Yesterday was a beautiful day. I took the day off from worrying, as well as I can, and spent the day with Hubs and the kids. He took off work – for Bastille Day, which sounds like a great reason for a vacation day to me. And we drove a short while north to do fun things with the kids.
We went to the aquarium, where they saw their beloved penguins, although the new baby in the exhibit was still hiding behind its parents. They also love the butterfly exhibit, and I always take my camera in there to catch fun photos of A and S watching, and sometimes chasing, the butterflies.
We ate lunch at the Olive Garden. Sometimes Hubs and I get a little snobby about dining out – we prefer local places that offer something unique over the average chain restaurant – but we love the Olive Garden. It features several foods that, in combination, are irresistible to us: pasta, cheese, and tiramisu. We have such an addiction to the latter that I’ve been known to get it as takeout and bring it home when I go there without him.
Our next stop was the zoo, which was not terribly impressive. It was extremely hot, and the zoo isn’t all that. Strangely eclectic mix of animals, uneven facilities in terms of construction/maintenance and conditions for the animals, occasionally surly or disinterested staff. But it was dollar day ($1 each to get in) and the kids liked seeing the animals, so all in all, pretty good. They got overheated so we didn’t linger.
And then came the most delightful part of the day: we piled back in the mommy van and went to a pick-your-own blueberry place, at a lovely farm out in the country. A and S each got a bucket, as did their daddy, and I followed behind with baby D in the stroller. It was still warm outside, but not nearly as miserably hot as it was at the zoo, and the farm was lovely. They had row upon row of blueberry bushes, with staggered growth so that more should be ripe in time for a return visit in another week or two. The three pickers amassed a gallon, and we picked up some honey harvested from bees there on the farm, too.
The berry farm is a new favorite for me as a kids’ activity. It’s outdoors, so they’re getting fresh air and sunshine. They have to walk around to pick the berries, so they get exercise, plus they’ll be tired and sleep better later. And they love blueberries. I’ve never been a blueberry fan myself (shhh! don’t tell the kids), but A and S eat them voraciously, and they’re healthier than chips/cookies/chocolate chip granola bars/cheeze-its, other favorite snacks. I can freeze them for use later in the year (oh, I’m wishing and dreaming of a large chest freezer – some day!) and use them for assorted baking projects. And a gallon costs only $8, if we pick our own. Vast improvement over prices at the grocery stores.
When I win the lottery, mind you, I’ll have my own blueberry bushes on my own farm (where I’ll grow many delicious foods and beautiful flowers and have oodles of adorable rescue dogs and a huge library inside the house), but for now, the berry farm really works for me.
After a fantastic day like yesterday, I’m exhausted but riding an emotional high from all of the good times with my family. A and S were full of curiosity and good humor but have turned back into (cute but grumpy) little pumpkins who fight over crayons and scream “don’t touch me” today. They’re demanding and fussy today. I’m trying not to let it bring me down.