(Can you see where I was sitting before I took this photo? It looks like someone has been photo-shopped out.)
On our way to Maine we stopped in to see Auntie Annika at her new home in Bristol. It's so pretty there! We've never been to Rhode Island before and it was just gorgeous. We only stayed one night before driving the rest of the way to Ogunquit but we managed to cram in lots of time near the sea and even a swim at the most adorable beach in the town's park. We also ate ice cream, a fish fry and Annika made us bacon sandwiches for breakfast. It's all about the food when this family is in town.
This year she said she wanted a family birthday, no party or friends. And could she please go out for a fancy afternoon tea? Yes and yes. I love a family birthday and all the calm, understated loving that comes with it.
We have got into a tradition of having a treasure hunt on the morning of their birthdays. I write out half a dozen cards with rhyming clues and they have to run around looking for their presents. It taxes my poetic abilities terribly and I think they have cottoned on to the fact that I only have a few good ideas for where to hide the presents. This year what she wanted most was a fairy garden and her wish was granted.
At eight she is so funny. She loves jokes, both telling them and hearing them. She has a wonderful laugh and when she gets going it is hard not to join in.
At eight, she still loves ballet with a passion I'm not sure I understand. She danced her way through summer and vowed to do the same next year.
At eight, she is full of love for her family, especially her big brother. And at eight, she is not too shy to boss him around.
At eight, she is so much more confident out in the world. She can talk to people she knows and even make new friends at the playground or swimming pool now. This is wonderful to watch, she has always been so shy.
At eight, she loves music and having her own cd player in her room. She listens to audio books, classical and pop music, writes her own songs and sometimes sings them to us.
At eight, she loves school and is excited (and a little nervous) to go into third grade. She is smart, loves math and reading and talking about invasive species...I don't know why that particular school project grabbed her but she is all about telling everyone how awful phragmites are. Don't even get her started on pink waterlilies.
At eight she loves her friends, her teddy bears and collecting small knick knacks.
At eight, she is so sweet. I feel love every time I look at her.
I love her so.
Right at the beginning of summer we went to Niagara on the Lake, to have a picnic in the park and play in the splash pool. We found true sausage rolls in a little English bakery and ate them in the sunshine. The kids loved the mini pool. As my son was floating on his back, eyes closed and relaxed this little boy, about three years old swam up to him, leaned over him and kissed right, smack on the lips. It was hilarious. My son jumped up, "what the heck?". Andy and I were on the sidelines crying with laughter.
Hot dogs and french fries by the lake. We all went canoeing down by the grain elevators. My son paddled his own canoe and was great. My daughter was in a two person canoe with Andy and apparently she gave directions and complained the entire time, "over there, watch out, you are going too fast, turn around now."
I said I don't know where she gets it from. It's a mystery.
First front tooth in years!
The dog finally realizes we have taken down the baby gate and he can get onto our bed. Now every morning I get a 6 o'clock wake up call. It is furry and likes to curl up in the small of my back or the crook of my knees. Sometimes it breathes heavily in my face.
We have visits from family and friends. There is much ice cream and Minecraft. The weather is beautiful. It feels like fall all summer. But I am worried we will go into another long, cold winter and I won't have had a too hot summer to power us through.
Married for twelve years. I love him more than ever.
There have been play dates, sleepovers, summer camp, vacations and a birthday (pictures coming soon). We've seen old friends, cousins, godparents, best friends and made new friends. We've had dinner parties, day trips, scraped knees, bug bites, picked flowers, lazy days, sunburn, squabbles, making up again, reading, water fights, ice cream sundaes, parties, swimming pools, lost goggles, found goggles, paddle boards, fro-yo, a trip to ER and sandy toes. Oh, and so much more in between!
It has been a good, full summer and it just goes by too quickly.
Just to clarify; this family of four did not eat 20 pounds of cherries in two days, as my mum suggested might have happened.
Oh no, not at all.
