Our Morning of Americana at Gentry’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch (Featuring the 2017 Lexus IS 350)

This story takes place in Tennessee, but really, it could have happened nearly anywhere across America: Maybe the Midwest, or easily in northern California, where my wife is from.

I simply define this as a Morning of Americana; built of nostalgic ideals regarding what it means to be a proud American during the fall season.

All the elements are here: A hay ride pulled by a tractor, a corn maze, farm animals…

And of course, pumpkins!

I feel, to some degree, the fall itself is like a patriotic holiday season; as we celebrate and appreciate the splendor and even novelty of autumn. It’s a time when we are able to take moments to remind ourselves that we live in a great country, and that life itself is truly beautiful and mysterious thing.

(Can you tell that the fall is my favorite season? Sorry I had to get so poetic there more a minute.)

Our family was able to experience a good old fashioned pumpkin patch, in a much more elaborate version than the one that Charlie Brown visited.

My family of four, along with hundreds of other families last Saturday morning, as well as my sister and her family who were in town visiting from Alabama, visited Gentry’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch in Franklin, Tennessee.

So we parked the wondrous 2017 Lexus IS 350 in the dusty grass field which served as a parking lot, and made our way to the festivities.

It was especially rewarding for me as a parent, to see my 1 and a half year-old daughter react to the local, classic, Americana version of Disney World.

We started out by going on the hay ride, which took us through the pastures of the farm. My daughter was laughing with joy, which happens to be her middle name, as she pointed at all the animals in the not-so-far-away distance.

Unsurprisingly then, she was truly intrigued afterwards, when we got to see the farm animals up close. My daughter’s vocabulary is still pretty much limited to family members’ names, as well as her interpretation of what sounds animals make.

The goat must have seemed like a mythical creature to her, as she responded to him in her language: “A-bluh-ah, a-bluh-ah, a-bluh-ah!”

However, she was quite skeptical when it came time to visit the chickens; especially when one poked its head through the fence to look for food in the grass. My daughter had a “Hold me, Daddy!” moment.

As for my almost 7-year old son, he assumed the role of being a tour guide and assistant to his cousins, while wearing a suitably themed Superman t-shirt.

For our family, the fall season just isn’t complete until we have visited the pumpkin patch. Oh, that reminds me, now my son and I need to actually carve that big pumpkin he picked out, which is currently sitting on my front porach. Looks like we’ve got some work to do.

This, to me, is what it feels like to be American.

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Our Morning of Americana at High Brow Brew (Featuring the 2017 Lexus IS 350)

Last Saturday before trekking 30 minutes to Gentry’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch in Franklin, Tennessee, my wife decided the perfect autumn morning just wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t start it out with a good cup of coffee en route to our destination.

So after choosing our favorite flannel shirts from our closets, we hopped in the Lexus IS 350 and made our way to glorious coffee.

Back in the summer of 2014, Lexus invited me to participate in their “True Grit, Pure Grace” Lexus NX Press Preview in Nashville. While participating in a scavenger hunt for that, part of our route was to get a coffee at a place in Franklin called High Brow Coffee + Tea.

Turns out, High Brow Brew is just across the street from the pumpkin patch. So now, three years later, in a different Lexus, I revisited that coffee shop that perhaps I would not have otherwise being aware of.

Stepping in to this place is like entering a museum of modern day Americana. Obviously, the coffee is every bit as good as you’d expect. To appease my ancient Central American and Spanish roots, I ordered none other than the Spicy Mocha, which consists of dark chocolate ganache and cinnamon cayenne peppers; mixed with an almond and coconut milk blend.

Though she’s used to it by now, my wife thinks it’s crazy that I would willingly drink hot peppers and spices in my coffee in the morning. But for me, nothing else makes sense.

In fact, perhaps I would perceive that drinking a pumpkin spice flavored latte is bit crazy. In any other time of the year, a pumpkin is just a strange looking gourd. But during the best and shortest season of the year, pumpkin spice becomes the official flavor of not just coffee, but pretty much anything these days!

Needless to say, my wife was very pleased to have her pumpkin spice latte; especially from such a quaint little coffee shop.

My son ordered the only artisan version of a Pop-Tart I’ve ever seen. I liked the visual of it so much, I currently use an image of it for my header banner on my Facebook page.

In addition to my family of four, my sister and her family were in town as well. Being from a small town in Alabama, High Brow Brew was something special and exotic. My sister compared us being there to feeling like we were actually in Portland.

(Wow. Even as I’m writing this, I’m somewhat tempted to drive back there and get another Spicy Mocha. I already miss that place.)

