Monday, July 27, 2015

Lazy Summer Days

Ah the lazy days of summer.  This is it right now for us.  I am so aware to soak in all the the staying and lounging and resting because in less than two weeks we pack it up again to go back to the cabin for a bit then after that school is mere days away.

I still feel like life is just sort of gliding along.  Sometimes I find myself comparing these days to similar ones even one year ago and it's remarkable how much has changed.  I am needed less in some ways, or more, needed in different ways. My children are all growing so wonderfully and becoming these independent beautiful little people.  Watching them grow is the best thing in my life.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  Ian was out of town so I capitalized on single parenting survival.  I felt the need to clean and purge after our long time away and they obliged, all day.  They played having babeis and doctor and trip to Minnesota and store and trains and and and and.  All day long. Felix is old enough now to get it mostly and join in.  I'm so thankful for my three little pals.

We roamed from their rooms to the basement, to the living room and backyard and back again.  Sometimes 1300 square feet can feel tight but I'm amazed by how big it can feel when we need it to.
For dinner we ordered out. QUITE the treat.  I was craving pizza, Louise was desperate for pasta so we did both from a local Italian favorite spot where you can add a side of meatballs and a bag of cookies to your meal for a few small dollars.  Ainsley kept exclaiming that it was the best meal ever.  I enjoyed it too.
After dinner we watched a whole hour of American's funniest home videos.  I'd never thought to watch that with them before and it was entirely entertaining.  Of course after the show  Ainsley wanted Louise to record her walking into walls and falling over and laughing.  Now I remember why I perhaps refrained from watching it with them ;o).

This morning we had to get OUT so we did some errands which were just shy of enjoyable.  The kids all love our local hardware store.  I'll admit there is something magical about a place that sells caramel corn, tiny foam paint brushes, and putty all in one.  Then a trip to the nursery for the seasons last perennials (I think, don't quote me on that!).  There were a few sad empty spots in our garden and I am so pleased with what we found.  Poor Felix petted some pokey plant and it took a few minutes of him rubbing his hand vigorously and telling me "it too hot mama!" for me to realize he had some tiny pokies that needed removing.  He's just fine now and after buying groceries and setting up the pool and sprinkler for them all he's as good as new.

As we speak the girls are downstairs watching something on the iPad.  Rest time is tricky sometimes with those two and on days when I just need QUIET I let go a bit with the screen time.  It's a battle I think I'll always have, knowing there can be a better use of this time but also knowing how much I love a good veg out with a show.  To make up for it the girls rediscovered some composition books we bought last school year and Ainsley wrote THREE full pages, single spaced, of journaling about our Minnesota trip, unprompted I will add so as not to seem the task master.  It's so worth it to hold out with your gut and trust in you child and watch them soar a bit.

I do feel antsy.  I'm trying to plug along with knitting but after finishing two larger projects for myself I'm finding motivation lacking.  The house is in decent shape, it's HOT outside.  I'm trying to relish in my children's happiness and their satisfaction in being together.  I'm told over and over this won't last forever, best enjoy these lazy summer days while I can!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Food This Week 7/21

One thing I'm always excited about after a vacation is getting back in the kitchen.  This week I'm trying just one new thing and leaning on old favorites.  I can't wait to cut up our first giant cucumber from the garden for a panzanella salad this weekend after a trip to the Farmer's Market for the rest of the ingredients.  Yay summer cooking!

Skillet Meatballs with Lemon Rice - check Mel's blog when I got home and this popped right up. Sounds delicious, don't mind if I do!

Tuna Melts - simple goodness

Peanut Noodles with Soyaki chicken skewers - my sister mentioned a peanut sauce recipe she loves and I haven't been able to get it off my mind.  Time to eat it!

Spinach and Feta Quiche - on the menu for tonight.  I've missed frittatas!

I brought some awesome sausages home from Minnesota so the weekend plan is those and panzanella with fresh veggies.

Happy summer cooking!

Home Again

Nothing says "we're home from a 2.5 week vacation" like three unpacked IKEA bags of randomness, bare cupboards, a wild growing garden, and a mom taking a nap at 5pm.  Ah vacation, we love you.

We had such a tremendous time in Minnesota.  The cabin was wonderful (Ian took all the photos, sorry none to share of my own).  The kids loved the water so much and we soaked in every ounce of sun and lake and fun that we could.  Ainsley tried water skiing again, Louise tubed on her own for the first time and Felix tubed with Ian!  I was on the dock watching in astonishment as my long legged man shot across the lake with our tiny guy in his lap.  Lots and lots of fun was had.

