Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Simply Summer

Summer is in full swing and yet it seems almost impossible that next week we will celebrate July 4th. There really is no predictable routine to many of our days these days, but I'm trying and mostly succeeding at embracing the unexpected, the unplanned, the unforeseen. That freedom is the glowing gift that is summer.

It's striking how different my erstwhile childhood summers are when compared to those of my children today. As I dropped T. Bone off at camp Monday morning at the elementary school I myself attended, I honed in on the playgrounds already filled with boys and girls. Many a free day I made my way to these same stomping grounds via bicycle for games of kickball or tennis or capture the flag all loosely organized and very well attended. When I rode off without a helmet on my head, I went home to make lunch for myself and my younger brother. If we were lucky, the house across the boulevard would put the flag out that signaled open swim, and friends for a several block radius would convene and cool off for a lazy afternoon. I was 11 and my Mom was at work. Most moms were at work. We didn't have a glut of organized activities, calendars with inked in play dates, chauffeurs or cell phones, and truth be told...we didn't need them.

I guess it's fair to say that I'm nostalgic for that simpler life I seem to so fondly remember. I have friends who are already complaining that their kids are bored with summer. I'm sorry, but I just don't know what to say to that. I know that I'm blessed that my two have not spoken that surprising sentiment. But is it really surprising when we look through an honest lens at the lives we lead? How we are always on the go? Multi-tasking? Plugged in? Tuned out? Waiting to be entertained and amused? Faster, louder, bigger, better, more, more, more.

This week Miss Bit is attending theater camp and she's a bit flummoxed and not entirely happy that she's committed to camp all 5 days...Monday through Friday folks...that's Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. That girl of mine is so very much digging her down time. I am too so I feel her pain just not as poignantly perhaps.

But that being said...I've enjoyed some quality one on one time with T. Bone (when he's been home that is to say.) He's more my mover and shaker. Tuesday morning we spent some time shopping for new cleats and such and then had lunch before his presence was requested at the club with his friends for a swim, followed by a must-see semi-final ball game, followed by a spur of the moment sleepover. Today I had much fun playing "ball mama" on the tennis court. We played a little round robin with one of his friends and they were so impressed by my skills that they questioned whether or not I ever played at Wimbledon. I surmise they didn't see the cob webs attached like super glue to my faded racket cover or the grip literally disintegrating in my hands. Silly boys. That fine flattery earned them butter burgers and malts for lunch with sides of fries. Smart boys.

Miss Bit and I managed to steal away for a couple exclusive dates this week too. I knew she so needed them when she sobbed on the way to camp each morning about how much she was going to miss me, and how she would try to focus on all the happy times we have had, and did I have a Kleenex or 5 to spare. And just for the record...she is very much loving this acting camp. Her enhanced dramatic flair is the finest evidence that we are getting our money's worth out of this week. The truth is my girl would rather be eating ice-cream on a shady park bench, making new friends on the playground whose names she cannot for the life of her remember and probably will never see again so it doesn't really matter, figuring out new monkey bar challenges, and rooting through the shelves at the library for books she hasn't read but wants to than working on inflection and improv and expression.

At Casa Wags we're all about finding the balance. Next week there will be no camp or work or have tos. We won't be going anywhere or doing anything special either, and I'd be willing to bet it will go down as one of the best weeks of the summer. A jewel, a nugget, a treasure.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

two day pass

in one word this weekend was...beautiful.

the windows and doors were open wide and we spent more time outside than in.

we logged a 6 miler followed by a 5 the next day.

saturday hubby and i were up and out before the littles so we left breakfast on the counter with a note.

there was plenty of time for dates for both kiddos, bbqs and baseball.

late sunday the sox lost in the first round of the playoffs.

it was the comeback story of the season, but we're not talking about it anymore in this house.

and just like that it's all and the weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for:

Molly girl reunited with Buddy boy in heaven yesterday. I haven't told Miss Bit yet because I know she's going to be sadder than sad, although not as blue as Grandma and Grandpa. I just told T. Bone and he said with just a slight hint of melancholy in his voice, "Well, you know...everything's gotta move on." I guess he's right.

