Summers last hurrah. Before school starts. And homework. And the leaves start to change color. And fall from the trees. That last little chance to grab onto a bit of summer before it's gone for the year.
As a kid, I loved spending time at my Grandparents house in Roseville, Ohio (near Zanesville). Running around barefoot and staying up late. Eating ice cream and playing with her dog. Visiting around town. Things I fall back on many times when I need a nice place to let my mind drift off to.
So this summer, we decided to save some money and take a quick trip close to home for vacation. We stayed at one of our state parks, Dillon State Park, in a cabin for a week. It was very inexpensive, the cabin was perfect, and we had a fabulous time together. Which, together, is really all that matters.
We went hiking up hills. Down hills. Along the ridgeline above the lake. The Gardener (aka my husband and the Two Peas Daddy), led us through many, many, many, oh yes, MANY, spider webs. Wow, are those buggers prolific spinning their silks from tree limb to tree limb across the trails. I pulled out my iPhone and video taped some of our hike, which had us all laughing. One, features me, um, screaming, as I walked through a spider web with a spider in it as big as my head (ok, really it was like the size of a crumb but still...) and the other is of our Two Peas singing. Hand motions and all. Songs from daycamp that they had learned the week before. Sprout got a little tired and was carried much of the way. I mean, her legs ARE kinda short.
We biked the trail at the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve. We did 8 miles (and we were all a bit saddle sore the next day). It's an awesome level trail that takes you past beautiful rock features and along the river bank. One of the peas needed to stop for a break and as we all stopped, a Bald Eagle that was perched just feet from the trail edge, took off down the river corridor. We had spooked it but how awesome it was to see it that close up!
We made many stops along the way and the Gardener and I called upon our many collective years working in natural resources and taught the girls all about the rocks and plants and trees and animals we saw along the way. "Hear that? That's a Kingfisher! Look! There he goes! He's fishing for food!". "Oh! See that down on that rock? That turtle with a long snout? That's a soft shell turtle. He doesn't have a hard shell like the other turtles you've seen. He's sunning himself". "This spiny seed pod...can you guess what might be inside? A BUCKEYE! Carry one around in your pocket and it will bring you good luck!".
Sprout wasn't exactly thrilled with the bike rides we took. She really wants to be like the big girls and ride a bike herself but I'm pretty sure she also really enjoyed napping in her buggy behind Daddy's bike.
She got over her bike riding disappointment when we went swimming almost everyday at the lake. And the girls dug in the sand. And flew kites. And made new friends. And swam. And did cartwheels. And played on the playground. And dug, and dug, and dug (what is it about sand? They played for hours digging and building!).
They even had a wading pool above the beach area and I think Sprout would have slept here if we let her. The girl is a fish. If she could swim across the pool I think she'd be ready to join swim team with her sisters.
And if you are anywhere near Zanesville, Ohio - a quick jump from the highway you will find Tom's Ice Cream Bowl. I imagine my grandmother must have taken me here a time or two as I was growing up. This place looks much like it did when it opened more than 50 years ago. Very much the old fashioned ice cream shop. The ice cream was delish! And everyone working there was super nice and made you feel like family! We may or may not have stopped there one last time before we headed home at the end of our week. Ok, we HAD to!
I took a book to read while we were there. Not one page did I read. I just stared off into the woods and listened to the cicadas. And played with the kids. Or sat with the Gardener. And cooked lots of yummy meals that we ate on the screened in porch. One thing I think the peas will remember forever is that I bought a lot of snacks and foods I NEVER have at home - and they were told so long as they ate at meal time, they could help themselves to any snack, anytime. They freaked out! That was a big treat for them! Chips and sweet tea and oreos and frozen waffles...I never buy frozen waffles! (that was really a plot to get them to make their own breakfast while the Gardener and I slept in a little longer. Worked like a charm).
We visited with one of my grandmothers old friends and drove by their old farm. It made me cry. My grandparents have been gone for a very long time and I miss them a lot. I have a lot of good memories about being a kid and wandering around that big farm house of theirs and running around town to visit with friends. Many of those experiences and people that we met helped shape who I am today. And visiting places like that and seeing them again - brings me peace. And joy. And makes me feel "at home", that comfortable feeling of being where you belong and appreciating where you have been.
I'll share more about that later. More about our visit with old friends...for now, I have a lot A LOT of work to do. SO MANY NEW PATTERNS...so NOT done yet. SO close...so very close!