After Ian flew home I stayed on with the kids for an extra week.  I was so excited to get to spend some time at my childhood home with my children when it wasn't a holiday or a quick stopover.  We went to Lake Minnetonka, we got ice cream from Adele's, we played at parks, the girls saw a movie and slept over at their cousin's, we went the the General Store and downtown Excelsior and found all sorts of fun things.  I loaded up on tax free clothes and shoes for the kids at Once Upon a Child.  I almost didn't want the week to end!

Now we're home, with a mere two weeks before another shorter cabin trip.  This morning I was antsy to get errands done, meals planned, the garden and yard tidied.  Now I'm excited to slide right back into summer life here.  Parks and pools and splash pads and quality time with my kiddos who'll be starting school before I know it!

I hope you all have had a wonderful couple of weeks.  Isn't summer grand?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June, over and out

I can hardly believe that June is already over.  It mostly glided by.
The girls finished up summer camp last week.  I even brought my camera the last day to take a photo of them walking arm in arm to their class, then forgot to get it out.  Perhaps I'll have them put their backpacks on and re create it.  It was such a wonderful time for them. Popsicles and sprinklers every day, making and smashing their own class piƱata, books and playing with friends and spanish and art., two of my very favorite preschool teachers. Perfection.

Last weekend we had lots of family fun.  Saturday was filled with outside time and togetherness.  I got a run in the morning and met up with Ian and kids at the park.  Then we packed a picnic lunch and went up to our favorite splash pad park.  Once home from all that fun Ian and Felix napped while I took the girls to the pool.  It's amazing how much easier it is with my big swimming girls.  Ainsley diving for toys and swimming under my legs. Louise kicking and swimming away.  It's a whole new world!

Afterwards I took the girls to the Buzz for afternoon treats.  Then Ian took Louise up to the park to ride her two wheels.  She's getting so good (and he's so much better with these patience requiring parenting tasks).  He was told by a passerby to put his hands on her shoulders, not the seat of the bike to assist her and it's made all the difference.  She's about 85% there! We all ran after her around the block while she pedaled and balanced away.  Then pizza dinner and this movie with the kids. Ian and I had watched it the night before and wanted to share it with them.  It prompted some great conversation and thinking about children all over the world.
Sunday it was the Aboretum and more pool time for the girls, this time with Ian.  More bike riding and family cheering on for Louise.  Then another quiet night at home.  Can I just live those two days on repeat all summer long please?

weekday summer fun with my kiddos...sight word scavenger hunts with post its (and shape hunting for Felix)

 lots of splash pads

new knitting for me!

afternoon tea with my boy (Felix LOVES tea)

lots of rain lately, fun indoors and rain walks

gourmet play dough

umbrellas and bags of snacks make for a 45 minute 5 block walk

A rare no nap day for Felix so SYTYCD it is, "Mama, need a dess, den I DANCE!"

I've been really diving into knitting and reading again.  I guess finally making some things for myself has sparked something.  Most nights I can be found watching Veronica Mars knitting away.  I am so eager to finish both tops so I can get lots of good use out of them this summer.
I just finished The Cuckoo's Calling for book club and loved it.  I love a good mystery and this one took me a bit by surprise, plus it's written by JK Rowling so it has to be good right?  I'm finishing up the Rosie Project too.  I've really enjoyed that one.  Next I think I'll dive into Language of the Flowers. I got a hardback copy super cheap so I think it will feel a bit luxurious to read.

Now we're onto the real meat of summer.  The weather has been so mild it hardly feels like it's here yet, and I LOVE it. Our garden is erupting, just cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes the year.  There's so little sun in our backyard now.  I long for rows of berry bushes and carrots and lettuces and all sorts of edibles, and of course the room to plant them. Someday!

This week we are gearing up for our big Minnesota excursion.  Minnetonka, St Paul, Big Fork, Minnetonka again.  Ian flies home after a week at the cabin and I'm staying on with the kids for a bit longer.  I am so excited for it all.  Family time, cabin time, Minnesota time.  I love it!

There are FIVE birthdays in our combined families over the next few weeks so we're gearing up for that too.  Lots of wrapping and card making these next few days.  All fun stuff.

So today there's a big list to check off.  Tomorrow we hit the road.  I feel like the summer is flying by.  Trying to soak it all in.