This morning when I woke up I was super excited about life because it was our annual peach picking day in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were meeting a bunch of friends, the weather was fantastic and I was so very prepared. Sometimes I am not. I am a bit of a minimalist-mom, but not today. I had the bug spray, sunscreen, Benadryl, ibuprofen, four extra water bottles, a change of clothes, just in case, a picnic lunch and treats to share. I even had cash for the kids to buy something special in the country store. I never have cash. Unfortunately, the three little beasts woke up grouchy and fighting like they didn't get a good nights sleep. Yeah, right! They pushed me out of my bed at 1:30AM and trust me they were sleeping soundly. I was exhausted from their shenanigans before we even left home. But left home we did, and we made it to the farm early because I am anal that way. Anyway, we played around for awhile when Harley loudly declared an urgent need to go to the bathroom. I whisked her away and it was obvious we were not going to make it back to the bathrooms so we ducked behind a tree near a little pound. Behind that tree was a large rock which Harley decided would be absolutely perfect to pee upon. Pants were pulled down and I was holding her above the rock. Just as the pee started pouring a BIG BEAVER bolted out from underneath the peeing rock and jumped upon it. I did what NO other mother would do. I screamed and dropped my daughter on the rock/beaver. The beaver was as terrified as we were. He made a very strange and scary noise at which point I rushed to my daughters aid, ever the heroine. The beaver vanished into the woods but not before getting peed upon by a 4 year old girl. We returned back to the boys to discover that they had drank all of our water ALREADY and of course they were "dying of thirst." My friends finally arrived and we enjoyed a pretty uneventful picnic. I get the feeling my children annoy them a bit. I don't blame them though, my children annoy me a bit at times but I have something called unconditional love for them which my friends do not. The kids were playing on the playground as a half a dozen Mormon Moms gazed upon their offspring when my oldest screams at his little brother, "Get off me you Dumb A#%!" All eyes turn to me and I quickly blame it on public school before administering my dose of always ineffectual punishment. Finally, it is time to take the tractor ride into the orchard and get those peaches picked. At this point my neck is killing me. I did something to it about six weeks ago and it isn't healing properly. I peel off the heavy backpack full of all the wonderful things I remembered to bring and stash it in a friend's stroller which will be left behind while we board the tractor. On the tractor ride Nash exclaims to all present that he loves money more than he loves any member of his family and if we were all honest with ourselves we would admit to the same thing. Most people aboard just looked a little disturbed by the comment but one old lady was completely mortified. "Who is your mother?" I timidly raise my hand and receive a scolding about traditional values. I know right a lecture on traditional values this close to D.C. I wasn't sure if I should cry or give her a high five. Three minutes into peach picking Atley begins to complain about itching and sure enough he is covered in hives. We had the same thing happen last year. He isn't allergic to peaches but he has a contact allergy to the skin and rinds of some fruits. No worries, I am prepared! NOT. The Benadryl is in the backpack that I chose to leave behind because of the pain in my neck-pun intended. I am super mad at myself for being so stupid and for my obvious lack of mothering skills. Not only did I almost feed my daughter to a beaver I am now letting my oldest perish of anaphylactic shock in the wilds of Virginia while my middle son plans his next get-rich-quick scheme. I am attempting to round up the troops and hurry to the backpack when I see itchy Atley, red and hive-covered scratching his face with the leaves of a peach tree. Fantastic IDEA!! I lose it at this point and I swear a little and it was pretty loud. Mostly my profanity was out of frustration with myself but it becomes perfectly clear that perhaps Atley's language cannot all be blamed on the public school system. All is well that ends well! We are home. Atley is better. We have lots of peaches and probably a few less friends.