On Saturday, we went on our annual Lauer-D---- Family trip to go apple-picking at Sky Top Orchard. Considering how exhausted we are by the end of the nearly 12-hour jaunt, I think we should call it our Day Trip to the Mountains because that sounds more justifiably fatigue-inducing.
The day began with altar boy practice and violin lessons, so we didn't make it up to the mountain till one o'clock. (Crowds and parking are a real challenge on weekends, so we recommend going on a weekday if one can.) Our usual group of the two families was enhanced by four grandparents also!
|The whole gang of precious children, ages 5 months to 9 years|
Precious toddlers clutching their prized apples . . .
Mary lost her first tooth! It had been loose for weeks. In fact, when we were disembarking from the van, I noticed it and commented, "I don't think that tooth is going to last the afternoon." Indeed, we were tromping through the orchard when Mary took a bite from an apple and out came her tooth! It really was precious to witness her have that milestone in the company of her best pals, and that I could literally see a transformation in her eyes, that she felt she'd been inducted into the group of Big Kids (John, A-----, and A----, all of whom have lost teeth).
|Joyful over her first tooth gone|
When we arrived home at nine at night, Chris and I carried sleeping Joseph and Margaret to their beds, leaving John and Mary somewhat to fend for themselves with instructions to get ready for bed. Instead, Mary grabbed pencil and her beloved drawing notebook, camped out in the kitchen, and began illustrating her favorite moments from the day. This reminded me of myself as a little girl keeping a diary (okay, an entire box full of diaries over the years!), having to write things down (and, I suppose, writing this blog!). I include Mary's illustrations in this blog post.
|Mary Losing Her Tooth|
Trudging back up the rugged terrain with the pounds of apples always leaves us huffing and puffing, sweating despite the 55-degree day.
|Pop-Pops giving Margaret a lift back to the barn|
All this time, two grandmothers had been braving the hour-long line for the famous apple cider doughnuts. If nothing else, these hot, fresh doughnuts should cause a person to pick this apple orchard over other ones. Buying just one dozen to eat then and there won't be enough, and we buy two more dozen to take home, as they toast up beautifully at breakfast for days.
|Mary Having a Doughnut|
The children then played on haystacks for at least an hour. That's all, simply climbing a haystack! That was possibly the highlight of their day.
|Mary and the Hay|
We enjoyed our annual wagon ride (pulled by a tractor) and the fact that it didn't tip over and cause us to plummet down the mountainside.
Then the children got to play on the not one, but five, playgrounds at SkyTop. How they had any energy left just shows that children are nearly inexhaustible.
|Where is Mary in the crowd? Just remember, always look up.|
After our wonderful day, we drove to a nearby teeny tiny mountain town to eat dinner at the same great, independent pizzeria we discovered last year. Disaster was avoided when Joseph's guardian angel must have placed his hand under the baby's head as he toppled his highchair backwards, falling all the way down with it and smacking on the cement floor. No harm was done, although I did take him outside until he was down howling.
Tucking into bed, we showed Mary how to put her tooth under her pillow. She kept saying that she was going to "get a prize." Everyone collapsed into deep sleep and would have been very happy to sleep in a bit late the next morning, Sunday, maybe one could wish even till 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. Yet at 6:30, I saw glaring bright lights turned on from across the hall and weeping.
Mary was tearing apart her bed, crying, "My tooth is gone! I can't find it! And there is no prize!"
Thankfully, Mama was able to show that the 'prize' (a silver dollar--we give something extra special for the first tooth lost) had simply fallen under the bed and the tooth was safe in Mama's jewelry box. But, by then, all four children were standing blinking in the bright bedroom as Mary dried her tears, so it was time to start our day a little earlier than we had hoped.
Apple-picking day is an annual tradition we love!