Apple picking has been a yearly tradition for us since before we even had kids! Fresh picked apples are amazingly delicious, and September is a beautiful time of year to enjoy walking among apple trees. Now that we have kids, it is more important than ever to enjoy apple picking as a fall activity. It gets us outside, teaches the boys where their food comes from, supports our local farmers, and creates memories. Why wouldn’t we do it? Especially with multiple orchards within 45 minutes of us.
This year we went to Rose Hill Farm, a smaller farm than our usual apple picking haunt, and all the better for being smaller. It had a cozy, family-friendly feel, and it was gorgeous. It is the kind of farm that makes you want to quit your day job and take up raising goats. The kids had such a nice time riding in the wagons, walking among the trees, and picking (and tasting) apples. Drake was excited to pick them himself and did a great job this year collecting apples to fill our bag. Devin stumbled around in the high grass and nibbled an apple the whole time.
It was a great day! In the end, Drake didn’t want to leave, and we had to drag him away kicking and screaming, but when you are dealing with an autistic 3-year-old, sometimes that happens. At least, we know he was enjoying himself!
For more details about our adventures, check out our vlog from that day.
A visit to the Dutchess County Fair is an annual tradition for our family, the kind of tradition like putting up a Christmas tree… you never skip it! Some of my fondest childhood memories are from my days spent enjoying the fair, and I love making similar memories with my children. It’s not all about the rides either. (In fact, I don’t like rides in the least. I get motion sickness on carousels!) There are great educational opportunities, yummy food, sunshine, and fun.
This year was fantastic. The weather was perfect with a high of 88 degrees and a gentle breeze. It did get hot, and being pregnant I feel like a human radiator, but it could have been so much hotter! We arrived at the fair early and enjoyed a few hours without large crowds or a blasting sun.
Drake has a blast. He loved walking around, the food, the animals, the antique wood chopper show, and the dock dogs. He got overstimulated a couple of times, but having him ride in the stroller instead of walking or visiting a less crowded area helps center him again. Overall, Drake is flexible and resilient in large crowds as long as we watch for clues that he needs our support or a break. We are very lucky.
Devin also had a good time taking in the sites and riding in the stroller, but he isn’t at the age yet to enjoy the fair the way he will when he’s older. His favorite part was probably the ice cream cone he ate while Drake did some rides with Damian on his own.
Damian and I always enjoy ourselves, and this year was no different. We had the best barbecue from Handsome Devil, and watching our kids have a blast is always heart-warming. By the time we left, the whole family was exhausted. Being pregnant, I was extra hot and extra tired. Damian shouldered the bulk of the stroller pushing and kid carrying which would wear anyone out, and the kids spent from a day of excitement. They both fell asleep in the car before we even left the fairground parking lot.
I can’t wait for next year!
We recently made a trip to an outlet mall that isn't too far away from us. I wanted to pick up some clothes for Drake and some clothes for the new baby, but it wasn't all too successful. I did buy some shirts for Drake, but the baby clothes were not the right season! Damian found an outfit, and of course, we ended up buying some toys as well. It was a fun (and hot day), and that is what matters the most.
Damian is off from work this week. With two tots, we don’t do vacations. Instead, we plan fun day trips and local activities. We went to an outdoor outlet mall, played on playgrounds, visited grandma, and we went to the lake! It’s not that far away from us, but during June the swimming is only open on weekends because most kids are still in school. Damian works weekends, so this was our first visit to the lake this summer. I love the lake. I love being among the trees staring at the calm water, and just existing in the world. Depending on weather, we hope to go at least three more times once they open on weekdays.
The kids had a blast! Both Drake and Devin enjoyed splashing in the water, but Drake is a HUGE sand fanatic. He will be the kid making enormous and detailed sand sculptures one day. We set up our little shade maker (I have no idea what these things are actually called), and we let the boys play under it because it was HOT and poor Drake has his mommy’s skin. I kept trying the lure Drake into the lake, but he insisted, “No. Sand.” So, we brought the lake to him in buckets so he could enjoy both wet and dry sand. Devin also loved the sand, but was much more easily wooed to the water.
We ate a late lunch. I brought peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches and frozen watermelon for the kids because I knew I needed to make lunch good to convince them to put down the shovels and eat.
Before we left, we hit up the playground. Drake had a blast. I stupidly thought I could handle both the boys at the same time while Damian packed up the car. Turns out that’s a bad idea. Drake has a tendency to run away. He’s never achieved it because we trail him when we are outside, but given enough leeway, he’d be gone and we’d never find him or he’d run into traffic, at least that’s my fear. (I have nightmares about it.) They spent a good amount of time on lockdown in the baby swings until Damian saved me.
The best part of the day -- Drake did not have a meltdown when we left! He’s been having them frequently when we have to leave a fun activity, but not this time. Damian wore him out at the playground and finally just said “Drake, I’m leaving. Are you coming?” Drake hesitated, but when he saw Damian walking away, he ran over and asked to be carried. We’ve never pulled the “I’m going to leave” trick because honestly, I didn’t think it would work, but it did, and I am thankful to avoid the meltdown. (Note: We would never tell Drake that we were going to leave him! Just that we are leaving, and then let him make the choice to come with us. Of course, he doesn’t have a choice, but it gives the illusion of one. This might work 3-5 more times before Drake figures us out.)
It was an amazing day! I should have taken more pictures of the lake, but there is always next time!
Welcome to the family!
We are a laid back, fun, family of four living on a dime in 700 square feet. Life might not be perfect, but every moment of every day, it is beautiful.