One of my favorite childhood memories is "apple valley." When I was a kid, my cousins and I would go with our parents to this magical place. We would pick apples, press them into cider, sample apple butter, and cap the day off in a cozy restaurant with a slice of homemade apple pie with American cheese on top. I loved it because it was something we did every year, together, as a giant family.
When my cousin Sarah and I got a little older, maybe junior high, my parents tried to recreate the memory. So we woke up early, and headed out to "apple valley." The thing is: the real Apple Valley isn't where we would go as kids. It's actually two hours in the wrong direction, in the middle of nowhere. It turns out just our family called it "apple valley" because, well, they sold apples. Not only that, but once we were out in the middle of nowhere, our car kept breaking down every 10 miles. We spent the entire day looking for our "apple valley." It became so ridiculous, that every time the car would break down, we just would laugh. I think we all had cabin fever. We finally got home around 10pm that night, never seeing an apple, but instead creating a new memory. One that we still laugh about today. It was special. Imperfect in every way, but ours.
So, being a product of my parents, I too wanted to recreate the original "apple valley" known to the rest of the world as Oak Glen with my family.
We made new family traditions with help from the old.
We picked apples from the ground and from the branches, where the proper way is to twist, not pull.
There were so many tiny gems in each farm that we visited. A field of marigolds, and reds and oranges.
Riley's Apple Farm had little sections set up, perfect for an impromptu photo shoot.
Willowbrook farm was a favorite. It was small, but had personality to boot.
Milo's favorite game wasn't apple pickin' but throwin'. So we gave him already bruised apples that we knew were going to be pressed into cider, and hid the good ones in the stroller.
We found a four legged friend, he followed us around for a while.
"Both heirlooms and good traditions strengthen our sense of history and belonging. As Christians, our history is God's story of drawing us into his family. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
"I turn from the generation who came before me and look toward the children who come after me. I want the story they live to resonate with the history written by that great Author of the universe. " Noel Piper in Treasuring God in Our Traditions
I'll leave you with our Family photo - crop shot style.
What are your favorite fall traditions?