Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dog days....

Yesterday, I stopped by Target to pick up cupcakes for Henry's much-belated birthday party. (And bear with me - - I am going to divert from my intended story for just a moment....Did you know that they sell decorated cupcakes at the grocery store? You can just pick them up. Done. You don't have to find a recipe and buy ingredients and bake and cool and frost and decorate them yourself?? I know, I know....I'm the last person to the party on this one, but WOW!! This is about the best thing since I found out macaroni and cheese comes in a box!) I'm at Target, and I swear, I had to walk the loooonnnngggg way around the store in order to avoid coming face-to-face with the "back to school" aisles. Seriously? Do we really need multi-colored wide-ruled notebooks and glue sticks and mini-kleenex packs when it isn't even August yet???

Of course, what makes this so tough for me, is that I am a countdown fanatic. It's just in my nature.  On the first day of a two week vacation, I'm obsessing over the fact that I only have 15 days left. And I may be the only one who knows that there are 146 days until Christmas. (okay, I really googled that fact, but I have started making my advanced planning lists for the holidays.....)

But back to school??  Now?? Forget about it....

This year, I am completely ignoring any indication that summer is coming to an end until - - wait for it - - until it really is the end of summer.

Radical, I know.....

This year, we are squeezing everything out of summer.

Every. Last. Drop.

Fabulous warm weather.  Bathing suits and bare feet.  Picnics, the park and the pool.  Lots of friends and family.  And fruit at its peak.

(the kids thought I was crazy to drag them outside so I could take pictures of their bedtime snack.  Yup, maybe a little crazy....)










My garden has been pretty much a bust this year.  It was a late effort, and the weeds have taken over.  But, that is really besides the point.  We just want to get our hands in the dirt and see what happens.

None-the-less, Anna and I trekked down to see if we could find anything that might make it to our dinner table.  Anna searched and searched for her carrots, to no avail.  But, it looks like we will have pumpkins in fall.  So all is not lost!



I love the way a tub of water can entertain for an hour....and I love not caring that Anna gets soaked from head to toe.  My favorite summer sentence:  "it'll dry...." (Well, that and "let's get ice cream!")







Henry is taking swim lessons right now.  And the weather is perfect.  He's had Emily as his instructor for the past three years.  She's the best ever!   



And since the pool is officially closed while Henry has his lesson, Anna gets the kiddie pool all to herself.  Well, her and a floating Spiderman. 





Big news:  Henry jumped off the diving board, unassisted for the first time!  Henry really wanted to do it.  And he did. 

It is such a privilege to watch these bold, brave acts from my kids. They inspire me everyday. 




These last weeks, Henry has had quite a few play dates. And on Friday, Anna cried foul.  Henry was off to attend a play with his friend Jonathan.  "That's not fair, Mom" snapped Anna.  And she had a point.  So, we called Anna's friend Emily and all headed out for pizza and ice cream.

These little girls are just so darn cute together.




At a sleep over last week, Henry and his friend asked that I take some pictures. However....

Henry's friend (who shall remain nameless), requested that I disguise his identity in my photos.  So, the boys tried all sorts of elaborate means for maintaining his 7-year-old privacy!  These were their favorites....

(those are Henry's clothes to even further the disguise.)


One of my favorite parts of summer is a good thunderstorm.  Obviously, not the "severe" variety.  But the warm summer evening shower, with rolling thunder and a soothing rain.  We had just that last night, along with quite the lightening show. 

Nothing feels more like summmer to me than sitting on the front porch, surrounded by the warm dark and watching a storm pass by.


I'm so grateful that we have so much summer left to enjoy.  And enjoy is exactly what we will do. We'll relish and savor and linger in these dog days of summer.

(And I'm pretty sure that Target will have school supplies left on Labor Day - - when summer officially draws to a close!)


One other note....

It's hard to believe, but this is my 200th blog post.  TWO HUNDRED!!!

Crazy.  Two years ago, I would have NEVER EVER imagine (even in a google years, as Henry would say) that I'd be blogging, and much less - loving it!!  But now, I often find myself thinking in "blog."  (As in: hmmmm, that could make a good blog post topic or picture or grateful entry for the day). 

Thank you for taking time to visit me and my ramblings.....

