Ben is homeschooling, and I told him the name of our school is the “Maple Street Penitentiary”. He works diligently… sometimes. He’s definitely hit that absorbent stage for writing and learning letters – he can’t get enough. Today he asked me how to spell “beaver” so he could draw a zoo. A few days ago he was telling me about a bad dream he had where he got lost. He rode his bike really far and couldn’t get home, so he asked someone if they knew where the Maple Street Penitentiary was. They did not.
Another project we finally got around to- the chalkboard wall in Bridget and Therese’s room. A whole new room re-do (including new NFL sheets) for the boys wasn’t going over too well with the girls, so guilty me decided we could also paint this!
Somehow those chubby babies are old enough to drive, and it is a mixed blessing. Mostly a blessing, with a huge dose of parental nervousness, prayers to guardian angels, and fatherly cursing of insurance rates.
Paul and Meg came for a wonderful few days, and we had a couple nights of dinners with the whole family. Paul suggested we do a blind wine tasting – everyone brought a bottle under $15 and we tasted and smacked our lips and wrote notes. Then Martin, Bridget, Therese, Will, and Adele added up all the scores and we had the big reveal of the winner. First place went to Paul’s bottle, but he was stripped of the gold medal when he admitted to cheating and going over the price limit. Cathy’s bottle ended up as the favorite. She picked it because it had a pretty label. Such a connoisseur.
And Sam was the lucky boy who had all his White cousins at his birthday.
At dinner the discussion turned to the health benefits of brown rice versus white rice. Sam wanted to know if brown rice was just white rice with molasses mixed in. Therese rolled her eyes and didn’t fall for his smartassery, explaining that she had just recently told him brown sugar was white sugar with molasses mixed in.
Hopi turned 11. She is still one to create secret spots and piles, but a smidge of true organization and purging has snuck in (a la Therese). She organized our junk drawer/counter the other day and has kept it cleared off. Meanwhile my sunglasses have gone missing several times and each time after I search the
pit of despair my purse, I find them in the drawer where she has put them away. Thankfully Gracie is stepping up to fill the mess maker role. She has become partial to purses and it’s only a matter of time before she starts stuffing them with crap stuff.
Hopi’s gift of a typewriter was a huge hit, and Sam immediately declared that he would now inherit all her pens and pencils. Apparently she will never handwrite anything again.
Morning sun in the dining room. Another great thing about eating on the porch (or kitchen) is how clean the dining room stays…. ahhhhh. Restful to the eyes.
Brian’s birthday dessert. It was sure weird being here instead of Balboa… first time in a while.
Panzanella is delicious, but when you add fresh burrata mozzarella, holy wow! I didn’t realize burrata was balls of fresh mozzarella with heavy cream INSIDE them… mamma mia. Such richness.
The happy kids after they ate their weight in chips and salsa at Uncle Julio’s for Brian’s birthday.
Lunchtime picnic in Millenium Park.
The girls asked if they could make dinner, and I
hesitated for a minute shouted “yes!” They impressed all with grilled bbq chicken pizza, roasted pears stuffed with blue cheese, cranberries and walnuts with a port sauce (!!!), and spinach salad with pignolis and walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette.
Hopi keeps powering through the water.
My walking route… so pretty, along the golf course, through the woods. And the perfect temperatures have been so nice… no sweltering humid days.
Gracie finally graduated to a big car seat… so funny because I moved Ben to a big seat at about 6 months because he haaaaaated the car so much and I thought facing front might help. But with Gracie, I’ve clung to the portability of the infant seat. Sigh. The time had come.
We eat outside every night, and these evenings on the porch are just….heavenly. Especially when we have special guests. And no, the mosquitoes are not special guests. They can all DIE!!!
Beautiful Michigan, beautiful strawberry daiquiri made with fresh berries picked that morning. And gin instead of rum! Who knew that would be so delicious?
The July 4th parade in town in Michigan… it is the asparagus capital of the world, so yes, they have an asparagus queen!
Unbelievable sunsets every night… this was about 10:15 pm. Gotta love the summer solstice.
The kids put on a Robin Hood play for all of us, based on the cartoon Robin Hood. So cute, including the rhinos.
I took Ben to a “climb on the trucks” day at the mall parking lot. Then I punished him by dragging him through the mall looking for a Father’s day present for Brian.
Alex and Mary Brigid welcomed baby Evangeline, a chubby little nugget of cuteness. Brian and I had the honor of being her first visitors, and of bringing her parents some Five Guys!
I had to capture this little funny curl.
Therese turned 13 and grew about 6 inches… taller than Bridget now, feet the same size as mine. Yes! I can wear the cute shoes she just got.
My parents moved out of their old house, and we had one last dinner there when it was all empty – a picnic of Geppetto’s pizza, one of the best things about Oak Park!
I love to see the kids using this little nook on the stair landing… teaching Ben his letters with bananagrams.
Hopi getting ready to dive off the starting blocks at a meet.
More reading, less computer. Playing outside. Family games. Bonfires. Projects. Pool. Chores. Sports. Lemonade Stands. Dairy Queen. Sprinkler. Bike rides. Cubs game. Running. Trips: Balboa and Michigan. Arboretum. Zoo. Dollar Theater. Dentist. Library. Sleeping in. Front porch. Back porch. Gardening. Walks. Mass. Cantigny. Millenium Park. Parties. Water balloons. Watermelon. Potato Salad. Fresh herbs. Fresh berry pies. Michigan Adventure Park. Dining al fresco.
The summer begins with so much energy and so many plans. Book lists, chore lists, grocery lists:
One thing that had been haunting me was SOCKS. So we tackled the sock basket right away…many hands make light work.
All paired up. I was so brave and threw away all the ones that didn’t have mates, just like Rachel Balducci told me to.
A spontaneous trip to Toys R Us. Hopi dressed up her real live baby doll in the cart.
This is the path leading from our yard back to Cassatas… well trampled by many children throughout the day.
We hosted Folk Music night at our house… on the back porch. A perfect night with such talent…
The true signs of summer: Gin and Watermelon.