Last week Ella got to spend the week at Windover Art Camp (the first and only summer day camp she has ever consented to attend) at had the most incredible time.
Ella doesn't like meeting new people and certainly doesn't like being left in a group of kids she doesn't know even if it is to do something fun. We've offered art camp and horseback riding camp in the past and she has firmly declined.
Apparently this was the summer of brave because when I asked her if she wanted to go to Windover with Skyler she exclaimed, "YES!" (It helps that her beloved babysitter went there for years as a kid and loved it and she, like Ella, is on the more discerning side.)
Stepping on to the grounds at Windover feels like traveling back in time about 40 years. The whole place has a hippie commune feel to it. The staff is super chill and kids are given a ton of independence and countless creative avenues of expression.
Ella and Skyler were old enough to make glass beads using fire torches and pottery on a wheel. Ella kept saying, "And they don't help you. They show you once and then you do it." Her voice was a mixture between awe and complaint. What I saw in her was that this kind of push toward creating on her own was exactly what she needed. She took complete ownership over her art and she made some truly beautiful things that she was so proud of.
|"I made these glass beads ALL BY MYSELF."|
Maya kind of dug the groove at Windover if you can imagine. (Yes, those are cowgirl boots with running shorts.)
And Sandi even made it out for the end of week art show and surprised Ella.
It was fun to hang out with just Maya while Ella was at camp. It reminded me (and made me a little nostalgic) of how we used to do things, just she and I, before she went to school. Maya is great company and is such a different child when it is just her, namely she is super well-behaved and just delightful. She is also really fun and flexible. We decided on a Bar Harbor adventure and found ourselves hiking up Acadia Mountain. It was about a mile up, a nice mix of up and across and Maya did is all on her own. She scrambled up rocks and boulders with an agility that I marveled at. She is freakishly agile and athletic, once falling in what should have been a complete headfirst kind of thing and she landed like a cat on her feet.
Maya found a squirrel to feed some of her Nutella sandwich to and we chilled on the summit happily for a long time. One of my happiest places to be is on a mountaintop. We had the best time.
Maya has developed quite a fond friendship with the 75-year-old man next door. They bonded last summer over the fact that they both wear hearing aids. Maya, so much more outgoing than her shy older sister, loves to wave to David and yell to him funny things across the lawn.
He recently let us borrow his lawnmower when ours broke and Maya thought it would be nice to pick some strawberries for him. So he shared some of his wild strawberries with her. Then we decided to make him a bouquet of flowers on the Fourth of July and she was so proud to deliver it to him.
A few days later a basket was left on our porch for her. It was full of ziplocs each containing different games and activities for first graders. It looked like the exact sort of thing you would find in a classroom. And with it was this note:
This relationship makes my whole heart happy.
Ella told me, approximately 10 days after school got out that she is so excited to go school shopping. That chick loves clothes and shoes.
The girls have even started asking to go running in the mornings! This is a wonderful turn of events, tempered only by the complaining that accompanies the amount of work running actually requires.
|Our neighbor Alli just got the same sneakers as Maya so this picture was required of the three girls.|
In her "spare" time, Sandi is seeing to long-delayed, not-so-fun, tasks that needed to be done. She has fixed our wi-fi problem in the house, caught a mouse in the basement and is refinishing our kitchen table which, for whatever reason, had become so sticky we couldn't ever set paper on it without half of it remaining on the table. In fact, it was so bad, that your skin would stick to the table if you rested your arm on it. My mother actually said to me recently, "You have GOT to do something about this table." Not only is it a project that takes time to complete, but to be without a kitchen table? Not fun.
Our table for the past month has been the one that Patti bought for the s'mores station at the wedding. I am grateful to have it but I cannot tell you how much I miss my big table. Dinner is so cramped we can just fit our plates and not dinner itself. I can't even fit all the piles of laundry when I fold it, making an already dreaded task that much less fun.
I have never been so happy to see a table in my entire life. And not only is it smooth and stick-less, but seems so HUGE.
The girls and I (mostly I) have shamelessly compiled a list of people who have offered us visitation to their pool this summer. When it is hot, being nearby some sort of water is really the only option for us. Luckily people with pools usually want to share them! (Thanks Lindsay for this one! And thank you Megan and Terry for the visits as well!)
Our summer schedule is super busy and full but I try to have a few days a week with the mornings free for stuff at home and errands (which is more like playing catch up than ever feeling ahead of the game). I am trying to relax more this summer and enjoy all I can- tea on the patio and time to write before the girls get up. Then Maya comes out and does some reading on my lap as the sun is just getting warm. It is so entirely wonderful.
I have decided that summer in Maine is just always going to be a manic experience and I just need to enjoy the ride. It is so indescribably beautiful, so vastly opposite from the seemingly endless frozen tundra of the winter that we really have no choice but to squeeze every last drop from the lemon of summer.
So here's to a messy house for the duration, having a cooler perpetually in my entryway, fingers crossed that the checkbook stays balanced and another cup of iced coffee!