Saturday, July 30, 2011

100 Things I Love

A friend did a post yesterday that I thought was really fun. It's nothing complicated, just a list of 100 things that she likes. As someone who has done a gratitude journal at different times and who is in love with One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, this really shouldn't be very hard. Here's my list:

1. my husband, daughter and son (should that be 1, 2 and 3?)
2. my dog Chelsea's eyes
3. a purring cat
4. our family when we are all in my bed in the morning (that includes animals)
5. being up early and having a quiet house
6. tea, especially when served in china
7. Starbuck's Green Tea Latte
8. planning a knitting project
9. a book that I can't put down
10. trying new recipes
11. reading interesting blog posts about home and family
12. evening church services
13. fall
14. Christmas
15. giving food gifts
16. celebrating anything with my kids
17. down duvets
18. crisp, cool sheets
19. a long, hot shower
20. ice cream
21. vintage jazz
22. Pride by U2
23. Steel Magnolias, the film (it's boring, I know, but for some reason, I love it)
24. A Christmas Carol with Alaistair Simm
25. walks in the forest
26. sunrise
27. celery green
28. Lug bags
29. buying yarn or fabric
30. decorating for any holiday
31. eating food that I have picked
32. berries, especially strawberries
33. cheese, especially sharp cheese like extra old white or blue
34. pad thai
35. a few favourite hymns (e.g., Be Thou My Vision)
36. potluck dinners
37. pink gerbera daisies
38. cooking shows
39. M1-5 (called Spooks in England)
40. Lucy Maude Montgomery books
41. a good mystery (Elizabeth George, Anne Perry, Kathy Reichs)
42. photos
43. browsing old scrapbooks
44. visits with good friends
45. barbecues
46. reading stories with my kids
47. lots of pillows
48. candles
49. chocolate
50. gingerbread
51. spring asparagus
52. flowers from my own garden
53. long walks
54. shopping from a catalogue
55. taking my dogs to the forest
56. swimming in fresh water that is really clean
57. going on low-effort trips (e.g., visiting my in-laws in their lovely town)
58. organic baby stores
59. buying beauty products
60. my ipod
61. chocolate ginger
62. my own bed
63. reading until I fall asleep
64. time at home on a rainy day
65. thunderstorms (inside)
66. snowy days (as long as I don't have to drive)
67. nutmeg
68. oatmeal cookies
69. apples fresh from the tree
70. elegant hats
71. cable-knit sweaters
72. mary janes
73. wearing skirts
74. choosing books at the library
75. getting parcels in the mail
76. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini
77. Beethoven Piano Sonatas
78. what we call my "Dr. Zhivago" coat
79. sitting in the shade
80. making lists
81. CBC radio (talk only, I don't like their music)
82. fresh stationary
83. sunny mornings
84. east facing windows
85. getting my hair done
86. a really good pedicure
87. linen
88. snow on cedars
89. japanese maples
90. clothing blowing on a clothesline
91. laughing with friends
92. trains in the distance
93. the sound of crickets
94. rhubarb crisp
95. latin jazz
96. Pk in dresses
97. shopping at second hand stores
98. face powder in a compact
99. the Chrysler Building in N.Y.C.
100. people who smile

So, that's boring old me. I often feel like I am old beyond my years but I do like things calm, sedate and easy... I guess it's because so much of my life is so busy.

Thanks for the idea for the list, Sarah!

Another List Item

Yesterday we got to strike another thing off our summer list and it was in such a marvelous way. We were invited to spend a day at the cottage of friends' up in Muskoka.

-swim in fresh water at least once (probably while visit my parents or the in-laws)

These are friends of ours from town but the funny thing is, I got to know the mom at the library with our eldest kids when they were babies and my husband, it turns out, works with her parents. This is the kind of family that I want our family to be when we all grow up - they are very close but in a loving, supportive sense, not in a cloying, sickly sweet sense. They are a family of individuals who genuinely like, respect and care for each other and the sense they have of belonging to something is palpable. The cottage has been the family getaway since the late 1970's. The father of my friend built the cottage, they had a road put in and have done all the work on the property. Being welcomed to the cottage felt like being welcomed into this wonderful family - it was so special. It also said something that Dh and I had such a great time, as neither of us are "cottage" type people - we like our hot showers with good water pressure, a/c and lack of grit just too much.

