Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Never Ending Halloween and Mulitple Costumes

When did the Halloween "season" start lasting as long as the one following it?

When we were little it lasted one night. You waited and waited and waited, had a party at school on Halloween day and then went trick or treating at night. One night.

But it seems like over the last couple of years, it starts the first weekend in October and lasts throughout the entire month. At least, it did for us this year.

The first Saturday in October, we went to a "Pumpkin Path where are businesses hand out candy, coupons and advertisements along a path in the park. Financial constraints drew me to declare that this year, since we have enough dress up clothes, we didn't need to buy new costumes. The boys were actually okay with it and gladly donned the ninja (Noah) and clown(Aaron) from last year. And we headed out to the pumpkin path for our loot.

The following weekend, the city where the boys to school hosted a "Trunk or Treat", where again area businesses handed out candy, coupons and advertisements. This one also had a hayride through the park and inflatables to play in.

Then came the ACTUAL week of Halloween. Every time Halloween falls on a Sunday, it seems if there's a big tizzy over which day to trick or treat. I don't ever remember it being a big deal when we were little. You go out on October 31st. Period.

But our communities couldn't seem to agree, which made the kids come out on top with two nights of merriment in which to partaker.

And partake they did.

Saturday afternoon in order to waste some time until trick or treating, we took a trip to Target and noticed that the costumes were on clearance. I told the boys they could at least wander through and if they could find some under a certain price, I would get them. They did. Unfortunately, they were determined to get the same costume, so we ended up with "skeleton brother's" for Halloween weekend.

That night, several nearby communities did trick or treating and we headed to a neighborhood to take advantage. We started in a church parking lot that also had a trunk or treat event. It was a good thing we did because we ended up needing the bags they gave out, discovering quickly that although cute, the little McDonald's buckets we'd brought didn't hold much loot. After a short time, I heard my name and turned around to discover K, Noah's little "girlfriend" from school. They were all so excited. Aaron is friends with her little sister as well so we ended up trick or treating with them, and even ended up at their house afterward for cupcakes before heading home.

Sunday was the day for trick or treating from our community. Our neighbors traditionally have a pretty good sized Halloween party and our other neighbors with a boy that Noah has grown up with that had moved away came back. So just like every Halloween for the last eight years, we still got a picture of that group heading out on the streets. Since it was a school night, we cut the merriment short, but not before we made it further than we ever had before.

Now, we have WAY too much candy and an eight year old for the first time who is wanting to guard the loot. We had a very long discussion about it last night, which I won't go into, but long story short, he knows what's there and mommy had better not touch it, to either eat OR throw away. I may just do that "Pick one day and eat to your heart's content" thing so I can get rid of the rest. We'll see.

I am grateful that the school the boys go to does not do Halloween. It would have been fine if it was, but I think I would be even more Halloweened out if it had. Instead, the kids had a non- costumed game day with their reading buddies in other grades. They had a nice fun afternoon.

So October is finally over. Thanksgiving will be here in three weeks and then Christmas will be bearing down on us.

At breakfast before church yesterday, Noah said, "Mommy, there is one reason that I don't like holidays"

"What's that Hon?"

"Because the next day they're over"

He's right. There is definitely a let down after each big holiday. But, as I told, him, it always leaves more celebrations to come. One of our local radio stations will start the Christmas music any day now and I am ready for it. After the tumultuous last few months, I could definitely use the merriment.

Bring on the Holidays!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Still the One

As I was uploading pictures from Halloween, I found this picture that I copied from my dad's computer quite a while ago. It is the only one we have digitally from our wedding 14 years ago. I was going to save it for my anniversary post next month.

Then I came across the picture that Noah took of us last month while we were picking apples.

It really made me think about all that we have been through in 14 years.

It's been in my mind even more prominently as a result of Noah's field trip last week. We went to the nature center that was Steve's and my get away place when we were in college. We spent MANY weekends up there just walking the trails and we snuck across railroad tracks that weren't supposed to be public areas and found a really neat wooden walkway and look out onto the river. It became a very special place for us.

Right after we got engaged, it became clear that I was not going to be an accepted part of Steve's family. Although that battle has ebbed and flowed, it was a huge shock to Steve and a huge sadness to me at the time. I remember very specifically the day it all came to a head. Steve's dad had written him a very painful note about how much I was not going to be accepted. Steve drove me out to our special place at the nature center before he read the note to me. We cried and dealt with it there at our special place.

