Settle in and get comfy... there are 40+ pictures below.
It was a glorious fall day here today. More like a perfect summer day if you ask me. We decided we needed to get out and do something so we headed off to our favourite apple orchard, Mountain Apple Orchard.
It did not disappoint. The lady bugs and wasps were minimal and the apples were abundant and begging to be picked.
We arrived just in time for lunch. Like Elodie, Danica seems to like yogurt.
Ingrid was kind of cranky to start.
I look at this picture of me and I'm hardly recognizable to myself. In my head I don't really look this old and tired. But this is what almost 40 looks like on me. I can't be too surprised or upset about it, I suppose. I have earned every wrinkle and grey hair and every single spot of sun damage . When I first scrolled over this picture in my files I wasn't going to post it, ready to discard it along with nearly every picture taken of me in the last eight years or so. But looking at again more carefully I thought of my quote from "The Velveteen Rabbit":
"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
This is me. I am real. Every single choice I have made and every single experience I have endured in my life have made me so.
Life could be worse.
Ingrid's physical confidence is growing by leaps and bounds, literally. She loves to climb things these days and is branching out beyond playground structures. She was itching to get up in this tree.
Elodie gave it a whirl but didn't care too much for it. She's always willing to try, though. She doesn't shy away if there are other people around.
The three amigos and their dad took a tractor ride to the orchard. I took advantage of a five minute walk and pushed the stroller along with me. Alone. It was blissful, I tell you.
Look at all those wasted apples on the ground! I always feel so bad over the waste but it happens naturally. They just fall of. I suppose they eventually decompose and fertilize the ground but still... what a waste.
Elodie picked an apple for the very first time. The last time we were here she was just weeks old, there were biting Chinese ladybugs attacking us and there were no apples to pick because of a hail storm the previous weekend.
Elodie goes all in. When she sets her mind on something nothing, not even a tree branch, can stop her.
I love the shy little smiles.
These ladders were a big hit. They each confiscated one and had Derek lug them around to optimal picking spots.
Early on Derek picked a small apple and handed it to Danica to hold on to. She didn't let go of it the entire time. Her two little hands worked hard to keep it from falling.
Ingrid was very excited about the giantness of this apple.
Danica is still holding that apple.
We tried to get a picture of all five of us together. It doesn't happen often and the picture below speaks volumes as to why not.
Derek looks great but the little princesses are not doing so well. Danica wanted UP! The sun was too bright in Elodie's eyes and as she raised her hand to shield her eyes she klonked Ingrid right in the head. Good thing this wasn't a video 'cause the whining and crying was deafening.
Eventually Danica decided to take a few bites from her prized apple. She liked it very much.
As we made our way out of the orchard we came upon this big mound of dirt. Ingrid and Elodie had a blast, climbing up and running down over and over and over again.
Ingrid was blazing down the hill like it was her job but Elodie was more tentative.
She scooted on her little bummy now and then and brought home quite a bit of dust and dirt.
Ingrid was hellbent on giving my nearly 40 year old heart an attack! I was so sure she would catch the toe of her shoe and hit the dirt teeth first.
Still working on that apple.
By the time we got back to the barn she had eaten quite a bit, especially considering she only has six tiny little teeth. It eventually slipped from her hands and my heart nearly broke watching it roll across the ground, picking up bits of dirt and gravel as it went. She worked hard on that little apple for HOURS and then it was gone.
I sat in the back next to Ingrid during our drive to and from the orchard. Danica has not been a good car traveller these last few months but we were tired of letting it be a reason for not getting out of our neighbourhood. Being in the backseat, I was able to distract and calm her better. Ingrid thought it was the bomb. On the drive home she put on this elephant mask and pretended she had to use it to smell all our food to make sure it was okay to eat.
Sometimes I think I expect Ingrid to be so much more grown up than she is. She is the oldest by nearly three and a half years and I think I sometimes expect her to do so much more than an average six year old should have to do. I look at her best friend who is a few months older than Ingrid but is the youngest of three in her family. I see the way she is babied a bit by her mom and I observe her being a little immature. Birth order really does make a difference, I'm convinced.
Ingrid is only six. I need to spend more time with her to see her in these silly moments and enjoy them for what they are. If I had been sitting in the front seat I would have been expecting her to be leaning forward over the seat to hand distractionary toys to Danica. And that is not fair to Ingrid.
Fortunately, Danica slept the whole way home. Yeah!