When we left our house, it was POURING rain. The Weather Network was predicting that when we got up north, it would clear and the forecast was actually correct. When we got to just outside the largest town in the area, the rain stopped and shortly after we arrived, the sun came out and the heat came up. It was a perfect cottage day.
Needless to say, Pk was very excited. Little Bean, not so much - it was about a 2-and-a-half hour drive and he wasn't thrilled.
I always associate going into cottage country with the appearance of the rock at the side of the road. I believe this is Canadian Shield country but I may be wrong.
The road in was a bit harrowing. The family put it in themselves (most of the cottages on this lake are water access) and it's very narrow (there's only room for one car). We were worried that we were in the wrong place but suddenly, the sign with the family's name appeared in front of us.
When we arrived, we got the tour. It's lakefront access with a sand bottom lake (at least at their beach) and set in the trees. You could see other cottages so you didn't feel eerily remote but you definitely had privacy.
Pk and B, her friend, immediately started to play in the water and we couldn't get them into their swimsuits fast enough.
Little Bean didn't want to be left out and he was in the water right away, too. It was a struggle to get him to wear his hat.
Luckily, good friends lent us a pair of lifejackets to take with us and thankfully, Pk didn't give us any struggle about wearing hers, unlike her little brother, who flat out refused.
The babies had fun sitting together on the raft. They are so funny to watch playing together!
Little Bean was not a fan of the float.
Pk wasn't so keen either. She wanted to be jumping off the raft into the water, again and again.
This gorgeous, screened-in porch area was added for my friend's wedding (they have hosted the weddings of two of the three siblings here at the cottage). I don't think you would get me out of the porch if it were my cottage, other than for the odd swim. The shade was lovely and the view was breath-taking. While LB had his nap, I got to sit and knit in this area - divine!
They designed the cottage so that the lake could be seen from everywhere (the joke is that as long as you leave the bathroom door open, you can even see the lake from the loo).
Pk was desperate to go out in the boat and M, my friend's wonderful husband, was quick to oblige. He chauffeured the old kids around over and over again. They found a lovely family of ducks, got to scoop up tadpoles and visit a beaver dam. Pk was in heaven. He's also just so slightly paranoid about the safety of the kids, which was wonderful for me as mom- I knew that if they were with M, they would be totally safe in the boat. Pk also got to try a canoe but I missed getting photos of that.

Then, it was time for a ride in the big boat. Pk was heaven (she's such a rides girl). Dh and I each got a ride, too. The sun was really bright but the breeze from the water kept things comfortable.
Pk and her friend B had a marvelous time having all kinds of adventures. I love it when they play together. She has some friends with whom I feel like I need to wear a black and white striped top, since I am refereeing all the time. B and she, while they both have their three-and-a-half moments, really get along so well and have so much fun together. At times, it's "ah!" kind of sweet to watch.
Dh got a chance to fish, which he says that he used to do but hasn't in the time we have been together (just shy of 20 years!) He really his the Zen of fishing and it was hard to get him in. He was happy to catch three fish, all of which he put back. Pk found it fascinating.
This is the cottage. It's marvelous. It's roomy, well-designed, open-concept and a wonderful mix of rustic and comfortable. If I were to design one, I'd certainly copy this. The photos don't do it justice. But then, I love screened in porches.

The best part of the day? When we got home at 10:30, both kids were in bed asleep within 10 minutes and slept all night and after a quick shower to get tidied up, I had a glorious night sleep, too. I wouldn't want to be at the cottage all the time, I just don't have it in me but for a day, it was magical. Pk will remember the day forever, I think.
I lied - truly the best part? Having such great friends :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yarn Along

Each week, Ginny over at "Small Things" hosts the weekly yarn along - a place for all to post what they are knitting and what they are reading. Knitting and reading seem to go hand-in-hand, although I don't know why and it's fun to see what other people are working on and knitting.

This week, I haven't had much knitting time (and after this post, I plan on getting in some stitching!) I have begun the front of the tunic I am making for Pk and if I can get to work, I am hoping to have it done before the end of the summer. We shall see - so often, it feels like I either knit or blog, they don't seem to both happen.

My reading this week has been really interesting. I mentioned here a while ago that I had heard a lot of talk in the media about Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" (I have to say, I know that book titles should be underlined and not put in quotations but I can't find how to do it). I was offended by a fair bit of what was reported and I wasn't going to go out of my way to read the book. I assumed that the book was designed to be controversial to generate sales.