So when I took Noah's class there on Friday, it seemed so strange that it has come so full circle.

When we were engaged, especially since it seemed at the time that we were fighting the odds, our SONG had become Shania Twain's "You're Still the One".

I heard the song the other day on the radio for the first time in a VERY long time. Believe it or not, I started crying. HARD. And for a long time.

You see, we've faced a lot of ups and downs in our 16 years together (14 of them married), as all married couples do. And one of the biggest struggles has been VERY recently.

And although both of us have fought difficult emotions at times, I know for a fact that both of us still believe the same thing...

You're Still The One.

I love you Honey and I am still thankful every day for you and the beautiful family that we've created.

You are most definitely still THE ONE.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: It's Past Midnight...

Yup, it's past midnight and I am sitting here on the stupid computer, accomplishing nothing. I've already applied to any jobs that are newly posted today (only three that were worth applying for) and my mind is spinning with so many things. Maybe if I can jot down 13 of them, then I can clear my head and get some sleep.

13. Last week of the first marking period for Noah,. He's got all A's going into this last week but they're all A-s. Hopefully he can keep them there even though he is without glasses this week. We will also be starting over with a new teacher after next week. I hope it's a good transition for him. Can't believe that Noah made it over eight months with his first pair of glasses before they were irreparably broken. Wonder how long this second pair will last.

12. Aaron is just so cute. He is still talking about his birthday weekend. The kids (cousins) played so well together all weekend long and I just feel happy when I think about it.

11. The wind outside is howling. Supposedly it is calming down but it seems to be more wild than in the last two days. I love listening to the wind howling when I'm cozy under a blanket

10. I love my house. I love my house. I love my house. I know it's small, in need of repair, and in a neighborhood that has had some gang writing appear from time to time, but I love my house and I will never ever again wish for something bigger or more glamorous. I am lucky to have this home and I want to stay here forever.

9. The catalogs have started arriving, as has the annual "I want..." for Christmas. Now that Steve and I have a much more clear plan of attack for budgeting, it's gonna be tricky, but rather than buying random things, they will each get a few things, but each thing will be something they really want. Then we will find something fun to do as a family on Christmas Day this year, rather than sit around and think about what we did or didn't get

8. Thanksgiving is going to be new this year as well. It looks like we will not be able to celebrate with either extended family so we will be finding something to do as a family that day as well. I think bowling or a movie may just be the ticket. I don't like turkey so I imagine a trip to Meijer for a store cooked turkey will be the dinner fare for the day. At least Steve will have tons of left overs.

7. Another field trip on Friday. As happy as I am that I can be part of these, I would rather be saying NO to the field trips and heading off to work instead. We need the money more than we need to be driving third graders to Kalamazoo for the day

6. Why am I fundamentally unhirable? I am smart, pleasant, and cute. Surely someone must want me. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5. Glad for this new car pooling so that as soon as the boys are picked up tomorrow morning I can take the dog out for her morning poop and then maybe get some sleep to make up for this wasted night

4. Why must all relationships go through seasons of change?

3. What does it mean if my faith wavers during times of uncertainty? Does everyone feel like Job sometimes? Even when there are so many good things going for you at the same time?

2. I'm really sick of political ads. What would the world be like if every single person looking to be a public servant cared to look at every decision they make through each person's eyes that it will affect. I wonder if that would abolish "political parties" and we would be left with people trying to care for other people. Period.

1. Could there be a more random list of thoughts at 12:45 in the morning? I think not.

Okay, my mind is now spinning more, but I am going to try to go sneak up next to my snoring husband, pray that I stay quiet enough that the dog won't wake up, let go of the fact that I never got to slip in an in-law rant within the list, and head to bed.

Wish me luck :)

Good night.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Top Five 10/25/10

It was a very good weekend, filled with much extended family merriment. We also celebrated Aaron's sixth birthday (which is today). The weather didn't cooperate with us, but we ended up having a lot of fun with the alternative so even that worked out well. I didn't take a ton of pictures so I may have to get creative. I guess we'll see...

5. Friday Field Trip
On Friday, Aaron's first grade class joined together with their sixth grade "buddies" for leaf raking for three elderly residents. It was really a neat thing to see. I don't remember why we didn't do this when Noah was in this first grade class, but I think it was amazing to see how much work these two classes could get done in a short period of time. It seemed like the sixth graders adored their little buddies as much and the little ones adored the big. Aaron hung out with his buddy the entire time and seemed so proud. In between house two and three, we made a voyage to a nearby Burger King, and the kids were even well behaved there. I was incredible impressed with the entire lot.

