One of the things I’m most looking forward to as a mom is creating family traditions. I still have fond memories of fall visits to apple orchards and pumpkin patches as a kid, and it’s important to me that JB and I create similar annual experiences for our children.
So far, I’d say we’re on the right track. We took a day trip to Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard in September, marking the third time Levi has gone apple picking! It was also our second time picking apples at Kimmel with our friends, and like last year, we just so happened to be there for the Apple Jack Festival. Another tradition in the making!
However, while it was just Levi and his buddy a year ago, this year there were three kids. And next year we’ll be schlepping through the orchard with five kids, as my friend and I are both pregnant!
This was also the first year that Levi was interested in picking his own apples off the trees. We showed him how to twist and turn upwards the low-hanging apples to release them from their branches, but he wanted to reach the apples at the tops of the trees. When trying to jump didn’t work (he would lift his arms straight in the air, get on his tip-toes, and grunt!), Levi let his daddy hold him over his shoulders to “pick the apples in the sky.”
Here’s a tip: When going apple picking with toddlers, bring a supply of Wet Wipes or, at the very least, baby wipes to clean their sticky hands and faces. Levi thoroughly enjoyed sampling the different varieties of apples we picked, but he was a mess! Luckily, we had baby wipes available, but I might have even changed his slobbery shirt if I had thought to bring an extra one.
Rather than risk waiting in another 45-minute line for fresh out-of-the-oven spicy apple cider doughnuts like last year, our family and theirs each bought a dozen pre-packaged doughnuts before heading into the orchard. Although they weren’t hot and melty, they still hit the spot as we rode the hayrack back to the grounds.
Another highlight of our visit was Levi’s first pony ride! He’s had the opportunity to ride a pony before but was always too scared to get closer than outside the fence.
That morning he was feeling particularly brave, and his horse slowly walked in a circle, he gleefully yelled, “Neigh! Neigh!” Hearing his excitement filled me with so much pride. It wasn’t until the ride was almost over that he began to panic and wanted to jump back into my arms, which was impossible to do while he was strapped to the saddle.
We left the orchard with a half-peck of apples and a question: Why do apples taste so much better when you pick them off the trees yourself?