The girls and I took a Hoppy Manacation this week. For those of you who don't know what that means I will explain. We went to visit my parents (who are affectionately called Hoppy and Mana) in PA this week. Justin went to the National Pastors Conference in St. Louis and we took the opportunity to visit for longer than a 24 hr period with my parents and which happens very rarely.
The girls absolutely loved it. The weather was beautiful and they are now old enough to enjoy all the wonderful outdoor experiences that living in the country provides. We went for walks, rode bikes, played with sidewalk chalk, rode swings and slides and picked berries. The girls couldn't have had a better time. Sleeping was the only difficult thing about the trip (Emma didn't) but attitudes were still great the whole time.
I got to enjoy some time with my mom courtesy of my dad. The girls loved playing games with him and swinging with him so much that they barely missed me. It was wonderful and I am very grateful for the help and the break. Emma loved swinging with my dad and kept telling him that he was a "silly guy" because of the way he would stop her and make her laugh. He even took them in a ride down the hill in a big wagon. I say hill but really I mean their street. I think God created grandparent because that is a memory a mom like me would never create for fear of crashing, rolling over and the oncoming cars.
Lydia was thrilled to ride her bike as much as she wanted. She loves riding her bike but since we don't have a flat driveway she can only ride when we go to the rail trail. She thought it was bliss to ride all over the place and was very excited that there was an extra bike that she could bring home. I think the reason she liked the bike so much was because of the bell but I really can't blame her, it is pretty cool.
The true highlight for my parents and me was probably the joy of picking wild raspberries and mulberries. A new patch of raspberries was discovered this year in their neighbors back yard and there was another berry tree there. We picked a few berries and leaves from the tree and looked it up on line to identify what kind it was and found out it was a mulberry tree. We picked berries everyday and had and absolute blast. Lydia and Emma ate more than they picked but found the whole experience quite entertaining. Lydia would direct us to where there were more and Emma just asked to eat more. I think their digestive systems are still trying to catch up with them id you know what I mean. ;)
If you have ever picked raspberries or blackberries then you already know that it is tricky work. The thorns on the bushes are quite sharp and are all over the place. You have to be very careful to wear the proper clothing, long pants and sleeves, keeping in mind that it is summer. You also have to pick every day or two to get the ripe berries so the birds don't eat them. That being said I think that the effort is worth the prize. It does require planning, dedication and the knowledge that you will probably get scratched up in the process but I love it anyway. This is an obvious and shameless observation that applies to our everyday lives. Nothing good comes without counting the costs and keeping the reward in sight.
In the end, for dinner tonight the girls and I enjoyed a nice green leaf lettuce salad (from our garden) with fresh raspberries on top. The fruits of our labor tasted good!