4. Alternate plans
We were supposed to have our annual extended family trip to the pumpkin patch on Saturday, but Mother Nature didn't seem to want to allow it, so as an alternative, we all descended upon my parent's condo, which had pumpkins and homemade doughnuts waiting for the kids. I don't think the kids even missed the pumpkin patch they had so much fun running around and playing. One of the highlights was getting to meet our newest baby niece and nephew twins. The babies rotated from arms to arms. I had forgotten how warm new babies get when you hold them. Even Noah asked before we left to hold a baby. He insisted it had to be the boy, though :) The kids also had a blast playing in the woods out back and building a "fort", which I have been begged non stop ever since to return so they can build some more. We'll have to do that soon.

3. Lily at Grandma and Grandpa's house
One of the many things I love about my parents is how accepting they are of everyone...even the new dog. We are welcome to bring Lily with us during visits, and I find I am a lot more panicked about her having accidents in the house than they are. So we brought her to the gathering and it actually went well. She scared two of our young nieces which made me feel bad, but everyone else seemed to not mind having a little four pound canine bouncing around. For the record, she never did pee or poop in the house :) The most fun though was taking her out back, where she just ran wild, tail wagging so happily, chasing and being chased by two of my nephews. They were so cute. They kept calling her "coyote" and I don't know who was having the most fun....the "coyote" or the boys. I think it's only a matter of time until I will say "Let's go to Grandma's" and Lily will get as excited as the boys do.

2. Aaron's Birthday Pool Party
I could probably write two or three posts on this one, since my camera had 95 pictures on it by the time we got home, but I'll just leave it as a great time was had by all. I didn't get one of him blowing out the candles though, mostly because the stinker blew them out before the song was even done :) For about half the price of Chuck E Cheese last year, we took everyone to a local high school, which had three different pools with different depths. The little zero depth one was a hit for all of the kids, big and small, but it was nice that there was one place where my littlest nephew could just play on his own. There was also a high dive in which several of the kids jumped off once in awhile, but the majority of time was spent in the large pool that stays between three and four feet. We brought balls to play with and I think everyone had a good time. Included was a little party room adjacent to the pool so we were able to take a brief break from swimming to do party stuff and then get everyone back into the pool. It was definitely a great idea for a party, extremely reasonable priced, and Aaron spent the rest of the day saying over and over, "Mommy, I really had a fun time at my party."

1. Water Water Everywhere
As you all know, Aaron is a water-a-holic. (Thus, the pool party). He got blessed with a ton of Color Shifters Hot Wheels for his birthday. I think Noah's head was spinning just as much as Aaron's while he was opening them. Noah even stopped swimming about a half hour before they had to, just so he could hang out in the party room, inspecting all of the color shifters. And less than two minutes after we got home, both kids were sopping wet from playing with the sets. I sent them outside since it was unusually warm out and they got even more wet. Then, by 4:30 it was into the tub to play with the tub set. They were just so happy. And this morning, when Noah got up, he headed straight outside. When I asked him why, he told me...he had placed two of the cars out on the front steps because he wanted to see if the rain water would change them back to the original colors. (It did) Then there was a HUGE discussion this morning between the brothers over which ones would be allowed to be brought to school by which boy. Normally, I don't allow toys to go to school, but I wanted to give them a chance today. I guess we'll see how it goes.
The Week Ahead:
I can only pray that the week ahead will contain a call with a job. I also plan to finally go get my fingerprints done so I can start subbing. I am taking cupcakes into Aaron's class today for his birthday and then my in-laws will come to take them all out for Aaron's birthday while I'm at rehearsal tonight (woo hoo...dodged THAT bullet). Other than that, it will be trying to get life back in order. After my little depression fest last week, the house is in desperate need of some love, and it will probably take the week to put it back together. And of course, Halloween next weekend, which should make for another action packed post next week.

