I'm enjoying a little vacation from writing. Not that my mind isn't straying to my stories -- I'm just not clearing time as I usually do to make room for writing. After my friend's wedding on July 7th I'll be back in the swing of things.
For now, check out this beautiful flower blooming in my backyard. It's a hosta. (Or something.) We planted it two years ago (a transplant from my mother's garden; she of the greenest thumb). It only blooms once a year, and this is our first opportunity to enjoy it. Last year, my then eight-month-old daughter tore off the single spire when I bent down to let her look at it. That made me heartsick, and I knew I had to wait a year to see the flowers. This glorious display makes up for it. :)
It's been a slow start to the vegetable garden. Actually, one garden bed is doing great -- we already have more lettuce than we can use, spinach, cilantro, and the cucumbers are blooming. The other garden was started with seeds less than a month ago (late start, I know). I'm hoping in a few weeks we'll be happier with the growth there. It's always shocking how quickly plants grow when the weather finally warms up; you can often see the changes every day.
Our strawberry patch has produced a handful of berries for the kids to enjoy each evening for the past couple of weeks, and it looks like it will continue for a while. Sidenote: when I was a kid, my parents had a big yard (well, a quarter acre inside Portland is considered big) with mature apple, plum and cherry trees; blueberries; and a big vegetable garden. I grew up foraging for my snacks, and I strongly believe in kids eating fresh fruit from their own land, or grown with their help, if at all possible. It fosters a connection with our roots that you just don't get picking produce at the grocery store, or even at a farmer's market.
One of the most exciting changes in our family this year is the young one's independence. She loves to be outside, and is perfectly content to play on her own a lot of the time out there. At one and a half, she needs a constant eye, but I can garden, or even clean the kitchen if she's in a spot where I can see her. This is major!
Watering the kids has become a nightly tradition, at least if it's not raining. After dinner, we go outside and play; slides, chalk, bubbles, hopscotch. When it's almost time for bed, we water the garden, and both kids want to get in front of the hose, or make rain. These are fun times. I haven't had so much fun just enjoying life since I was a kid.
This summer is going to fly by, and the next one will be completely different. I'm going to appreciate every day.