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Thursday, September 7, 2017

summer, last call

We had a pretty spectacular end to summer. As it wrapped up, and we followed our well-grooved path, I realized how many traditions we have incorporated into the rhythm of transitioning from the end of summer to the start of school.

(Here comes a trip down memory lane.)

First up, drop uncomfortable amounts of money on school shopping. Assist one child who wears only athletic pants, t-shirts and hoodies and is done within an hour and then drag her around like a punishment with her fashionista sister who has grown so much in the past six months that she needs new EVERYTHING. Go to every single store in a 20-mile radius over two days, cursing the parents whose kids are satisfied with online shopping, and entertain ideas of awards they should give out to parents who survive the ordeal and the cocktail parties thrown in their favor.

There are no photos. No one (me) has the time or energy or humor for photos.

Next stop, the Folk Festival.

Folk Festival 2014

The music was so good, Maya and Sandi broke out in spontaneous dance.

Ella (and I) waited through a full musical set for her annual henna tattoo.


Family favorite: popcorn as big as Maya.


Giant popcorn sleeve 2014

Folk Festival 2012

Somewhat accidentally, it has become a tradition for us to spend one of the very last days of summer at Branch Lake with some or all of the Smiths, jumping off big rocks into crystal clear water. And every year the kids perform some sort of version of Happy Birthday for me (they started it years ago and now I insist on it).

This is the grand finale, reminiscent of Charlie's Angels.


Then before you know it, you are packing lunches and your 7th grader is setting an alarm to get up a solid 4 hours earlier than she has most of the summer so she can straighten her hair and your 4th grader is trying to decide if the Nike Pros she has lived in all summer violate the dress code (they do).

It was fun to take our first day of school pictures on our front porch!


Every year I get a picture of the girls together. This year Maya's hair looked like a flock of birds has roosted for the night and had yet to be evicted with a brush. She looked at me like no way are you taking my picture.

But being a mom, by definition means you have moves. Some call them manipulations. I prefer the term motivation. "Well, you girls could at least give each other a hug before Ella leaves..." And boom: there's my photo.

First day of school 2013

First day of school 2014

Piper was all like, "WAIT. What?"


We moved into the house two days after school got out and spent a whirlwind couple of weeks unpacking, mounting, installing and establishing residency at our local Home Depot and Lowe's.  Then Sandi went back to work, summer hit like a bomb and everything got tabled.

I spent the first days with the kids in school trying to catch up our lives, a typical early September activity: tame the umpteen piles of laundry, unpack from two weeks at camp, return unanswered phone calls, go through an irresponsible amount of unattended to mail, organize the fall schedule and get back to a normal work routine writing and massaging. 

But more than anything, I relished the time to bond with my house. To organize and figure out systems for how we function in the space, to purchase the things we still needed and to reclaim the spaces that had been taken over with boxes and unpacked things. To be alone in the empty quiet of the beautiful space, productive and accomplished, once again.

And then it's time for vibrancy and volume to fill the house once again. Piper has a new found love for the hissing air-break of the school bus. The kids take the bus both ways to school this year! I love that yellow rectangle.

First day of school afternoon ice cream party. Another tradition. This is what it looked like last year:

And this year.

Labor Day, the true last call it seems, brought the girls and I back to the beach with my family (Sandi typically works Labor Day). While September will have some warm, even hot, days, there won't be too many more that will drive kids into the freezing Atlantic.

First the kids decided they needed to construct a raft on which to send Maya across the narrow inlet to the other shore. I let them work on it for a while before I informed them that she would not be riding on such a vessel.

When they realized that no amount of begging would allow them to send Maya out to sea, they begged to strip down and swim (neither mother brought swim suits since it wasn't supposed to be over 70 degrees). We granted them this request and they used their "raft" (known in some circles as a log) and motored across.

This is what happens when your almost 13 yo steals your phone.

My sister, my mom and I
Two years ago my mom and her grandkids:

And this year, the four grandkids blue one grand-dog who sat so eagerly for this photo.

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Happy autumn everyone! It's time for warm blankets at field hockey games, a fire in the fireplace, fleece, soups and chilly mornings.

 And here's a wish for presence...because life is going way too fast.

Folk Festival 2012


Today. xoxoxo

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