Friday, July 31, 2009

Visit to the mountains

Once a year we head to the northern border of the Czech Republic, to a little ski town called Rokytnice nad Jizerou, deep in the Krkonoše mountains. A perfect mountain weekend calls for a camp fire, a hike, some nature study and at least one stop at a hospoda for Czech food. It almost always rains too, so there is usually plenty of time for just hanging around and talking to our friends or reading books.

Last weekend we drove through torrential rains to Roktynice. We ate lunch and watched the sun appear and then, once again, the perfect mountain weekend unwound until Sunday evening fell and it was time to drive down into the city for the week ahead.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Caroline's birthday

1. C and James breakfast together, 2. Caroline feeds James, now she is 6. 3. C at her birthday party. 4. Cupcakes 5. James decides to get down and walk (first time!), since it seems to be a day for celebration.

C's sixth birthday was on her first day of summer vacation, and she woke up bedazzled by all the sleep, strange for a Monday. She remembered straight away though, that it was her birthday and that she was the grand age of 6. Then she looked in the mirror, stared herself up and down and said, "But I don’t feel older. Am I bigger? Are my hands bigger than before?"

Six to C means being grownup, so she decided to be regally polite, and invited James to join her for breakfast at her red table. She even pulled out a chair and poured him some cereal so they could "dine" together. (James plays with cereal, rather than eating it, but as long as he stays in his chair, the flakes don't go too far).

While she breakfasted, we decided that for her birthday dinner she'd like knedlicky with a red sauce. She reassured me that it was easy, much easier than what Dada and I usually made and if I would just get some tomatoes and mash them up she was sure they'd taste fine on the dumplings. And she told me, confidentially, that it was really okay to buy the knedlicky in the store, almost no one made them from scratch any more.

Breakfast finished, and a little time left before our babysitter arrived and I headed to work, we squeezed in a reading from "Now we are Six."

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
"If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said: "True,
It isn't much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. "That's how it is," says Pooh.

That's how it is, Mommie, said Caroline. And I gave her a hug and a twirl for being six and my girl.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Where we left off

Summer solstice pictures from June. I pull them out to look at the green and purple every now and then. I love the Maxfield Parrish clouds, and remember how swirling still the longest day of the year sky seemed, light at nearly ten.

A month later and where have I been? Mostly perched in my office chair with pen in one hand, phone in the other - my battle implements against the economy and the inevitable slow down of a European July. 6:30 comes, and I stop typing long enough to make dinner and play with the children for a few hours, then they are in bed and I am back at my desk until midnight. And so it goes.