this weekend started with a friday night dinner date with friends~ grilled cheese (with apples) and homemade tomato soup followed by baked apples (the previous day we picked apples at their house) and a campfire. the girls got into a pretty intense fight-then-make-up thing that was a bit much, and a bit weird, but all is good. saturday was ballet followed by the market (our last for the year, as we'll be at the beach next weekend when the market finale takes place), the library book sale, and some shopping around town. which reminded me of how packed this little town gets in the fall, what with all the beautiful leaves. we spent a little time at home and then had dinner at another friend's house, with a pre-dinner course of a horseback riding lesson for Claire. I so enjoy pulling up to this particular house and seeing horses and goats roaming around the yard with the dogs and children. good times.
I worked on the mish-mash of things I've been hanging above the couch. we're almost there. that floral painting up on the top right is something I found in the trash (in that frame!). I'm not so into the picture, and plan to paint the frame and staple chicken wire to the back, then clothespin photos (etc) to it. the little pink canvas is something Claire finished yesterday, the cardboard ram 'trophy' head is something I got at a little shop up north last weekend, there is an awesome picture of Mike and his brother taken about 25 years ago, one of my late grandmother riding a bicycle as a young girl...... a large map of the Smokies, a national forest sign I snatched many years ago while working at a backpacking camp in Virginia..... all sorts of things. it makes me happy.
today we went out for breakfast at the biscuit place, ran some errands, then came home to do some cleaning for some visiting we've got coming our way. my mom and grandmother came with four puppies. my mom has two dogs, not fixed (she assures me this will be happening asap), who had seven puppies. she is keeping three and is half-heartedly looking for homes for the others. we all played, two puppies went home with a farmer friend, where they will have land to roam and children to play with, one stole the hearts of my girl and I but papa is still pretty sure about not wanting a dog again (even though Claire singled him out and told papa she loves him because he is "brave with her", and even though cuddly pup quite enjoyed our practice snuggle on the couch together...), grandma stayed (she's with us until Tuesday morning) and mom went back home with two puppies, a little teary over saying goodbye to the other two.
this evening we lit the first fire of the year and Claire read to her great grandmother. she is a few months shy of turning four and has long been very verbal and so very into books. I do not push her. I do have some reading/writing works (sandpaper letters, matching, letter sounds works, sequencing cards, etc) available for her when she wants them, which is sporadic. a couple days ago I overheard her sounding out words while looking at a coloring book at the table. I peeked my head around and watched as she sounded her way through "n"- "u"-"t", "nut!", and "n"- "o"- "d", "nod!", and watched her face light up with pride and accomplishment with each word. it was then that I took her to the library and requested the little box of beginner BOB books for her, and they came in yesterday. She read the first 3 last night and flew through them until she got to book 3, about little Dot, who has a dog. from the other room I heard Claire saying again and again "Dot has a dodge?". I told her to try a hard "g" and it made much more sense. tonight she read the first book again, to my grandmother. oh what a gift it was to watch that interaction. my grandmother's mother died two weeks before I was born, and I know how she wishes I'd met her and gotten to know her. I so value this time that Claire has to get to know her own great grandmother. special, special stuff happening here.
and the icing on the cake? tomorrow afternoon, a very special someone comes to town for the week. a certain very special someone I have never met. a blogger friend from Texas, dear Nichole. I can't wait~ oh what fun I know we'll have throwing our families and ourselves together and exploring together a bit here and there!
*weekending with amanda