Summer Breeze

comments: 83























In the dappled shade Amelia and I walk up and down the streets near our house. We're trying to stay in the shade; it's so hot, but we just have to get outside. She's in her stroller with her bare legs curled up, keeping them in the shade of the stroller hood. She has a gigantic, larger-than-lifesize photographic kitty-pillow that she clutches, faced-out towards passersby. Trippy Kitty's eyes are slightly wild. People look amused as we walk by with the giant, real-looking kitty. Mimi's hair is going in every possible direction. I'm drinking the biggest iced coconut chai you've ever seen. Four p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Bees buzzing the lavender. A guy trimming his spent roses. The baseball game on the radio in a yard. "Mommy?" "Yes, miss?" "Da?" Points at a tattered flag. "Flag!" "Mommy?" "Yes, ma'am." "Da?" Points at a swing in someone's yard. "Swing!" Why are fruit-filled trees so poignant? They almost make me want to cry.

July is dressed up and playing her tune. At the pool, there was no usual whining, no refusal to get further than one centimeter into the water, no running around the pool deck taking other peoples' shoes (while frantically signing "shoes"), no eating soggy popcorn from under the table where someone had a birthday party earlier that day. There was just the three of us, floating dreamily in the middle of the pool near the lane lines. Rare peace at the pool. She pushed her legs out behind her and kicked while Andy pulled her around. I floated on my back, pointing my toes just above the water. It was cold and clear. I tried not to get water in my eyes because it makes my contacts burn like hell. She doesn't mind splashing herself in the face (much), but she doesn't like being splashed by anyone else. What do you do when it's someone's dad dunking his kids and bouncing beach balls off their heads? The teenage lifeguard looked mildly uncomfortable. The kids, naturally, were delighted. All day long she tells them to stop standing on the baby-pool fountain. Now it was their big dad making the thing explode in an enormous plume when he slid his rump off the jet, a (naughty) kid again himself for the day. She didn't have the heart to scold and, in my mind, neither did I. Summer's so short. It's so hot. After an hour of playing with a cup or being carried by her dad through the water visiting the big-kid territories, Amelia came back to the zero-depth area and, by herself, trudged carefully toward the fountain, a frothy stack of water burbling out of the sparkling shallows. Gently, she ran her hands through its spray, soft and aerated, foamy white. She reached further in, held her hands deep in the core of the plume. We resisted the urge to follow her, to show her, to show her something . . . more. It's so hard not to, somehow. So hard to remember just to hang back and watch sometimes. She played there for a long time. I watched her serious face, and tried to memorize the moment. It was the best day we've had at the pool all summer, and when it was time to go I didn't want to go.

Back at home, we're trying to find a rhythm — working, sleeping, cooking, playing. It's been harder than usual lately and I don't know why. I'm often filled with frustration about the weather, wanting to do things outside that it's just been too hot to do (have a picnic on the sunny, scorching flats of Powell Butte, for instance; sit in the dried-up clover above the beach on Sauvie Island and look at the mountain at dusk). Our day ends early because it starts so (incredibly) early, so I often feel that we miss the cooler, quieter evenings. Well, sigh. I'm thinking we should get one of those craft-fair tents and take it everywhere we go. Maybe a portable mister, with a canister I could wear on my back and a misting wand to shoot directly toward my face, or matching umbrella hats. I've got problems.

I saw this vanilla honey iced tea lemonade on Pinterest yesterday and I think I'll make some later.

***Oh, and — her blue dress is Albertine. Have I ever loved a little dress so much? No. I don't think so!!! Sleeves are a bit big  — the whole thing's still a little too big — but tooooo cute. Love it!


Michael Payne says: July 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Love the picture of her sitting with Andy. Telling Daddy all about this play thing she's been trying out. And the dripping cup, all down the front. It brings back my own memories. So funny and fun. If it's too hot it's time to head to the beach!

It can be so difficult to be optimistic and cheerful in the heat. We don't get much of it here, thankfully, but I'm just... not well-equipped. We'll get three days in a row just above ninety, and all of a sudden life starts to feel depressing, because it's too hot to DO anything! But then it passes, and this will pass, too, your harder-than-usual spell, and it will be cool and dark and rainy again. I so love your daughter's face. xoxox

I love the little mini-montages. With the spilled milk and then her pointing at the cup like "did you see what that thing did to me? crazy!" And her looking at her hand and then sucking on her finger like "Look at my hand... I am delicious!"

We were at the pool Sunday as well (on the Westside, not your pool) and it was like child soup it was so thick with kids.

Sweet Amelia always brings a smile to my face. I do love the blue dress. It suits her perfectly! Summer is most fleeting. I, too, can hardly believe July is practically over. Today it's only 60 here in Buffalo, and it's raining and spritzing out. Reminds me that a change of season is on it's way!

Isn't it amazing to watch the simple things like playing in a pool through a child's eyes?! It's like you have another childhood yourself. Thank you for the link to the iced tea lemonade. It's exactly what I need on this very hot day in San Diego.

