Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer: Thurs., 6/22

Both girls slept in this morning, which I hope will continue, because then I can get up early and actually get something accomplished each day. The first thing they wanted to do this morning was play with their new toy hamsters in the basement, which Greta calls the "family fun room." They built houses for them out of large shoeboxes and lots of tiny things. They were extra excited when I let them bring down bowls of popcorn kernals. I cut holes in the boxes and ran Hot Wheels track through them, which the little hamsters run along perfectly. So the hamsters could run from one house to the other, and at the end was a Playmobil park. They were fully immersed in this activity for four hours. I did dishes, cleaned up the house, and read a book.

The low point of the morning was when Greta's hamster was MIA. I couldn't find it anywhere. She was so upset as Lucia was assiduously world-building for her own hamster. Finally we found it, on the floor of her room, underneath some other toys. Sigh. I spend much of each day looking for lost things.

We had lunch around 1:30, read a book together, played a couple rounds of Find It Fast (fun game from the Target dollar bins), and then headed to the pool for the first time this summer. L&G were so excited. And it was fun as always. Every year, our engagement with the pool changes--this year, I predict that by the end of the summer I will *finally* be one of the parents camped out with a book in the shade. I'm so, so close. Today, I sat poolside, watching them play, until I got too hot and got in for a swim myself. Both kids ran into friends, which was fun too. We celebrated our first pool trip with ice cream bars from the snack bar, then got home a little after 5pm.

Leftovers for dinner. Ice pops and swinging. Liberal attitudes toward messes, treats, and noise. Survival.

I'm bone tired. The first few days of summer break are among the most exhausting of the year for me, until I hit my summer stride. But today was a good day all around.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


It's summer. Both girls have finished school. We've finished all the end-of-year activities, and all the extra stuff--swimming, CCD, gymnastics--is over too. Tomorrow we have a blank calendar day. No obligations. No schedules. Although of course this means I get no writing done, it feels good to take a breath and summer.

Last summer I posted daily about how Lucia, Greta, and I filled our days, and I'm going to do that this year too. Bits of things or full anecdotes. Conversations. Books read, crafts attempted. A record of this time I give them without camp, without activities, without anything but the ability to be at home, playing. A GIFT THEY BETTER WELL APPRECIATE.

Today was Lucia's last day of first grade, a half day. We went out for ice cream after school. I gave the girls end-of-year presents: tiny toy hamsters that scurry around the floor. Then they played outside for the rest of the day. They set up a "camp" in the middle of the yard with towels and beach chairs. They ran around with a friend from next door (he chased them, they screamed and giggled, etc.). They got a ton of mosquito bites. They ate freezer pops in their "camp."

Recent conversations to remember:

[in dress-up clothes, playing princesses:]
Greta: Do we have princes?
Lucia: We don't want princes. Just a huge castle.

[after bedtime, Andrew and I hear elephant-like stomping from upstairs, so I go investigate:]
Me: Greta, why are you stomping around like an elephant?
Greta: Mommy, I'm NOT stomping like an elephant. I had to jump on one foot into my room because I put on so much itch cream.

[tonight, one final conversation:]
Greta: Mommy, when we were babies, you couldn't braid anyone's hair. And now you can braid our hair.
Me: (one foot out the bedroom door) Yes. Goodnight.
Greta: It's so much better. All babies do is eat mush. I hate watching babies eat mush!!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Return to NH

We’re back! We opened the NH house for Memorial Day weekend, and made our first visit of the season. We arrived Friday afternoon, and, to our surprise, the house was not full of dead mice and mouse droppings as it has been in the past. Andrew gave it a good cleaning while the girls and I went to the grocery store, and then we settled in.

Friday wasn’t the nicest weather, and we spent the rest of the day inside. We played a new game—Hedbanz—which was a huge hit. Saturday was beautiful. We went for a long hike in the woods in the morning, and then L&G picked wildflowers in the yard (which had become a meadow). Andrew got out the riding mower and started mowing the lawn, which sent the kids into a panicked, screaming frenzy of wildflower-picking. Andrew relented and mowed only a path, leaving the meadow intact. Later in the afternoon, we hiked to the top of Mount Uscutney—about a mile and a half round-trip. The kids are surprisingly good hikers, never complaining or tiring. Lucia’s like a little mountain goat, skipping quickly up the rocky surfaces. It’s a beautiful hike and was the perfect way to reacquaint ourselves with NH. (Andrew will probably point out that Mt. Uscutney is technically in VT.) We rewarded ourselves with maple and blueberry ice cream afterward at our favorite spot.

Sunday was beautiful as well. The girls just played and played outside. We spent a lot of time down by the pond. It’s still too cold to swim, but L&G took turns going out in the raft. We tied a rope to it so we could pull them back. They loved it. Andrew’s aunt and uncle, Cindy and Andy, came later in the day, and we had a lovely visit. We sat out by the fire pit after the kids went to bed, only to see them frantically gesturing to us from their bedroom window—they were irate, certain we were going to roast marshmallows without them. (We weren’t.) They’re looking forward to our next visit, when we promised they could sit by the fire pit too.

Monday, our last day, was rainy. Lots of puzzles, reading, and Hedbanz. We had an early dinner at Pizza Chef and got on the road.

It was a perfect weekend. Andrew had one small tick on his back but it was easily removed. We saw a deer in the back field. We saw salamanders, fish, and tadpoles in the pond. It’s still pretty cold at night—in the forties—and it was so cozy with the radiators hissing. It felt like October. The lilacs had reached their peak before we arrived; by the time we left, they were brown. When we go back in July, the daisies and black-eyed Susans will be out; we’ll swim. We have grand plans for fun new activities. We’re ready for summer.