In retrospect, it's clear that there were several distinct themes to this summer. Let me 'splain. No, is too much; let me sum up:
(I know, I know...I'm sorry! I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. How often does the chance happen to quote some dialogue from "The Princess Bride?") (Unless, of course, your name is Inigo Montoya and then you would probably have lots of chances.)
But I digress. Themes, I was talking about this summer's themes:
(As always, if you click on the photos, they will open in new windows because, why yes, I ROCK the HTML, y'all!)
Number One: This was the summer when a lot of people I love came to visit.
Then my parents left for a week and our friends the Cowdens came.
Yes, that really is a GAGGLE of girls.
The the Cowdens left and my parents returned.
Then my parents left and we headed to Florida to meet my mother-in-law for a beach vacation where we had many fun adventures with Creepy Baby.
(Technically, this doesn't count as having a house guest but since our beach condo came with a washer and dryer, I still did loads and loads of towels every day so it counts, if you squint.) (Plus? Creepy Baby came home with us and now resides proudly in Jane's room.)
Then my Father-in-Law came for a visit. I was pretty tired at this point and it wasn't until he left that I realized that I didn't take a single picture of him. Not one.
Imagine picture of Granddaddy here. (I'm hoping that Coop took some.)
Granddaddy left last week, bringing this season of the Cooper Bed and Breakfast to a close, just as the weather turned cool and rainy.
Number Two: This was the Summer of the Garden
We had a lot of fun last year with our garden. (Okay, maybe too much fun, actually.) But it pales in comparison with this year.
For one thing, this year, Jane (9) took Charge. She's a take-charge kind of gal but this year, she REALLY took charge. For a while she kept count of everything growing in the gardens. Then she kept count of what all she harvested. She kept me apprised of the pest situation. She harvested. She tended.
And then, she cooked.
She made salads,
(cheese on cucumber medallions)inventive appetizers,
and even devised a whole series of recipes, which she even illustrated. (The kid has MAD MSWord Skillz...)
She was also in charge of the weighing and keeping of all produce size records:
We ate and ate and ate of our own homegrown bounty. And if I may just say so, the secret to life just may be homegrown corn.
We ate our harvest of tiny ears the night my parents arrived and it was the sweetest, most tender, delectable feast. Next year, I may have to plant a lot more. A LOT more. I might need a tractor.
Number Three: This is the summer of the beach.
We spent a lot of time at the beach this summer, both North Shore and South Shore on Long Island...
With the Kelleys
With the Cowdens
With my nephew
With my parents
With other assorted friends
With my mother-in-law in Florida, where Ana (12) and I tried to recreate a photo taken TWELVE YEARS earlier on the same beach.
We didn't quite capture it, but oddly enough, I look four months postpartum in both of them. (Sigh.)
And then, just to be silly, we took the Jane version.
Number Four: This was the summer of adventures and achievements:
Jane started golf lessons.
Ana resumed Tae Kwon Do and earned her yellow belt.
We went on a whale-watching cruise and although we saw no whales, Ana and I met our sea-sickness nemesis and conquered it. (And my mom got three life birds!)
Jane and her granddaddy caught a fluke which we ate for dinner. (Jane LOVES to fish. Seriously, she loves it. And her favorite show EVER is Expedition Great White.) (Coop DID takes some pictures of Granddady! Thank Goodness!)
We took the girls to see Ringo Starr
We all wore a selection of Rush t-shirts from Coop's vast twenty-something-year collection of Rush concert t-shirts. Coop achieved getting us the closest possible seats without actually having to get sweat dripped on us.
(And my mom and dad and I went into NYC to see Bernadette Peters in Sondheim's "A Little Night Music." This was definitely something I'd wanted to do all my life and it was simply breathtaking.)
(There were other trips into the City, most culminating with trips to the M&M store but I will spare you the details since, yeah, I know, this blog post is already as long as a novel.)
The last theme, Number Five, is that this was the summer we discovered that we have too many pets.
But for more details on that theme, you'll have to tune in tomorrow.