Friday, July 27, 2012

Motherhood interferes with blogging

Please excuse my absence. I am the world's lamest blogger. But I am, however, an extremely accomplished driver and I have mileage, gas bills, and a tan left arm to prove it.

Last week the driving requirements of getting my somehow over-scheduled kids from point A, to point B to point C, back to point A then, back to point B then over to point  D before returning to A in time for bed, nearly killed me.

I am so truly back in America there is absolutely no denying it anymore. Summer in France, with it's rolling, aimless, fresh-bread scented laziness seems like a dreamy, fragrant fantasy to me now.

I have wholeheartedly embraced the culture of overstructure, avoid downtime at all costs, drive your car like you stole it everywhere you go lest you be late, be late , always, anyway, heaven forbid someone else's kid get more enriched than mine, that keeps this country ticking like an insane time bomb.

I'm sort of kidding, but sort of not. My kids are having a happy, I think. At least they look pleased in the rear view mirror.

But if I have to sit in construction traffic in a sweaty car in 90- degree, 80- percent humidity weather one more time, I might have to kill myself.

Kidding, but sort of not, again.

Anyhow, it's over and we're still alive. I should have known when I signed Esther up for four different camps in a three week period,  and Isla for summer school and swimming lessons, that things would get kind of messy. Yet I couldn't resist. It's the American way. And I am a pure-bred American mouton.


More poor excuses over here on the BabyCenter Blog .

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hay delivery

 The best part: That adorable little farm boy brought his sling shot and showed the girls how to use it.

 Isla had some trouble figuring out which way to hold it. "Pull it towards you, not away...."

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Three days and three nights at the lake

This lake camp has been in our family since the 1950s. My great uncle Phil built it for himself and his wife Celia. They spent their summers here until well into their 70s.

I loved visiting them at the lake. I remember my Aunt Cele teaching me to dive, standing on the dock wearing her one-piece swimsuit, the kind where the leg holes are cut well below the hip, and a bathing cap. I can still remember the sound of her voice calling to us up the long slate staircase when we arrived in the car.

I used to imagine Uncle Phil was a Native American. He had weathered skin and a hawk nose and intense eyes. He was a story teller. His favorite story was about how he once skipped a stone so far it broke the window of a camp on the far shore.

I rode across the lake with him in the putt putt motorboat, filled with plastic milk jugs, to get fresh water from a spring on the other side.

When Cele and Phil got too old to continue living at the lake, they talked about selling it. My father, eager to keep it in the family, offered to buy it.  Uncle Phil suggested he pay $40,000. "I don't accept your offer, " said my dad, " how about $45,000?"

We don't spend half enough time here. I'm not sure why.  It's just 25 minutes from our house. We usually come, have a swim, maybe a picnic meal, then go home-- claiming we miss our toothbrushes and nightgowns and vitamins. All those things we could honestly live without.

But since returning from France, and possibly since my children have gotten old enough to navigate the precipitous rocky shores and lake bottom and not need 100 percent supervision 24/7, I have rediscovered the infinite treasures  of this, my childhood haunt.

One of my favorite views.

And every time we wake up to another blindingly bright morning bounced off a mirror of delicious water, straight into our sleepy eyes, I wonder why on earth we don't spend every waking day of the summer here.

 So when I realized I was faced with a predicted string of hot days and remarkably few social or extracurricular obligations without a car, we're operating on one car these days, I packed up as much food as I could find, some spare clothes, bathing suits, towels, sunscreen, a few books and some drawing pads, the dog and the miracle guinea pig, and instructed Ian to drive us to the lake last Sunday night and leave us there. So he did.

 Esther's cousin, Celia, guess where she got her name, was with us for the first night.

 Then it was just the three of us girls, our books, the water, and the pets.

Then, on the eve of the Fourth, Ian came to join us. We stayed a total of three nights and three days. During that time, my children never once put on their shoes or took a bath, or asked to watch TV or whined about being bored. They had only nature, a few water toys, and their own minds to entertain them. Their imaginations were so fully ignited, I could practically see sparks coming out their ears.

And it took me an entire morning to learn how to relax with Isla screaming about the imaginary sea monster that took the shape of her sister.

There was moonlight skinny dipping, swimming in the pouring rain, King of the float and King of Henry contests (Henry is a large and affectionately named rock who waits patiently for kids to stand on him. He gets slippery when he is lonely.)m lots and lots of quiet side-by-side reading, and an absurd amount of eating. I brought along a new jar of peanut butter, thinking it would last a week, and it was empty by the end of the first day.