Friday, August 28, 2009

We survived, the pansies didn't.

Here are the two students, soaking up some morning sunshine early last week, deep in discussion about 'going back to school', and cheerful enough to pause for a photo opportunity for the mama's blog. 

We all survived the first week back at school. Although Robin's week turned out to be somewhat chaotic. His registration paperwork still unresolved because of some administrative error, so his own course schedule remains undetermined. But he was prepped and ready for his own teaching - an undergraduate Intro to Ceramics course and this year the Lifespan (Community Education) nightclass. 

It's looking like it'll be a full load between his own classes and the teaching.  

Isla on the other hand slipped back into preschool without a hitch. She was rosy cheeked and amped Tuesday morning when I dropped her off, mostly excited about seeing her buddies and snack time (was what I derived from our breakfast conversation that morning). She'll be going to preschool two mornings a week this semester.
Much to Isla's delight, the rest of the week was spent mostly hanging out with friends at home too! With the weather being still really warm, that meant a mixture of outdoor activities (running in the sprinkler, a trip to the waterslide pool, hitting the playground, bubble fun in the backyard, and picking fruit) and indoor activities to beat the heat (setting up racetracks on the stairs, playing ponies and helping out in the kitchen). 

I had a few projects of my own this week which I easily enlisted the kids into helping with. While we were away this summer we had a neighborhood kid take care of the lawn for us, which I failed to mention to him included watering the front window box, so unfortunately all the pansies we planted in the spring with my mom were nothing but a heap of dried stems by the time we got back. So Roscoe, Isla and her little friend Jackson and I took a trip to the garden store and picked out a whole bunch of heavily discounted annuals to pretty up the front window box again. 
Part of my duties at the farm this summer at the farm also included tending to the amazing flower gardens, deadheading and watering. I think as a result, I've caught the flower bug and am already envisioning landscaping our property back home, even though that might be a couple years out. For now I'll have to be content with this sweet little box out front our rental here in Logan. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The difference a year can make.

Well we're back in Logan and our lives here have already resumed normalcy. We have slipped back into our little neighborhood on the hill, and in the few days since we arrived back we've already been to the outdoor pool to beat the heat, the gardener's market to load up on veggies, put in hours at the studio setting up space, went for a hike up the canyon, and got invited to a barbeque to swap summer stories! It's just as though we never left. 

It's quite incredible to notice the difference although, from last year to this year, the anxiety and nervousness we felt going into the first year in contrast to the ease and familiarity we feel this go round. We're both very excited about the upcoming year here in Utah, ready to make waves, now that we no longer feel like we're getting our feet wet. 

Robin begins teaching tomorrow, and his own classes start up throughout this coming week. Isla is also busting at the seams to start her preschool classes this week. She'll be attending a nearby program a couple mornings a week. Although she has always been quite a social little person, happy to greet and speak with whomever she passes by, I have noticed her desire to seek out friends this summer has increased dramatically. Perhaps it was the constant stream of visitors and playmates that defined her summer holiday back home. I'm already feeling overwhelmed with her constant requests to hang out with her buddies here, while I still have mountains of laundry and an empty fridge to deal with. Luckily we've been able to connect with most of her playmates already, and feel grateful that her friend's parents make up a social network of our own.  

I am however also looking forward to reconnecting with my kids here. I feel like the summer was full of distractions and 'free childcare' (thanks to our moms), something that I don't have here in Utah. I'm also reading a book at the moment that has been a good reminder of the importance of parental attachment and influence, especially during these early formative years. Our arrival back in Utah has reminded me of how lucky I am that I can spend this time with them and that had we not embarked on this family adventure to go to grad school, I wouldn't have been so fortunate to stay home with them.  

Somehow I feel more confident and better equipped to both parent and make the most of this experience. I am sure it will be an exciting year for all of us - Robin will have new ideas and work to pursue, Isla will make new friends and discoveries, Roscoe will learn to talk and even I have a few projects up my sleeve....Stay tuned! 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What happened to August?

The end of August is just around the corner and I am shocked at what we've been able to accomplish and cram into the last few weeks. Our six weeks of summer back in Canada flew by, suddenly six weeks doesn't feel very long at all. But both Robin and I feel as though our time in the Kootenays was well spent, our goals met and our presence welcomed.  Thanks to all our friends and loved ones that made us feel at home this summer. 

And we are totally grateful to both our families for making great efforts to come to us, making for some great cousin time and to enjoy a little piece of the farm life with us.

Our only regret was that we'd had more leisure time to spend with them. Despite our best efforts to kick back at the river during the daytime and sip wine with friends and family well into the nights, we also put in a fair number of hours of productive work. I am undoubtedly more versed in the way of gardening than I was when we first arrived, although still a novice at best. 

Taking my friend Sue's lead, I learned a fair bit this summer. Some of my accomplishments included making Bread n' Butter pickles, canning peaches, blanching and freezing a variety of veggies, and don't forget the pesto! I am sad that I will miss the making and canning of spaghetti sauce, but thankful I did get to taste vine ripened tomatoes and the sweet corn before our time on the farm was up. 

Robin's productivity was also incredible. He
managed to make a kiln load of pots and fire them in his kiln in just short of a month - a work cycle that used to take a minimum of six weeks. His efforts were worth the long days he put in, the body of work intended for a studio tour and sale he participated in on August 15th. The tour was part of a larger organized event sponsored by a regional funding organization, the Columbia Basin Trust. 

Robin commented that it was likely the most smooth load and firing yet in his kiln, thanks to the unfailing firing crew. Grandpa Wes has not missed a single firing of our kiln, since it was first built in 2005. He is as committed to the process as the potter himself, a significant contributer in moving, chopping and stacking wood, passing brick and pots where needed and hands down the supreme wad-maker. Cam Stewart, our fantastic friend and caretaker of our home was also an integral part of this firing. He too participated in the culture tour, which made for a great few days of teaming up to both clean and set up the place for the tour. (Roscoe made sure to get in on the action too!)

The event itself was a success and turned out to be another opportunity to see lots of the folks we'd hoped too while we were back.  And as we had vowed earlier this summer to do, in memory of our good friend Tom that passed away, we made sure to enjoy our friends, good food and those beautiful objects that seem to inspire us to bring them all together in that celebratory way that makes memories. 

Here's a few of our memories from this summer........

Now it's off to Utah for Year 2!