Gotta go walk the dog now. Have a good week:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend Top Five 10/17/10

Another incredibly beautiful weekend in West Michigan. I hope we don't pay for this beautiful fall weather with a nasty winter. But at least we can enjoy it while it lasts. This was another weekend of trying to spend zero dollars. We did pretty well again. It makes me wonder if we had been even more intentional up until now, if we could have avoided the mess we're in. Probably not entirely, but maybe a little. Oh well. On with the weekend.
As I've written about in past years, October is always one of my favorite months of the year. We spend so much time outside doing fall activities and this weekend was no different. This weekend was also the culminating performance of weeks of work and a marathon six days of four hour rehearsals.

5. Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers
So, I am the first to admit that I was NEVER interested in these books or movies. I am a very literal person and have always had trouble with science/fantasy, etc. Hubby, on the other hand, loves them and has owned the movies since they first came out.
That being said, I was excited that the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus in which I sing performed the entire score with the symphony while the movie was showing on a HUGE screen on Friday and Saturday night to sold out crowds both nights. We had a visiting conductor, from Switzerland, who is the ONLY person in the world allowed to conduct this performance, and who is the one who directed it for the actual movie filming as well.
In summary, it was indeed the most amazing experience I've ever had as a musician and I can't wait to do the Return of the King next year. The only thing that will make it better next year will be to have my family there.
This picture is the one that was posted in the paper when we got our FOUR STAR review. I'm one of the dots standing under the screen

4. More Halloween stuff
The community in which the kids go to school hosted their own 'Trunk or Treat" event on Saturday afternoon. Local business lined up their cars and handed out candy and coupons to trick or treaters. Very fun. Got lots more coupons and the kids were so excited to see both Aaron's teacher and several kids from their classes. We also had fun bringing Lily along on this adventure. She made instant friends with all of the other dogs and wanted to play with them:) The only thing she barked at the entire time was the horses pulling the little wagon ride around the park. I was actually surprised that we managed to get on the back for a ride without her going crazy.

3. Leaves Act I
We have a huge tree in our front yard that has tons of leaves. Unfortunately, it never really drops them until November so the kids spend the entire month of October begging for leaf piles that can't quite get there yet. Sunday was so nice tough that I wanted to give it a shot. After some "borrowing" of leaves from the neighbor's (yes, we did bag them when we were through rather than returning them to their owner) we managed a pretty good sized pile. We had a pretty good time playing and Lily also got some more chances to enjoy fall.

2. Craft Day
Noah has been asking constantly why we don't have Halloween decorations up in our windows. I am not against Halloween at all, but it really isn't a huge deal for me so I don't have a lot of decorations. But it seemed like a perfect Sunday afternoon to make decorations for the windows. We all got into the mix and made quite a few fun things. Noah actually wore the necklace he made to school today:) His favorite though is any chance to use my glue gun. He's asked for one of his own, but I don't think he's ready for that yet, but I do think he does a pretty good job with handling it at the table and he made a cute wreath to hang up for fall.

1. More Job Apps
I had a job interview last week and expected to be called this weekend to no avail. I'm not sure what is so fundamentally un-hirable about me, but I keep plugging away at it. Last night I found a job for what I actually would enjoy doing and that it would meet my skills exactly and applied for it . Who knows? Maybe prayers will be answered this week?

The Week Ahead
Putting aside the stresses aforementioned, it's going to be an active but exciting week. I have extra piano lessons to teach to make up for the ones I had to cancel last week during the rehearsal marathon for LOTR. But most importantly, we are gearing up for our annual Family Bash this weekend. Easily one of my favorite outings of the year is happening this Saturday when as many of the cousins as are able (there are 14 in all now) go to a local pumpkin patch. It is always crazy and happy and the kids look forward to it all year. Then on Sunday, we are celebrating Aaron's sixth birthday at a local pool. He is so excited and I am glad that in all of the craziness and drama we are going through that we have figured out a way to still make this birthday special for him.

Not sure how much I'll get to the computer this week so have a good one.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Top Five 10/11/10

It was indeed a beautiful weekend. Way higher temps for mid-October and sunny as well. With all of our current financial struggles, we are instituting a MAJOR change in our household budgeting and were determined to have a wonderful weekend without spending a dime. With the beautiful weather, it turned out to go quite well.

5. Friday WalkaThon
The boys' school has always done their walk-a-thon in the spring but decided to change it this year to fall. They had such a beautiful day for it that I think they were glad for the change. So after lunch, I helped shuttle the entire K-12 student body (really only about 250 kids) from school to a nearby park for the event. The kids walked a loop for an hour, followed by snacks. There were a lot pf parents who stayed and walked with their kids, which I did as well. The one thing I really enjoyed about it was seeing how within the first ten minutes, kids of all different ages were walking with each other. It wasn't each grade staying with their own. You saw 11th graders walking hand in hand with 2nd graders and that sort of thing. Like it's own community. And my boys even walked a couple of laps TOGETHER surprisingly enough.

