- Mary took a spill on her bicycle the night prior while on a ride with her daddy. (Big brother John was a hero and thought to ride back to the house, where he retrieved the first aid kit from my van, and rode back to the scene of injury in case it would be of help.) I was blissfully at home, tucking in the little boys, when Mary burst into the house wailing: she had scrapes and bruises from chin to feet, and numerous places in between, but the worst was a nasty wound on her elbow that had me worried overnight that it might be fractured, but it isn't. Anyhoo, we were unsure if she'd be able to manage a long day trip, but she was able to gently bend her elbow in the morning.
- Meanwhile, the seemingly healthy baby got tucked into bed and began coughing over the baby monitor. After a long time of coughing, I checked on him to discover that he'd suddenly developed a rattling cough and a runny nose, so he kept me up most of the night with his cough and congestion, such that I was unsure whether I should take him on a day trip either.
- Then there was the gas pipeline that burst a couple of days prior, so there is a gas shortage in the Southeast, with the governors of our two neighboring states declaring States of Emergency. We kept checking gas availability the night prior and morning of our departure to ensure we would be able to replenish our tank.
- Then, in a more serious turn, as we were pulling out of the driveway, a friend texted us and informed us of the violent and frightening riots that had occurred overnight! These gained national attention and made us wonder if we were safer staying home and off the highways.
Ultimately, we took a chance, went on our day trip, and all was well. We visited Sky Top Orchard again this year, but went during the week when it is nearly empty, in contrast to Saturdays when it takes half an hour for the line of cars just to creep up the mountain.
We thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Sky Top with so few patrons. After the two-hour drive (and eating a brown bag lunch in the car), the children ran off some energy on the playgrounds. Of course, our children climbed everything as high as they could.
The newly turned 14-month-old climbed out of his crib yesterday, and today made some excellent efforts at climbing a rock climbing wall by himself.
There were many little "apple bees," as we nicknamed them, flying about, which was scaring one of our children badly. We don't really know what kind of bee they were, but we told the kids (rightly or wrongly) that the insects were much more interested in eating apples than in eating us. Nonetheless, one of our children screamed much of the time we were at Sky Top.
Chris and I got to re-enact our Annual Conversation entitled, "Where Should We Get Our Apples?" Chris thinks it is preferable to get our apples "professionally picked" by purchasing them in the general store at the orchard. I believe we drive two hours for "The Experience", and that we should tromp into the orchard itself and obtain the [DH Edit: "thousands of pounds of"] apples by [DH Edit: "having my husband Chris"] huffing and puffing over the rugged hills, climbing trees, and waving away bees.
Thankfully, I now have four children on my side in this matter, so the Annual Conversation gets shorter every year. [DH edit: actually Margaret was on the husband's side.].
Mary could not bear staying out of the trees, despite her elbow, so finally won permission to climb low in the trees if she promised to come down if her injury was hurting too badly.
Joseph guarded the basket and got to place the apples into it.
The bees were a lot more enjoyable to study on display back at the general store, where John quickly found the queen marked with a red dot.
Afterward, we found the pizza joint we've visited for several years on our way down the mountain from Sky Top.
All was going well until the conclusion of the meal, when Chris had stepped up to the cash register to pay our bill, and Joseph, the three-year-old, momentarily disappeared beneath the table. Before I could call out that we don't play beneath restaurant tables because floors are dirty, he emerged, leapt to standing on his bench seat, and held aloft (in the middle of the restaurant) a DEAD COCKROACH and then (for anyone who didn't have good vision), shouted triumphantly, "I found my first dead cockroach!"
I know it is the restaurant staff that should have been embarrassed, but I was the one blushing crimson!
All in all, it was a great family day. One more annual tradition checked off our list for the year.