Monday, July 20, 2009

July is racing by!

A whole month has flown by. I feel like I am chasing after July as it's racing by me! I was anticipating a nice relaxing summer but we've actually been very busy. Today is one of the first days in a long time that we are just home with no agenda. Bella and Hannah are doing a craft and the boys are playing with our new neighbors. I decided to seize the moment and blog as I sip some freshly made iced tea, before I am so far behind that I give up.

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. Every year, except last year, we get all decked out and participate in the Bike and Doll Carriage Parade in the Summerfest Parade. This year since Isabella's ballet costume looked like "Gretel" from Hansel and Gretel we decided to make a huge candy house to pull in their wagon and make Isaac a little Hansel costume. Ian was a little safari man with all of his Webkinz strapped to his tricycle. My sister, who has the same weird fondness for spending hours crafting a theme for the parade (we got it from my mom) did Madi's wagon up like an antique car and dressed Madi up like a little flapper. They were all so cute!

My kids helped a lot in making the candy house. They spent the day before making huge gum drops and coloring big peppermints. My mom spray painted some boxes for us and we glued everything on. Then we tie wrapped Ians' animals to his bike and we were ready for the parade (that's the abbreviated version, it actually took a few hours). Bella got to have her cousin Ang sleep over the night before the parade too. Ang decorated her bike with a Hawaiian theme. At the parade Isaac and Isabella won the "most colorful" award and Madi won the "prettiest" award!

After the parade we rushed back home to have a little back yard barbecue and then headed off to the Pittsfield Defenders game at historic Wachonnah Park. It was such an "all American" way to celebrate Independence Day. The kids got to play T-ball in the field during the "sun delay" and then they had fireworks at the end of the night! It was a very packed and fun filled day!

After the busy weekend we had a delightful time picking cherries and raspberries with our friends Margaret, Alexa and Will. They drove up for the morning to visit the lovely raspberry orchard up the street and we had so much fun catching up and getting a chance to play together. Even though poor Will was confined to a jogging stroller due to a knee injury we still all had a great time and hope to make it an annual event!

I found these funny looking (yet oddly pretty) plants in my garden last year and I had no idea what they were. This year I did some investigating and found out it's garlic! These twirly things are called garlic scapes. You are actually supposed to cut them off when they are curly like this so the bulb will develop all the way. You can use the scapes to cook with. I made garlic scape pesto and it was so yummy! I can't wait to try my spontaneous garlic in the fall!

On one of the first truly beautiful days this summer the kids and I took a trip to Tanglewood to see the Orchestra practice. It's free for families to sit on the lawn and enjoy the practice. It was soooo wonderful. We packed a picnic and Mika and Nova joined us with their grandmother Roberta. It was such a lovely time. I really hope we find the time to get back a few more times. the music is just so amazing as it fills the sunlit field. The children enjoyed it so much. They sat and listened for a while and when the practice was over they spent a long time just playing in the gloriously green lawn.

I have taken up face painting. I am supposed to be the face painter at our church booth for 3rd Thursday. I have been doing lots of practicing on my own kids. Unfortunately on the day 3rd Thursday finally rolled around I got a flat tire that turned into a 4 hour ordeal and I wasn't able to make it. There is always next month I guess! That just gives me more time to practice!

This is how Bella has spent 70 percent of her summer (see picture below). Every free minute she has she is reading (often upside down). So far she has read 13 chapter books (1835 pages so far!!). She has enjoyed Hittie, Her First Hundred Years, Little Pilgrim's Progress, The Trumpet and the Swan and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for assigned summer reading and is now working on Little Women. She has also read a lot of books for fun. She just started the new American Girl series about Rebecca, loves the Box Car children and she has a slew of Pony Pal books to get through that she got for her birthday. She whips through a 100 page book in a few hours. It's hard to feed this reading machine!

As often as Isabella is reading, Isaac is playing baseball or seeking someone to play it with him. He just can't get enough. We have had countless wiffle ball games in the back yard. He is so excited that our new neighbors like to play baseball too (and so are we, maybe we won't have to play 10 times a day now!)

Yesterday was my cousin Erica's wedding reception. She got married this spring out in California and she and her husband Mat had a picnic reception to celebrate with friend sand family. It was such a blast. The park where they had it was just beautiful. The boys enjoyed playing in the stream when they weren't playing baseball or jumping in the bounce house. Isaac even caught a few frogs with help from some older boys! Isabella had so much fun dancing up a storm with her Auntie Kimmy. When everyone did the Electric Slide she caught right on and did a great job. She is just getting so big!

Other than those major events we have mostly just been hanging around and staying as active as possible. We are going to enjoy every last drop of summer. It will be over before we know it.

Lest you think it's all fun and games around here, I must tell you that we are still doing lots of learning. We have spent lots of time at our local library and we had a week of studying Human Anatomy (Ian loved that and can now explain exactly how food turns into poop), another week of Astronomy and this week is Meteorology. We are also continuing with Bella's piano lessons and sign language. My friend Nancy is also teaching Isabella to sew. They are making an 18th century dress together. I'm eavesdropping on the lesson because I don't' really know how to sew. If anyone has an sewing machine they don't want anymore, let me know. I would love to give one to my little seamstress so she could practice her new skill at home.

Jason went back to work last week. His knee is healing well and after some physical therapy he should be as good as new! We really loved having him home for a few weeks. It was worth the financial strain. Being financially tight is where we always see God work. A week without a pay check and bam suddenly there's an unexpected check in the mail. Our God is so good. He always supplies abundently and above all that we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Off to enjoy the rest of my unplanned day!