Saturday, July 18, 2009

"We are stardust..."

Time for a little catching up! These past couple of weeks have been gloriously full of family and friends and laughter and productivity. After July 4th (my last blog entry), we enjoyed David's birthday, lunch with former married students Megan and Jim (in town for a week), a HEART concert at Humphrey's by the Bay, a barbecue with immediate family, brunch at Amanda and Blair's, a swim day at Nana's, an AP Class of 2008 Reunion party, and today, K.D.'s dance recital. Scrapbooking and cooking have been my two biggest creative outlets these past weeks, but I am now feeling the need to return to writing for a bit.

I love all of the memories we have been making with the special people in our lives:

Katie has been my constant helper as we gather supplies for parties, luncheons, crafts, and more. She sometimes takes along her own purse and always brings along her "coze" (short for "cozy blanket").

Katie helped Amie bake Uncle David's birthday cake!

Playing in the sprinklers on Uncle David's birthday! See Ariel on her ball? Katie LOVES The Little Mermaid right now---also a big feature in our house for the past couple of weeks. We play "mermaid" in the bath, and Katie knows some of the lyrics to the songs.

Swinging around in the sprinklers before going home to change for the Uncle David's birthday party.

Evelyn and Katie played quite a bit together on David's birthday. Evelyn is amazing with Katie and is so much better than I am at imagination play. In fact, Evelyn taught me a few strategies that I am now using with Kate this week. She will make a perfect "official" aunt someday (nudge, nudge), though she has definitely captured Katie's heart now.

Uncle David, the birthday boy, blows out his candles this year...

Kate watches balls being thrown about during an impromptu barbeque in our backyard. Swordfish, steaks, potatoes, YUM!

Swim day at Nana's: of course, we played "Little Mermaid" in the big pool. We also spent time out of the raft swimming on our backs and tummies. I love to swim with my daughter!

Here we are by the pool on our first swim day this year.

And here we are on our first swim day last year, July 2008. (Yes, I wore the same outfit on purpose to evoke the memory). Katie has changed so much in one year, hasn't she? I must admit that I have been feeling the "baby itch" again lately...we'll see where that goes. In the meantime, my heart swells up looking at these old pictures. I am so proud of my daughter and in love with who she is.

Another close-up of Katie June at her Nana's house.

We made a fingerpainting to take to Nana as a surprise, along with a mini-scrapbook of her birthday tea that we hosted in June.

Katie and Nana go looking for Boxer the cat, of whom Katie was quite enamored. I love that Nana and Katie know each other...

One late afternoon, we wheeled over to Amie and Boppa's in Kate's Radio Flyer for a little run through the rainbow sprinkler!

My beautiful daughter.

This week has been largely focused on the big AP class "Back from College" reunion at our house. One of my students approached me in spring about wanting to get as many people from our AP class back together... I loved the chance to see so many former students and friends! Erin and Lauren (twin sisters and two of the nicest and most mature people I have met) came over for two days to help prepare all of the food, and here, you can see that Lauren made friends with Katie.

Some of the reunion group! These are some of the best people I have ever met, and it was an honor to have them in my home. We stuffed ourselves silly, caught up on our adventures, played badminton, made smores around our fire pit, and took lots of pictures (all on Facebook). Seriously, I could not have asked for better guests. Toward the end, seeing that I was getting ready to put Kate to bed, every single one of them helped clean up the whole party and left no detail unthought of: they took down the badminton net and folded up the serving table. They are welcome to my house any time. I am reminded of what I miss about teaching, though I do not question that I am where I need to be (with Kate) right at this moment. But, if I were still teaching, I would host one of these parties yearly for the class returning from college for summer break. So many beautiful people in the world, and in teaching, I crossed paths with so many...

The massive food for this party would NOT have been possible without the help from these two ladies. They are amazing! Here, we are finishing the making of our coconut cupcakes.

Yesterday, Kate and I had a relaxing day shopping for clothes for me (I almost never treat myself to clothes, preferring to spend on Kate), and it was the perfect way to forget about the vacumming and the swiffering for awhile (although I did that today and found, since I took the time to decompress, sweeping and mopping and vacumming was very meditative and relaxing this morning) and to do something to make myself feel adorned and pretty. After we came home, we broke out the Play-Doh and went to town. Anyone who knows about Play-Doh, knows that it makes bits on your floor like crazy---especially with a 20 month old enjoying herself. But since I gave myself a day's reprieve from cleaning the floors, who cared about the bits, right? It was good timing...

Anyway, I asked Katie what I should make out of the Play-Doh, and of course she wanted Elmo (challenge level: HIGH). I actually pulled together a fascimile of Elmo and was pretty proud. I rock Play-Doh, as it turns out. Who knew? Boo-yeah!

And today we went to see my cousin, K.D. Horne, (on the right) dance one of the final performances of her competitive dance career. Her last performance EVER is on Sunday. We first saw her perform many years ago at this theater, and so today was not without its nostalgia. I am so so so so so proud of my cousin, who is a beautiful dancer and performer. Kate was intrigured by the way the lights brightened and dimmed and by some of the costumes. Afterward we went out to frozen yogurt with Beth, Johanna, K.D., Aunt Donna, and Aunt Diane.

Kate and I are waiting before the performance. This was her first live theater experience, and she did pretty well. She needed a break a couple of times, but I am so glad she got to see what the theater is like and so glad she got to see her cousin dance. Maybe she will want to dance someday---who knows? I would love that, but I will follow her lead and see if she likes it.

And, home again, here is my little Sweet Face!
So it has been an awesome and busy couple of weeks! I will try to be better about updating this week, because we have some really fun things planned actually. Plus, we need to make more birdfeeders, as the birds finally found them and ate them completely clean. We are definitely never at a loss for things to do. Life is full! Life is grand! Live big, and with joy...
Until next time,
The W. McGaughs