The way the kids suddenly are enamored with The Beatles.

Dinner with some of the Scary Sisters last night. The food was delicious, the wine was flowing and best of all is always the company with this special group of friends.

The rest of my family had almost as much fun at the Red Sox end of season party and rolled in after I was home and chilling. T. Bone scored MVP and Miss Bit a tummy ache from all the picnic goodies.

The tummy troubles came back on the way to camp this morning making me realize that there was still a hefty dose of anxiety about her new experience. She made it through the day though, and she managed to have quite a lot of fun too!

Sweet sauteed peas.

Good sleeping weather every night this week.

An OJ sighting this morning.

Cookies and cream rich you only need a small square to satisfy any sized sweet tooth.

A movie morning with my kiddos this week. Rango was not too riveting, but I always enjoy popcorn for breakfast and time spent with T. Bone and Miss Bit.

These happy smiling faces.


Monday, June 20, 2011

On My Mind Monday

Into each life some rain must fall.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Just as I was walking the kids into camp, the skies darkened and the rain began to fall. I sent T. Bone back to fetch the umbrella from the van. He didn't balk and so I concluded that chivalry is dead, but not entirely extinct. The rain was relentless and the fog along the lake dense making visibility a real white knuckling challenge. Standing water covered many streets just making a bad situation worse. I pulled into the parking lot late and sure that I would never be lucky enough to secure a covered spot on a day like today. I scored the last one proving that I may not be lucky, but my luck has not exactly run out, and I'm more than OK with that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

two day pass

hubby and i kicked off our weekend late friday afternoon with our favorite five miler.
we were on the homeward stretch when jess called, and it was decided she would come over to play.
then my brother dropped in just long enough to say 'hi' and to mix some margaritas.
we enjoyed the patio until our teeth started chattering and our stomachs began grumbling.
miss bit came home from fun with grandma and grandpa.
t. bone came home from a long day at the waterpark with friends.
we made some pizzas and jess spent the night.

she and i were up early and back on the tree-lined road for a walk first thing.
my boys left as soon as we returned home for a day of baseball: first tournament team tryouts and then a game.
i made breakfasts for my two best girls: jess and bit.
after a trip to not one, but two grocery stores, bit played the afternoon away with a friend.
i chopped and baked, marinated and assembled.
my mil and fil came home with my boys after the sox lost to celebrate dad's day a few hours early.
we enjoyed a refreshingly bright melon salsa, bbq chicken, rosemary potatoes and one another's company.
we left just enough room for slivers of so so good s'mores pie.

the kiddos woke eager to bestow their #1 dad with carefully selected gifts and yet it's always the cards that tug at the heart strings.
they know as well as i know just how lucky they are that he is their's.
i had visions of breaking out the new croquet set and breaking in his new i pod arm band before breakfast, but the skies unleashed on us instead.
miss bit highjacked father's day with her unbridled excitement at receiving the much coveted scooter a month early.
i mean the bright pink, electric razor scooter that goes 10 mph and is just like G.'s.
it was an early birthday present.
now t. bone wants one too although he doesn't prefer pink.
miss bit told her brother that she loved it so much she wouldn't part with it for a thousand or even a million dollars.
her dad put it together and got it charging while i started breakfast.
for him: his favorite veggie omelette, and for them: pancakes almost as good as grandpa's.
only because he came in to help, we were able to sit down all together.
then before we knew it more dads arrived for a pre-sox party/father's day celebration.
my brother's best hot wings stole the show, but uncle b. bone's vacation hat deserves an honorable mention.
the sox went on to win the game and we were all in attendance for the final victory of the season.