One thing that came up though was while I was walking, Aaron's teacher came up to me and told me that Aaron announced to his entire class last week that he wasn't going to h
ave a house anymore and was going to have to live in his car. It is VERY clear that the boys are feeling too much of the anxiety around here and we need to be a lot more careful about when we ware talking about our problems. I felt bad for his teacher who was put in an uncomfortable spot, but I was also glad that she was comfortable enough to tell me and it opened up a discussion between me and the boys this weekend about how no matter where we live, we will always e there to protect them and keep them safe. I think they believed me. At least, I hope.

4. Homecoming Parade
Friday night was the local school's Homecoming parade and game. Because Noah goes to scouts at one if its feeder schools, his scout pack marched in the parade. Unfortunately, only five scout s were available that nigh, but Aaron was so excited to march along with the scouts and even Lily had a great time coming along. It was very clear though that these scouts need to learn how to march before they are in the BIG parade downtown for Christmas. I guess we have a few months.

3. Beautiful Weather
As I mentioned, it was amazingly beautiful all weekend and we spent most of the weekend outside. On Saturday afternoon, I grabbed a book I had found for Aaron at a garage sale, a blanket and called Aaron to come outside and read with me. I was very surprised when Noah joined us too. The boys also found the geo trax that I had put in the garage to sell and spent the weekend off and on creating amazing tracks in the driveway. There was much more space out there than in the house to build and they loved it. We also taught Lily how to fetch a frisbee and many hours were spent throwing it over and over again. She looked so cute since the frisbee was bigger than she is.

2. Pumpkin Path
Every year, our community hosts a pumpkin path in a local park. 100 or so business host a spot and kids dress up in costumes and trick or treat along the path. The kids love it because they candy. I love it because each stop usually gives us coupons to their business as well. Usually, we are bundling up for the event and our fingers are numb from cold when we are done. This year was so different though and we left much more pleasant than we ever had before. Even better, I still didn't spend any money since I convinced the kids that they could wear the same costumes this year as last since they still fit. The only concession was that Aaron had to have red hair dye for his clown, rather than the wig he'd previously worn. Of course, Steve decided to wear the wig and got MANY comments from passersby.

1. Art Prize Final Day
After three weekends pf going to ArtPrize, it is finally over. We went downtown for the final day so Steve could see a couple of the other top ten finalists that he hadn't seen yet. It was pretty clear that we are all ArtPrized out. Even though we still saw a few more neat pieces that I had missed in my previous four visits. We are definitely looking forward to it again next year. This was some of the only money spent this weekend though. Noah had fallen in love with a mood ring at the museum gift shop and I had told him that if he had a perfect week at school behaviorally I would get it for him. Actually, he knew that at some point he had three dollars in his piggy back and I knew that I had raided it for gas money a few weeks back so it seemed only fair that he got the ring. He spent the rest of the weekend testing out his mood and I spent him off to school today with him so excited to see what colors it would be while he was working.

The Week Ahead
It's gonna be a doozy. More calls to the mortgage company to see if we can get the same answer more than once about why we got declined a modification. Also, it's another symphony week so I will be singing four at least four hours every night leading up to performances on Friday and Saturday next weekend. I am praying my back lasts this week. Also, I got an interview for one of the crappy jobs I had to apply for since I can't seem to get hired for anything real. At least I can work at this job for a little awhile and build up enough money to get my substitute teaching up. At least when I am subbing, I'll feel like a productive person in society again.

I hope others got a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend too. I have to go walk the dog, eat breakfast, go teach a piano lesson, do lunch duty at school, clean the trashed house from the weekend, do homework with the boys, teach four more lessons, and then got to rehearsal all night. I imagine I won't touch the blog again at least until next weekend.

Have a great week.

Monday, October 4, 2010


It was a pretty good weekend for the most part. The kids had a fun time and I guess that's all that matters.

On Saturday, we took the kids to a local high school to check out their open swim. It was a pretty cool little place and we decided that we would hold Aaron's birthday pool party there instead of the previous location. It is smaller so it will be easier to see everyone but still has different pools for all different ages and swimming abilities. It is also WAAAYYYYYY less expensive, which a very good thing right now.

