Sky and I were picking blackberries at the park and all of a sudden I hear “Mommy get over here right now!”
With an 8 year old you really never know what your going to get as you round the corner to the other side of the blackberry bush, had she fallen in and scratched from head to toe, was there a snake, was Ruthie hurt…I was instantly thinking of all the bad things it could be.
Turns out it was none of those things…”I made a new friend, and I think it wants to come home with me, look!”
There truly is nothing like a simple, every day adventure, with your kiddo to help you find joy in something like a lady bug.
P.S. I don’t recommend picking blackberries with polarized sunglasses on…they all looked very ripe, and some were, but most of what we brought home was very tart and could have used another week or so on the vine. Lesson learned I guess…also, I guess that’s what a sprinkle of sugar is for.
I think we have an official mountain biker on our hands! She is getting to the point where she wants to ride in the woods and down single track trails. Trails that give me pause btw. But, she’s all for it!
She still has trouble here and there, had to hop off a few times on the trail in the picture, it was more technical than what she’s been riding on.
Our summer bike rides have been the highlight of summer for me! For one I’m enjoying being on my bike way more than running (although I’m getting back to running as well) it’s way easier on my bad knee. Second Sky has made huge progress from the beginning of summer to now. She’s so much more self sufficient, getting pretty good at her gears, and willing to take on pretty much anything the park has to offer.
Now we just have to get her some cold weather gear so we can keep up the skills during fall/winter. I hate to start over again in the spring. The winter wind chill on the bike though…that can be pretty cold. For now we are getting in as many family rides as we can while the weather is still accommodating.
This is my absolute favorite time of year at Fort Steilacoom Park. There are a few leaves starting to change color, it’s sunny, but cooling off in the early evenings, and the smell of rotten fruit is in the air.
It may sound gross, rotten anything is kinda gross….but, I really love it. There are tons of blackberries all through the park, and everywhere you run, walk, or bike you can smell the sweet scent of overripe blackberries in the air.
On one of our last bike rides we rode past the wild/abandoned orchard and Sky really wanted to stop and pick apples…she’s been asking all summer to pick apples, so we promised her a fruit picking trip to the park. A few days ago we grabbed some gloves (very helpful to keep hands stain free while picking blackberries), bags, and some grabby things that reach high, or low, for things and off we went to get some fruit.
We had so much fun picking fruit and climbing trees! I filled a large yogurt container with blackberries and they have been so good in my morning smoothie! Mark and Sky wondered down to the orchard and picked bags and bags of apples, and Mark found a plumb tree! The orchard is untended and very wild, but the fruit is good, and it’s free!
Sky and I made applesauce this afternoon and while a bit runny it’s really good! What a fun way to start winding down summer! I plan on squeezing in more park time to enjoy the scent and maybe eat a few more blackberries before they are gone!
As parents we are supposed to know what’s right, what’s better, offer advice, give direction etc. But, sometimes not saying anything is the best option.
Sky has been in a jazz/tap/ballet combo dance class for a year, and the school was opening up audition for company teams (teams that compete) to kiddos her age. Sky really wanted to audition, I really thought another year of classes would be best, but after talking with her teacher decided it was a great opportunity to find out what being a company dancer means commitment and money wise, and would be a great learning experience for Sky. Sky went into it knowing not everyone would be selected and that it was good practice for her know what the audition process is.
Sky had her heart set on jazz and jazz was auditioning early in the day, so I figured we’d be in and out pretty quick. Hahaha. Once Sky found out tap was next she wanted to audition for that as well. I so badly wanted to say no, we are not tap fans and paying competition fees for a style we don’t enjoy was not going to happen. But, I figured it was good practice for her to dance in front of judges. So off she went to tap.
Next up was hip-hop and once again Sky wanted to audition. She’s standing there looking at me, begging please with her big eyes, and guys I took a breath and almost crushed her with a big no. I was on the verge of saying “I don’t think that’s the best idea”…mind you she has not had a single hip-hop class, she is getting better – but has a hard time hearing the beat consistently, and I didn’t want to take up the judges time, my time, and Sky’s time auditioning for a dance style that she doesn’t even know what it is. But somewhere between saying “I” and “don’t” I decided to bite my tongue and keep all those thought’s and reasons, and “knowing better” to myself. Instead I said “I think that’s a great idea, go ahead, but remember you only get to be on one company team”. She squealed and jumped up and down and ran into the audition room happy as can be.
Parents were not allowed in the auditions, so I stood out in the hallway and peaked through the window to watch all her auditions….I made sure she couldn’t see me though, I didn’t want her to worry about Mommy watching her. During jazz and tap she was pretty serious and seemed a little confused, but hip-hop was totally different. As soon as the music started she had a huge smile in her face, she was feeling it, and while I thought it was her best audition of all I still didn’t think much would come of it.
She ran out of the room saying hip-hop was the only one she wanted, she loved it. Once again in my head I’m thinking it’s not going to happen, she hasn’t been in any of the classes, and is starting from ground zero. Rather than share any of those practical thought, and try and make what I was sure would be disappointment softer, I let her know I hoped she got it and that she did a great job.
Turns out I didn’t know better, I was not right, and I’m so thankful I bit my tongue and let her audition for hip-hop, because she made the company team! When he name was called she exploded with joy and was jumping and squealing all over the place.
It would have been all too easy to have called it a day after jazz, that was the original plan, but I’m glad we didn’t, and mostly I’m glad I kept all those thought to myself. Sometimes it’s ok to let our kiddos go out on a limb, and try new things, unplanned things and let the chips fall where they may. Especially when it’s something like dance auditions, there was no risk to her safety or well being, other than potential disappointment at not being picked for a team, but that’s part of life and something she will face sooner or later. I’m so proud of her for going for it, even when auditioning and hip-hop were new to her. She handled the whole experience so well, and I can’t wait to see how she progresses in hip-hop!
We usually save s’mores for camping only. But, our last camping trip of the season I was sick, and we cut it short, and it was still dry so there was a burn ban…no s’mores without flame!
I’m not going to lie I felt so let down after that trip. From being sick, to not having a camp fire it just felt like a little bummer. And, we had a ton of s’mores fixings just sitting around begging to be eaten.
Solution = invite friends over at the last minute for a s’mores roast around the fire pit on the patio. Seriously this was the easiest thing ever. Sometimes I want to host friends, but I don’t feel like doing the whole full blown dinner thing. S’mores roasting is the perfect solution! I chose to keep it simple with traditional fixing’s, but you could get a bit fancy with flavored chocolate, homemade marshmallows, and cookies instead of graham crackers if you wanted to make it a little special.
I’m hoping we can find an evening for hot chocolate and Christmas tree lighting next month. Keep it simple and enjoy time with people we care about.