some of us headed home for more ball games and bbq.
this time: soccer and steak.
we lingered around the dining room table playing games after dinner because once again the chill was back in the air, and before we knew was 10 o'clock and time to say good bye.
good bye to loved ones and our most favorite time of all the week: the weekend.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Finding Peanut at his new post throughout the day. He curls up on Miss Bit's bed to keep a close eye on our new fishy friend, Joe.
A new super light and super cool mesh hat, and my thoughtful friend for picking it up for me at the Nike store last week.
Uncle B. Bone and Aunt A. Bone were up at 4:30 a.m. and on the road for 14 hours, but they still stopped by to see a bit of T. Bone's baseball game on their way into town last Sunday.
Red and white Bordeauxs and my friend for kindly bringing several bottles back from France for me.
My in-laws for keeping the kiddos for a couple days this week and Mother Nature for clearing up the skies so they could enjoy the pool.
The perfect marinade for steak: soy sauce, sherry, garlic, brown sugar and EVOO.
Shopping with T. Bone and Miss Bit this week for just the right Dad's Day gifts for their Daddy. They are so thoughtful with the task.
The kiddos have been reading some everyday and I haven't had to nag them to do so.
Help in the kitchen. Miss Bit and I made breakfast together on Tuesday and T. Bone was my sous chef on Wednesday.
Miss Bit's reaction when I told her that someone had uprooted my newly planted pepper plants overnight: "Oh, I'm so sorry. You worked so hard on that."
Frozen lemonade bars...the new frosty family favorite.
Boys in uniform. Teammates and friends.

Yards full of balls after batting practice.

A mid-day photo shoot with my girl at her urging. She had such fun hamming it up for the camera.

My peonies are beautifully abloom.

Lil Bit's sidewalk art.

My man returns from a conference in Chicago this afternoon.

Plans to celebrate all the wonderful fathers in our lives this weekend: mine, his, their's.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slow and Sweet Start

I woke up with quite an aching back today. I attribute that to coming straight home from Miss Bit's softball game last night at 8:30 and curling up in bed until morning. I was dressed for 70 degrees and it dipped down to 60 so I was freezing. Before I knew it, I was flanked by both kids and both cats. We tuned into The Cake Boss, and the littles got me several times with, "Please...just one more commercial...Palease!" I remember making those same pleas every night of my childhood and my Mom also being a marshmallow.

Today is our first Tuesday off. I was prepared to hit the ground running, but the kiddos are enjoying a lazy morning of lounging. I know how to downshift and I'm more than happy to brew another cup of coffee. On today's agenda? Nothing...yet.

Camp wore them both out yesterday. It also broke them in. When I picked Miss Bit up, she was having fun just as I suspected. She'd made many friends and mastered numerous minute to win it challenges. We gathered T. Bone and learned that he is now the proud owner of some new friendships too. Just like that the rest of the summer will be smooth sailing, smiles and serendipity. The kids both had neighborhood friends over within minutes of pulling in the driveway proving that they were re-energized simply by the change of scenery, the rest of the week off if they have their druthers and perhaps, also a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On My Mind Monday

Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
Tomorrow be today.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you look closely you will see that Miss Bit is trying to smile in this morning's first day of camp picture, and also wearing jeans. Not long after this image was preserved, she was holding back tears and in need of serious mama bear hugs. The new routine, the new camp, the new faces overwhelm my girl and I truly want to fast forward time to when this experience is the new normal. Today, 3:00 can not come soon enough for me or my baby.

two day pass

this weekend was all about the impromptu.

spontaneity was our speed.

t. bone and miss bit kicked off the weekend and summer vacation, although it was not too summery, at grandma and grandpa's.

i came home from work friday to no hustle and zero bustle.

i almost didn't know what exactly to do with my lonesome self.

my man and i invited my aunt and uncle to join us for dinner on the spur of the moment.

they accepted so we enjoyed decent mexican, adult conversation and maybe a margarita or 2.

saturday we strapped on our shoes for a 5 mile loop.

as we walked we decided to replicate bobby flay's flank steak sandwiches for dinner...we were hunry so what can i say?

we shopped for the necessary ingredients making it home just as my dad delivered the kiddos from 2 days of spoiling.

they were muddy from frolicking in the woods with the puppy and sufficiently sugared up from the ice creams they called lunch.

