Since our trip to the apple orchard last fall was one of the highlight nights of my year, I knew a trip was in store this fall as well. And when I discovered that the mouth-watering honeycrisp apples are an early season apple, typically ready to pick around Labor Day, I planned a trip sooner rather than later. I wanted to go on a Sunday, when we would have more time to explore, but when Beau informed me that he had a date with the Chicago Bears for the opening game of the season, our plans changed. On a whim that Friday morning, we decided to recreate our spontaneous excursion last year and spend a Friday night chasing the sunset and filling those splendid little baskets full of apples. It wasn't exactly as I had planned, but I went with it and looked forward to packing pajamas for the kids and planning a Friday night adventure to kickoff our weekend.
As the winds picked up and the temperatures stayed cooler than average throughout the day, I decided against going and waiting another day more than once (oh, indecisiveness!). But thanks to my husband who knows what it is best for me even more than I do, walked through the door just as Cruz's day of preschool was ending and said, "you ready to go?" I threw together a basket of pajamas and blankets and baby wipes, and off we went.
The kids are getting old enough to get excited about these little adventures and all the details that go with it. They were giddy with smiles as we both showed up to pick them up and embraced the opportunity to get cozy as we strapped them in their seats and snuggled them in with their blankets. We stopped at Caseys for juice boxes and rice krispie treats and off we went to apple country.
Any worries I had about the weather that day quickly dissipated as we stepped out of the car and made our way to that familiar backdrop that first took my breath away. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It was crisp enough for sweaters and hot apple turnovers right out of the oven, but warm enough for long walks in the trees with apple slushies to follow. We took a tractor ride up to the hundreds of honeycrisp trees and soon found ourselves back in our own little world, a few steps closer to the sun.
The trees were bushy and completely bursting with apples, which made for very easy access for both Cruz and Mila. We had more than enough apples after about five minutes of picking, and before Beau could even instruct the kids on his usual "don't eat 'til we pay" pep talk, both Cruz and Mila had sunk their teeth into our loot, the sugary sweet juice running down their chins, their fingers, and soon their right down their shirts. I smiled and thought about Mila last year, not even a year old, doing her very best to crunch through that apple skin with just a few bitty baby teeth, and now just a year later eating one down to the very seeds. We stayed and explored for awhile, before taking our sweet old time back to the general store, passing through fields of pumpkins, under picture perfect weeping willows, over pretty wood bridges, and up the hill to the sounds of a steel guitar and the smell of grilled burgers and bonfires.
We stayed until dusk, laying on mexican blankets and sharing sips of another round of apple slushies. On the edge of the hill overlooking one of my favorite views, the kids danced and rolled on their bellies until they grew dizzy. My heart danced and I felt more at peace in that place than I have in so long. I told Beau I'd spend every Friday night there if I could. Soon, we dressed the kids in cozy jammies, bought some cider donuts for Saturday morning, and tucked them in their seats, smiling and sleepy. It was another simple night at a very sweet place.
Some captures of our very hard work...
And cider donuts to start our Saturday? How can you go wrong with that?!