Weekend Fail: Apple picking in Northern California

This weekend was supposed to be pretty good–time with the great grandparents who are in town and apple picking on Sunday. The former was good, but by the time we got to Sunday, everything went downhill.

I grew up in rural NY, where apple picking every fall was the norm. It was an family activity I enjoyed and something I missed when we moved to CA.

So in 2010, the year Reece was born, I was thrilled to discover that there were places to go apple picking here and especially happy that there was an orchard with organic apples (apples top the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list year after year, so I do my best to alway buy organic).

Apple picking 2010 with Bumblride Indie
Apple picking with 5-month-old Reece. Was glad to have an all-terrain stroller like the Bumbleride Indie since it was too hot to baby wear.

Each year since then, we’ve headed to Clearview Orchards in Watsonville to stock up on 10-20lbs of organic apples for $2/lb. Somehow we always seem to plan this activity in the midst of a heatwave. It’s hard to avoid, though, since CA tends to have a few heat waves this time of year.

Reece apple picking at 1.5 years old
18-month-old Reece picking apples in 2011

Other than the heat, we tend to have a good time and Reece loves climbing the hills, getting dirty and picking the apples. Now if only I could find some real apple cider, I’d be set (everything that’s labeled apple cider here just tastes like apple juice).

Pregnant apple picking at Clearview Orchards in 2012
Pregnant with Emme in 2012. Don’t let the outfit fool you–we were hot!

Emme definitely enjoyed getting more involved this year too, even though last year was her first time.

Emme Apple Picking

Unfortunately, this year’s apple picking adventure was laced with quite a bit more screaming than other years and a lot of bad behavior. Perhaps it was because we had a late night on Friday and then a lack of naps on Saturday or maybe it was just an off day, but the kids were a wreck most of the day.


The morning started off poorly, but we made it out of the house anyway, driving most of the way listening to a soundtrack of screaming until I brought out some snacks.

Actually picking apples was the best part of the day. The kids had fun, they were happy, and besides a few episodes of rudeness from Reece, it was just what I hope for from apple picking.



However, at some point we had to leave because we hadn’t come prepared to have a picnic and needed lunch. From then on out, the kids were a mess. Screaming, attitude, arguing, you name it.

We had lunch near the beach and they got a few minutes of playing in the sand, but we didn’t stay long because we thought they needed naps more than anything.


After screaming her brains out for several minutes, Emme finally gave in to sleep in the car and Reece followed shortly after, leading to a few minutes of blissful silence.

Unfortunately, he woke up yelling and complaining about something about ten minutes later, which woke Emme up, and the screaming was in full force for most of the drive home. (In case you missed it a couple weeks back, here’s a video I took that shows how awful these screaming spells can be.)

We survived the day, the kids slept well last night and all I can hope is that today will be a better day. 


How was your weekend?

Do you go apple picking?

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Comments 9

  • You are such a sport to share the true side of motherhood. It sounds like you’re doing your best despite the kids’ behavior. My hat off to you. Being six months pregnant, we never miss my son’s afternoon nap because that’s when this pregnant mama takes her nap!!!

    I know what you mean about those Bay Area heat waves in September & October — when we lived there, I used to encourage friends to visit those two months because they were always the warmest.

    I’ve never gone apple picking (military brat = moving alot) but ever since I became a parent, we do try and hit a pumpkin patch every fall.

    • I remember those days of napping when pregnant! Fortunately both of mine take naps at the same time now too, so I get a little break. For the first year, though, I never knew if or for how long they would coincide.

  • I’ve been to an apple orchard three times and I’ve never actually picked apples. LOL! It looks like a lot of fun though!

  • Bummer it didn’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. That always seems to happen when you have high hopes of a good time right 🙂 I think the kids can sense that us parents are looking for a fun day and put us through hell on purpose. Little stinkers! At least you got some cute photos 🙂

  • We were a traveling birth control advertisement.

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