Wednesday, July 04, 2007

7/4/07 Happy Birthday USA

Today we did the unthinkable in the suburbs: hang out in the front yard. Andreas, my most crafty brother-in-law, set up a swing on the magnolia tree, and the kids took turns begging grownups to push (though Aidan and Gabriel figured out they could push each other). I'm sure the passerby or two found this scene quite odd.

Remi and Katrina will never have a sister or a younger brother, both things my sister and I had, so they'll have to settle for a girl cousine instead, something my sister and I never had (well, one, Perrine, but she was raised in France and we didn't see much of her). Quite a reasonable substitute. They both have October birthdays, and are just under two years apart in age.
Bonne Maman with her granddaughters.

Bonne Maman loves dresses on little girls, and sewed quite a few for her own little girls many, many years -- well, decades -- ago. And it was a nice hot day, perfect to pull out a cool dress from the closet. Remi's dress was a gift from Bonne Maman (Garnet Hill), and Katrina's dress is a hand-me-down from Remi.

Speaking of dresses, yesterday, Stephanie (also very crafty) modeled for us the first dress she made on her interlock sewing machine. When she came out in the dress, Remi ran up to her and said, "Mommy, Mommy, you look like a princess!" Aww.

Meantime, the boys spent a fair amount of time playing and climbing in the trees, Gabriel largely inspired by Aidan. Here they are playing SpyKids and being Very Serious.
Julian's putting on a wimp hat for this visit -- no rides at Happy Hollow yesterday, didn't want to swing, didn't want to climb trees, and tonight was afraid of the fireworks at Creekside. But he's very cooperative about posing for photos.

We've been having no end of fun planning and preparing meals, and I'm not being sarcastic! Stephanie's dietary limitations due to diabetes have been something of an inspiration. Not to mention, the idea of trucking everyone to a restaurant seems unimaginable -- and despite our 8-seater minivan, we'd still have to take two vehicles! So we've been planning and preparing major meals and making big trips to Whole Foods every day.

Healthy, organic and diabetic-friendly doesn't entirely rule out yummies though. Tonight I baked some chocolate-chip cookies, but not your ordinary chocolate-chip cookies: I used 1/3 the sugar, spelt flour, and bittersweet (73% cacao) chocolate "chips" (more like disks). And oh my are they good. My sister might even be able to eat one.

And, I've discovered that the boys like soynut butter as a substitute for peanut butter. Or, I should say, they don't notice the difference if it looks like a peanut butter sandwich and I "forget" to mention that it's not peanut butter. Why is this important if they're not allergic to peanuts? Because 1) they have a cousin who is peanut-allergic; 2) they have a sister who might be peanut-allergic; and 3) Gabriel's summer camp/daycare, Collins CDC, is peanut-free due to a highly allergic child, so handy-dandy peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for bag lunches are out. But soynut butter -- in. And just as handy and dandy.

Fireworks at Creekside Park tonight -- crowded, but there really is no bad seat. We even found parking nearby and made it in time for the show. Aidan, imagination on full tilt at all times, "conducted" the fireworks show, with very convincing hand gestures and sounds. That was the best show.


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