It is one of my happiest thoughts: That my children will have “summer at the farm” memories, just like I did, from our family farm in Texas. Their memories will be different than mine, naturally, but still full of the same sunset views, wildflower fields and summer texas air.
This year the kids and I headed to Texas early and enjoyed every minute of two weeks at the farm. Fernando joined us after a week, and my sister’s family arrived shortly after him. We golf carted around the property, went on walks, collected chicken eggs, made green smoothies (yes, I took our Vitamix with us!), picked wildflowers, splashed in a kiddie pool, fed the cows, dodged scorpions, did jigsaw puzzles, worked on family quilts, watched old VHS movies, broke open a birthday pinata, ate our lunches with the whole family, and gazed through my cousin’s huge telescopes to catch glimpses of Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Saturn’s moons and other wonders. We even hosted some of our friends for a few nights as they drove across the country to their new home in Alabama.
We arrived back in Arizona late (late) last night and I’m up early this morning trying to mentally trap the thousand happy little memories before they drift out of my head and into the general territory of “it was a good trip”.
Every time the musical clock sounded a song at the top of the hour, my kids ran to it and Violet danced while Daniel rocked in a child’s rocking chair, pretending to make a quilt. And every morning I would awaken to little faces by my pillow, asking if “they could wake up and go play with Gramma” yet. One of my favorite memories is the bubble baths the kids took in the jacuzzi style bathtub at my Grampa’s house – I know my grandmother would have loved watching the kids splash and admire their santa-style bubble beards.
At my parents’ church the first week, the pastor summed up the story of Esther (one of my kids’ favorites) and when he got to the “they lived happily every after” part, Violet cheered loud enough for the whole church to hear. Meanwhile, Daniel cranked out artistic masterpieces next to me and triumphantly held up a drawing up over his head featuring me in the shower. Thankfully, it was a stick figure drawing.
My kids and my sister’s kids are the same age, and this year, they were inseparable. They played effortlessly together and were genuinely sad when it was goodbye time. It’s fun to watch them develop their own relationships with each other, creating their own dynamics and games. My favorite cousin moments were the rounds of “the quiet game” they’d organize at the kids’ strawberry table during group meals.
The extra week of time allowed for more than just adjusting to the humidity (although that was nice, too)… it allowed for a lot of interesting and valuable homeschool moments. We brought a bunch of our “school” stuff with us and just incorporated a lot of our regular routine while in a new place. Things like chapter books, Bible reading, phonics games, math books, our Today Books, geography and flag coloring, letter of the week – all transferred beautifully. Aside from our regular routine, the amount of learning that happens when kids are allowed to explore and play in an agricultural environment is astounding. Not that anyone should be surprised by this.
Violet just couldn’t get enough of the family. She showered my Mema with hugs each time she entered or left the room and Violet often pretended she couldn’t find a hug for Mema so she could run to the next room and bring her a new one. She loved on my Grampa and wiggled her way into his heart. His whole face lit up every time she came into view and she frequently tucked her head under his arm so he would be hugging her. My sister took her out to pick wildflowers, just the two of them, and she cherished those minutes with her aunt. She relished the conversation at the group meals, engaging everyone in conversation and noting with glee when my dad and uncle were being funny instead of serious (“Twin Teasing”, she called it).
We are back home and staring an Arizona summer in the face. I imagine it will be more than a few weeks before the “When can we go back to Texas?” questions stop popping up (from the kids and the grown ups alike).
Here’s to a great summer trip, and to years and years of the memories to come.