As soon as spring sprung, Jake and Alyssa began obsessing about picking strawberries. This was going to be their first time, and they were excited. I personally had grand visions of making strawberry jam, strawberry pie, strawberry smoothies, strawberry lemonade, strawberry syrup, strawberry bread . . . strawberry strawberry strawberry!
This past Thursday, I loaded up the kids in the van and headed to Westview Orchards with my mom. (We go to Westview every fall to pick apples. It's such a fun place with tons of things to do.) There was almost no one there since it was a weekday around noon. Great! And all the people who were there were heading out to pick cherries. Even better! Until we found out that the strawberry season ended two days prior. Oops. I was disappointed for sure. I mean, what was I going to do with cherries??? Cherry jam? Cherry lemonade? Cherry bread? I don't even like cooked cherries. The kids though, were just excited to pick anything. So, cherry picking it was.
We got a quick ride on a golf cart out to the (orchard? grove? Anyone know where cherries grow?) trees. The kids ran around in excitement. They eagerly grabbed the fruit. I'm not sure where more cherries ended up - their baskets or their mouths. (Though I have to admit, I ate my fair share too! Fresh cherries are yummy. It's the cooked ones I can't stand.) It was so cute watching them reeeeaach way up high, trying to pick the very best ones.
When Jake found a tree that was full of ripened, juicy cherries, he said, "I hit the jackpot!!!" Not quite sure where he heard that terminology, but it was cute.
There were a few ladders set up throughout the orchard. All three kids were immediately drawn to them. Jake has no fear. He climbed up ladder after ladder in order to get the best and highest cherries. Alyssa though, is my apprehensive one. She begged to climb up, but clung to the ladder once she did. She certainly would not go to the top. Zac is my other fearless boy. He ran right to a ladder and climbed up no problem. He didn't need any help from me. He climbed all the way to the last rung and reached as far as he could. If he could see the cherry, he reached for the cherry.
After we picked about 8 pounds (and ate another 4), we headed to the petting zoo. Zac loooves animals, so this was a big hit with him. They fed the animals ice cream cones filled with feed. It was so cute! Every time they fed a goat straight from their hands, they would drop all the food and giggle because "It tickles!"
Jake even made funny faces at the goats. It made me laugh, but the goats were not impressed. "Hey, kid. Either give me more food or get out of the way so someone else can." I'm sure I heard one say that.
And of course, what kind of trip would it be, if we didn't spend time at the playground??
What's the best way to end a hot day outside???
While we didn't get my beloved strawberries, and we ended up with 4 pounds of cherries instead, we had a fantastic day. I love seeing the joy on their faces, hearing their laughs, and spending quality time with my precious gifts from God. Strawberries will go out of season; cherries will spoil; but these memories will never fade away.
While picking the cherries, Jake proclaimed, "This is the best day ever!" And that can never be taken away.