Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letting go

Today is the final day of summer vacation, and tomorrow the middle child of  my three kids goes back to school.  One more thing that has me yearning for the 'old days.'  There's no longer just ONE first-day-of-school.  The high schooler starts tomorrow, the middle schooler and the college student go back on Monday.  Although, today IS a social for the middle schooler, who is actually in "junior high" now, since she changed schools this year.

See how complicated my life is???

Aside from trying to keep all of this straight, I'm suffering from an extreme case of not wanting to let go.  I know, I know, anyone in my family reading this right now is shaking his head in disbelief, since I'm the one who hangs the American flag to celebrate the first day(s) of school each fall.  But this year, my middle child is starting his senior year in high school.  Which means that in exactly one year from now, he'll be leaving me.  Forever.  This is the only one of my three children who cried on the first day of Kindergarten because he didn't want me to leave (the other two wanted to drive themselves, and when I insisted on taking them and walking into the classroom with them, it was all they could do not to say, "See ya, Mom, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.")

As weird as this sounds, Middle Child has been a kind of security blanket for me. My first born was the first baby in our family -- first grandchild, first nephew, first everything.  Everyone wanted a piece of him.  By the time, my middle child came along, there were lots of babies to cuddle, so I had him all to myself and he preferred it that way.  He is the child who always made me look good, insisting on staying by my side any time we went out in public, quiet and soft spoken. He is so loyal to me and my sensitivities.  His very presence has always been a comfort to me, from the time I still had him with me when older child went to school, to camp, and finally to college,  and to our cross country trip together when he helped me drive or stayed awake the entire time I was doing the driving.

There is something about this boy, that the thought of him going off to school, far away, just makes me well up and want to sob all day.  Today, he is heading off to the mall to buy some school supplies, and he looked at me just a little weird when I begged to go along and promised him a Happy Meal at McDonald's.  (Although the free lunch did have him hesitate for just a split second).

I promise to savor every moment of the coming school year, and if I get cranky and start to wish a moment or an event to be over. . . someone, anyone, smack me upside the head.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A summer salad recipe

Yesterday afternoon, I was planning my menus for the week.  By August, I'm tired of all my usual summer recipes, but it's too early for fall recipes, which I love.  So, I called the family around and asked each person for two  menu ideas -- main course and side dishes.  I got some (mostly) great responses!

Last night, we had one of my daughter's suggestions.  Steak and corn on the cob -- that was her entire menu. I decided to tweak it a bit by adding some fresh melon and a new recipe for a beet salad.  It turned out to be a great Sunday dinner of all locally grown fruits and veggies.  Colorado's Olathe corn is some of the best ever, and Rocky Ford cantaloupe is sweet and juicy. We ate on the back patio and it was one of those rare cool, summer evenings in August.

Here's a recipe for the beet salad.  I love pickled beets, but this recipe kicks it up a notch with walnuts and Roquefort cheese.  Enjoy!

Beet Salad
(from Vineyard Seasons by Susan Branch)

5 medium beets
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. salad oil
1 small red onion, sliced
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Roquefort cheese, to taste
Freshly ground pepper

Wash & trim beets.  Cook in boiling water till tender. Drain & cool; peel them, cut into julienne strips.  Put into bowl with thinly sliced onion and toss with vinegar & oil.  Add the sour cream & mix gently.  Sprinkle on walnuts, crumble on cheese & ground pepper.  Chill and serve on a bed of torn salad greens if you like.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Rudy is our next door neighbor's cat.  He often sits in the garden and peers through the fence, watching our 7-month-old Springer Spaniel running around the yard chasing butterflies or her shadow.  Lilly is oblivious to the orange tabby cat who sits and watches from the other side.  Our older, wiser dog Abby, knows Rudy is there.  I think that Abby and Rudy agree, that Lilly is a bit looney toons, but good entertainment.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday musings

As I type this, I'm sitting on my back porch, where the day is cool and overcast, and raining slightly.  The sounds of metal extension ladders and hammering fill the air, roofers at work throughout the neighborhood.  Earlier this summer, our town was pummeled by a hailstorm.  Soon every house, including ours, will be sporting a 'new do'.

Musings. . .  This is the last full week of summer vacation.  High School registration is today, and classes begin next Wednesday the 18th, the same day courses start for our college kid.  Junior High starts on Monday, the 23rd.  Dan took some vacation time last week and is out of town this week.  So,  last week was our "farewell to summer."  We took a day and went to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Denver museum.  It was absolutely fascinating to see actual human bodies preserved using a technique called plastination.  I was oddly humbled that our Maker thought of everything when creating our human forms, and struck by how I take mine for granted. 

On another day, I took a couple of the kids and one of their friends and we went to a nearby farm to pick strawberries. 
The kids worked like seasoned field hands to fill their buckets.  We gathered several quarts, enough to make strawberry jam that afternoon and a strawberry pie, too!  
Dan and Luke took a trip to visit a college on the Western Slope and on another day, Luke and I went to look at his senior picture proofs.  It's hard for me to think about another one of my kids graduating high school.  I know this next year is going to fly by!

I love this time of year, with the promise of new beginnings.  It always feels like a bonus "new year" with opportunities to try new things, make a new plan, get a fresh start.  It's been glorious not working this summer, and the idea of not having to work when the kids go back to school has me giddy!  I know that I won't be idle  -- Em's new school requires many hours of family volunteering and our weekends will be consumed with fall baseball games and trips.

My summer reading plan. . .took on a mind of its own.  Patrick Taylor's series about a country doctor took me to a small town in the hills of Northern Ireland.  An Irish Country Doctor and An Irish Country Village were just delightful reads.  I'm looking forward to going back for the holidays with An Irish Country Christmas.

One of my favorite things about this summer. . . is our new back porch.  Dan is building it himself, and he is a meticulous craftsman.  The deck, roof and framing is complete.  He'll finish the siding and screening this fall. 

My favorite things about fall . . .new beginnings, nesting and cleaning the house, cooking stews and roasts and fall veggies, cool nights, our town's fall festival, the anticipation of Christmas:)

Monday, August 2, 2010

This weekend, I . . .

. . . took Luke to have his senior pictures done.

. . .took Emily to softball tryouts with Dan.

. . .took a nap.

. . .watched the Cubs and the Rockies on t.v.

. . .went for a bike ride with Emily.

. . .went to my friend's house for a delicious breakfast of French toast and bacon.

. . .watched the Cubs and the Rockies again on t.v.

. . .ate pizza.

. . .lost my sunglasses. Again.

How was your weekend?  If you'd like to link up at Becky's, go here.