Enjoying ... morning sunlight on a vase of golden daisies...
Enjoying ... a ever-enthusiastic, smiley and clever baby. He's started putting two words together ("Bye, bye, Papa!"), and every day he comes up with a new word or two (it was "Teddy!" today). One of the mums at playgroup asked me if he ever stops smiling (and the answer is "almost never")...
Enjoying ... garden club -- my once-a-month treat and an absolute pleasure -- here's my basket packed with all the essentials (tea cup, fresh herbs and cucumbers for sharing, notepad to take down "to-do in the garden" lists and helpful tips) ...
Enjoying ... the fruit of my garden ... masses of huge, sweet tomatoes right now ...
Enjoying ... watching my yellow hedge start to knit together ... and planting a long row of yellow colliopsis along the front (won't it be spectacular next year with all that yellow together?) ...
Enjoying ... the funny smile of a six-year-old who has just lost his top front tooth ... and thanking a Papa who helped us find the money that the tooth-fairy had left ...
Enjoying ...the company of the nicest 17-year-old almost-man you could hope to meet. My nephew Axl is staying while he recovers from knee surgery ... he fits in so well and is such a darling ... we wish we could keep him! ...
Enjoying planning a Harry Potter party ... but more on that another day!
Several weeks ago, Granny told me about a picture of a polar bear, which she had seen hanging in a local gallery. She'd fallen in love with it, but had nowhere for it to hang, and so had decided not to buy it. Several times over the next few weeks she spoke about it, however, and so I determined to visit the gallery and buy it for her.
When I arrived I couldn't find the picture hanging anywhere, and the salesperson confirmed that the little picture had been sold only hours before, to a small boy and his father. I could just imagine how perfect the lovely bear on his icy-blue background would look in a child's room, and knew it had gone to the right place.
But still I was disappointed that Granny would miss out. Seeing the look on my face, the woman offered to contact the artist and ask if he'd be willing to paint another similar picture.
One week later it was ready to bring home ... and after school the boys gave it to Granny.
She was delighted ... especially when she heard the story of how this bear was painted just for her. So now it has been framed magnificently, and hangs in pride of place in the blue bedroom at the manor.
Somehow the last speckled and careworn blooms are lovelier than the bright-hued blossom in early spring. (And do you see that pretty apple-green case just beside the vase? It's my beautiful iPad! It was an extravagant Christmas gift from my parents ... and every day I am delighted again by its slender, exquisite futuristic beauty.)
Homemade chocolate cake, sparklers, and a basket overflowing with flowers, herbs and veggies from the garden ...
Party hats and big grins (of course) ...
Friday was Grandma's birthday, and we celebrated our good fortune in having such a lovely lady in our lives.
Saturday was 'birthday treat' day -- at Grandma's request, we all took a trip up to the Highlands to visit Uncle Edmund and Auntie Elizabeth in their charming new house. The boys played Lego and ate icecream for dessert while the grownups chatted, ate lunch, toured the house, and took little walks up the lane to look at the blooming rose bushes and nearby manor.
Ever have one of those perfect moments when it's just the two of you, laughing so hard that you can't even look at each other?
The other night Eric and I cuddled up in my big bed ... Adam was asleep and Jumps out at a trivia night. While I read and he played games on the iPad, we devoured a box of Fortune Cookies, which I'd bought that afternoon as a surprise gift.
Most of the sayings were complex and mythical ... but then we cracked open the crisp shell of a cookie and this bit of wisdom slipped out: "Confucious say: If you think your whole life can be summed up on one little piece of paper, you are crazy!".
Eric was still chuckling when I put him to bed, half an hour later. And so was I.
So much planned ... a tidy up, savouring the last few chapters of a marvellous book (The Book Thief), browsing through the markets in search of little T-shirts for Adam (where have his all gone?), friends over for a swim and afternoon banana bread, mowing lawns and edging garden beds, picking beans and cucumbers and flowers for the kitchen. And mopping floors ... that is definitely on the list. And discussing a certain little boy's birthday party ... which isn't for six weeks, but he's already coming up with grandiose plans and fantastical ideas (like building a giant papier-mache rock and rolling it down the garden after party guests, Indiana-Jones style). Grocery shopping would be useful, too, and a trip to the library to return overdue books.
But now baby's in bed, Eric's off on a car-wash adventure with Papa, and I plan to settle down with a cup of tea before it all begins.
Every year we look forward eagerly to Toytown's country show. This year all the cousins came down, and we met friends there for lunch, so it was extra busy ... and especially fun!
The puppet show always makes the kids laugh. Once you've paid the entry fee there is so much to see and do for free ... we spent ages at the petting zoo (Rory managed to stroke one of the ducklings to sleep!), marvelled at the amazing Motorbike trick riders, watched working sheep dogs, enjoyed woodchopping, the pet show, horses and the lumberjack show.
And of course I spent ages wandering through the pavillion exhibits .. this year there was a bumper number of lovely entries.
Our family managed two first prizes: one for my bread, and the second for Eric's lego ship (he was generously helped to create this by his 9-year-old cousin). Still, since I mistakenly entered the boys in the 16 and under age group category, I'd say he did very well!
I didn't enter flowers this year ... with four children madly keen to put in entries I think my attempts will take a back seat for a few years. But I do love to see the pretty arrangements and lovely colours.
Eric can choose one showbag -- this year it was "wild west". We deliberated over the whole 'gun thing', and then compromised by declaring that anything with an army focus was out of bounds. Cowboys to my mind are fantastical and part of storytelling, so that's not so bad.
Saturday evening was earmarked for a few rides and games ... Papa and Granny came along, so Eric was spoilt wonderfully, and went on far more than he otherwise would have. He loved every minute.
And little Adam had his first ever pony ride ... look at those shining eyes!
He also won a little truck by putting the balls in the animals' mouths. I love how Gran and Papa never leave him out of anything!
And finally fireworks ... and very sleepy but happy people off to bed.
Next year the kids are vowing to enter everything ... they'll come down to stay a few days before the Show, and keep busy getting their entries ready. I'm looking forward to it already!