Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting Back into It

Acorns keep hitting the tin roof of the neighbors' shed. Bang! Crack! Bang! Everything has been two weeks ahead of schedule this hot, dry summer. The acorns are no different. I wonder if it's going to be a hard winter.

But that's getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow is the last day of the boys' summer vacation, and I'm savoring it! I took off yesterday and today to hang with them, enjoying several hours at the beach followed by a bike ride to the tennis courts, where we lobbed the ball around for an hour before a nice long bike ride prior to heading home. I love that we can enjoy these things together. The fact that we can do it all in our own neighborhood is icing on a sweet cake.

The boys dig pretty much every sport (except soccer--my kids seem almost allergic to it in any organized format). And our outing to the Pilot Pen tennis tourny last week rekindled their affection for that sport. In less than 24 hours we had taken two trips to the courts. The COURTS. Not the field, as it was referred to several times when we went there after dinner last night. We all slipped with that one. We are a baseball-minded family, after all.

Tomorrow the regular, old routine begins to settle back into our home--and bones. We'll take to it easily. After orientation at school, we have a whole lot of front porchin' and back yardin' planned for the day. That's it. The kids need some serious mellowing-out time tomorrow. We'll pack their school backpacks for Wednesday's return to classes. Maybe I'll bake up something special for the boys to enjoy for breakfast on Wednesday. I'm not feeling overly ambitious. Although I do have some more ideas for swiss chard, my latest favorite green. Swiss chard, sweet corn, and heirloom tomatoes. I have lived on those things this summer.

Summer flew by. I feel like I was more "in the moment" with it this year, though. Maybe I was more aware of how short summer really is, so I seized the day as often as possible? I don't know.

The farmers markets won't wind down for weeks. The one I frequent goes right up until December. So while we'll happily return to the normalcy of the school year, I can keep my summer market routine right up until the holidays. The sweet corn will be long gone by then, right in time for my cravings to yield to roasted acorn squash with a little butter, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon. Sweet potatoes will replace tomatoes. Homework and special projects will replace extra rounds of hoops in the driveway after dinner. Scout hikes and apple picking will take over for swimming and berry picking on the weekends. Potted mums will replace the impatiens on my front porch. And we'll all look forward to Christmas, a new year, snowboarding, and ice skating.

I have a tendency to want to rush through the fun moments of the year's darker, colder seasons, if only to make spring and summer arrive that much faster. But maybe if I stay present through each raked leaf and falling snowflake, I'll find less to miss about summer and more to love about simply Being. I'm already nesting for the colder weather, anyway. I picked up some "real" yarn--sweet, soft, beautiful baby alpaca--to start a new knitting project. (I've finally picked up the knitting needles again, and it feels pretty awesome.) Acorns have been falling for weeks, ahead of schedule. And I've purchased some expensive, quality yarn. I really do wonder if it will be a hard winter...

But again, I'm getting ahead of myself. Blueberry or chocolate chip muffins for breakfast Wednesday? Or that amazing French toast bake that the kids love? Yes! That's it.

With Connecticut Maple Syrup from the farmers market.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Staycation, All I Ever Needed

Summer so far has been sweet. August has a habit of sneaking up on me, but I really don't mind this time around. This season has been so hot and sunny that I don't feel cheated like last year, when we had a soggy, cool July and August.

It might be August, but Summer is not over yet. We still have a few weeks before school begins again. My vacation week just began yesterday, and I'm enjoying some time off with my boys before they spend their Annual One Week with Dad. We are having a bonafide "staycation", complete with a host of day trips, adventures, and plain ol' hanging around time. Much ice cream has already been consumed, and it's only Day Two. Good times. The boys will enjoy more of the same with their dad next week, as well as the following week when Ian takes the week of to be with them. I don't know if it takes a village to raise children, as Hillary Clinton has suggested. But it definitely takes at least three parents.

With all the good times so far this Summer, I feel like I've launched into a new head space. Life still continues to present its challenges on one front or another, but I have a newfound sense of peace with it all--at least recently. Maybe I've reached a new level of acceptance of the things I cannot control as well as greater confidence about the things I can control. Or maybe I've stopped holding so tightly to memories and expectations of the future. The more I relax about things, the more I enjoy the ride. And isn't that the point?

So while (most of) the school supplies have already been purchased, I'm going to savor the sweetness of each moment this season until its last drop--swimming in neighbors' and friends' pools, splashing the kids in the ocean, amusement park rides, water slides, fried dough, fireworks, the occasional front porch beer with my neighbors (good friends, all of them), long walks with Cee Cee by the seawall, taking all three dogs to swim at Black Rock Fort, Italian ice from Libby's, the Saturday morning farmers market, yoga on the beach, seeing A-Rod hit 600 at Yankee Stadium, extra time spent with my mother, brother and sister, lunch on Granmda's back porch while the cicadas buzzed, butterflies everywhere, bike rides, state parks, a growing seaglass collection, new books, old books re-read, happy hour with some close friends, movies, arcades, board games, concerts on the green, festivals and carnivals, lazy afternoons in the backyard lounge chairs, bocce and basketball games with the kids, native heirloom tomato salads, boat rides and berry picking.

And that's just what we've done so far.

Thank you, Summer, for your heat and sunshine that forces us to slow down, switch off the autopilot in our lives, and use our five senses again.