It's a big month for us this time, August. We've got our close friend, Francesca, coming to visit from Australia at the end of the month, and our friends Fiona and Zev (who we also met in Australia) are getting stationed here. Small world huh? It will be so nice to have Fiona (sweetest woman ever!) and Francesca (who we consider family) together again. I can see the girl-dates now and the laughter that will ensue. I'm looking forward to it more than I have anything in a long time.
Caroline also starts school this month. She'll be going into the 3rd grade, and will be fortunate enough to still have Mr. Zappey as her teacher. She had him last year too, and we could not feel more pleased with this hard-working, caring, intelligent, imaginative and supportive man. Knowing Caroline is in his hands every day does incredible things for my ability to relax. She couldn't be in a better class.
This summer, unfortunately has been a bit ugly on the weather side, so the outdoor adventures I had planned for us on a daily basis haven't panned out as planned. We did get to Sweden though, and have spent time at the zoo, dairy park, self-pick flower garden, and farm. Caroline also got to spend lots of time with her good friend, Mila, who lives in the apartment downstairs.
Mila's mommy, my friend Alex (the artist who is responsible for the header photograph), has just been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts, throwing a sad shadow on our lives. Alex has been and is being brave and optimistic, and keeping up a great sense of humor, despite her atrocious taste in hats. She doesn't like my taste in hats either---apparently, I pick out hats that go on eccentric old ladies. Alex? She likes looking like a pirate. There, I said it in public instead of just teasing her constantly like I have been. Despite this, we love her and the sunshine she brings to everyone she talks to and we're hoping very hard for a speedy, easily-won battle. She and her beautiful family mean so much to us.
Beautiful Glamourpuss Alex
The other morning, Mila was over having breakfast with us, having spent the night giggling and playing monopoly with our own Sprout. And, like my mother (and probably her mother before her) I was following the family tradition of dancing around the kitchen, making up silly songs with the names of whatever children happen to be around while simultaneously flipping pancakes. I never thought of this as a particularly strange activity, as Caroline loves it and I've always done it. Never thought it strange at all, that is, until I looked over at Mila to find the strangest expression on her face. It seemed to be a mixture of "If I run now, can I make it to the door before you?" and "It's amazing I survived a night here with this fruitcake who is obviously dangerous".
So I asked her, "What's wrong Mila, doesn't your mom sing to you?"
"What about your dad? He doesn't sing to you?"
A very small pause in which she appeared to be considering how to put the bad news gently, and.....
"Um, Trinity, that's what the iPod is for."
Hm. Yes. Well, I bet I can ad-lib better.
Caroline and Mila, as Pocahontas and Mulan.
Playing in Sundsvall
He is now 41. And he doesn't look a day over 41. Still fine as ever. Actually, better. The cute little baby face is gone. Also, most of the hair. And yet......he's just a stunner. Caroline, you're a lucky girl to have such genes. And I'm lucky to look at my husband 11 years after I met him and still think, Wow, I'd totally ask him out!
So Caroline wanted to make her dad a birthday cake when he returns. Not just any birthday cake, though. Chocolate? Nah. Vanilla? Snore. Yellow? Haven't we done that a million times?
No, this cake must be special. A serious multi-decker fantasy. Her idea? 41 layers. 41 different flavors for the layers. Topped with....now get this.....41 power bars, 41 Oreos, 41 Pop Tarts, 41 kinds of frosting, 41 Diet Cokes (oh yeah, she knows this man) and 1 candle. 41 candles might set off the fire alarm.
If I can work up enough energy for this gargantuan task, I may perhaps consider it.
At least we didn't forget the obligatory sock and underwear gifts.
Today, Caroline had her school physical. I was there as she took the eye test and I watched her read the lines the specialist told her to read. And I watched as she got nearly every letter wrong. Well, we know her reading skills aren't in question, so that only left one conclusion. The doc referred her to an optometrist on the economy. It is entirely possibly our little girl will be sporting a pair of brand new glasses soon. Stay tuned for photos.
Caroline, Daddy and I love you.
Alex, we're all with you and we love you.
Francesca and Fiona, we eagerly await your presence and the fun that always accompanies you and we love you.