The big day has long since passed and a short stack of Left To Be Written thank you notes remind us that there is some unfinished business to attend to. This being one of them.
This is where we sigh and fondly recall a pregnancy, a birth, and the cruel speed of time. Yesterday she didn’t know that she had hands and today she’s trying to unlock the mystery that is snapping. One minute she is bravely scaling whatever she can climb (in some sort of sparkly number no less) and the next she’s curled up in our arms, letting out a sigh that we will always know as hers.
No grand slideshow of photo amazingness here. In fact, we really need to remember to either stage a few pics or nominate someone to be the photographer. Still, a few highlights to share. Top: Annika and Ira doing “roll-pollies” down the hill. Middle: Chris and Annika blowing out the candles. Yes we made cupcakes and no, the stand isn’t mine. Bottom: Some of our friends and family who joined us.
Somewhere, there is a picture of us all together. We somehow manage to get one each year and hope it surfaces soon.
The morning was looking gloomy and turned out spectacular. Annika’s birthday pals Spencer & Wyatt had their 1st birthday party earlier in the day (we love that she also shares her day with Cousin Erin…maybe someday we can celebrate together!). We love that Team Young live so close (and are convinced that at some point Annika and Emily will realize just how close and manage to bushwhack their way to each other’s houses through a grove of trees, a field or two and some unsuspecting neighbor’s yard) and that we got to enjoy not one but two birthday parties (in one day!!!) for 3 awesome kiddos.
I should also mention that the casual shrug of “oh let’s keep it simple and have a little party here” is downright comical…especially when one factors in the need to have a What If It Rains plan. Happily, we enjoyed a balmy (and bug-free) summer evening, great food (yes, there were skewers involved and no, no child was harmed…many were delighted in fact) and the company of many wonderful people. We are lucky and grateful for so much.
If the year before you is anything like the birthday you have, then Annika is destined for another year of love, laughter, family and friends.
And then it’s time to pick strawberries…
It’s a full-on assault of the senses…but in a good way. That first step in to the grocery store on an early summer day and you are greeted with strawberries. Fresh. Local. Strawberries. Not giant berries as big as your hand. Small red berries that smell so sweet you can only imagine how good they taste. You buy a quart becasue, well, it’s Maine and this particular berry season only lasts a few weeks. Otherwise we pay through the nose to get them from somewhere else. And we have, and it’s usually a bit of a let down.
A lesson one must learn when living in a place with very distinct seasons is to embrace the season you are in. This may seem obvious, but it takes time to realize. There are all sorts of things one must and can do year-round, but you can only plan to do certain things for so long and then that season is over. None of this, “I’ll do that when I’m not so busy”. That magnificent and short-lived thing is Happening Right Now. Around here it’s usually around food. Fiddleheads in March (or is it April? I keep forgetting mostly because it’s 2 weeks and I still say “I’ll stop and pick some up next time”). Berries in the summer. Apples in the fall. You get the idea.
So, to Old Ackley Farm we went on Saturday morning. 10 minutes from our house and we are on a giant and gorgeous farm. Chickens, sheep, cows, pigs, etc. The farm also grows quite a variety of produce. And ’tis the season for a few acres of berries to be harvested.
Annika had a great time picking a lot and eating only a few. We think that we were so focused on reminding her of what to pick (red) and what not to pick (white) that it didn’t really occur to her that she could eat them. Anywhere else and there would be multiple signs (like in the bulk food aisle) or Someone in Charge calling out to remind us that there’s No Eating. Here, no problem.But she did and we did and so did everyone else. The berreis were practically begging to be eatn right then and there.
So, all told, we picked six quarts. in the past 24 hours we’ve enjoyed them in our dinner salad (with balsamic vinegar of course), in a cobbler and yes, in this morning’s pancakes. A lot remain that need to be hulled and rinsed and probably frozen. Frozen until that dark winter day when everything’s white and the only memory of summer are photographs and berries in our freezer.
Tonight it happened. After dinner, we are playing with Annika’s dollhouse when she decided to add some friends to the mix. The girls needed a place to sleep for the slumber party and then it hit me. A moment later, I showed Annika her newest accessory. The famous Bargello sleeping bag that Dodo made me, oh well over 30years ago. Annika declared it hers and immediately took it from my hands and went straight to work.
I knew the moment would come…I just didn’t know when.