This past week, I saw the book on the shelf at the library and decided that, since I had mentioned it here, I should read a bit. I have to say, I am truly captivated. It is not a "how-to" manual, as had been implied in the discussion of the book - it is a combination of a parenting memoir and an exploration of the dynamics of Chinese parenting. I have found it to be gripping. I can't decide whether I like Amy Chua or not - as a narrator, she often grabs my sympathy, in spite of myself, despite the fact that some of what she says is offensive and some of the things that she did with her children are horrible. As a teacher, I also find the book fascinating. I have dealt with many Asian parents who come across as being pushy, demanding and unwilling to accept the level of performance of their children. This book also has been asking myself questions about my own parenting and my most deeply held parenting beliefs.

I'm surprised at how much I am finding the book interesting and I would certainly suggest it as something that is worth a read.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happiness Project Month 2 Check In

To review, this month I have been working to clear out clutter. Gretchen Rubin is right, this is definitely a happiness generator. I began this month focusing on clearing out the kids' stuff. The baby stuff is now almost all gone (other than a couple of things that I want to list on Craigslist but haven't gotten organized to do yet). This week, the focus shifted to the kitchen, our bedroom and my recipe binders.

The kitchen was our first stop and to be honest, our motivation was at least as much the rotten potato smell that had just begun from our pantry cupboard. We have a bad habit of buying things that we think we will need without checking whether we actually need whatever it is, leading to thousands of boxes of pasta that are half filled and endless bottles of dh's salad dressing. It took us a good hour to get through it but it filled me with such a sense of satisfaction. The only pantry thing we need to really get to now is the spices. We have little spice jars but they are too little and we also have a spice rack. Now, we are at the point where we have a little jar of everything and then, on top of that, we have leftover bags of spices in cookie tins at the top of the cupboard (and I would imagine that everything is going to taste like curry powder before long). The plan we came up with yesterday, is that we are going to buy mason jars for all of the spices, we are going to label each on the top and we will put them in one our our pull-out shelves. I don't know whether we will get to it immediately but, if it works, it will make the spices easier to fine AND keep them tasting fresh.

Yesterday was a rainy, stormy day and it ended up being perfect for a big clean out of our bedroom. This was fun. Our room tends to get overlooked and I find that when I actually do get some time to sit down and go through it, it's a bit like meeting myself again - I stumble across things I chose to save for one reason for another, I browse through old small notebooks (I am a journaler and list-maker and while I don't write for others' eyes, it can be really fun to revisit myself - my favourite yesterday was a date journal I kept from 11 years ago, when Dh and I went for a monthly date to a different restaurant and film - I can't wait until the kids are old enough that we can leave them with a sitter and do that again).

We started with our closet. This photo does not do it justice but please note the sweaters that are all neatly organized and sorted up top. We pitched at least one garbage bag and have a couple of bags to go to the thrift store.

I significantly reduced the books on my desk and rearranged things a bit so that there wouldn't be an avalanche every time I tried to sit down to write.
We moved the co-sleeper out of our room since LB is now in his crib for the first part of the night and then I join him in the twin bed in his room. We were able to move the nursing rocker, my personal favourite of our rocking chairs, up into our room, since we aren't spending much time rocking anyone these days. It is the most comfortable chair in the house and I look forward to the day that I can find the time to sit and read in the bedroom in peace.
I also finally got around to the dining room. I tend to decorate in there seasonally - I do a big fall display that stays until it's time to get ready for Christmas, then a winter display, then Easter... Well, Easter got left for a LONG time since I got busy with going back to work and then, when I couldn't stand it anymore, the Easter stuff was removed but I didn't do anything to replace it. I finally got that sorted out and now, it looks so much cleaner!

So, another week and the house is definitely much more orderly and tidy than it was a week ago and our yard sale pile is getting bigger and bigger. Sadly, there's only another week in this month and then I have to move on... I hope I can get a few more jobs done because this month, I have gotten such a sense of satisfaction from my clearing out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Survive a Hot Day

I don't know about what the weather is like near you but in our area, today was incredibly hot. I don't know whether we actually broke the record but I know that we were close. I heard something like 37 degree celsius with a humidex over 48. I believe that is somewhere in the range of 120 degree farenheit. It was intense. We are spoiled in that we have central air conditioning so really, we didn't suffer that much but since I knew we were going to be stuck inside for most of the day, I wanted to come up with some real summer activities.

We started the day in a bit of a rush. Pk is doing a two week intensive swimming lesson session and we have to be up at the pool by 8:45. That may not sound like a huge accomplishment but given that I run, we both shower and the kids have to be dressed and fed, it's a bit of a crunch. Today was no exception, especially when we had to add in a photo session to get pics of LB in his new jammies (a gift from Dh's aunt in England - we always do thank you cards with photos).

