Holy smokes, it’s already the third week of September! I have been a bad blogger but I have been a good mom and wife of late. So there is that. It isn’t that I didn’t want to write, it’s that there has been very little time to do so. And maybe after my emotional (for me) last post about our wedding, writing anything else down seemed twee somehow. You know? But on this rainy September day, I have some time post work meetings and pre school pick ups and I decided to keep it simple stupid and just write something, already. Sheesh. I need to return to writing like no one is reading-just for me and my mental health. Though I am totally appreciative of all of you reading! I just need to write more freely.
So jumping right back in: here is a recap of our summer post wedding and of our transition into Fall.
We spent the summer hitting the pool and running away on little adventures when we weren’t stuck in town for work. In what is turning into a tradition, we drove to Maine with the kids and had a great great time. We met up with close friends in Denmark, Maine that were playing a music festival there. It was in the middle of nowhere and such a lovely spot. The organizers had put our friends up in these little cabins in the woods, bordering a lake. Such a lovely day, one of our favorites of the summer.
From Denmark we drove to Portland. We LOVE Portland. E’s uncle’s brother (second uncle? uncle twice removed? no idea) generously put us up again. They have a great guest apartment and we fully took advantage. We spent our first morning at Crescent Beach .
It was perfect family fun. The water was FREEZING but the kids and the hubby didn’t mind. There was a snack bar with lobster rolls and popsicles. And Oscar got to practice his swimming. After the beach we headed into Portland and walked around. There are many great home decor shops, including my favourites Blanche + Mimi and Folly 101. Both shops do great beach style without being tacky: easy, colourful, practical and beautiful home decor.
Blanche + Mimi where I bought a beautiful old buoy and a shell night light. Love this store!
Folly 101 had piles of gorgeous blue and grey and white towels and throws and pillows. My colours and EVERYTHING STRIPES!
Portland also boasts one of my all-time favourite toy stores, Treehouse Toys. Such a great selection and a lovely staff.
Our whole family loves this place!
After more window shopping, we headed to one of my new favourite restaurants, Eventide Oyster Co. This place is definitely in my top ten favourite restaurants that I’ve ever been to. We had a really long wait for a table during which my children proved to be real troopers. Also the wait was our fault -all having to do with a lost zebra ring, a meltdown, a return trip to the toy store, a missed meeting point- and nothing to do with the restaurant though do expect a wait if you go. It is popular and always full but so very deservedly so. Great food, highly competent staff, AMAZING oysters, and beautiful design/branding. It is also the restaurant responsible for making our kid realize he loves oysters. For this I will always be grateful. If you are ever in Portland Maine, make it your business to go here. For real.
My family hanging out, waiting for a table. Mama enjoying a much deserved drink. An oyster bun and the coleslaw. Oscar slurping the oysters like a boss.
On day two, we hit Scarborough Beach. Foggy and wilder than Crescent beach, but beautiful nonetheless.
Sandcastles, beach naps, & boogie boarding.
After the beach we went back into Portland and had another great dinner, this time at the Portland Lobster Company. Super family friendly and very simple fare- fresh seafood served on orange cafeteria trays. Easy and delicious. Kind of like our Maine vacations: easy and always delicious.
Our dining companions purchased at Treehouse Toys; my love; my babies loving the lobster.
Can’t wait for our next Maine trip. So much more lobster for me to eat. So many more shops and restaurants to discover.
Back at home, my focus turned to my first born: I was immediately thrown into planning Oz’s 5th birthday party and we were in the final stretch of daycare before he started kindergarten at the end of August. I had promised him a superhero themed party. The catch was that we have always thrown his birthday parties in the park right by his daycare. And we always invite a million people. This year, 25 kids plus their parents RSVP’d. I had also promised capes and masks. What was I thinking? I ended up making 25 capes and 25 masks all by myself. Like a dope. BUT the party was a hit, the kid was thrilled, kids decorated their capes as an activity, and I spent virtually nothing on loot bags (just the cost of the bags). Though I did spend a million dollars on felt but whatever your kid only turns 5 once. And when Lou turns 5, we’ll just keep it simple. Yeah right. Pinterest was a great help for finding cape how to’s and decorating ideas worthy of a superhero.
Capes, masks, and Ballerina Batgirl Lou.
Our final Summer trip before the mayhem of school, was a grown-ups only weekend away in Chicago. Holy cow do I ever love that city. We went once before when my son was 18 months old. At the time we went for E’s cousin’s graduation. This time we were returning for that same cousin’s wedding. Sans kids. Now I hate to fly. I really really hate it. It has gotten worse over the years (F you Lost!) and even worse once I had kids. Like all of my phobias ( hi there rats/mice/sharks/loved one getting sick/being buried alive!), flying has started to take on nightmare status in my already paranoid brain. All this to say that though I looked forward to the wedding, my excitement was quickly lost in the fog of fear of the flight and of never seeing my kids again. Keeping me sane (just barely, my husband would say) was the thought of a couple of nights out on the town with my love in a city that I love. We were going to the wedding with my lovely sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Meeting us there was my wonderful brother-in-law and his GF. Plus all the family that would be there for the wedding. It was fun and drunken and way too short. As always when I’m away from my children, I feel empty in some ways but then can easily be distracted by shiny things and good food and adult conversation. The thought of how much I’ll miss them takes up a ton of space and then once I’m away from them, I am always surprised at how quickly I can begin to enjoy myself. While still missing them obviously- it’s just never as bad as I imagine it to be.
Breakfast on the beach of Lake Michigan. My crazy husband actually went into the water.
The view from the Adler Planetarium where the wedding took place.
Like two old people that never go out anymore, we went hard at the rehearsal dinner and so we were pretty wrecked on the actual wedding day. We managed to walk around a bit and we shopped for the kids. Then it was wedding time which was lovely and I think everything the bride and groom hoped it would be. Then sleep, goodbye brunch and back on the teensy tiny plane back home to Montreal and our babies. Next time we visit, it’ll be with kids in tow and with less alcohol (clearly) and with more time for architectural tours and museum visits. And hopefully, a bigger plane.
After the mad dash that was Chicago, was the biggest change in our family life since getting married: O started school! My baby going to “real” school. A big school with tons of kids. Not a single one known to him. My little guy. Having to pack a lunch and realizing that your child has never peeled a banana fully by himself or an orange, or taken a straw out of the plastic holding the straw in a juice box, or unwrapped a sandwich? I realized how much I do for my kids without even thinking. I was so stressed by all the details. Labelling each marker and crayon, the lunch, the backpack, would he make any friends? Would he understand what was going on? Would his teachers see what a wonderful, special, smart, and curious child he was? He went to French daycare but all of his friends were English. How would he cope in a French school where almost everyone spoke French at home too? I truly underestimated what a massive difference this would make not just to our routine but to my sense of my child and my fears and of course, all that I projected onto him. Well, he showed me. He made a friend on day 1 and has been collecting new friends every day. His teachers seem to like him and more importantly to Get him. I love the curriculum and I love the way they are trying to grab each child’s imagination and attention. He told us it was his dream come true school. I cried like a baby. Knowing that you have tried to choose the very best you could for your child, knowing that he is thriving, this gives us tremendous joy. What a relief. Mornings are stressful as we are now having to be at his school a full hour earlier than we had to be at daycare and my days are shortened because he needs picking up a full hour and a half earlier than I used to get him before. But seriously what a relief: he is happy, he is learning, he is making friends. And he knows how to peel an orange.