Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Things.

At the beginning of this week I felt a panic rush over me like it always does the first week of August.  A panic of summer coming to an end.  Counting only three more weekends in my head before school begins and thinking...oh no...we need to go camping once more, and to the river, and swim and we didn't get to that park or do that hike and we only went to the splash park once and we only had ice cream three nights this week...and so on.  I start to wonder how we can possibly cram everything in the few short weeks left.  Maybe if we got up an hour early and tried to go to three parks a day we could squeeze in some more summer fun.  I'm only half kidding on this.  I allowed a few minutes of panic before I told myself to chill out.  I can be very bossy with myself and seeing how serious she seemed I decided to take a breath and actually chill out.  Instead of worrying about the last few weeks flying by, the reasonable part of myself decided to soak it up.  To remember the main reason I love summer is enjoying it with my babes so I got around to the business of doing just that.  I'm really glad the reasonable part of me won this argument.  Instead of panicking, we simply did summer things.  Things like...

Stop by a park just because it's on the way to store...

No grand plans...simply taking the opportunity to say "yes" when driving by a park and little voices from the back ask "can we play there?'  Bonus points for not once saying, "Okay, ten more minutes then back to errands."  Nope...I waited until Layla said "I'm hot, can we go now?"  And then...

Cooling off from said park trip with yogurt-

In a few weeks there will be no yogurt outings on a random Tuesday afternoon.  Gotta soak it up.  And who doesn't love a place where you get to swirl your own yogurt and put your own toppings on?  Not gonna lie...I have to back off because my days working at TCBY make me really want to show them the "right" way to swirl their yogurt.  I've got a lotta experience working those machines.  Made $4.05/hour doing that...oh yea.  

Hiking Adventures with Cousins-
My girls seem to enjoy hiking on there own, but you throw their cousins in the mix and it become a favorite hobby.  Suddenly they are all "adventurer's"...checking out bird nests, moss and bugs.  At the top of this particular trail there is a fort which became their own playhouse.  First they were bears in a cave, then foxes, then homeless people looking for a place to stay and finally cheetahs.  I sat on a rock looking at the view from the top and listening to their imaginations run wild.  Back towards the end we came back to the creek and littles begged to put their feet in to cool off.  Who was I to say no to anyone requesting to play in a mountain stream?  They are quite the gang these four...
This photo makes my heart feel very, very full.

A new found love of bike riding...
We have not been the best parents when it comes to the job of teaching your kids to ride a bike.  I remember trying with Ava during Kindergarten.  She didn't catch on right away. She got frustrated, I got frustrated.  I thought, who needs to ride a bike anyways and they got tucked back in the corner of the garage.  However, the old "Friends" episode where Phoebe doesn't know how to ride a bike as an adult creeps back into my head and so each summer I vow that this will be the summer they learn.  During my panic moment earlier this week I realized the bikes have not been out all summer so I was determined to let Layla give it a try.  Ava really didn't want to seeing as all her attempts have only been mildly successful.  I cheerfully said we would just give it a try and I am so proud to say these girls not only rocked it, but have begged to go on a bike ride every day since.  Even this one.  We can add a star to our parenting sticker chart.  
For Ava, it suddenly clicked and she was off.  Enjoying the freedom that comes with flying down the road on a bike, wind in your hair.  Layla, our spirited child, was so determined to figure it out.  She concentrated, tongue out, listened to everything Matt said and within ten minutes she had it.  Anytime she stumbled, she jumped back up and tried again.  Her determination and stubbornness is admirable and although it may frustrate me at times, this girl is gonna go far in life because of it.  I have been filled with parental pride with these accomplishments.  Although I can't take any credit other than being a good cheerleader...Matt is really the one who taught them...totally not my forte.  But, I can cheer them on.  Yes, yes I can do that very well.  (Insert spirit fingers and toe touch)

Summer's Bounty...
This is just what I came home with from my sisters garden.  Between her beautiful garden, Matt's here and our CSA I officially haven't bought a vegetable in a month.  I love it.  There is nothing like cooking with fresh ingredients.  Fresh like, I picked the zucchini from our garden five minutes before I chopped it and threw it on the grill.  Fresh like those potatoes up there turned into this for dinner...

And, I made my first attempt at canning...
I've thought about canning before.  Especially at the end of the season when we have more produce than I know what to do with.  I've researched it a bit and always decided it seemed like way to much work.  I go the lazy girls route by shredding and freezing zucchini.  Slow roasting and then freezing tomatoes.  Anything you can just throw in the freezer is my speed.  This week I got inspired by our vast amount of raspberries and by the oh-so-yummy homemade strawberry jam my sister gave us.  I thought...I can do that. After probably way too little research and some experimenting in the kitchen I got this...
They look good which is a start.  We'll see how they actually taste tomorrow.  And, I'm a little worried that maybe I should have researched a bit more after talking with my sister.  Now things like "bacteria" and "not sealing" properly are in my head.   I may stick to my freezing method.  Or, I'll actually have her teach me.  We both decided canning would be much better if we did it together.  Preferably on a cool day, not a hot summer day.  And without kiddos around.  And with a cocktail.  

Today the girls and I took a bike ride for a picnic by a stream.  It was simple and lovely.  We passed by their school and talk of school beginning came about.  I didn't panic over the end of summer coming, I simply soaked up the time I was having right there with my girls at that moment.  The panic may try to creep in but I make sure to keep it in check.  There are many, many more summer moments to be had.

Summer Lovin'

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