Aside from those that were shared with friends, we now have a freezer full of cherry jam, cherry orange marmalade, spiced cherry pie filling, Danish style cherries in syrup and bags and bags and bags of frozen cherries for winter smoothies, pies, crisps, crumbles and, most especially, for morning oatmeal. I know I have said this before but the reason I freeze rather than can everything is because I use a ot less sugar than the recipe calls for and I don't know how well they would keep. The cherry jam recipe called for 4 cups of cherries and 5 cups of sugar. 5! I used 1. For the marmalade I used a little more but still about half what they called for. If anyone has any useful tips about how to preserve with less sugar and not freezing I would love to hear them. Until then we will have a well stocked freezer full of summer fruits which is no bad thing, I suppose.
We went cherry picking the other day at Singer Farms and even though it was almost an hour away it was just about perfect. It was crazy how many cherries there were on the trees and it was impossible not to want to pick for hours and hours. As it was we came home with 20 pounds of cherries, which I feel like was a lot but now we have just a small bowl left in the fridge. Ahhh, we should have got more.
The weather has been so beautiful it is hard to write about it in adequate terms. It is sunny and a near constant perfect temperature, especially for outings. No one is hot and complaining and sweating in the back seat of the car with a frown. Consequently, we have been buzzing around like busy, busy bees. And it has been so much fun. Oh, I love summer so much it makes me nervous about it ending, if it wasn't for Fall being my favorite season I would have a really hard time with it.
After cherry picking we stopped for a picnic at Olcott Beach park and lay on the blanket. I wouldn't let Andy read his book and he wondered why I insisted he bring it. So you can carry it around all day, my love, oh and don't forget the kids book and mine, you can carry those around as well but I will be too busy chatting to let anyone read them.
June is such a whirlwind of a month. So many recitals, showcases, end of year parent-teacher meetings, community meetings, graduations and the list goes on and on. It is all good, fun stuff but by the end of it I am wiped out. It is hard enough during a regular week trying to juggle four schedules, one car and a volley of requests and then there is Leonard to consider.
Still, I feel a sense of well earned rest for all of us when it is over, which it is now.
Auntie Annika was in town to celebrate her birthday and the kids were wigging out about it. I didn't tell them she was coming and when they opened the door and saw her they about lost it. We had so much fun touring new restaurants and food truck nights, a little shopping and a large Victoria sponge for her birthday cake not to mention the new British fish and chip place we tried. It makes it sound like it was all about food. Ha. sigh.
We are now officially on summer break. I can not say how happy this makes me. We've begun some summer projects which I hope to get round to later and there has been so much reading, I must do a new book list to share. There has also been a considerable amount of lolling in the back garden and much to my chagrin there is also a new paddling pool. I do not love it.
I finished a twin set of geranium tops and shorts. One for my daughter and one for my daughter's best friend. They are adorable, made of this Liberty cotton crepe which is lovely to the touch but quite slippery to sew with. I am still not done with this pattern yet though.
The weather has been gorgeous, sunny and warm, blue blue blue skies, not too hot, no humidity. Gorgeous. Sometimes I find myself staring up in to the trees and sky in the back garden and I find it hard to stop, it is hypnotic. Oh early summer, you are so gentle, I love you.
Over the weekend I was able to pop in and out of the sewing room to finish up (and begin) some projects. I'm working on a cushion cover with some Kaffe Fassett prints. His use of color is awesome and intimidating.
I made a new little pincushion with Liberty fabric scraps because Leonard ate my last one. He pulled all the pins out and then ripped the stuffing out of it. It was revenge for leaving him alone just a little too long one day.
I am working on a special gift for my daughter's best friend that involves beautiful fabric and vintage buttons.
My daughter has one more geranium dress to add to her wardrobe. This one was made using Lunada Bay in coral, a gorgeous lightweight voile (similar to tana lawn) that is perfect for the summer. It is a little sheer though so I made her some bloomers to go underneath. They are the kids short pattern, using the flat front variation and with some additional elastic sewn at the bottom sides to create the gathering effect seen above.