If it seems like we've been a bit quieter than usual at the Gavin household, it's because we are taking a little time to get back to basics. Summer has finally arrived and this teacher-mama has been in desperate need of a slower pace of life. We still have a mile-long list of things to do as we inch a little closer to fully settling in to the new house, but we've also been taking more time to get fresh air, go for walks and just enjoy the simple things in life. A few weeks back, we enjoyed a family day without any work. No checkbook balancing, no laundry, no blogging – just a day of relaxation for the three of us. The highlight of the day was making a little trek to visit the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden on the University of Michigan campus. The fresh air, exercise, and gorgeous blossoms were exactly what our family needed to recharge our batteries and just enjoy nature's beauty. We're happy to share a little glimpse into our garden adventure with you.
This was our first time visiting Nichols Arboretum and we unknowingly parked quite a ways from the peony garden. No worries, though. A quick glance at a map and we knew exactly how to reach those gorgeous blooms. We stopped for a quick photo near the Huron River then headed on the nature trail.
It was a bit of a hike and the path was on just enough of an incline to make pushing the stroller a real effort, but it was a gorgeously overcast day and Dessa enjoyed every moment of the walk. She can't get enough of the outdoors and she had never seen so much plant life before. Our sweet girl was captivated.
Rob couldn't resist hamming it up and entertaining Dessa along the way. He was probably testing out one of his Dad jokes.
After a very leisurely 20 minute walk, we finally reached our destination! The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is one of the largest peony collections in North America, containing nearly 800 peony plants. We arrived just after the blossoms had peaked for the season, but there were still many gorgeous blooms to behold. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers and it was a treat to be among so many gorgeous and fragrant flowers.
Even the ground was a sight to behold.
Dessa loved the peonies, too, and we let her get close, but kept her just far enough away to keep those gorgeous blooms out of her reach.
Dessa has been learning how to smell flowers and she put her new skill to work while we were in the garden. Every time she is near a plant, she scrunches up her face and breathes quickly through her nose (regardless of whether the plants have any blossoms.) It is the cutest thing ever and she sniffed the flowers repeatedly during our walk through the garden.
Enjoying a laugh with Rob – she is such a Daddy's girl!
Riding through the garden was fun for a while, but it didn't take long before our little adventurer wanted to get out of the stroller and have some fun. We handed the little lady a few petals from the ground and let her get a really close-up sniff of the blossoms.
This is one of Dessa's favorite games and it always cracks her up when we put her face really close to the flowers.
Dessa and I played for a bit with the fallen petals, and then she had a chance to sit and play on her own. The bed of wood chips and flower petals was the best sensory experience for our sweet girl and I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of her day.
After visiting the garden, we hiked back to toward the car and stopped to take a few more photos.
All good things must come to an end, and it broke Dessa's heart when we got back into the car. I hear ya little one – it makes me sad, too, that we have to wait a whole year to enjoy those gorgeous blooms again. But when the peonies blossom again next spring, we will absolutely be there to see them.