As summer begins to wane, my thoughts start to turn toward fall planting and upcoming holidays.
But, before I put summer “to bed”, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of our summer adventures.
The highlight of our summer was spending a week in Williams, AZ.
Every year we head up to this small Route 66 town, which is the known as “The Gateway to the Grand Canyon”.
We travel up to this special place along with my mother, siblings and their families. A collection of small, rustic cabins house us for the week.
This small mound of dirt is called “Danny’s Mountain” by the boys (Danny is my little 4-year old nephew to the right).
It’s a place where smartphones and video games give way to playing outdoors with cousins finding new places to explore.
My niece Sofie and my daughter, Ruthie.
Teenage girls discover the delights of pushing each other on a tree swing.
Little army men toys replace video games as battle strategies are discussed and put in play.
5-month old Eric having fun with his grandpa.
As a grandparent, it is also a special time for my husband and I to spend with our two grandchildren.
My granddaughter, Lily, was busy picking flowers for her ‘collection’. She loves flowers and keeps them in her jewelry box.
Dare I hope that she follows in her grandma’s footsteps and becomes a horticulturist?
Of course, what’s summer vacation without delicious food!
Before, you ask…no, I didn’t eat all these pies myself – I shared with them with 15 other family members 😉
Fourth of July found us in the pool, waiting for fireworks to begin.
My daughter Rachele, who is in the Navy, was able to come visit with our newest family addition, Eric. This was his first time swimming and he loved it!
Ruthie, Sofie and Gracie
At the beginning of our summer season, we had a special visitor.
My daughter, Ruthie, was adopted from China when she was 9 years old. Her cousin, Sofie, came from the same orphanage and so did their friend, Gracie.
These girls spent their early childhood together, creating special, sisterly bonds with each other in the absence of having parents.
Now that they are all adopted and living in the U.S., they have kept in touch. Gracie flew in to spend a few days with her ‘orphanage sisters’ and we had so much fun with her.
Pillow fights, baking sweets, enjoying good Chinese food and playing board games filled much of their time together.
Walking along State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, CA
A quick trip to Southern California was taken in the beginning of June to visit Rachele. We were able to stay in her townhouse on the Navy base.
Whenever we visit her, we take time to travel up to picturesque Santa Barbara, CA, which is where my husband and I met almost 30 years ago.
Ruthie learned how squirmy little babies are when you try to get them dressed…
This summer, we went through a truly wonderful experience together.
We traveled to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. Both adults and kids were looking forward to seeing planets in our solar system.
While I did expect to see some great things through the telescopes, what I didn’t expect was the beautiful flowering perennials growing throughout the grounds of the observatory.
My brother, kept teasing me as I kept stopping to take pictures of the flowers.
My son, Kai, looking at Venus
Outdoor telescopes focused on Jupiter and Venus.
I don’t know who was more excited, the kids or the adults. It was almost incomprehensible that we could view these faraway planets.
My nephew, Dean, loves flowers and kept asking me what the names of them were.
I must admit that I enjoyed the flowers almost as much as I did the planets.
My mother, helping my daughter as she looks at Saturn.
Believe it or not, we were able to see Saturn and its rings!
We had a wonderful time at the observatory and learned so much. I highly recommend visiting this or any observatory near you. It was an unforgettable experience!
The last part of our summer fun occurred at the Hummingbird Festival, where I was asked to be a presenter.
I have two separate talks on small-space hummingbird gardening and had a great time meeting new people.
One of my favorite parts of the festival was touring many beautiful gardens in Sedona where the festival was held.
I came home from the festival inspired to create a garden space dedicated to plants that attract hummingbirds. I can hardly wait to get started this fall, which is the best time to add new plants to the garden.
In the meantime, we have increased the amount of hummingbird feeders in our backyard and have seen three hummingbirds at a single feeder 🙂
Well, that was our summer fun in a nutshell. The kids are now in school and my eyes are focused on the fall including the upcoming Garden Writer’s Conference in Pasadena, CA in September.
**What did your ‘summer in review’ look like? Did you travel to any new places, see old friends or have any new experiences?**
A Few of my Favorite Things……Hummingbirds