Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer: Thurs., 6/29 and Fri., 6/30

Thursday, 6/29

We spent most of today at home. In the morning I packed for NH--a big job, since we're going for ten days--and the girls played with various things around the house. We had lunch, and then I had to do a little work so I let them have some iPad time. Then we went to the pool. The water was pretty cold, but they had a lot of fun playing with stuff in the little pool. A pre-K friend of Greta's was there, and they played together the whole time; Lucia was immersed in her own game of turning into a mermaid and back to a human again as she swam through a waterfall portal.

We went home, got Andrew, and went to an early dinner at Ariyoshi, the girls' first time having sushi. It was a success. Both girls ate several kinds of roll, and of course some gyoza. Nice to be able to add this to our dining-out repertoire.

Thursday night was one of my favorite nights of the summer--opening night of the Morrow Church Turnover Sale. I've gone every year we've lived in Maplewood, and it's always so much fun. I didn't go too crazy this time, but I got some new puzzles for NH, some mugs, some crafting materials, a couple of books, and--my favorite find--a huge bag of fabric scraps from someone who was clearly adept at sewing costumes for dance recitals. The bag is full of large scraps of sequined fabric, satin, and all kinds of sparkly stuff. L&G are going to love playing around with it. I'm saving it for a rainy summer day.

Friday, 6/30

We finished off June by driving to NH this morning. It was a long drive, but we made it, and then it promptly began to rain. L&G occupied themselves by playing with the old books here and working on a puzzle. We went grocery shopping for the week and began to settle in. We're all excited to have so many days here!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer: Wed. 6/28

Another fun day. We spent the morning at the zoo. Zoo train, saw a peacock, fed the birds, rode the carousel, saw some hyenas, lions, and giraffes. Greta was particularly enamored with the prairie dogs. Lucia worried for a while about what would happen if Roary happened to find himself in the hyenas' enclosure. (Roary was safe at home.) And about what would happen if the hyenas and lions got out. I said that was impossible, choosing not to share the many terrifying news stories of toddlers falling into various zoo enclosures, or the horrifying Disney World alligator tragedy.

Next up: a quick run to Target. I let L&G each buy a cool glitter ball from the dollar bins.

Lunch at home, some reading. L&G got caught up in playing and we didn't leave for the pool till almost 4pm. It wasn't a particularly hot day, but they swam happily for a while. Strawberry Push Pops were their choice today. They're obsessed.

They both hated the dinner I made (teriyaki chicken over brown rice) even though they loved it last time I made it. Sigh.

Greta has taken to concluding her random monologues with "PS." "And PS, Daddy, I'm not interested in sleeping." Lucia has become a night owl and didn't go to sleep last night until 10pm.

Today they were both intent on making birthday lists. Lucia quickly wrote out her massive list herself, while Greta of course needed help. She really hates not being able to read and write--she envies Lucia so much.

Finally catching up on some pics.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer: Tues., 6/27

Another full day. We devoted much of the morning to making dream catchers, which L&G loved. I showed them how to loop on the yarn and they did the whole thing themselves. A super successful craft project.

The rest of the morning was spent reading together and coloring. Then we had lunch. Then we played Hoot Owl Hoot.

In the afternoon, both girls had a friend over to play for a couple of hours.

At five, we went to the pool to have dinner, and then L&G swam for a while in nearly empty pools. We didn't leave till 6:30pm. That's a really nice time to be there--not crowded, not too sunny. Of course they each got a Push Pop.

On the way to the car, Greta found a penny on the ground. "A travel penny!!" she said excitedly. I'd never heard her use this term before, and when I looked at what she'd found, I saw that it was a five-cent Euro coin. How great is that phrase--a travel penny. It's the perfect description.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer: Mon. 6/26

Got in an hour of writing time this morning before Greta woke up at 7:30. Lucia didn't wake up till 8:45. We had a leisurely time reading books on the porch, the girls still in their nightgowns. I'm reading A Little Princess to them. They seem like they're enjoying it.

Today was fairy garden day, and all three of us made super cute gardens in big pots. I dug up a bunch of moss so the gardens would have mossy surfaces. We added a ton of glass stones and other embellishments--rocks, acorn caps, figurines. I want to add some flowers to mine if I can get to Home Depot.