Upon returning home, I had one job that I was determined to get done - cut some hydrangeas to go on the table. I love having fresh flowers in the house and they seem so summery. The plant is in a hidden corner of the property and gets missed every year - this year, I was determined to not miss the blossoms. Pk wanted some for her room, too, so we cut some for her to go in a little vase.
I tried to convince her to wear her shorts and blouse but she insisted on wearing "a princess dress". At first, I said no since everything was either double-layered or cotton-poly blends but then I remember this dress I had bought for $1 at Goodwill ages ago. It fit the fill perfectly.
When LB went down for his nap, Pk and I settled down to read in my room. We got through about 4 books before we both dozed off. There's nothing better than a nap on a hot afternoon.
When Pk got up, we did something that we have been talking about. She desperately wanted to do a lemonade stand. I don't know where she got the idea but she has been talking about it a lot so we planned it starting the other day. We mentioned to a few friends who said that they would swing by. I love our town, we had several very, very kind adults stop for lemonade and a chat. People are so supportive of other peoples' kids, it really gave me a smile.

Finally, we rounded out the day with the most delicious pudding pops. I got the idea from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers, who has some of the yummiest healthy recipes, including these fantastic healthy puddings. The pudding we made here was the vanilla one, sweetened with maple syrup. I can't tell you how delicious these are! Both kids (and our guests' children) LOVED them!

I had meant to buy some watermelon, too (yet another perfect summer day treat) but we just ran out of steam.

I hope you managed to stay cool today!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yarn Along

I love this idea. It comes from Ginny at Small Things. The idea is to share a photo of some knitting that you are working on and what you are reading. I don't quite know why knitting and reading go so well together, given that I haven't managed, yet, to figure out how to knit and read at the same time but somehow, they do seem to go together. Maybe it's just the fact that both seem to harken to stolen quiet moments, which for me right now, are so few and far between and something most definitely to be treasured.

I finished the back to the tunic I am making for Pk yesterday (and this evening, got a good start on the front). It isn't the most practical garment but it's awfully pretty, I think. I love working with bamboo and this pattern is pretty but doesn't involve too much complicated counted, which is a nice bonus.

In terms of reading, I am bouncing between several books at the moment, as usual. I always have at least one novel and one non-fiction book, usually faith and/or parenting related and this week is no exception. "Sacred Parenting" has been wonderful so far. I have to admit, it's a bit slow going for me since I need to be in the right quiet headspace for it and I just haven't been there of late. "Cast of Characters" by Max Lucado is wonderful!!! I have a new, very good friend who has no experience of church or Christianity who has decided to become a Christian. She has many questions about the Bible and I have been looking for some reading for her that starts easy but that I am comfortable with. This book is marvelous - profiles and discussions of major Biblical characters and as always, Max Lucado helps me to see things in new ways. My fiction reading, "The Quilter's Holiday" by Jennifer Chiaverini, is brilliant. I LOVE her books and her characters and she always manages to make me want to get out some quilting, even though I am most definitely a knitter at heart. Her books make me want to think about really matters and focus on that - family, friendship and, of course, crafting!

I'm off to check out some other Yarn Along blogs. Thanks for visiting if you are just stopping by!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Confess...

I confess, I have become exactly what I always said that I wouldn't - I am a mini-van-driving, mommy-sticker-porting, spit-on-a-kleenex mom. I'm harried and harassed and always going in six directions and lucky to remember to brush my teeth. The crazy thing is, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Let's just hope that I can still keep a bit of the old me in there - sometimes, I feel a bit like I got lost in my life. I'm guessing that some sleep and being able to put a little man to bed without nursing will help to fix that worry.

My Dirt-Lovin' Little Man

When I had a little boy, my friends warned me that boys are very different from girls. These are not friends who have determined, fixed gender assignments for their children, these were very progressive women who would have been quite happy to have a boy who played with dolls, loved musical theatre and whose favourite colour was pink. I was warned (maybe warned isn't the word but I haven't come up with a better one) that my life would be filled with diggers, dinosaurs and defense (although that won't be happening in this house, we are not a pro-violence family).

It's been amusing to see how right they are. LB might be just a year old but already, we can clearly see that we have two VERY different creatures inhabiting our house. Reading is a contact sport, balls and wheels are where it's at and, most of all, dirt is something that needs to be explored in a close-up and personal kind of way, best if it can be explored with all five senses.

