These two weeks mid summer are a crazy haze of celebrating: Juniper one week then Wylie the next, Mimi's birthday two days later, followed by our anniversary. This year Juniper's celebration was a sweet, quiet Saturday event with sugar cereal for breakfast--a special treat, a trip to city park pool (her choice), and a small gathering of friends and cousins. Wylie's bash will be just that--a crowd of all the friends he's known since birth, and their parents and siblings (most of whom are Juni's best friends so she gets a double party). Its really just a handful of families, but all those people add up fast. Followed by a sleepover with just the oldest boys and hours of borrowed Wii and movies.
I am not a person that gets bent out of shape about parties. Nor do I over plan, with matching napkins, favors, party games etc. I like to keep things simple. The kids write an invitation, we plan a small party favor, make a cake, or root beer floats (Juni's favorite) and call it good. Its typically a potluck affair with some grilling. This year I got fancy and poked some straws through the lids of Ball Jars and attached each child's name with a rubber band (no pictures but you get the idea). They looked very sweet all lined up together, and saved on dishes without the need for wasteful juice boxes.
However, even with very little prep and planning it is easy to get caught up in the festivities and overlook the real reason for celebration. My sweet girl is 7 now. She is nearly as tall and as heavy as her brother. She is all muscle and grins. She is all heart and sass. She is a climber, a hanger, a leader, a nurturer, and my most reliable helper. Next week Wylie will be 9. I call him "knees" these days. The roundest part of his body are his eyeballs. He is wiry and wily--aptly named. He is learning the art of appropriate sarcasm and can sometimes be quite witty. He is proud of his reading and is learning to swim. He has become a good pal to Kale. So many new things from last summer.
All that sugar (root beer floats, lime aid, fruit salad, and lollipops--geesh), children racing and chasing, balloon bopping, shrieking, and movie watching is a fun aside. But in the calm after the storm its nice to sit and enjoy what the day really means. My children are growing into themselves.
When they were toddlers their birthdays felt, selfishly like my days. A day when I really reflected on each of their births, told them their birth story and celebrated their joining our family. Now that they are older we still do that, but it feels somehow different. The momentous event of birth itself is so much about the mother. But, no matter how long the labor, birth is a very brief event in a child's life and from then on they become who they will, who they are. I feel grateful to be able to celebrate with my children on a day is fully theirs, to appreciate who they are and who they are quickly becoming. Happy Birthdays kiddos.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
When provided with the right combination of helpful children, card playing, beer, and good food its pretty impressive what Rob and his dad can accomplish.
A year to hash out the details, a week to order materials, a weekend to build, and the rest of the summer (and many, many, yet to come) to relax, eat, and sleep nearly outdoors bug free. We are exceedingly thankful to family who give so much of themselves, and are course thrilled with the outcome.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
This has been a strange year so far in the garden. Never before have I had tomatoes and peas at the same time. This one (below) was a seedling from a green house and quite big when I got it so it had a head start--but still. The ones I started myself are flowering. The garlic is nearly ready to harvest, but the green beans have just begun to flower. Strange. But I'm not complaining. Its been a great year so far for peas and greens (all those cool weather crops) and these past two weeks of sun and heat are making everything else happy.
But, what I'm really psyched about right now are radish pods. Every year I plant radishes, and they end up small, woody and deformed. This year was no different. After pulling up three or four gnarly ones I decided to leave the rest to go to seed (radish flowers supposedly stave of cucumber beetles--plus they look pretty). Then, the newest issue of Mother Earth News arrived highlighting the virtues of radish pods. What? These are the little seed pods produced after the flowers, and can be eaten raw like snap peas, or sauteed in a stir fry etc. They have a spicy bite to them eaten raw, are sweeter cooked, and are pretty darn cute just to look at. Yum. So, if you're like me and can't seem to grow a decent radish; or maybe you don't even like radishes but plant them to mark your carrots, and now you've got a bunch of gone to seed radishes taking up space, well--you're in luck. Pretty blooms and tasty pods. Who knew?
Tomato, shell peas, lettuce mix, chard
radish pods and flowers, caged nasturtium, snap peas
Monday, July 9, 2012
Family camp part II: camping poolside at Uncle Casey's, which included hours in the water, backward and twisty jumps perfected by Kale (the kid can swim!) and a near tornado with marble sized hail that dropped a tree not too far from Adelle and knocked out power for nearly 24 hours. Then, upta camp for a long weekend with second cousins once removed etc. Good times I tell you.
And now, its good to be home. The peas are busting off the vines, and the laundry is piling up. Business as usual for the next few weeks. Happy Monday!
Sunday, July 1, 2012
It has been and will be a week of grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, greats and 2nds, with one side of the family last week and the other side next. A couple of weeks lakeside: gathering 15-30 around the table, barbecuing meat, eating fresh greens by the pile, watermelon, s'mores and ice cream cones. A card playing, kids racing, toddler fussing, cousin bonding chaos. Whew. We look forward to it every year.
And it is always nice to come home. Somehow a few days makes everything seem fresh and new and clean (provided we managed to leave it that way!) After settling in for few minutes we all feel anxious to get to work--for me the garden, for Wylie a new fort in the tree tops above the swings. For Juniper the zip line was calling, and Kale settled down with his trucks. Then, a birthday celebration for Rob, visiting and being touristy around town with more relatives, and we're about ready to launch ourselves into the next week of family whole-heartedly. Yeah Summer!