the sox played a late afternoon game and won.

then we stayed to cheer on friends on another team.

before we knew it we were putting our grilling plans on hold and heading out for dinner with the clan.

miss bit had her pick of boys in uniform...there were 4.

the mom's got the most of her attention as they fawned all over her and she went from lap to lap eventhough she is almost 7.

i was up by 7 on sunday.

so much for sleeping in.

and the rest of the fam was not far behind.

we lounged, did chores, grilled turkey burgers and sliced watermelon for lunch and then played until it was time to cheer on the sox again.

the day's game was a favorite of the the little league field right outside our major league ballpark.

the sox played great, but best of all they had big fun, and t. bone had his own cheering section 11 deep...loud and proud.

the team gathered for a post game tailgate that kept us out until 10.

i tucked the littles in bed and then myself asap once home.

it was 10:15.

miss bit was too tired to worry about starting camp in the morning, t. bone was too tired to shower, my man was too tired to sleep and i was too tired to even dream a little dream.

all evidence of another great weekend.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Non-Sense and Non-Sensibility

Just a little silliness on Saturday stolen from here...

1. Rockstar Name (first pet, current car): Snowy Sienna

(Pookie Beamer is my rockin' husband and I am so calling him that from now on!)

2. Gangsta Name (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Mint Chip Flip Flop

3. Native American Name (fave color, fave animal): Pink Tabby

4. Superhero Name (2nd fave color, fave drink): Sage Cabernet Sauvignon

5. Nascar Name (first names of your grandfathers): Mack Victor or Victor Mack

6. Stripper Name (name of your fave scent/perfume, fave candy): Aromatics Dark Chocolate

7. TV Weather Anchor Name (5th grade teacher’s last name, major city that starts with same letter): Engle Engelwood

8. Spy Name (fave season/holiday, flower): Autumn Snap Dragon

9. Cartoon Name (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Cherry Cardigan

10. Hippie Name (what you ate for breakfast, favorite tree): Smoothie Weeping Willow

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Today is the first day of summer vacation. True it feels more like fall, but no matter the's freedom.

T. Bone requested a haircut last weekend. It usually happens after the first scorching, sweaty baseball game of the season. Shaggy is gone and my son has returned.

Pasta salad for lunch several days this week: whole wheat rigatoni, crunchy veggies, salty kalamatas, nutty Parmesan and my light balsamic vinaigrette topped with a little grilled chicken.

Miss Bit will spend a week at away day camp with one of her BFFs in August.

My aunt is going to drop off some pepper and tomato plants for us this weekend. It is so kind of her to share her bounty. She has become quite the hobby horticulturalist/gardener. I think I may have talked her into getting some chickens too so she may also be adding farmer to her titles.

Cherry almond smoothies. They are like dessert for breakfast.

I finished The Camel Club. Now I am on to Water For Elephants when I walk.

Miss Bit asked me yesterday, "Do you know you are the best Mom ever?" My answer was to give a hug, and then she asked more emphatically, "You do know that right?"

Both kids earned impressive marks on their report cards. T. Bone finished elementary school and Miss Bit ended first grade on high notes.

Miss Bit's version of batting gloves.

Buddies already...T. Bone and Bodi.

An alphabet serenade courtesy of the almost second graders this week. Lil Bit takes charge of the letter L.

Daddy for taking a break from his busy day to come picnic with his best girl(s) and show his pride in all her work.

Good byes, but only until Fall.

Another poet in the family. Miss Bit follows in her brothers foot steps.

Peanut and Tigger greet the newest family member, Joe. AKA Joey, Jo Jo or JJ. Peanut fell off the counter when Joe started to swim around the tank he was that freaked out. Tigger walked right up and put his nose in the bowl as if to say..."Welcome Dude." Needless to say, now the cover is on tight and Joe resides peacefully on Miss Bit's nightstand. She hemmed and hawed about leaving him to go to Grandma and Grandpa's, but I assured her I would take care of him. She called first thing this morning to make sure I was keeping my word.