Even though it’s only the beginning of August, it feels like my summer is coming to a close because maternity leave ends this week. I’ve found myself reflecting on the past few months. We certainly have succeeded in making this summer a great one. We’ve gone on quite a few family adventures and have accomplished a lot on our journey to a better future. It’s been a learning experience, but our vegetable garden is one achievement of which we are very proud.
The past few weeks have been truly wonderful. We celebrated Tornado’s real birthday a few days after the big, joint party. She only ever eats the frosting off of cakes or cupcakes, so we made her a big ice cream sundae, complete with candles. She was thrilled to devour it.
We put a lot of work into our garden during the past few months, but the rewards of our labor are delicious. The peas are not doing well, but everything else is thriving . . . and saving us money on vegetables. We are a little low on lettuce for salads because Mr. Smith may have “weeded” some of the newly-planted lettuce. There is still quite a bit of zucchini. I’m really excited about the tomatoes. They are starting to turn red and we will soon have a ton of them. We hope to can enough spaghetti sauce to last us through the winter.
One lesson learned: there are little green worms that like to hang out on broccoli plants. We were wondering why there were tons of holes in the broccoli leaves and then we noticed the little guys. We didn’t want to spend money on pesticides, so we took the time to pick them off by hand. This technique worked and we now have lots of broccoli to enjoy. I even have enough to freeze!
Update: We have since learned that a quick soak in warm water with a tiny bit of salt will do the trick much easier. Those worms float right up to the top of the water.
We were able to enjoy more “free” fun this past weekend. There was a family gathering at a cabin on a cute, little pond. All we needed to do was bring a dish to pass to share in the impressive collection of food for lunch and dinner. I referenced my list of cheap and easy side dishes and decided on the strawberry cheesecake salad. It turned out great and everyone agreed that it was delicious.
We spent the day playing in the sand, swimming, exploring the woods, and catching up with some extended family. This perfect day only cost us some money towards gas and a few dollars on a food contribution. You really don’t need to spend in order to have fun as a family. We have enjoyed a fun-filled summer without needing to pay for admission tickets, travel expenses, or souvenirs.
I feel somewhat ready to go back to work, at least more so than with my other two children. There are several differences this time. First of all, Mr. Smith will be staying home with them during the month of August, until Goofball starts kindergarten (it doesn’t make sense for us to pay for three kids in daycare). I think the more significant change is the benefit of new priorities. My future is no longer a seemingly endless sentence of working in a demanding and stressful occupation. There is a meaningful destination in the not so distant future. I know that my hard work is necessary to achieve our new goals. I will miss my children terribly, but remain thankful for the wonderful summer that we were able to spend together.