Admission was free and parking was only two dollars, but besides visiting the petting zoo and exotic animals, the other exhibits (pony rides, face painting, bouncy castle, and tours) there wasn't anything else we could afford for the day. It would be do-able for a family of four, but 8 kids plus Mama made things a little spendy for us.
While we were trying to explain to the little kids that a tour of the farm (which was the only way you could see the castle, western town, pirate ship, etc) would cost us almost $100 in tickets, Mackenzie suddenly spotted Matt Roloff, walking up to a pile of hay across from us. "THERE'S MATT!!" she yelled- and faster than you can say Little People Big World, the Rice family ditched their entire picnic (food, purses, water bottles, van keys, etc.) and went running across the gravel to meet Matt.
Fortunately Kenzie grabbed her camera, and fortunately Rocky and other farm guests left our smorgasbord of food and valuables sitting safely on the picnic table.
We were second in line for photos, and when we sat down with Matt, it was like talking to an old friend. Seriously, he was so kind and friendly, and he wanted to know all of the kids' names, and was cracking jokes with them the whole time. You just have to know my kids' personalities- they've grown up in a pioneer church, where they meet new people all of the time, and they are completely at ease talking to adults (except for Jack, who gets very shy around strangers.) So they just sat there trading barbs with Matt like they'd known him all their lives.
"What is this, every single one of your kids has a type A personality, Mama?" asked Matt, signing Jonathan's sweatshirt. The kids told him we had two older boys who were working that day, and Matt said the same thing his wife had said- are you trying to start your own show?? I said I was probably too old to catch up with the Duggars, but I would if I could.
And here is where I'm kicking myself- WHY didn't I say, "NO but for reals, my friend Andrea Roberts needs to have her own show, she is doing amazing things for orphans, maybe you could give her a spot on an episode some time??"
Unfortunately, girlfriend is not that smooth, so we just chatted a few more minutes. Matt asked Noah if he had seen the Noah's Ark he built, to which Noah replied not yet. Matt asked if we were going on the tour of the farm, and all the kids just smiled and said ummm, and we'll see, so Matt said we would have to make sure to go on both tours. We talked a bit more, and then all posed for a few pictures..
As we were walking away, and the kids were thanking Matt for talking with us, he smiled and said, "Good job, Mama," and gave us a thumbs up. We walked back to our picnic table, and Mackenzie and I were laughing about how quickly we had ditched all our personal belongings. We sat down to finish lunch, and about a minute later one of the staff members from the farm approached us.
"Matt wants your family to go on a tour of the farm," she said, smiling and pulling out a family pass for us. Needless to say, my kids were all grinning and cheering! "Why would he do that?" I asked. She answered, "Sometimes he's just nice like that!"
She asked how many of us there were and wrote it down on the back of the pass and told us we were welcome to go on both the scenic tour and one where you stop at Western Town to get out and explore. As I said earlier, this would have cost our family almost a hundred dollars to go...and with one kind gesture, Matt made a way for that to happen. Pretty sweet!
We finished lunch, said goodbye to Rocky, and headed over to the "dock" as it's called- where people stand in line to get on the wagon tours. Standing there was Jacob, the youngest of the Roloff children, who was shy, but willing to sign autographs and pose for pictures...
A few minutes later we were boarding the wagons, more than a little stoked at our unexpected blessing!
The tours take you all over the 110 acre farm, past the Roloff's barns and offices, 8,000 square foot home, and out to the country side that is loaded with attractions, many of which were built by Matt or his kids...
There were animals everywhere, including these hairy bulls. One of Lily's readers graciously suggested that my "hairy bulls" sounded like Buffalo's...maybe someone can clue me in, so my kids can have a lil' respect for their science teacher??
Noah was waaaay thrilled to see the ark Matt told him about...
And crazily enough, when we drove by it, there seemed to be a sign from the Lord in the sky!!!
(if you have no clue what that was all about, go HERE.)
If you go visit the Roloff's Farms, I highly recommend both tours. They really were so cool, and as I said in the first post, it would be a kid's dream come true to live there. And if you're broke like us, bring a bunch of extra kids along and look pitiful when Matt asks if you're going on the tour.
KIDDING. I'm sure it was Lily's cuteness that did the trick:)
Kenz and Tyler did some waltzing in the pumpkin patch. Cuz you know, that's what everyone does in a pumpkin patch....
So there you have it. A wonderful day, and one that will be tucked away in my children's memories to be pulled out and savored many times in years to come: "Remember the day we went to see the Roloffs and we got to meet them and go on the tours for free!"
Please make sure to come back tomorrow- we have one week left of Down Syndrome Awareness month, and as you have all so graciously met and surpassed our goal for Artem this month, we are switching things up a bit to help someone very dear to my heart...
And if you didn't get a chance to read the post just below this one, on the Prenatal Test for Depression, please don't miss it.
Good things to come!