Posts Tagged ‘family vacation travel’

Nature girl

Monday, January 28th, 2013

For years, I’ve known that my daughter Olivia, more than the average kid, loves bugs, flowers, birds, and trees. My husband appreciates nature, too, but his interest veers toward the scientific— “How much sun exposure do we need to optimize our strawberries, raspberries, lemons, and tomatoes? What level of water?”—while, I alas, remain hopelessly suburban: the one who hikes on the marked trail that ends at the warming hut, and opts for the cabin instead of the tent.

No, Olivia’s love of nature is DNA-deep. It comes from her biological family. On one of our first visits with Olivia’s birth mom and grandma, I watched with delight as three generations laughed out loud at the antics of a small hopping sparrow, and clapped their hands at the beauty of a rock formation. One possible explanation is that, in the small highland village where her relatives have lived for centuries, careful observation equals survival. Another could be that they are a family of natural-born artists. Whatever the reason, that keen ability to see is hard-wired, and Olivia possesses it.

I became more aware of this special talent last weekend, when my friend Nina invited us to Slide Ranch, a self-sustaining farm perched on the jagged cliffs of the Northern California coast. We kids and adults enjoyed running around, checking out the chickens and goats and bee hives and compost pile, and searching for hidden objects on Nina’s scavenger hunt. But as Nina observed, the wild, dramatic setting and fresh salt air opened up something new and different in Olivia. It felt as if  simply being there allowed my daughter to settle into a place of deep peace, a reverie of happiness.

As an adoptive parent, I’m reminded often that our children are who they are. They come to us that way. Part of the joy of being my children’s mother is discovering, and honoring, each new layer.


Summer 2011 in Missouri

Friday, August 5th, 2011

My husband often teases me that wherever I am is the next place I want to move. Right now, that place is Missouri. We’ve been here for the past week, first for a family reunion of Tim’s family in St.Louis, and now at Lake of the Ozarks for the fifth annual gathering of MOGUATE.

Yes, it’s hot. To put the heat in perspective, 95 degrees feels cool, as long as the humidity is less than 95 percent. But the landscape is beautiful, the people are nice, and the food is outstanding. I hadn’t realized you can fry anything, even ravioli. Now I know you can. We’ve been eating BBQ, brisket, broasted chicken, biscuits, green beans, and corn on the cob. I feel like I’m back in my grandmother’s kitchen in Virginia, where my family spent summers when I was a child.

Here are a few photos, of cousins at the family reunion, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois. More pictures to come, as soon as I can find my camera.