Where does the time go??
A little while ago, we took a short family trip to NC to go apple picking. It was our first overnight car excursion since Baby E arrived. As far as excursions go, the trip was a success. As far as overnights go, well, umm, we learned a whole lot for next time!
We went to Sky Top Orchard in Henderson County, NC, about 4 hours away. We left at noon, taking advantage of the kids' nap times, and, while Toddler J only slept an hour, Baby E slept for over two, which was great. We stopped at a mall in Spartanburg for a mid-afternoon bottle and snack and stretch-our-legs activity. J found an old coin operated rocket that was rickety enough that it moved/shook on its own when he jumped around in it, so he was amused for half an hour or so while E ate. We then took a short detour to a dollar store in the mall to find ibuprofen and a book for bedtime stories (the two things I forgot), exactly the sorts of things you expect to find in a dollar store, though why there happened to be one in this mall is beyond me.
We stopped a short time later at our hotel. We stayed in a perfectly serviceable Days Inn in Tryon, NC, a town that contains a grocery store, a few restaurants, a hotel, a gas station, and a laundromat, as far as we could tell. The one playground turned out to be broken down and all the shops closed at 5pm, as the husband and J discovered later that evening when they went out to find something to do. Luckily, a malfunctioning water fountain provided enough amusement!
Then began the longest evening of our life. Bathtime and stories when swimmingly, but things derailed after that. We had a crib provided by the hotel but thought J could just sleep on one of the queen beds blocked in with pillows on one side and furniture on the other and Baby E could sleep in the crib. How wrong we were! The freedom of the big bed was just too much for J, who got up and out and then, once I was sleeping with him in an attempt to engender calm, he simply could not close his eyes. He talked, he sang, he ranted, he rolled, he flopped, he cajoled, he connived, he bargained. Eventually, fed up, the husband picked him up and dropped him unceremoniously into the crib, at which point he cried for 10 minutes... and then went right to sleep. Meanwhile, I had gotten Baby E to sleep (and managed to keep him there during the crying) on one side of one of the beds, so the husband fell into the other and we all finally slept like the dead.
The next morning, we got up late, for once, enjoyed our complimentary breakfast, and set out for the orchard, 20 minutes away. We arrived around 10 am and immediately began tasting apples so we would know what to pick. The place was perfect, the weather cool, and the apples low to the ground and close. In addition, it turns out that this orchard is, as the husband characterized it, the Disney of orchards, so they provided playhouses and playgrounds and picnic tables and a tractor pulled "hay" ride and fresh cider donuts and cider slushies and a petting zoo and animal pens and a duck pond and pretty much every apple product you could imagine. We picked almost a bushel of assorted varieties, ate half a dozen cider donuts, had a picnic lunch from home, and left at about noon once more, toting lots of apples and two very tired boys. This time, both slept for two and a half and three hours, respectively, which was fabulous.