After all coffee and artisan Pop-Tarts were consumed, it was time to cross the street and enjoy the rest of our Morning of Americana at the pumpkin patch. But it wouldn’t have been the same if my wife hadn’t suggested we go out for coffee first.

She’s a smart woman.

Dear Jack: You Scored Your 1st Goal in a Soccer Game!

6 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

It had been over two years since your Aunt Dana, Uncle Andrew, and cousins Calla and Darla had seen you play soccer. Things were a lot different back then, as you would just stand there and look down at the grass.

But this time around, they got to see a whole new you. They got to see an almost 7 year-old boy who actually cared about chasing and kicking the ball.

Mommy and I immediately noticed how, especially during this game, you were on fire! And you made it seem effortless.

I had the perfect seat in the grass as I watched you go foot-to-foot with a girl from the opposing team, who was nearly close enough to kick the ball in her goal. I yelled out, “Chase her, Jack! Chase her!”

And you did.

Then you got the ball…

You managed to zig and zag to the other side of the field, as you kicked the ball along. Finally, you were in the perfect position to kick the ball in the goal.

And you did!

I was so proud of you. I yelled so loud. It was such a big deal.

You acted like it wasn’t.

After the game, you walked your cousin Darla back to the parking lot, where the shiny 2017 Lexus IS 350 had undeniably gotten a bit dusty from the soccer field.

On the way back to the house, Mommy had to run in the grocery store to pick up a few things to make vegan tacos for dinner. I stayed in the Lexus with you and your sister. After we found a place to park, you took it upon yourself to read to your sister from your Pokemon book.

Your plan to appease her while Mommy was inside the store worked. I was grateful. You are growing up!

It was a very special Saturday morning. I couldn’t have been any more proud of you.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Trying to Figure out Halloween as a 1 and a Half Year-Old

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last Friday night we took our first family drive as in the 2017 Lexus IS 350 and made our way to your brother’s school for Trunk or Treat. Having just turned a year and a half this week, you have been busy using your brain to attempt to understand how the world works.

I would speculate that the American tradition of Halloween has to be a bit perplexing for you. For example, why was your brother dressed up as a skeleton? He looked so scary!

And why did Mommy insist on you wearing a scarecrow outfit? So strange…

Since you refused to continue wearing the hat to your scarecrow costume to the car, Mommy decided to wear it instead. At that point, realizing I was the only person in our family to not be wearing some kind of special costume, I decided to go as a guy who requires me to just look like I already do…

My non-costume costume was that I pretended to be the guy from the Campbell’s Go Southwest Chicken soup package, since everyone apparently already thinks that’s really me. (It’s not!)

Once we arrived at the school, your brother began collecting candy from all the parents and school teachers who had dressed up the trunks of their cars.

You tried your best to process what was real. For example, you saw a child walking past you dressed in a giant dinosaur costume. Immediately, you pointed, and make a guttural sound that apparently was your attempt to make a scary growling sound like you thought dinosaurs should sound like.

I think next year you’ll be able to appreciate Trunk or Treat a little bit more. The next morning, we made our way to the pumpkin patch. That was much more your speed.

Love,

Daddy

Back Seat Space with Child Car Seats in the 2017 Lexus IS 350; Plus, How to Adjust the Driver’s Seat- Videos Included

In case you are considering buying, leasing, or renting a 2017 Lexus IS 350 and are curious as to whether you could fit an adult in the back seat between two car seats, then you’ve come to the right place.

Through my practical and realistic video, I show how I am able to successfully fasten my seatbelt while sitting between a child’s car seat (for my nearly 18 month-old) and a child’s booster seat (for my nearly 7 year-old).

 

I serve as the perfect model human being, as I am 5’9” and around 165 pounds. I am arguable the average sized American; if you combine both men and women.

The results? While I did have to sort of lower my head since it grazed the ceiling, and I did have to either put my arms directly down on my knees, the positive aspect was that in addition to being able to fasten the seat belt without much trouble, I had plenty of room for my legs.

I know sometimes in the 3rd row seat of SUVs, there is barely enough room for my legs, as they hit the 2nd row seat in front of me. But that is definitely not the case with the 2017 Lexus IS 350.

So in the event you are needing to fill the vehicle to full capacity, with two adults up front, 2 children in the back, and still need to squeeze in another adult in the backseat, I am proof it is possible. It is especially possible if that adult in the backseat is shorter and/or lighter than I am.

I also made a video for anyone who is curious to adjust the driver’s seat. There are several buttons and several options to cater to the comfort level of the driver.

 

Thanks for reading and watching today. I hope you found my work to be helpful as you plan your next drive in the 2017 Lexus IS 350.