Monday, October 19, 2009

If you were just to look at these two pictures, would you know how they nearly drove me insane Sunday morning? I think not. I love these kids so much, and yet there are times, when the sibling squabbles and the growing pains and the emotional upheaval ~ the highs and lows of a 9 year old and 4 year old ~ put me right over the edge.

The plan on Sunday was to go see Gram at my aunt's house, and then continue on to Apple Hill and do some apple picking, some family time, and then come back and visit with Gram some more and head home.

Not included in the plan? Three meltdowns for the following, mind-numbing reasons: inability to negotiate who gets which Legos (mind you, we have over 6 billion Legos, surely they don't need to scream and cry over THESE TEN); refusal to get dressed....and stay dressed (the hell?); a crying fit ~ fit ~ by a nine year old because I FIXED the lid to his collectable card case (found on the ground, under two blankets, as I was ~ pardon me, son ~ making the beds, gathering laundry, putting away toys, and sweeping the bedroom) but didn't fix it CORRECTLY and so in his mind I purposely made it so he couldn't open the box and O.M.G. are you kidding me????

Of course, we are adults, with all our emotional faculties in tact, so the morning ended with me yelling that I don't even want to go anymore and slamming a door (I would not lie to you here, my response to a tantrum was, wait for it, a tantrum). *sigh*

Somehow we recovered and made it into the van, quiet and a bit mournful of the lost happy family trip vibe. Why go through all this trouble, if not to have fun? To make memories? I just asked Tommy (literally, I just asked him as I was writing this) if he had fun yesterday.

What was fun? "Apple picking." Very matter of fact.
Was there anything that wasn't fun? No pause. "No."

Maybe it worked, after all. It was really fun! Gram is doing great, and the boys ate apple turnovers (only because they had sold out of caramel apples!) and I love love love farm ephemra.

Scotty only wanted PERFECT apples. He was the same way last weekend too! I tried to let him know that a spot or two was okay (and the price to pay for organic apples) because I would cut those out when we were cooking, but that kind of logic is quite lost on a four year old.

Tommy liked a variety. He picked golden delicious, fuji, and granny smith. It was mix and match, so he scouted out trees he liked and filled his bucket.

Here's my apple-picker-extraordinaire. At six feet tall, we relied on him quite a bit to pluck the best looking apples from the tops of the trees! I rely on him quite a bit for everything, truth be told. I thought of it a lot yesterday. He's such an amazing dad, and husband, and truly my best friend. He had a tummy ache on the way back to my aunt's house, but he drove the whole time. We had taken my aunt's hoopty mini-van because ours didn't have the third row of seats in, and my cousin's son wanted to go with us. The driver's seat is broken, and uncomfortable. The driver's window won't roll down, and the passenger side rolled down but then wouldn't roll up. So, as we were heading down Highway 50, at 65 miles per hour, with wind and rain coming into the van through the stuck window, with a pain in his back and his tummy now, I couldn't help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world. We held hands across the divide between the seats, and I remember watching my parents do the same thing in our orange van.

Of course, our orange van didn't even have a backseat at first. We sat in lawn chairs in the back for a couple of years. We'd fly ass over tea kettle every time we took off from a stop, and we'd laugh hysterically as Runt somersaulted across. When we finally got a bench seat, it didn't even have seatbelts. We mostly laid in the back, under or (in Jason's case) on top of the motorcycles.

Yesterday the three boys, one harnessed into a carseat, the others locked securely in, tied down and squirming, were such a contrast!

Tommy was fascinated by this 160 year old scale. So was I, frankly. I was even more fascinated by the fifty-two-and-a-half-pounds of apples that came home with us. Holy.

Oh, California. You don't see a lot of trees changing colors in my neighborhood, but you don't have to worry. Somewhere, some place, in California, you will find what you're looking for. Beautiful.


I wanted this. Was it a bench? Was it a table? No matter. If I could have figured out a way, it would be at my house right now. It was old and disfigured and quite dirty. Heavenly.

What's not to love?

When we got back to Aunt Barbara's, we ate pancakes for dinner with Gram. What a perfect ending to what turned out to be a perfectly wonderful day!


  1. I Love Your Blog!!!! It usually gives me a good laugh. Memories of raising kids, our van had a Loveseat (from our house) in it so motorcycles could fit. Lots of good times our kids had on those dirt bikes. It then became my son-in-laws racing van. See the memories you give me.

  2. I love this post! I literally sat here laughing so hard tears rolled down my face. I totally remember your Dads orange van! And the way we all used to is a wonder how we are all still alive. My sister and I have gone hundreds of miles in the back of a travel trailer because my parents didn't want us up in the car with them, fighting all the way to the campground. And, being the smallest in the family, my typical resting place in the car was always in that area above the backseat - where the speakers used to be. I would lay there against the back window and let the sun beam down on me. Great memories.

    Especially loved the "I don't even want to go anymore". Classic!

    Love you!

  3. lol It's a wonder any of us made it! We used to take Gram's old blue buick ~ named "Bessie", mind you ~ to the top of the hill at 88th in Oakland. She'd pop it into neutral and we'd go flying down the hill and hit the intersection at the bottom at around 50 mph (in East Oakland!) and we'd go flying, arms and legs akimbo, and we'd laugh and laugh and beg her to do it again. Not a single seat belt among us. Plus, there were like twelve of us in that car! Just like you, Tra, we would be shimmied in against the back window, tucked under the dash, lounging on the floorboards in the back. Ha!

    And for Betty, glad I can help! lol :) The funny thing is, reading your comment, I remembered all the good times we used to have heading into the mountains every weekend too...and you know, I have to believe that tears were shed getting us out of the house and into gear, but I don't remember it at all. There's hope for us yet!

  4. What a great post.........thanks for the trip. I'm just glad it's YOU who has to deal with all of those apples ;)