July often makes me long for fall!!! But, I think we PNW folks all love the fall - after growing up on the East Coast, winters here are really one loooooong Fall for me! 2 more hot months to go! Then, the relief of that first truly cool day..... My hubby sent me flowers at work last year in September to cheer me up about the heat. The enclosed card said only, "Winter Is Coming' ha!

love the picture of those two having a chat on the playground. so freakin cute!!!

It's been very hot over here too and frankly, I can't wait for autumn. The heat makes me feel sluggish, sticky and slow and I just can't seem to bring myself to do much.

Love Amelia's dress, by the way (in fact all her dresses are lovely!).

Good luck there x

Troy Louise says: July 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Oh yes, the never ending heat. It's the only good thing about going to work where the air conditioning almost freezes one by the end of the day. Your blog & beautiful photos really brighten my day. That is the sweetest pic of Amelia and Andy. Stay cool, it will soon be Fall!

Lovely to hear your musings - as always. Have I missed something - didn't I notice you making a little smocked dress recently and didn't I see Amelia wearing it - but no picture just of the dress?
I've discovered smocked dresses I made for my daughters when they were a bit older than Amelia - if you'd like to see them, do please look at the 3 or 4 posts around here

My little one is unfortunately sick at the moment - some sort of summer flu I guess... So we are also forced to stay in the house ;-)
I hate it to see her suffering! If I could just take the sickness from her and bear it by myself ;-)

Another delightful post: Amelia, Andy, a beautiful dress, and lots of garden photos! Love the verbena!

Whenever I find myself dragging because of the hot, humid weather, I remind myself that it will soon be cold! Summer is my favorite time of year. Hope you find your rhythm!!

oh my beautiful photos

You can tell that Miss Amelia is not so happy with those sleeves... who needs to talk? I'm with you Alicia. I love summer in theory, but I hate the hot weather.

Collette says: July 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM

I always love all the photos but today, the ones of Amelia make me cry. The face coming up the steps at the park, sitting next to Daddy, "Ta da! My hand!", the milk down the shirt. I don't know. So beautiful.

I love the heat of summer until right about now, when July heads into August. Then, when I'm driving in my car, I blast the AC on my face and pretend its in SC, my fantasy life is rich for several months until the heat finally breaks. But when it does, ohhhh, how sweet!!! Kind of feels like earned relief, by then. Love all the flower pics, especially Mimi. Brightest. Bloom. Always. Stay cool.

That picture of Amelia and Andy is priceless. Love the grass-fed vegan plums! :)

That picture of Amelia and Andy is priceless. Love the grass-fed vegan plums! :)

I think life always slows down a little when it's hot, you just have to roll with it and make slower plans - but then sometimes they're the very best sort aren't they; they days when you don't have very much organised and you make the golden moments that you're still remembering in the dank dark days of winter!

We're also having hot hot heat over here in Missoula. My little one seems impervious to it, and will even hang out on the gravel happily moving the tiny rocks. It's funny how they have these "hard" phases - you can't even pinpoint what makes it more difficult, but it just is, and then suddenly it is easier again. I think we just ended the easy phase. Sigh.

Beautiful post as always. (I frequently tell people that when I grow up I want to write as well as you do.) Pity we are almost the same age:)

I just have to reach out and say I SO UNDERSTAND the early morning riser. For reason we could never explain our oldest daughter woke up between 445-515 am until she was two and a half years old. magically stopped. (I would be lying if I didn't say I cried tears of joy that day!) It didn't matter what time we put her to bed 6,7,8,9,10 it was always the same in the morning. So I started putting her to bed around 6 and enjoyed the evening until my bedtime which was often 715!!!

It will pass my friend, it will pass!

We're having a cooler summer in Toronto so far (I think? Or maybe the last two were just so crazy hot) and I'm not going to lie: I love it. I adore all the fresh fruit and would just love to sit on the porch eating blueberries and plums all day and night.

Priceless photo of Amelia and her dad. I really do need to remember my camera the next time we head to the park...

Cute, cute, watching Amelia grow up. Right there with you wishing this hot weather would end.

I'll be honest: I have always had a problem enjoying summer and it has only gotten worse since I've had children. They want to go all the time and it seems like it's only right to let them, since the rest of the year can be so limiting, but I'm never comfortable or happy in the heat and it's hard to keep up the pretense even though I want to look like I'm having as much fun as they are. I hope you're able to enjoy things more soon and find that rhythm. It will come.

Kristen from MA says: July 28, 2014 at 01:52 PM

Aw, Mimi and Dad having a chat! Very cute!

July is dressed up, and playing her tune.

My mum had (probably still has) that album. It's part of the soundtrack of my childhood.

Stay cool!

awwwww Miss A is the absolute cutest little strawberry blondie girl. Love the picture with daddy, Andy's getting such a kick out of what she's saying. So precious.

I'm wearing my crabby pants, I'm so very sick of the heat too - seems like it's been hot since new year here in L.A. grumble grumble

happy week to all the P's

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at