School started today and Bea did a good job. She can be really frightened by things like the first day of school, but she was strong and she made us proud. Claire doesn't start preschool 'til next Wednesday so we had some time together.
And now the silly part. In an effort to either get Claire excited about some hand-me-down shoes or to make myself feel less guilty for not buying her new shoes I did this:
I let her choose the buttons and then she found some ribbon that she just loved. I spent the morning creating these really strange looking shoes. Maybe I just needed a soothing hand sewing project after the stress of the first day of school. This is important work I'm doing here people.
Look at her - she is always striking a pose. And at some point she always feels inspired to dance and sing in the sand. I laugh and shake my head. Where does that spirit come from?
We fit in a couple more trips to the beach before the the first day of school. I feel so lucky to live just a few minutes away from beautiful Lake Michigan. We've been stuck in a weather pattern of scattered storms so the second trip to the beach was just for a walk between storms. The girls collected beach glass. They ran around in sand that had been flattened by heavy rain and had fun making the first footprints. I gazed at the big beautiful houses that line the beach on one side and the stormy colored lake and clouds on the other.
Summer is winding down. My garden is full of overgrown herbs, tomatoes and green beans. I've been enjoying that smell - the one that is left on my hands after I pick tomatoes. It's a greenish, bitter, fuzzy smell. The girls have been playing outside at dusk on most nights and I can tell it's sort of enchanting to them. The feeling of darkness and the thrill of staying up late - they get a little spurt of energy from it.
I made scones with the blueberries that we picked in Michigan. And we finally went to our town's farmers market. Brian will make a pie with the raspberries we bought.
School starts next Thursday.
While I was in California Bea was becoming a good little fisherman girl. I love that she is loving this. I loved it as a girl too. I even used that same little spinning rod. Before heading home Dad took the girls and I camping along the Pine River. An overdue first camping trip for my girls.
There she is unbrushed hair, covered in mosquito bites, completely happy.
She caught that one below. Dad got out his tape measure - 18 inches! Everytime anyone catches a fish the girls want to touch it and the dogs want to lick it. It's complete chaos contained in a tippy canoe.
Who goes camping in a dress? Claire does.
We finished off our summer travel plans with a nice long trip to Michigan and a few days in California for Brian and I.
I dropped the girls off at mom and dad's house and went to join Brian at his company's annual principals meeting. It's been years since I've been able to go to one of these meetings. It was a treat to get away - just the two of us. The meetings are always at a more luxurious resort than we would ever choose if we were just going on our own. I ordered a fruity drink at the pool and sat there chatting with some other wives while Brian finished up his work on Friday. It's not really me, but it's lovely for a few days.
While Brian jetted off to do some work in Shanghai, I went back to Michigan. I found myself sitting in a canoe next to a wet dog, watching Bea catch fish. I liked that too.
Here are some photos from California:
We went for a hike in the hills overlooking the ocean. The plants are so so different. This Midwest girl can't get used to it.
We went to Long Beach and toured the Queen Mary and an old Russian submarine.