August is a big month for birthdays in my family. All three of my children were born in August, as were their father, aunt, uncle and the great grandparents who raised me. When the kids were little, I used to rotate giving one a birthday cake, one a giant cookie and one a cake of a different flavor. Even then, by the end of the month, we were all fairly weary of sweets. Coupled with birthdays was the return to school. With three children in school, college and law school, and my own college, being a public school teacher, followed by going to law school, August has always been an exciting (and expensive!) month.
But times have changed and now the kids are grown and all live in New York City; their aunt, uncle and my grandparents have passed away; their father and I divorced a dozen years ago; and I no longer teach school. So in the past few years, August has been, for me, stunningly quiet. No need to buy school supplies or school clothes. No preparing a classroom in anticipation of a fresh batch of new students. Perhaps sending cards and gifts to the kids via Amazon. Sometimes, no birthday cake, at all.
But with all that, August still touches me, deeply. It is one of those months that, on the surface, feels constant and unchanging. In Oklahoma, it is hot and dry. The sunny days, past the spring turbulances, dawn bright and sunny, frequently without a cloud in the sky. The insects buzz lazily, wildlife is in abundance in the morning hours and late in the evening. The meteor showers come on schedule. The grass stops growing like wildfire and you can have a few weekends where you don't need to mow. The trees start to wilt, the air feels hot and you start to wonder if the fall will ever come, bringing relief from the heat and a change from the endless days of sunny skies. Today is typical - we haven't had a spot of rain in a month. July had five days where we had measurable rain. June only had three. On the days it didn't rain, there were also no clouds beyond the ones that seem to merely serve as decoration or to catch the pink from the sunsets or sunrises. August feels like time is standing still and it will stay August, forever.
This August has been an exciting time for me. Last week, all my children and their spouses came to town to celebrate their father's wedding to a lovely woman and give him their blessing. I have not met the bride but saw the wedding photos on Facebook and she is beautiful, with beautiful children. My kids say the bride and groom are deeply in love and that her children all seem very sweet. I am absolutely delighted for him. In truth, I never expected him to stay single for so long - I fully expected that some smart woman would snatch him up within a couple of years and was astonished that I was the one who re-married, first. May they have many, many years of happiness!
My older daughter arrived a day early to have a "mom" day, which thrilled me to no end.
On Friday night, late, my son and his wife, and younger daughter and her husband arrived. There is truth to the addage that your children will always be your babies. Everytime I first lay eyes on my big strapping son after being apart, I am shocked that he no longer smells like a newborn. In fact, I still am surprised at his five o'clock shadow and how he carries himself with the confidence and competence of a grown man. He was always a steady son and age has only ripened his character. My younger daughter hasn't changed so much. She still has the same sweet smile, dancing eyes and gentle ways. She is mainly just taller.
My sweet daughter-in-law was born in July and my darling son-in-law was born in June so we celebrated all the summer birthdays Friday night. I was so happy to be able to actually give them gifts, in person! There was much laughing and hugging and toasting of family. Although it was not my birthday, I received the greatest gift of all. Trust me.
Check out the new picture, to the right.
Early the next morning they left to meet their father for breakfast before the wedding festivities officially started. They returned to dress and pack but at that time, I had to hug my oldest girl, son and daughter-in-law goodbye as they were staying overnight downtown and leaving early the next morning to return to NYC. I met my younger daughter and her husband on Sunday morning to have brunch with his family and dropped her off at the airport Sunday afternoon. So now I am left with just the "girls" but happy memories and excitement about the future.
on my other blog a few days ago and have made some progress, since then. Here are a few photos, in progress:
The original pattern:
Here, I am just auditioning fabric for the tree:
Here, most of the pieces are initially stitched and it is nearly ready for quilting:
I plan to add embellishments and some coloring, later.
Husband is out of town so I don't want to quilt for a long time out in the barn and leave the girls alone in the house. They have been super clingy and if they could, I believe they would wrap their arms around my neck and not let go. Yesterday, to keep myself occupied and to dream of my sweet family, I began a simple baby quilt.
It's a very light fabric that is intended to be blend together. The actual pattern is a checkerboard but it is hard to see because the colors are so soft.
I'm working on some hearts for the border that are more distinct.
While I am thinking about it, I want to show you the amazing gift I received from my friend, Amanda.
It is a cover for a sketch book and is exquisite. She put a lot of symbolism into it - see the barn?
These flowers represent my children!
And she didn't forget to put in something white and fluffy to represent the girls!
Okay, while multi-tasking with this post and an e-mail, it just came to my attention that SOMETHING IS IN MY CHIMNEY SQUEALING AND BUMPING AROUND! The girls are staring at the fireplace, heads cocked. I hope it is just a bird. I am sorry to end this so abruptly but I think I need to go look at the roof...
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl