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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

summer...aaaaand that's a wrap.

I get very wistful and sentimental this time of year.  While it is true that I am somewhat frazzled to a raw nerve having been with my children nearly 24/7 since mid June, have packed and unpacked and shopped and laundered for all of our adventures and used our house more like a landing pad/reorganizational headquarters than an actual home and could use a solid week to get our lives back in some semblance of order, I am very teary about my kids starting school tomorrow.

First off, we are in the middle of our first August heatwave and it feels wrong, cruel and totally out of sync with my biological clock to be planning first day outfits, lining up lunch boxes and stowing  notebooks in brand-new backpacks.   I have to say, my heart is just not in it.  

As much as I could use a break and use some uninterrupted time devoted to myself, my yard and my house, I am going to seriously miss my kids tomorrow.  

It is hard to start a new year knowing that the summer of them being 6 and 9 is over, never to return.  Did I mention I get sentimental around now?  I have to say, although they were by no means perfect, I enjoyed my kids more this summer than any other.  They are at a great age.  They don't tire as easily, they are more self-sufficient, they are fun and funny and the things we do together are actually enjoyable to me as well as to them.   They are exhausting and I have to be on my toes with them home all summer but they are also an utter delight and I consider myself infinitely lucky to spend their summers with them.  

So here you have it.  My last summer post.  

Ella has been taking some of the most beautiful photos!  These two are from my garden. 

 Back in the spring Maya went on a trip to Lowes with Sandi and came home with a seed packet to grow cantaloupe.  Cantaloupe in Maine?  Attempted by these inexperienced veggie gardeners?  We made a valiant effort, growing the seeds into seedlings indoors and then transplanting them outside.  And guess what?  This was, according to farmers I have spoken to, the perfect summer for melon.

And look what happened!

One of the things on the girls' summer manifesto was to have a picnic at a local park they love.  Down to the wire, we made it happen.
 Look at these beautiful picnic placements Ange and Matt gave us for our wedding! They even have little slots for utensils!  We ate some of the yummy bread and fancy Fiore olive oil and balsamic from Emilie and Tim (also part of a wedding present) for our picnic dinner.

We have been school shopping.  This picture says it all and I have nothing else to say about that.

The girls' school work over the summer has really paid off!  Ella has almost mastered multiplication and Maya has become a fluent reader.  Also, she learned other skills such as the proper way to hold a book.

One of our favorite weekends of the summer is the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront.  We had so much fun there this past weekend!  (Although Ella did say, "I wish the Folk Festival was earlier in the summer. I look forward to it so much and then when it is over it means summer is over."  She's a wee bit sentimental like me.)

 You get a sticker every time you "kick in" which means to donate money to the festival (it is offered free of admission and runs on donations).  Maya likes to take our donation money in dollar bills so she can sleeve her arm in stickers.

 The highlight of the festival for Ella: a gigantic piece of wood-fired tomato, pesto, mozzarella pizza.
 We volunteered to do the bucket brigade again this year to get other people to kick in!  We made some serious cash for the festival.  No one can say no to kids.

 But it was also very hot and even the most devoted volunteers get wiped out by the heat.

 Then last night we had two very important school preparations to complete.  Maya had an open house to meet her first grade teacher and get reacquainted with her friends and all the playground equipment (a lovely event put on by our awesome PTO that makes the transition back to school SO much easier).
And Ella got her nails done.  You heard me right.  She spent some of her lobster fishing money on a before school manicure.  I overhead her saying to someone, "I have a nail appointment at 4."  Purple french tip manicure thank you very much. 

I don't like my kids growing up.  I know it is better than the alternative which is that they don't grow up and flourish and thrive, but I still find it painful and a bit inhumane.  I have that panicked feeling that their childhood is speeding up.  So I do the only thing I know to combat that feeling: I play spider on the swings with Maya and swim in water I would rather not swim in with Ella.   We listen to teeny bopper music in the car and have tea parties and hug and laugh and cry and relish all the moments in between.

"We had the best summer."

I heard Maya say that to someone yesterday.  I agree.  It was the very best.

gone to haul...with everyone.

On one of the rainy days of our vacation we drove to Beals Island so that Ella could haul her traps and my family would have the opportunity to go out on Dwight's lobster boat.  Because it is so far from where my sister and her family live, they had never actually been to Beals Island where the Carvers live.  It was yet another way this summer knit our families together a little more.  

Tricia, Krisit, Patti, Me, my mom (Jan) and my sister (Kathryn)

Look whose driving the boat again!
There was a storm chasing us on the horizon.  It was one of the more ominous things I've experienced  being on the ocean in a boat knowing that the black sky would eventually open up over us.  

In order to fish as a student, Dwight and Ella both "tag" the traps that she fishes.  That means he gives up fishing 10 of his own traps to allow her to fish them.   The buoys that mark these traps are labeled with both of their initials and license numbers.  I can't fully explain why the site of this buoy is so touching to me- perhaps it is the commitment of a grandfather, the opportunity she has been given, or just the sheer cuteness of my very fashionable, tween daughter fishing for lobster with her Grampie-  but it fills my heart with love.

 YES! Lobsters!
Kathryn was so excited to get on the boat and get to work.  She kept telling us she had been waiting years to do it.  It was like a kid in a candy shop.

Michaela and Brian got really into it too!

Have you ever seen such a crowded lobster boat?

Yum, that bait smells good.
Ella is slightly distracted on the boat, multitasking being something she hasn't exactly mastered.  She is trying to tend the trap and get the lobsters out, band them, count them and bait the pockets to go in the trap before it is returned to the water.  She gets rather overwhelmed.  Usually Brevan baits her pockets because he is a boy and bait doesn't bother him.  (I think he actually likes it.) For this, Ella is very grateful.  She usually does the banding whilst dreaming of all the money she is making.  But on this trip with so many hands helping, she also learned how to measure the lobsters to determine if they are "keepers".    Which is, in fact, hard to do with your fingers crossed praying you can keep them and sell them and profit from them....

Do you not love the child-sized Grundens?  (Or oil pants as they are also called.)

Maya is very serious on the boat.

Someone spotted a jellyfish in the water and Dwight scooped it up with a bucket.  The kids were enthralled.

When the storm that was brewing finally broke over us, we headed back to shore to sell Ella's lobsters and crowd into the Carver's house for dry clothes, coffee and Patti's out-of-this-world blueberry cobbler.  It was such a special and memorable day.

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