And, if you are reading, leave me a comment below. Let me know you stopped by.   (Otherwise, it feels like I'm talking to myself....which isn't completely out of the ordinary, but company is nice too!!)

Happy Last Day of July!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A warm summer evening....

We had planned to take these pictures back in May, but I had to postpone. Then our session in June was cancelled due to rain. But finally, July provided us a warm summer evening.

Yes, maybe a bit too humid. And the mosquitoes were out in force. But you would have never know it. Max and Abbie took it all in stride. (Rumor has it that an ice cream bribe may have helped, but this was about the best 6 and 8 year-old cooperation I've ever seen!)

And the earlier postponements also gave us one of the best locations too.

Absolutely gorgeous, all around....
















Thank you, thank you, thank you!! It was so great to spend the evening with you!!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Last week, Henry and I were driving into town. The library and grocery store were on our agenda.

As I drove, I noticed Henry was struggling with something in the back seat. He was holding a tennis ball, and he had his finger stuck into a tiny slit in the ball. Typical of a seven-year-old, Henry explained that he wanted to see if a quarter would fit into that sliver of a hole. Sure enough it did, and the coin was now rattling around, stuck inside. And Henry was desperately trying to fish it back out (thinking about the giant gumball he was planning to buy at the store).

"Mom, I can't get this quarter out."

"Do you have anything that would help you get it out?" I asked.

Henry thought for a second and said, "I know - tweezers would work. Or maybe chopsticks. Yeah - chopsticks. Those would pull it right out."

Amused that Henry suggested chopsticks as a solution, I jokingly said, "Great idea Hen. I'll just reach into my back pocket and give you my handy-dandy traveling chopsticks right now."

I could see Henry in the rear view mirror, not even looking up, but extending his hand to reach out for my imaginary chopsticks.

"Henry" I said laughing, "I'm kidding. I don't have chopsticks in my back pocket. What on earth made you think that I would?"

And without missing a beat, I saw Henry look straight at me, completely serious....

He simply said "Because I needed them."



In that moment, in that one brief sentence, Henry completely summed up his expectations for me. He needed something, and so I [the mama] should be able to produce. To him, it wasn't complicated or comical. It was my job.

I have to admit, I was a bit flabbergasted. And quite humbled too. Not only was I clearly reminded of the very high expectations my dear one has for me, but it was all so matter-of-fact. Most days, I think I do a pretty good job of being a mom. And, like moms do, I go out on a limb for my kids everyday. I put their needs first everyday. I make sure they have all they need to succeed in this life, everyday. And I throw some pretty fabulous birthday parties. But when it really comes down to it, Henry was spot on - - it's my job. I am the mom.

This is exactly what I signed up for.

Sometimes, when the mom-thing becomes a little overwhelming, I must admit, I would really love to have someone "official" march up to my house, ring my doorbell, and proclaim me "The Best Mom Ever" (at least for the day). A tiara and a few balloons would be nice. I imagine a "Publisher's Clearinghouse" sort-of-vibe. "Congratulations, you are the Best Mom Ever." Maybe a little gold certificate that I could hang on the fridge too, next to Henry's report card and Anna's perfectly-colored caterpillar picture.

A mom can dream, right??

But just like my mom gave me all she had to give years ago, now I do the same for my own. On and on it goes.

Of course, Henry won't understand any of this until his own kids ask for chopsticks at an unexpected moment.




And who am I kidding? Maybe some of the more mundane, sticky, endless cleaning things are thankless. But most days, the big as a bear, random white knuckle hugs and the "just 5 more kisses, mom" good-byes, and the overwhelmingly proud mama feelings that well up from a place that I didn't even know existed.....well, those more than equal anything I could possibly give to my kids - - a million times over.

So dear Henry, I may not always have chopsticks ready to go. But, I swear, if there is anything I can possibly do to help with life's dilemma's, both big and small....Well honey, I've got your back!

I'd jump over the moon for you.


Added: I just published this post, and walked up to the kitchen for a glass of water. As the ice cubes dropped into my cup, I happened to glance at side of the fridge. Hanging next to Henry's report card, tucked way back and almost unseen, was the mother's day card the kids gave me in May. "To the world's greatest mom...."

I guess my doorbell did ring after all....