For our first full day of summer break, everyone wanted to start our summer off right. Meg is required to track her reading minutes this summer as a graded project for her upcoming fourth grade year. I bought all the girls digital watches with stop watches to make tracking reading minutes easier. (This has been a source of ongoing confusion for poor Anne. She is convinced that the watch is supposed to teach her to read. No matter how many times I explain I bought the watches so we could time how long we were reading, she continues to ask, "Will you switch it to the mode that teaches me to read?") After breakfast this morning, Meg and Clare dutifully read for 25 minutes, which they timed very carefully on their watches.
We then had to decide on our first official summer outing. After much discussion, we headed to an old favorite: Seven Oaks Lavender Farm. We first went to this lavender farm at the suggestion of our friend Nicole the summer I was pregnant with Anne. Though it is an hour away, we return most summers to this beautiful and peaceful place. The long drive was a benefit today because we are trying to finish the audio book of The Penderwicks at Last.
It was a hot day today. While the lavender itself is necessarily in the sun, the farm has many trees and the picnic tables and play area have been placed strategically under these trees. The girls love the old-fashion play area at the lavender farm. There is a great play house with a front porch that even includes a porch swing. There are lots of shaded swings as well as spring rocking horses. We placed our picnic (packed by the girls at home) on one of the picnic tables and ate while the girls simultaneously played.
When we finally made our way to the lavender field, Anne and I cut a few sprigs of lavender, but we left most of the hard work to Meg and Clare who probably cut nearly one hundred stems each. Anne and I worked on sachets under the tent in the field and enjoyed complimentary cupcakes. While coming in from the field, I was either stung by a bee or bitten by one nasty ant. No worries. The hostesses in the tent provided me with lavender oil and ice, which took the pain away quite quickly.
After our time in the fields, we returned to the play area and Meg headed over to the bunny pin. She picked some clover to feed to the bunnies (as is recommended by the farm) and the bunnies came right to her. She developed creative stories explaining each of the bunnies' unique personalities. The heat finally got to us all and we headed back home.
The drive home turned out to be more memorable than we expected, because we drove into a huge storm. As the rain turned into legitimate "gully washer" status and the lightening appeared closer and closer, Meg suggested we pull over and find a hotel for the night. I tried to explain that a hotel might be a little excessive considering we were only a half hour from home. The girls were clearly getting more and more nervous and then, I suddenly realized, there was silence. Meg and Clare had fallen asleep and Anne sat quietly watching the rain. I was reminded of when Meg was two and Clare just under one. We were driving to Georgia for my uncle's funeral and found ourselves in a tornado just north of Cleveland, Tennessee. As the storm around us grew louder and louder, my two babies cried and cried. When the hail began, they both went totally silent. They simultaneously fell asleep. I could only hypothesize that their stress levels could only take so much. When they could take no more, they fell asleep. Apparently, seven years later, they are still the same.
We made it safely home from the lavender farm. I was grateful for the car full of lavender that kept my own nerves quite calm. This return to one of our favorite places was a great way to begin our summer break.