L&G played outside until a late lunch at 1:30, and then we went to the pool from 2:30 to 5. A fun time all around. I read by the side of the pool while L&G swam--the promised land of community pool visits. I'm so glad I'm not one of the moms hovering over barely-walking toddlers anymore!!

I let the girls buy Push Pops at the pool today. They were overwhelmed. They'd never had anything so fun, so delicious. I love that they're so easily pleased.

More outside playing and dinner, more reading, some cleanup, and bedtime. A fun day.

Lucia and Greta have been referring to each other exclusively as "Sis." "Sis, come here!" "Sis, where are you?"

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer: Sat., 6/24 and Sun., 6/25

Saturday 6/24

Busy fun day. Started off with an annual book sale I always look forward to--got a nice pile of books for the kids and two games. Nothing for myself--my TBR stack is robust enough as is.

Next--Andrew and I got the house/yard ready for summer. We cleaned the porch (no small feat, with all the pollen around here), hung the porch curtains, and washed the porch furniture. It's so beautiful now. Then we tidied up the rest of the yard in preparation for having some neighbors over.

The kids played outside and in the basement. Mid-afternoon, we went to the pool. Andrew only gets to go with us a couple of times each summer, and the girls are always excited to swim with Daddy.

We had a big group of neighbors over tonight to have drinks around the firepit. A lovely evening all around.

Sunday 6/25

L&G slept till 8:45 this morning. They were up late last night, watching our party from the upstairs windows.

Though I didn't feel like it, I dragged myself to yoga at 9:30am, and I'm glad I did. Most of the rest of the day was spent just hanging out outside. I took a carload of donations to Morrow for their rummage sale (our fourth carload!). The girls played with all manner of things outside and in the basement--truly, I didn't see or hear from them for much of the afternoon. I took them to Michael's and Big Lots later in the day so we could buy some fairy garden items, which were on sale--that's one of our projects for the week. Andrew filled large pots with dirt, and the girls chose places in the yard where their gardens will live. (I won't tell Andrew how much I spent on fairy garden paraphrenelia. Some things are best kept secret in a marriage.) We'll begin the gardens tomorrow. I'm making one, too, and am just as excited about it as the kids are.

Then dinner, cleanup, bedtime.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer: Fri., 6/23

The weather today--heavy, sticky, hot, promising rain--set everyone off. It was too wet and terrible to go outside or to the pool, so we had to turn our sights elsewhere. L&G played in the basement for much of the morning. We played Find It Fast and Uno. Then we went to the library so they could sign up for the summer reading program. They made their mobiles (all participants make a mobile to hang in the children's room, which they decorate throughout the summer), and we picked out lots of books. I owed $6 in library fees, which is absurd. I hadn't managed to return our books before leaving for my conference two weeks ago, Andrew didn't return them, and they were all overdue when I got back.

The heat and humidity had us all fraying a bit after walking back to the car, so we went home to rest and have lunch. Then I dragged everyone to Target, which was preceded by Greta chanting, "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy," for the entire car ride, in a seemingly irreversible spiral of whining, which thankfully she snapped out of after a few minutes of sitting in the car in the Target parking lot.

Next: Lucia wanted to bake cookies, by herself, which is one of the suggested activities her teacher had sent home for the summer. Hence the Target trip. So I helped her make s'mores bars, which is a delicious bar cookie that is also a pretty perfect cookie for a kid to make. She measured and mixed and spread everything in the pan. They were a great success. We took a picture to send her teacher.

Today was also the day that Lucia decided she wanted to learn how to sew, and I helped her sew and stuff a small pillow out of fabric scraps for her toy hamster. She got the hang of it, but I had to hold the material for her as she made the stitches. Greta also wanted to sew, and she got the hang of it too, though her stabs with the needle were a bit wilder and more random than Lucia's. Both girls now have two tiny pillows for their toy hamsters.

I spent a good bit of time today searching intermittently for Greta's toy hamster.

Tonight we got a sitter and went out to dinner with another couple. That was a nice end to this humid, frayed-edge day.

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.