This is so much fun. I love having a girl and I love having a boy - while I would have been happy to have two of one gender, I must confess, this is so much fun!

(This photo was taken just before the handful of dirt was put into his mouth)
(Sadly, this doesn't capture the amount of sand around his mouth - or that emerged in his diaper)
(this pirate ship water table BLEW HIS MIND)
(I am not kidding, we had to stop to change his diaper and I decided to bang his shorts against the side of the car to get the dust out - there were clouds that harken back to drought sandstorms from the 1930's)

(Visiting my m.i.l's hair salon, his feet were BLACK)
So, while I may inhabit a world of tiaras, tulle and tea parties, I also get to see how the other half lives.

Bittersweet Bedtime

Do you find that there are times when everything in mothering just seems so poignant? When every moment is filled with powerful emotions? I have hit one of those times. Normally, life is racing so quickly that it's all I can do just to make it through the day and while I spend time with my children, I am not thinking all that much about it. The last few days have been really emotional (it might be just that it's summer and things have slowed down and I actually have time to think).

First, there's bedtime. Little Bean (who used to be Baby Bean) is growing up and I don't feel ready for it. For a little bit over the last year, he has started the night in his co-sleeper and then come into bed with me, usually about 2 hours into the night. I know, I know, he was super old to be in the co-sleeper still but it was working for us (well, for him, anyway) and I just didn't have the energy to move him. He has recently discovered that he can peek over the side and throw things over and it has become obvious that it would only be a matter of time until he was the thing vaulting over the side so a move would have to be made. I'd love to say that we moved him into his room and he started to sleep through the night in his crib. I'd be lying. He still nurses off and on all night and while I have every intention of dealing with that, I just haven't been courageous enough to challenge it (I know it will involve nights of screaming). We just got back from visiting the in-laws and so it seemed like the perfect time to make a move. Two nights ago, I started LB in his own crib. It took a long time to get him to go to sleep (he was sufficiently amused by the bars that I am a bit concerned that he might enjoy a stint of incarceration later in life). Then, he slept in his crib, on his own, until almost midnight (at which point I went in and joined him in the bed beside his crib in his room). I should have been overjoyed. For the first time in a year, I started the night in my own bed alone and I even got to read and write in my journal in bed for a while before I went to sleep. How did I feel? Bereft. I laid in bed and cried. I just kept looking at the co-sleeper that was empty other than a collection of soothers and thinking about the fact that I would never have another baby there. All of those times of lying in bed, looking at his beautiful face beside me while he slept were over. I missed knowing that he was safe beside me and being able to put a hand on his chest to feel him breathing. I was so sad.

There's also the breastfeeding thing. I am still nursing, although right now, it's mostly at bedtime and at night, with maybe one daytime feed late in the afternoon. Every time I nurse LB, I ponder the fact that we won't be doing this for much longer. I am not someone with big issues about how long we nurse - while I am not ready to stop, I don't envision that we will be nursing until LB is two. With Pk, I basically let her decide and she was done at 16 months - it worked wonderfully for both of us. This time round, though, the decision feels more fraught. I know that this will probably be the last time that I share that kind of intimacy with my babies and that makes me so sad and yet, really, at this point, it's not as much fun anyway. I know that it's not meeting critical nutritional needs anymore and, not that I am that worried about what other people think, I know that societal support for breastfeeding definitely seems to wane after the baby is a year old and there are those around me who would love to see me stop now (who shall remain nameless other than to say that Dh is totally supportive and it is not him). LB has mixed feelings about it now, too (other than during the night - another reason that I am putting off night weaning, it will pretty much put paid to my supply, I am guessing). Every time I nurse him, I feel a little bit sad. My doctor said that with her son, who was her last, she had her husband take a few discreet photos of her nursing to capture the moment. I can't believe that I am actually pondering that.

Finally, there's Pk. She is hovering right now between still being that little preschooler and turning into a "big girl". It breaks my heart. I don't know what it is. I sat and watched her at swimming yesterday from the viewing gallery and she looked so little and young but we have conversations that reveal that maturity is coming. She is such a mix of baby and girl... I tend to think of her as being fairly young (maybe it's because most of our friends with daughters have older girls and so I am making unrealistic comparisions) and when I seem glimpses of the older girl, it takes my breath away. I am so excited about the joys we will share but I am also so afraid for her - the world isn't always a kind place and up until now, I have been able to keep her largely sheltered from the worst. She is going to face rejection, judgement and betrayal - it kills me to think that I can't protect her from everything. I know that I have to let her go and find her own wings if I want her to be able to fly down the road but right now, I am so aware of hovering on the precipice and it makes me feel such a sense of grief for all the joy that has come so far and is so fleeting.

