What a whirlwind week/weekend we had! I thought driving to St. Louis for our apple picking extraveganza was a perfect idea, so what if it's a little drive? I was determined it would be so much fun (don't get me wrong, it was alot of fun). You know it couldn't be that easy, right? Somehow in my perfect planning for a weekend of fun, I forgot that Lana had her appointment in Little Rock that Thursday before so what would have been a weekend trip away with a couple hour car drive turned into 16 hours in the car total over a 5 day stent.....Ummmm good planning there Jenn:)
3 hours in the car Wednesday, two squirmy wormy toddlers, a restaurant experience like no other and we were ready for bed. Up early and to the children's hospital. Normally these appointments last 2 1/2 to 3 hours but no, The God's were testing me. 5 1/2 hours after arriving at the hospital, we were so graciously allowed to leave for the 3 hour car ride home. Oh joy! BUT Lana had a fantastic appointment and is doing really well. The doctor made the comment that if he was complaining she wasn't getting enough physical exercise then you know she's doing good because he's NOT telling us anything is wrong. I'll take it and run after this last year!
Friday was a day of unpacking and speed repacking then, we headed out after school let out and were ready for our adventure. All four kids were excited about a weekend away and apple picking. Apparently my love for fall and things you cannot do in FL has made us all a little neurotic. Now the 5 hour drive to St. Louis was a little more questionable than the drive to Little Rock but I think it had to do with less than 24 hours after being in the hospital half the day and the car the second half of the day, I was again shoving my 3 and 4 year old back into their carseats. I'm not sure all the activities and movies in the world would have made that any more of a pleasant experience than it was. Stopping half way to have dinner in a sit down restaurant was probably just theicing on the cake for us all. We made it though and the fun we had Saturday made it all worth while. The farm we went to was amazing, they had a whole little "fair" set up with rides and all sorts of stuff for the kids to play on and in; the orchards were amazing and all the kids got into the apple picking spirit; they had a country store loaded with all kinds of goodies and a custard shop and restaurant plus live music outside. We started early and ended a little after lunchtime and EVERYONE went back to the hotel to nap....well sorta....All the GIRLS went back to nap, Noah had other plans and eventually won when Jason got up and took him off so the rest of us could sleep. That night we ventured into the downtown/riverfront area of St. Louis, saw the arch; did a horse and buggy ride; ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory that had.....wait for it....wait for it....their own Gluten Free Pasta menu. Can you hear the heavens singing?:) It was nice to know I could order a normal meal for Isabelle and not have to worry she would be sick. The food was decent, I had built it up to be some sort of idolistic sort of place and when we saw the line of people waiting sometimes up to an hour for a table I knew I had made the right decision....I'm not sure they could have really lived up to my expectations and we had a 3 year old with us. You know that 3 is the new 2, right? Yeah, well, it is. We have been having temper tantrum issues just when I thought I had ONE kid that I escaped that lovliness with. I should know better by now! Yep, you heard it right, I AM WRONG sometimes.:) One major meltdown and screaming fit later, one 4 year old who napped through the entire dinner AND then add that my little celiac didn't even eat her dinner-I wanted to cry. Oh well, best intentions and all.
Sunday was a new day and we contemplated several options: going back to the orchard to pick some more and then heading to the zoo won out. Well, that was until we looked outside. So we had breakfast and packed the car and ran by the grocery store thinking maybe it would hold off til we got through with another round at the farm. As I was having MAJOR grocery store envy (those of you who DON'T know, we live in a small town in NW Arkansas known as the new "Stepford" called Walmartville, where the homeoffice and ONLY grocery store in town is WALMART, go ahead..let me hear it...waiting for the pitty party to start anytime now, please send condolences to: firstname.lastname@example.org). So here we were at this amazing local store called Dierberg's, wandering the isles of gluten free items and frozen food options, yes I did say isles- as in plural, as well as an amazing organic and produce area AND a selection of beer, wine and liquor that rivals Costco (oh and yes, in this new "Stepford" I live in, it's also a dry county....go ahead, I am waiting for the influx of emails to start pouring in now) it started. Now when I say it was raining, its not quite an accurate description of what ensued as we left this heavenly store. I would say it was more like God throwing golf balls down on us as we ran to the car and people scattered everywhere. So much for going back to the farm, or the zoo, or anything else we had thought of. Instead we had one more back up plan other than heading the 5 hours home early. I had researched several things to do, aside from the Arch and found this fun little children's museum just outside the city that was laid out in an old Victorian Mansion. The Magic House was exactly as it's name says and there was nothing "little" about it. As a matter of fact, not only did all 4 kids (teens included) have a great time, we only made it to HALF of the museum! It was a cross between MOSH on steroids and the Hands on Children's Museum times a thousand! It was huge, fun and I think all the kids enjoyed the victorian mansion and city that were inside the actual mansion best: there was the house with all it's rooms, a market, a bank, an electric company, a children's hospital and a pizzeria along with a fishing pond that you magnetize your fish that is in real water to your pole and carry it to the pond entrance and let it go, where you can then watch your fish go all the way upstream through the glass floor and make it's way back to the pond you caught it in....Just AMAZING!
The ride home was uneventful, other than the storms I drove through and I am now the proud owner of more apples than you've ever seen in your life and trying to figure out what to do with them all.:) Life could be SO much worse!