If you read my last post, then the coming commentary will make more sense. In background...MY family has taken an annual trip to a local pumpkin patch for quite a few years now. It is a day we all look forward to and it always ends up with several picture of tons of cousins lined up with doughnuts or pumpkins. As a matter of fact, my boys have already asked when we're doing it this year (not for a few weeks). As a result, my mother in law, in one of her many jealous moments, aslo insists on meeting us a pumpkin patch. So this is what we did yesterday.

Here's the thing with my MIL. There's ALWAYS an agenda. And it is usually an agenda that is meant to make me feel about two inches tall. And this was indeed the case again yesterday.

As we were pulling into the pumpkin patch, I started developing a small dull headache. Nothing unmanagable so I didn't think much of it and we headed in. We were supposed to meet there at 12:30. About 12:15 we got a call from my MIL saying they were going to be a little late. After much discussion, Steve and I decided to go ahead and get tickets for our kids so the could participate in the many activities there.

And they had a pretty good time.

Finally, about 1:25, we get a call that they had finally arrived. My MIL comes up first, saying my FIL was parking the car. My headache had begun building this time and I was starting to feel kind of dizzy too. But I pressed on.

The kids did a few more activities with their grandmother with them and then my FIL caught up to us. After quite a bit of complaining about the long walk from the car, he managed to say hello to everyone but me, but I'm quite used to that. After all, I AM a devil woman. At that point, I mentioned to my MIL that I had purchased tickets for us but that they would have to go get ticktes so we could all go pick apples. She suggested we go get doughnuts and cider first.

At this point, my head was truly POUNDING. I couldn't even look up without my eyes hurting. I had mentioned to her how I was feeling, but rather than giving me a break, the entire walk to the doughnut place was a MAJOR lecture about how I am failing our family (obviously, I KNOW our problems are my fault) and how I'd "better get going on something". I managed to just get through this lecture and we found a table.

At this point, I really was almost in tears (I think I actually was but it was hidden behind my sunglasses) and decided to make the long trek back to the car for Motrin. As I got back, my MIL started in on the next agenda item...Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. After she got going a little, I finally said, "You know, I really think this conversation would be much more productive when I am not in such pain" but she responded with as much snotty tone as she could, "Well, you never call me so when should we talk about it Kristi?" Well, it you weren't such a nasty woman I would be happy to call you. Anyway, the conversation just went more sour from there and by the time doughnuts were gone, they were up and heading out of the orchard with a mere wave, deciding NOT to join us for apple picking after all. Apparently the agenda had not met their satisfaction.
So glad we wasted ten more dollars of gas and an entire Sunday afternoon to join you for apple picking! We could have gone to the apple orchard by our house that we love, done activities for free and picked apples that the kids could actually reach.

Needless to say, after they were gone, the stress seemed to fall and the four of us got an a wagon to head out to pick apples.

From then on, my headache started to subside enough to function and we were off. They took us to an area that had an extremely small number of apples left, which was very disappointing, but we managed to fill our little bags that were included in the admission price.

Then back on the tractor, we passed a corn maze. Steve was feeling kind of tired by this time, having suffered a strained muscle at work last week, but I still really wanted to go and so did the boys. We actually ended up finding our way through (with the help of a girl scout troop ahead of us who kept finding dead ends and announcing them before we got there). By that point, my head was starting to pound again and we had been at the orchard for four hours.

Definitely time to go home.

As we were driving home, I wondered about this terrible pain. Was it the stress of in-laws? Or was it the fact that although I am diet coke addicted, I hadn't had any (read...caffeine) in three days. So we stopped right before we got home and I downed a big diet Pepsi from speedway. Sure enough, headache started to subside. I know this is a bad thing, but I don't have the energy to beat a caffeine addiction right now on top of everything else.

The funny thing is this. While we are talking about the day with the boys, they had a great time. They talk about the fun activities we did. No mention of the grandparents who were sitting in the background plotting their attack, so we're trying to push that out of our mind as well. We have yummy apples to make applesauce and cute pictures too.

I'm not sure what will happen with Thanksgiving. After yesterday, Steve knows VERY CLEARLY how I feel about the trip. But now I have to put it into his hands. Will he put us through this turmoil, or will he do the right thing and save me the pain of more personal humiliation?

Meanwhile, I can look forward to the REAL orchard trip with my family in a few weeks.