So, there's my emotional baggage for today. I'd love to hear that I am not the only one who's so emotional about my kids... This is just part of mothering, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interesting Reading

I have been wanting to write a post about this book for a few days (since I finished reading it) but I just haven't had time to sit down and write what I really want to say. I have a post brewing about feminism (or post-feminism) and it's impact on the generation that came after... Needless to say, it would just take too much intellectual energy right now and that is energy that is in short supply. Some day, I will offend you with my opinions on all of that.

In the meantime, let me say, this is a book worth reading. I have very mixed feelings about the princess culture that has emerged and the desire of certain little girls to live in pink (and, as you can see from the photos around here, my daughter is definitely a princess-in-training). More significantly for me, I am profoundly uncomfortable with Disney and other corporations trying to mould my daughter into the perfect consumer. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book, as I don't feel comfortable with the message that girls should avoid all of this and that they should all be dressed like little androgonous robots and that they should be forced to be "tough" but I felt that Peggy Orenstein managed to achieve superb balance. She highlighted the dangers of total acceptance of this culture as being unavoidable and natural while also acknowledging that girls do have a natural bent towards certain things (and in degrees, not all girls embrace this to the same degree).

I loved this quote from page 183 "Meanwhile, the notion that we parents are sold, that our children are "growing up faster" than previous generations, that they are more mature and sophisticated in their tastes, more savvy in their consumption and there is nothing we can (or need) to do about it is - what is the technical term again?- oh yes: a load of crap. Today's three-year-olds are no better than their predecessors at recognizing when their desires are manipulated by grown-ups. Today's six-year olds don't get the subtext of their sexy pirate costumes. Today's eight-year-olds don't understand that ads are designed to sell them something."

I'll try to have something more intelligent to say on the book in a few days but seriously, if you are raising girls and care about the message that you give them about their value, this is worth a look.

Summer List

As you know from the list on the right side of my page, I have made a "to-do" list for the summer (and actually, I keep thinking about things I want to add to it - go to at least one "open air service", fly a kite, etc) and I am trying to keep myself to actually completing the list. I find that so often, I have the best of intentions but realise at the end of the season that I have missed things that I really wanted to do. Not this year!

We have packed in so many of the goals already and the summer holiday is only one week long. I thought I would share a few photos of our good times.

Last Thursday, in the heat and humidity, we went to pick strawberries. That has been an annual summer tradition for me since we moved north. I always make jam and I always pick too many berries. This year was no exception. Dh came with me (which is a huge sacrifice for him - he was taken to pick various things as a child and still sees it as child labour), as did Pk and LB (yes, the "Little Bean" has stuck for me). Pk actually did a remarkably good job picking and LB had a great time eating (we insisted on paying for extra when we were leaving since he must have eaten at least a quart, little stinker!) I made strawberry-rhubarb jam (21 jars of it!) and have been spreading the wealth ever since (we have done several personal deliveries to friends in town). We bought the rhubarb at the end when LB was getting grouchy so Dh did the buying. I asked for three bags of it and he miscounted and bought six! We ended up making a pie for our next-door neighbour who loves rhubarb but whose wife hates it (he was dropping broad hints about relish... I guess we are committed) and to a great friend who spoils us with yummies all the time.

This afternoon, Pk and I managed the "read outside" goal. LB was horrible last night and to be honest, I was dragging by lunchtime. Once he went to sleep, I needed to find something to entertain Pk that wouldn't kill me. I decided that we would take our library books outside, lie in the shade on a blanket and read and, I hoped, would fall asleep. We're reading "Winnie the Pooh" in anticipation of going to the movie in a couple of weeks (I have never taken Pk to a movie and Dh and I think it's probably harmless and at least it has a literature tie-in) so we read a chapter. I am not sure how much she is actually understanding but she is enjoying it. I have dreamed of the day that we could start reading novels together like my mom did with me. I still remember reading Noel Streatfield (e.g, "Ballet Shoes"), a marvelous British author who wrote about children working in dance and the theatre and my mom read to me until I was at least 11, I think. I hope Pk and I can do that.

Sadly, Pk didn't doze but I did get a chance to recharge a bit and we got some books added to our list for the library summer reading club. This was definitely an experience I would like to repeat again this summer.