On Saturday we decided we’d finally head out to the Pine Tree Apple Orchard before fall slipped past us. [I was just chatting with my friend Jen about how we get these notions in our heads that things like “a fun little adventure to the apple orchard” will be this idealized wonderful family outing where everyone is happy and spunky and well-behaved.] And not that we had a bad time or anything, but…yeah. Read the note up there in the brackets again, and you’ll get the picture.

We got there a little before 10:00, and we just so happened to arrive as the apple orchard 5k fun run was finishing up. So hoards of fun-runners and their family members descended on the orchard pretty much the moment we got there. We decided to head immediately to the pumpkin patch to select a pumpkin before doing all the apple-y stuff. [We had been doing some major hyping of the pumpkin patch to Ryan on the way there. He knows what pumpkins are…apple trees- not so much. So we went with what he already knows and told him we were going to the pumpkin patch.] Anyhoo, after a walk toward the pumpkin patch trail (a walk that should have taken about 3 minutes, but instead took 3 YEARS due to Ryan being pissy about wearing a hat, pissy about having to walk instead of sit in the dirt and pick up rocks, pissy that dad was carrying him instead of mom, etc), we discover that the pumpkin patch does not open until 11:00am. Urgh. So back we go down the trail, back to the orchard buildings.

We decided to spend the next hour eating some apple orchard baked goods (duh- this is the FatJ family after all). We waited in a long line with a whiny child who demanded that he be held by ONLY mama. We were finally able to sit down to eat our pie (FatJ & I) and apple doughnut (Ryan), and were immediately joined by a child’s birthday party and accompanying family members. Ryan scarfed his doughnut in 2.3 seconds, and uttered the word “MORE” no more than 87 times before we quickly removed ourselves from the eating area.

Next we made it into the apple showroom area. This is where you can buy apples, apple baked goods, and other apple accessories. You can also watch the apple sorting machinery and orchard workers do their thing. Ryan was enthralled by the apple machine, and uttered the word “MORE” no more than 47 times in hopes of being held up high to continue watching the apple machine. After we selected our goods, we stood in a long line with a now screaming one year old (this is that I-want-your-attention-and-I-want-it-now type of high-pitched, glass-shattering scream) who managed to lose his shoe for about the third time that day. By the time we made it through the line, it was now 11:00am, and we were ready for pumpkin patching.

Quick stop in front of the giant apple statue (Ryan was also enthralled by this), and we began making our way up the gravel path towards the p-patch. This time Ryan really didn’t want to walk up the path, so decided to sit down in the middle of it as throngs of people come up behind him and trip all over him. FatJ and I managed to finally fanagle Ryan up the path, through the apple tree trail and into the promised land: Pumpkin Patch. At last, not seen since the devouring of the doughnut, Ryan was happy. He ran to and fro looking at and touching all the pumpkins, and saying something like “poppy” to refer to the orange wonders. He loved it there.

Mini-fit was thrown when we had to leave the patch. Mini-fit was thrown as I tried to carry him back to the car (reverse course…all the way down the apple tree trail, all the way down the gravel path, past apple statue, across parking area), mini-fit was thrown when I tried to let him walk and he refused to do anything but try and pick rocks out of the ground. My back was BREAKING after all of this child lugging…and FatJ was off waiting in a long line to pay for the pumpkin and then had to lug it to the car.

Whew. It was an exhausting morning. We did have fun, but whew. Exhausting.

“Get this hat OFF me!”

this is the back of the giant apple statue

aaaaah, back at the car at last!

Ryan also discovered the fun of playing in leaves. Saturday we just played; Sunday we got down to business and did some actual raking. Why do I think this the only year that he’ll actually WANT to pick up a rake to help rake the yard? Such a good helper. He’d pick up a leaf or two to throw into the bag, and he’d say “thank-you” every time. So polite, that one.

Ryan thought it was fascinating that we’d lie down in the yard…

trying his hand at raking…